Sunday Column: Delivering a true Brexit is Boris' last chance to save his premiership.


By Derek W Gardiner

So Brexit is back in the news again, after quite a long break when the news was dominated by other things. This time the controversial Internal Market Bill has been laid before parliament. The Bill only seeks to make some changes to state aid rules affecting Northern Ireland however, the media, opposition leaders, civil servants and even former prime ministers have raised hell over it because the bill is said to break international law and by doing so Britains credibility would be undermined. Former Prime Minister John Major has today urged MPs not to vote for a piece of legislation being proposed by a Conservative government, such a thing is almost unprecedented but its just another day in the world of Brexit.


The Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis, rather stupidly, said that the bill would break international law in a "specific and limited way". As an aspiring criminal defence lawyer myself I can tell you that would not hold up in court, I could not say that my client broke the law in a "specific and limited" way, I would need a more intelligent and well thought out defence.


What he should have said is that the British parliament is sovereign meaning that it can make or unmake any law it wants and cannot limit itself in making future legislation. Under international law the UK is a "dualist" system as opposed to a "monist" system, the distinction being that under a monist system, international law automatically forms part of the law of a state as it is written in the treaties that the state is a party to while under a dualist system, a state must transcribe international law into its own legislation and can amend the law as it sees fit under the principle of lex posterior derogat legi priori meaning that new laws replace old ones dealing with the same subject matter. The latter is what the UK has done with the Withdrawal Agreement and we are well within our rights to do so as under our law there is no higher authority than parliament.


Boris Johnson understands that as a prime minister who came to power on a promise to "get Brexit done" he must now abide by that promise or all his credibility will be lost, he has imposed the most draconian restrictions that this country has ever seen on our everyday lives and crashed our economy voluntarily as well making countless u-turns. There have been talks within the Tory Party that he might be forced to resign sometime next year and be replaced by either Rishi Sunak or Michael Gove. If he is to save face and keep the 1922 committee happy then he must get on with delivering not some watered down Theresa May style Brexit trade deal by the end of the year but a clean break Brexit that gives us back control of the vast swathes of our law and regulatory powers that the EU currently has a monopoly on and provides for basic tariff-free trade in goods.


The "Rule of six" will derail Britains economic recovery


It seems every week that I write this column there is a new set of coronavirus regulations imposed (often needlessly) and this week is no different, the Prime Minister announced in his first press briefing in two months that gatherings of more than six people would be banned as of Monday. This comes as COVID cases rise and without any rise in hospital admissions or deaths accompanying it, which was supposed to be the measurement by which governments made their decisions back in April and May.


The UK had seen some growth in July after a 20% decline during lockdown leading to some talks of a "V-shaped" recovery, tell that to the 730,000 people newly unemployed and the countless small businesses that have gone bust but further restrictions will only hit businesses harder.


Despite the bounce that the "eat out to help out" scheme gave to hospitality, fewer people will be going out in groups of friends to the pub or out for a meal, organisers of big events such as weddings and conferences will continue to take a hit and this will, as usual, disproportionately hurt small businesses that individuals have spent a lifetime building.


I am hopeful that people will finally say enough and enough and pressure the government into another U-turn, this cannot be the stepping stones on the way to a second national lockdown and the government must categorically rule that option out unless the NHS is in serious danger of being overwhelmed which it currently is not.


The paranoid control freaks that want to govern every aspect of our lives must be left out of the conversation and ignored by the decision-makers, they have been calling the tune for the last six months and the result has been social and economic disaster.


Why have Scottish Labour stuck with Richard Leonard


The political harakiri of Scottish Labour continues as the motion of no confidence in its dreadful and politically unknown leader, Richard Leonard, was withdrawn because there weren't enough people to support it. One wonders if Labour got the memo after Jackson Carlaw resigned that we need less disastrous leaders to take the unionist cause forward if we are to have any chance of defeating the SNP and ultimately Scottish Independence.


Despite all this a Survation poll last week put Scottish Labour ahead of the Tories for the first time in years. The success of the Scottish Tories is limited to around 30% of the vote due to past grievances surrounding Thatcher in older voters and woke independence supporting younger voters.


Labour must get its act together if it's going to be part of the solution the SNP but it will never even achieve opposition, let alone government if it continues with Leonard as leader, if they had made Ian Murray leader and Jackie Baillie leader in the Scottish parliament then they might have been in with a chance. Now that he can't be removed it looks as if only the hard left will be allowed to stand for Labour at next years Holyrood election consigning the party further into oblivion.