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Author: CycleFree

A Dismal Spectacle

A Dismal Spectacle

35 years ago – 14 February 1989 – Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie was issued. A foreign leader instructed members of his religion world-wide to murder him because he had written a book which that leader claimed insulted his religion. After the initial outrage, some Labour politicians started rowing back, claiming that the reaction of Muslims here who supported the fatwa was understandable. It was an unprincipled, craven stance influenced by a desire not to offend Labour voters. Threatening the…

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QUESTIONS THE BUSINESS SELECT COMMITTEE SHOULD BE ASKING

QUESTIONS THE BUSINESS SELECT COMMITTEE SHOULD BE ASKING

Of the sloping-shouldered former Post Office Chairman, Henry Staunton, whose interview is the lead story in today’s Sunday Times. There is much of interest in it, but this detail stuck out: “Early on, I was told by a fairly senior person to stall on spending on compensation and on the replacement of Horizon, and to limp, in quotation marks – I did a file note on it – limp into the election,” he said. “It was not an anti-postmaster thing, it was just…

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Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest

At the heart of most scandals is a conflict of interest, often more than one, which has been allowed to develop, not mitigated or managed, or simply ignored. Being able to recognise these is essential to good public administration. It is essential to good legislation (a header could be written about the policy corruption inherent in governments funding lobby groups to promote policies the government wants, then consulting with only these groups who, unsurprisingly, agree wholeheartedly with the policies suggested….

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Hobson’s Choice? The Subpostmaster issue

Hobson’s Choice? The Subpostmaster issue

The announcement of a law to overturn the subpostmasters’ convictions has provoked some concern amongst m’learned friends, on constitutional grounds. Are these valid? Why is the government in this position? The dilemma: if every convicted subpostmaster in the last 25 years applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (“CCRC“) to have their convictions reviewed and referred to the Court of Appeal, even if they started tomorrow, it would taken an inordinately long time to deal with them, even if the…

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Hubris took on the law. And the law won.

Hubris took on the law. And the law won.

The judgment It wasn’t even close. Every argument of the Scottish government was rejected by Lady Haldane. The S.35 judgment should have come as no surprise. Despite the much touted claims that the GRR Bill had been carefully considered and consulted on over many years, in reality the SNP and Greens had refused to acknowledge or engage with the very many feminist groups raising objections and concerns and evidence of problems. It consulted only with lobby groups they funded (£900,000…

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Women Beware Women

Women Beware Women

Lady Haldane will issue her judgment on the Scottish government’s challenge to Westminster’s S.35 Order on the GRR Bill at ca. midday Friday. It will be the first on how far, if at all, Westminster can limit the Scottish government’s devolved legislative powers. It will also have implications for the Equality Act and how trans rights affect women’s rights. That there is a clash between them has not been in doubt since the High Court’s July 2021 decision on women’s…

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What did Parliament do?

What did Parliament do?

It was not the Commission which changed the law allowing the Post Office to prosecute subpostmasters on the basis of flawed unreliable evidence. But MPs. Parliamentary scrutiny should mean something, shouldn’t it? Let’s see what it actually meant here. How did MPs discharge their function? Many are lawyers. One of the much touted benefits is meant to be that they can properly scrutinise such legislation and understand its implications. MPs also get expenses to pay for researchers.  Did they ask…

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How was this sausage made?

How was this sausage made?

What was the one development without which the Post Office scandal could not have happened? In a bitter irony, tinkering with a law enacted following a serious miscarriage of justice – the Confait case – the Inquiry report (yes, another one!) is here) enabled what is now the worst miscarriage of justice in English history. The law is the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”); the tinkering is to S.69 – its removal and replacement by – well, nothing. …

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