Monday Message 15.07.13
CBA Chairman’s Update:
Michael Turner QC
Personal Email: [email protected]
The Monday Message 15th July 2013
Personal Email: [email protected]
1. Do Right Fear No One; Chairman’s Comment.
2. The House of Lords savage Grayling’s proposals.
3. The Ayzelle Rodney report: Unlawful killing by the state.
4. Jimmy Mubenga: Unlawful killing by the employees of G4S
5. Elections for Vice Chair Still a chance to vote.
6. An End to gifting our public services to the Private Sector?
7. Transforming Society the real losers in this insidious game.
8. “Somewhere on the Western Circuit ” provides a summer reading list.
9. More from the Wilde Cartoon Selection
1. Do Right Fear No One: Chairman’s Comment
I am in an optimistic mood for the fifth week in a row. For many months we have been saying that these proposals are not about cuts, they are an ideological attack on the rule of law and our democracy. For the same period of time we have been warning that the private sector not only destroys the public service it is gifted but it bleeds money from the taxpayer firstly ensuring a more expensive service and then it adds insult to injury by avoiding paying tax on its vast profits. This week the entirety of the House of Lords agreed (see my full report back). Then both G4S and Serco have been exposed in the most extraordinary ways. It has been established beyond doubt that this experiment of gifting public services to the private sector must end. There were many doubters when we started this journey; their voices are now but a whisper. We warned Mr Grayling that he had opened Pandora’s box and indeed he has. It is not only unity with our sister profession which has been secured, it is unity with our compatriots in several other walks of life, probation, the police, the medical profession, the voluntary sector and it grows. What is happening in our world is happening throughout our society. Our democracy has lost its way. It is appropriate that the Criminal Bar defends the rights of our citizens.
Do Right, Fear No One
2. The House of Lords savage Grayling’s proposals
Baroness Deech QC (Hons) is a curates’ egg. She secured this debate in the House of Lords and opened brilliantly and with passion and yet she continues to preside over the BSB which gives carte blanche to the likes of Trevor Howarth. Her lead was followed by a stellar cast attacking Graylings proposals at every turn.
Lord Clinton Davis
You can see and read the debate HERE
Lord Bach reminded the House of a quote from George Orwell
“Are the Ruling classes wicked or merely stupid” in the next few months we will find out. One felt that even Lord McNally knew the game was up when he opened his defence of the Government proposals with the very tired words “I must state the Government’s position”. There is nothing more telling as we advocates know only too well.
3. The Ayzelle Rodney report: Unlawful killing by the state
Sir Christopher Holland’s report into the death of Ayzelle Rodney was published last week. He found the Ayzelle Rodney had been unlawfully killed by the state HERE.
I will watch with interest whether any criminal prosecution will follow.
4. Jimmy Mubenga: Unlawful killing by the employees of G4S
The inquest into the appalling death of Jimmy Mubenga, on a plane, in front of members of the public, returned verdicts of unlawful killing. He was killed by G4S employees, seemingly using techniques in which they had been instructed and incentivised by payments on result.
Read about it HERE and HERE.
If poor Jimmy Mubenga’s death teaches us anything it is that the private sector can not be given charge of public services. Once profit becomes the only incentive, morals and ethics disappear.
4. Elections for Vice Chair
Still time to vote, voting ends 5.30 today!
Links to almost all your candidates videos below:
Tony Cross QC
Jeremy Dein QC
Simon Spence QC
David Howker QC has chosen not to submit a video piece.
You can vote electronically or download a ballot paper. Your membership numbers were sent out again last Thursday.
5. An End to gifting our public services to the Private Sector?
The Public Accounts Committee published their Fifteen Report last week. This time on the provision of out of hours GPs run by Serco. Read it HERE.
They found that SERCO had been fiddling the figures. SERCO informed the PAC that it had rooted out the problem and sacked the two employees concerned. Did they have any reason or incentive to fiddle the figures SERCO were asked? None at all was the response, and SERCO said they had asked the two employees concerned and they could give no explanation. The PAC were keen to know if they could ask the employees concerned. Sorry, they could not because they had signed confidentiality clauses as part of their severance agreement.
Meanwhile, as ever in healthy competition with their rivals and not wishing to be out done in conning the public G4S had been tagging dead people. Very handy this because you’re always guaranteed to fulfil your contract commitment with a dead person.
Government Charged for Electronic Tagging of Dead People
Meanwhile G4S, brazen to the last, are blaming all on the Court and prison service HERE.
Might we humbly suggest that Mr Grayling pay heed to a think tank close to Conservative hearts- Policy Exchange. Boris Johnson gave them glowing praise.
“Here’s to Policy Exchange, the greatest think tank in the greatest city on Earth”
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, Policy Exchange summer party 2013
They have delivered a damning pronouncement on these contracts
This short extract tells you all you need to know:-
“What this report reveals however is that much of the potential of electronic monitoring to keep our communities safe has not been realised. What we have been given instead is a sclerotic, centrally controlled, top down system that has enriched two or three large suppliers, that lacks the innovation and flexibility of international comparators and that fails to demonstrate either that it is value for money or that it does anything to reduce offending.”
The only companies bidding for the next round of contracts are G4S and Capita- SERCO now having withdrawn.
It is time for a public enquiry into Government procurement in the MOJ and Home Office.
7. Transforming Society the real losers in this insidious game
Whilst the private sector gets rich over the sale of public sector services, it is our citizens who suffer.
Pro Bono grants
8. “Somewhere on the Western Circuit ” provides a summer reading list
CBA SUMMER BOOK CLUB
When that time of year approaches and our members wonder what to do as they jet off on their 10-week holidays in paradise the CBA suggests some reading material to help them unwind. Just like the current Justice Secretary we can let our hair down too.
Now that choice is back we have asked leading celebrities for their recommendations.
Dr Elizabeth from Petty France (pictured here handing over another accident waiting to happen):
This summer I’m reading The Antiques Roadshow Collection. I absolutely adore roadshows even if my public persona is one of complete disinterest bordering on despair. I love how stakeholders attend numerous roadshows to view an antique piece that has been rejected as worthless just nine years ago. It is quite obviously duff and likely to fall apart within weeks but the challenge is to get people to bid; even one bidder would be a result. If you can make £5 on it you’re doing well, before you go bankrupt. I think it is the excitement of being on the road that attracts me, standing up before an adoring crowd hanging on my every word, their mouths open in wonder, whilst I’m auctioning the country’s family silver to the lowest bidder. I suspect I might be on the road forever. I just don’t think those justice people in the audience are going to give up. Ever. They are so passionate about my shows. They love coming.
Chris from Pimlico and Epsom:
This silly season I’m reading Catch 220M. I identify closely with the beleaguered central character. It’s the story of Captain Youseethemessimin who gets disenchanted by his arguments continually bombing. He eventually comes to realise his proposals are bogus yet still feels he has no choice but to drop them, on the innocent public.
In a classic passage he seeks out the help of Doc Gibby. He tells her he doesn’t want to consult any more. She says only an insane man would continue consulting when it was dangerous to do so. So if he stops consulting he must be sane in which case he must carry on consulting. But if he carries on consulting he must be insane. That’s the catch: Catch 220M. The best there is.
What appeals to me is the absurdity of it all which is what attracted me to politics and has shaped my philosophy. I shouldn’t really say this but I once tried my hand at writing myself. It was 164 pages of complete fiction. It didn’t sell very well. I had to re-write it numerous times and even then it was still pulped.
But I’m eternally optimistic even if wholly unrealistic. I feel that we all have one book inside us waiting to come out. But as Borsok, my favourite Polish surrealist author would say, ‘you shouldn’t have eaten it’.
Tom from wherever he lays his hat that’s his home:
During the extraordinarily long recess I’m reading Life on Mars: the Authorised Biography of DCI Gene Hunt. This is a real throwback; I like that. Life as it used to be. Of course it’s not highbrow, it’s the lower end of the market. But 40 years ago things were very different, thank goodness. I felt so at home in that period. It was so easy in those days. Not just the flares, the heels and verballing innocent people. It’s the wholly illiberal attitudes I delight in. I feel as if I’ve never left that glorious time. You could really party then. You just chose your party and moved around to a different one when you changed your mind, which I often did, and still do. I’m quite choosy, now though. The only reservation I have with this book is it seems a little tongue in cheek. I’m more a foot in mouth sort of man.
I think life is a journey. I’m hoping to circumnavigate the political globe then, as this title suggests, move to a different planet altogether. I feel as if I’m almost there.
Trevor from the depot:
Steven Fry’s The Alleged Liar.
Harry from HM Dining Club Bullingdon:
In the Dordogne this year I’m being a bit naughty and reading my own latest blockbuster: Mount Olympus. It’s the story of Henry VI’s famous victory over Louis XVIII at the Battle of Bosworth Field where William Rufus was assassinated by his brother Richard the Lionheart with the help of Philip of Spain. Proper writing is no mean feat. It takes seconds of research. I am very lucky to be so successful and to be able to speak so authoritatively on important matters such as justice that I know a lot about. Anyone espousing a really credible compelling argument with the potential for unimaginable constitutional upheaval would be bound to enlist me to support it. Each time I go to print I’m deluged with comments, which is a huge compliment to me.
Bob from Bromley (demonstrating here the length of the tadpole he caught on his recent fishing trip):
I’m fortunate this summer suddenly to have a lot of time on my hands. All of my public performances have been cancelled and work has rather dried up. I’m a little disappointed as I spent weeks learning the lines of the script Chris sent me. And I thought I did rather well on Play for Today. Reviews were favourable. I really can’t see the problem with now saying the exact opposite of what I said last month on the world stage. After all I have been an MP for many years. But sadly they want a new leading man now in this summer’s Whitehall farce. Anyway, someone was kind enough to slip me a copy of Greek Mythology with a post it note flagging the story of Icarusto read on my enforced break. Which reminds me, I must pack the factor 50. When the heat wave started on 1st July I ended up with a terribly red face.
Michael from the public Bar:
I’m reading Magna Carta.
I can’t tell you how much utter tripe I’ve been forced to read this year so what a welcome relief to return to a classic I keep with me at all times in my inside pocket next to the Silk Cut.
It’s a simple story of people working out almost 800 years ago how to deal with dangerous nonsense. They did the right thing and feared no one which was pretty brave considering ritual disembowelment was de rigueur then. Happily such barbaric practices are now restricted to consultation roadshows.
I tried to recommend Magna Carta to my fellow book club member, Chris, two weeks ago outside the Commons Justice Select Committee room.
But, fit for purpose as ever, he was more concerned with breaking the world land speed record as he disappeared away from me down the corridor than stopping to chat about an old, irrelevant piece of nostalgia that was cited just the other day by the Lord Chief Justice as an incontrovertible and inviolable pillar of our unwritten constitution.
So Magna Carta is my absolute favourite. I’ll send Chris a copy to Hillsborough Castle to welcome him.
Some may say it’s dated but I think it’s as fresh today as it’s ever been. That’s the mark of a proper piece of writing.
It’s survived 798 years.
Question 17 survived 12 weeks.
9. More from the Wilde Cartoon Collection
“A joke is a very serious thing” Churchill
Do Right, Fear No One
Michael (Bloody) Turner