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Showing posts from September, 2013

C (Children) Re: [2013] EWCA Civ 1158

Behind this judgment is a long history which causes me considerable concern. However, as is often the case it would be contempt of court to say what the concerns are. However, the fact that this has been prevented from being considered before the Court of Appeal even on paper does cause me further concern ... more later.

More state sponsored child stealing

The table below is part of the Statistical First Release. It demonstrates that the increase in adoption numbers isn't as a result of getting older children "languishing" in care adopted, but instead in an increase in toddlers and pre-schoolers getting adopted. Some children are placed for adoption because the courts claim that the mother agrees to this when she doesn't. Others are in care because of mums political views (going on an EDL march for example). I really don't think this is other than state sponsored child stealing. Obviously we need a child protection system but it doesn't protect children from being starved to death or indeed from being raped whilst in the care of the local authority. What it does do is get children adopted.

Energy Prices are a problem, but a retail price freeze risks blackouts

These are today's figures for SSE.

Note the overall profit of 62.31p per share in a turnover of 2935.07 per share. This is a profit of just over 2% of turnover.
The problem is the underlying price of energy. That, however, is set by the global markets and we are energy importers. If you have a retail price freeze and an increase in the underlying price of energy then there is only a 2% leeway of profit before the company goes into losses. The first thing that would stop is the investment in new plant. Without new plant we face the threat of blackouts.
Companies like BG (British Gas) make a higher proportion of profit because they are benefiting from producing fossil fuels and are not mainly a retail company.

Slovak Investigation and the International Criminal Court

I spoke last Thursday about the investigation in the Slovak Republic into corruption in the courts in England. There is a press report on Joj TV (in Slovak, but you can use Google translate on the text), here and here
The following is the statement by the General Prosecutor in the Slovak Republic

Jana Tokolyova, spokesman of the only biggest institution of investigation in the country, called General Prokuratura.

On Monday Silvia M. has made criminal complaint. On Wednesday, the director of General Prokuratura met the deputy director of National criminal agency of Police Prezidium and they have named a special agent that will deal with this case. We will not publish further information
because of possible investigation obstruction.
---------- Původní zpráva ----------

Datum: 14. 8. 2013
Předmět: Re: dotaz pro TV JOJ


Vážený pán Krpač, V pondelok 12. 8. 2013 podala Silvia M. na Generálnej prokuratúre Slovenskej republiky trestné oznámenie. Vzhľadom na obsah trestného oznámeni…

Labour did pilot and plan a Bedroom tax for social housing

In Hansard you can find this interchange.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the local housing allowance will be extended from the nine Pathfinder authorities to all local authorities. [R] [146690]
Malcolm Wicks: There will be a comprehensive evaluation of local housing allowance Pathfinders including interviews with claimants, landlords, local authority staff and stakeholder organisations, as well as an analysis of administrative data. This is already underway. The findings of the evaluation will inform decisions on the national extension of the allowance. It is envisaged that local housing allowance will be extended to all local authorities in 2006.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the local housing allowance applies only to the de-regulated private sector. [R] [146691]
Malcolm Wicks: We hope to implement a flat rate housing benefit system in the social sector, similar to that anticipated in…

Lord Ashcroft on the Tory Party Bills Tabled by Peter Bone MP.

Lord Ashcroft has obtained opinion polls about the bills tabled by the tories to show what would happen were there to be an overall conservative majority. He wrote about them here. Quoting from that:
Mr Bone’s favourite among this assortment of “true blue bills” is the proposal to name the August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”. Unfortunately it is also the least popular. Only 13% of voters thought this was a good idea (and only 9% of those who were told the idea had been put forward by Conservative MPs); two thirds did not. Even Tory voters disagreed with the policy by a margin of 23 points. The idea of allowing employees to opt out of the minimum wage was also strikingly unpopular, with only 23% agreeing. The suggestion of abolishing the Department of Energy and Climate Change won over a full quarter of the electorate, while privatising the BBC amassed the support of 28%. Less than a third also approved of scrapping the office of Deputy Prime Minister and ending subsidies to…

Interesting case for Grandparents

This is an interesting permission to appeal case for grandparents. It uses the argument that because grandparents have successfully brought up some children then they should pass an assessment. This is an argument I have used in the Family Justice Bill. I am not sure where the case went in the end, but this was a useful step.

Secret campaign launched against Lobbying Bill called Stopthegaggingbill.com

A secret campaign has been launched against the Lobbying Bill. They have created a website www.stopthegaggingbill.com. They are encouraging people to send out emails against the bill (in which the website itself is misspelt). However, they don't say who they are. A whois search gives no information as they have decided to hid their identities (see below). In a sense the issue is being sorted anyway as the concern of NGOs that they might have to register their spending is being dealt with. I asked the government for a commitment that the bill would be changed in committee and it will be. However, I think it is a bit naughty not to reveal who is behind the campaign. There should be at least one named person identified. I don't think the law needs to be changed, but a bit of transparency would be nice. WHOIS information for stopthegaggingbill.com:*** [Querying whois.verisign-grs.com] [Redirected to whois.123-reg.co.uk] [Querying whois.123-reg.co.uk] [whois.123-reg.co.uk…

"As happens in Sicily from time to time"

To me what is interesting about This report by the BBC about the withdrawal of allegations about Labour Party activities in Falkirk is that the current MP Eric Joyce said: "As happens in Sicily from time to time a number of people seem to have withdrawn their evidence and said they never had a complaint in the first place. It comes across as something much more murky than it started out as. This important nuance is, however, completely missing from the BBC's written article. The implication of Eric Joyce's comments is that it looks like pressure was put on a number of people to withdraw their evidence with the quid pro quo of the withdrawal of Karie Murphy.

It looks like imprisonments have dropped by 90% since secrecy stopped (Another suspended committal)

This case was added to Bailii yesterday more than three months after the hearing. The hearing was a month after the new rules came in. It is clear that some of the judges are not very good at following the rules in a timely manner. With the Derby case we knew about it and had raised it at a more senior level. Historically there were around 60 actual committals per year. The rate we know about is much lower than this. The government, however, refuse to record what number of people are sent to prison. Hence there is no proper accountability on this as it remains possible for someone to be imprisoned in secret and it not to be known. This, to be fair, is something the government should deal with.

Before 3rd May in 2013 there were Garry Johnson, Mike Clarke (in public) - on the run in spain) and a grandmother in I think Barnsley that I know about that were actually given committals.
Since then the published judgments are: (to the best of my knowledge)
Conrad v Bignell [2013] EWCC …

Accidents on the Coventry Road

I am worried about the continuing pedestrian accidents on the Coventry Road. I will be working with constituents to highlight this in a petition, but in the mean time I have written to both the head of transportation and the coroner. Here is one of the letters

Administrative court refuses extradition to USA

[2013] EWHC 2671 (Admin) is an interesting case where the Administrative Court has refused extradition on Article 8 grounds. Basically they refused to extradite someone essentially because the UK courts would not have imprisoned him whilst the USA system was going to lock him up and that this would have harmed people dependent upon him. I don't know if this has happened before (the refusal of extradition).

Syria: Obama delay is good for international institutions

I am pleased that Obama has delayed the military action scheduled for around now. The delay has the major advantage of giving sufficient time for the UN inspectors to report and for international bodies to debate the issue. The Russian public position is still that the evidence is not there. I personally believe that the evidence is there, but that we need to be working to make the international bodies more effective. The fact that Obama is giving the reason of consulting Congress and that this results in a delay beyond 9th September is conveniently timed to enable the UN bodies to also report. It remains that I am not convinced that military action is the right action, but anything that gives the time for bodies such as the UN to get involved is positive.