Courting disaster

The attention of the country, or at least that part of it not yet entirely alienated from the political process, focused this morning on the Supreme Court, which convened to hear the thorny case of Johnson v Democracy.

Of course the government would prefer us to view the divide as The People v The Establishment, with Johnson identifying himself as the champion of the former. He has abandoned the pretence that the suspension of parliament was not intended to suppress opposition, and is instead defending it as a legitimate political manoeuvre which the courts have no business interfering with.

This is probably a smart strategy; if the justices decide in his favour he can claim vindication, while if they rule against him it will only burnish his populist reputation.

My prediction, for what it’s worth, is that the judges will decline to overrule the executive, which will give Johnson the confidence to ignore the law compelling him to delay Brexit.

It’s looking more likely that any election will come after we’re out of the EU, and you’d have to fancy Johnson’s chances in that scenario. I’ve been swinging between hope and despair on this issue for the past few months, but the latter emotion is definitely predominant right now.

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