Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Ladies

Doesn't it strike you as a little unfair that the lady who Baroness Scotland employed illegally has just been sent to prison for eight months, while Lady Scotland escaped with a £5,000 fine, and kept her job (which the electorate has just relieved her of)? A slight imbalance in the scales of justice, I think.

53 comments:

Jimmy said...

What a bizarre post. Are you objecting to someone covicted of visa fraud going to prison or are you arguing that employers should be banged up for not making proper checks?

Mervyn said...

not slight, huge

As ever it's all about contacts. Scotland has got them the other lady hasn't.

Possibly one of the worst things about Britain, "Justice" is only for the wealthy and the connected,

Gallimaufry said...

Is it cos she's black?

Alan Douglas said...

Iain, it is a very serious crime embarrassing a senior member of a Labour government, by showing her up to be incapable of following the laws SHE made for us minions (only) to obey or else.

Alan Douglas

Stuart said...

IAIN!!

WHEN are you going to stop doing this?!

There's a little thing getting in the way of the High Court continually doling out the outcomes you might whimsically prefer: THE LAW!

This woman carried out an active fraud on the AG. The AG carelessly didn't carry out her checks fully enough. Now, whatever we think about Lady Scotland in office (and I suspect we'd be in agreement) it is singularly *preposterous* to suggest that these two things should carry similar punishments.

I'm sorry to say this Iain, not least because politically I'm sure we agree about much, but whenever you comment on legal cases/judgments, you come off looking ridiculous - without fail. *This* is exactly why Harriet Harman's infamous "court of public opinion" comments were so repugnant - you shouldn't be stooping to her level...

Robert said...

Or Fergie being panned in the press for charging for introductions whle Blair whores himself to the highest bidder for doing the same thing and gets away with it.

Very little sticks to New Labour.

canvas said...

Iain, you really are a plonker. It's no wonder why you will never become an elected politician. No wonder at all.

the facts of the case, Iain. THE FACTS. Did you examine the facts before you wrote this reactionary little piece of poo? sheesh

#sometoriesmakemecringe

Havocman said...

Bloody ridiculous.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Would hardly refer to Baroness Scotland as a lady....

John R said...

Hopefully having taken McNutter's thumb off the scales of justice the next peer or senior politician found to have done what Scotland did would get the same fate as any average citizen would get.

One law for all.

canvas said...

Iain, not only will people think that you are an unkind and mean-spirited person because of your blog-posts this week - but now they'll also suspect that you are thick as a plank.

Please, will you get your act together and produce some posts that are at least semi-interesting?

#sometoriesjustdon'tgetit

Iain Dale said...

Canvas, if my posts are irritating you then I know my work is worthwhile.

Try and write an interesting comments rather than your puerile insults once in a while.

Quite how you think this post is reactionary is beyond me. I was sticking up for the illegal immigrant against the establishment figure. Reactionary, eh? Go figure.

canvas said...

Oh Iain, it's very sad - but you just don't get it. do you?

You can't write something like this post without examining the facts and stating the facts. it makes you look either very lazy - or just plain stupid. The situation is not as you write it - you've written an emotional post that simply ignores the law and the facts. it makes you look silly.

canvas said...

Also, Iain it's good to know that you're on the side of the convicted criminal and fraudster. sheesh.

Iain Dale said...

God you really are an awfully dim and dull person, Canvas.

All I was doing was pointing out the apparent unfairness of the two sentences. To my mind, Baroness Scotland was equally as culpable.

Please don't reply. I'm rather tired of your preidctable and tiresome comments.

Joe Public said...

If erring police officers are treated 'harsher-than-normal', why shouldn't ex-Attorney Generals? Especially those who were involved in the passing of such legislation they themselves broke.

£5k to her is less than a day's fee as a QC.

canvas said...

you just can't bear to know that you've been punked yet again. when you're crap - it's my job to tell you. :)

Iain, this is crap. again. :)

huggies xx

Tim said...

Wonderful way the BBC reports it:

"Loloahi Tapui, who had overstayed her student visa by four years, duped former Baroness Scotland into hiring her as her housekeeper."

Right Hon. said...

It's the way of the world, one law for the rich and powerful and another for the plebs.

Take my previous MP, the money-grubbing Andrew Mackay. He (and his equally money-grubbing MP wife) helped themselves to more than £150,000 of tax-payers money.

And what's the punishment? They are made to pay back only £60,000 and to add insult to injury this odious specimen then gets a golden farewell and pension pay-off of more than £1.8 million!

Justice my ar$e.

Nick said...

Iain

Can I just confirm you think that someone who fraudulently and deliberately lies and deceives by committing visa fraud should be treated the same as someone who wrongly fails to properly check visa documents?

If so, that's quite a statement.

I agree with Stuart. If you are going to comment on the law, research more carefully.

Lauchlan McLean said...

Gallimaufry Is it cos she is black!which one, neither one is Anglo Saxon

Craig Ryan said...

Let's leave aside Canvas's silly comments, but Jimmy (comment no. 1) does make a fair point, Iain. Are you suggesting more lenient sentences for visa fraud or tougher penalties for employers?

docpete said...

Dear Iain,

I am a tad befuddled. The cleaner is incarcerated for 8 months on the basis of a law that Scotland put in place. Scotland states in her defence that no one would have thought that the wife of a lawyer (with an English accent) would not be kosher (apologies, this is not meant to be anti-semitic). How many lawyers are there with a wife that cleans houses? Would that very fact not cause a teeny weeny question mark in Scotland's mind? Clearly not. She was obviously troughing with her piggy little nose and wanting to minimise her costs by exploiting a worker. Good old socialism in action. Outstanding.

Hail Mandelson! Hail Campbell! Hail Blair! Hail Brown!

No, I do no argue that visa fraud should be ignored, indeed Jimmy, Stuart and Canvas (I think -because you seem to be a bit schizophrenic on this). Do I hear you railing against illegal immigrants? I'll wait and hear. However, Scotland and her ilk (Labour, Tory or LibConfused) must not be allowed to escape responsibility for their actions.

Keep up the good and honest commentary.

Cheers

Pete

trevorsden said...

Prison? Why not deported.

Dear Jimmy -- The employer (in this case Scotland0 clearly broke the law - otherwise she would not have been fined.
In this case the employer was actually responsible for creating and passing the law. Are we to really believe that she did not know this woman was an illegal?

A rich labour peer gets a slap on the wrist and the employees gets jail rather than deportation.

docpete said...

Dear Iain,

I am a tad befuddled. The cleaner is incarcerated for 8 months on the basis of a law that Scotland put in place. Scotland states in her defence that no one would have thought that the wife of a lawyer (with an English accent) would not be kosher (apologies, this is not meant to be anti-semitic). How many lawyers are there with a wife that cleans houses? Would that very fact not cause a teeny weeny question mark in Scotland's mind? Clearly not. She was obviously troughing with her piggy little nose and wanting to minimise her costs by exploiting a worker. Good old socialism in action. Outstanding.

Hail Mandelson! Hail Campbell! Hail Blair! Hail Brown!

No, I do no argue that visa fraud should be ignored, indeed Jimmy, Stuart and Canvas (I think -because you seem to be a bit schizophrenic on this). Do I hear you railing against illegal immigrants? I'll wait and hear. However, Scotland and her ilk (Labour, Tory or LibConfused) must not be allowed to escape responsibility for their actions.

Keep up the good and honest commentary.

Cheers

Pete

Chalcedon said...

Slight? It smacks of one law for us (the plebs) and another for the patricians.

Stuart said...

DocPete: yes indeed - I am happy to "rail against" illegal immigrants. And illegal anything else. I'm every bit as Conservative as anyone else on this board, but part of that is a sincere belief in the rule of law. Lady Scotland's actions were careless, stupid, and reprehensible. She deserved to be punished, and harshly IMHO.

However, an active deception (creating false documents; personally misrepresenting that they are real; personally giving false assurances as to her status) is a VERY different thing to carelessly failing to keep a photocopy of a document that you have seen. That isn't to say the latter is defensible: it isn't, and I make no defence of Lady Scotland at all. Their two actions are VERY different in scale, though.

I don't understand your [and, more to the point, Iain's] refusal to apprehend this difference; it's not a subtle one. Lady Scotland should be subject to the law for her carelessness; and she was. But that doesn't, on any reasonable logic, mean her punishment should be equal to that of a fraudster.

A question for Iain: in the tragic Baby P case (I choose an extremely distasteful case for a reason), would you consider the negligent social workers "equally culpable" with Baby P's abusers? Or is there a distinction between the active aggressors and the negligent professionals, even if all are to some degree culpable?

On your present logic, a life sentence would seem to be what you would recommend for any social worker involved in the Baby P case. Really...?

Grand_Inquisitor said...

Yes, typical New Labour justice - rather like the way every thing was bent so that those two children were convicted for rape - just to meet Harman's rape conviction target.

British Justice?? what a sick joke after 13 years of New Labour.

canvas said...

It's interesting but i don't think iain has mentally accepted the results of the general election yet. I think the coalition has messed with his mind a bit because he is still writing his blog as if the party he supports is in opposition. Iain doesn't need to keep attacking labour yet he does. Who cares about labour at the moment? Why not write about how popular clegg and cameron are. And they are. Maybe its just too painful for the right wing to accept? Get positive iain. The tory party (how you remember it) is gone forever. Times have changed. We're all liberals now. :)

FX Man said...

Mr Dale - if you canvass for opinions you'll get stupid opinions from Canvas.

http://fxbites.blogspot.com/2010/05/scotland-brave.html

GarethS said...

Ok, for the hard of thinking here (are you with me Canvas Flaps?) let's simplify the argument. Let's set aside the gaol sentence for the fraudster and concentrate on Pat Scotland.

In the honest opinion of posters here, of all political persuasions, is a £5000 fine a proportionate legal censure for not only the government's top law officer but also the author of the Law she clearly and, only IMO obviously, deliberately broke (she's not little people)?

Iain's point, as I see it is not the severity of the gaol sentence but the leniency of the fine.

Let's be honest amongst ourselves here eh, hands up those who really, deeply believe Patricia Scotland was the dupe in a sophisticated fraud perpetrated on her by a cleaner? If lots of hands go up, can I ask those who voted what qualities they think Patsy Scotland brought to the role of Attorney General?

Get real FFS

Mahesh said...

So two people got caught, both were punished according to the *crime*, not for who they are or who they worked for or who they work for now.

So, what's the big deal? That's how I expect it to work.

If you think the punishments were lenient, then bitch about the law. Or raise a voice to get it changed.

Span Ows said...

docpete, I agree entirely. Stuart et al (ignoring the complete plonker canvas) I suggest you read what Ian has written:

"Doesn't it strike you as a little unfair..."

"A slight imbalance in the scales of justice, I think"


Now doe s this sound like Iain is calling for social workers to get life...hmmm...does it?

P.S. if Iain has since edited his post and I am quoting rewritten lines then I take it back.

Peter said...

Presumably if she had been an MP committing a similar crime after the new "right to recall an MP law" had been introduced, she could have been sacked by her constituents.
The cleaner should have just been deported months ago!

Raedwald said...

Hmm OK how about

"Doesn't it strike you as a little unfair that the lady who Baroness Scotland employed illegally has just been sent to prison for eight months, while Derek Conway, who defrauded the taxpayer of tens of thousands, left Parliament with a whopping payoff and pension? A slight imbalance in the scales of justice, I think."

Well, if you put it like that,I have to agree ;-)

simon said...

Iain is saying this because she is a Labour politician, no more, no less. If David Davis, say, had made the same error, we wouldn't be hearing a word about it.

privatefrazer said...

I find that I am in agreement with you Iain.

In this country "Justice" is just another cross the responsible working citizens have to bear.

I do like the thought of you being a reactionary. If your commenting can be described in this way, then all I can say is "do not stop".

Richard said...

Baroness Scotland was, in fact, fined for merely not having kept copies of the documents that her housekeeper was relying on. The Border Agency itself accepted that she had not known that the housekeeper was an overstayed and also that she had carried out checks on her. To my mind, a £5,000 fine for failing to take photocopies is hardly nugatory.

By contrast, the housekeeper received 4 months for being on possession of a false visa and 4 months for committing fraud against her employer. She also received a concurrent 1 month sentence for overstaying.

Iain - I have to say that I don't thnk the two cases are remotely comparable, you are comparing apples and oranges and so your assertion is off-target on this occasion. Sorry.

JuliaM said...

"Iain, not only will people think that you are an unkind and mean-spirited person ..."

People ≠ 'all the people I, canvas, know'

Pam Nash said...

Jimmy, Stuart and Canvas.

Baroness Scotland, at the time the Attorney General, was fined £5000 but, courtesy of Gordon, kept her job. The job that enabled her to pass the law regarding the checking of documents relating to foreign employees, which SHE then broke. The employee was then punished to the full extent of the law.

Which bit of this are you not understanding? Can you explain to me just how this was fair?

Bardirect said...

I find both the convictions, the sentence and the basis for sentence a little odd.

The convictions were for fraud, possessing a false identity stamp, and overstaying but she was acquitted of possessing false identity documents with intent.

This seems inconsistent on the part of the jury yet the sentence seems apt only for the offence she was acquitted of.

HampsteadOwl said...

If Iain had written "a little ironic" I would have been inclined to agree. It's the same the whole world over, it's the poor wot gets the blame etc etc.

But unfair? Not really. If in both cases the sentence handed down by the court was legally proportionate to the crime - and so far as I, by the grace of God, a non-lawyer, can tell, it was - then we shouldn't complain, no matter the identity of the protagonists.

Stuart said...

SpanOws: I know that Iain wasn't calling for social workers to get life. That remains the logic of his fallacious position, though. That his reasoning leads to a conclusion I know that Iain is too sensible to find to be anything but absurd indicates exactly why he is wrong about this case. I don't think Iain is some sort of extremist, or wing-nut reactionary. I just think this post was a bit hasty and ill-considered. It doesn't make any sense.

Pam Nash, I'm afraid that's a non sequitur. The "scales of justice" that Iain refers to had nothing to do with Lady Scotland keeping her job. I don't think she should have kept her job either, but that's not a matter for the courts. Iain's complaints about the are about the sentences these two people received. I'm afraid you're having an entirely separate discussion, Pam, about a point on which there is no disagreement, and which Iain didn't take up.

I don't think it's "fair" that she kept her job. But I don't think that it's unfair that a deliberate fraudster should receive a harsher sentence at law than a careless administrator. Both are culpable, and appropriately both are punished. But to suggest that the two be somehow equalised is none short of absurd.

And GarethS's implicit suggestion that the punishment for a given crime should be means-tested according to who you are and what you have is simply extraordinary.

Lady Scotland should have resigned. But the fact she didn't doesn't mean that the high court should have imposed a tougher sentence on her that fit the crime that was committed by someone else...

Jimmy said...

"The cleaner is incarcerated for 8 months on the basis of a law that Scotland put in place."

Fraud having hitherto been perfectly legal?

For heaven's sake do a little reading if you're going to comment on this.

longrun2 said...

I may have missed an earlier comment because some like jimmy make me want to throw up which would damage my computer but what sane person would say that this unfortunate lady should be sent to prison for eight months for working for Lady Scotland?
I can believe that some people who *pretend* to be sane would condemn her if she worked for Nick Griffin but what the hell is the justification for sending someone to jail for working in an honest job?

Nick said...

Pam

It was fair because both were punished according to the offence they committed.

Baroness Scotland checked the details, but failed to keep copies. She was fined in line with what other employers would have been fined.

The cleaner was fraudulent, lying to her employer. She was punished according to the law she broke.

As to why Baroness Scotland was not sacked, that is a political decision

Unsworth said...

@ Canvas

You 'think'?


With what?

Tom said...

Iain, the two people were guilty of different crimes. It is therefore entirely appropriate that they should be treated differently.

Henry Wood said...

Baroness Scotland considered herself to be above the law when she likened the penalty set by the Border Agency as no worse than a fine for failing to pay the London congestion charge.

Incidentally, a lot of commentators on here keep referring to the "fine" paid by Baroness Scotland. It was not a fine and definitely not a punishment set down by a court of law. It was a penalty fixed by the Border Agency.

Funny that, she never even appeared in court for her transgressions. Perhaps Lord Denning got it wrong when he quoted Thomas Fuller: "Be you ever so high, the law is above you"". He forgot to add, unless you are a Labour Attorney General, who never ever held elected office of any kind.

Moriarty said...

Simon:"Iain is saying this because she is a Labour politician, no more, no less. If David Davis, say, had made the same error, we wouldn't be hearing a word about it."

Yes we would: probably from you.

Nigel said...

Eight months for committing the heinous fraud of faking papers in order to take a job paying all of £6 an hour seems a little disproportionate to me, too. Not to mention an utter waste of public money.

Why not simply deport the poor woman ?

Imagine that she had been working for a Tory AG. Would then Jimmy and Canvas have been so strongly in favour of harsh retributive justice ?

Or are they just immigration hawks emerging from the closet ?

DespairingLiberal said...

@Jimmy, I think Iain is getting ready for another of his new policing actions - as Chief State Snoop and Denouncer for the LiberTorial Party, he is well-suited to the role.

marion said...

Dear Iain,

I am even more befuddled. Firstly the third paragraph had nothing to do with me - where did that come from?

Secondly to Stuart I would point out that I made no reference to equivalence of activity, sentence, justice or whatever else. I merely queried how an apparently intelligent Minister of the Crown, and moreover one responsible for legislation, did not think it odd that the wife of a lawyer would apply for a cleaning job at such a low rate of remuneration - especially when her justification was exactly that this was the wife of a lawyer.

Kind regards

Pete