Judge Ian Trigger for the new Supreme Court
The appointed supreme judges will have silky new robes in a shiny new building. The Supreme Court will cost £12 million a year to run: at present, the Law Lords cost about £2 million.
But the money is of little consequence.
Although there was a certain tension in having judges in the legislature, the system has evolved over centuries, and it worked. Tony Blair removed the Lord Chancellor - the head of the judiciary - from the Cabinet, after discovering he could not simply abolish the ancient post. At the plea was to the 'rational' in order to 'modernise'. The creation of the Supreme Court is a logical consequence of this incessant constitutional tinkering, but it will be to the detriment and diminution of the status of the House of Lords. A further consequence will be the inevitable politicisation of the Court, exactly as it is in the US. Liberated from the constraints of the legislature, the judges will be more likely, spurred on by EU law and European conventions, to overturn Acts of Parliament. Their personal political views will therefore become a factor in their appointment.
Insofar as each successive prime minister will now ensure that those who constitute the Supreme Court will be ‘on-side’, Cranmer would like to propose a nomination.
Judge Iain Trigger does not look very happy, but he talks an awful lot of sense.
Dispensing a two-year jail sentence this week to a Jamaican drug dealer, his comments were politically insightful and refreshingly lucid:
He told Lucien McClearley, 31, at Liverpool Crown Court: 'Your case illustrates all too clearly the completely lax immigration policy that exists and has existed over recent years.'
He added: 'People like you, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people like you, come to these shores to avail themselves of the generous welfare benefits that exist here.
'In the past ten years the national debt of this country has risen to extraordinary heights, largely because central Government has wasted billions of pounds. Much of that has been wasted on welfare payments.
'For every £1 that the decent citizen, who is hard-working, pays in taxes, nearly 10 per cent goes on servicing that national debt. That is twice the amount it was in 1997 when this Government came to power.'
Judge Trigger, who is also a part-time immigration judge, told McClearley: 'The fact that it took nearly two years to process your claim shows how desperate the situation in this country has become.'
This is precisely the sort of Supreme Court judge we need: one who will tell it exactly as it is.
After the Conservative fashion, of course.