Curiously, I was at a loss for something to do this morning so I took a trip to the Moon, fully reported on Twitter – where else! Frankly, we would all probably be more free if we were on the Moon these days given the taste of the present government for CCTV cameras, ID cards, promulgating new criminal offences and Robocop thinking when it comes to controlling the British people.
The latest stunt being pulled by the government in the dying days of their 12 year “Protectorate” ( taste precluded me from using the rather more emotive “Reich”) is the plan in the Welfare Reform Bill in the House of Commons committee stage this to week to allow the newly renamed Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to take away the driving licences and passports of parents who refuse to pay for their children – without a court order. As The Law Society Gazette reported: ” Justice Director Roger Smith described the ‘disproportionate’ sanctions as the thin end of the wedge. They are sure to creep into others areas of dispute once the link between the method of enforcement and what’s at stake is broken.”
Another stunt pulled by the government was to jail parents for the truancy of their children. The BBC reported this week: “A parent is jailed for their child’s truancy once a fortnight every school term in England and Wales, analysis of court statistics shows.”
This plan was a big FAIL. One wonders if this idea was dreamed up when half the Cabinet were smoking cannabis. Child doesn’t go to school. Jail parent. Child goes into care if from a one parent family, possibly brutalised by the experience and less receptive to school than before and taxpayer picks up bill for high cost of imprisoning parents. Clever stuff. The BBC dredges up ex-minister Estelle Smith and sundry Lib-Dems to wring their hands and undergo ritual atonement and exculpation. I can’t even be bothered to quote from the report.
I’m with the ex-Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, on this one. We have far too many criminal laws, far too much political interference with the Judiciary, way too many CCTV cameras, irritating regulations, cash raising fine schemes and interferences in our lives in this once green and pleasant land.
So…pouring a libation to my taste… on to the other matters of the week…
At a loss for something to do this Sunday morning, I decided to make a moon landing. This was reported fully on Twitter of course – where else?
I was also able to do my 100th podcast with my friend Dan Hull, a lawyer in the United States, who can be relied upon to be robust, controversial and to the point. We talked of many things including the future of lawyers post recession.
Geert Wilders tried to hit our shores to show his film to a group of peers in The House of Lords. He was frustrated in this endeavour by the Home Secretary who banned him from entry on grounds, inter alia, that Lord Ahmed had indicated there would be 10,000 muslims on the streets. Wilders ignored the letter and arrived at Heathrow to be excluded by Immigration and Border Agency officers. I did a podcast with Carl Gardner who believes that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully. I agree with his analysis. Rather more worrying…. this exclusion was yet another example of our government believing they know best. It was a shameful decision; riding roughshod, whatever one may think of Wilders, over the reputation of this country to handle difficulty with debate, with reason, with parody, ridicule and mockery – rather than the blunt bludgeon of the law – misunderstood, possibly, in this case. 10,000 muslims did not turn up at Heathrow or stampede on our streets – possibly because they are more rational than Lord Ahmed.
It is not Thunderbirds are GO for Alistair Darling on the banks lending front, nor, it would seem, on the issue of his own expenses. Guido Fawkes jumps on the story with his usual enthusiasm.
I quote: “When the man in charge of the nation’s finances, Alistair Darling, has been caught fiddling his expenses, and Jacqui Smith, the woman who is in charge of crime prevention is accused of corruption, you have a government which is a kleptocracy. The New Labour promise to be “whiter than white” is like a sick joke now.”
Another week begins tomorrow. I shall be at my post, watching our shores, checking the Thames for U-Boats and French Ships of the Line… I shall be back. Have a good one.
Regards as always