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Showing posts from September, 2011

Adoption figures reports

I have linked to the BBC report on the numbers of babies adopted from care. There have always been very few of these as they are basically the babies that are abandoned at birth.

I am not sure myself that the Government are right to regret that fewer babies are abandoned at birth. I would think that it would be better if they were not abandoned. However, that is the government's view.

Similarly it is not enough to just look at the figures for adoptions. We need to look at what happens with the children. There has been a movement away from children returning to their parents, perhaps this is being reversed. We don't know.

Hence really there is not a lot that anyone who fully understands the care system should say. That, of course, does not stop Martin Narey from saying:
"The numbers are disappointing, but the tide is turning."

Tuition Fees and Labour

The news that Labour support the increase in tuition fees to 6K at the lower end, but not the higher end to 9k is an odd piece of news.

Basically under the coalition scheme the graduates in the bottom half of earnings are not affected by this proposal. Those who would benefit are those who earn in their life time more than the 52nd percentile.

In fact many of these would hardly be affected (those at the bottom end) and it is the higher earners that really benefit, but not the top earners.

This is an interesting political placing. We are trying to benefit lower earning households. Labour are trying to benefit the upper middle earning households.

John Hemming and the Sisters of Jazz at the Lib Dem Conference

For those interested in Jazz here are three of the numbers the band played at the Lib Dem Glee Club on Tuesday evening.



A good still:

Photo Jas Sansi

Band Website

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Contradictions in Judgment in re: Watson

[2011] EWHC 2376 (Fam)Doncaster v Watson has been published in which Wall P says: "The first myth I wish to explode is that a person can be sent to prison "in secret". Nobody in this country is sent to prison for contempt of court "in secret"."

He also makes reference to:
[2007] EWCA Civ 248 Hammerton v Hammerton in which it is clear that someone was sent to prison "in secret". Hence he is wrong in that someone 'can be sent to prison "in secret"' and he has given an example of it. The contradiction is referred to in his own judgment.

I know of other more recent cases where people have been sent to prison in secret. Obviously I cannot name them here.

It is quite clear that secret trials are less reliable than those subject to public scrutiny. The key accountability of the judicial system (as a whole) is transparency and public accountability.

Prosecutions for Contempt are for all intents and purposes criminal prosecutions. Peo…

The First Amendment at the Lib Dem Conference

I spoke at a number of Fringes at the Conference. This was with the Freedom Assocation about the first amendment.

Greece and the Euro

The situation in Greece does seem to be coming to a head. If they don't sort their problems out then they won't have money to pay their liabilities.

I would argue that any country that has had to have a rescue of any form has gone through a form of bankruptcy. However, it is only at the point at which they really don't have any way of paying for things that they have the effects of insolvency in that people don't actually get paid.

In terms of international law they will still owe the debts that they have. Hence there is no rational route through which they would not comply with the proposals from the Eurozone.

It really does not matter how much the unions in Greece protest. They need to find a way of paying for their liabilities. They won't get an improved deal if they don't stick by the deals they have done to date. Creating a "New Drachma" still does not solve the issue of the liabilities they already have.

the NHS and Social Care bill amendments

Publicwhip (under new management) have now published the divisions. It is worth explaining the meaning of the amendment divisions pushed by Labour (as what they saw as the key issues).

Delay the abolition of Strategic Health Authorities I cannot understand the argument for delaying the abolition. Either they are worth keeping or should go. I also don't know why Labour really pushed this one. It shows quite a bureaucratic mentality.

replace "secure" with "provide or secure". This was one of the debates floating around driven in part by 38 degrees who have not helped their credibility. Basically the proposal is that if a new hospital is needed that the Secretary of State sets up a new NHS trust which provides the services. The amendment argued that potentially the Secretary of State should directly provide the services. I don't quite get the idea of that given that commissioning has been the approach for the NHS for decades. Hence it was really an unne…

Norman Scarth Freed

The Court of Appeal have reduced his sentence so he is now free. However, there really is a question asked when recording a court hearing is thought to be worse than looting.

Indeed if courts are now to be televised should we not compromise and keep out the cameras, but allow recording (even if the recordings are not broadcast).

Vicky Haigh - judgments published

The recent judgments have now been published in the Vicky Haigh case Doncaster v Haigh and Doncaster v Watson

I am not going to comment specifically on the Watson case.

I have always had and remain to have three concerns about the issues relating to Vicky Haigh. The first two were public.

Firstly, I was concerned that there was an attempt made to jail her for talking at a meeting in parliament. The meeting was one at which Anthony Douglas was answering questions and I was chairing. She asked a question of Anthony Douglas. When she asked this question she did not name herself, her daughter or her ex-husband. However, this was used by Doncaster as a reason why she should be imprisoned. She did name Doncaster.

I have some great difficulty with this from a constitutional perspective. The First Amendment to the US Constitution is specific about people's right to petition government. In the US that has been considered to involve all three estates of the constitution. In asking a …

Abortion and advice

There is quite a debate going on about an amendment that Nadine Dorries is promoting to the Health and Social Care Bill.

The first problem I have is that I have looked on the parliamentary website to find out precisely what the amendment is. I cannot find it. Hence it is difficult to comment precisely as to the amendment itself.

There are some simple principles, however.

It would be better if there were fewer abortions. The best way of achieving this is improved contraception. If a women is to have an abortion then the earlier this happens the better.

If, however, a woman has decided to have an abortion then she should not be forced into undergoing a long counselling process.

There, should, however be independent advice and counselling available for those who want it. Those advisors who work for providers are clearly subject to a conflict of interest. However, that does not necessarily prevent them giving advice.

To me the key is to ensure that women are made aware of various s…