Obey the rules
An iron law, which I have just invented, states that your power to interpret the rules operates in step with your control of them. A statement of the bleedin’ obvious really. So when Boris Johnson signs off on the Ministerial Code of Conduct, he is the ultimate authority on its interpretation, so when a minister egregiously breaks the code, Johnson can choose to simply ignore what everybody else thinks the code means. It’s not just the Tories of course who employ the ‘one rule for them and another for the rest of us’ principle. I was struck reading a letter that Bindmans solicitors have sent to David Evans, the Labour Party’s acting general secretary, on behalf of some members who have been ‘administratively suspended’ due to unspecified allegations of breaches of the party’s rules. Bindmans’ detailed letter ( 2020.12.23 Letter to LP re Instructions (v.4 - clean)_3768857_1.docx (jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk) shows how Evans has cast himself as the Great Interpreter of the party’s rule book. He seems to have found a clause which grants him powers to do pretty much what he wants, making it up as he goes along. With the right interpretation, rules and codes can be weaponised, stripping victims of their innocent faith in what they thought was set down in black and white.
A similar story emerges in the case of Craig Murray’s battle to clear his name of the charge of contempt of court arising from his blogged reportage of the Alex Salmond case. Courtrooms should settle what can justifiably be ‘interpreted’ - if we can’t rely on the courts, then what? - but an examination of the Murray case should strip away any pretensions on that front. (LETTER FROM LONDON: The Twisted Case of Craig Murray – Consortiumnews ) Might one detect the hand of Nicola Sturgeon in this matter? I wouldn’t be at all surprised, and of course Murray’s blog is the best place to read all about it.
How can one exercise authority over the people who enjoy such latitude in the application of our supposedly rock-solid constitutional rights? Answers on a postcard, please.
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