Archive for July 7th, 2010

How wrong I was not to want to write about the Octopus earlier in the day.  This Octopus is …well….Da Octopus… he knows *things*!  It is, of course, entirely possible that the Octopus is fallible and Britain can look forward to a sunny future under the guidance of the Coalition and the wise leadership of Ant and Dec or as some so cruelly call them Cam Jong-Il and his heir Clegg Jon-Il..

Could not find author of pic above – and did look hard!  Not my pic… but SUCH a GREAT pic – if anyone knows link/author/artist I will give FULL attribution – or remove if they object! .

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Obviously, it is always sad to see an enthusiastic young government Secretary of State have to Govel – particularly so early in a new Coalition Gove-ernment.  But today Mr Gove had to do just that – to an astonished (and packed) House of Commons.  The Coalition is a principled gove-ernment…it can only be a matter of time before Mr Gove acts in a thoroughly principled way and resigns.

He may well enjoy my favourite tune from the Pet Shop Boys… GOVE WEST


It seems that the German OCTOPUS was right and predicted, correctly, that Germany would lose against Spain.  Obviously, our German cousins are not too keen on on the Octopus, known as Paul, now but Nick Clegg has persuaded Dave to appoint the Octopus to high office.

I am not a heartless man… I am sympathetic…..



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It is not difficult to imagine a pub conversation where all parties agree that it is perfectly acceptable to torture and commit atrocities against those who would do us harm. I suspect there are internet forums which specialise in exactly this type of rhetoric and, judging by comments I have seen in recent months on The Sun and the Daily Mail websites,  there is quite a lot of support for torturing people, hanging them and, indeed, letting ‘our boys hunt them down like dogs’.

It would not surprise me, given the Right’s enthusiasm in days gone by for the death penalty, if some in high places, in parliament and elsewhere, do not ‘secretly’ hold these views.

The issue is perfectly straightforward – (a) do we adhere to an international law which prohibits the use of torture?  (b) do we want to be a society that fights, but fights as fairly as the heat of warfare allows within the laws of warfare?  and (c) are we prepared to do this, when all about us, others – do not wish to subscribe to such a high ethic?

David Cameron must not compromise on torture

Guardian: The coalition should wait for the results of the torture inquiry before proposing legislation that bows to transatlantic pressure

Clive Stafford-Smith, Director of Reprieve, writes in the Guardian today.  It is worth reading.  I make no comment.  Mr Stafford-Smith is eloquent.

Government to compensate torture victims as official inquiry launched

Guardian: “PM moves to ensure courts will no longer be able to disclose evidence about British complicity in torture. David Cameron today ordered an unprecedented inquiry into evidence and allegations of British complicity in the torture and abuse of terror suspects. But he immediately moved to ensure the courts would no longer be able to disclose damning evidence which, he implied, could jeopardise intelligence sharing with the US.”

This is good news as to the first part – even if we have the rather curious business of current cases against the British government being ‘settled’ before Sir Peter Gibson begins his Inquiry.  It is also good news that there is a judge leading it.  The questioning should, one hopes, be rather sharper than the demonstration we saw given at The Chilcott Iraq Inquiry.  The argument that it will be cheaper to settle rather indicates that Cameron expects the security services to have benefitted from torture.  It can’t all be cost cutting…can it?  No admissions will be made, of course, in any ‘settlement’.  Pragmatism may win out here but at least the government is doing something to clear this up.  Of course – it is possible that our security services are clean and are, indeed, doing good work without breaking rules indirectly.  That would be a boon and morale boost to the war on terror.

What is not such good news is the idea of promulgating legislation to stop judges disclosing evidence of British complicity in torture. Assuming that Britain chooses the moral high ground option and is prepared to pay more than lip service to international law, I would have thought that if we are doing it, the judges should reveal this.  it is, of course, a nod to our American cousins who, it would seem from past events, have a nice line in water boarding, and other subtle tortures which we may be found to have benefitted from.

The discussion is important and, I would suggest, so are the answers to the three questions I suggested above.  Your views, as ever, are very welcome. I know which side of the debate I am on – but I do not prescribe for others….

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Well refreshed ejaculations and members

Paul Waugh writes of last night’s Finance Bill debate – which cannot be guillotined – and Labour’s mischief making in keeping the debate going as long as possible to cause difficulty for Tory and Lib-Dem MPs trying to get home.  It appears, however, that some Tory back benchers were ‘well lubricated’ following dinner.

Paul Waugh reports: “But perhaps the sparkiest intervention came just before 2am, when Labour veteran Stephen Pound felt that several Tory backbenchers were clearly the worse for wear after their well-lubricated dinners. Their tipsy heckling was most evident when Shadow Treasury Minister Angela Eagle was speaking, Pound claimed.

Here’s the priceless exchange that followed:

Stephen Pound: “On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker, I would never presume to teach you your job but some of us on this side of the Chamber are having great difficulty in hearing the priceless words that the shadow Minister is enunciating because of the well-refreshed ejaculations that are coming from those on the Benches opposite.”

Mr Deputy Speaker: “I do not think that I need to deal with that point of order.”

Ms Eagle: “Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am trying to put the idea of well-refreshed ejaculations firmly out of my mind…”

Interestingly, of events of the same evening Guido Fawkes reports….

Next time an MP whines about being poorly paid and hard work because of all those late night sittings, ask him what really happens during those sessions?…… [Do read some of the Eyespy.MP observations]

0200: Ed Balls the last Labour leadership contender left on the Terrace – still drinking pints with the NE mafia!

Guido continues….. “Bear in mind some of these MPs will have been drinking subsidised beer since tea-time.  In many cases they will be completely drunk when voting and the whips basically roll them into the lobbies. In how many jobs outside the entertainment industry is it acceptable to be completely intoxicated in the workplace? Makes you proud of our great parliamentary democracy doesn’t it…”The hunt for alleged killer, Raoul Moat, is occupying much of The Sun’s attention span and the Police certainly cannot be faulted for pulling out all the stops.  Perhaps the pictured intervention above is a bit OTT,  but as the ladies in the car do not appear to be too concerned by a burly police officer pointing a machine gun directly at them, one assumes they were warned that this was going to happen. If they weren’t warned then all I can say is they breed the women tough up North.  The internet has, predictably, thrown up some black humour.  It appears that Moat doesn’t like police officers which is why he shot a man who he believed was a cop and plans to continue shooting police until he is caught.  Bloggers and twitterers were suggesting to Moat a long list of people  he might not also like.  One enterprising organisation is, extraordinarily, selling “Where’s Moaty?’ badges.  Black humour can, of course, heighten the seriousness of events and will certainly widen the publicity which may…you never know… assist the police in terms of information.  The Twitter stream will give you some idea of the Moat chatter.  As a lot of twitters observed..and I quote: “Starting to get bored of Raoul Moat jokes. They’re not even raoulmoatly funny.

I really can’t be bothered to write about it – but if you want to read about an Octopus which can predict the results of Germany’s World Cup matches then go here.

Anyway… good news for the Coalition government which places so much faith in the private sector and even plans to let the private sector bid for universities or get or widen their degree awarding powers – god help us……

UK’s first private prison condemned in report

The Independent reports: Britain’s first private prison, opened in the year Ken Clarke was Conservative Home Secretary, was roundly condemned by independent inspectors today.

Prisoners at HMP Wolds were found to be high on drugs while prison officers were low in confidence, said Dame Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, in a report seized on by penal reform groups who have criticised the over-reliance of private companies to run new prisons…… The Yorkshire training prison, managed by G4S, was also criticised by the inspectors for failures in dealing with violent incidents, suicide prevention schemes as well concerns over the safety of methadone dispensing.

Anne Owers said: “It is always disappointing to chart a decline in the performance of a prison but, sadly, that is the case with this inspection of HMP Wolds. The prison was not designed as a training prison and will always struggle to deliver the quality of purposeful activity that we expect.”

She added: “The deterioration in safety and security arrangements, particularly the significant increase in drug use and the weakness in staff supervision of prisoners, are issues that can and must be addressed.”

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