Pick of the Week: Salmond clutches victory from the jaws of defeat
Our five most popular pieces of the week, in case you somehow missed them.
Never underestimate Chris Grayling's aversion to critical voices. While it might seem to the layman that government policy could be improved by the active participation of civil society, the Ministry of Justice takes another view. It considers experts who disagree with it – and experts typically do disagree with it – to be left-wing pressure groups. So it was unsurprising when the Howard League and others were frozen out of a ministerial meeting on plans for child prison warehouses. Children's rights campaigners are particularly concerned about the use of violence in the centres and the priority given to cost cutting over rehabilitation. But only some of their voices were heard.
Only 12% of articles about migrants actually feature quotes from migrants. But new Migrant Voice research is offering up a glimpse of how these communities feel as the debate around their role in British society becomes increasingly toxic. It isn't a pretty picture. When asked how the coverage made them feel, they answered: 'disgraced', 'embarrassed', 'scapegoated', 'angry' and 'depressed'.
The attack on judicial review is one of those things you can get away with because its name has no resonance with the public. While it is one of the most effective legal remedies against over-zealous government, precious few people are aware of how much power judicial review gives them over the powers that be. But with their use, particularly in immigration cases, is going up, so the coalition predictably decided to try to price it out of ordinary people's reach. Very quietly, in the Lords, they set about dismantling it.
It was as damning a report as could be imagined. Alan Milburn's social mobility commission found the country slipping back into division and class stasis. Few will have been surprised by the results, but they made for bleak reading anyway. On pay, on home ownership, on public services and benefits – the same phenomenon emerged, of a deeply unequal society becoming ever more so.
If you thought Alex Salmond lost the Scottish independence referendum, then you may be proved wrong. This careful assessment of the state of play in British constitutional reform suggested the Scottish first minister was in a win-win situation. Either Westminster hands him new powers, or he makes independence much more likely by highlighting the betrayal of 'the vow' to the Scottish people. Weeks after the result of the referendum, the full scale of what is happening to Britain is still only just becoming clear. Big changes are ahead.