Thursday, February 07, 2008

Brown tells court "don't trust me"

A quick dispatch direct from the court case which I mentioned in the last post. According to the lovely Trixy who is there, Gordon Brown has just told the courtroom, via his personal barrister that,
"manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation"
Got that? The Prime Minister has just told a court that you cannot trust him when he tells you he is going to something in any manifesto he puts forward.

At last some honesty!


Anonymous said...


Anyway you ensure that Harriet Harman is informed of this statement as she believes David Davies should apologise for calling Brown a LIAR


Perry Neeham said...

Extraordinary . . . he is beyond sarcasm.

Cinnamon said...

Here you see a direct and pertinent demonstration for the reason that non-democratic people should not be allowed into politics in a democracy.

Brown is a dictator in drag, he used democracy as the train to get where he wanted to.

(Just to borrow a phrase from the current Turkish Fuehrer...erm pardon me, Primeminister.)

Sam Duncan said...

I'd be surprised if the prosecution weren't expecting that, though.

What they need to do is get Brown to admit that what he means by it is that circumstances may change between the publication of a manifesto and the time a government comes to implement it. Pledges may be rendered redundant, irrelevant, or unworkable. (It's not really that controversial, put like that.) Then point out that they haven't.

The thing then turns into the old argument about whether the Lisbon Treaty is the same as the Constitution, and there's a pretty strong case there (not to mention an entertaining one).

greatest hits said...

I'm minded to remember Dizzy's imagined interview with Blair as he outlined on 18 Doughty St:

Dizzy: Are you a liar?

Blair: [Doesn't answer]

Dizzy: You're a liar.

End of transcript.

David Boothroyd said...

Mr Hendren, manifesto pledges are not legally enforcable and never have been. Lord Denning told the GLC in 1981 that it was not to give any particular consideration to what was in the manifesto. What's sauce for the goose etc.

Even if Stuart Bower succeeded he would only force a referendum on the long-abandoned Constitutional Treaty which would be a waste of money since it's not going into effect anyway.

dizzy said...

David, nice little straw man there but at which point did I say they were legally binding? Oh look! I didn't which makes your point moot. The key here is that the pledges have no 'legitimate expectations' according to Brown ergo you don't have to do anything you say you will. Hardly the foundation for an honest brokerage of power. As to the treaty, if you think it's not the substantively same document in it's ramifications then you're a complete prick.

David Boothroyd said...

Fortunately Phil I am not the sort to let your uncouth insults distract me from the truth. The truth is that the Lisbon Treaty is a fundamentally different document.

This is a legal case where the plaintiff is attempting to enforce a manifesto as a legal contract. What is said in court is a legal position, not a political one. If you are saying that you agree with the Prime Minister that manifestos are not legally enforcable and therefore the case is a nonsense then I am with you on that point at least.

dizzy said...

Uncouth you say? Am I little to working class for you, or are you just one those annoying middle class social climbers who thinks that saying 'pardon' rather than 'what' make you polite? You've clearly not the read the treaty if you think it is a different document. All that has changed is the exorcism of symbolic things whilst the actual transfers of powers remain the same as before. The only politicians in the EU that say it is different is the British government, all the others are very open about it being the same. Hence you get called a prick for peddling the same crap as the Government.

Now as to the 'legtimate expectations' being a legal not political phrase. Yes, in court it is, but outside of court, in the real world. That's the real world where people swear quite freely, the phrase as political ramifications because it is in effect the opinion of the Prime Minister that you can have no expectations about any promise he may make in order to get votes. Failing to see those political considerations of the words and falling back on legalise make you an even bigger prick than the other prickish thing you said about the treaty.

Of course, you might not have received such a caustic response had you not kept adressing me by surname like some twatty fucking school teacher with inadequacy issues. Now if you'd be so kind, fuck off. And yes, that was uncouth.

naughty sweary day said...

However david the Parliament Act does attempt to cast manifestos as a legally binding contract between the electorate and the Commons, therefore the Lords has to give way.
Labour want it both ways depending on whether they've changed their minds about a 'commitment'or not.

David Boothroyd said...

Calling someone a "complete prick" because you happen to disagree with them is well within my definition of uncouthness. I use your name, Phil Hendren, because I stand by my comments under my real name and feel you should do likewise.

Now to matters of substance. The reason the Constitutional Treaty was to be submitted to a referendum before ratification in the UK is that it was more significant than a mere amending treaty. It was a treaty that would entrench for a generation the form of European Union which it outlined. It contained every aspect of European Union governance.

By contrast, the Lisbon Treaty is nothing like that. It contains a series of minor, mostly technical, changes to existing European Treaties going back more than 50 years, in order to make the European Union work better. These changes could continue, if they work, or they could be changed at the next IGC. Nothing in it is as profound as the Constitutional Treaty even if some of the proposals happen to be the same. No amount of loud insistence that they are the same will make them so.

Nor is it even pertinent to point at arbitrarily calculated percentages of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and compare them with similar changes between the Constitutional Treaty and the present; it is not the effect of the changes which was the key but the fact that they were in a Constitutional Treaty and that it would be the pre-eminent document within the European Union which was the reason why the Constitutional Treaty was to have been put to a referendum.

Moving on to 'legitimate expectations', you are falling into a very common trap in taking legal wording and assuming common sense meanings. A legal phrase can only be taken outside court to refer to its legal meaning, nothing more. The lawyer in court has no choice but to use established legal terminology. It would be profoundly legalistic to demand that life outside the courts adopted the same meanings. In the context of manifestos, it would cut off any argument about whether a manifesto pledge should be kept to, for instance (since you and I both agree that the legal position is that manifestos are not legally enforcable).

Ed said...

The reason that liars like Brown and Boothroyd can begin to entertain the idea that the two documents are different is that the "Constitution" was a fresh document and the "Treaty" amends an extant set of texts. The resulting legal implications of the "Constitution" and the "Treaty" are virtually identical. As Dizzy observes, most of the EU political elite admits this and are proud of it. So that thickies such as Brown and Boothroyd can understand this concept, I shall do a little example:

Current treaty says "1,3,5,7,9"

Constitution says "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9"

Amending treaty says "insert even numbers"

Hey presto! The amending treaty is totally different to the constitution!

spanner said...

Well said Dizzy.
Mind you I did not really need to hear a barrister say that you cant believe a word that these lying
ba-rds ever say.

Matt Jones said...

How very, very remarkable!

Tory Trollmeister said...

david boothroyd isn't a thickie. He's an evil Labour toadie who desperately wants to limit democracy.
david boothroyd at least admit you are an annoying middle class cunt. I am.

Anoneumouse said...

David Haemorrhoid

Don't even think of quoting to me the government mantra "Constitution", is abandoned

I have reproduced the full quote from the EU June 2007 IGC:

1. The IGC is asked to draw up a Treaty (hereinafter called "Reform Treaty") amending the existing Treaties with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the enlarged Union, as well as the coherence of its external action. The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called "Constitution", is abandoned. The Reform Treaty will introduce into the existing Treaties, which remain in force, the innovations resulting from the 2004 IGC, as set out below in a detailed fashion.

Now come on David, We are all, bright enough to extract from the June 2007 IGC text, that the outcome is that the innovations resulting from the 2004 IGC is the EU CONSTITUTION.

Instead of one single document incorporating all the text of the other treaties, it is now a text, which keeps the other treaties but binds them all together.

mike said...

dizzy said...Uncouth you say? Am I little to working class for you.

I'm more working class than you can ever be. But to call a fellow "a complete prick" does not qualify you to be called working class. However if you said that to the fellows face in the pub, that would be working class. Do you see the difference ? One takes courage and one doesn't. You went for the one that did not require courage, this means you lost both your rag and the argument.

dizzy said...

Mike, you know fuck all about me you stupid old git. So don't start fucking tell me what I am and what I am not.

As for not having courage, I'm posting on the fucking Internet you twat. I don;t know where David Boothroyd, assuming that is his name is. I'm not going to go running round his house in order to reply to him. Jesus wept.

And as for doing it in the pub, I live in the depths of south east London. No one would dream of calling someone a prick in the pub,.. 'cunt' would be a far more common term to hear me and others utter to each other.

BTW, there wasn't an argument to lose, Boothroyd was arguing about something completely different and missing the point as he quite often does.

David Boothroyd said...

'Anoneumouse', may we have the courtesy of knowing your identity? I think the extract you give us from the IGC conclusions makes my point perfectly. The Constitutional Treaty was a 'start from scratch' document which repealed all previous treaties. If approved it would by its very nature have solidified all of its contents as being the base of how the EU operates.

The Constitutional Treaty was itself largely based on what had previously been agreed (Treaty of Rome, Single European Act, Maastricht etc) but with some minor tinkering changes which were the subject of in depth negotiation. These changes were not the substance of the reason the Constitutional Treaty was important. Having rejected the Constitutional Treaty, the member states were in effect saying that they wanted more flexibility in the future in revising the way the EU works; however they were not rejecting the minor changes they had themselves just all agreed to.

Three years later these changes were further amended and put into the Lisbon Treaty which is now presented for ratification. It is not the constitution and does not have the force of a constitution; it's just another amending treaty which we can come back to and alter if it's not working. And we can alter all the rest of the combined treaties too.

The changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty are profoundly to Britain's advantage in many respects. We got a good deal. All true patriots should support the Lisbon Treaty.

mike said...

dizzy said...Mike, you know fuck all about me you stupid old git.

It is true I am old. I am also rather poorly, three heart attacks to date. Education nil alas, left school when I was fourteen. Lowly paid employment as you would expect. Had little in the way of possessions. Never had to resort to obscenities to make a point though. You appear to be doing much better, I'm pleased for you, well done. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post, appreciated.

dizzy said...

All true patriots should support the Lisbon Treaty.

You won't mind having a referendum then. If you're so right of course.

dizzy said...

Mike, a pleasure to reply, it would be rude not too. I have cancer of universe though.

Alan said...

What's all this obsession with using 'real' names? How does using my real name (as I do, but others choose not to) help the online debate about politics? Why is it not about the issues?

And yes, David Boothroyd does miss the point. It matters not to the ordinary person about nomenclature, as that is all there is between the "constitution" and "Lisbon treaty". The fundamental content that people object to is present in both documents. That is: yet more powers (and the same powers) transferred to the EU. The symbolism that has been removed makes not one difference to the ordinary person and they simply don't care about the fact this the treaty is not a "start from scratch document".

However, I do agree with David when it comes to "legitimate expectation". In a court, a lawyer must use the standard language when they state their arguments. And the meanings of language in a court room are very different to the it on the street. However, that does not mean it will be viewed that way by the general population.

On balance, I think David is too much of a political geek to appreciate just how badly the population are feeling about the EU treaty and the manifesto pledge. People are not interested in technicalities, but in politicians abiding by the spirit (rather than letter) of what they say.

Anoneumouse said...

No, Mr Boothroyde, I will not be courteous and disclose my identity, I only make myself known to those I trust.

First of all there has never been an EU Constitutional Treaty. There was a TREATY to establish a constitution for Europe which was the innovations generated out of the IGC 2004. That treaty was rejected by the voters in France and Holland.

The weasels of the European Union didn't like the answer and decided that instead of repealing the original treaties which provided the bulk of the text for the treaty to establish a constitution for europe (with the IGC 2004 innovations) They would keep the original Treaties and bind them together with the IGC 2007 mandate which kept IGC 2004 innovations. (by the way that mandate was unlawful under IGC rules established under the existing treaties)

Hence the reason for the vast majority of the leaders of European Member states saying that the content of the Lisbon Treaty is 90 to 99% the same as the document named a Treaty to establish a constitution europe.

The presentation is different but the outcomes are the same.

"Same meat different gravy"

Lee Griffin said...

I'm fairly certain I disagree with Dizzy completely over what I'd prefer the UK to do with the EU...but he's spot on when asking why there shouldn't be a referendum.

If the government wants to do the best by the people, they should have a referendum. If they know public support is for the EU overwhelmingly they would have already called a referendum to piss off the Tories and brag about how it was what the people wanted.

What they fear is that the people will not vote for the EU. Why not just come out and say what they're thinking, that the public don't know enough about what benefits the UK gets from ratifying this document and that they feel that parliament is in a better position to make this decision than the unwashed masses? At least that would be honesty. Parading around with the "we didn't technically promise one" bollocks is just insulting to everyone, pro or anti-EU.

Anonymous said...

Now now Children all this calling names has to stop. While you'r all arguing the culprit has got away.
Treat manifestos as advertising and report them to the ASA

Henry Crun said...

Mike said: It is true I am old. I am also rather poorly, three heart attacks to date. Education nil alas, left school when I was fourteen. Lowly paid employment as you would expect. Had little in the way of possessions....

O cue the fucking violins!

Henry Crun said...

It is entirly possible that the david boothroyd commenting here is this david boothroyd:

A Labour apparatchik and therefore a complete twunt.

Unsworth said...

Boothroyd you are the most tedious and cretinous little git. You seem to think you can impose your views and your soi-disant 'standards' on the rest of the world.

Well you can't. Prat.

You don't like it? Effing tough.

Clunking Fist said...

"All true patriots should support the Lisbon Treaty."
So: what is the secret meaning of "true patriots"? Does this mean "European Söcialist Elite"?
Is it a case of mangled useage/ownership, just like commies pwn "Liberal" much to the annoyance of Libertarians?

Henry Crun said...

All true patriots want to see Broon-troosers and the rest of his Jockuza hanged in Parliament Square.