Politicians and pitchforks are undermining the rule of law.
The demonisation and demonetisation of Russell Brand ignores our tradition of innocent until proven guilty and marks a worrying totalitarian trend.
‘I have spent all my life under a Communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed.’
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn gave a nuanced and critical perspective on Soviet and Western societies at an address in Harvard University June 1978. Delivered by a man who had suffered and survived the Gulag, this one sentence stood out starkly and simply.
In the USSR, the government was the beneficiary of human rights and these were asserted against the individual. This should be in absolute opposition to our own legal system. An objective legal system is vital for prosperous and contented individuals and society.
We are rightly proud of Magna Carta which states that, ‘No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disposed of, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.’ And this is reinforced by Article 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 which states, ‘Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.’
‘No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disposed of, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.’
What is the rule of law for, if it can be subverted by those in power?
I am sure my readers know who Russell Brand is, the allegations made against him by women in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary and the Times newspaper investigation, and the ensuing letters sent by Caroline Dinenage, MP and Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, to social media companies and GB News, so I won’t summarise them here.
But I will offer a warning to any readers who work in the media: you must not support Caroline Dinenage.
For, at the moment, she is the subject of intense media coverage and, in her own words, supporting her would undermine any perception of due impartiality.