Friday, 16 August 2013
Friday joke: now is the summer of our discontent, in Broken Barnet
Funny business, Judicial Review, isn't it?
Last month we heard that the One Barnet JR appeal was lost, despite the proven illegality of Barnet Council's failure to consult residents, on a question of timing, being brought, according to their Lordships, too late, and too far beyond the point where extension might be granted.
Unfair, and a dangerous decision, you might think, allowing local authorities to imagine they can get away with corporate murder as long as they manage to pull the wool over residents' eyes for long enough.
Today we had news of a preposterous decision by the High Court to grant leave for a JR by a group of enthusiasts, including a very distantly connected descendant, to stall plans for the reburial of the recently discovered remains of Richard III, the erstwhile Plantagenet monarch, Shakespearean character, and doting uncle.
Five hundred years after his demise, supporters in the twenty first century are being granted leave to challenge moves to reinter the old schemer, on the curious grounds that, according to the judge, the Hon Mr Justice Haddon-Cave (no, really):
...it is plainly arguable that there was a duty at common law to consult widely as to how and where Richard III's remains should be appropriately re-interred ...'
This is marvellous news, of course. We can now all be asked our opinions about digging up any villainous characters in our historical past, and putting them in a more tourist friendly venue, or, if we prefer, in future to protect all royal bodies in car parks from the nosey interference of archaeologists, and leave them under the concrete. A new business opportunity there for NSL, thinks Mrs Angry, and if they are moved to tender for the contract, they are certain to win it, don't you think?
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave thought it proper to show leniency on the timing issue of Richard III's case because of uncertainty over the status of the crucial decision, ie identifying whose body had been interred. The rights of interested parties concerned about the reburial of the bones of a monarch who died more than 500 years ago are therefore upheld, as a matter of law.
Here in Broken Barnet-Capitaville, the rights of interested parties worried not so much about the distant past, but rather about their futures, and the future of their community,are not recognised in law.
We may have progressed in some ways since the time of the Plantagent kings, but we are still living in a feudal society, where justice and mercy are for the affluent, and influential, dispensed at the whim of a few old men sitting in robed ceremonial courts, safely removed from the consequences of their own decision making.
The Master of the Rolls thought that leniency should not be shown to the serfs of Broken Barnet, whose lack of qualification in the finer points of the law, accompanied by the deliberate obstruction of their elected representatives, busy smothering the truth in the towers of North London Business Park, prevented them from knowing when was the right moment to challenge the One Barnet programme.
As a young man, the future Richard III took his first act of military command in the foggy confusion of the Battle of Barnet, fighting furiously up on the common, winning a pivotal victory in the Wars of the Roses.
Half a millenium later, we are still fighting for the future control of our democracy, in the Battle of One Barnet. We may have lost the war, but we don't know yet how history will turn out.
Maybe we could offer our royal visitor a suitable place here, now, for his reinterment, in our newly privatised, Capita controlled crematorium.
Because we know, after all, where the bodies are buried, or will be, from now on, here in Broken Barnet, don't we?