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Ashya King and a heavy-handed state

We must hope now that the little boy wins through and is able once again to regain health and happiness.

We must hope now that the little boy wins through and is able once again to regain health and happiness.

How extraordinary that plod, in pursuit of what he thought was criminality, obtained a search warrant to raid and look for clues in the flat of the grandmother of the littler brain tumour boy who had been carted off to a Spanish hospital where he lay all alone with a policeman at his door.

If there was criminality at work it is that of the British and Spanish states in sanctioning the separation of a desperately ill five-year-old from the only people in a position to provide comfort and love. While his siblings, too, were included in the no contact ban his parents languished in a Spanish gaol three hundred miles away in Madrid whence they were whisked from Malaga at dead of night.

Sounds like a modern day horror story, doesn’t it? But this is the reality when a heavy-handed, insensitive, all-powerful state apparatus gets to work when it believes its aims are being thwarted. Just think for a moment. Here is a five-year-old child in the grip of a life-threatening condition who has never for a moment been without the comfort of his loving family. Suddenly they are ripped apart and he is adrift in a world of foreign voices which he does not understand. What is he to make of it except to feel blind terror and abandonment? This, in my view, is where the true criminality lies.

As for his grandmother’s flat, how very incredible – and stupid, I might add – that plod should think he had a good chance of coming upon incriminating evidence there. What this case illustrates so perfectly is the excessive use of state power and the mindless, blundering way it often goes about exercising that power. We saw it in action with Cliff Richard recently. In the process grieves and sometimes irreparable damage can be done. Which of us can forget that dawn descent on a Scottish island in 1991 when nine children were taken into care on a false abuse premise (satanic rites were mentioned) and kept separated from their parents for years, in one case five?

With regard to today’s Hampshire couple, it looks very much as though no law was broken. The parents had custody of the child and had a perfect right to take him back into their care – just as that daughter recently was minded to remove her father from the unhappiness of a care home. What does come across in all this is the arrogance of a medical profession furious that its judgement should be called into questioned and, even worse, defied. For long years it has enjoyed operating in an unquestioning world of miasma in which the patient often has little understanding of what is going on and feels compelled to bow to their expertise and superior intellect.

But now an enormously valuable communications tool has come to the patient’s rescue – the Internet – and they don’t like it. Patients can now consult world-renowned, leading authorities in the field and often find that they have been misdiagnosed or that there are other solutions to their problems out there. In other words, for the first time in history the patient has been empowered. It is no longer possible to bamboozle him in quite the way they had grown accustomed. Now the frustrated medics, who see themselves as authority figures, turn to another arm of the oppressive state – the police – who are only too respectfully eager to spring into action on their behalf. They, in turn, turn to another arm – the judiciary – who tell them to involve another arm – the town hall who can get a custody order from one of its judges who will then get yet another arm – the Crown Prosecution Service – to issue a European Arrest Warrant.

What chance does the little man have in the face of such an accumulation of state power? Only a free press – which that same power would dearly like to muzzle – can cause an outraged public, whose vote the man at the top will shortly need in the coming election, stand a chance of getting him to call off the hounds.

Thankfully common sense and human kindness have finally prevailed and these terrible events have now been resolved. We must hope now that the little boy wins through and is able once again to regain health and happiness.

Not so fast, Huhne

It is unusual for the police to press the Crown Prosecution Service to go ahead and charge a Minister of the Crown. But this is what they have done with the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne. It is encouraging, too, that they insist they have enough evidence also to proceed against his wife who, allegedly, took his speeding points. I have no doubt that were the matter not to concern two high profile figures – Vicky Pryce, Huhne’s estranged wife and a leading media economist – a decision would have been made many months ago.

What the people of our fair-minded country have always insisted on down the centuries is even-handed justice. I venture to suggest that if the CPS do not decide to press charges there will be a storm of protest. In that event David Cameron could expect a very rough ride at Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons.

One could begin to understand the government’s reticence if Chris Huhne were a popular figure, doing a good job at his ministry – as Dr Liam Fox was at Defence – but Huhne is widely despised at Westminster and beyond. He gains no brownie points either by insisting that the country has 3,500 wind turbines foisted on it at huge public expense, in denial in the face of the mountain of evidence which shows that they are not cost effective. Desecrating some of our prettiest landscapes seems of no account to him.

The country has not forgotten, either, that here is a man who spent his life rubbishing nuclear power, only to experience a Damascene conversion all of a sudden when he gets his ministerial chauffeur-driven car and realises that there is no way the country can keep the lights on as well as meet its environmental commitments without it.

As for the police recommending that Huhne be brought to book, the government – which might not wish for a third ministerial resignation since, in Oscar Wilde’s immortal words, it will start to look ‘careless’ – should tread carefully. After all, it certainly did itself no favours by refusing to comply with the law of the land by denying an inquest into the suspicious death of Dr David Kelly, the arms inspector. When 19 eminent medics say that Kelly could not have died in the way the government claims he did, then we should be worried – especially when they point out that the inquiry into his death failed to address a series of important unanswered questions. The public smelled a rat most definitely when it later learned that a 70-year gagging order had been slapped on the proceedings. It was the first time in British jurisprudence that an inquest was refused.

This matter has not gone away, so if the government/CPS thinks it can again, within months, insult the intelligence of the British people by saying that there is not enough evidence to prosecute the Energy Secretary, then it had better think again.


Looking forward to the year ahead and addressing one of our greatest worries, it is good news that inflation, despite all the Quantitative Easing that our central bank has undertaken, is forecast to fall dramatically, according to most economists. And it is especially good news that this prediction is confirmed by the normally cautious Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King.It is also very good new that Britons are returning to spending on the High Street and elsewhere. While many property owners are despondent to learn that their houses are likely to fall in value, it is good news concerning the tragedy which has hit first-time buyers. 44pc of the country is now within their reach and the figure is growing apace.
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