Thursday, 8 December 2016

Supreme Court: more Article 50 action




Watching it on the train...
I board a train in Warwickshire. I watch the newest folk hero, Lord Pannick, on my BlackBerry. He should sell his recorded advocacy as a cure for insomnia – he is not boring but soothing, authoritative, sometimes incantatory. 

He makes it all look easy and I am lulled into a heedless trance. Then I leave a breathtakingly expensive pen on the train. Bother. 





...and in a cab
I take a cab. The sign in my drawing is all about Brexit. A late arrival at the Supreme Court, I'm in one of the overspill rooms.

The Irish question. When I got married I asked my husband if he would take British citizenship. He thought it was an absurd idea. His parents marched against Mosley in Cable Street. Now he is a bargaining chip. Will we have to stand in different queues?

It’s a mess. Bones rattle. The auld triangle goes jingle jangle. Ronan Lavery QC addresses the court: ‘Take the applicant, my client, for instance, he is a Protestant from north Belfast, he is a victim of the Troubles, he is a victims' rights campaigner. He is here, has always attended court with his friend who is a catholic. But his son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries. He regards himself as British, although many people in Britain may regard him as Irish. It is a complex situation, my Lords, my Lady, Northern Ireland, and there is a complex constitutional settlement.’

The room grows cold. Or is it me.


So, what’s going to happen? Who will win this case? At the end of day three, William Hill are offering 5/2 that the government will win and 2/7 that they will lose. That’s just betting, though, which consists of money, sentiment, superstition and hedging.














What about the index to the day’s transcript? This perfect source of found poetry includes a numeric index for all you Bletchley Park types. Are there any clues in this sample page, for example? I would pay to hear Lord Pannick read this out:


Or is Lady Hale giving us signs? On day one, she wore black and a brooch which looked like a double dragonfly. On day two she wore half-mourning (purple) and what appeared to be a beaten silvery blazing comet or quarter sunburst. Today she is dressed in deep blue and a metallic caterpillar.


‘Don’t be pessimistic,’ someone said to me yesterday, after my latest diatribe. ‘Nigel Lawson says global warming isn’t happening.’ That is an unfortunate combination of words to use against me. I find it hard to trust people at the moment.

David Runciman, a professor from the Remain stronghold of Cambridge, writes in the latest issue of the London Review of Books (read by the people of the smaller bubble inside the larger bubble, like me): ‘By choosing to quit the European Union, the majority of British voters may have looked as if they were behaving with extraordinary recklessness. But in reality their behaviour…reflected their basic trust in the political system with which they were ostensibly so disgusted, because they believed that it was still capable of protecting them from the consequences of their choice….’

His article does not end happily.

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