by Joseph Markus
This comment concerns two recent cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights. Those cases are Babar Ahmad and Others v the United Kingdom (2013) 56 EHRR 1,  ECHR 609 and Vinter and Others v the United Kingdom  ECHR 645. The second of these – Vinter – was decided by the Grand Chamber of the Court on 9 July following a hearing in November last year.
These two cases grapple with starkly similar issues, albeit there is one distinguishing feature. In Babar Ahmad, the applicants faced extradition; in Vinter they did not.
by Joseph Markus
In short, the answer has got to be no.
Theresa May – who is known for advocating withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights and from the jurisdiction of its court – is taking too much from what is really the limited significance of all this. What looks to be taking place is that she is using the deportation as a political football under the cover of the handy cross-party unity over whether it was – broadly defined – “a good thing”.
Let’s take each of her claims in turn.
by Joseph Markus
Contrary to what the BBC has been reporting (it’s now fixed it), the High Court on Friday 5 July upheld claims that aspects of the new Immigration Rules – contained in an Appendix FM to the Rules – fell foul of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In particular, what Mr Justice Blake decided, in a long and detailed judgment, was that the range of new financial requirements for spouses coming to join their partners in the UK (who in this case were either refugees or British citizens) were more than was necessary for the legitimate end of managing migration.
By Babak Moussavi
Ed Balls Day is a phenomenon that could only happen in the digital age of Twitter. On April 28th 2011, Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, accidentally tweeted his own name from his Twitter account. He was presumably searching for what people were saying about him online, and typed in the wrong box. Curiously, he didn’t delete the tweet, and it went viral. Two years later the anniversary generated some hilarious spoofs, even receiving mentions in newspapers and London Underground noticeboards. Mr Balls fortunately took the festivities in good humour, even tweeting his own name, once more.
Twitter is useful for more than comedy though, and its wider role in British politics is growing. In 2009, David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, was forced to apologise after referring to people who tweet too much as “twats”. He has since joined the microblogging site himself, and, with the help of the Conservative press team, circulates updates about his activities and policy developments. George Osborne, the chancellor, has recently jumped on the bandwagon too.
By Jenni Tomlin and Sam Tomlin
The recent debate on changes to social security has been and still is one of the fiercest in this generation of British politics. In many ways it has played out as a classic left v right ideological scrap, but has also prompted nuanced and wide ranging debate with the complexities of the deficit, infrastructure, unemployment and even Europe. It is not our primary intention in this article to rehash these debates, but to provide first-hand experience of events which have implications for two elements of one significant area of the debate: housing benefit.
£712-a-month worth of living space
The first concerns a good friend of ours who lived a few doors down from us until he moved out in the past week. He has been on incapacity benefit for a number of years and had lived in his (generously termed) ‘flat’ for about four of those. This ‘flat’ (see picture left) is in many ways a product of the housing boom and Thatcher’s right to buy scheme which allowed individuals to buy their own homes. The Victorian estate we live on used to be entirely council owned until right to buy; now, owner occupiers such as us are in the minority with most owners climbing the social ladder and moving to the suburbs, then selling on to rather more unscrupulous and opportunistic landlords.
By Sam Hawke
Today, Richard Wagner turns 200 (although, notably, he’s been dead for over 130 years). On any reasonable view, Wagner was one of the greatest geniuses who ever lived. His operas are some of the most moving, absorbing, and rewarding of any artistic works. Whilst, as the philosopher Bernard Williams wrote, he was not “necessary” for the development of Western music in the manner, say, of Mozart, it’s very difficult to conceive of what much 19th and 20th century music – even art in general – would have been without him.
But, as Magee notes, “people quite often describe themselves as feeling guilty about enjoying Wagner.” His appropriation by the Nazi regime (both historical and perceived) and his revolting, truly shocking anti-semitism – in particular with his notorious and influential essay, ‘Jewishness in Music’ – have made many feel that their enjoyment of Wagner is subject to caveat. He has retained the status of a ‘controversial’ composer, whose position in the Western canon, not to mention German history, appears subject to continual ‘reassessment’.
A contemporary criminal epidemic
Is the subject of this polemic
Its epicentres are the financial sectors
In the United Kingdom and United States
And its reverberations have left entire countries in dire straits
That crime is corporate fraud
Committed by the banks and the fraudulent accountants
Fraud by the hedge funds and ratings agencies
And in the fraudulent delivery of fraudulent securities
To people who hardly knew an asset from a liability