Non-stories, gubbins and gibberish.

There’s practically nothing else about at the moment, so I’ll summarise.

The Hague thing. A non-story about him sharing a hotel room with his special advisor, who is a bloke. Salacious nonsense obscuring the only legitimate question, which is whether Hague misused public funds in any way.

On-going denormalisation of smokers in the rented property market. A non-story based on a poorly interpreted marketing survey. Most landlords are pragmatic in my experience, and the ones that aren’t don’t remain landlords for very long.

It’s remains to be seen whether or not the matter of #metgate is a non-story or not.

Not so much a non-story as a ‘well, what a surprise’ story, in which a front company for Tesco buys up a town centre, allows it to become run down, then along comes Tesco offering to ‘do the town a favour’ by building a massive Tesco store in its place.

Someone called Tony Blair has a book out. In it, he reveals that always was, and still is, a complete and utter cunt. Still, with any luck, it will cause enough enmity in the Labour party to keep the wrecking bastards in unelectability hell for a generation or two.

The Director General of the BBC seems to have taken to referring to the present in the past tense. He has ‘has admitted the corporation was guilty of a ‘massive’ Left-wing bias in the past’. As if it’s gone away. Pfffft.

In other news, top fungal blogger Simon Cooke has decided to poke Jack of Kent in the eye over his apparently contradictory definition of his own liberalism.

I’m fast arriving at the conclusion that Jack of Kent is a cult leader & I have little doubt that he’s in the process of setting up a compound for all his faithful believers in deepest Kent. Jack of Koresh more like.

Mr  Cooke has also, in case you missed them previously, written some good stuff on the emergent New Puritans.

More anon, doubtless.

AJ

Twisted terms of engagement

Much jollity today about ‘Cunto di tutti cunti’ Blair coming to the aid of Labour’s election campaign.

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I think there’s something wrong with that strapline. Specifically that the inverted commas are around with word ‘failure’ and not around the word ‘modernise’

What I think they mean by ‘modernise’ is ‘transform into a mealy-mouthed, politically-correct, social democratic Labour-lite irrelevance’.

Hence my confusion about how that strap-line is parsed. Because when it comes to Cameron transforming the Conservatives into a mealy-mouthed, politically-correct, social democratic Labour-lite irrelevance, he seems to have succeeded in spades.

If Blair manages to convince me that what we have here is the same old Tories from 1979, I’ll vote for them in a heartbeat.

AJ

Bringing the law into disrepute

I’m becoming quite a follower of Henry Porter’s dispatches on liberty in The Graun.

It’s long been a bug bear of mine that most of the senior politicians involved in dismantling our liberty, our checks and balances and our civil protections have been lawyers.

Porter picks up the theme:

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It’s no coincidence that the four politicians who took us to war – Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Lord Falconer and Lord Goldsmith were all lawyers. Of course there were others involved, but let us be quite clear that each of these was in a position to stop the headlong rush to war by using the rule of law as an argument against the Bush regime.

Only Lord Goldsmith attempted such a course, but he was flattened by Lord Falconer and Baroness (formerly Sally) Morgan and sidelined by Number 10 until it was too late for Britain to withdraw. The point is that the same people who ignored the opinion of legal advisers Sir Michael Wood and Elizabeth Wilmshurst – in fact the entire legal team – also carried out the attack on liberty and the rule of law that has been the subject of columns in the Observer and this blog for the last four years.

To make the connection between the two may seem opportunistic, but I believe that it is fundamental to the understanding of New Labour to see that the attack on the international rule of law goes hand in hand with the steady erosion of rights and liberties in this country: both were carried out by people who were trained as lawyers and who should have been nourished by the law and its long traditions.

This is obviously not to say that all lawyers are bad: the people who fought for the rule of law inside the system, such as Wilmshurst and Wood, were lawyers, and many lawyers outside government, such as Philippe Sands QC and Clive Stafford Smith, have staunchly defended the international rule of law, particularly concerning British involvement in torture and rendition. Most lawyers I talk to are appalled at what has been done to the rule of law and to our own constitution.

One of the very basic tenets of the rule of law in Britain was expressed by AC Dicey in 1885: "In the first place, no man is punishable or can be lawfully made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of the law established in ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts of the land." Blair, Straw and to a lesser extent Falconer were responsible for countless tiny cuts to this principle – and in other areas, as in the decision to go to war, the knowledge of rendition and MI5’s collusion in torture sessions – for instance in the interrogation of Binyam Mohamed – have outraged standards set in international conventions and charters.

My own belief is that Blair, Straw and Falconer should be disbarred from their professional organisations. There may be a case for Lord Goldsmith’s disbarment as well. Though I am not sure how this could be satisfactorily achieved, I believe that both barristers and solicitors will want to make a statement about the steady attack on all that the Bar and Law Society stand for. It would be a symbolic gesture but an important one, given that we are unlikely to see any of these individuals prosecuted for what they have done.

Each of them was fully aware of the damage they caused to the rule of law at home and abroad, and while we may wait for a proper analysis as to what gave New Labour lawyers the confidence to defy public opinion and the law, the action of disbarment, perhaps merely its consideration, could send out a signal that Britain is at last passing from this long and shoddy episode.

Another prominent lawyer who has been responsible for illiberal lunacy is, of course, Harriet Hormone.

AJ

10 of the worst things Labour have done to the UK

Shamelessly stolen in full from the Tellygiraffe Blogs.

1. Tony Blair led the country to war on the basis of a lie – the 45-minute dossier was a disgraceful manipulation of some very sketchy intelligence. More than 200 soldiers have been killed, a similar number grievously wounded, while tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have lost their lives.

2. The suicide of Dr David Kelly after he had been exposed by Downing Stret as the source of leaks to the BBC about the soundness of weapons intelligence (see above). The most nauseating moment in this episode came courtesy of Alastair  Campbell, an unelected Labour functionary, who summoned a press conference to crow over the findings of the Hutton inquiry into Kelly’s death which inexplicably decided it was all the BBC’s fault.

3. Tony Blair’s warmongering extended beyond Iraq – there was Kosvo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan – but a common theme was that British forces were routinely expected to put their lives on the line with inadequate kit and equipment. Much of the responsibilty for that lies with Gordon Brown who, as Chancellor,  just did not “get” the military.

4. Brown’s uncontested accession to the premiership – after years spent undermining Blair – revealed just how rotten Labour had become. This was more akin to the Politburo than a modern democratic party. The one consolation is that it has proved an unmitigated disaster for Labour.

5. While Chancellor, Brown perfected a whole armoury of tricks to obscure what he was actually doing – double and triple counting, endless re-announcements of the same policy, stealth taxes by the score. So intent was he on his smoke and mirrors games that he seemed not to notice he was sending the economy down the tubes.

6. Bernie Ecclestone’s £1 million donation to Labour was an early indicator that Labour’s moral compass was non-existent and that Blair’s claim to be a “pretty straight kind of guy” was to be taken with a sackful of salt.

7. Parliament under Labour has been utterly marginalised. Both Blair and Brown have treated the Commons with contempt and we now have the weakest (as well as most dishonest) legislature in memory.

8. Labour’s failure even to attempt to control immigration has led to profound changes in this country that people did not want. Yet any attempt to debate the issue was branded racist by Labour – until it finally dawned on them (far too late) that their own supporters were furious about the changing nature of their communities.

9. A spending binge without precedent in this country’s history has delivered the most paltry improvements in the public services. A great opportuntiy to modernise Britain has simply been frittered away.

10. Labour’s Big Brother intrusiveness into all aspects of our lives is without precedent outside communist or fascist regimes. A government that has trumpeted its commitment to human rights has systematically eroded them.

Bleak.

AJ