Rebuttal of rumours etc....

In the age of social media (twitter, facebook and so on) all sorts of things can be published about candidates and what they stand for that may not be justified. So, I thought I would maintain this page to record my rebuttals to misinformation that gets circulated.




Twitter


An enthusiastic supporter got carried away and created a twitter account for me. @lionelvschris

I am not a "tweeter". My mobile does not even take photos let alone connect to the internet! Anyway, the twitter account has quickly gained currency - so I am leaving it alone and I am very grateful for the support expressed through this media.


Legal Aid

Some commentators have suggested I am standing on an anti-legal aid cuts platform. This is not in fact the case. I have not and will not mention legal aid at all in my campaign and I seek no votes in connection with the issue of cuts to legal aid that have been approved by the MP for Epsom and Ewell.  The idea I was campaigning against legal aid cuts first featured in tweets on Twitter.  I corrected these "twitterers" with this "tweet"

"Sorry folks - I am not campaigning vs legal aid cuts. Never have. Only vs Grayling's HRA repeal. That is an all voter issue."

There have been some targeted cuts of legal aid I have agreed with.  I have a short email exchange with Chris Grayling dated 21st/22nd January 2013, long before I imagined standing in this election, that prove this was so. I see enormous waste in the criminal justice system on a daily basis. I offered to assist Chris as someone working at the coalface of criminal justice.  Legal aid costs should not be seen in isolation. E.g., Crown Prosecution Service cuts frequently increase costs in other parts of the criminal justice system including legal aid. Then consequent cuts to legal aid lead to rises in costs in other parts of the system. So it all needs to be looked at holistically.  I and many other free thinking defence lawyers are very well placed to understand all this from  the inside and can advise on how best to cut waste and public costs. Moreover, we can advise freely because we are free of whistle-blowing restraints associated with bureaucracies.

I can retire this year - so legal aid funding for me is not an issue I have a vested interest in for much longer.  There are members of the public not getting legal aid that need it - but this is not the issue I am campaigning about. Not because I do not care - but I do not wish to complicate the message I want to send to the Conservative Party. That message is "Do not repeal the Human Rights Act. Stay a part of the European Convention of Human Rights together with the 46 other countries of Europe and beyond."

You can view for yourself some prior positions I have taken in comments posted at the foot of the page in the Epsom Guardian's article announcing my intention to stand in the General Election. CLICK HERE

For me it is The Lord Chancellor's policy on the repeal of the Human Rights Act that is the apex of his errors of judgment on justice matters. It is only this issue that has motivated me to stick my neck out and stand.

The Times 23rd April 2015 Law Section article by Jonathan Ames - he repeated the error that I was campaigning against legal aid cuts. Odd since I told him I wasn't when we spoke on the phone and he told me he had browsed my web site. I guess in the rush of press he picked up elsewhere say from twitter the wrong idea. Oh hum...


Save Justice UK

In the initial wave of enthusiasm in the legal profession for my decision to stand against Chris Grayling a group known as Save Justice UK assumed my platform was embracing domestic justice issues. They created a support page which I requested be amended to accurately reflect my actual platform. I must emphasize that my platform is limited to fighting Mr Grayling's pledge for the UK to be the first and only of 47 countries to turn its back on the European Court of Human Rights. I cannot deny that all votes for me will be damaging to Mr Grayling's purpose of repealing the Human Rights Act.  So you can vote for me if you wish in protest against the other policies he espouses that you do not appreciate! I also welcome votes from anyone who simply believes Parliament, our country and Epsom and Ewell would be better served by the presence of more Independent non-party Members of Parliament.

Asking other parties to stand aside?

An anonymous correspondent with the Epsom Guardian suggested other parties "stand aside" to create a head to head on the Human Rights Act with the Conservative candidate. I posted this comment to the online letters page in response:

" 3rd April 2015: This is so effusive it will look like something I planted - but I assure you I have no idea who this anonymous correspondent is. I am aware of  discontent in many quarters of the criminal justice system over a wide range of the Minister of Justice's (Chris Grayling) policies. These issues are all controversial - whereas for me to be the first of 47 nations to break from the European Court of Human Rights is wrong beyond controversy; hence I focus on this issue that is, in my opinion, relevant to all voters.

Contrary to what this correspondent has suggested I do not ask the Human Rights Act supporting parties (Labour, Liberal and Green) to "stand aside". That would deprive voters of choices to which they are entitled. But it would be interesting if votes cast for me added to those of the aforementioned parties establish a local majority in favour of the Human Rights Act!

But, writer, thanks for your support anyway, warmly appreciated.

Lionel Blackman
www.epsomindependent.com
"