Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s Notes | 24 November 2016

And: Nigel Farage; independent inquiries; Hillsborough; red states

It is not self-evidently ridiculous that Nigel Farage should be the next British ambassador to the United States. The wishes of the president-elect should not automatically be discounted. John F. Kennedy’s wish that his friend David Ormsby-Gore (Lord Harlech) should be ambassador was granted. It is also not true that the post must be filled by a professional, or that the Prime Minister should not appoint a political rival to the post. Churchill gave the job to his main rival, Lord Halifax, from 1940. Certainly Mr Farage is not the conventional idea of a diplomat, but then Mr Trump is not the conventional idea of a president. Although its own leadership emerged from the same global convulsions, our government is slow to grab the advantages offered by this new world.

As the Supreme Court hearing on Article 50 approaches, scarcely a week goes by without one of its judges making a speech. First it was Lady Hale, suddenly injecting, from Malaysia and in advance of the court hearing, the new idea that Parliament might need a ‘comprehensive replacement’ for the European Communities Act 1972 straightaway, instead of a simple bill to trigger Article 50 negotiations. This week, it was Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, whose Bar Council Lecture reviewed the workings of his court. On 1 December, it would have been Lord Mance, lecturing at Lincoln’s Inn in a series of ‘Euro Law Events’, but I see he has belatedly had the wit to pull out. Is it wise for there to be so much judicial chatter? The judges give their Opinions in court. Mightn’t their opinions, in the vernacular, compromise these? As Lady Neuberger’s anti-Brexit tweets blatantly showed, there is a casualness about the utterances of the judges and their relations. This cannot survive an era in which the court has entered politics.

In his Bar Council Lecture, Lord Neuberger boasted that the Supreme Court ‘does what it says on the tin’.

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