Suzanne and Society

14 08 2011

Category; Criminal Law, Politics

© Getty

Someone I’ll call Suzanne was on my mind recently, while society watched, horrified, as the certainty of order disappeared.

Throughout Britain, smiling as they smashed in shops to take what they felt like or simply burn the place down, I saw lots of Suzannes.

I first met Suzanne because she’d been charged with theft. The childrens’ home she lived in, or rather was based in, had called the police after she had demanded a pound for an ice-cream and, when they had refused because of some rule infraction, she had gone and taken the pound anyway. They called the police because she took a pound. And the police came. And they arrested her. And the CPS charged her. And she was sent to court. Because she stole a pound for an ice-cream. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t tell the Minister…

15 09 2010

Category: anti-semitism, Media, Middle East, Politics

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has revealed he knew nothing about EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht’s comments about irrational Jews and the Jewish Lobby.

Louise Ellman MP asked whether he’d heard them during Foreign Office Questions in Parliament. He hadn’t. Hague knew nothing at all about de Gucht’s comments.

He certainly wouldn’t have heard them from the BBC, which decided not to report the matter. It now appears the Foreign Office decided to leave it off ministerial briefings too. Click on ‘read the rest’ to read the exchange… Read the rest of this entry »

This is what a political minefield looks like

1 09 2010

Category: Law, Politics

The Equality Act is booby-trap legislation; strapped under the bridges in the closing days of Parliament as Labour retreated from power. I wrote of its awfulness soon after it had passed: bureacratic, high-minded, divisive, wasteful and corrupting

One facet of its awfulness has already been slapped in the face of the coalition government: The recent budget faces judicial review because it may not have adequately considered “what action they can take to reduce socio-economic inequalities“.

It’s surely bad form to quote myself, but here’s what I said about that duty:

How much time will that take? How much diversion from real work will be taking place while everyone at every level in public services performs back-covering exercises over everything.

How long do they have to consider it? How do they ‘consider’ it? Whose socio-economic inequalities? What priority should they have? When should that goal be compromised?

As Fraser Nelson points out in the Spectator there is a right stipulated in the Act  for absolutely anyone to seek judicial review of any of the Government Ministers, departments and key public bodies such as local authorities and NHS bodies listed in the Act.

It is a licence for legal mayhem and a seized-up executive. The scope for opponents of the government, and anyone with an axe to grind, to create governmental chaos, is absolutely, explicitly and legislatively unlimited. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m me and like nobody else

25 05 2010

Category: Politics

Lena Horne

Lena Horne, who died earlier this month at 92, spent her career shrugging off the labels everyone else tried to apply to her.

Her skin colour was, to many other people, apparently the most important thing about her. She was beautiful and talented but people couldn’t see beyond the boxes they wanted to put her in.

With her mixed heritage, black, white, native American; she was called ‘yellow’ to classmates at her black school, she was given dark make-up to appear in all-black productions, MGM described her as ‘Latina’ in a contract to try and get round the colour bar, her roles were restricted, she was forced to sleep on the tour bus in days of segregation. It was the labels that infuriated her:

I’m me and like nobody else.’ She said indignantly in her older years.

It’s a voice that the last Labour government failed to hear when it too was in its dying days and pushed through the Equality Act just before Lena Horne died. Read the rest of this entry »

Rowan Laxton Parliamentary Question

12 12 2009

Category: Anti-Semitism, Middle East, Politics, Rowan Laxton

On 10th December Dr Julian Lewis MP (New Forest) asked Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons what role Rowan Laxton would have following his disciplinary procedure at the Foreign Office. Here is her non-answer: Read the rest of this entry »