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Author: CycleFree

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of Interest

The concerns (scandal, if you prefer) in the Greensill affair are not primarily about lobbying, convenient as it is for current Ministers, Labour and journalists to describe it thus. Convenient for Ministers because they can stick it to a foolish, greedy ex-PM they don’t much care for and can claim to have it sorted by fiddling about with some more rules on lobbying. Convenient for Labour who can go on about Tory sleaze. Convenient for journalists since it is a…

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Call Me. Dave.

Call Me. Dave.

As non-apologies masquerading as apologies go, Cameron’s must win some sort of Missing The Point Award. Apparently, his correspondence with the Chancellor should have been more formal, as if what’s concerning people is him texting rather than taking out his pen and Basildon Bond paper when asking Ministers to look kindly on his employer, Greensill. Still, with the newly announced inquiry into his actions – though it must surely also be into the actions of current Cabinet Ministers when they…

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Papers, please

Papers, please

The case of Willcock v Muckle should be much better known than it is. In 1950 Mr Willcock, stopped by a policeman for speeding, was asked for his ID card. He refused. The case went to the Court of Appeal where the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Goddard, known for his ultra-conservative views, thundered against the idea that the police should be able routinely to demand ID cards for irrelevant reasons. In 1952, 7 years after the end of the war…

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Boris’s Legacy?

Boris’s Legacy?

The government’s vaccination programme has been one of the government’s undoubted successes. The extensive genome sequencing of the virus and its mutations.  The Vaccine Task Force – a team consisting of scientists, NHS staff, a venture capitalist skilled in investing in biomedical companies and others, together with politicians backing them with very significant amounts of public money – which has enabled Britain to invest in the development and production of a range of vaccines. The collective focused efforts of the…

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Rogue Lawyer

Rogue Lawyer

 “A basic rule of government is …… never set up an inquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be.” (Sir Humphrey to Jim Hacker, Yes Minister 1980). The government must have felt confident it was following this golden – if cynical – rule when Lord Faulks QC was appointed to chair the panel inquiring into judicial review. A Conservative justice Minister (now unaffiliated peer). A lawyer who publicly criticised the Supreme Court’s decision on prorogation and who…

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What makes an effective protest

What makes an effective protest

One which changes a government’s intended actions or leads it to do something it might not otherwise have done? A few guidelines:- Get the law-abiding on side. Enough of them to make government MPs worry about their majorities. The poll tax riots did not change government policy. But that so many Tory voters were incensed at the proposal did worry Tory MPs and played a big part in Thatcher losing their votes. Little wonder Major ditched an election-losing policy once…

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Silencing Us

Silencing Us

Picture BBC Lord Sumption has said some silly things lately, a reminder that even experts – once they move beyond their expertise – can be as daft as the rest of us. Still, on the issue of the government’s use of powers to bypass or limit scrutiny to the absolute minimum he is absolutely correct. Consider: –  5 hours to debate the Act implementing the UK-EU Trade Agreement, an Act containing a number of Henry VIII powers allowing the government…

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One Woman’s Perspective

One Woman’s Perspective

In 2020 118 women were killed by men. One death every 3 days. Since Sarah Everard went missing on March 3 another 3 women killed by a male perpetrator. Unless they become a news story we rarely know their names, the majority likely killed by a partner or someone known to them, 70% in the home. Even so, the chances for any individual woman of being killed is low; by a total stranger lower still. The murder rate for men,…

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