June 25, 2024


The Legal System

Taiwan and the Perils of Strategic Ambiguity

Newslinks for Sunday 4th December 2022

Government is “planning tough new rules” on immigration and asylum…

“Rishi Sunak is under huge pressure this weekend to enact draconian new laws against those coming to the UK illegally. Braverman has endorsed a report, published on Monday, which calls for the UK to set a statutory cap of 20,000 asylum seekers each year…The report, modelled on Australia’s effective “Operation Sovereign Borders”, recommends indefinite detention of all asylum seekers who enter the country illegally…A conversation is going on in government about whether the UK should withdraw from the ECHR. Some think it could be a dividing line with Labour at the next general election, but most senior figures think that will be too late to act.” – Sunday Times

  • Albanians should be barred from claiming asylum in the UK, says Jenrick – Sunday Telegraph
  • Farage is a very real threat to the Tory party’s survival – Luke Tryl, Sunday Telegraph

…but Raab and Baverman “at odds” over ECHR

“Dominic Raab has secretly assured Tory wets that Britain will stay in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Deputy PM made the pledge in a series of behind-closed-doors meetings this week. It puts him at odds with Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who thinks Britain should withdraw. She was upset because the ECHR blocked moves to deport migrants to Rwanda – but Mr Raab told the MPs her call was pie in the sky. Instead, he tried to drum up support for his own project, the Bill of Rights, which is expected to be presented to Parliament before Christmas.” – The Sun on Sunday

Sunak “faces rebellion over grammar schools”

“Tory backbenchers are planning to force Rishi Sunak into a rethink over his decision to keep the ban on new grammar schools, The Telegraph can reveal. MPs plan to amend government legislation at the first opportunity to overturn the prohibition of new selective schools in England. It came after the Government indicated that it would retain a set of restrictions dating back to the New Labour era…The news has caused dismay to pro-grammar Tories, after a pledge to lift the ban by Mr Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, had raised their hopes. Mr Sunak had also expressed support for the move during a hustings event, although his campaign team later clarified that his comment was ‘about expanding existing grammar schools’.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Britain needs more private schools, not fewer – James Tooley, Sunday Telegraph

Strikes 1) PM considers urgent reform to trade union law

“As Britain faces the biggest wave of industrial unrest in a generation, Rishi Sunak is drawing up emergency plans to clip the wings of militant union bosses. He is considering axing rules which mean strike pay — money unions give workers to cover lost wages while on the picket line — cannot be taxed. The PM is also considering a law change to curb the power of unions to call rolling strikes over six months with one ballot.” – The Sun on Sunday

  • No 10 warns that caving in to public sector pay demands would cost £28 billion – Mail on Sunday
  • Ministers accused of ‘spoiling for a fight’ with nurses over pay – Observer

Strikes 2) Chemists could be given powers to hand out antibiotics

“Pharmacists will be drafted in to help break NHS strike action and ease winter pressures on the NHS, under plans being considered by ministers. Chemists could be allowed to diagnose patients with minor conditions and prescribe antibiotics for the first time to try to reduce demand for GP appointments and cut record backlogs. Ministers are braced for the cancellation of thousands of elective procedures and screening appointments as up to 100,000 nurses walk out later this month over a pay dispute.” – Sunday Telegraph

Strikes 3) Lawson: The public sector is not the poor relation

“As one registered nurse, Natalie Doughty, observed, the median salary in her profession is £34,000, for a job that involves the most gruelling encounters with trauma and suffering, whereas “a train driver is rarely called upon to deal with any kind of emergency, sits peacefully in a cab and has a median salary of £59,000. One thing these disparate groups have in common is a form of pension that has now all but disappeared outside the public sector: the Train Operating Companies’ employees are highly unusual in this respect. I mean the defined-benefit variety, whose beneficiaries are guaranteed a pension linked to their earnings and indexed to inflation. So, when the Kwarteng-Truss “fiscal event” caused havoc among the pension funds and a shattering fall in the value of UK government bonds (the dominant holding in most such funds), while those of a certain age working in the private sector were seized with financial anxiety, their public sector equivalents could be serenely untroubled.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

Strikes 4) Gilligan: The railways need to modernise to survive

“In the modern world you can check track for faults with sophisticated cameras and sensors on trains. But the unions are striking to keep on doing it the Victorian way, by people walking along the live track. Every year, dozens of those staff are injured or killed by trains. It’s more dangerous for passengers too. A rail worker’s Mk I eyeball misses hairline cracks and faults in the track which a sensor would spot. Also in the modern world, the days of having to queue for ten minutes at a ticket window to be handed a piece of cardboard are nearly done. Almost 90 per cent of passengers buy instantly online, through contactless or by machine. The quietest ten offices on the network now sell an average of one ticket a day.” – Andrew Gilligan, The Sun on Sunday

Burns cleared of misconduct

“Former government minister Conor Burns has been cleared of misconduct and will be readmitted to the Tory Party. Mr Burns was sacked as trade minister in October amid allegations that he touched a man’s thigh in a hotel bar during the Tory Party conference. The MP for Bournemouth West consistently denied any wrongdoing. A Conservative Party spokesperson said it had reviewed “all of the evidence available” and concluded there was “no basis on which to investigate further”. “The matter is now closed and Mr Burns’s membership will be reinstated at the nearest possible opportunity,” the spokesperson said.” – BBC

>Today: ToryDiary: Burns should get his Ministerial job back

ECJ should not oversee Northern Ireland Protocol deal, public says in poll

“Almost three quarters of the British public support a deal with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol that is not overseen by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), a new poll has found. Research shows that 72 per cent of Britons think it is very or somewhat important that the resolution to issues in Northern Ireland reduces checks on goods crossing the border and removes the oversight of the ECJ. The involvement of the ECJ in policing trade disputes and overseeing the application of EU law in Northern Ireland is seen as a red line by many Tory Brexiteers, but has become one of the major bones of contention in negotiations between the UK and European Commission.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Biden accused of being ‘pro-EU’ as tensions simmer – Sunday Express

Starmer “to delay abolition of the House of Lords”

“Sir Keir Starmer has suggested he may not be able to abolish the House of Lords until Labour wins a second term in government, as he prioritises spreading power and economic growth across Britain. While he remains committed to the overhaul and replacing peers with an elected chamber, the Labour leader yesterday acknowledged that questions over timing and implementation were still to be discussed. Appearing in Leeds tomorrow alongside Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, Starmer will launch a report recommending sweeping constitutional reforms and handing new tax and economic powers to English mayors and devolved governments.” – Sunday Times

  • Warning from Labour peers against getting bogged down in a “constitutional quagmire” – Observer
  • Labour split as Blair allies plot the return of David Miliband – Mail on Sunday
  • Stop attacking private schools, says head of Sir Keir’s alma mater – Sunday Times
  • Labour’s dangerous addiction to wokeism is a key weakness – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Starmer sent his children to a “state prep for the middle class” – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour’s schools plan is damaging and full of hypocrisy – Leader, Mail on Sunday

Hancock was warned 820,000 in the UK could die from Covid

“Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock says he was warned 820,000 people in the UK could die from Covid two months before the country went into lockdown. In his new diaries on the pandemic, the MP says in January 2020 he was told by England’s chief medical officer the toll was “a reasonable case scenario” if restrictions were not introduced. Figures show more than 200,000 people with Covid have died in the UK to date.” – BBC

  • Care workers hit back at Matt Hancock’s claim staff brought Covid to care homes – Observer

Scottish Conservatives accuse Sturgeon of “clear breaches” of the ministerial code

“The Scottish Conservatives have called on Nicola Sturgeon to refer herself for “clear breaches” of the ministerial code during the ferries fiasco. They have accused the first minister of failing to properly record a meeting with the then Ferguson Marine shipyard owner Jim McColl in May 2017. The party also alleges Ms Sturgeon failed to have a civil servant present. A Scottish government spokesperson said the first minister had “complied in full” with the obligations of the code. The complaint follows evidence given by Ms Sturgeon to Holyrood’s public audit committee last month.” – BBC

  • Alison Thewliss throws hat into ring to be next SNP Westminster leader – Sunday Telegraph

Colville: I understand why MPs are quitting

“Being an MP shouldn’t be something you put up with. It should be something that attracts the very best people in our society, with the widest spectrum of experience, and gives them appropriate recognition…At the moment, however, we are asking highly skilled, talented people to spend their lives as campaigners, self-publicists, social workers and, increasingly, punching bags. Is it any wonder that we end up with a limited talent pool to choose from? Or that so many of them are deciding they’ve got better things to do?” – Robert Colville, Sunday Times

Hannan: Anti-Britishness is in the ascendant

“Anti-Britishness may be a minority creed, but it is in the ascendant. It lies behind our statue-smashing spasm and behind the “decolonisation” of school and university curriculums. It drives the reordering of museum exhibitions and the campaign to give away legally purchased artefacts. It animates the idiotic campaign for “climate reparations” to badly-governed countries. Sure, each of these campaigns has other notional justifications. But none of them stacks up. If you want to argue that a connection to slavery, however tenuous, wipes away everything else that a historical figure achieved, fine. But I can’t help noticing that the agitators who make this case never apply it to Chinese or Arab or African slave-owners.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

 News in brief

  • Forget the 1970s, Britain today is taking us back to the Anglo-Saxons – William Atkinson, CapX
  • How Twitter suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story – Freddy Gray, The Spectator
  • Why does government cost so much? – John Redwood
  • After Christianity, what on Earth next? – Simon Caldwell, Conservative Woman