Sunday, April 7, 2013

Oh my a touch of common sense

The Tories are still in a bit of a tiz over Ukip and what they see as that party poaching their 'natural' voting group, though a quick check of the demographics of Ukips voter base suggests that support is coming from all over the political spectrum, not just the Tory vote. Ukip seem to have established a foothold into the traditional working class vote that Labour thought was theirs as well as certain voting groups that the Lib Dems saw as their core support.
So naturally the Tories (and others) are trying to position their policies in areas in which they believe Ukip are stealing a march on them ie immigration...
Foreign migrants are to be banned from obtaining legal aid for civil claims until they have lived in Britain for at least a year.
The crackdown on immigrants’ rights is among the changes to be announced by ministers this week to cut the £1.7 billion legal aid bill by approximately £300 million.
It will hit illegal immigrants, failed asylum seekers and even those on tourist or student visas who have taken advantage of the lax rules or lack of checks on their status.
Under the range of new measures, prisoners are to be banned from using legal aid for cases that do not relate to the length of their sentences. “I am proposing to take legal aid away from prisoners who don’t like the prison they are in, or don’t like the cell they are in, or don’t like a part of the regime,” Mr Grayling said.
In a separate move — with ministers determined to take a tough line on offending — Mr Grayling disclosed that he is planning a change in court guidelines after a criminal convicted of attacking three people had his curfew lifted so that he could go on holiday to Thailand.
Of course talking the talk is easy, the question remains, can they walk the walk especially as our judicial system has proved that it is perfectly prepared to ignore the laws of this country if they are 'overridden' by international or European laws.
Yes all these measures sound pretty good, particularly the prisoner ones, the immigration ones not going nearly far enough. Personally other than appeals regarding their sentences prisoners should not have access to the legal aid system, there is a principle involved which should deny them access to things that those not incarcerated take for granted. They get meals, housed and given something to occupy them. That's pretty much all they need.
As for immigrants, well unless they've paid into the system a certain amount then they get no help from the system, that should also include benefits as well as legal aid. Personally I'd set the bar far higher than a year, more like five years, though if the lawyers wish to do pro bono stuff that's up to them.
All this reform I believe is a direct result of Ukip's recent surge in support, though whether the Tories or Labour can do anything about it simply with words remains to be seen, because at the moment words are all I'm hearing, not action and I certainly won't believe it until someone legally challenges it as I believe that EU and European laws will stop this in its tracks...

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