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I try not to pay much attention to politics any more.  I used to love it, but more and more I'm forming the view that politicians are a bunch of lying corrupt bastards.  In fact, I'm so angry at them that I am not attending a party at the Supreme Court tonight as I was worried I might slap Ian Duncan-Smith who is due to be attending.

This week, I have mostly been enraged by Ed Balls and Vince Cable.

You may recall that during the Labour administration they constantly ramped up fear of terrorism and told us that they needed new and ever more draconian powers to curb the threat to our nation.  Since they lost the election, something has clearly changed.  Ed Balls told the BBC that Labour got the balance between national security and civil liberties wrong.  He admits, for example, that his party were wrong to try to pass a law allowing terrorist suspects to be detained for 90-days without charge.  He says they were wrong to try for 42-days.  And, now he says that despite fighting tooth and nail for a 28-day detention limit that was wrong as well and Labour may now back a return to the old 14-day limit.  In fact, he concedes that since the limit was extended from 14-days to 28-days, precisely zero suspects have been held beyond 14-days! 

He said that at the time, the Government was under pressure from terrorist plots.  Does that mean then that the plots have all now vanished?  Is the terrorist threat now at an end?  Or, is this just a very cynical dishonest re-positioning by a politician who recognises that large swathes of the voting public would not trust him or his mates as far as they could throw him?

Incidentally, Mr Balls also gave us a glimpse of how politicians really view crime fighting strategies.  He said that people want more CCTV cameras "because they want to feel safe".  Take note of those words, "they want to FEEL safe".  He's not advocating them because he believes they reduce or detect crime, simply because they make people feel safer regardless of whether or not they are safer.  That attitude of politicians doing things to make it seem like that give a crap is the sort of attitude that has prevented the police and courts from actually being able to crack down on crime.  It's all style and no substance.

My own MP, Vince Cable, has also been at it.  He's been telling us that he did not break any promises by going back on his promise not to raise tuition fees for uni students.  His reasoning seems to be that because he didn't win the election none of the principles he claimed to believe in before matter now.

I also see that Ken Clarke has launched yet another consultation on legal aid.  Despite the last Government spending millions on dozens of consultations (the results of which were mostly ignored completely).  The latest consultation document is 224 pages long plus a quite staggering 558 extra pages of impact assessments.  It's billed as the biggest shake up of legal aid since it was created in 1949 (just like all the other consultations), but in reality it's just about cutting costs, e.g. should "bolt-on" costs for solicitors be reduced by 50%?  I am a solicitor and I don't even know what they mean by bolt-on costs!  I'm going to blog more about the effects of these proposals later, but to summarise most will mean weaker defence teams because firms will continue the growing trend to use less qualified and less able staff to do more and more difficult work.

There endth the rant.


  1. This breaking of promises starts at the very top. What happened to "The Heir to Blair's" "cast iron guarantee".

    Also, "What matters in politics is not what happens, but what you can make people believe has happened." [Janet Daley 27/8/2003]

    But then I am just a cynical old git. :-)

  2. Nothing to comment on this but just to say how much I enjoy your blog. It is nice to read reasoned arguments and comments as opposed to some other blogs.

  3. Thanks mcmrjp and there was me worrying that I was just ranting, which I probably was.

  4. Ed (not Bystander)2 December 2010 at 17:23

    I'm a keen reader of your work, DB.

  5. Ed (not Bystander)2 December 2010 at 17:25

    By the way, is there a non-blog means of contacting you, like an email address?


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