Author Archives: Steve

Bailiffs get power to use force on debtors – Times Online


Further powers for privately-employed bailiffs to use force to enter and seize private property. It is claimed these powers are already abused. In one case, an 89-year-old grandmother returned home to find a bailiff sitting in her chair having drawn up a list of her possessions. He was pursuing a parking fine owed by her son, who did not even live at the address. Must we learn again every lesson from history? Under New Labour, it seems so. read more […]

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De Menezes case – radical reform of coroner system required


In the Times, further light is thrown on the De Menezes inquest by Tom Luce, who chaired the Fundamental Review of Coroners and Death Certification in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (2001-03): The prohibition in Rule 42 of the Coroners’ Rules on framing any verdict “in such a way as to appear to determine any question of (a) criminal liability on the part of a named person, or (b) civil liability” means that except in cases where a death is […]

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Commons officials prevent MPs asking about BBC license fee


Douglas Carswell MP writes candidly about the ability of Parliament to do its job: The House of Commons is useless at holding those with executive power to account. If Mr Speaker presides over a Table Office that won’t allow questions about the license fee, what’s the point of Parliament or of elections to decide its composition? (The Table Office claim its because the license fee isn’t part of ministerial responsibility – but its the executive deciding what is and what […]

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FT.com – What to do with Britain’s banks


An excellent article from the FT: The starting point for any analysis must be with some harsh realities. The first is that banks enjoy a state-supported licence to create money. … Second, the regulators failed to represent [the interests of taxpayers]. … Third, the views of the bankers on what should be done are of small interest. … read more | digg story

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FT.com / US – Detroit reels as $14bn rescue fails


The high profile effort to agree legislation to lend $14bn to the US auto industry collapsed on Thursday night, leading the Bush administration to hold open the possibility that it would seek funds from its financial rescue plan instead. Efforts to agree a deal in the US Senate ended in failure when Harry Reid, the leader of the Democratic majority, said negotiations with Senate Republicans were at an end and warned that millions of jobs were at stake as a […]

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Back to the drawing board for road pricing


It looks as if it is time to pronounce the last rites for pay as you drive charging. Good. We are already taxed according to the efficiency of our cars and the distance we drive them through fuel duty. Thankfully, we may now escape being tracked wherever we go. read more | digg story Update: But it appears New Labour have little interest in what people want: The crushing rejection of a congestion charging scheme by voters in Manchester has […]

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Jean Charles de Menezes inquest: Jury reaches open verdict


From The Telegraph, the jury return an open verdict on the killing of De Menezes: After a three-month hearing costing an estimated £6 million, jurors rejected a verdict that the innocent Brazilian had been killed lawfully by police. They returned an ambigious, open verdict – the only other option they were given after the coroner ruled they could not find that Mr de Menezes was illegally shot dead by officers. For those of us not completely familiar with the nuances […]

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Public faith in ID cards slumps


An article illustrating the value of patience (but how difficult it is to be patient in the face of such a scheme): The public’s faith in ID cards has slumped in the wake of a series of data loss scandals by the Government. Those in favour of the card now stand at just 55 per cent after dropping from 60 per cent in August. At the same time, opposition to the £4.7 billion scheme grew from 24 to 26 per […]

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Brown adviser: Labour’s rights record dismal


Lord Lester, a Liberal Democrat and distinguished human rights lawyer, quit as the prime minister’s adviser on constitutional reform a month ago. In a scathing attack yesterday, he revealed for the first time how he felt tethered by the government, describing its record on human rights as “dismal and deeply disappointing”. Which makes this thread of reporting rather more interesting. read more | digg story

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Guardian: Crash Gordon ‘saves the world’


Gordon Brown’s slip of the tongue in PMQs was as hilarious as it was revealing. But it may also prove very costly. Just after midday today, we witnessed the gaffe that may eventually come to be seen as Gordon Brown’s defining moment as prime minister. You will see it on the television news tonight. You will see it on YouTube. It will be replayed whenever Brown’s career is recalled. It is all cruelly, ridiculously, terribly unfair. And yet … Prime […]

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