Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

Fog in Channel, Continent cut off

Britain has voted Leave in its European Union referendum. The Euro cause, though strong in London and environs, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and university towns, failed to carry substantial cities like Birmingham and Sheffield and was shellacked in the industrial north and across many other parts of England. Remain — a position backed by the large majority of educated commentators, by business and cultural notables, and by the leadership of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Scottish Nationalist parties — has been reduced to what the funeral industry calls cremains.

The successful vote will begin an undefined dance of negotiation with Brussels, which has a hundred ways of stalling and complicating that process. Following earlier anti-EU votes in member countries, in fact, Brussels simply ignored the voters and came back a while later to ask again for the answer it wanted. Should the British political leadership want the negotiations to lead nowhere, it has many ways to connive at that. However, both Conservative and Labour parties must now confront a crisis of revolt from their members. The issue is particularly acute for the Tories because Prime Minister David Cameron led the Remain cause, and rival Boris Johnson, the former London mayor, made a compelling alternative leadership figure for Leave.

One theme on Twitter last night was curious: a number of commenters chided Wales for voting Leave even though it receives substantial regional subsidies from the European Union. (See here, here, and here.) In short, subsidies don’t always buy love. On balance, though, isn’t it probably a good thing if such programs fail to purchase local political sentiment?

Follow-up: Alberto Nardelli, BuzzFeed on the mechanics of separation and re-negotiation of trade relations; Mark Elliott on public law questions.

International free speech roundup

  • Tonight in New York City, Cato presents its Milton Friedman Award to Danish journalist Flemming Rose, a key figure in the [still-ongoing] Mohammed cartoons episode, and author of The Tyranny of Silence [David Boaz, Cato]
  • Troubles in Turkey: journalists sentenced to two years in jail for reprinting Charlie Hebdo cover [Reuters, Reason] Erdogan’s campaign against foreign critics assumes extraterritorial reach with complaints against comedian in Germany and Geneva exhibit [Colin Cortbus/Popehat, Foreign Policy]
  • Ya mad wee dafty: “Man faces hate crime charge in Scotland over dog’s ‘Nazi salute'” [Guardian]
  • Publish a “wrong” map of India, face seven years in jail and a huge fine [Hindustan Times; “crore” = 10 million]
  • United Kingdom man fined £500 for calling romantic rival “fat-bellied codhead. [Blackpool Gazette]
  • Emulating USA tycoon D. Trump, China pressures finance analysts against negative forecasts [WSJ, Barron’s on the Marvin Roffman story, which I used to tell when giving speeches on my book The Litigation Explosion]

Schools roundup

  • California appeals court says state’s teacher tenure law doesn’t violate Equal Protection Clause, similar suits pending in NY, Minn. [ABA Journal, Neal McCluskey/Cato, earlier on Vergara case]
  • Maryland to local school district: no, families can’t opt out from standardized tests, we might lose federal funds [Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Frederick News-Post]
  • Teachers fearful as disorder spreads in St. Paul, Minn. schools [Joanne Jacobs, background on feds’ role]
  • Somerset County, N.J.: “It’s ‘harassment’ for a sixth-grader to criticize vegetarianism to a vegetarian classmate” [Eugene Volokh]
  • UK agency reverses decision to downgrade rating of pre-school for not teaching cultural diversity [Guardian]
  • Schools have rules, but only up to a point: “NY moves to allow illegal immigrants to teach in public schools” [Malia Zimmerman, Fox News]

Police and prosecution roundup

  • Amid multiple scandals, why won’t office of Orange County, Calif. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas confirm name of county investigator alleged to have beaten defense attorney in courtroom hallway? [R. Scott Moxley/OC Weekly via Radley Balko, Voice of OC]
  • And from February: “former Los Angeles sheriff Lee Baca announced that he would plead guilty to criminal charges related to systemic misconduct in his department, specifically to a charge of lying to investigators in an effort to cover up that wrongdoing.” [Kevin Williamson]
  • Post-Ferguson investigation: problems with small-town municipal courts go way beyond North St. Louis County into outstate Missouri [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
  • Judge throws out mountain of tickets from Chicago traffic and speed cameras [TimeOut, Timothy Geigner/TechDirt, earlier]
  • Britain: following collapse of lengthy Operation Midland law enforcement inquiry into a fantasist’s wild tales of abuse (did senior Tories murder rentboys for fun?) vindicated officials and their families wonder where to turn to get their reputations back [Dan Hodges/Telegraph (citing Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe’s favorable reference to a second official’s statement that “The presumption that a victim should always be believed should be institutionalized”); Matthew Scott/Barrister Blogger, Richard Bartholomew]
  • Supreme Court nominee: “In Criminal Rulings, [Chief Judge Merrick] Garland Has Usually Sided With Law Enforcement” [New York Times; more on Garland’s D.C. Circuit rulings]

February 10 roundup

No sex without constabulary notice, please, we’re British

“A man cleared of raping a woman has been ordered to give police 24 hours’ notice before he has sex. … The order – which was drawn up by magistrates in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, and extended in York – reads: ‘You must disclose the details of any female including her name, address and date of birth. You must do this at least 24 hours prior to any sexual activity taking place.'” The order also limits his access to the internet and cellphones and requires him to notify police should he change his residence.

“Sexual risk orders were introduced in England and Wales in March last year and can be applied to any individual who the police believe poses a risk of sexual harm, even if they have never been convicted of a crime. They are civil orders imposed by magistrates at the request of police.” Note, again, that according to the reports he was acquitted of the charge, not convicted. [BBC York and North Yorkshire News, Guardian]

Britain prunes obsolete laws

Among the countless activities banned by old British laws are carrying a plank down a busy sidewalk and beating a carpet in the street “unless the item can be classified as a doormat and it is beaten before 8 a.m.” “So voluminous and eccentric is Britain’s collective body of 44,000 pieces of primary legislation that it has a small team of officials whose sole task is to prune it…. Sifting out the obsolete legislation is the work of two lawyers and a researcher at Britain’s Law Commission, which is responsible for reviewing laws and recommending changes. Thanks to them, more than 200 measures are scheduled to be repealed” in 2016. [New York Times]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • If tempted to idealize the U.K. justice system, be aware it was in a London court that Saudi millionaire beat rape charge by arguing that he “tripped” into sexual congress [New York mag]
  • Dear Reuters: it would be great if you could report the full story behind a perp walk like Martin Shkreli’s [Ken White, Popehat]
  • Better for ten innocents to be imprisoned than one businessperson go free: “The New York Times has come out against the creation of a minimum mens rea element for all federal crimes.” [Scott Greenfield, Scott Shackford] More: Orin Kerr; more Greenfield; Cato podcast on mens rea with Robert Alt.
  • Obama Justice Department’s incursions on mens rea dovetail with its efforts on the responsible corporate officer doctrine [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, National Review]
  • Escalating fines and fees, as well as a probation system under an incentive not to work, drag down poorer residents of Biloxi, Miss. [Radley Balko]
  • How federal law came to define “sex trafficking” to include non-coerced adult prostitution [American U. law professor Janie Chuang quoted by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post “Fact Checker”, who also debunks wildly inflated figures from Attorney General Loretta Lynch]
  • If only the late Gary Becker, a towering figure in law and economics, could have been persuaded to give up one of his less happy theories… [Alex Tabarrok]

At “least three persons shall be employed to drive” each vehicle

If you worry that local authorities will make overly cautious decisions on how to regulate self-driving cars — or that some of them are currently making overly cautious decisions on regulating ride-sharing — cheer up, because in the past the adoption of initial, highly cumbersome rules has tended to be followed by revisions in a more rational direction later, once the technologies become familiar. Take the progression of English motor vehicle law from its “red flag law” origins in 1865 to its significantly relaxed revision in 1896. Of course, that did take 31 years [Mental Floss]