Gale's View - 25/09/2019
September 25th 2019
By the time that this hits the newstands we shall know whether the Supreme Court has, in its infinite wisdom, determined whether or not Mr. Johnson was within his rights to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament. For what it is worth,my own opinion is that this has been the most synthetic of political rows and that a new Prime Minister has not only a right but a duty to prorogue and to instigate a Queen’s Speech setting out his or her legislative programme for the next twelve months.
This Parliamentary session has not only run for longer, at in excess of 800 days, than any in the previous 400 years, but it has run out of legislative steam. Brexit-obsessed to the exclusion of everything else it has neglected a domestic legislative agenda than requires immediate and urgent attention . Whilst I am not known as a fully paid- up member of the Boris Johnson fan- club I believe that he was absolutely correct in asking Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for seven days ( plus the pre- ordained Conference recess ) to set out a re- invigorated programme.
Prior to Mr. Blair’s administration Parliament rose from mid- July until after the Party Conferences. Mr . Blair, spooked by tabloid newspaper journalists writing about “MP’s three- month holidays” while themselves taking a three month holiday from Westminster as the rest of us were getting on with constituency work, decided to call back the House for an idiotic fortnight. During this time, at the start of September before the Conference season, little of any consequence has ever been done. It has , though, generated massive unnecessary expenditure and disrupted the entire Palace of Westminster maintenance programme to no useful purpose since 1998 but it has denied the press their annual ‘ Where are they ?’ story .
Personally, I do not wish to be in Westminster chewing the Brexit cud while I need to be looking after my patch. I want the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom meeting EU leaders in New York at the United Nations or travelling around Europe working to deliver the deal that I believe most people want before the Committee of Ministers meeting in the middle of next month and prior to the 31st October deadline by which UK law currently demands we must leave the European Union. Meanwhile, I will get on with my day job.
I do not expect the Scottish Court of Sessions or even our own Supreme Court to understand the difference between a 7- day normal annual prorogation and the Party Conference recess but that three- week difference does exist.
Time was when the three major parties would depart for successive weeks in seaside resorts to hear great speeches and return, re-vitalised, to the political affray.
The Liberal Democrats’ Jo Swinson still exhorts her party In Bournemouth to ‘ Go back to your constituencies and prepare for Government’ while offering herself as a ‘ candidate for Prime Minister’. The Comrades still gather in a spirit of fratricide in Brighton to tear themselves, what passes for their Brexit policy and yesterday’s Mr. Corbyn apart and by the time you read this a discordant Red Flag will have been sung and the Tories will be converging on Manchester to try to present a carefully - orchestrated display of ‘ spontaneous’ accolades in response to a series of divided opinions and loyalties.
Manchester and Birmingham are great cities but they do not offer the prospect of a bracing walk along an otherwise deserted and rainswept seaside in mid autumn.
And the towering oratory of those who once ‘ harnessed the English language and sent it into battle ‘ not only against a common foe but against political adversaries seems to have surrendered to bumbling incoherence and schoolboy jibes against other party- political minnows.
Jaundiced? Perhaps. But I would sooner listen to a well-directed barb to the heart of a respected political opponent of any persuasion any day than pay to watch knives shoved into the back of my ‘friends’ or even my philosophical enemies. In the meantime let’s demand that our leaders sort out Brexit so that we can attend to other more pressing issues that will, I trust, be addressed in Her Majesty’s gracious address to the new Parliament. If, of course, it is allowed to take place,