The notorious policy introduced by UK Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary of restricting access to books for prisoners in England has been withdrawn after December’s court decision that it was unlawful – despite the insistence by its instigator that there never was such a policy in the first place. But not before Grayling’s department spent £72,000 trying to defend it, a recent report revealed. Frances Crook, CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform, which co-led the Books for Prisoners campaign against the ban, described this to the UK Independent as: “a scandalous waste of public money.”
At the time of the original legal judgment, Crook said: “I hope that that the Ministry of Justice will respond to this judgment in a mature way and will not waste further public money by fighting it in the courts.” Obviously, that level of maturity was lacking chez Grayling.
Grayling’s contention that there had been no books ban policy was in fact already noted in the original judgment – which pointed out that “There is no ban on books in the IEP but the severity of the restrictions clearly may prevent acquisition and possession.” And Grayling’s attempt to portray the campaign against the de facto ban as some kind of left-wing conspiracy has been met with almost as much ridicule as his many other stupidities, including the claim that he is the most impartial Lord Chancellor in the UK for over 400 years because he’s not a lawyer.
I’m happy to note that Grayling’s failings seem to be turning voters off the Tories in droves. Even traditionally right-wing lawyers apparently can’t stand him. His actions appear to be reaping exactly the reward they richly deserve – aside from the numerous findings of illegal action, that is.