What, you don’t quite follow the logic of it? This only goes to show you aren’t a Cabinet minister, not even a former one.
You’ve got to understand that one can’t ascend to government without being touched by the hand of Sophia, divine wisdom.
Once such a tactile contact has been made, the chosen one becomes privy to the rarefied reaches of intellect, where trivial Aristotelian logic is superseded, nay transcended, by higher reason.
The freshly sacked Attorney General Dominic Grieve is a case in point.
My friend Dominic was kicked out on a matter of principle. The principle is as simple as truth itself: Dave wants to be re-elected.
The path leading to this Shangri-La is thorny, and he won’t reach the destination unless the thorns are removed. Of these, Ukip is the most bothersome.
Even if Ukip’s popular support is halved by the time of the next general election, Ed will move into 10 Downing Street and Dave will go on a speaking tour. For Dave to stay at his present address he needs to convince voters that Britain’s sovereignty will be safe in his hands.
Rumour has it that to this end Dave plans to suspend the Human Rights Act and refuse to obey the diktats of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unless Parliament approves them.
This doesn’t mean Dave wants to leave the EU, perish the thought. What he wants is to win in 2015, and once that’s done he’ll find a way of coming back into the pan-European legal fold.
But first things first. As a sop to those voters who feel nostalgic about the time when Britain was a sovereign nation, Dave has purged the Cabinet of the more strident federasts, of whom my friend Dominic is one.
Yet Sophia confers her grace in perpetuity, and Dominic, now free of the shackles of ministerial discipline, has given us the benefit of his neo-Gnostic sagacity from the back benches.
Walking out of the ECRH, he explained for the benefit of slow learners, would spell a disaster for Britain. Why is that, Dominic? I hear you ask. In fact, I’m asking the same question myself.
We’re even slower than Dominic thought. Allow him to explain in words even we can understand: “One only has to look at what is going on at the moment in northern Iraq to see that human rights do matter.”
My first reaction is to go down on my knees, put my palms flat on the ground and cry “We are not worthy, oh Wise One!”
My second reaction, once I’ve resumed the upright position, is to reach out for that decommissioned tool of basic logic. Inferior though it clearly is, it’s the only one I’ve got handy.
So let me see if I get this right. Now that US foreign policy has triumphed in Iraq and wholesale slaughter has begun, it ought to become blindingly obvious that we should knock out the cornerstone of British polity, sovereignty within Parliament.
No, surely Dominic can’t possibly mean that.
Oh yes he does: it would be fatal, he says, “to prevent the [ECHR’s] judgements being implemented unless the Parliament approves it.” Parliament in a position to approve laws? What a quaint, outdated idea.
I get it. Parliament’s authority established over 1,500 years should be repealed because otherwise Leeds will turn into another Mosul.
Christians will be converted into Islam at gunpoint or preferably murdered, women will be stoned and children starved. York will secede from the UK and become an Islamic Caliphate, with George Galloway as the Caliph.
Come to think of it, such a situation isn’t wholly unimaginable. What is unclear is how making Britain’s Parliament irrelevant will prevent this evolutionary development. In fact, it’s easier to see how that will accelerate the evolution.
In other words, a slave to Aristotelian logic may feel that Dominic hasn’t made an ironclad case in favour of the ECHR being the sole theoretically possible guarantor of the rights of Englishmen.
Such a slave might further insist that the European Court of Human Rights is no more synonymous with human rights than the European Union is with Europe.
He may aver – mistakenly, according to my new friend – that, just as Europe had existed for a while before the EU, the notion of individual rights hadn’t been totally alien to Europeans before they were blessed with the advent of the ECHR.
Moreover, some members of this august moral authority (Russia springs to mind) don’t seem to be overly constrained by its legal notions.
The ECHR is very good on issuing variously inane laws, but its means of enforcement are somewhat lacking. If a law can’t be enforced, it’s not a law but, at best, an ideological statement. As such, it will be heeded only by those who share the same ideology.
Dominic obviously does and so, truth be told, does Dave. But don’t let me digress: my today’s point has less to do with our leaders’ ideological preferences than with their intellectual abilities.
No good case can be made for a bad cause. But, if appointed devil’s advocates, you and I could easily come up with more plausible arguments in favour of the ECHR than those based on Islamic massacres in Iraq.
Such arguments would still be fundamentally false, but at least they wouldn’t sound as if they were put forth by a 10-year-old attending a remedial reading class.
Dominic couldn’t satisfy even that minimum requirement. This is a man who for four years was the chief legal advisor to the Crown, and he was only relieved of his post for short-term political reasons.
This brings me back to my recurrent theme: modern democracy. The most reliable litmus test of a method of government is what kind of people it elevates to power.
If Dominic, Dave et al are the best we can do, it’s time to think long and hard. Or else head for the hills.
P.S. My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, is coming out this autumn. You can pre-order at roperpenberthy.co.uk.