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The future of Government (if any)

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2301 Post by Alan H » September 24th, 2015, 11:07 am

Latest post of the previous page:

Don’t weaken the UK’s Freedom of Information Act
Index joins media and campaign groups to oppose government’s Freedom of Information review

By Index on Censorship / 23 September 2015

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Address for response c/o
Campaign for Freedom of Information
Unit 109
Davina House
137-­149 Goswell Rd
London EC1V 7ET

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

21 September 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to express our serious concern about the government’s approach to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and in particular about the
Commission on Freedom of Information and the proposal to introduce fees for tribunal appeals under the Act.

It is clear from the Commission’s terms of reference that its purpose is to consider new restrictions to the Act. The Commission’s brief is to review the Act to consider: whether there is an appropriate balance between openness and the need to protect sensitive information; whether the ‘safe space’ for policy development and implementation is adequately recognised and whether changes are needed to reduce the Act’s ‘burden’ on public authorities. The ministerial announcement of the Commission’s formation stressed the need to protect the government’s ‘private space’ for policy-­making.1 There is no indication that the Commission is expected to consider how the right of access might need to be improved.

The Commission’s five members consist of two former home secretaries, Jack Straw and Lord Howard of Lympne (Michael Howard), a former permanent secretary, Lord Burns, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile of Berriew (Alex Carlile) and the chair of a regulatory body subject to FOI, Dame Patricia Hodgson. A government perspective on the Act’s operation will be well represented on the Commission itself.

One of the Commission’s members, Jack Straw, has repeatedly maintained that the Act provides too great a level of disclosure. Mr Straw has argued that the FOI exemption for the formulation of government policy should not be subject to the Act’s public interest test.2 Such information would then automatically be withheld in all circumstances even where no harm from disclosure was likely or the public interest clearly justified openness. Mr Straw has also suggested that the Supreme Court exceeded its powers in ruling that the ministerial veto cannot be used to overturn a court or tribunal decision under the Act unless strict conditions are satisfied.3 He has argued that there should be charges for FOI requests and that it should be significantly easier for public authorities to refuse requests on cost grounds.4 Mr
Straw’s publicly expressed views cover all the main issues within the Commission’s terms of reference. Speaking in the Commons shortly before the Commission’s appointment, the Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, expressly cited Mr Straw’s views with approval saying that he had been ‘very clear
about the defects in the way in which the Act has operated’.5

Another member of the Commission is Ofcom’s chair, Dame Patricia Hodgson. In 2012, when she was its deputy Chair, Ofcom stated that ‘there is no
doubt’ that the FOI Act has had a ‘chilling effect’ on the recording of information by public authorities. One of the Commission’s priorities is likely to be to consider whether there has been such an effect — and whether the right of access should be restricted to prevent it. Ofcom has also
called for it to be made easier for authorities to refuse requests on cost grounds and for the time limits for responding to requests to be increased.6

An independent Commission is expected to reach its views based on the evidence presented to it rather than the pre-existing views of its members. Indeed, in appointing members to such a body we would expect the government to expressly avoid those who appear to have already reached and expressed firm views. It has done the opposite. The government does not appear to intend the Commission to carry out an independent and open minded
inquiry. Such a review cannot provide a proper basis for significant changes to the FOI Act. The short timescale for the Commission’s report, which is due by the end of November, further reinforces this impression. At the time of writing, half way towards the Commission’s final deadline, it has so far not even invited evidence from the public.

The FOI Act was the subject of comprehensive post-legislative scrutiny by the Justice Committee in 2012 which found that the Act had been ‘a significant enhancement of our democracy’ and concluded ‘We do not believe there has been any general harmful effect at all on the ability to conduct business in the public service, and in our view the additional burdens are outweighed by the benefits’. We question the need for a further review now.

We are also concerned about the government’s proposal to introduce fees for appeals against the Information Commissioner’s decisions.7 Under the proposals, an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal on the papers would cost £100 while an oral hearing would cost £600. The introduction of fees for employment tribunal appeals has led to a drastic decrease in the number of cases brought. A similar effect on the number of
FOI appeals is likely. Requesters often seek information about matters of public concern, so deterring them from appealing will deny the public information of wider public interest. On the other hand, fees are unlikely to discourage public authorities from challenging pro-disclosure decisions, so the move will lead to an inequality of arms between requesters and authorities. Given that the Ministry of Justice and the Justice Committee have recently begun to review the impact of employment tribunal fees on access to justice we find it remarkable that this proposal should be put forward before the results of their inquiries are even known.

We regard the FOI Act as a vital mechanism of accountability which has transformed the public’s rights to information and substantially improved the scrutiny of public authorities. We would deplore any attempt to weaken it.

Yours sincerely,

Act Now Training, Ibrahim Hasan, Director
Action on Smoking and Health, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive
Against Violence and Abuse, Donna Covey, Director
Animal Aid, Andrew Tyler, Director
Archant, Jeff Henry, Chief Executive
ARTICLE 19, Thomas Hughes, Executive Director
Article 39, Carolyne Willow, Director
Belfast Telegraph, Gail Walker, Editor
Big Brother Watch, Emma Carr, Director
British Deaf Association, Dr Terry Riley, Chair
British Humanist Association, Andrew Copson, Chief Executive
British Muslims for Secular Democracy, Nasreen Rehman, Chair
BSkyB, John Ryley, Head of Sky News
Burma Campaign UK, Mark Farmaner, Director
Campaign Against Arms Trade, Ann Feltham, Parliamentary Co-ordinator
Campaign for Better Transport, Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive
Campaign for Freedom of Information, Maurice Frankel, Director
Campaign for National Parks, Ruth Bradshaw, Policy and Research Manager
Campaign for Press & Broadcasting Freedom, Ann Field, Chair
Centre for Public Scrutiny, Jacqui McKinlay, Executive Director
Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, Nick Poole, Chief Executive
Children England, Kathy Evans, Chief Executive
Children’s Rights, Alliance for England, Louise King, Co-Director
CN Group Limited, Robin Burgess, Chief Executive
Community Reinvest, Dr Jo Ram, Co-Founder
Computer Weekly, Bryan Glick, Editor in Chief
CORE, Marilyn Croser, Director
Corporate Watch / Corruption Watch, Susan Hawley, Policy Director
Coventry Telegraph, Keith Perry, Editor
Cruelty Free International, Michelle Thew, Chief Executive Officer
CTC, the national cycling charity, Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Director
Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, Editor; Jon Steafel, Deputy Editor; Peter Wright, Editor Emeritus; Charles Garside, Assistant Editor; Liz Harley, Head of Legal
Debt Resistance UK
Deighton Pierce Glynn, Sue Willman, Partner
Democratic Audit, Sean Kippin, Managing Editor
Disabled People Against Cuts, Linda Burnip, Co-Founder
Down’s Syndrome Association, Carol Boys, Chief Executive
Drone Wars UK, Chris Cole, Director
English PEN, Jo Glanville, Director; Maureen Freely, President
Equality and Diversity Forum, Ali Harris, Chief Executive
Evening Standard, Sarah Sands, Editor
Exaro, Mark Watts, Editor in Chief
Finance Uncovered, Nick Mathiason, Director
Friends of the Earth, Guy Shrubsole, Campaigner
Friends, Families and Travellers, Chris Whitwell, Director
Gender Identity Research and Education Society, Christl Hughes, Legal Consultant
Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, Peter Newell, Co-ordinator
Global Witness, Simon Taylor, Co-Founder and Director
Greenpeace, John Sauven, Executive Director
Guardian News and Media Limited, Gillian Phillips, Director of Editorial Legal Services
Hacked Off, Dr Evan Harris, Executive Director
i, Oliver Duff, Editor
Inclusion London, Tracey Lazard, Chief Executive Officer
independent.co.uk, Christian Broughton, Editor
Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive Officer
INQUEST, Deborah Coles, Co-Director
Involve, Simon Burall, Director
Johnston Press Editorial Board, Jeremy Clifford, Chairman
Jubilee Debt Campaign, Sarah­‐Jayne Clifton, Director
KM Group, Geraldine Allinson, Chairman
Labour Campaign for Human Rights, Andrew Noakes, Director
Law Centres Network, Julie Bishop, Director
Leigh Day, Russell Levy, Head of Clinical Negligence
Liberty, Bella Sankey, Policy Director
Liverpool Echo, Alastair Machray, Editor
London Mining Network, Richard Solly, Co-ordinator
Loughborough and Shepshed Echo, Andy Rush, Editor
LUSH, Mark Constantine, Managing Director
medConfidential, Phil Booth, Co-ordinator
Metro, Ted Young, Editor
Migrants’ Rights Network, Don Flynn, Director
Move Your Money UK, Fionn Travers-Smith, Campaign Manager
mySociety, Mark Cridge, Chief Executive
NAT (National AIDS Trust), Deborah Gold, Chief Executive
National Commission on Forced Marriage, Nasreen Rehman, Vice Chair
National Union of Journalists, Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary
Newbury Weekly News, Andy Murrill, Group Editor
News Media Association, Santha Rasaiah, Legal, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Director
Newsquest, Toby Granville, Editorial Development Director; Peter John, Group Editor for Worcester/Stourbridge
Nursing Standard, Graham Scott, Editor
NWN Media, Barrie Phillips-Jones, Editorial Director
Odysseus Trust, Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, Director
Open Data Manchester, Julian Tait, Co-Founder
Open Knowledge, Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Research
Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, Executive Director
OpenCorporates, Chris Taggart, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times, Simon O’Neill, Group Editor
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation, Dr Julia Baines, Science Policy Advisor
Press Association, Pete Clifton, Editor in Chief; Jonathan Grun, Emeritus Editor
Press Gazette, Dominic Ponsford, Editor
Prisoners’ Advice Service, Lubia Begum-Rob, Joint Managing Solicitor
Privacy International, Gus Hosein, Executive Director
Private Eye, Ian Hislop, Editor
Public Concern at Work, Cathy James, Chief Executive
Public Interest Research Centre, Richard Hawkins, Director
Public Law Project, Jo Hickman, Director
Pulse, Nigel Praities, Editor
Race on the Agenda, Andy Gregg, Chief Executive
Renewable Energy Foundation, Dr John Constable, Director
Reprieve, Clare Algar, Executive Director
Republic, Graham Smith, Chief Executive Officer
Request Initiative CIC, Brendan Montague, Founder and Director
Rights Watch (UK), Yasmine Ahmed, Director
RoadPeace, Beccie D’Cunha, Chief Executive Officer
Salmon and Trout Conservation (UK), Guy Linley-Adams, Solicitor
Sheila McKechnie Foundation, Linda Butcher, Chief Executive
Society of Editors, Bob Satchwell, Executive Director
South Northants Action Group, Andrew Bodman, Secretary
South Wales Argus, Kevin Ward, Editor
Southern Daily Echo, Ian Murray, Editor in Chief
Southport Visitor, Andrew Brown, Editor
Spinwatch, David Miller, Director
Stop HS2, Joe Rukin, Campaign Manager
Sunday Life, Martin Breen, Editor
TaxPayers’ Alliance, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive
Telegraph Media Group, Chris Evans, Editor and Director of Content
The Corner House, Nick Hildyard, Founder and Director
The Independent, Amol Rajan, Editor
The Independent on Sunday, Lisa Markwell, Editor
The Irish News, Noel Doran, Editor
The Mail on Sunday, Geordie Greig, Editor
The Sun, Tony Gallagher, Editor; Stig Abell, Managing Editor
The Sunday Post, Donald Martin, Editor
The Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, Editor
The Times, John Witherow, Editor
Transform Justice, Penelope Gibbs, Director
Transparency International UK, Robert Barrington, Executive Director
Trinity Mirror, Simon Fox, Chief Executive; Lloyd Embley, Group Editor in Chief; Neil Benson, Editorial Director Regionals Division
Trust for London, Bharat Mehta, Chief Executive
UNISON, Dave Prentis, General Secretary
Unite the Union, Len McCluskey, General Secretary
Unlock Democracy, Alexandra Runswick, Director
War on Want, Vicki Hird, Director of Policy and Campaigns
We Own It, Cat Hobbs, Director
Welfare Weekly, Stephen Preece, Editor
WhatDoTheyKnow, Volunteer Administration Team
Women’s Resource Centre, Vivienne Hayes, Chief Executive Officer
WWF-UK, Debbie Tripley, Senior Legal Adviser
Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, Joanna Kennedy, Chief Executive
38 Degrees, Blanche Jones, Campaign Director
4in10 Campaign, Ade Sofola, Strategic Manager


1 http://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/f ... commission

2 The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, oral evidence before Justice Committee, Post-Legislative Scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act, 17 April 2012, Q.344. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 120417.htm

3 BBC Radio 4, Today programme, 14 May 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015 ... emos-straw. The Supreme Court’s ruling related to the use of the veto to block the release of Prince Charles’ correspondence with ministers in response to a request by the Guardian newspaper

4 Oral evidence to Justice Committee, 17 April 2012, Q.355 & Q.363. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 120417.htm

5 House of Commons, oral questions, 23.6.15, col. 754, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 2354000032

6 Ofcom, February 2012, Written evidence to the Justice Committee, Post-legislative Scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act, Volume 3, Ev w176-177. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 96vw77.htm

7 The Government response to consultationon enhanced fees for divorce proceedings, possession claims, and general applications in civil proceedings and Consultation on further fees proposals
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2302 Post by Fia » September 24th, 2015, 1:55 pm

thundril wrote:Please take the trime to read THIS carefully. It is important.
I did and it is. Thank you Thundril.

This from the article cannot be stated often enough.
Our ministers are not public servants. They work for the people who fund their parties, run the banks and own the newspapers, shielding them from their obligations to society, insulating them from democratic challenge.
For any real democracy to work our elected representatives must serve us, not themselves.

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Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2303 Post by Dave B » September 24th, 2015, 4:36 pm

Fia wrote:
thundril wrote:Please take the trime to read THIS carefully. It is important.
I did and it is. Thank you Thundril.

This from the article cannot be stated often enough.
Our ministers are not public servants. They work for the people who fund their parties, run the banks and own the newspapers, shielding them from their obligations to society, insulating them from democratic challenge.
For any real democracy to work our elected representatives must serve us, not themselves.
Or others with vested jnterests.

:thumbsup:
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2304 Post by Alan H » September 26th, 2015, 10:50 am

Osborne praised for 'not stressing human rights' in China
UK Chancellor George Osborne has been praised by Chinese state media for focusing on business ahead of human rights during his visit to Xinjiang.

The Global Times said he was "the first Western official in recent years who focused on business potential rather than raising a magnifying glass to the 'human rights issue'".

Mr Osborne has spent the past five days in China to boost trade links.

He has said he raised human rights privately during his visit.

In an editorial (in Chinese), the Global Times praised Mr Osborne's "pragmatism regarding his China policy", adding that "it should be diplomatic etiquette for foreign leaders not to confront China by raising the human rights issue".

"Keeping a modest manner is the correct attitude for a foreign minister visiting China to seek business opportunities. Some Westerners believe their officials should behave like a master of human rights to show their superiority over China and the East."

'Two completely different systems'

Mr Osborne this week became the first UK minister to visit Xinjiang, a restive province in China's far west .

Campaigners had urged him to raise concerns about the treatment of the province's Muslim Uighur minority. Amnesty International said Uighurs had been subjected to "heavy-handed" security measures since an outbreak of unrest in 2009.

Speaking during his visit there, Mr Osborne said "we raise human rights, but we do it in the context of also talking about issues like economic development".

"Of course we're two completely different political systems and we raise human rights issues, but I don't think that is inconsistent with also wanting to do more business with one-fifth of the world's population."

Mr Osborne, who also visited Shanghai and Beijing this week, has set out an aim of making China the UK's second largest trading partner by 2025.

"We are building an ever closer relationship with China - it's a partnership that is set to unleash growth and help regions like Xinjiang, where we know investment can make a real difference, as well as unleash new growth back home," he said on Wednesday.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2305 Post by Dave B » September 26th, 2015, 11:41 am

Since China's stand is to deal with business with countries regardless of their human rights record, and to veto UN resolutions that interfere with a country's sovereign right to do as it pleases without interference, this puts the Tories in the same category.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2306 Post by Alan H » September 27th, 2015, 7:57 pm

George Osborne’s visit to China is a new low
Forget the fact that China isn’t exactly renowned for its expertise in nuclear technology. It would be sheer bad manners to question the wisdom of placing a key piece of infrastructure under the control of a foreign power whose interests, to put it mildly, might not always coincide with those of the UK. I can easily envisage a future in which British ministers might not show as much restraint on questions of human rights abuses or of cyber-espionage. Should we really place ourselves in the hands of a country that will be in a position to flick off the UK’s light switch? Getting Chinese investment in the UK trumps everything else, it seems – including our national security.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2307 Post by Alan H » September 29th, 2015, 10:51 am

Magistrate suspended after trying to pay asylum seeker's court charge resigns over treatment
Mr Allcoat, a world class musician, said: "What happened in my court three weeks ago in the Magistrates' Court in Pocklingtons Walk was utterly appalling.

"It concerned an asylum seeker in his 20s who was ordered in June to pay this charge of £180.

"He was before me as a fine defaulter. As an asylum seeker his papers and situation is still being considered by our country and the immigration officials.

"He has a top-up card of £35 a week to purchase necessities in designated stores."

He added: " When he first appeared in court in June before another bench, a friend who runs a Leicester food stall, who occasionally fed him, paid a £60 victim surcharge on behalf of the asylum seeker. This was a generous and human act and should be applauded.

"However, before me as a fine defaulter, he was going to be further criminalized for non-payment of the court charge.

"If he was found with, or earned money, he would also break the law and thus jeopardise his status as an asylum seeker.

"I was appalled that he should be in such a Catch 22 situation, as which ever way he went he would break the law."
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2308 Post by Alan H » September 29th, 2015, 11:30 am

Good grief: Britain Doesn’t Need New Laws To Tackle Corporate Corruption, Government Decides
But now ministers have decided that there is no need to introduce a new offence because the fact that there have been no prosecutions under the Bribery Act shows that Britain does not have a corporate crime problem.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2309 Post by Alan H » October 1st, 2015, 12:50 am

Conservative Party to launch own trade union movementTheir first campaign will be to not strike for longer working hours. And to negotiate for the abolition of the weekend.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2310 Post by Alan H » October 1st, 2015, 10:57 am

Punitive court fines 'undermine respect for the law'
The imposition of mandatory, punitive fines in English and Welsh criminal courts has undermined respect for the law and introduced US-style plea bargaining that results in false convictions, an influential legal thinktank has warned.

The fresh criticism from the Centre for Justice Innovation is the latest in a groundswell of opposition to the criminal courts charge – financial penalties imposed on the convicted by the former justice secretary Chris Grayling.

The charge, introduced in April, ranges from £150 for those pleading guilty in a magistrates court to £1,200 for those found guilty after a crown court trial. It is levied on top of the victims’ surcharge, fines and prosecution costs.

Neither judges nor magistrates have discretion to drop the financial demand. More than 50 magistrates in England and Wales have resigned in protest at the charge, according to the Magistrates Association. Many doubt if much of the charge will ever be collected since a significant number of defendants are too poor to pay.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Altfish
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Joined: March 26th, 2012, 8:46 am

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2311 Post by Altfish » October 1st, 2015, 3:00 pm

She makes Osborne and Boris look good candidates...

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/201 ... id-cameron

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Dave B
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Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2312 Post by Dave B » October 1st, 2015, 5:00 pm

Altfish wrote:She makes Osborne and Boris look good candidates...

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/201 ... id-cameron
Yup!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Altfish
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Joined: March 26th, 2012, 8:46 am

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2313 Post by Altfish » October 1st, 2015, 5:43 pm

There be dragons in my home city....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 75471.html


...but since they have treated all the country fairly why should there be a worry :shrug:

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Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2314 Post by Dave B » October 1st, 2015, 6:08 pm

Altfish wrote:There be dragons in my home city....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 75471.html


...but since they have treated all the country fairly why should there be a worry :shrug:
Barring those areas that have suffered least from the cuts perhaps the Tories might face a scragging in most of the country!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2315 Post by Alan H » October 4th, 2015, 10:38 am

The “Bill of Rights” and a blank sheet of paper.
There appears to be further slippage in the Tory proposals for repealing the Human Rights Act.

Look at the following three quotes (with emphasis added):

“The scrapping of the human rights act, a pledge included in the Tory manifesto, is one of the measures to be included in the prime minister’s plans for the first 100 days, when the Queen’s speech is delivered on 27 May.”

Guardian, 10th May 2015

“We will bring forward proposals on a Bill of Rights this autumn.”

Dominic Raab, MoJ Minister, House of Commons, 8th September 2015

“Mr Gove is also grappling with how to fulfil the Conservative manifesto commitment to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights. The consultation will, he says, be out “in a few months’ time”.

Interview with Michael Gove, Lord Chancellor, The Times, 3rd October 2015

You will also see the Tories have gone from a Bill in the Queen’s Speech, to “proposals”, to a “consultation”.

So what is happening?

Why is repeal of the Human Rights Act proving to be the Godot of repeals?
It is not difficult to imagine.

In a room, somewhere in Whitehall, there is a desk and on that desk is a piece of A4 paper, and a pencil.

The paper has as a title “British Bill of Rights”. It is otherwise blank.

Every so often, a person comes in to sit at the desk. The person may be a civil servant or a minister or a special adviser; indeed, they may take turns. The person picks up the pencil and looks at the paper.

From time to time, the person goes to start writing a draft clause but hesitates, and sighs. And the paper remains blank but for the title.

Once, when news came in from Scotland and Northern Ireland, as to their opposition to repeal of the Human Rights Act, there was a flash of inspiration: the word “British” was crossed out, leaving “Bill of Rights”.

But for that, the page remains blank.

“Never mind,” thinks the latest person in that room, “this does not need to be done for another few months”.

The constitutional and political reality is that, for the reasons set out in an earlier post, the repeal of the Human Rights Act and its replacement with a “Bill of Rights” – British or otherwise – will be a virtual impossibility this parliament.

And it remains difficult to see how the new “Bill of Rights” will be any different to the current Act.

Repeal is an easy thing to promise, and to promise it will always get easy Tory cheers and easy approving copy in the tabloids; but it is hard in practice.

And unless the Tories get a move on, it looks like the Act (which celebrated its fifteenth birthday of coming into force this week) will still be there at the 2020 General Election, and so no doubt a promise to repeal it will be in the 2020 Tory Manifesto.

And, if the Tories win, then the process of coming up with a replacement will start, all over again.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2316 Post by Alan H » October 4th, 2015, 11:47 am

UN torture investigator says UK plan to scrap Human Rights Act is ‘dangerous’
The UN special rapporteur on torture has accused David Cameron of a “cold-hearted ” approach to the migration crisis, warning that plans to scrap the Human Rights Act risk subverting international obligations designed to protect people fleeing persecution.

Juan Méndez said the UK’s intention to replace the act with a British bill of rights was a “dangerous and pernicious” development. Méndez said that the government’s proposals indicated a lowering of protection for people that would leave individuals at risk of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and being refused asylum and deported despite facing mistreatment.

He said such a move could contravene Britain’s obligations under international law and set “a very bad example for the rest of the world”, potentially allowing other states to dilute their levels of protection for vulnerable people.

“The problem is that the line between cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and torture is very difficult to draw. If a country is going to mistreat you, then what is going to stop them torturing you? This would be a dangerous development, a disastrous reading because it would violate the object and purpose of the norm.

“It is not to give governments flexibility in deciding who stays; it is to protect people from torture and ill-treatment. You could call this a bad-faith interpretation,” he said.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2317 Post by Alan H » October 4th, 2015, 2:04 pm

From a few months ago: Osborne plan has no basis in economics
The chancellor’s plans, announced in his Mansion House speech, for “permanent budget surpluses” are nothing more than an attempt to outmanoeuvre his opponents (Report, 10 June). They have no basis in economics. Osborne’s proposals are not fit for the complexity of a modern 21st-century economy and, as such, they risk a liquidity crisis that could also trigger banking problems, a fall in GDP, a crash, or all three.

Economies rely on the principle of sectoral balancing, which states that sectors of the economy borrow and lend from and to each other, and their surpluses and debts must arithmetically balance out in monetary terms, because every credit has a corresponding debit. In other words, if one sector of the economy lends to another, it must be in debt by the same amount as the borrower is in credit. The economy is always in balance as a result, if just not at the right place. The government’s budget position is not independent of the rest of the economy, and if it chooses to try to inflexibly run surpluses, and therefore no longer borrow, the knock-on effect to the rest of the economy will be significant. Households, consumers and businesses may have to borrow more overall, and the risk of a personal debt crisis to rival 2008 could be very real indeed.

These plans tie the government’s hands, meaning it won’t be able to respond appropriately to constantly evolving economic circumstances, good or bad. The plan actually takes away one of the central purposes of modern government: to deliver a stable economy in which all can prosper. It is irresponsible for the chancellor to take such risky experiments with the economy to score political points. This policy requires an urgent rethink.

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Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2318 Post by Dave B » October 4th, 2015, 4:44 pm

[sarcasm]Yeah, but what do they know about running a country?[/sarcasm]
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2319 Post by Alan H » October 5th, 2015, 10:34 am

Welcome to Toryland, a heartless place with no room for kindness
But look at what lies beneath and you will find double dealing, iniquity, and the planned demolition of institutions. Whitehall apparently “leaned on” the health service regulator Monitor (according to a senior figure there), in order that a damaging report which showed the NHS moving towards a £2 billion deficit was held back. Sources claim the Government did not want these grave numbers to spoil the fizzy conference. Gavin Francis, a friend, is a part-time GP in Edinburgh and author of Adventures In Human Being. In a corrosive essay, he describes the way profitable private health care companies dump patients on the NHS when it suits them: “...[the companies] sell an image of efficiency and modernity that in truth they have little claim on, because their success is predicated on a robust NHS.” This mop-up service is free for the companies. Furthermore – and partly as a result of the Party’s new plans for pay cuts to junior doctors – GPs, surgeons, nurses and midwives are leaving, or preparing to leave, either the country or the profession. This is a brain drain we simply can’t afford, and this is how the Tories are bleeding the NHS to death – slowly and quietly.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2320 Post by Alan H » October 5th, 2015, 7:40 pm

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 24067
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: The future of Government (if any)

#2321 Post by Alan H » October 5th, 2015, 10:45 pm

Hunt: tax credit cuts will make Britons work like Chinese or Americans
Health secretary tells Conservative conference fringe meeting that controversial benefit cuts of up to £1,300 were a ‘step towards self-respect’
So Jeremy Hunt thinks that cuts will make Britons as 'hard-working' as the Chinese...
The Health Secretary is peddling an inane Western stereotype, and ignoring the fact that 'hard work' in China is rarely a free choice
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2015-10-05_22h43_09.png (656.3 KiB) Viewed 2202 times
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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