Mills & Boon’s Latest: The Whirlwind Romance of the Perfect (Ukip) Gentleman

Jo MarneyThis week’s leader of Ukip, Mr Henry Bolton, has managed to get himself into the newspapers by: (1) leaving his wife for a younger woman; (2) changing his mind when the younger woman’s opinions on race were revealed; (3) saying he might change his mind again and return to the younger woman. The younger woman, for her part, has described Mr Bolton as the perfect gentleman. What a charming story. Let us look at it in more detail. Continue reading

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Why Should Esther McVey be Lynched?

It is, famously, the opinion of the shadow chancellor of the exchequer that Esther McVey MP is a “bastard” who ought be lynched. Some, even in the Labour Party, thought he had gone a bit too far when he said that. But he has always refused to back down. Being conscious of modern PR requirements, he has been prepared to say that calling for a Tory MP to be lynched was just a joke, but it is not a joke which he thinks should be retracted (I suppose that is because it is so side splittingly funny). Continue reading

Delegated Legislation is Usually a Bad Thing.

Lord Judge, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, has spoken publicly about his dislike of the use of delegated legislation (statutory instruments etc.) to create criminal offences. Good for him. Mainstream politicians will never complain about legislation by civil servants. They have been completely won over by Sir Humphrey’s assurance that their colleagues in the House of Commons can never be trusted to get anything right. And. of course, they have lived with massive legislation from the EU with, effectively, no parliamentary scrutiny at all, for all their political lives. Democratic control of law makers is not something they hate. it is just something of which they have no experience. Continue reading

Do the Police and CPS Need to be Re-Educated?

Liam Allan, 22, was charged with rape. He admitted having sexual intercourse with the complainant, but he said it was consensual. He was on bail for two years. The world was told he was a rapist. Three days into his trial the police and Crown Prosecution Service finally agreed to disclose thousands of text messages from the complainant to her friends. Some of those messages explained her liking for “rough” sex and said she fantasised about being raped. One of them said, of her intercourse with Mr Allan, that it was not against her will. Not surprisingly, all charges were dropped. The Director of Public Prosecutions has said that it is “regrettable” that disclosure of evidence which, in effect, proved Mr Allan’s innocence did not take place until three days into his trial. But she is not greatly troubled by the error. The impression she gives is that she thinks it is just one of those things, nothing over which to lose sleep. What are a mere two years in a young man’s life?

We don’t know quite as much about the case of Isaac Itiary, 25. We do know he was charged with rape of a girl under the age of 16. We do know he was kept in custody for four months pending his trial. And we do know he was black. But nothing much else has been revealed to us, save that the complainant’s text messages showed that she routinely posed as a nineteen-year-old. The age of the complainant was vital to the charge (I assume it was accepted that she consented to intercourse). The police and the CPS, however, did not think it relevant that she was in the habit of claiming to be nineteen-years-old. So Mr Itiary languished for months in prison while preparations were made for his trial and his lawyers were left in blissful ignorance of the fact that there was solid evidence that the complainant was in the habit of pretending to be much older than she was. In the end, the police relented and agreed to reveal all to the defence. That, inevitably, led to all charges being dropped. Continue reading

In Defence of Dominic Grieve

A lot of those of my friends who, like me, hate undemocratic rule from Brussels are very cross with Dominic Grieve. They think, which is quite right (his protestations to the contrary do get very close to dishonesty – though I acquit him of the charge), that he is intent on keeping us in the EU despite the referendum. They reckon that is evil.

Well, I have to say I disagree with my friends. I have known Dominic for something like forty years. My recollection is that his father, who was also a Conservative MP, was also desperately keen on the European experiment. His mother was French, and I think he ran away with the silly notion, very early in his life, that it was not possible to be keen on European culture without also being keen on undemocratic rule by continental bureaucrats. European culture was a good thing (absolutely right) and therefore Britain should be ruled by unelected foreigners (obviously wrong). Continue reading

“Crowdfunding” is not Always a Good Thing

I wonder if you remember. A member of the Green Party of Northern Ireland, Ciaran McLean, challenged the confidence and supply agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP in the Administrative Court. He asserted that the agreement would involve expenditure of public funds for an improper purpose, namely for the Conservatives as a political party. Further, he said, the agreement violated the Bribery Act 2010.

British political history is, of course, littered with examples of deals being made between political parties so as to ensure that governments can command majorities in Parliament. No doubt, in every case, there have been other political parties which have been infuriated by such deals. But no one, until now, has suggested they are unlawful. Continue reading

What is the Point of GPs?

I think I must have been about eleven years-old. We lived in Berkshire at the time. Our GP (I think he was a sole practitioner) had his surgery in a village about ten miles away. There were four of us children (I was the oldest) so visits to the GP were not uncommon. Dr Walker got to know us all. Indeed, he became a friend. He also had children. We sometimes went to lunch with the Walkers (they had under floor central heating – an amazing thing which seemed to come from science fiction). My parents went to dinner with them and they, Dr Walker and his wife, came to dinner with us.

That night, the Walkers, and another couple, were invited to dinner by my parents. I was rather under the weather. When the Walkers arrived my mother, apologising profusely, asked Peter (Dr Walker) if he would awfully mind having a look at me.

I fear I ruined the dinner party.. Peter asked me a few questions and carried out a brief examination. He left my bedroom and I heard, but couldn’t discern, a mumbled conversation with my mother. The next thing I knew I was being carried down to Peter’s car. He, with my mother – the cook for the dinner party – as the other passenger, drove me the twenty miles or so to the Nuffield Isolation Hospital in Oxford. There was no four hour wait. I was whisked to a room where a junior, and rather stupid, doctor told me that what he was about to do would not hurt. A lumbar puncture without any form of anaesthetic, is not, I can assure you, a painless procedure. Anyway, that is by the way. Dr Walker had correctly deduced that I had meningitis. He considered it his obligation, though off duty and looking forward to a good dinner (my mother was an excellent cook) with plenty of wine, to ensure his patient got the treatment he needed (I did – all turned out all right). Continue reading

Even Tories can Expect Justice in the UK

Two stories struck me today. First, and most of you probably didn’t even notice this one, the conviction of Lord Howard of Lympne for having failed to tell the police who was driving his car when it was spotted travelling at 37 m.p.h in a 30 m.p.h speed limit area by one of those money making cameras was quashed by the High Court. Secondly, a retired police officer decided to go to the newspapers, rather than to the official inquiry, to reveal his interpretation of material he had found when he and other polices officers, ten years ago, raided the House of Commons office of Damian Green, who is now the First Secretary of State. Continue reading