Archive for July 20th, 2010

@Bevanitellie: . @edballsmp takes to the phones… http://tweetphoto.com/33830360

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Pleasingly, American writers may not understand that old money wears old shoes!.

This nonsense from the Wall Street Journal is quite amusing though… I assume the writer is American?  If he is British – he may have read too many copies of Heat Magazine? 🙂

Cameron Wears Old Shoes for Historic Meeting With Obama

The Big Society: a genuine vision for Britain’s future – or just empty rhetoric?

Independent: Yesterday David Cameron laid out his flagship policy. Andy McSmith reads between the lines

Hat Tip to @Wibblenut who Retweeted this:  danbrusca: What’s all this talk of a Pig Society?

Naturally, I could not resist!

AV might not hurt Tories if LibDem meltdown continues

By Tim Montgomerie

AND a spot of good news!…..

Unilever action lands BNP with up to £170,000 settlement bill

Brand Republic: The British National Party remained tight-lipped this morning over claims that it could face financial difficulties due to an out-of-court settlement reportedly paid to FMCG giant Unilever, after the party featured a jar of Marmite in an online election broadcast.

and finally….

Taser ‘accidentally discharged’ into man’s groin

The Independent reports: Police were investigating today after an officer accidentally discharged a 50,000 volt Taser weapon into a man’s groin. Peter Cox, 49, was seeking legal advice over the incident which started when he was stopped on suspicion of driving a BMW without insurance. He spotted a patrol car following him and pulled over at his friend’s house in Bridgwater, Somerset, where he was doing landscaping work on July 13. The officer pointed the Taser at him for a few seconds before lowering the weapon. At this point, it discharged, narrowly missing the father-of-one’s genitals and hitting his groin and ankle. Unemployed Mr Cox, who suffers from Guillain Barri syndrome, fell to the ground in agony and he was treated by paramedics on the front lawn.

Quite why a police officer pulled a taser out for an uninsured river – even if he was being a bit aggressive (denied) I don’t know.  This is (a) because I wasn’t there (b) I am not a policeman and (c) tonight… I am *Baffled of Battersea*.

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Call for judge investigating torture claims to resign

What I did not know, when I commented positively on the appointment of a former judge, Sir Peter Gibson, to head the torture allegations inquiry, was that he had already heard evidence in secret.

The Independent reports: ” The former judge heading the inquiry into Britain’s complicity in torture faces calls for his resignation.In a letter copied to the Prime Minister, Reprieve has requested that Sir Peter Gibson step aside as his impartiality is fatally compromised.

As the Intelligence Services Commissioner (ISC), it has been Sir Peter’s job for more than four years to oversee the Security Services; he cannot now be the judge whether his own work was effective. Reprieve has identified a number of reasons that his recusal is required:

Firstly, David Miliband has stated publicly that Sir Peter has already conducted a secret inquiry, at the previous government’s request, into allegations of misconduct. Yet because it is secret, none of us may know what his conclusions were.

Secondly, Sir Peter has – in each of his three annual reports – opined that all members of the Security Services are “trustworthy, conscientious and dependable”, thereby entirely prejudging the issues before the inquiry. Contrast this to the criticisms levelled by Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, in the case of Binyam Mohamed.

Thirdly, part of Sir Peter’s job, as ISC, was to oversee ministerial authorizations that would allow the Security Services to violate the law abroad, including sanctioning British involvement in abusive interrogations. Since evidence will be presented that such interrogations have continued during Sir Peter’s tenure, he either validated these actions, or he has been hoodwinked as ISC. Either way, he should be a witness at the inquiry.

Clive Stafford Smith said: “Welcome though the Torture Inquiry is, the current structure is a sham. Sir Peter Gibson was perhaps the least appropriate judge to evaluate the Security Services. The government must get serious about learning the mistakes of the past, rather than try to cover them up, or we are in for a long, hot summer.”

Oh dear.  A small own goal here, it would seem.  While members of our security services may well be entirely “trustworthy, conscientious and dependable”, it is perhaps better for the person heading the inquiry not to give that opinion three times before heading what is supposed to be an independent inquiry. Still, if these matters are secret and known only to a few, we can’t be criticised for accepting the idea that when our government sets up an independent inquiry it will be just that.

I am able to report that a squadron of pigs has just taken off from Westminster and is headed towards Guantanamo Bay.

Revealed: brutal guide to punishing jailed youths

• ‘Drive fingers into groin’, says prison service manual
• Disclosures follow parents’ freedom of information fight

It is quite extraordinary that on the one hand we are setting up a torture inquiry, yet on the other hand government ministers seem to have approved a code which allows private run prisons, through their officers, to inflict pain on young children to control them.  I found this Guardian report rather shocking.  I appreciate that there may be occasions when offenders are violent and need to be physically restrained – but is this acceptable and reasonable force?

Prenuptial agreements on rise amongst younger men

Guardian: High earners are rejecting their fathers’ romantic view of marriage to protect assets

It is good to see that vested self interest is still alive and well in caring Britain and that young men are finally being sensible about the really important issue in life – money!  I presume, given that young women are now coining it in in Coalition Britain that they, too, will ensure there are pre-nups in place before capturing their man?

I shall leave comment on this to family lawyers!

Minister says Burka ban would be ‘un-British’

The Independent reports: “Banning the wearing of burkas in public would be “rather un-British”, the Immigration Minister said today as he attacked efforts to make it illegal in this country.Damian Green said it would be “undesirable” for Parliament to try to pass such a law which would be at odds with the UK’s “tolerant and mutually respectful society”.

Fellow Tory MP Philip Hollobone introduced a private members’ bill which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public.

I could not care less about what people wear.  If women wish to dress in burkas (as opposed to being forced to do so) that is fine by me.  I would not enjoy having a conversation with a woman dressed in a burka quite so much as if she was unveiled – the physical cues of interaction would not be there.  I would also not be that happy to be sitting on an a plane with a burka wearer who had not been fully screened by security – but I assume that our laws will cater for these security issues when the wearing of a burka could impact deleteriously on our rights?

I shall return to the issue of drug de-criminalisation later. I am reading a riposte to libertarian views and it is providing food for thought.

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