Empty Gestures I & II

13 12 2010

Category; Politics

Empty Gestures I – The Met Commissioner

The Sunday Times has reported that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police told Prince Charles (or the Royal Household) that if the Prince wanted him to resign he would.

That comes in the wake of the policing failures that allowed the car Charles and Camilla were in to be damaged by  protesters.

Thinking about the offer for a fraction of a second makes the following obvious;

a) he’s not employed by Prince Charles; if he’s offering his resignation it should be to his employer,

b) having a constitutional monarchy means that the Prince of Wales has no say in the management of the Metropolitan Police, and

c) if Prince Charles were to suggest that the Commissioner ought to resign it would provoke a massive constitutional crisis over Royal interference in the democratic process.

In the light of that the Prince could not possibly ‘accept’ the resignation or even comment upon it. Which means that the ‘offer’ was either made because Sir Paul Stephenson is an idiot who did not have the wit to realise the implication of the ‘offer’. Or it was an empty gesture made in the knowledge that it could only be refused. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »