Editors’ note: The blog is now on holiday for the month of August. The editors will be pleased to receive new submissions from Monday, 2 September.
The Government and Parliament have again clashed over Brexit. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will not rule out prorogation of Parliament as a means of achieving Brexit on 31 October. At the same time, on 24 July the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019 was passed, with the then Government under Theresa May unsuccessfully opposing amendments that appeared to impose legal restrictions on prorogation. Dramatic scenes unfolded during the Bill’s passage. The media headlines were equally dramatic. The Guardian reported: “MPs pass amendment seeking to thwart no-deal Brexit prorogation”. And the BBC: “Brexit: MPs back bid to block Parliament suspension”.
Opponents of prorogation have welcomed the 2019 Act and the legal restrictions on prorogation that it is thought to impose…
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by Martin Bridgstock
(An edited version of this book review was published in The Skeptic magazine, September 2018, Vol 38 No 3)
Some years ago Steven Pinker’s book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (Pinker 2012) made a great impression. In this book – using over a thousand pages of text and 100 diagrams – Pinker supported his case that, over the long run, human beings are becoming less violent toward each other. There were exceptions to the decline in violence, but Pinker seemed to make a powerful case for his argument. In addition, he presented a list of factors which, in his view, led to this decline in violence.
Since that time, Pinker’s argument has been verified. Johan Norberg (2016), a Swedish writer and Angus Deaton (2013), a Nobel prize-winner in economics, have come to the same conclusion. The key finding, the long-term decline in interpersonal violence, has to…
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The fixed term parliament act is badly drafted
By Colin Talbot
Everyone expects a Vote of No Confidence (VONC) in the Boris Johnson when Parliament resumes in the autumn. Exactly when remains an issue of some doubt, and whether or not it would pass is anyone’s guess.
That has not stopped rampant speculation and heated debate about what happens if and when the VONC passes.
Prominent in this kerfuffle has been the idea put forward by Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters – especially John McDonnell – that Corbyn could simply take over. He has famously said he would “send Jeremy to Palace in a taxi and tell the Queen that we are taking over.” How credible is this?
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