/ 27 September 2019

A tangled web: UK judge’s spider brooch trends online

Spider-Woman: Lady Brenda Hale delivered a damning verdict against Boris Johnson
Spider-Woman: Lady Brenda Hale delivered a damning verdict against Boris Johnson



Her words had huge implications, but for many social media users watching the president of Britain’s Supreme Court rule on Tuesday on the suspension of Parliament, it was all about her spider brooch.

Judge Brenda Hale delivered the court’s damning verdict against Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a huge glittery spider pinned to her right shoulder.

“I really hope that spider doesn’t get Lady Hale before she announces it,” commented comedian Tiernan Douieb as the court president began her ruling.

The jewellery swiftly obtained its own Twitter account, @spiderbrooch1, while a black T-shirt with a silver spider design started selling on eBay.

Others commented on what hidden messages the judge might be trying to relay, citing the Walter Scott quote: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

“Lady Hale demonstrating the potential for vast novelistic sub-narratives offered by a correctly chosen brooch. What a tangled web we weave, indeed,” tweeted writer Anne Louise Avery.

Regular attendees of the Supreme Court noted it was not the first time Hale had worn an eye-catching brooch. She has previously sported jewellery featuring a caterpillar, a butterfly and a frog.

Asked about the interest, a court spokeswoman told AFP: “Lady Hale has a small collection of brooches given to her and purchased herself.”

Hale announced the unanimous verdict of 11 Supreme Court judges: that Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful.

Hale, who has worked as an academic lawyer and a high court judge, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009, becoming the court’s first female judge. — AFP