John Hemming MP: is the detail “a little bit more complex”?

by Carl Gardner on March 28, 2011

Following my post last week about John Hemming MP, and the interesting exchange with him in comments over the last few days, I’m interested to see that on his own blog he’s posted videos of his speech to a meeting of the Freedom Association last Monday about his claims that courts are preventing people from speaking to MPs, and about “secret prisoners”.

Along the way he seemed to joke about imprisoning judges in the Palace of Westminster (from 2’35” in part 1). He clearly had in mind the judge in Birmingham who he said (at 3’00” in part 1) had banned someone from talking to him (this sounds like the case of Andrew France who he mentioned in Westminster Hall the other week, and who commented on my post of last week).

What he said about that judge (between 3’00” and 3’10”) seemed to me to risk perhaps giving the impression that the judge had been involved in threats to punish speaking to an MP by taking a child into care. Perhaps I’m wrong to think anyone might have gained that impression; anyway, I’m sure it wasn’t John Hemming’s intention. But it is important that claims like these are put carefully, so that wrong impressions aren’t allowed to spread.

If you’re interested in what John Hemming’s doing and the claims he makes, the videos are worth looking at. His audience last Monday was clearly sympathetic – and given the apparently dreadful injustices he’s raising, shock and sympathy is anyone’s natural reaction. But given what seems to be John Hemming’s approach, I think we’re entitled to ask ourselves whether he’s fairly presenting claims that have substance, or whether (to quote him at 5’48” in part 2 of the video)

the detail is a little bit more complex.

John Hemming has also posted a video of a Swiss TV programme that reports claims that social services in England are acting in far too draconian manner when it comes to child protection – interviews with John Hemming himself form an important part of the report. If you’re interested in all this and if your French is up to it, or if you can manage to listen to interviews in English underneath the French interpretation, it’s worth a watch.

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