Fewer Men in the Judiciary

The Times claims today that women “are finally breaking through the glass ceiling of senior judicial appointments.” A Telegraph headline asked last month, “Why are there so few women in the High Court?” Of course I’m going to ask the opposite question: why are women more successful in getting on the High Court?

There were 22 High Cout posts available in the latest round of appointments. Five of the successful candidates were women. That’s nearly 23% of the posts given to women. However, there were only eleven female applicants, so the success rate for women was 45%. There were 118 male applicants from whom were filled the remaining 17 posts, so the success rate for male applicants was 14%.

While the Government claims that all judicial posts are filled on merit, this would appear to be more discrimination based on gender. Just like they are intent on having a certain number of female MPs, but to a certain extent are dependent upon the electorate. The judiciary is different. They are appointed by the Lord Chancellor.

But don’t expect things to change when the Tories take power at the next election. David Cameron already has a policy of forcing more women on safe and key marginal parliamentary seats. I have no doubt his Lord Chancellor will follow the same affirmative action policy.

Coroners Must Not Explain Avoidable Deaths

The audacity of the British Government never ceases to amaze. Just when you think they couldn’t do anything more outrageous against truth and justice, they prove you wrong. It’s like, “You think that was bad? Watch this!”

When British soldiers are killed overseas, their bodies are flown into RAF Brize Norton. The problem is that Brize Norton is in Oxfordshire. That means that as soon as the corpse touches British soil, it is under the jurisdiction of the Oxfordshire coroner’s office. Deaths outside of Britain are subject to a coroner’s inquest to determine the cause and responsibility for the death.

If the responsibility for the deaths were entirely with the enemy,  there would be no problem. Unfortunately for the Ministry of Defence, Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker just digs a little too deep. He notices that but for a few simple things like lack basic equipment and flawed procedures, men would be alive. It’s not easy digging, because the MoD is intentionally obstructive in the collection of evidence.
Now Defence Secretary Des Browne is trying to gag coroners from criticising the Government or the military. He wants the High Court to order coroners to censor their findings. He wants them to be prevented from using language that makes him look bad.

Since a Coroner is no Civil Serf, the Government can’t use it’s usual strong arm tactics to shut them up.  As for people who ask too many questions who work for the MoD, they have Dr David Kelly to look to as an example.