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Archive for June 11th, 2008

Charon After Dark: Teddy Brown’s Picnic

So there I was, in my Staterooms, disconsolate, bemused and silent. I had just seen the vote on the 42 days. Various politicians did their best to console those who like civil liberties by telling us that it would fail in the Lords. Even Shami Chakrabati did her best.

It was not enough. I had to fly in a helicopter over West London, implausibly, on this most implausible of days and report – and sing a version of the Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

I’m afraid you will have to click on the podcast if you want to hear my report from the helicopter and… of course, to hear me sing. It is not pretty. Today has not been pretty.

Charon After Dark: Charon sings “The Teddy Brown’s Picnic.

Lyrics … if you want to sing along…

If you go down to the commons today
You’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down to the commons today
You’d better go in disguise.

For every Brownite that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day they have their picnic.

Every DUP bear who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There’s lots of marvellous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
‘Cause that’s the way the Brownite bears have their picnic.

***

I am applying to go on “Britain’s Got Talent” … as a singing pissartiste. I may even buy a dog and teach it to drink and walk in a straight line afterwards.

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Top Secret…..

The Diary Room 7.00 pm: The BBC reports that top secret documents were left on a train.

Well Big Brother… the Labour sponsored reality show that is our government – as opposed to the nonsense on Channel 4 – would not have been pleased about this.

The BBC reports: ” A police inquiry has been launched after top-secret documents containing the latest government intelligence on al-Qaeda were left on a train. The documents belonged to a very senior intelligence official working in the Cabinet Office. A passenger on the train from Waterloo in London to Surrey spotted an envelope the papers were in abandoned on a seat and handed the documents to the BBC. A full-scale search for them had been launched by the Metropolitan Police. Just seven pages long but classified as “UK Top Secret”, the latest government intelligence assessment on al-Qaeda is so sensitive that every document is numbered and marked “for UK/US/Canadian and Australian eyes only”, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said.”

I’ve just been talking to Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog, about this and 42 days. We are both a little puzzled about the timing of this announcement. It appears to have been announced quite late in the day, given that the documents were lost on Tuesday – too late for the 42 day detention debaters to hear? Possibly? Unless they were all given the information before the news picked up on it.

One assumes the BBC notified the Police who were rushing around looking for these documents? One assumes, therefore, that someone in government would have been told? But when? The BBC, as yet, is silent on the point in their report available at 7.00 tonight. Good to know that our secrets are safe from prying terrorist eyes.The documents were left on the train on Tuesday according to the BBC report.

Podcasting tomorrow with Carl Gardner on 42 days, lost documents and a bit on The EU Treat and the Irish Referendum… we may even talk about Carl’s holiday.

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42 days…

I took time this afternoon to listen to the debate in Parliament on the 42 days detention without charge proposal. Like many, I am opposed to it. In a few hours we shall know the result.

I listened to some thoughtful and informed views. Sir Menzies Campbell gave a very powerful speech; measured, informed and above all – independent. He reminded us that our civil liberties were not handed out by liberal monarchs – they were won and they were seized. He said that it was the duty of parliamentarians to protect civil liberties – and he is right.

I have voted Labour for many years. I hope the government loses the debate but if they do win – they will do so at a cost to those seized freedoms and those who believe in ‘governing’ by terror will be able to chalk up another erosion in our freedom – the very thing our armed forces, security services, police and serious crime prosecutors are fighting in this country, in Iraq and Afghanistan, to preserve. That is the irony.

Where have all the rebels gone? What pieces of silver did they get? Guido Fawkes has a view

I’m off to have a glass of wine. I have listened to enough debate today. Brown appears, on the other hand, not to be listening at all. Maybe he won’t have to ‘not-listen’ for much longer – it could be less than 42 days?

***

6.20 pm: The government wins by 9 votes. They say that backroom deals did the trick – the BBC commentator stated that Brown could not deliver the result from his own party, that he needed 9 DUP members to support it. – what a way to re-establish authority. Will we ever know what those back room deals are? The DUP, it was reported, voted with the government after “shuffling in and out of meetings all afternoon”. Pieces of silver?

But will it get through the Lords? Will it ever see the statute book?  Does the government reallly want it to see the statute book?   Maybe the ‘Snotgobbler’ – a monicker given to Brown by commenters on Guido Fawkes’ s blog – survive?  All this… and more… on the BBC Parliament Channel.  Who needs “Britain’s Got Talent”?

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11th June: Daily news podcast and news…

Daily news podcast and news up on Insitelaw newswire.

The Guardian reports:
Bush voices regret for macho rhetoric in run-up to Iraq war

Dan Glaister writes:

To some it may come as too little too late. But setting out on his final trip to Europe as president, George Bush has expressed regret that his rhetoric in the run-up to the war in Iraq may have created the impression that he was a warmonger.

“I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric,” Bush told the Times as he flew across the Atlantic on Air Force One.

The phrases he used to win support for the war such as “bring ’em on” and “dead or alive” he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace.”

But that impression, he insisted, was far from the truth.”
.

***

Daily news podcast and news up on Insitelaw newswire.

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