The fine was for failing to keep copies of documents that The Baroness claims she checked to validate that the worker was legally entitled to work in the UK. No further action from the UK Border Agency or from The Prime Minister will follow.
The law that has been broken was advised upon by the Attorney General during its conception, as the AG acts as lawyer to the Government. In it, specific provisions were worded to ensure that employers keep copies of documents as failure to produce any documentation would not be a defence against the specific law. It is a long held standing in English Law that Ignorance of the law is not a defence against it, and all judges are held to apply this principle. There is no specific need to word such a provision really unless specific onus is required – so entrenched is the notion to law.
As such, to have an Attorney General now who advised and helped frame a law which included a provision that the onus of proof falls to the accused and that only the production of evidence showing pro-forma checks were made (in this case, photocopies of documents) to then fall foul of that law is breathtakingly incompetent for somebody of the Attorney Generals position. It is the Attorney General equivalent of wile e coyote strapping himself to an Acme missile in the pursuit of a blue feathered dinner only to go and blow himself up – Perhaps even more incompetent than that.
The whole situation has all of the hallmarks of a whitewash about it.
I say Whitewash because a £5,000 fine does not begin to resolve this little problem and yet again I think Gordon Brown has staggeringly underestimated the knock on effect this is going to have; yet seems to be a player in getting into the rush to investigation, fine, slap on the wrist, move along now, la la la we don’t care, we’re not listening chain of events that has come to pass in under a week.
I am upset, and I think you are too.
Firstly, The Attorney Generals position is just the latest of high offices in our Kingdom that has been besmirched by the appointment to that office of somebody capable of causing exceptional embarrassment to that post. It is just however the latest in a long line of appointments under this Labour Government; the frequency of scandals seems to have increased two-fold since Gordon Browns coronation. By simply flying off to the US to play World Statesman and by failing to sack Baroness Scotland, Brown has again, for the umpteenth time shown himself to be indecisive and completely unable to provide a Government of any talents, let alone of “all talents”. With crystal clarity the public gaze upon a man who yet again put his own and his party’s perceptions ahead of doing the right thing and acting in the best interests of this country. The moment the fine was issued the Prime Minister should have implemented the change, to which he would have already had lined up – that is what a leader would have done.
Secondly, the hiring of illegal immigrants is a known and frequently used tactic of employers to avoid paying minimum wage to employees. The minimum wage is the crown jewel in 12 years of Labour government, perhaps the only initative left that retains broad popularity and reminds all of us of the promise that we all felt of what was to come. There has been no word however if the Baroness was avoiding paying her worker minimum wage, which would be another offence, both under the law and in terms of holding a grand position within a government, no matter how discredited, to whom not only brought in the legislation for that minimum wage, but have and will rely upon its fair introduction as a campaigning point. Could Labour even mention minimum wage if their own AG was found to have ignored it?
It adds to the feeling over cover up that we are not informed one way or the other; could the Baroness still find herself in an embarrassing position on this?
Thirdly, when will it all end? I seem to repeat myself on this point over and over here on my blog but for every single scandal, even today, Labour follows the same instincts, the same alienating formula of self preservation. Try to change the story, deny, attack others… get found out, try to hold on to high paying, high powered position… blame the Tories, stuff the voters, stuff doing “the right thing”, quick, get Rosa, Kevin and Polly to write about how nice we are and how the Tories will starve your babies to feed their butlers…. Anyone remember what the story was, no? Great, pass the expense forms.
This brings us onto the next point. Brown is trying to draw a line under this, but the Sunday Times has already revealed that
Perhaps Gordon Brown could clear up whether he thinks this series of events have come about because the Attorney General is a crook, or because she is grossly incompetent, or is ita bit of both? If he could elaborate on that, whilst explaining why she still has a job I think a lot of people would be much clearer.
With Brown in charge there is no one to push these lunatics over, because he’s one of them. They will cling on, and he will until next year as clearly too many of Labour Parliamentary presence have too much to lose if Brown goes. They are fighting to save each other and their own jobs now. They’re alright, but what about the rest of us who live here?
When Labour polls in the mid twenty percent range I find it hard to believe there are still people in this country that can abide by such loose and questionable behaviour in our governing officials.
If Brown had of sacked the Baroness he would have legitimately got a bump in the polls for doing the right thing, and more than that for being seen to act decisively. This would have sent a warning to rebels ahead of the Conference, and may have wiped away some of the questions about a change of leadership. With a conference platform and feeling bold, Gordon Brown could have used the conference to spell out difference in Labour and Conservative policy and cuts – he could have regained at least some of the agenda and perhaps even put dents in Conservative plans for their conference. He would have acted positive and perhaps got a positive result.
Instead… well, you know the rest.