Two days ago, there was an occurrence in Edinburgh which, due to the amount of news currently whirling past, has gone quite unnoticed. British judge Lord Doherty, who presides over Scotland's supreme court, the Court of Sessions, had to rule on an application filed by 75 British MPs and peers who were attempting to use legal means to prevent their prime minister Boris Johnson from temporarily suspending the Westminster parliament. This judicial initiative, with the days counting down to the UK's departure from the European Union, had the goal of winning more precious time for the Remain camp in its efforts to stop Brexit. The UK Parliament, in these last few days, has already found that it can keep Johnson's hands tied, defeating him in several votes, and with the House of Lords now following the Commons in passing the law which will prevent the British PM from going ahead with a no-deal Brexit.
But the ruling of judge Raymond Doherty is worth reading for what it reveals about the separation of powers in Britain, tested in a situation that is dramatic and stressful. Doherty says that the question is not a matter for the courts since it is a political issue that should be decided by Parliament and the electorate. Given the separation of powers, it was not the will of the court to interfere with the task of government, and the executive was required to be accountable to Parliament. In different parts of his decision, Raymond Doherty states that there are situations that should not be resolved by the courts and that each of the powers of government must remain in its corresponding role. The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who plans to hold a new referendum on independence before 2021, is already speaking of a powerful English nationalism being affecting those outside Scotland.
Now, as we pass the anniversary of the Catalan Parliament's sessions on September 6th and 7th, 2017, in which the so-called laws of disconnection from Spain were passed, we approach the second anniversary of the October 1st 2017 independence referendum, and we are also just weeks away from the verdicts in the Supreme Court trial of the Catalan pro-independence prisoners who continue to be held unjustly in preventative prison, the Edinburgh Court of Sessions's decision is a breath of fresh air, because it shows how in other countries, politicians limit themselves to being politicians, and judges are no more than judges. This is so simple yet so difficult to understand in Spain, where the things that politics doesn't dare do, are channelled away towards the justice system which, in addition, applies a lacquer of unquestionability, balance and logic to its actions when they are really closer to the opposite.
The former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, has been one of Spain's scapegoats for authorizing the holding of those key sessions in September 2017. Just like the Jordis, Cuixart and Sànchez, in their roles as presidents of the two major pro-independence civil groups, Òmnium and the ANC. Parliament acted as a sovereign chamber in which you can talk about everything and can then vote to decide on it, via the corresponding majority. Carme Forcadell respected that: she neither led it nor hid from it. She respected it. As around 500 parliamentary deputies, present and former, from different countries have asserted. Does anyone imagine the Spanish Supreme Court returning the ball to the politicians? Perhaps things would have gone differently and, if nothing else, democracy would have been strengthened.