The debate in the UK regarding devolution, is in a bit of a mess. Three separate processes are rumbling on for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each at a different speed. Calling the situation within England a “process” would be overly generous. Last year, George Osborne announced plans to establish a Greater Manchester Combined Authority (quickly and inevitably dubbed “DevoManc”). This body was negotiated in secret between Manchester council groups and George Osborne himself, and seems to offer us little in the way of a model that might be adopted for other areas. Demands for devolution to the English regions, or even an English Parliament, have yet to result in anything tangible.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have committed themselves to the creation of a constitutional convention to tie these threads together and form a more cohesive process. But aside from the need to have such a common line, what approach should it adopt?

As part of our ConstitutionUK project, we have been exploring various models of devolution. Broadly, there appear to be two alternatives the UK might adopt: a big bang, federal model, established over a relatively short period of time; or an evolutionary, multi-speed approach, with various parts of the UK moving along at their own pace.

“Big bang” federalism has several things going for it in terms of consistency and simplicity. If tidiness were our top concern, it would be the automatic choice. However, it is clear that the nations in the UK are all at different places right now; marshalling them all into a “one size fits all” may result in a stalemate as, effectively, the process will have to go at the speed of the slowest participant.

A multi-speed approach avoids that, but presents its own challenges, and greatly increases the scope for confusion. Of course, in effect that is what we have right now. But it could be made more systematic, and the power to initiate the process of devolving powers could be taken out of the hands of Westminster (what Nick Clegg has dubbed “decentralisation on demand”). So, rather than spelling out the precise powers nations, regions and local government should have, our new UK constitution could simply detail the process by which those bodies might acquire such powers. Such an approach would be more along the lines of the constitution of Spain and its “autonomous communities” compared to, say, the United States.

The elephant in the room is what to do with England. Should it be treated as another nation state, alongside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, despite it having more than five times the population of the other nations combined? Does replacing a parliament with responsibility for over 64 million people with a parliament with responsibility for over 53 million people even count as devolution, as far as the day-to-day lives of people are concerned?

So should we split England into regions which, when it was tried, came to a grinding halt with the referendum for a North East assembly in 2004? Or should our attention be more directly on local government? The focus in Westminster recently has been on the latter, and more specifically on “city regions”. But that still leaves significant questions to be answered over what should happen in the bits of the country which cannot reasonably be regarded as part of a conurbation.

These are thorny questions on which we are looking for people’s views over the next few weeks. Our community has already come up with dozens of suggestions we would like your response to. In this case (if in no other) you are very much encouraged to vote early and vote often!


We the LSE guerrillas take our stand against the lack of creativity and imagination in university teaching today.  Why must class be scheduled in the way it is?  How are lectures to be treated as fresh and lively if they take place at the same time and in the same place on a regular basis, and deal only with topics that have been anticipated, set out in advance and generally drained of life?  What is this about disciplines, as though the world were segmented into silos – marked LAW, ECONOMICS, SOCIOLOGY and so on – and not the messy confusion of rival ideas that it is in reality? Why do some humans claim a greater right to teach than others based simply on the arbitrary title PROFESSOR – good at school and afraid to leave it for real life, all that they now bring to others is prejudice amplified by wider reading.

Agreed at our inaugural meeting two years ago, the Guerrilla Manifesto

  1. deplores the concept of the pre-ordained in teaching;
  2. demands that all ‘teaching’ engagements be SURPRISE INTERACTIONS WITH LEARNING;
  3. calls for teaching that is SPONTANEOUS, UNEXPECTED, MYSTERIOUS and therefore MEMORABLE;
  4. recognizes as teaching only that work in which KNOWLEDGE IS CO-PRODUCED BY ALL THAT ARE PRESENT: truth is no longer the preserve of the priest, the learned or the ostensibly ‘qualified’ – humanity is our qualification, voice our common means of communication.

Our first action after issuing our Manifesto was to identify a useful idiot, a conduit through which to channel our ideas.  We settled on CONOR GEARTY (under whose name we write this piece) for various reasons: he had just started a new Institute at LSE and was therefore more vulnerable than most, having something to prove, a rationale for his Institute’s existence that he needed to demonstrate; his presence on Twitter and his access to the levers of power within LSE communications, allied to his perceived status within the organization ( ‘a full professor’ – what a pompous comedy!) made him  someone through whom we could work; and by allowing him to believe the Guerrillas was his idea (easily done) we have secured his commitment to something that is in truth way beyond him.

Our first strike was in the crypt of Westminster Cathedral: the first thirty LSE workers (students? professors? staff? – we recognize no such distinctions!) in a flash queue in the new academic building were guided to a grubby street in Westminster when at a preordained time they entered a dark and dank passage that lead beneath the Cathedral to a Holy Place where, surrounded by the tombs of cardinals, they debated the MEANING OF HELL, in the company of the School chaplain Jim Walters, a sociologist of cults  Eileen Barker and an anthropologist with a specialism in humanism Matthew Engelke.

Next up was Highgate Cemetery. We took possession of it one Summer evening when it was ostensibly ‘closed’ (albeit not to the guerrillas!) and after our LSE people had wandered this mysterious place of death we summoned them by bell to the graves of Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer, frowning at each other across a gravelly path, the one a great revolutionary, the other a cheerleader for social Darwinism. Leah Ypi and Tony Giddens debated their merits, both school people immune to status however high they rise and natural sympathisers therefore with the Guerrilla agenda.

Our most ambitious action was our last.  Just a few weeks ago we took possession of LSE Director Craig Calhoun’s apartment (magnificent; opulently overlooking the Thames) for a debate about wealth and higher education.  Calhoun himself was not in though his partner was – her tweets from the upstairs study alerted the Director and on arriving home at 9pm he found us still in deep debate – Nick Barr, Tim Leunig – both faculty workers – were joined by the Student Union’s Nona Buckley-Irvine, and a group of LSE people brave enough to have taken a ticket to an unknown destination one miserable February evening.

Brothers, sisters, trans-siblings: this is just the beginning! As this last action shows, we are growing in confidence, drawing nearer and nearer to the full levers of power.  In education what is power? Not knowledge for we deny there is such a thing, but rather the networks of influence and opportunity that the ostensible search for knowledge at the right place brings.  The right place is LSE, top ranking, international, hugely influential.  If we can realize our Manifesto here we can achieve anything, anywhere. And even if we do not what does our failure leave: memories of unexpected discussions for those courageous enough to have sought them out; debate about topics on which we feel strongly but of which feelings we knew nothing before we had the chance to explore them. If this is failure then we devotedly hope that more lectures and classes should fail more often. Death to routine!

LSE Review Of Books

In the first two years of my time as an undergraduate law student in Dublin, I can’t remember a single book that inspired me.

Sure I read lots of text books – I remember queuing for the first Irish land law book ever published as though it was a Holy Grail of scholarly excellence: we got it from our professor’s room and I’ll never forget the debonair (ie foreign) lecturer in Spanish playing golf in the corridor while we waited (putting not driving).  Some of the books we had to read were mesmerising in their structure and in the glorious pedantry of their assembly of data and organisation of material.  (I particularly remember Evidence by Sir Rupert Cross, a man who had never seen anything having been blinded at the age of one, and Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort, which explained the law of negligence with beguiling simplicity.)

But bedside reading they were not.

And some were truly dreadful – not that you knew that when you were a student of course; naturally you always assumed it was your fault you couldn’t understand a word and fell asleep ever five minutes, not that of the dullard who had droned on assembling the words that were torturing you now.

Then in third year I did a political philosophy course with a Dominican priest and great man Fr Fergal  O’Connor – and discovered university books that could be read for pleasure.  Obvious stuff now maybe – Plato’s Republic; Aristotle’s Politics – but what a dramatic impact they had on me, so much so that I tried to dump law and read politics. Fr Fergal was happy to have me but, like prison guards who relish their job of incarceration, the law people wouldn’t let me go, so on I ploughed after my graduation through endless practitioner texts that made university law school seem a paradise of scholarship.

I escaped to Cambridge where I sought asylum from professional practice by becoming an academic.  The reading gradually got more interesting.  An LSE man’s book on the Politics of the Judiciary made a big impression but everybody at Cambridge disliked it so I kept my mouth shut – John Griffith was ‘too critical of judges’; ‘too left-wing’.  Another short volume, Tragic Choices by a visitor from America Guido Calabresi  and his then colleague Philip Bobbitt showed me a different way of writing.  I sat too in the old Squire law library making detailed notes of books I’d never be examined on – Harold Laski, William Robson, Jerome Frank, Roscoe Pound, the amazing Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior.  Harry Street from Manchester and my own research supervisor David Williams had written books on law stuff which they located in moments of history – these were books that I could understand and connect with.  They were about the law as part of politics not as a thing-in-itself outside human activity.  I devoured them, and when I got a chance to write a book of my own with my colleague and friend Keith Ewing the style I went for was modelled on theirs.

The point of all this is to admit that I am not so good at pointing out great law books that have made a difference to me.

The books that have hit me for six are those which have forced me into new ways of looking at the kind of political law I like: Alexander Bickel The Least Dangerous Branch; John Hart Ely Democracy and Distrust on the US; a wonderful book I bought on Venice Beach in California, Archibald Cox’s The Court and the Constitution; Jeremy Waldron’s edited Theories of Rights, a greatest hits collection of thinkers worth reading. In the early 2000s I spent ages reading and thoroughly enjoying the late Brian Simpson’s Human Rights and the End of Empire – he still loved his history as much as when, years before, he had written a law book about eating the cabin boy (Cannibalism and the common law) which was so good I bought it for my brother as a Christmas present.  Richard Rorty’s Contingency, irony and Solidarity and Philosophy and Social Hope are always by my desk – his collected works are my Narnia cupboard to a secret world of thought I’d never be able otherwise to access. His Achieving our country is a fantastic read.

And recently?

Sam  Moyn’s, The Last Utopia is the best book I have read on where all this human rights stuff has sprung from.

Colin Dayan’s The Law is a White Dog is the most imaginative and passionate (mainly about prison conditions in the US) that I have come across for a long while.

And  Tony Judt’s  Ill Fares the Land is the book I’d most like to have written but never could – simple, clear, confident and unashamedly partisan for the social democracy that he loved and which he saw being beaten down everywhere as his own life gradually closed in around him.

Aileen Kavanagh’s Constitutional Review under the Human Rights Act is a conventional law book but a brilliant demonstration of how to do this sort of thing – and it draws the politics in rather than pretends they don’t exist.

Tom Bingham’s The Rule of Law is like a piece of modern music in the pellucidity of its prose, so good you could almost believe the argument.

And my own reading?

I have just finished Travels with my Aunt by Graham Green whom I always read to enjoy and to remind me of why, despite everything, I am still a Catholic. Cormac McCarthy, F Scott Fitzgerald among the Americans. Colm Toibin closer to home.

But the greatest of them all, whom I will read and re-read to the end of my days, is that wondrous technician of the language and dazzling sentence-creator, a man for whom a semi-colon out of place would be like a vast belch at a discreet dinner party, a writer who rewards concentration by giving you a chance to enjoy a style so sublime you can easily miss the moral intensity of what he is doing,  that great American whose forefathers (I am so glad to say) came from the Irish county next to where I grew up  (though it must be said he hated the link to Ireland), Henry James.

On Being Distinguished: A Story About An ‘Influential Lawyer’

I first heard I was among The Times ‘Top 100 Lawyers’ on Twitter.

I don’t read the paper, in fact have always treated it as a polemical tract only lightly disguised by learning, so I might never have known. (Not many of my friends read the paper either.)

But there I was, my eleven letters and space among the 140 characters in an enthusiastic Tweet.

One of the ‘Top 100’?

I was excited, and also intrigued. Where was I in the Pantheon? My pulse raced. Maybe even ‘Top Ten’? And what did they say about me? Perhaps there was a profile, interviews with grateful students from the past, a picture even! My mind raced to construct the sort of praise that would finally do me full justice. And deliciously, who was not on? One hundred was not very many – letters of sympathy to the disappointed were for a nano-second of triumphalism forming before me as a real option: ‘Dear Geoffrey, I was so sorry to read in The Times of your omission from the list of top lawyers. I think that is quite wrong, or at very least they should have included the next 100. Let me just say that had I been asked I’d have certainly offered my place to you. Yours, Conor’.

But where to get the paper?

It was late. Left any longer it might disappear into that black hole which is yesterday’s news. I headed off with the dog, eventually finding and buying a copy, but furtively, eschewing my usual (and already purchased) Guardian and reaching into the tabloids as though I were buying Playboy or Penthouse and not the Old Thunderer itself. Good it had the law section; great there was the article – hold on – it’s a bit short. Let’s get home.

Disappointment awaited.

The ‘paper’ paper only had the greatest hits among the 100, the Shami’s and the Brenda Hales, the household names and not the whole bunch. To get these, readers were directed to The Times web-site, which I already knew was hidden from public view, protected by a ‘fire-wall’ demanding payment for entry. I ran upstairs, credit-card in my hand, intent on buying that day before the day ran out – surely only a pound or two.

It wasn’t as simple as that. Reading The Times’s home-page felt like being assailed by a computerised Big Issue vendor crossed with a snake-oil salesman.

You couldn’t buy one; you had to buy a package, involving The Times – possibly for weeks on end, maybe for ever! – and potentially much else besides. There was one moment when I was a button away from Sky’s supreme package which would have led to a Dish on the roof the next morning and cycling live from Budapest in the afternoon. (This was before I had heard of Bradley Wiggins.) None of it was as cheap as buying the newspaper in a shop. I wavered. What was it to be: the minimum package to get at today’s paper, or forget the whole thing. At that very moment I learned something important about myself: I am more mean than I am big-headed. I left it.

That is not to say I did not brood.

Why on the web, with more space, my profile might be longer, even more fulsome, the picture finer?

And the nagging thought I might be ‘top ten’ ate away at me.

Eventually I hit on a plan. I asked the Press Office at LSE (which I knew must be a subscriber) to find and send me the article. Brilliant: money saved and ego massaged. As The Times didn’t allow electronic escapes from their prison of news, this meant I had to wait for an old-fashioned print out to reach my LSE box via the internal mail. The tension!

Eventually the internal envelope arrived, thinner than I’d have expected for an article detailing the talents of one hundred – perhaps they had sent me just the bit about me?

No, this was it.

No organisation of names into any particular order. Just a jumble of people, some I’d heard off some I hadn’t. And there under G, me – and the single explanation for my appearance: ‘Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE’ – a job I gave up three years ago. Horror: I shouldn’t have been there at all! Never mind, no one reads the paper and if I keep quiet my secret is safe.

A month later I had to pitch for a pay rise, as do all profs at LSE on an annual basis. In filling in the form I tried to remember what on earth could justify me getting more money for the job I love doing anyway. Yes, that’s it, I am a top 100 lawyer. I am ashamed to say I put it in. And yesterday I got the letter declining to give me the extra money I didn’t deserve anyway. Never mind, the letter was as warm and gentle a rejection letter as you are ever likely to get: ‘The accolade of recognition as one the United Kingdom’s one hundred most influential lawyers brings great credit to you personally and to the School.’ Good job they don’t read the electronic Times either.

Do As I Say Not As I Do: Hypocrisy And Human Rights

Shortly before he became Prime Minister, David Cameron launched the Conservative Party’s Annual Human Rights Report. In it the Party called in exemplary fashion for an increase in human rights protection around the world. Introducing the Party leader, a young man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a former child soldier) praised the Party’s emphasis on ‘responsibilities’ as well as ‘rights’. He then went on to give a moving endorsement of British law, and in particular the Human Rights Act without which – he went on to say – his claim to asylum would never have been successful.


No one had told him the Conservatives wanted to repeal the Act, that human rights were for everybody – except those over whom this Party hoped to be able to exercise control.

This kind of double-standard is par for the course so far as human rights are concerned.

The more powerful a state is the easier it finds it to be hypocritical in its conduct without any serious risk of this being noticed or mattering very much if it is.

  • For years the US has lectured the world on human rights and occasionally started revolutions elsewhere on the basis of them, all the while resolutely refusing any proper critique of its own human rights record, at home or abroad. (This is not just the obvious – Guantanamo and so on – but extends to such basics as childrens rights and the death penalty and much else besides.)
  • Israel is keen to advertise its ‘western values’ through its special trading relationship with the EU and its participation in such events as the Eurovision song context and various European football competitions – but we hear very little from this beacon of democracy and human rights about agitating to be allowed to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights with its judicial oversight from Strasbourg – which for example even Turkey and Russia have managed to do.

Now the Vatican has joined the list of places which talk a good human rights game abroad but can hardly be said to be practising what it preaches at home.

Towards the end of May the Pope’s butler Paolo Gabriele was arrested, or so it was eventually acknowledged – the Vatican doesn’t do due process like the democratic world. It seems Gabriele was then sent to the Vatican cells where he has been kept through the early months of the Summer, until a sudden announcement (from the press office, rather than any kind of judicial officer) that he had been ‘released on parole’, in fact placed on house arrest. It seems a ‘Promoter of Justice’ has now determined that charges are to be brought, and it seems it will then be a ‘Vatican judge who will then decide whether he will face trial or be acquitted’. According to media reports in Italy, a sentence of 6 years could be meted out, albeit at this point the butler would need to be transferred to an Italian prison. Meanwhile we are assured by Gabriele’s lawyer that the butler had acted entirely on his own and as an ‘act of love’ towards the pope.

Well what would you say, after months in a cell in the sweltering heat of the Vatican and facing a tribunal that might jail you for many years?

Let’s substitute the words ‘Beijing authorities’ here for the Vatican and ‘defiant bishop’ for ‘the Pope’s Butler’ – what a fuss the Vatican would now be making, about freedom of religion, freedom from arbitrary detention, liberty of conscience, and so forth? And as for the ‘act of love’ our hypothetical Bishop is now said to be expressing towards the Communist Party – obviously unreliable, after two months in isolation in detention and with the fear of greater punishment to come?

And it has to be said that even Chinese laws are easier to access than those of the Vatican.

The web site of the Holy See takes you to a Vatican City State site, the section on the governance of which begins with the simple statement that ‘The form of government is that of an absolute monarchy’ [‘La forma di governo è la monarchia assoluta’]. Short summaries of the further disposition of power then appear. The ‘Fundamental Law of Vatican City State’ promulgated by John Paul II on 26 November 2000 has more on the nature of the Vatican flag than on the rights of anyone who might be affected by the exercise of executive power. Both the Holy See and the Vatican City State have signed up to various international Conventions – but these have not included anything so specific as the European Convention on Human Rights, with its prohibition on inhumane treatment, its demand for fair trials and its requirement that detention be non-arbitrary.

This insulation from European human rights norms doesn’t matter so long as they keep the butler holed up in the Vatican. But it could become important if Gabriele ends up in an Italian prison.

For Italy is bound by the Convention and – more to the point – an individual can take a case to the Strasbourg court if he or she can show him or herself to be a victim of a violation. There was a case a few years ago in which nullity proceedings in the Vatican which needed to be enforced by Italy were found wanting in a case against that country.

If Gabriele found himself languishing in an Italian prison, at the very least there would be an arguable case that the detention was unlawful, not least because the process that lead to his incarceration had been fundamentally flawed. It is impossible to tell how such a case would go – but clearly the hearings would be very embarrassing to the Vatican and its absolute ruler.

Does the Holy See want to have the Vatican state’s procedures exposed to scrutiny by the very court that has been at the forefront of establishing a secular, multi-cultural identity for Europe?

Expect a retreat by the authorities, aided and abetted by further fulsome apologies from the errant butler. Rome can go back to holding forth on the international stage safe in the knowledge that it has avoided scrutiny of its own behaviour. But a nasty taste of hypocrisy will remain hanging in the air.

Liberty and Security

Conor Gearty, Liberty and Security (Polity Press, forthcoming)

All aspire to liberty and security in their lives but few people truly enjoy them. This book explains why this is so. In what Gearty calls our ‘neo-democratic’ world, the proclamation of universal liberty and security is mocked by facts on the ground: the vast inequalities in supposedly free societies; the authoritarian regimes with regular elections; and the terrible socio-economic deprivation camouflaged by cynically proclaimed commitments to human rights.

Conor Gearty’s book is an explanation of how this has come about, providing also a criticism of the present age which tolerates it. He then goes on to set out a manifesto for a better future, a place where liberty and security can be rich platforms for everyone’s life.

The book identifies neo-democracies as those places which play at democracy so as to disguise the injustice at their core. Nor is it just the new ‘democracies’ that have turned ‘neo’; the so-called established democracies are hurtling in the same direction, as is the United Nations.

A new vision of universal freedom is urgently required. Drawing on scholarship in law, human rights and political science this book argues for just such a vision; one in which the great achievements of our democratic past are not jettisoned as easily as were the socialist ideals of the original democracy-makers.

Legal Week

An odd feature of the Human Rights Act has been its deep unpopularity among politicians. Even before it was brought it into force (in October 2000, nearly two years after Royal Assent), new Labour had begun to disown it, dissatisfied even then with its likely solicitude towards the kind of marginal communities (prisoners; criminals; suspected terrorists; travellers) that its advisers were probably already telling it to get tough on.  The Conservatives have pretty well hated it from the start, seeing in its scheduled European Convention rights a whiff of a Continent which their backbenchers and activists increasingly loathe.  Even the Lib Dems have been false friends, moaning about the Act’s lack of reach and demanding greater, more fundamental change than its modest provisions could ever hope to have delivered.  Maligned right, left and centre, the Act also almost immediately found itself the target of media attack, its right to privacy threatening the commercial interest that many newspapers have in intrusive gossip.

With such a groundswell of criticism from the powerful, it is perhaps surprising that the Act has lasted as long as it has, much less that even its strongest critics now say that what they want is not ‘no rights at all’ (which you might have expected) but rather ‘a new Bill of Rights’.  But how can the answer to a disliked law be more (rather than less) of what that measure contains?

The Tories are caught here between xenophobia and neo-conservatism: even their slower members notice there is something odd about Mr Hague and Mr Cameron telling the whole world to embrace human rights – except, that is, the one bit of global terrain over which they have any power.  It is hoped that a ‘British’ rights document would meet this point while detoxifying rights of their European influence.  It would also somehow at the same time (the details are hardly clear) call a halt to interference from the Strasbourg court, or at least that is the prime minister’s hope. (Someone seems to have told him about the German Constitutional Court and the lack of trouble Strasbourg makes for it and he hankers after the same for Britain.)

It is not clear, however, in what way this new bill of rights would differ from the Human Rights Act.  We are hardly going to have a right to food and shelter under this government, and surely the plan is not to grant jury trials as of right for everything (parking offences? speeding?).  Maybe the whole idea is just to make it easier to give suspect foreigners away to foreign countries where they can be tortured with impunity?  This would certainly be a novel basis for enactment of a bill of rights but the Strasbourg Court – bill or no bill – would be duty bound to stop it. And claims to the contrary notwithstanding, how can that court be cast aside so long as we belong in the Council of Europe?  Is expulsion or withdrawal from the Council a price worth paying to ensure a few terrorist suspects can be safely tortured in evil places?

The Human Rights Act may not have enjoyed many defenders in the higher reaches of politics but it has secured for itself an attractive niche within our legal culture.  The judges have dealt with it very well and grown familiar with the modest ethical weaponry it has supplied when they have had to confront egregious governmental conduct which might otherwise have escaped scrutiny.  So what has it done? To take just a selection: young people have been protected from serious assault in adult prisons; ordinary members of the public have been given at least a modest legal weapon with which to resist the tabloid destruction of their lives; the police have learnt to be more sensitive to the risks posed by violent persons to former partners; coroners have been guided into asking serious questions about suspicious deaths which were never even considered before; same-sex couples have been given a security of tenure on the death of one of them which had previously been denied them; vulnerable people have been given a chance to speak before being thrown out of their homes; above all the Human Rights Act has protected us from a system of internment of foreigners which, without the Act, might by now have become a normal feature of our law.  The Human Rights Act does not give prisoners the right to pornography, or lavish meals to hostage-takers, or any of the other nonsensical pseudo-entitlements which its enemies have ascribed to it.

Will the Act survive?  Almost certainly yes, at least until the next election and very possibly beyond.  The Commission the coalition has asked to enquire into the issue will report in a few months and will almost certainly divide along party lines (as it has been designed to do).  The Tories have already begun to create a series of manifesto pledges for a post Lib Dem future, and no doubt repeal of the Human Rights Act will appear as one of the Party’s more prominent promises.  The mechanics of its removal will be left to another day, in the hope that somehow or other the complexities of such a change will be resolved by the magic of government.  This won’t happen of course.  The Tories in power will be as they are now, and as the Labour party was before them – critical of this or that decision of the courts, happy to attack the Act to get a few cheap rounds of applause, but not inclined to follow the logic of such grandstanding into hard constitutional work.