Brian Barder

Brian Barder was British ambassador to Ethiopia, Poland and Benin, and high commissioner in Nigeria and Australia. He retired in 1994.

“When I was asked, in November 1997, whether I would allow my name to be submitted to the Lord Chancellor for appointment as a lay member of the new Special Immigration Appeals Commission, I readily agreed . . . because I accepted that special procedures for appeals against deportation in national security cases were justified. I believed that SIAC, though imperfect, was probably the best way of giving maximum protection both to those appealing against deportation and to the sources of information essential to the effective functioning of the security services . . . But subsequent developments forced me to conclude that I could not in all conscience play any further part in SIAC, and in January this year I resigned.”

David Runciman’s gloomy forecast of ‘the end of the UK’, because of the political consequences of devolution, ignores a central factor: in the words of Vernon Bogdanor in The New British Constitution, devolution ‘has turned Britain from a unitary state into a quasi-federal state’ (LRB, 27 May). Allan Tanner’s reply hints at this in predicting the inevitable ‘further devolution of power...

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