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Showing posts from October, 2011

The European Union and Project Creep

There was a good example of Project Creep at one of the European Scrutiny Committees this week. There is a proposal for the EU to develop its own criminal law and prosecutory apparatus. This, which we can opt out of anyway, is a good example of project creep. Matters relating to the various European Bodies are matters of detail. There is, however, a general point. The general point is that of who decides at which level something should be handled. Everyone can agree that subsidiarity means that decisions should be taken at the lowest sensible level. The problem is that if that decision (the decision as to which level to decide something at) is taken at the EU wide level it will tend to want decisions at a higher level. The prosecutory apparatus issue is a good example of this. There is no substantial reason for developing a formal body of criminal law or prosecutory apparatus at a Europe wide level. There happens to be a common law backstop of a private prosecution in any even

Comment following Sentencing

Obviously no-one would wish to be here. It would have been possible for Christine to have had a prison sentence following the assault in April 2010 (for which she received a caution). Hence a suspended sentence is not surprising. Had she pleaded Guilty she would have most likely had a conditional discharge. Hence we have to look at the issues that encouraged her to plead not guilty. One aspect is that her story was bought up by a national newspaper in 2010. In theory the PCC rules are such that given that she has been convicted she should not be paid. She was aware of this. It would, in fact, be wrong for her to make a profit out of the process by being paid more by a newspaper than she has to pay in costs and legal fees. Clearly the financial inducement to be found not guilty was there. I am not saying that this was intentional. It can not be certain that this was the issue that drove her to plead not guilty. However, I do not think defendants in criminal trials should have

Magna Carta 1297 - Article 29

The link is to the currently in force version of Magna Carta article 29 which says: NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor [X1condemn him,] but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right. We should not "sell ... justice" This is relevant to the Clarkson injunction.

Referendum on Europe

I have posted before about the European Questions. It is sad that the public debate never really gets into any of the details of this issue. There will be a debate on Monday which has a motion proposing a referendum which has as one of it's options a renegotiation. I would like to make my underlying view clear. I do not support an "ever closer union". I do see that there is a role for a pan-european organisation dealing with trade and co-operation, but I do not want to see the centralisation of political power into a supranational body. There has been a tendency for people to either believe that they should be part of the EU and accept everything or not. In fact now it is becoming much clearer that there will be different structures in europe particularly around the Eurozone. That could quite readily result in the non-Euro EU membership being more like the EEA. Since the introduction of qualified majority voting there has been an ability for decisions to be made wit

Occupy Wall Street and Technology

There are quite a few demonstrations going on about economic exclusion. It is not surprising as a society where the numbers of people who participate in society is continue reducing is not a good society to have. The error is, however, to believe that it arises from capitalism per se. There is a real problem, but it arises from the economic changes that result from technology. Whereas in the past large numbers of people used to get reasonably good rates from pay from metal bashing, now machines do a lot more of the work. The people who use the machines make a good living, those who own the machines make a much better living and there are a lot of people not working on the same projects. If we are going to have greater economic participation we need to respond to that and aim to share out the participation. There are difficulties in doing this in an interconnected world, but it must be recognised. Firstly, that there is a real problem. There is. Secondly, that communism is not the

Yesterday's speech on the economy

The link is to the debate yesterday on the economy. I did not mention unemployment in that speech because time was limited and the debate was about the macro economic picture. Obviously the government does need to work to reduce unemployment. However, that has to fit within the spending envelope which is why I have previously made proposals that reduce unemployment without unsustainable demand from public spending. Available on Video here The Opposition are complaining that the forecasts show that the Government will have to borrow £46 billion more than was previously forecast. Their solution is to borrow more money. They are proposing to borrow an additional £31 billion in any one year—I think that that is the precise figure. I asked the shadow Chancellor what he thought the limit on borrowing should be, but he did not answer the question. One presumes therefore that he has no idea what the limit is. Well, the limit on borrowing is called the International Monetary Fund, when it h

Where is the Official Solicitor?

I link to the judgment released today where Wall P recognised that he erred in law in imposing a suspended sentence on Elizabeth Watson when he released her. It has recently been drawn to my attention that the Official Solicitor is supposed to act to protect people convicted of contempt of court. I wonder what they have been doing. Obviously they may have been involved in this particular decision, but it is not clear who drew Wall P's attention to his mistake on this case.

Referendum on Europe - the Spanish Question

I have previously posted this diagram of European Bodies: It shows the complexity of the different bodies in Europe. There is a debate going about whether or not to have a "referendum on Europe". The first question of course is what the referendum is about. There are those people who would like to leave all of the European bodies in the diagram (except perhaps the Common Travel Area - which isn't in the diagram). If, then, we are to have that that brings in the question as to what happens to those UK citizens who would be required to return to the UK if the referendum passed. Do they get a vote? I would call this the Spanish Question. That is because there are a lot of UK citizens in Spain. Many would have to return if we left the EEA. This applies throughout Europe. I think they should have a vote on this very significant issue. They are entitled to vote in General Elections so this is not an unreasonable suggestion. Many have paid many years of taxes in the UK