Tag Archives: Paul Bernal

Mr Gove Lays Down The Law | Paul Bernal’s Blog

Mr Gove was as surprised as anyone when Mr Cameron won the election.

After all, Mr Gove knew better than anyone how useless Mr Cameron was. Well, Mr Gove knew better than anyone about everything. That was what made Mr Gove what he was.

Still, winning the election made Mr Gove happy, and he was smiling as he went in to see Mr Cameron, looking forward to being given a new job. Mr Gove had not really enjoyed being Chief Whip: it wasn’t nearly as interesting a job as the name suggested. He had particularly disliked being stuck in the toilet when something important happened: it reminded him too much of his school days.

And when Mr Cameron offered him the job of Lord Chancellor, Mr Gove was especially pleased. The robes. The regalia. The history. The law. Magna Carta. Truth. Justice.

It made Mr Gove’s heart sing.

Read on: Mr Gove Lays Down The Law | Paul Bernal’s Blog

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#Establishment? – Paul Bernal’s blog

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Linking to this article may seem redundant, considering #CameronMustGo was forcibly removed from Twitter’s trending list earlier today (Monday).

However, Paul Bernal makes excellent points about the origins of this social media phenomenon, along with the other big grassroots political hit, @Trumpton_UKIP.

Although the current targets are right-wing establishment figures (oh yes you are, UKIP!), he provides a timely warning to Labour that the social media, being driven by the general public, could turn on the Left (or at least, a less right-wing party) at any time.

And he tells us: “If there’s one thing #CameronMustGo and Trumpton has shown, it’s that it’s the people that count, not the parties. And long may that last.”

So please, give it a visit.

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We have met the enemy and he is us… – Paul Bernal’s blog

Vox Political is not the only website to have run a post-mortem on yesterday’s (October 9) by-elections – its the latest mass-media darling, as Paul Bernal makes clear in his latest article.

What makes his different is his conclusion as to why people voted UKIP in such large proportions in both elections. You should visit his site and read most of the article for yourself, but here’s the part that seems most relevant:

“The blame game is an easy one to play – which is part of the reason for the success of UKIP. They play it better than almost anyone, convincing us sometimes that the EU is to blame for everything, sometimes that immigrants are to blame for everything, sometimes both. Sometimes they blame ‘LibLabCon’. It’s easy to do. And yet it misses the point.

“In the end, the problem isn’t with ‘someone else’. It’s us.

“That’s the scariest thing about yesterday’s election. Not that it’s somehow unrepresentative of how we are, but that it might [not] be. The things that UKIP uses as dog whistles, the racism, the homophobia, the xenophobia, the desire to blame people weaker than ourselves, only function as dog whistles because there’s a lot of racism, homophobia and xenophobia about. It taps into something about us. Of course it’s only part of UKIP’s appeal, because the other call to arms, the one against the self-serving Westminster Elite, hits another critical nerve. The Westminster elite are self-serving, disconnected and deserving primarily of contempt. Farage is quite right about that – though he conveniently fails to mention that he’s one of them in almost every way. The trouble is, it is us that have let them get that way. And we continue to do so – even by voting UKIP.

“I don’t have any answers. I don’t think there really are any answers. When we’re fighting against ourselves, it’s hard to find them. We really are our own worst enemies.”

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Politics – why can’t we admit mistakes? – Paul Bernal’s blog

Last night and this morning I had a somewhat extended argument on Twitter with someone who I assume is a Lib Dem activist, writes Paul Bernal in his blog.

The argument started off being about my frustration (and even anger) about the passing of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIP) in those few short days in the summer (see my blog post here – a shabby process for a shady law). I was annoyed, and said so, that the erstwhile champion of privacy, and key behind the defeat of the Snoopers’ Charter, my own MP Julian Huppert, had in effect helped push through the law in double-quick time without any chance for discussion. It was, in my view, a mistake on Julian’s part.

That just started the argument. By suggesting that Julian had made a mistake – and in my view a pretty egregious one – I was, according to my accuser, casting aspersions on Julian’s motivations and integrity. I wasn’t, in my opinion, doing that at all. I respect Julian very much, and know that he has great integrity and that his intentions are good. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t think he made a mistake over DRIP. I still do – and I have a feeling that he will come to realise that. I may well be wrong, of course – because even if it was a mistake, we seem to have come to a position in politics where we can’t really admit mistakes. At best, we can make half-hearted apologies, generally apologies that we were ‘misunderstood’. The ‘I’m sorry that you feel that way’ kind of apologies.

Following the Lib Dem conference brings this home in a big way. Nick Clegg’s famous ‘apology’ over tuition fees – immortalised in the Auto-tuned version here – was only an apology for a promise, not really an apology for any action at all. The mistake was the promise, not the real actions. The much bigger actions – the much bigger possible mistakes – are never acknowledged, let alone apologised for. The possibility, in particular, that it might have been a mistake for the Lib Dems to go into coalition with the Tories at all, is so dangerous as to be impossible to mention. And yet it might have been a mistake. Things might have been very different if they had not gone into coalition.

Read the rest of this article on Paul Bernal’s blog.

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Human rights and the trivial… – Paul Bernal’s Blog

The Conservative plan for a ‘Bill of Rights’ has been made public by David Allen Green (@JackofKent) here, writes Paul Bernal in his blog.

I’m sure there will be detailed analyses of it by people far more expert than me – but there was one particular thing in the proposals that drew my attention. The idea is to:

Limit the use of Human Rights laws to the most serious cases. They will no longer apply in trivial cases.

So what counts as trivial? Who decides what is trivial? This may seem like a trivial question, but it really isn’t, particularly when you consider the nature of human rights.

You can read the rest of this article on Mr Bernal’s site, but the conclusion is worth repeating:

It’s not a trivial question. It matters – and if the upshot of the Conservative Bill of Rights is that decisions like this are made by the government, the ‘little people’ – the people that human rights are particularly needed to protect – are likely to be given short shrift. That isn’t a trivial matter.

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