The Rule of Law - Part 2
29 November 2020

Although I have for some time now been promised a reply to my letter of 24 September to my MP, the member for North Warwickshire, Craig Tracey, so far I have only received assurances that a reply would be sent in the near future.

In the circumstances, I have now sent the following e-mail to Mr Tracey's assitant -

Thank you for your e-mail of 18 November. I appreciate that you and Mr Tracey will be very busy dealing with the effects of the Covid 19 virus, particularly with North Warwickshire going into Tier 3 as from next Wednesday.

In contrast, as a retired person in lock-down, I have plenty of time on my hands. So then, to save you time and effort in dealing with my concerns, I have prepared for Mr Tracey two alternative replies, either of which he could send to me regarding the rejection by this government of the Rule of Law. He could then mark my file as closed, which I’m sure would be a relief.

There is precedent for such an approach. You will recall that the Prime Minister adopted just such a solution when deciding which way to swing on Brexit.

My suggestions are as follows:

Alternative A

Dear Mr Buckingham,

Thank you for your emails of 24 September and 12 November 2020. The first questions my justification of the Internal Market Bill and its provisions enabling a government minister to ignore our treaty obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement signed by Boris only a year ago. In your later email you point to Dominic Raab's apparent hypocrisy in criticising the Chinese government over its failure to abide by its treaty obligations in respect of Hong Kong.

The reply which I had sent to you dated 18 September was, I accept, a rather obvious attempt to obfuscate and confuse.  I should perhaps have read the letter more carefully before sending it out but, hey, who am I to say no to a letter produced, as you guessed, at the instance of The Dom - Cummings that is.  Of course, Dom and his mates have now left us and instead are doing spectacular deals in cardboard box futures. This means that before the next enforcer comes in to No. 10, I can slip this reply out to you under the political radar.

But yes, what you say is right. There is no justification for abandoning the long held view in this country and in most, if not all, of Europe, that the Rule of Law is something to be abided by and nurtured.

Which also means that the attack by the other Dom – Dominic Raab – on China’s refusal to abide by its treaty obligations over Hong Kong was completely hypocritical. But then, as the karate kid, subtlety is not his strong point. He believes in hitting people as hard as he can in the hope that they’re not then in a position to respond.

If, following the Brexit negotiations (which have not been going at all well), we had an agreement in place with the EU, then we could simply have removed the offending provisions from the Bill.  So you will also have realised that Dom (1) wanted me to try to string things along until we had some sort of result.  He was then expecting me to reply saying either:

1.    We’ve triumphed over the perfidious European Union in obtaining a deal, the best deal, but only because we’d threatened to pull the plug on the deal which we’d already signed. Our clever negotiating tactic convinced them that we were totally serious about our wish to have a binding agreement to enable trade to take place on our terms; or

2.     We’ve triumphed over the perfidious European Union in walking away without a deal and into the sunlit uplands of WTO terms, or as we prefer to call it, ‘an Australian style trade deal’. That means that we can throw the Rule of Law on the bonfire with the rest of European Law to which we are no longer subject. And, as an additional benefit, we are now soul-mates of those other mavericks still in the EU, the governments of Hungary and Poland. With them, we share similar ideas about the undesirability of being constrained by the Rule of Law and the desirability of the government being in control of the judiciary.

So then, sorry that I can’t point to either outcome just for the moment but, when one or other of the events happens, please take it as read that you would have had the appropriate response, even though neither makes any sense. You won’t need to write to me again about it.

Incidentally, I suspect that Michel Barnier’s supposed need to self-isolate last week was simply to avoid having to negotiate about fish quotas, something which he’s not particularly interested in as he comes from the Haute Savoie - they get their fish from the various lakes in the area. And very nice it is too, or so I’m told!

Kind regards,

Craig Tracey


Alternative B

Dear Mr Buckingham,

Thank you for your emails of 24 September and 12 November 2020. The first rejects the justification in my letter of 18 September of the Internal Market Bill provisions enabling a government minister to override our treaty obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement. In the second, you point to what you consider to be hypocrisy demonstrated by Dominic Raab in criticising the Chinese government because of its failure to abide by its treaty obligations in respect of Hong Kong.

You will appreciate that as a committed Brexit supporting MP, I fully support the concept of leaving the EU without a deal, if having a deal would prevent us from regaining our sovereignty. We cannot be expected to follow a shared rulebook. This is clearly of overriding importance to us as a trading nation, as Boris has in the last few days underlined. If that means that we breach the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, then so be it – our actions cannot be allowed to be constrained by any foreign power. Indeed, we should join the Donald in the outright rejection of the international rules-based system in view of the inherent contradiction between it and our sovereignty. We’re obviously big enough as an economic power to get our own way without playing nice.

As Sir John Redwood explained in his paean of praise for the Brexit Bill in Parliament the other day, we have been prevented by our membership of the EU from continuing with our great tradition of heavy goods manufacturing, farming and fishing as our principle ways of supporting ourselves as a country. Mr Trump would fully agree with the need to restore our reliance upon them. We do not even have an indigenous car industry any more. Oh for the good old days of British Leyland, when we lead the world in quality car manufacturing! And Sir John should know about these things. Perhaps you will have read his Wikipedia entry describing his immense contribution to all three of those key aspects of our past success:
“Sir john Redwood worked as an investment analyst, manager and director for Robert Fleming and for NM Rothschild in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2007 he co-founded Evercore Pan-Asset Capital Management Ltd, a financial management company, which was subsequently sold to Charles Stanley. He is currently Chief Global Strategist at Charles Stanley & Co Ltd”
Following Brexit we would no longer need to bend the knee to an unelected European Court, one founded on the concept of the Rule of Law and enforcing regulations imposed on us by the combined might of an unelected European Commission (in which we’ve had no say at all), and an undemocratic European Parliament – undemocratic, obviously, because it contains members elected by voters in other countries in the EU.

We shall be able to reject these rules in their entirety. Although perhaps not just yet. And perhaps I can get back to you on precisely which rules we will not want to carry over on a long-term basis as part of our new regime. We haven’t quite worked that one out yet. Although I think that Our Dear Leader’s long-term fight against the European Commission's scandalous imposition of regulations imposing straight bananas will soon bear fruit.

Of course, when the Internal Market Bill becomes law we shall be able unilaterally to resile from those aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement which would have put Northern Ireland in a separate customs zone to the rest of the UK - and so avoid having what has been described as a border in the Irish Sea. Whoever agreed that in the first place should be sacked.

And when we negotiate one of our major new trade agreements with, for instance, the Maldives, to settle any trade disputes between us we shall be able to specify reference to an international arbitration tribunal – so much less of an attack on our sovereignty than a Court. And it is also a good example of private enterprise, as we shall have to pay the arbitrators for their time and expertise. Fortunately, we have already established, by our rejection of the Rule of Law, that we are not going to be bound by any pettifogging rules. So if we don’t like the arbitrators’ award, then, to maintain our sovereignty, we shall simply ignore it!  I’m sure that our Victorian forebears would have been proud of us and that our many potential new trading partners will welcome with open arms this new unilateral approach to bilateralism.

And as for the alleged hypocrisy in our criticism of China, surely you cannot make a serious comparison between a communist state which ignores the Rule of law when it fits its agenda to do so, and our great country, where we only ignore the Rule of Law when we want to.  Totally different!

Kind regards,

Craig Tracey MP

I look forward to hearing from you as to which reply Mr Tracey would prefer to adopt – just send me an e-mail with A or B in the subject line. I shall then be able to say that my work here is done.

Best wishes,

Paul Buckingham

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