Although Lord Neuberger has served with distinction as president of the supreme court, it may ultimately be the case that nothing in the role became him like his leaving of it. He steps down in September. On Thursday he gave the BBC Radio 4 Today programme a deliberately condemnatory exit interview.
The judiciary – the Daily Mail’s “enemies of the people” – took a ferocious beating as it sought to adjudicate over the triggering of article 50. The scars are still visible. Perhaps that’s no surprise. But then there is the shock, not just at the ferocity of the pounding judges endured from the mob made up of the Brexit right and its allies in the press and on social media, but also the failure of those whose role is to protect them. It was as if the mob brandished fists within the courtyard of a police station and the desk sergeant donned headphones and drew the blinds.
“We [judges in general] were certainly not well treated,” said Neuberger. “One has to be careful about being critical of the press, particularly as a lawyer or judge, because our view of life is very different from that of the media. I think some of what was said was undermining the rule of law.” As to the lack of protection from government – principally from Liz Truss, the lord chancellor – he said: “I think they could have been quicker and clearer.”
It was unsurprising that Neuberger should seek to protect less senior judges and support the foundations of our system. But his…