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This review is from: Just Law (Hardcover)
Helena Kennedy has earned a just reputation as an advocate for personal liberty and the defence of human rights. It was inevitable, given her legal skills and prominence, that she should be drawn into the New Labour, Blairite diaspora and a political machine which liked to surround its leader with celebrity. It was probably equally inevitable that she should see through Blair's politics and voice her disillusion clearly and concisely.
In "Just Law", Kennedy begins by looking at eighteen "inroads into our liberty" - the disturbing propensity for Blair's Ministers to question the law, seek to override it, and establish executive powers of their own. On the one hand, the Westminster Parliament has signed up to the human rights agenda, on the other, the Cabinet seems determined to keep liberties circumscribed and under its control. Of course, a Prime Minister who is prepared to lie about the reasons for war in Iraq and simply ignore public opinion is a politician who is more interested in having his way than leading the way.
Kennedy points out that Blair is not a liberal - she identifies a strong authoritarian dynamic in his personality and politics. He is obsessed by spin, obsessed with giving everything a rosy feel. He wants to be seen as a nice guy. But he's on his way to creating 1,000 new criminal offences since coming to power and has demonstrated an ability to orchestrate the tabloid headlines to press for new laws and new powers to fight ... well, whoever he identifies as the cause of the next moral panic he leads.
Kennedy demonstrates that law is ultimately about politics. It is also about values and rights, and if we submit to the bullying and allow the politicians to write laws to safeguard and promote their own powers, we shouldn't be surprised if our own rights are eroded.
A disturbing analysis from a very bright, passionate, and determined lawyer, one which deserves a wider reading.