The Guardian reports proposals for an increase in automated summary justice in combination with cries for “fair rules”:

Benefit claimants will face lie detector tests and will lose benefits for a month if found guilty of fiddling the system under proposals unveiled by Gordon Brown on the eve of today’s Queen’s speech.

The “one strike and you’re out” proposal is contained in a tough summary of the speech released yesterday by the Cabinet Office.


The Cabinet Office paper tries to put the emphasis on fair rules in the context of the credit crunch. It says: “As everyone enters difficult economic times … fair rules will become more important.

“If people perceive that not everyone is treated equally, that some get preferential treatment, that people who break the rules get away with it, respect for rules is undermined.”

Slowly, oh so slowly, the Government begins to rediscover the classical definition of the rule of law and the reasons for that definition.

And by the way, what happens when a desperate person makes a nervous phone call and the machine misinterprets the stress in their voice as a symptom of fraud?

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