Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Not Good Enough

Sorry, this is pathetic. Baroness Scotland is still in place, and all we get is:
"The government takes seriously breaches of this important protection against illegal immigration and as a result Baroness Scotland has made the fullest of apologies and paid the fine.
This misses the point entirely.

New Labour have spent 12 years issuing regulations that we all have to adhere to. I understand that Baroness Scotland herself piloted the regulation that caught her onto our statute books. This can only mean one of three things:
  • Baroness Scotland does not understand the laws she is responsible for creating.
  • Baroness Scotland has spent her time in the job passing laws that a reasonable person in the street is not able to comply with
  • Baroness Scotland believes that she is above the laws that apply to the rest of us.

Either way, her position as the highest-ranking legal officer in the Government is not tenable. The episode reveals her to be either incompetent or venal. I find it upsetting that we are ruled by a Government that includes a law officer without the basic personal principles that would cause her to realise that she must stand down, and a Prime Minister without the guts to sack her.


  1. It is, indeed, a total and utter disgrace of the highest order.

    But enough about New Labour in general, the Baroness Scotland thing is truly terrible.

  2. Brown sees everything through a prism of party political advantage. A resignation hurts, but brazening it out usually leaves everyone forgetting about it after a few days. Whatever happened about Darling's expenses, for example?

    It stinks.

  3. According to the BBC, Phil Woolas has said: "I don't think you can seriously say that everybody in public life who committed a mistake under civil law should resign, I think there would be very few people left in public life."

    I have some sympathy with him, there are so many regulations now that it is hard for an intelligent and informed person to abide by them, let alone a member of this Government. But if there is one member of the Government for whom Woolas' excuse will not work, it is the Attorney General.

  4. I concur with all of you completely.

    You would think that in her position she would be scrupulous about who she employs, as well as maintain a proper record of this. The fact she did not demonstrates that she is not intellectually capable of her job. Patently cleverly identifies this by listing out that either Her Ladyship does not understand the law or she is unable to comply with her laws or she does not understand the Rule of Law.
    Even if it was a genuine error, she should go forthwith.....closely followed by Brown whose weakness for middle aged ladies is beyond the pale. No, not the bucket, but you can get me one of those as far as he is concerned; what an erosion of public standards we are witnessing.

  5. The fact she did not demonstrates that she is not intellectually capable of her job.

    I'm afraid that conclusion seems hard to avoid. She is, after all, the person who advises the Government on whether a war is legal or not. This isn't just a question of getting the law right or even avoiding an unjust war (both crucial in themselves), it is also a question that relates to whether or not our troops could be indicted for war crimes.

  6. Blue Eyes has hit on the real criticism of Brown - that he thinks he is just leader of the Labour Party, whereas he is in fact the PM of the entire country.

    Phil Woolas is 100% right, in that one minor offence should not per se disqualify someone. We would not sack the Foreign Secretary for a speeding offence, for example.

    We would however sack the Foreign Secretary if he was convicted of a public order offence in a foreign capital. We would also sack a Minister in charge of road safety who, after running a vitriolic campaign against speeding motorists, was himself caught speeding. In both cases, the nature of the offence would be relevant to the duties of the Minister and the conviction would therefore establish their unsuitability for the post.

    Phil Woolas' analysis omits this (rather relevant) factor. For Lady Scotland, of course, all the excuses fail. She is the chief law officer, so all lawbreaking is relevant. She brought the law into force, so cannot claim ignorance. She was responsible for its drafting, so cannot claim that it was too difficult to understand, or too burdensome to comply with. Either way, she is caught, and must go.

  7. I'm afraid that as Brown has felt it appropriate to use the entire economy as the Labour Party Campaign Machine since about 2000, he will not find it morally reprehensible to allow Ms Scotland to stay in her office at least until this issue has blown over.

  8. I do not think 'venal' was the right word. It is probably safer to stick just to incompetent. Yes, she has been found guilty and therefore she MUST go.

  9. The more I think about this, the more it seems to be much bigger than whether or not Baroness Scotland should resign. Regulation has been at the heart of the Government's solution to almost everything. This case shows that that policy of colossal interference has been both burdensome and ineffectual.

  10. Blue - I fear that too. It is one of the many, many reasons why he must go.

    Measured - "venal" was but one alternative. I think it possible that she knew she was acting illegally, or did not care whether she was acting legally or illegally, but thought she could get away with it by virtue of her position. In that case, she is arrogant and venal.

    The most likely cause, I believe, is that she did not realise what was required of her by the law, in which case she is incompetent.

    Albert - quite right. I knew you would come to agree with me one day ;-)

  11. What makes you think I ever disagreed with you on this?!

  12. It also shows brown's poor judgement.
    He leaves an unresolved issue ready to boil over during his conference.
    Already his 75 days to save the earth speech is on the middle pages of the papers,mercifully knocked off by this scandal. He's had says to do the strategy now and he still hasn't got it right.

    No one thought her a bad AG, but she had to go. Now its her expenses as well. Suitability for office. the papers waiting to fill a few pages with stories of other non resigners.
    Blears, Smith, McNulty, Darling, Hoon....

    Gordon desperately needs a good advisor. The ones he has are convinced they can still control the media as if it were still 1999. Put out a story about bin taxes or repeat a promise of money for something.

    If he'd told her to go he would have had her back in another post by Christmas. He would have looked determined. He binned McBride straight away, and although the damage was already done, it could have been an awful lot worse. Why the determination to keep a minor member. Its 10p tax land again.

  13. Two further observations are that:

    1. Baroness Scotland employed this person as a housekeeper. When allowing the person access to her house, would Baroness Scotland not have kept evidence to give the police so it be would be able possible to trace the person if that person turned out to be dishonest? What I am saying is that I am surprised no copies of documents were retained.

    2. On clearing the 'Jungle' near Calais yesterday, the asylum seekers reiterated their determination to reach England. When asked why, one man stated that it is much easier to work illegally in the UK than in France. His mates agreed. I simply wish to point out this regulation does not appear to have reached its intended target.

    May this event be another nail in the Labour's coffin.

  14. Albert - just teasing!

    Bill - everything points, as BE noted, to Brown simply not being up to the job of PM.

    Measured - good points, particularly the second. The evidence does rather seem to contradict New Labour's rhetoric.

  15. In order to "..ensure a fair deal for all"? ;-D