Buried deep down under Blair’s headlong rush to ‘rebalance’ the criminal justice system in favour of the ‘rights of the victim, one finds this salutory reminder that things aren’t always quite so simple and clear cut as them may appear.
Even if you don’t remember the name, you’ll remember the image of Shanni Naylor - she’s the South yorkshire schoolgirl who, last year, had her face slashed by a fellow pupil during an English lesson, leaving her with wounds that required 30 stitches.
Now as things do in the criminal justice system, this case has come to trial and her unnamed attacker has been found guilty of unlawful wounding and is, tonight, awaiting sentence.
However, as things also do in the criminal jsutice system, the evidence presented to the court gave rather a different account of the circumstances leading to the attack than was printed, at the time, in media, and so it is that we now learn the following:
A teacher, who has worked at the school for more than 30 years, said more than 100 children were watching the first incident between the two girls when the accused was attacked by Shanni.
She described the incident as "horrendous" and "vicious" and said Shanni was repeatedly punching the defendant’s head so it was banging against a wall.
This first incident took place the day before the attack in which Naylor was wounded by her classmate, and yet it would seem that not only did the teacher witness the first incident, but it would also appear than no action was taken as a rresult of it - Naylor was back in class on the following day, on which she was wounded, after perpetrating the kind of attack - from the teacher’s description of the incident - that the vast majority of parents would consider merited an immediate suspension, if not serious consideration of exclusion.
Reporting on the outcome of the trial, we also learn from the Beeb that not only had Shanni’s assailant:
...been beaten up by Shanni the day before and "chronically bullied" during her time at the school.
But also that the girl is:
of Somalian origin
Call me suspicious but one cannot help but wonder just to what extent these two piece of information are related - of course it could be simple coincidence and of no relevance at all, but at the very least the circumstances of this case dictate that the question has to be asked and an answer found.
But there’s yet more to consider…
Later, educational psychologist Stuart Taylor told the court he tested the defendant’s intelligence and found it be at a level of 45. Mr Taylor said this figure put her at the lower end of the lowest one per cent of the population.
An IQ test score of 45, which I presume to be test referred to here - puts the assialant firmly in the category of having a learning disability.
Not unsurprisingly given this new information about the case:
Shanni was not in court to hear the verdicts and her father Lee and grandmother Kathleen refused to comment as they left the building.
Which one would expect might just have something to do with this report in the Yorkshire Post shortly after the attack…
The attack happened at 11.45am on Wednesday – a day after Shanni, of Arbourthorne, Sheffield, had intervened to stop her attacker bullying a vulnerable 12-year-old boy.
Her father, Lee Naylor, said: "The girl turned on Shanni, and they ended up fighting by the school buildings. She told me what had happened and I went to school the following day, to see one of her teachers about the incident.
"I had told Shanni to apologise to the bully, even though she was trying to do the right thing. The teacher told me not to worry, and that he would sort it out with the two girls. I thought it would be ok."
Funny how, when the matter hits court, there’s appears to have been no mention at all of this alleged bullying, by the assailant, of a ‘vulnerable 12-year old boy’ who Shanni had supposed intervened to help on the previous day, nor does it mention whether this boy was called to give evidence, which rather suggests that this part of the story may be somewhat lacking in veracity, and even at the age of 12 one wonder quite whether someone would protect such a boy by repeatedly punching the girl’s head in such a way that it was banging against a wall, particularly when reports describe the girl’s physical stature as ’slight’.
Of course, no one in their right mind would condone the attack in which Shanni Naylor was slashed across the face with a razor blade - revenge may, by repute, be both sweet and a dish best served cold, but its also morally wrong and, ultimately, counterproductive.
But let me ask you another question - how would you ‘rebalance’ this case in favour of the ‘victim’ when it appears for all the world that both girls are victims.
The Naylor family, having had access to the due process of law, look set to get their share of justice as their daughter’s assailant has been found guility adn will shortly be sentenced - although one suspects, and even hopes to some extent, that this new information about the events that triggered the attack will be taken into account in passing sentence.
But does that mean that justice actually been done here?
The police seem to be satisfied…
Speaking after the hearing, Det Insp Andrew Thompson, of South Yorkshire Police said they were pleased with the decision.
"It was a very serious assault on school premises during a lesson," he said. "We feel it is a fair verdict."
But having heard the evidence given in court as to the earlier, and potentially, racially aggravated incident which preceded the attack, one has to wonder quite what action the Police intend to take in relation to that attack, and equally what action the LEA will be taking to investigate what appears, from the Beeb’s report to be the failure of the school to address this first incident, about which nothing was publicly known until today.
But perhaps the pertinant question we should be asking is whether either Tony Blair or the editoral writers f the red top tabloids will be asking those same questions tomorrow - sadly I suspect not.
Doin’ it for the kids…
If, as Jay Leno suggested, politics is showbusiness for ugly people, then parliamentary conventions such as private members’ bill and early day motions must be something akin to Warhol’s oft-cited aphorism about everyone having ‘fifteen minutes of fame’.
The majority of EDMs and PMBs often seem to be little more than a convenient means for a back-bench nonentity to stick their head above the parliamentary parapet in the vain hope that someone might just notice their existence…
…and so it transpires that this week’s honourable meerkat is one Claire Curtis-Thomas MP, who appears to have been the MP for Crosby since 1997, not as if anyone outside Crosby appears to have noticed this, and her particular bete noir, which she’s currently hawking around the press after the fashion of a mendicant friar, truns out to be ‘Lad’s Mags’ and the Daily/Sunday Sport, which she thinks should be consider pornography and consigned to the retail purgatory that is the newsagent’s top shelf.
As to exactly why Claire has suddenly chosen to the let the outside know of her existence, one can only speculate, although one has to wonder whether the impending disappearance of her constituency in the next tranche of Boundary Commission changes might not just have a little something to with it, not least as the seat that will replace Crosby - Sefton Central - has all the appearances of being a Tory-Lib Dem marginal.
Other than that, it appears Claire’s most notable achievements since becoming an MP lie in her being one of the few engineers in parliament, and possible the only female engineer, coupled with stints on the Science and Technology, Home Affairs and, since the last election, Trade and Industry Select Committees and the unenviable record of being parliament’s most expensive MP in 2003/4 and second most expensive in 2002/3, much of which seems to come down to her racking up some pretty hefty postage bills. However, and to be scrupulously fair, a qucik look over her voting record at They Work For You turns up a few pleasant surprises, notably rebellions on ID cards, where she voting against the creeping compulsion aspects of designated documents, so she does have one or two things to recommend her.
All that, however is by the by as what I’m really interested in her is her ‘topshelf campaign‘, out of which, just this week, she’s scored herself a short op-ed piece in the Indy - which, amazingly, isn’t stuck behind their usual pay-per-view - plus a piss-poor fluff piece by Zoe Williams over at the Graun, which prompted this nicely constructed evisceration by Matt at Fisking Central (via Antonia).
Now, as regulars might know, MoT is hardly a bastion of political correctness, not because your erstwhile commentator is a seething bundle of isms and ists but simply because I really can’t be doing with all the po-faced euphemisms and other mealy-mouthed bullshit that goes with being PC, even if it does sometimes get me into trouble as, from time to time, I get readers who can’t really tell is I’m for real or just being deliberately ironic in some of my comments.
So, for starters, if Claire is looking for an argument that’ll convince me that the likes of Zoo, Nuts and FHM should be consigned to the top-shelf she’d be much better served by playing on the natural sense of curmudgeonliness that all folks of my age begin to develop - in short, if teenage lads want something to wank over then I don’t see why they should have it any easier than I did at their age or be deprived of the opportunity to learn a valuable skill in the process; that of distracting the newsagent while one of your mates shop-lifts a copy of Fiesta.
Kids today, they just have it way too fucking easy.
That aside, the problem I have with Claire’s campaign is not that I object to here put forward the idea that some sort of age restriction on access to Lads Mags might not have some merit but rather that she doesn’t seem to entirely clear exactly what her campaign is really all about.
The obvious parallel to draw here is between this Claire and the other, rather more well-known Clare (Short) and her campaign to get the tits off page three of the Sun - although she might have been better served in trying to get the twats out of News International… but that’s another story.
The thing with Clare Short is that while I can’t say I agreed with her campaign, simply from the standpoint of not being comfortable with anything that smack of official censorship, at the very least I could respect where she was coming from. Clare’s objection to ‘page three’ was consistently based on her feminist beliefs and principles, so you knew exactly where she was coming from on this issue and why and you could, therefore, respect her views purely on that basis alone. The whole thing was commendable honest, clear and completely above board.
The problem I have with our latter day Claire is that it’s not possible to say the same - drill down into Indy article a little way and you find much the same feminist-inspired arguments about the ‘objectification as women’ that were the hallmark of the other’s Clare’s ruckus with the Sun over a decade ago, which is fair enough, if that’s what she really thinks.
Trouble is, when it gets to the sound-bites that’s not Claire’s line at all - no, when there’s a headline to written it’s stuff the feminist principles cos I’m really only doin’ it for the kids…
Now, again, if Claire, or anyone, genuinely thinks that the content of Lad’s Mags and the Daily Sport is a bit too strong for unrestricted public comsumption by minors then that’s fair enough - its a valid line of argument - but it’s not one that necessarily sits well with the whole principled feminist view of the whole situation.
The fact is that you don’t have to see what some people would consider to be ’soft porn’ as being exploititive or demeaning to women in order to take the view that it not really the kind of thing that you want to be seeing kids get hold of, so it really makes no sense at all to conflate that view of things with a more generalised objection to porn based on a view that:
Women in these publications are shown only as cheap, contemptible sexual commodities, fit to be subjected to a range of exploitative, violent and degrading activities.
Okay, so might reasonable for society to prefer teenage lads to grow up with a rather more positive view of women but I’ve still never quite seen the logic behind the contention that something that’s intolerable because its allegedly exploitative, violent and degrading suddenly becomes tolerable, or at least more tolerable, simply on account of a birthday.
It’s probably more of a realistic line of argument to say that some of the stuff in Lad’s mags, definitely in to top-shelf stuff, tends to create a rather unrealistic set of expectations when it comes to sex, although probably no more so than the kind of strange expectations that school sex education is science lesson did back in my day, wherin the actual mechanics of intercourse tended to be decribed hurriedly in terms of the penis entering the vagina, following which ejaculation occurs - probably no to far from the truth for most lads the first couple of time, but you would have thought they might just have got around to mentioning the wiggling it about a bit stage in-between…
…which is the bit that most lads picked up courtesy of the traditional art of shop-lifting for ‘jazz’ mags, because the only time you’d hear any talk of thrust in the classroom was during a physics lesson.
Then again, the whole legal framework around sexuality and pornography is raddled with hypocrisy anyway. Sex is legal at sixteen - with consent, obviously - but porn, even of the old-school soft porn variety is a no-no until you hit eighteen, which seems to me to make no sense at all unless the period from 16 to 18 is supposed to be some sort of apprenticeship stage where you’re expected just to stick to the basics - I’m guessing that thrust gets a mention in school sex-ed classes these days - before moving on to the advanced stuff a bit later on.
The other slightly sureal aspect all this for me is the suggestion that there’s somehow an equivalence between the likes of FHM and the kind of mags you actually find on the top-shelf in newsagents. That may well be the case in relation to WH Smiths, which I can’t say I recall ever really carrying a significant range of top-shelf stuff - Playboy and Penthouse always seemed to be the limits for Smith’s - soft porn, sure, but also soft-focus and with a few ‘artistic’ pretentions. Rarely, if even, can I recall ever seeing Smith’s selling even the slightly stronger brit-porn mags like Fiesta or Mayfair… you had to shop-lift in John Menzies to pick up those.
Head down to your local independent newsagent, these days, and things look very different from when I was I was teenager.
Back then, pretty much as much as you could get away with in terms of pictorials was the classic ’solo girl giving the shagpile an airing’ look - to get hold of anything more explicit without a trip down to Soho in those meant you were limited to a strictly black and white magazine called forum, which was about the size of one those booklets that Reader’s Digest used to post out in obscence quanitiies, nver to be read by anyone with the merest shred of personality. If you taste’s ran to anything more exotic then either got lucky with the latest ‘Reader’s Wives’ or you could forget it.
These days the dividing line between legal and illegal in terms of what you can get away with on the top shelf seems to be a matter of couple of millimeters’ this being distance that the tongue is required to remain away from actually touching the stiffy, and the range of different material on offer in your average newsagent cum convenience store - straight, gay, fetish ,etc - seems to be enough to exhaust even the most dedicated consumer, and that’s without even touching on the whole realms of satellite porn channels and, of course, the internet.
These things are relative, of course, but even the most in-your-face Lad’s mag is still as far, if not farther from, the kind of stuff you find on the top-shelf, these days, than page three was from the average top-shelf mag of 20-25 years ago.
Let’s be frank here - and I don’t mean that twatty government-fiction of a Frank, either - if what you’re genuinely concerned about is kids getting hold of explicit material then you’d be better off legislating to ban the supply of internet connections to parents without a mandatory piece of net nanny software and the training to configure the fucking thing properly - getting all fired up over the nipple count in the current FHM is really just pissing in the wind on this one.
Somewhere off the back of all this there’s a sensible and adult debate to be had about pornography and its position in society, the kind of debate that looks at liberalising some of the present regulations on content while putting in place effective and sensible restrictions on access, and most importantly of all, as with what should be the approach to prostitution, providing adequate protection in law for industry workers.
Somwhere is all that, there may well be room to consider whether anything can be done to channel society’s routine surfeit of overheated teenage testosterone in the direction of a somewhat more positive view and appreciation of women - but if there is something that can be done then I very much doubt that’s it going to revolve around sticking Lad’s mags on the top shelf - you’d think that by now we’d have all got the message that prohibition simply doesn’t work.
If anyone’s looking for an idea that might have some effect, then I’d suggest you think more in terms of the growing market for porn aimed primarily at women, much of which is being made by women producers and directors and which tends to offer an much more naturalistic and in most respects romantic/erotic view of sex and sexuality than the usual kind of ‘let’s see how many orifices we can fill and get the camera in real close’ kind of stuff that dominates much of the material that’s produced, directed and aimed at men. As a good friend of mine noted a while back, when she’s watching porn with her girlfriend (and no, that’s not a typo) they can tell within the first few minutes of scene whether the director was male or female without checking the credits simply because, as she put in her usual forthright manner, ‘real dykes just don’t shag like they do in the movies’.
(I ought to say, in addition, that based on personal experience of the university I attended, there was no quicker or more effective means of getting well-rid of any illusions or pretensions of political correctness than a weekly drinking session in the SU bar with the girls of the LGB Soc, most of whom could, on their own, out un-PC a battallion of Royal Marines and who were all the best drinking buddies for it - so there…)
Who knows, maybe there a partial answer somewhere in that - keep the age restriction on the more extreme stuff at 18, maybe even up the restriction to 21 on really in-your-face material, but allow 16-17 year olds to have access to the kind of naturalistic, genuine, erotica that’s becoming increasingly popular amongst women, the kind that depicts sex as mutual, and dare I say, loving experience. If anything, its much more logical response than simple prohibition to the Claire’s question about:
what message does it send to boys and young men about the value that society places on women?
Is it not better to give a postive message that values sex and sexuality than no message at all - especially if one believes that what teenagers see in magazines, on TV or on the internet has any significant influence on attitudes? Who know, given, a slight more enlightened view of such things and you might even end up, for the first time in British history, with a generation of young men who not only know what a clitoris is but where to find it and what to do with it when they get there - which has to be a improvement over the current situation.
Like it or not, porn is, these days, a bona fide industry - you may not like the product but you can’t pretend either that there isn’t a massive.and highly lucrative market for or it or that, these day, there aren’t a hell of lot of women making a damn good living out of it at all levels of the industry and not just from being the product itself - all of which makes the kind of obvious gesture politics of Claire’s top-shelf campaign look rather banal and futile, however well intentioned it may be.
The Rashomon effect…
Any credible list of the greatest films of all time must certainly include at least one by the great Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa, and if one is forced to choose only one of his films for such a list then that film would almost certainly be his 1950 classic, Rashomon.
Rashomon’s central theme is compelling in its simple profundity, dealing, as it does, with the difficulty (even impossibility) of obtaining the truth about an event from the conflicting accounts of witness - so profound in fact that the term ‘Rashomon effect’ has entered the lexicon of psychology to describe the effect of the subjectivity of perception on memory by which observers of an event are able to produce very different but equally plausible description of that event.
The relevance of this to a primarily political blogger like myself - aside from my personal liking for Kurosawa’s work - rests in this particular story…
A high court judge last night demolished a central plank of the government’s anti-terror policy when he quashed "control orders" on six suspected terrorists, saying the home secretary "had no power to make them under human rights law".
John Reid launched a furious counter-attack last night, saying he "strongly disagreed" with the ruling by Mr Justice Sullivan, which overturns nearly half the 14 control orders currently in force. He will try to overturn it in the court of appeal next month. Mr Reid said the control order system was needed to deal with international terror suspects who could not be deported on human rights grounds to countries where there was risk of torture.
Or more precisely in the entirely predictable response to be found in today’s Sun…
ONCE again a judge has put the rights of dangerous fanatics ahead of the safety of the British people.
In an outrageous ruling, Mr Justice Sullivan quashed vital control orders against six terror suspects.
In the process he drove a gaping hole through our anti-terror laws, leaving Britain at risk from extremists.
This is the same judge who banned the deportation of nine ruthless Afghan hijackers on human rights grounds.
His ruling flies in the face of common sense. We must count on it being overturned at appeal.
But this is the inevitable consequence of attempts to appease the human rights lobby.
Tony Blair has tied himself in knots trying to square our security with the European Convention on Human Rights.
But the only human right that counts is the safety of the British people. After the carnage of 7/7, the PM vowed to scrap the law if it got in the way of national security.
As the anniversary looms, it’s time to stop talking and take action.
I doubt very much that we need go into too much detail in relation to the general of this editorial, although at the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law one might note that its general tone would not have looked out of place in the pages of the Völkischer Beobachter circa 1934/5, otherwise its just the same old piss-poor polemic against the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights that we’ve been seeing for months.
What’s rather more interesting, however, is what happens if one seeks to deliberately apply the Rashomon effect to this case and how this might, in turn, alter perceptions of the Sun’s arguments about ECHR.
What actually happened yesterday, in terms of the ruling that was made by Mr Justice Sullivan, is summed up rather nicely in his own words:
Mr Justice Sullivan said: "The freedom to meet any person of one’s choice by prior arrangement is significant. As is the freedom to attend any temple, mosque, church as whatever you choose." He went on: "I am left in no doubt whatsoever that the cumulative effect of the order has been to deprive to respondents of their liberty, in breach of article 5. I do not consider that this is a borderline case." The judge said he had taken into account the importance of the needs of protecting the public from acts of terrorism, but "human rights or international law must not be infringed or compromised".
Article 5 of ECHR, for those unfamiliar with it, states that:
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
a. the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;
b. the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;
c. the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
d. the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;
the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants;
e. the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.
2. Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him.
3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1.c of this article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.
4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.
5. Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.
Just a trifle then, nothing more significant that the right to basic liberty, a fair trial, due legal and judicial process and the right to challenge the legality of arbitrary, extra-judicial detention by the state.
Possibly the most perncious fallacy currently being heavily promoted about the Human Right Acts and ECHR, not just by the Sun of the likes of Mad Mel but by both Tony Blair and David Cameron, is the idea that human rights is somehow a foreign imposition on British society and yet more malign influence from the continent.
This is patently untrue, as even Mad Mel has to acknowledge:
But the idea that this country had no human rights — like fair trials or freedom of speech —before the European Convention was drafted just after World War Two is clearly absurd. Our traditions of justice and liberty are ingrained in British history. Indeed, it was our lawyers who drafted the Convention.
If ECHR, which was drafted largely by British barristers and to which Britain was the first signatory, could be said to have had an architect then that architect was Winston Churchill, who, for all his faults, was hardly a man who would happily surrender British liberties to foreign authority…
…and so we come to the Rashomon effect and very simple question - is there another perspective on the actions of Mr Justice Sullivan, one rooted not in ECHR but in British, or at least English, Law, by which he could, in the faced of the Home Office’s actions, have arrived at much the same conclusions and, even, outcome.
Well, yes there is - and more to the point, one does not have to look very far at all to find it.
For starters, what actually happened yesterday was that the plaintiffs, who had been made subject to a control order, went to court to challenge the legality of their detention, thereby making use of Acts of Parliament that existed in British/English law long before the advent of ECHR and of which British jurist A C Dicey wrote they they:
declare no principle and define no rights, but they are for practical purposes worth a hundred constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty.
And what are these most marvellous Acts of Parliament? Quite simply the Habeas Corpus Acts.
The next thing that happened was that, after careful deliberation, Mr Justice Sullivan ruled that the use of control orders, by which the plaintiffs were held under what is effectively indefinite house arrest on the basis of a ministerial edict - such orders being signed by the Home Secretary without recourse to a court of law - is incompatible with ECHR and, by extension, that the Home Secretary has no valid legal authority to issue such orders.
Again, the question is simply whether there is, in British/English law, an alternative to ECHR that could have produced much the same outcome… and, again, the answer is yes. All one need do is refer to article 39 of the much venerated Magna Carta:
No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him except upon the lawful judgement of his peers or the law of the land.
Now, one could, I suppose, contend that as the Home Secretary’s power to issue control orders is enacted by Act of Parliament then there is no breach of Magna Carta as such orders are issued in accordance with ‘the law of the land’ but it has long been part of British justice that, but for times of emergency - when even habeas corpus has been temporarily suspended - that indefinite and arbitrary detention without charge or trial is unlawful.
Could Mr Justice Sullivan have, then, ruled as he did on the basis of Magna Carta - well, its certainly possible.
Article 39 is one of only four that remain in force having never been expressly repealed and as an article of constitutional law could certainly be given precedence over even powers granted by Act of Parliament as, by convention, ultimate jurisdiction in constitutional matters rests not with the Commons bit with the House of Lords. He could certainly have made the ruling on this basis, but whether that ruling would stand up would ultimately be a matter for the Law Lords who certainly could overrule the Common in this matter on the basis of control orders being ‘unconstitutional’.
Yesterday’s reports also made reference to an earlier case in the same judge struck down a separate control order for a different reason:
It is the second time in three months that Mr Justice Sullivan has criticised the orders. In April he overturned a seventh control order on a British terror suspect known only as "S", calling it an "affront to justice".
On that occasion, the issue was not the legal authority of the Home Secretary but the process by which the control order was issued. which was ruled incompatible with ECHR on the grounds that the individula in question was not afforded a fair hearing.
And again, Mr Justice Sullivan need not have relied on ECHR for his judgement in that case but could have turned, instead to the much older doctrine of natural justice and the legal maxim audi alteram partem (i.e. one must ‘hear the other side’). Natural justice is one of the central planks of the process of judicial review such that, irrespective of what statute law might say, a decision by a government minister or functionary may be challenged in court and quashed by a judge if such a decision is held to have been made without recourse to natural justice.
As should be obvious by now, one could quite easily rewrite the story of Mr Justice Sullivan’s rulling in very different legal terms and still arrive at, potentially, the same outcome by replacing ECHR with habeas corpus and Magna Carta, all of which rather destroys the idea that the government’s wishes are being overruled on the basis of principles that are somehow ‘foreign’ or ‘alien’ to British justice…
…and that being the case, one has to wonder just how the Sun’s editoral might have looked had this ruling been laid down in just such a fashion - after all, surely even the Sun could have no objection to habeas corpus and Magna Carta - could it?