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Michael Gove: A Trojan Horse?

The Lord Chancellor is a sincere, intelligent man who is doing the right thing. And we trust him at our peril, writes the Secret Barrister

26 November 2015

Gawd bless that nice Mr Gove! Why, in only a few months he has already been fulsomely complimentary about how smashing barristers are, has made tremendously liberal squeaks about rehabilitating prisoners, and successfully squared up to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on how it’s a rum idea to teach the Saudis how to dismember their own prisoners. And now, for his greatest trick – his Statue of Liberty moment – he will imminently make the criminal courts charge disappear!

I use the word ‘trick’ advisedly because if we accept newspaper reports, there’s a rather pernicious small print, rendering the spectacle less David Copperfield and more Penn Jillette firing a nail gun into Teller’s crotch, only with real nails.

The trade-off for Gove mercifully scrapping the criminal courts charge – the mandatory fixed financial penalty of up to £1,200 imposed upon every convicted person regardless of their ability to pay &ndash...

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