Wednesbury (1948) will be as much in the mind of every Englishman who has ever studied law as Carlill and the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company. The concept of 'Wednesbury unreasonableness' was the start of a chain of precedents in Common Law that exactly defined whether the behaviour of a public body was excessively bumptious. Whilst Federasts in France and Germany came out of hiding, crawled from their cellars and bunkers and started planning a new Federast Empire amidst the rubble of the last one, the folie de grandeur rising in their breasts, Jurists in England were refining the definition of reasonable behaviour first enshrined in 1903 in the person of the man on the Clapham omnibus. Being reasonable is very important if you're English. Less so if you're a Federast; as Boris writes in the Telegraph
Last week the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, valiantly tried to take things forward. He proposed that the test of “reasonableness” – well known to English common law – could be legally applied to any EU attempt to keep us locked in the backstop. It wasn’t much to ask. Merely asking the other side to be reasonable – it seems a very frail protection by comparison with a proper time limit.For Brussels the law and their corrupt political court the ECJ are not there to dispense justice, nor to defend and protect, but as Panzer divisions, to thrust away and crush all opposition in the path of the Federasts. For the EU, law is a weapon, one even more effective in subjugating the peoples and nations of Europe than the steel and cordite of military power. Equity and reasonableness, those essentially British concepts, are shredded under the churning tracks of the EU's King Panzers.
Brussels was having none of it. The EU’s formidable negotiator, Sabine Weyand, observed, with perhaps unconscious irony, that the concept of “reasonableness” was unknown to EU law. The talks collapsed. Michel Barnier then tweeted his supercilious and repetitive offer. Great Britain could, of course, leave the backstop, but Northern Ireland would have to remain behind. He thereby summed up, again, the constitutional humiliation that Brussels wishes to impose.
Law, as Boris writes, is just the means by which they wish to impose upon us a humiliation as deep as the Treaty of Versailles - but they can only succeed if Parliament assists them. If we reject and repudiate their poison treaty in its entirety, if we spring free at the end of this month, all their spite and all their malice, all their vindictive hate, cannot reach us.