Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Scotland's Illegal Immigrant

While opposition politicians are clamouring for the resignation of Baroness Scotland it seems she is to keep her job and pay the £5000 fine for employing an illegal immigrant.
Chris Huhne declared "Law makers should not be law breakers" - well none of us should, but if we don't know what the law is, can we really be held accountable?
The coverage of this case is the first time I've heard that it is an employers duty to check the passport of prospective employees and that a National Insurance number is not sufficient evidence of a right to work. I never imagined that it would be my legal requirement to demand to see the passport of a window cleaner or gardener (Is it?). Yet it is a common tenant of law that "ignorance is no defence". Not that that defence would be feasible in Lady Scotland's case, as she was partly responsible for the creation of this very same law.
Perhaps it is the role of the police to apply the law with common sense; perhaps it is the role of the Judge to consider mitigating circumstances so that hard laws are implemented with wide consideration. That may work well. However, my objective in raising this here is to point out that if we were all involved in the development of laws through the Interactive Democracy system, then awareness of the issues, and of our responsibilities, would be so much greater amongst the population as a whole.

More here from the Guardian online.

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