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Archive for April 13th, 2008

Despite announcements by Transport for London (reported widely on television and in other media) that the underground and buses were working to timetable, thousands of people decided to make their own way around the capital today by running; including six Maasaai warriors using old car tyre rubber for shoes. Just a week ago, university students, unfamiliar with our transport infrastructure in London, decided to row up the Thames to see the capital.

The BBC was able to picture an exhibit from a recent High Court intellectual property case making his way around London.

Meanwhile, the paramilitary wing of the police, Police Community Support Officers, are gearing up for the summer with a plan to issue yellow and red football style warnings to anyone transgressing any laws, including those relating to the size of hedges, and are ‘cracking down’ on ‘tourists’ who are caught taking photographs of London landmarks (See: post below.) The Police are particularly concerned that photography has reached a point where, a photograph, in the wrong hands, could provide valuable information to terrorist groups on where London is. The government, in what is known as Operation lock the door because the horse has bolted, is particularly sensitive following the report in The News of The World some weeks ago that NOTW had come into possession of the architect blueprints for the M15 headquarters:

“The lost 66-page dossier of floor layouts—once used by trusted CONTRACTORS at the high-security Central London base—would be gold dust to terrorists. The plans were given to us by a worried member of the public, who got them from a friend who worked at the building and never handed them back.”

“Bravo Two Zero SAS hero Chris Ryan said: “If you’re assaulting a building the first thing you look for are the architect’s drawings and blueprints. If just a single person managed to get into the building, this document would lead them to where they could do most damage.”

I had hoped to show you a picture of MI5 headquarters but, unfortunately, a PCSO put a doughnut he was eating at the time in front of the lens of my television camera and the footage was ruined.

Note: I am grateful to fellow blogger, Geeklawyer, for his story on police / PCSO antipathy to photographers

The PCSO discussion board requires registration – I do not know if full biometrics have to be provided.

And…. don’t think it is just the PCSOs who are watching you… now the Council are as well…

Reactionary Snob has the gen on this. I reported on this story in a daily news podcast. Reactionary Snob does it better. Poole Council invoked RIPA (fairly serious anti-terror legislation for those who do not happpen to have it by their bedside) to follow a middle class mum of three children to make sure she wasn’t trying to get her children (‘targets’) into a school outside her catchment area.

I can do no better than ask you to read the Reactionary Snob coverage and quote from his blog to encourage you to do so:

Tim Martin, Poole council’s head of legal and democratic services, said: “The use of RIPA procedures ensures that surveillance is properly authorised and provides protection for the subject of the investigation.

Well done, Tim Martin. You have just won an award. The award is very rarely given out but it is only given to those who truly deserve it. You have won The Reactionary Snob Award For Outstanding Achievements in the field of Abject Cuntery. ”Legal and Democratic Services”? What the fuck does that even mean? Provides protection for the subject of the investigation? What? That’s stretching it a bit, non? If you mean they are protected by having two goons follow their every move how can I disagree? I’d contend that it is a bit of an invasion of privacy and a total waste of police and council time?

Reactionary Snob is a lawyer (from Scotland, as is apparent from some of his coverage) and always worth a visit. The BBC also covered the story – in a TV share of licence compliant, post phone-in scandal, sort of a way.

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Meanwhile, before I crack on with my civil liberties oriented Weekend Review – we go over to an item from John Bolch, author of Family Lore – for an amusing bit of film…. here it is. Be back in three.

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The revelation recently that Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg told Piers Morgan, former editor of The Mirror, when asked how many women he had slept with (for GQ magazine) that it was ‘…less than thirty” is remarkable. The Guardian covered the story.

Cleggover as, inevitably, he is now known, should have kept his mouth shut. I may well have an ASBO banning me from appearing in church or at a Register Office for the purpose of marrying anyone – but it would not occur to me to answer a question as crass as that. In fact, it would irritate me to be asked. Boris, by saying less than a 1000, because he is not bisexual, gets away with it. Mind you, his activities are a matter of public record. At least Paddy Pantsdown was vaguely credible when he was caught – and, we really do not need to go back to the era of dogs being shot and the departure of Jeremy Thorpe…. or, for that matter, David Lloyd George

Well… no podcasts this weekend. BUT…. I am loading all my podcasts up to a new server (it takes time) – and from Wednesday 16th April my daily news podcasts and daily news review will be on here. I’ve also set up a newsletter – so if you want to sign up for a weekly (possibly, fortnightly) newswire from me on developments in the law and and a bit of analysis – feel free to sign up here. You can always unsubscribe – and I promise that my mate Mr Cialis will not be writing to offer you pills.

Off for a glass of Rioja – and I won’t be watching “Britain’s got Talent”….

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The dogs are going to the country….

Paxo: Charon… you said on GMTV news this morning that the dogs are going to the country…. didn’t you really mean to say the country is going to the dogs?

Charon: No… I meant what I said. The dogs are going to the country…

Paxo: Aaaand…. what did you mean by that?

Charon: This country is beginning to lose the place. We have Police and their frontline stormtroopers, the Police Community Support Officers, stopping people taking photographs in public places, we have judges telling government ministers to stop pandering to the Saudis, we have a load of daytime television viewers ‘kidnapping’ their own child to make beer money and waste yet more police time, we have a load of dodgy chinese athletes dressed up in shellsuits pushing pro-Tibet protesters and our police out of the way and we seem to be appeasing China, one of the most repressive and ultimately destructive regimes in the world….. and we can’t even do anything sensible with a bit of regime change in Zimbabwe. Do you want me to go on?… Oh… and government ministers can’t even treat our armed forces properly.

Paxo: Charon… you are on record as being a leftie…. have you crossed the floor?

Charon: No… and, in any event, the present Labour Party hasn’t got much to do with left of centre views these days anyway…. but I do wonder if people in this country are more interested in a dog who can walk backwards on television’s “Britain’s got Talent” – hence my reference to ‘dogs are going to the country’ – or the gathering chaos and erosion of liberty in this country being systematically engineered by a tired and morally moribund government. That does not, of course, predicate or assume that vaguely sensible politicians or elected parliamentary carpetbaggers of a different persuasion will do any better.

Paxo: Are you going to back Boris?

Charon: You know… Mr Paxman… I may just do that…. who was it who said something about an electorate deserving their politicians? Fancy a glass of Rioja?…. I didn’t have time to finish the bottle in your hospitality room before I came on.

Paxo: A kind offer, Charon. I’ll pass this time. Good evening to you.

Charon: Indeed…. I’ll just nip back and finish it…. waste not, want not…. get some value for my TV licence fee.

Paxo: Please do. Goodnight.

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