Friday, 11 July 2014

Omnishambles Update 57

Lets start this roundup of bits and pieces with a great stunt recently pulled during Chris Grayling's grilling in front of the Justice Affairs Committee the other day. Obviously the Parliamentary Authorities are very jittery about anyone trying to protest within their portals, so it was a terribly British affair of understated defiance. In a co-ordinated move, copies of 'Crime and Punishment' were discreetly held aloft as a reminder to Chris that the prison book ban campaign hasn't gone away. I love it!

Embedded image permalink

As he has discovered, taking on the lawyers is proving quite problematic for him, but as nothing compared to the wrath of the literary world who have signalled that revenge will be sought in quite imaginative ways as outlined here in the Guardian:-
Fire, torment and villainy await Chris Grayling in novel punishment for prison book ban
Novelist Kathy Lette plans revenge on justice secretary Chris Grayling by giving his name to a corrupt character in her next novel. But what could other dastardly Graylings get up to in future fiction from Drabble, Pullman, McEwan and co?
There have been petitions to Downing Street, letters and protests in a bid to reverse the frankly indefensible decision from the Ministry of Justice to prevent books being sent to prisoners. But Kathy Lette has hit upon a route that may prove more effective in removing the ban than persuasion: humiliation.
Lette told the New York Times that her new novel Courting Trouble "will feature a corrupt lawyer named Chris Grayling who ends up in a prison where he is deprived of reading matter and goes insane". Good lord. "For Britain to be punishing people by starving them of literature is cruel and unusual punishment," Lette told the paper. "We are going to impale him on the end of our pens. Poetic justice is true justice."
Grayling, of course, is the justice secretary who has overseen the introduction of new rules which effectively put in place a blanket ban on families sending small items to prisoners. This includes books.
"Grayling says books are a privilege whereas I think of them as a staple, like bread and water," Lette added to the Evening Standard. "As I'm of [Australian] convict stock, and as I left school at 16, this ban on books for prisoners really irks me. Inmates should be rewarded for reading. I mean, what a captive audience."
And Lette is not the only author considering taking such revenge: no less than Margaret Drabble told the Times that she's halfway through her own new novel, Death by Fire, and that "she had ample time to create a character called Chris Grayling, adding that perhaps 'he could die in the fire'." Crikey.
The guy certainly knows how to stimulate ire and here's the Guardian again explaining how the House of Lords are going to do their level best to make sure we don't see his like occupying the ancient office of Lord Chancellor in the future:-
Peers are to hold an inquiry into the ancient office of the lord chancellor, asking whether it should be held by a lawyer or combined with the post of justice secretary.
The investigation, launched by the House of Lords constitution committee, is a direct challenge to Chris Grayling, who is believed to be the first person in 500 years without a legal background to hold the position.
The role dates back to at least Norman times in the 11th century. After the Constitutional Reform Act was passed in 2005, the lord chancellor no longer took the role of head of the judiciary or presiding officer of the House of Lords.
The lord chancellor does, however, retain some responsibilities for appointing judges and has a statutory duty to uphold judicial independence and the rule of law.
Disputes over deep cuts to legal aid have highlighted what critics see as a contradiction in Grayling's dual role as justice secretary, and his duty as lord chancellor to maintain the integrity of the courts.
And Private Eye continues to have a pop at him and reveals that the much-vaunted supervision of the under 12 month custody people won't start until 2015/16 at the earliest and could be merely electronic tagging, as it's cheaper.

I do hope the Liberal Democrats feel suitably pleased with themselves, having facilitated the destruction of a world class public service, based entirely on a false premise. Hang your heads in shame, the lot of you.  

Embedded image permalink


  1. Grayling needs to go, just as he is not qualified to do the job, he is manufacturing a service also of unqualified staff so that they can be as hopeless as him. The man is a psychopath that can't stop lying. Why is Cam-MORON, staying quite after all this disruption come on get rid.

  2. Please dont think it is just grayling. There are many hands involved in this dark deed. There was never a question of under 12 months being supervised. Nor profitable

    1. I blame prison service managers who have made careers out of devaluing anything involving rehabilitation. They don't get it and can't see the fact. Arrogance plus ignorance = NOMS.

  3. BBC reporting a major cabinet reshuffle next week, fingers crossed Grayling gets dumped!

    1. Cameron is known for his loyalty to individuals he has appointed to the government - just consider the Maria Miller saga - so Grayling is unlikely to be "dumped" - meaning put out of the government altogether.

      Grayling is a key member of the Conservatives parliamentary group and with a general election approaching - Cameron is going to want to minimise any criticisms towards him from Conservatives and is unlikely to demote Grayling.

      Judging by the way Grayling was speaking in the Justice Committee, the other day I think he expects to be moved from Justice sometime before the next Parliament, but I have no idea whether he expects to be moved now.

      I think it possible Grayling could be moved now, in the run up to the General Election, but am unsure how he can be given a job where he does no damage without being demoted. Grayling's special qualities for the Conservatives is as "attack dog" and if the Conservatives election campaign is going to be based on attacking Labour and the LibDems I suppose it is possible Grayling might be moved to a position where his opportunities to do that are maximised, such as Leader of the House of Commons, where he could snarl at all and sundry at the weekly business questions, which is likely to make the whole business of government very contentious and fractious, but I think it is unlikely he will be moved BECAUSE he has failed as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, (That was obvious long ago - and surely any such a move would have come in time to stop the split - though it may be argued that stopping or delaying the sell off is even more important to the Governement because if it goes ahead as planned - they may begin to get consequential disaster before even the general election).

      So even if Grayling is moved, I do not think that necessarily makes it likely that there will be a serious review of Criminal Justice policy because, so far Cameron has shown no doubts about it.

      I hope I am wrong - I was wrong about the split actually happening - so I do have a recent history about being wrong about government policy changes.