Parts of the policy agenda – such as welfare reform, education policy, or the privatisation of NHS delivery – have attracted plenty of media attention, although they have not encountered anywhere near the level of informed critical scrutiny they needed. Other parts of the Coalition’s policy agenda have been moving forward relatively unnoticed, except among those directly affected.
Most notably, Chris Grayling’s single-minded and boneheaded attempt to destroy the English legal system as we know it has been progressing without attracting a huge amount of attention beyond legal circles. We have seen the House of Commons wave through a series of profound changes that are undermining key principles of our justice system. It is so egregious that it can only be intentional.
These changes have been “justified” with the Coalition’s characteristically cavalier approach towards evidence. That is, they have imagined some large numbers, shouted “austerity”, and argued that these large numbers justify cutting funding to support access to justice. This strategy has so far proven almost entirely impervious to reasoned argument. It doesn’t matter how many times informed commentators have pointed out that the Coalition’s case is misleading and its proposals damaging, the Lord Chancellor remains pretty much unmoved. He continues to pursue his anti-access agenda. [Read more...]