There was great joy somewhere within the reassuringly expensive part of Manhattan yesterday, following the news that the Law Society had withdrawn its guidelines to solicitors on drawing up wills in accordance with Sharia custom. (Thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch was ecstatic as the National Secular Society declared victory via its director Keith Porteous.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
“This is an important reversal for what had seemed to be the relentless march of sharia to becoming de facto British law” he told, to which I call bullshit. The move changes nothing in law: the underlying legislation, the 1837 Wills Act (as subsequently amended) allows a will to be drawn up in accordance with the dictates of Sharia. And there will be plenty of copies of those guidelines already downloaded.
Did this occur to Ms Mensch? Not a chance: “This is a HUGE victory for all women, and especially for Muslim women”. It is? What have women gained from a set of guidelines being withdrawn? As solicitor Stephen Newman said at the time, “Provided the will is signed in accordance with the requirements of [the Wills Act] there is nothing in English law to prevent a person domiciled in England from choosing to dispose of his or her assets in accordance with sharia succession rules”.
But Ms Mensch was not for listening: “Fantastically good and persistent work by the Lawyers’ Secular Society. Thank you so much for defending my rights as a woman”. What rights has the Society defended? The right to prevent lawyers having access to accurate and up-to-date information?
Seriously, no right has been “defended” by the withdrawal of the guidelines. She doesn’t care: “Just as [Lawyers’ Secular Society] succeeds in getting rid of Sharia law guidance by the Law Society, dispiriting news that Israel is going the other way”. Wait, what? A state where the overwhelming majority of the population is Jewish is flirting with Sharia law? Get out of here.
By this time, though, Louise was done with her declaration of victory, and was on to the gratuitous abuse: “Clear from Telegraph’s report that it was Nicholas Fluck leaving as President of Law Society that won Sharia victory for women #FluckOff”. Laugh? I thought I’d never start.
And now that she hasn’t won a campaign to prevent the making of wills in accordance with Sharia custom, Ms Mensch is on to the next campaign that she isn’t going to win: “Next up: OFSTED” she declared. Would that be the same Ofsted that, under Michael Wilshaw, has stepped up its zero notice inspections of schools and found serious shortcomings in some of them? Yes, Ms Mensch would have him sacked – after all, wanting to raise standards, pretty shocking, eh?
Just remember that the author of this stupidity was allowed to become an MP.