What a time it is to be alive. Never before has interest in our unentrenched constitution been so relevant. We have the leading lights of politics rushing to remind us of normal convention. This is how it is, they say. Indeed, in normal circumstances it is- but these are no normal times.
The current fiasco regarding the suspension of Parliament is rapidly turning into something that will not just blow over by the end of summer, despite calls for us all to just calm down. Mr Rees Mogg has today suggested that any outrage is a ‘phony’ attempt to detract away from Brexit, which indicates how far out of touch he is. In his eyes, this a habitual move by a government to lay out its policies for the coming sitting of Parliament. Mogg has a tendency to rely upon the importance of convention as a component of the UK’s constitution. Convention is great, but the beauty about having an uncodified constitution is the very potential of it to be shaped by the status-quo of today. We are all probably aware by now, that gentlemen with the calibre of Mr Mogg are devoid of any grasp of the importance of getting this damned process right.
Mogg is such a clear man of principle, that he does not detract away from the norm in the House of Commons and the processes that follow. Ever. Remember that earlier this year, John Bercow allowed for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement to be presented to the house three times, despite being defeated twice before the final vote. This was a play on convention, to which in normal circumstances would not have happened. Mogg voted for Ms May’s agreement, despite lamenting it beforehand. He ‘flip-flopped’, despite being so morally entrenched enough before, not to do so. An ardent follower of the constitution should have surely abstained from the vote. This was such a step-out from normal procedure, that a man of such adherence to convention would be outraged. Hence, Mr Mogg lost credibility and he was only resuscitated earlier this summer when he was appointed by PM Boris as Leader of the House of Commons.
There would be greater respect given to a man of such knowledge, if he had acted on principle. He would’ve surely realised that not only would this have damaged public opinion of the political class further, but ensued more turmoil toward the adequacy of our constitution. Perhaps, Rees Mogg’s touch-tight defence of normality is why we are almost definitely living through a crisis of political procedure. Works of constitutional authority such as Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice could not have foreseen such challenging circumstances in the workings of Parliament, way back in 1844. The constitution should be an evolving centrepiece solely to soothe the needs of society- not threaten to further divide it.
The spit-balling rhetoric of Mogg is something which threatens to damage the constitution’s functionality in such a time of political toxicity. By using the constitution as an excuse to politicise convention is a sad trend which politicians are leaping into like a war-bunker, in the hope of avoiding the incoming blitz of destruction. This sentiment that a government should follow the word of convention is a lazy excuse for hiding the fact that they have no means to an end. They’re not going to achieve a deal with the EU that can be presented to Parliament, due to the short time they have left. And, with Mogg being a man that has championed Brexit since its inception in 2016, it is his reputation that is on the line. Forget what A.V Dicey or Erskine May wrote centuries ago- this is about him. He needs a hard Brexit to pet his hard-Brexit pugs in Parliament, and demonstrate to them that he did what he promised to do.
The Conservative party is losing limbs from its own body.
Once upon a time, Mogg was an advocate for two referendums, on the basis that they would provide a period for legislation and scrutiny to which would best suit the needs of the time. How far we have come. Mogg loves reading books about convention and dictating how the English language should be used; dressing as though he is reenacting Victorian Britain BUT it seems as though he is more modern than ever before. For the first time in living memory, a government is using procedure (it should have happened last year, but didn’t) to force through political, partisan gain. As someone who is a normal person , I’m as annoyed as everyone else. So too is John Major, Tony Blair and now the inspirational Ruth Davidson. The Conservative party is losing limbs from its own body. This party isn’t fit to govern today.
Need I remind you that Mogg once used the longest ever recorded word in Parliament a few years back. floccinaucinihilipilification. I’ve too got a noun for Jacob: T**t.
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