Lord Chancellor. Defend your legal aid budget –  now austerity is revealed as a political choice. 

The new Lord Chancellor David Lidington, needs to emulate other ministers and demand proper funding for legal aid now we know austerity is a political choice.Following the additional funding, handed over post DUP agreement to Northern Ireland other Ministers are demanding relaxation of public sector restraints so legal aid?
Legal aid has suffered far more than any other sector from neglect. 17/ 19 years of neglect and cuts. It is time to end the famine now.
Across the whole Spectrum of informed opinion especially the judiciary it is clear that cuts to legal aid not only deny ordinary people of limited means justice but actually cause disruption and delay as unrepresented people flounder helplessly in court. 
We are facing new and disruptive cuts which the Lord Chancellor will be judged upon as the acid test of his commitment to Justice. If he fails that test it will set the tone for the reception of any other pronouncements that he makes in future. 
I mean no disrespect but grand and worthy pronouncements in interviews or speeches on a whole range of measures will be seen in the context of failure to ensure access to justice for the many at reasonable cost to the State whilst the wealthy section of the community, in contrast can buy legal representation at a commercial rate. 
Now austerity is revealed as a choice and other Ministers break free from its shackles all we ask is to put further cuts on hold for the moment and commit to engagement on discussing reform. There are proposals from the profession that will help that process and save money. 
The cautious welcome offered to the appointment of the new Lord Chancellor has been sincere, not least because his predecessor notoriously refused to acknowledge invitations to engage. That welcoming mood will change rapidly if, despite the easing of financial restrictions in other Government departments the Lord Chancellor fails to defend his own legal aid budget. 
It would be an error for a new Lord Chancellor to simply rubber stamp MOJ civil Servant proposals for cuts simply because the latter insist they are part of his predecessors policy agenda. His predecessor failed to grasp the issue of underfunding that so contributes greatly to the unfairness and inequality in our legal system. 

The country is impatient with austerity and those underpaid professionals who have suffered neglect for years are no exception. 

We are watching and waiting. 
Robin Murray 

Biggest crisis since Munich or Suez?

Worries surfacing at the Treasury at the economic knock on effects of DUP deal as other parts of U.K. demand extra funding.
Under Barnet formula the demands will grow for proportionate increases elsewhere than NI. This is pork barrel politics has consequences.
DUP pride themselves on being ‘British’ and yet put local pork barrel politics before the interest of the nation by their naked opportunism.
You could say what for you expect? Well. if really patriotic British I expect DUP to put the nation first and the deal would be done by now.

But do I blame the DUP? To be honest that’s like blaming the weather. They are narrow sectarian people representing a narrow sectarian group.
Who is really to blame if not the DUP for this instability? I would suggest PM Mrs May for calling unnecessary election after A 50 triggered.
This has put impossible pressure on her own Government in terms of the Brexit negotiation time table which is being exploited by the DUP and also jeopardising the NI peace process. This will go down in history as one of the political and greatest follies of any PM. Right up their with Chamberlain and Munich crisis or Eden and the Suez crisis. 

The country must come first. 

The country must come first. Imagine the impact on the EU if we had a jointly agreed negotiating position? It would be very popular in U.K.‬
‪We need a temporary truce on Brexit. Cooperation between the major parties and a joint compromise on negotiation platform. Then an election.‬
‪It would be a brave party that refused to join or wrecked a joint non party political approach to EU negotiations in a national emergency. ‬

Far better than The Tories pretending nothing has happened to their now diminished authority after that election. They remain the Government for now but just on Brexit share the burden of these crucial negotiations.
It is the patriotic duty of all of us and all parties to get the best deal we can from the EU by agreeing a joint platform. We can still conduct usual politics in the meantime but on this one issue present a unified face to the EU. The EU would treat us with more respect than they will a wounded unstable Conservative party dependent upon extremists from Northern Island. 

We must not allow some natural glee at Tory misery obscure the fact that consequences of hard Brexit will harm us for generations.

Mrs May wags the dog. 

The opportunist ludicrous comments by Mrs May on the HRA is a distraction from main security issues caused by cuts to police and intelligence gathering is in my view chilling. I hope the British public don’t fall for it. 
Real ‘wag the dog stuff’. It’s horrible to see such a blatant attempt to manipulate a serious issue such as public safety. Removing our rights to seek redress in the courts against Government misconduct will not reduce terrorism. On the contrary it will create a rallying point and create further extremism. Our HRA helps us all seek justice at home in our courts initially from the more complex expensive ECHR. 
We don’t need more laws. We don’t need to remove laws. We don’t need to change laws. 
What we need is to properly resource law enforcement and undo the damage by Mrs. May who has cut police numbers by 20,000. 
We need more local community police to help with intelligence gathering. 
We need more specialised armed police across the nation to protect us all beyond the larger cities. 
We need to return to something like Labour control orders over suspected terrorists removed by the Tories and replaced by weaker measures. 
Our most basic human right is not to be murdered. But this is best achieved through intelligence, law enforcement and where necessary control over the activities of potential terrorists. 
That is NOT inconsistent with the HRA which is a necessary safeguard giving the courts the ability to prevent abuse. Human rights are totally consistent with law enforcement as they give legitimacy to safeguarding our society as we crack down on extremists. 
I want to defend our freedom by defeating terrorists not lose our freedom to authoritarian legislation. That is playing right into the hands of the terrorists who will exploit it. The HRA is a defensive measure for our democratic society not for terrorists as Mrs May is pretending.

Target extremist funding and teaching. 

I do not wish to politicise this issue whilst people are shocked and distressed especially the victims of recent terror. Nevertheless it is legitimate to ask certain hard questions. Why are we still not publicising this evidence? 
Our so called Saudi friends have a case to answer it seems as this report suggests they are funding the growth of home grown terrorism.  
We cannot ignore the funding of extremist brain washing. Ignoring extremism does innocent communities no good at all. Most decent Muslims, their leaders and Mosques are horrified by terror. Those supporting extreme versions of Islam must be targeted as should their funding. I don’t care how many weapons we sell to the Saudis. 
Our first civil liberty is the right to life and tacking extremism must be now an absolute priority. This will involve some inevitable compromise in the pursuit of the terrorist and those funding it. Some judicial supervision is needed but we need to focus intelligence gathering not on the whole population but where there are specific concerns. Why?

We owe our own citizens including all decent Muslims the fullest support. That includes more investment in intelligence and monitoring. This includes more community policing. This means cuts to the police by Mrs May (20,000 reduction) must me reversed in a specific intelligent targeted way to deal with this threat.
If we ignore this evidence that will cause resentment and irrational division in our society. We need to fight back and target these evil purveyors of this ghastly death cult and root it out. 
In the meantime our democratic processes must proceed or we allow the terrorists a win that their supporters, teachers and finders will  wish to support. 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/31/sensitive-uk-terror-funding-inquiry-findings-may-never-be-published-saudi-arabia

Tory attack on the homes of the sick and elderly will destabilise ordinary families. 

I support the concept that we all share the risk of  some personal contribution from the sale of a house after it is no longer needed by the occupant but the  rest should be paid by favouring a social care system funded by government through taxation. My dad was a brave soldier and policeman. My mum worked most of her life. They bought a house with a mortgage. My Dad passed away. After a stroke my Mother had to be placed in a home alongside people who had not so struggled to buy a home and paid nothing towards their care whilst her home was sold and hundreds of thousands of pounds paid to the local authority that she has hoped to pass on to her family. So the moral of that tale is that my Mum and Dad should not perhaps have bothered to strive because all that happened is their home value subsidised those who had not made the same sacrifice in buying a home. (Not a criticism of the latter who had different circumstances and challenges, but an attack on the system penalising those who struggled to buy a home)

I think as a society we should all share the risk that where care is needed beyond what a family can offer due to medical issues. Otherwise the strivers are penalised. Please don’t misinterpret that as my suggesting non home owners do not make an effort e.g. at work or bringing up a family but some are fortunate enough to have a disposable income sufficient to buy a home and make an effort to do so through mortgage payments. This is an ‘effort’ because they could have chosen to spend that money on other things.

What the Tory proposal amount to is an attack on working class and middle class people who chose to buy their own homes. Often with a view to helping the next generation of their family do the same. It is part of the incentive of buying your own home if you are not a hugely wealth ‘trustafarrian’ with vast investments. We should not penalise people who made these sacrifices. We should treat the sick, those with dementia and the elderly in need of care on an equal basis whatever their background. That is why I am happy to pay more in social insurance or tax. I believe we should have a ‘universal’ risk not a targeted risk that steals from those who made sacrifices to buy their own homes. This proposal is a truly massive shift in wealth from the working class and middle class families to pay for lower taxes for the higher earners.

Working families have sometime built up value in family homes and as part of their natural family supporting instinct passed on some of that value down through the generations. They don’t have vast investments and trusts. This is an assault on that transfer of value that builds up the security of ordinary families. It is an attack on family aspiration and family values

The Dilnot cross party commission at least capped the risk so only £72k was at risk. Now hundreds of thousands will be taken from ordinary families because most homes are valued at over 100k so massively more than 72k will now be taken from ordinary families to subsidise the wealthy.

In the meantime the Tories promise in their manifesto to cut free school meals for 900’000 poor infant children including 600’000 from ‘ordinary working families’ according to the Education Policy Institute. This is £440 for every child hit by the cut. ‘Strong and stable’ oh really? Theft of assets and removal of free meals from kids will de stabilise ordinary families.

The Tory proposals to take most of the home value even for those being cared for at home is an attack on the elderly and their aspirations for their families. I would prefer to share that risk with everyone through taxation and would not resent it at all if my taxes helped to keep people in their home or in a care home as long as there was a modest sum paid from the sale as recommended by the Dilnot Commission which had cross Party support but abandoned by the Tories.

That and the attack on elderly pensions by removal of the triple lock pension is why the polls are moving away from the Tories at the moment.

Those who were encouraged to buy their council houses by the Tories in the 1980’s will hardly welcome this destruction of a previous family asset. 

Taxation whilst we can pay and its deployment in looking after the elderly, the sick and the education of the young is the price we should pay to live in a caring civilised society. We should not object to it as one day we might all need social care. Taking the homes from those who have paid into taxation all their lives is theft from the elderly in my view.

Tory attack on the homes of the sick and elderly will destabilise ordinary families. 

I support the concept that we all share the risk of some personal contribution from the sale of a house after it is no longer needed by the occupant but the  rest should be paid by favouring a social care system funded by government through taxation. My dad was a brave soldier and policeman. My mum worked most of her life. They bought a house with a mortgage. My Dad passed away. After a stroke my Mother had to be placed in a home alongside people who had not so struggled to buy a home and paid nothing towards their care whilst her home was sold and hundreds of thousands of pounds paid to the local authority that she has hoped to pass on to her family. So the moral of that tale is that my Mum and Dad should not perhaps have bothered to strive because all that happened is their home value subsidised those who had not made the same sacrifice in buying a home. (Not a criticism of the latter who had different circumstances and challenges, but an attack on the system penalising those who struggled to buy a home)

I think as a society we should all share the risk where care is needed beyond what a family can offer due to medical issues. Otherwise the strivers are penalised. Please don’t misinterpret that as my suggesting non home owners do not make an effort e.g. at work or bringing up a family but some are fortunate enough to have a disposable income sufficient to buy a home and make an effort to do so through mortgage payments. This is an ‘effort’ because they could have chosen to spend that money on other things. 

What the Tory proposal amount to is an attack on working class and middle class people who chose to buy their own homes. Often with a view to helping the next generation of their family to do the same. It is part of the incentive of buying your own home if you are not a hugely wealth ‘trustafatain ‘ with vast investments. We should not penalise people who made these sacrifices. We should treat the sick, those with dementia and the elderly in need of care on an equal basis whatever their background. That is why I am happy to pay more in social insurance or tax. I believe we should have a ‘universal’ risk not a targeted risk that steals from those who made sacrifices to buy their own homes. This proposal is a truly massive shift in wealth from the working class and middle class families to pay for lower taxes for the higher earners.  

Working families have sometime built up value in family homes and as part of their natural family supporting instinct passed on some of that value down through the generations. They don’t have vast investments and trusts. This is an assault on that transfer of value that builds up the security of ordinary families. 

The Dilnot cross party commission at least capped the risk so only £72k was at risk. Now hundreds of thousands will be taken from ordinary families because most homes are valued at over 100k so massively more than 72k will now be taken from ordinary families to subsidise the wealthy. 

In the meantime the Tories promise in their manifesto to cut free school meals for 900’000 poor infant children including 600’000 from ‘ordinary working families’ according to the Education Policy Institute. This is £440 for every child hit by the cut. ‘Strong and stable’ oh really? Theft of assets and removal of free meals from kids will de stabilise ordinary families. 

The Tory proposals to take most of the home value even for those being cared for at home is an attack on the elderly and their aspirations for their families. I would prefer to share that risk with everyone through taxation and would not resent it at all if my taxes helped to keep people in their home or in a care home as long as there was a modest sum paid from the sale as recommended by the Dilnot Commission which had cross Party support but abandoned by the Tories.   
That and the attack on elderly pensions by removal of the triple lock pension is why the polls are moving away from the Tories at the moment.  

Taxation whilst we can pay and its deployment in looking after the elderly, the sick and the education of the young is the price we should pay to live in a caring civilised society. We should not object to it as one day we might all need social care. Taking the homes from those who have paid into taxation all their lives is theft from the elderly in my view.

Ministry Of Justice response to Cyber attack

 

 

The MOJ today launched a furious rebuke to cyber terrorists hacking into all the criminal Justice IT platforms.

The Ministry of Justice Press Office said ‘at a time when the NHS IT systems have been under attack’ we deplore the simultaneous assault upon the CJS systems.’

This follows reports yesterday that those claiming to represent the ‘Legal aid action Front’ (LAAF) had hacked into the systems to ‘make them work’. Overnight a change had been noticed throughout the whole system. Such unusual activity was detected such as:

  • Documents properly accessible on the common platform so that defence lawyers could see the evidence.
  • CPS lawyers at all levels having all the available documentation ready for disclosure.
  • Virtual courts all functioning properly.
  • Telephonic communications systems working so that the CPS answered all phone calls and replied promptly to e mails.
  • There was no delay in accessing the Legal Aid Portal and the interest of justice criteria were assessed fairly

The MOJ spokesperson continued ‘we deplore the activities of this radical organisation.  There is no place for a L.A.A.F in our system.  ‘We can confirm that normal service has been now resumed after this brief distressing interlude where things worked properly.  Practitioners can expect nothing to work well again.’

A spokesman for L.A.A.F said: ‘our Legal aid activists are now returning to the woods and hills. Not in hiding but because they can’t afford to buy or rent affordable housing on legal aid rates and are living rough’