Archive for February 9th, 2010

After years of difficulties with Dizaei, he was finally ‘nailed and jailed’ yesterday for abusing his police powers. Described by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson as a ‘criminal in uniform’ The Sun comforts us all be reporting the words of Mark Leech, the editor of prisoner’s magazine Converse, “”Dizaei has finally been nailed and jailed. His sentence is destined to be slow, long and dangerous.”

The Sun reports: ” During Iranian-born Dizaei’s 24-year police career – 12 of them at the Met – he had wriggled out of one damning allegation after another. For 13 months Scotland Yard even secretly assigned more than 100 officers to investigate fears he was taking backhanders for visas, visiting call girls and abusing drugs. Last night a senior officer said of him ending up in jail: “The champagne is out but it’s a bittersweet feeling because of the disgrace he has brought on the service.”

Just what Australia needs…another bloody law firm?

These are not my words, but the view of an Australian friend of mine who is a lawyer in Australia. Whether Australia needs another law firm or not, they have one. Allen & Overy today announces the launch of our Australian practice with the appointment of 17 new partners, 14 based in Sydney and three in Perth, significantly bolstering our capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. Commenting, Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley said: “Our decision to launch in Australia underlines the increasing importance of Australia in the global and Asia-Pacific economies. We see significant opportunities for high-end, cross-border M&A and finance work in the private and public sectors, particularly in the energy, mining and natural resources sectors.”

Fresh from pronouncing on parliamentary privilege (a rather pointless exercise – see below) David Cameron has come up with a ripper of an idea to harness the involvement of the ravening horde. His new plan is to give power back to the people.  100,000 signatures on a petition will guarantee a debate in parliament.  Get a million signatures on the petition and MPs will have to vote on the legislation you put forward.  Govern from your back bedroom!   This sounds like a good idea – but it could rebound on him.  I would imagine there are at at least 100,000 mischief makers out there on twitter, blogging, active in local politics or just pissed up on a Friday night who would like nothing better than to see MPs debating their ’causes’.

The Independent reports: “Campaigners who want to reintroduce hanging, oppose higher taxes for motorists, pull out of the EU, or any of the other causes overlooked by politicians have been promised by David Cameron that they can have their day in Parliament. Under a Conservative government, 100,000 signatures on a petition will be enough to guarantee a debate in the House of Commons. A million signatures will give the organisers the right to put legislation in front of the Commons which MPs will have to vote on.”

As the Independent notes: “This opens the near-certain prospect that if the Tories win the election, MPs will have to debate a Bill on whether to pull out of the EU. Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, said: “We welcome this proposal, and if he stands by this, and a million signatures is what is required, we’ll get the financial backing to organise a petition – no trouble.”

Another good idea from the Laurel & Hardy Policy Institute?  I do enjoy the ‘law of unintended consequences’.  Cameron refused to have a referendum on Europe – back tracking on earlier policy statements.  Now he comes up with a stunt to get people involved in governing our country through petitions.  I suspect that UKIP will have absolutely no difficulty in getting a million signatures, framing legislation to take Britain out of Europe and then finding mischief makers on the Tory back bench to support the legislation.

Yesterday David Cameron, looking extremely concerned and grave, put forward proposals to ensure that no MP would be able to hide behind parliamentary privilege for criminal acts. Constitutional lawyers of my acquaintance tell me that he need not have bothered – the law is fairly straightforward, they say.  Cameron seems to read different law books from the rest of us.  His last ‘policy pronouncement’ on ‘self-defence’ was almost high comedy.

Matthew Taylor of the MTPT has an interesting and well drafted analysis of parliamentary privilege. If you don’t already know the law on this and have a passing interest in seeing what our law actually is or may be – then Matthew Taylor’s piece is worth a read. It won’t, of course, be of any interest or appeal  to the horde of ‘party whore’ bloggers and twitterers who toe the party line – of whatever party – no matter how absurd their stance may be. ‘Denialism’ in modern politics is endemic. Fortunately, there are some excellent political bloggers who are critical and objective about the party they support!  Guido Fawkes and his blogroll is a good place to start if you get into reading political bloggers in the coming months! You could also try some of the bloggers on my Netvibes page – but I do have to update it.

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