The following comes towards the end of the current Conservative Party manifesto. Armando Ianucci has brought attention to it in a recent tweet. He thinks it’s alarming, as do I. It clearly arises out of Boris Johnson’s frustration at the very proper ‘checks and balances’ that Parliament and the Courts imposed on his recent efforts to drive his Brexit legislation through quickly, and without proper scrutiny; which of course is what led him to trigger the current election.
But its implications go far wider than that. It could empower the Executive over the other branches of our government to a degree unknown in peacetime Britain since the seventeenth century. It also fits in with the populist – ‘people against Parliament’ – narrative that Boris has being trying to push in the campaign. That way, of course, lies Fascism. Which is not to say, of course, that we’re anywhere near there yet; but it is well to be forewarned.
Here’s the passage (p. 48):
‘After Brexit we also need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between the Government, Parliament and the courts; the functioning of the Royal Prerogative; the role of the House of Lords; and access to justice for ordinary people. The ability of our security services to defend us against terrorism and organised crime is critical. We will update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and elective government. We will ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays. In our first year we will set up a Constitution, Democracy & Rights Commission that will examine these issues in depth, and come up with proposals to restore trust in our institutions and in how our democracy operates.’