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Taking a liberty, legally speaking

You’ve probably never heard of Charles de Montesquieu. To be honest, the only reason I know his name is because I came across it once when writing an essay. He said, “There is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice”. His perspective was ga ined in early 18th century France where justice was dispensed by whoever occupied the throne. Montesquieu argued for what we now call a constitutional ‘separation of powers’ whereby law-making, policing and the courts operate independently of each other - or at least notionally anyway. You could argue that democracy anywhere can only thrive when the principles of an independent judiciary are fu

New economics versus old thinking

The thing about stereotypes is that it’s hard to see past them. Take for example the public sector which has long been the butt of jokes about sleepy tea-drinkers sitting around all day. That perception is now being challenged. As I recently reported to a business group, the combined input of our two universities, the health board and local housing associations will inject £2.2 billion capital investment into the regional economy over the next five years. That is on top of the £4.5 billion they already put into local salaries, purchasing and the like each year. When you add the potential dividend likely to come out of securing the City Deal which the Swansea Bay City Region is currently chas

Big Brother never had it so good

Personal privacy in the UK was put on notice last week as the government tabled its new Investigatory Powers Bill. The draft document, which runs to a whopping 299 pages, contains a number of far-reaching measures that will put citizens under unprecedented levels of state surveillance. The Bill preface reads “The provisions …. seek to protect both privacy and security by improving transparency and through radical changes to the way investigatory powers are authorised and overseen”. They do nothing of the sort. The most controversial proposal is a requirement for providers to store everyone’s internet activity for a year. This information will be accessible to police and intelligence officers

Weekly Column

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