Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Political interference in the judiciary is never welcome, and whilst the House of Commons must always be the "maker" of laws it must always fall to the Courts to determine the innocence or guilt of those in breach of the law.

That is what makes Tory Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's announcement today on the rights of homeowners to defend their own property with aggressive force so unpallatable.

In a pretty transparent attempt to cheer up the right wing of their party and in an orchestrated move to draw attention away from their own failings on the economy and on transport and on health, the right wing of the Government coalition are once again throwing raw steak at the rabid dogs within their fold.

And of course it will all end in tears, political legislation is always poor legislation, rushed through without proper scrutiny it is meant to grab the headlines rather than improve the law. At least the last time a Tory Government tried this on with their 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act only family pets lost their lives, but this time the fatalities will all be human and not all of them Burglars.

To re cap on the existing law, we all have the right to use "reasonable" force to protect our property from intruders, and "reasonable force" is of course  determined in a court of law by a judge and jury. So well does the existing law work that between 1990 and 2005 there were just 11 prosecutions for people tackling intruders in any premises, including only seven involving homes, seven cases in 25 years is hardly a national crisis
So in England and Wales, as stated above anyone can already use "reasonable" force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. Householders are also already protected from prosecution as long as they act "honestly and instinctively" in the heat of the moment.

But under the new Tory Plans the wording will be changed to protect the home owner further from prosecution, in all circumstances unless the violence used against the intruder is deemed to have been "Grossly Disproportionate" it will mean that someone who is confronted by a burglar and has reason to fear for their safety, or the safety of their family, and in the heat of the moment uses force that is reasonable in the circumstances but in the cold light of day seems disproportionate, they will not be guilty of an offence.

So how is that phrase "Grossly Disproportionate" to be determined? Well on Radio 4 this morning when asked this exact question Chris Grayling gave an example that say for instance you had beaten the intruder until they were unconscious, then it would be grossly disproportionate to then stab him to death!The Prime Minister when asked the same question by Sky News, tripped out the identical answer.

Now don't get me wrong, we all have the right to protect our own property but the government's intervention to re word and alter an already established and understood legal threshhold has just got a whole lot murkier and a hell of lot more dangerous.

Critics have already labelled the move as a licence to kill and criminal analysts have expressed concern that in response to the move Burglars are now far more likely to arm themselves when "on the Job" as a means of protecting themselves from over zealous attacks fro vigilantes. Other critics have also pointed out that not every intruder in your house is necessarily a Burglar, a whole range of public officials already have a right to enter your property including of course the police themselves.

Senior lawyers have also warned that the proposals are simply a political gimmick which risks confusing the law for all the wrong reasons.

Michael Turner QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said:

“There’s no concept in British law of allowing someone to use disproportionate force for good reasons. There is absolutely no need to change the law on self-defence as it stands. “This is about making a political headline. It would be an unnecessary piece of legislation which has real potential to be dangerous.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, accused Mr Grayling of showing both ignorance and disrespect for the law. She said: “Terrified householders defending themselves are already protected, so this irresponsible announcement can only be designed to make people afraid or actually encourage vigilante execution.”

But it is the potential for criminal intent that concerns me most about how this new law is to be interpreted. Imagine for instance discovering your loved one was having an affair, now under a Tory Government it would be favourable not to catch them in bed, in flagrante (on the job) instead you can just wait until your partners bit of fluff is in the Kitchen, then come in the back door and bludgeon him/her to your hearts content (to his end if you wish as long as you don't stab him afterwards) break a window from the outsdie to stage a break in and then just inform the Police that "Sorry Guv, I honestly thought he was a burglar"

Likewise the new law could lead to a whole new series of "Home Delivery" attacks and killings, just arrange for the person involved to be at your house, again stage a break i, beat them to a pulp and say once again, "Sorry Guv, I just came home and he was in the house"

The Tories at Conference this week have avoided thus far in using the word "Growth" but let us be clear, with crazy mad cap schemes like this we will undoubtedly see lots of growth. a growth in vigilantism, a growth in weapons being used in burglaries, a growth in the number of defence pleas against attacks at home cases, and of course an inevitable growth in the numbers injured and killed on both sides, home owners and burglars.

Lets just hope it doesn't lead to a growth in votes for a discredited party of the backs of a Daily Mail reading non thinking public. And what will happen next year, heaven forbid if this government are still in power and they need to knee jerk even further to the right? Well how about a bit of Israeli law? legislation there allows home owners to shoot at will at anyone who they reasonably believed to have any criminal intent!

I know I shouldn't put ideas into the heads of the politically insane, but a desperate government can be grossly disproportionate in it's actions

Monday, 8 October 2012


Andrew Mitchell's "Pleb" recent outburst at Police Officers outside Downing Street has been "very damaging" to the Tory Party. So says Defence secretary Philip Hammond today in a further attempt to "draw a line" under the whole affair.

But it wasn't just Mitchell's  "F*cking Pleb" outburst which caused the damage, it was the fact that he lied and lied again over what was actually said and to what extent leading to the point where police officers had to to publish their own witness statements in a national newspaper.

His absence from the Tory Party conference in Birmingham (where his constituency is)  this week on the grounds that being there would be a distraction, is an admission if ever needed that his current position is untenable and his authority as the Government Chief Whip shot to pieces.

Meanwhile Tory  Party chairman and previous Housing Minister Grant Shapps will also be causing a distraction this week after it was revealed that he used a "Nom De Plume" Mr Michael Green to help sell a get rich quick scheme for a company he ran and then passed onto his wife. A probe into Mr Shapps is now focusing on his claims to be a self-help guru called Michael Green on a website called howtocorp.com. Mr Shapps continued to use the name Michael Green for his business interests throughout the 2005 election campaign and his early years as an opposition MP. ‘Mr Green’ charged clients £183 an hour for advice on how to make money from the web as well as offering tips on how to beat the recession blues, including splashing out on a jet-ski or learning to play the guitar.

A complaint to the ASA alleges that the website misled the public by presenting Michael Green as a genuine businessman with a personal fortune of £17 million, who would share the secrets of his success for a fee.

So what it is with politicians and their "pen'chance" for what Churchill described as 
"terminological inexactitudes" which most of us refer to as "Porkie Pies" and how do our local Cllrs compare with their national counterparts in comparison?

Well in my promised second expos'e of the quality of current Cllrs at NBC I ask you to consider the following tale of business dealings and then decide if this is the calibre of representative we really need at the Guildhall.

A few years ago a businessman based both in Northampton and also the North took a court action out against a large Northern Council supposedly for non payment of asylum seeker rents on properties he managed.

The claim for a large sum of public money was disputed by the Council, not surprisingly at the time as the Council doubted whether or not whether some of the properties had indeed been used for this purpose and also whether or not the asylum seekers said to have stayed there actually existed in the first place.

As part of the hearing a company in Northampton was made aware of their involvement in the action and also informed that their company name had been used as part of the claim and some of their properties involved in the invoices which had been submitted in their name and on their headed note paper. This was news to them, most notably because they had no business or properties in the North.

So they attended the court, to give evidence that they had no involvement whatsoever in the action and didn't now how their name had been used in such a way, and were very surprised to see a well known Northampton businessman in court putting forward the case, at this point the businessmen apparently got quite upset, and asked for an adjournment, immediately afterwards he and his lawyers immediately withdrew the action against the Council and dropped the case.

The businessman then concentrated on bringing an action on the Northampton Company to try to prove that he was as he had expressed to the court a partner of the said Northampton firm and had been working with them all along on the letting of properties in the North.

This case was heard by Leicester Crown Court. The Northampton company had to spend a considerable amount of money proving that papers submitted to the court by the businessman were in fact forgeries, they were in many cases false documents constructed from their headed notepaper a copy of which the businessman was in possession of. The judge during the hearing become increasingly frustrated at the inability of the businessman to offer any concrete evidence of the partnership other than continuous here-say and photocopied documents. A handwriting analyst had also submitted condemning evidence to the court informing them that in their view the signatures on the documents submitted by the businessman had been forged. 

In a last minute attempt to quash the overwhelming evidence against him and change the direction of the case the businessman finally came up with an original document to back up a photocopied already submitted. This he presented to the court. Comically, but with serious consequence the dates on the original submitted and the photocopy produced from it were then seen to not be a match.

The court understandably found in favour of the Northampton Company and the Judge it is said expressed a that view a fraud had been committed and suggested that the Police investigate the matter.

No police investigation took place as the businessman immediately afterwards had incredibly appealed against the courts findings prolonging the case, with little hope of success The appeal was as expected subsequently dismissed. 

In addition to his dealings in court and despite being a businessman of supposedly considerable income and wealth an application for Housing Benefit was also submitted to Northampton Borough Council during this period. But having been elected to the Council the Housing Benefit Application at the businessman's family home seems to have been "withdrawn" or "not processed"

Does the above sound like a fit and proper person to hold office as an elected Labour councillor?

I have not named the individual and as always offer to them the opportunity to contact me to correct anything above that they feel is not accurate, but my concern here and also above at what is happening at national level in the Tory Party is that I believe we should expect a higher level of integrity and business practise from those who then go on to stand for election? 

And shouldn't those elected to office also consider what effect their past dodgy business practises (when revealed) will have on the overall standing of politicians and other party colleagues that may be affected by the "all tarred with the same brush" mentality.

We deserve far better from our national and local politicians, and it was George Orwell who told us that "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" So long live the revolution




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Thank you for visiting "tonyclarkegreenparty" The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They are made by me personally in my own capacity as free citizen and not as representative of any outside body or council that I may serve on or be employed by. However if anyone is offended by any of these comments or feels that they should be corrected then please contact me in the first instance at tony.clarke@email.com and I will do my best to consider your comments and correct any errors.


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