Judicial discomfort

On the face of it, today’s court ruling declaring that the government had acted unlawfully in suspending Parliament is a bit of a personal disaster for Boris Johnson, as it sees him labelled by senior judges as a liar who has misled no less a personage than the Queen herself.

While this is clearly embarrassing for a Conservative Prime Minister, Johnson may not be too dismayed. There is a good chance that the Supreme Court will overturn the ruling next week, freeing him from the obligation to submit to troublesome parliamentary scrutiny, and the whole thing plays into his preferred narrative, in which he is a champion of the People, standing up to out-of-touch elites.

More problematic may be the release of the government’s own forecast of the potential outcome of a no-deal scenario, which makes pretty grim reading.

The degree to which any of this will change sentiment in the country at large remains to be seen though. My suspicion is that it will only encourage people to either dig themselves further into their entrenched positions, or confirm them in their alienation. I guess we’ll find out when the general election eventually comes, assuming Johnson doesn’t just abolish democracy altogether in the meantime.

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