Privilege and today's judgment - Chaytor & Ors, R v  EWCA Crim 1910
I link to today's judgment impressively quickly uploaded onto Bailii.
This relates to the question as to whether expenses fraud is covered by parliamentary privilege (readers of this weblog will know that I believe that it is not).
The judgment is worth reading for those interested in the law of parliament.
There are some interesting precedents that I have not heard of before such as Att-Gen of Ceylon v de Livera  AC 13,
which is referred to in paragraph 33.
It is interesting that one of the cases referred to involves Scientology in that there has been a more recent case of constraints on the freedom of speech of a councillor who critised scientology.
F (Children)  EWCA Civ 826
The link is to an appeal in the court of appeal against care orders. The underlying case is important as it is one of the multiple removal ones.
Even though the appeal allowed an ISW this still does not allow ISW assessments as of right.
The basis of the appeal was that an initial appeal should have been heard as an appeal rather than a merits review.
One paragraph is worth looking at:
11. This is a bizarre procedural history and has led to what seems to me to be a fundamentally unsatisfactory conclusion, namely that two judges in the same court in the same week have reached diametrically opposite conclusions on the same material.
Sadly that is the nature of the family courts. It is judge dependent rather than being a form of law that can be understood outwith the judicial process.
That isn't good, but that is the way it is. The first step towards getting it right is to recognise when it is wrong.
Parliamentary procedure and the youth parliament
John O Shea
has written about the events of Monday night. It is worth understanding some aspects of this issue.
There is a small group of MPs (numbering about 20-25) who don't think the Youth parliament should be allowed to meet once a year in the House of Commons Chamber.
There is an interesting question behind this as to whether the reducing respect for institutions is partially affected by the reducing respect for the fabric of the buildings in which the institutions are sited or indeed the obverse. My own personal view, however, is that like having the proceedings in The House reported, on the radio and televised and similar to allowing tours of The House - having the Youth Parliament meet in the chamber (when it is not used) is a good thing not a bad thing.
The debate was after 10pm so it needed a vote to allow it to proceed. The decision, however, was a deferred division and would be cast on paper (a pink slip) on wednesday's after Prime Ministers question time.
The key point, however, is that if during the debate there was a vote and below the quorum of MPs (40) voted then the motion would fall and not be considered in a deferred division.
To move a closure motion, however, requires at least 100 MPs voting for closure. (A closure motion is where the house votes that the question be now put - it closes down debate.)
I went home at about 11.30pm having been told that a closure motion would not be moved, but as Philip Davies droned on through the night it was decided to move a closure motion. Luckily enough people had remained on the estate to pass it.
The divisions were:To have the debate
for: 139 against: 10Closure
for: 103 against: 3
Yesterday's deferred division on whether or not to allow the youth parliament to meet was 499 to 21. It is in Hansard here
There are a couple of interesting further points about the closure division. Whereas it is listed as being 103 to 3, in fact there are only 102 names listed as voting aye. Furthermore the three that voted no also voted aye. This is a "both" which is effectively an abstention. Without their votes and if the list of names reconciled with the number counted then in fact the closure motion would have fallen.
The rules are that it is the tellers count that matters not the list of names. It is entirely possible for someone to vote without being listed on the list of names. At the same time the tellers can also miscount. (That is why there are two tellers doing the count on each lobby, one for the ayes and one for the noes - normally the government whips do the counting and the opposition do the checking).
Votes in china more expensive than Birmingham
The link is to a vote buying exercise in China. What happened in Birmingham over the past 10 years involved Labour vote buying in various ways. £500 for a bag of postal votes. £5-15 per postal vote and £5 per personated vote cast by a personator in each polling station.
In China at least the corruption is for people's own votes rather than stolen votes, but I am surprised that they will pay up to USD177 over £50 a vote (more than three times the most paid in Birmingham).
Why add the oil price?
I have added the free oil price to my blogroll. That is because it is such an important issue to so many people. We have now recreated the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas which will kick off with a new suite of meetings in September.
Christopher Booker on public family law
I know the details of both of the cases to which he refers in this article and he is right about them.
Greece implements further cuts
Anyone who wishes to look at what would happen with Labour's financial strategy need look no further than Greece. They have had to implement greater and greater cuts in an attempt to bring their finances under control.
Looking at bond yields today:
Country Debt interest rate
Germany 10 year 2.64%
Greece 10 year 10.447%
Ireland 10 year 5.268%
UK 10 year 3.373%
This shows how greece is paying an interest rate of four times that of Germany on its debt. Having a higher deficit leads not only to a higher debt, but also a higher rate of interest on the debt.
Greece is a good comparison to Labour's policy as it was the Socialist party in Greece that pretended that little action was needed and then found itself in a really big mess.