Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Summary Power

All I'm saying to the judiciary is be aware there's a proper role for the judiciary and a proper role for Parliament.
Tony Blair. 11 October 2005
The current Prime Minister is a dangerously ignorant fool with no understanding of the damage he is attempting to impose on the society he claims to be protecting. [slightly paraphrased]
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, 11th October 2005
I'm still not fully up to speed here but for crying out loud...

Blair wants to give more powers to the police to impose summary justice. You could say that he has considerable audacity to make this proposal so soon after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. The conclusions of the not even slightly urgent investigation into the shooting will not be known for some considerable time yet. Few people, if any, are expecting anything other than a fudge when the investigation finally concludes. In spite of that, somehow, Blair finds it acceptable to propose that the police should be given greater powers in all sorts of areas. Audacity? Idiocy, more like.

And I'd heard that Blair has a Law Degree. As such you'd really think he ought to understand the importance of an independent judiciary.* Where did he study? University of Baghdad, circa 1980's? Maybe he thinks that checks and balances are the patterns on the fabrics Cherie uses to make her dresses. And I suspect he thinks the seperation of powers refers to the way he seperates his many different and unrestricted powers depending on which ad-hoc sofa committee he is chairing at any given moment.

I'm afraid the Judge Dredd comparisons are becoming more and more appropriate. I doubt Blair would understand that the creator of Judge Dredd originally intended him to be a warning about the dangers of summary justice and unrestricted power.** No, for Blair, JD's actions are the basis for another splendid instruction manual on maintaining law and order. He could file that manual alongside his copy of 1984.

Let no-one be in any doubt, the man is a menace.

* Yes, I know, the UK judiciary is not fully independent. I thought we were supposed to be making them more independent, not less. Isn't that what the Supreme Court was supposed to be all about?

** This one, at least, appears to be a common misconception. Not that I'm an expert on Judge Dredd mind, I just saw this being discussed when one of the origina creators was being interviewed. Wikipedia says:
A frequently used phrase in the series is "I am the Law." Some see Dredd as a personification of the idea of Law, thus his face cannot be shown because as The Law he transcends any particular form.
I don't think so. As I see it, he represents the danger of granting unlimited power without accountability. I'd edit the wikipedia article but I feel I'd be swamped by people who know a lot more about Dredd than I do. I'm waffling now. Sorry.

No comments: