It is now just over a week until the TUC march against public spending cuts, when tens of thousands of people are expected to take to London’s streets in protest. Both the TUC and the Metropolitan Police have asked Liberty to provide independent legal observers for the ‘March for the Alternative’ to help ensure that it runs smoothly and safely.
This week the jury returned its verdict following a six-week inquest into the death of Naomi Bryant. The jury found that a shocking catalogue of failings, by every agency involved, had directly contributed to Naomi’s death. It was a remarkable conclusion to a long-running, distressing ordeal.
Over the past week, a number of false allegations have been made about my role at the London School of Economics. These come from predictable directions and have been made in the context of the wider controversy over the school’s dealings with Libya.
Good news! Sexism is dead. According to one national newspaper it’s common knowledge that women and men are now equal. Discrimination has gone the way of the dodo, or so we're told. It’s strange though, I can’t shake this nagging feeling that there’s still more to be done.
Today in the Times, Michael Howard – the former Conservative Home Secretary with inglorious form for bashing judges, responds directly to Liberty's defence of the rule of law and presents himself as flag carrier for the campaign to scrap the Human Rights Act.
The past couple of weeks have been extraordinary in the development of democracy. People across the Middle East rise up against tyranny. British politicians praise their courage. Then, while warning the tyrants, they rail against the values and institutions that have long protected liberty and the rule of law at home.
Two weeks ago David Cameron said that the thought of giving prisoners the right to vote – in response to a judgment six years ago by the European Court of Human Rights – made him feel sick. This week he turned on our own Supreme Court, saying that he was “appalled” by a judgment concerning the sex offenders’ register. Delayed reaction again – the judgment he was responding to was handed down almost a year ago. Is our PM engaging in some judge / human rights bashing? Are we being softened up for an attack on the Human Rights Act?
Wasn’t it depressing watching MPs debate prisoners’ voting rights last Thursday? I can’t avoid the feeling that much of the outrage was fabricated, driven by MPs’ fear of criticism from their constituents.