Employment tribunals are a key way for workers to protect themselves against unscrupulous employers but in recent years the number of people going to tribunals has dramatically fallen. This is largely because of the introduction of tribunal fees, whereby workers had to pay, in some cases, thousands of pounds up front in order to have their cases heard. According to figures from the Ministry of Justice quoted by the BBC, the number of cases going to tribunals has dropped from around 5,000 per month before tribunal fees were introduced in 2013, to around 1,600 per month after the introduction. However this situation has finally been remedied, as the Supreme Court has ruled that these punitive fees are against the law.
On 1st December there was an election held in The Gambia which pitted incumbent President Yahya Jammeh against Adama Barrow, a former property developer. The results came in and Jammeh, who had originally taken power in a military coup in 1994, lost the election. Initially, and much to everybody’s surprise, Jammeh accepted the result and said he was going to peacefully transfer power to the President-elect. However this conciliatory mood didn’t last and on 9th December he formally disputed the election result by submitted an application to the Gambian Supreme Court that people should start paying attention to the small West African republic.
Since the election nearly two weeks ago a chorus of Democrats have come out and argued that people should ‘give Trump a chance’. This has come from people of the Left like Bernie Sanders and people pretending to be of the Left like Hillary Clinton. Both of them are wrong. I understand that this is part of the peaceful transition of powers but if they legitimately mean that the entire country should essentially let their guard down to see what Trump will do then they are wrong. It is important that everyone who opposes what Trump has said he will do doubles down.
On Sunday Bryton Mellott of Urbana, Illinois decided to send a political message to his social media followers. In order to do this, Mellot decided to take a photo of himself burning an American flag and uploaded to social media. Underneath the photo was a caption outlining his reasons and was finished with the hashtag ‘ArrestMe’. Unfortunately, that is exactly what the local police department decided to do. The wider point here is about how law enforcement is ignorant the law they are supposed to uphold, and that authoritarianism in all its forms needs to be combated.
Ever since the Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment applied to same-sex couples that wanted to get married, conservatives have sought to restrict the ability of LGBT people from receiving services from private companies. Conservatives want to discriminate, thus showing that they have fully absorbed the message of Jesus, against LGBT people by asserting the people with sincerely held religious beliefs shouldn’t have to do anything that contradicts these views. The time has come, therefore, to ask: what is religious freedom?