Saturday, 29 November 2008

If the cap fits

It’s generally considered a bad sign for democracy - in any country, when it’s government starts having members of the opposition arrested in order to intimidate or to prevent them from exposing it’s incompetence, mistakes, or shenanigans.

We all look on with disapproval at such regimes, and I am sure we can all think of examples in South America, Africa and on our own continent.

Often the population is too supine, or cowed to protest.

I have pointed out on a number of occasions that New-Labour is in the habit of passing draconian legislation with the alleged purpose of combating “terrorism” and “Organised crime”. If anyone raised any concerns over it’s misuse then they are accused of being "soft on crime", etc.

We always hear the lie trotted out, to suppress the natural concerns of those who do care about liberty, that “if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear”. The BBC can usually find a gullible old lady, or bereaved parent, to back the claim up.

Well “anti terror” legislation is actually repeatedly used by the current government and it’s minions to do things like eject elderly party members from party conference who loudly tell one or two home truths too many.

It is used by local officials to spy on large numbers of ordinary members of the public to establish if they are committing such terrorist related offences as fibbing about their addresses on a school application forms, or putting their rubbish out on the wrong day, or over filling their rubbish bins…

Or it seems... if you happen to be a senior opposition member of the shadow cabinet trying to expose New-Labour’s habitual lies and spin, then it is used to arrest and attempt to silence you.

Worse still it tramples on parliamentary privilege.

Not just anti terror legislation was used this time - but elite anti terror officers were used to do the deed too...

One wonders if anyone in government felt now would be an excellent time to bury this particular “bad news”, what with the terrible events that have unfolded in Bombay.

It is a shame the Anti terror officers weren’t devoting themselves to actual anti terror work of some sort. It’s not like the Indian government probably couldn’t do with them looking to see what they can find out here that might possibly be of help.

It is only half tongue in cheek to conjecture how long before they get a trendy uniform redesign, possibly involving lots of black, calf length leather boots… and their own special logo on their collars, or lapels?

It is perhaps as well for Mr clunking fist, Gordon “Stalin” Brown, that the current opposition never used such tactics when he was in opposition, he was very fond of political leaks then and his ministers still are - when it is to his advantage.

Worryingly the senior ranks of the UK’s police seem to have long since been purged of virtually anyone interested in actually trying to keep law and order, or provide the sort of service and presence the public actually want. These days it appears to be largely run by New-Labour apparatchiks and mostly occupied with/driven by directives and policies that are designed to help give the bogus impression the state is meeting it’s targets…

When it isn’t using anti terror legislation in ways it was never intended on the state’s behalf.

One can’t help but wonder - the cynical amoungst us will have noted the outgoing Met Commissioner Ian, Blair has a reputation for being “comfortable” with the New-Labour state and is outgoing because he has been popularly ousted by London’s new Conservative Mayor.

Probably nothing to do with the latest incident though...

It is truly difficult to believe even the most insensitive, incompetent, flatfoot would have blundered in so heavy handily, or even at all, entirely on their own. One would have thought self preservation alone would have made even the brain dead think twice...

One can’t help but think they must have felt their actions would go down well at the highest level. Certainly condemnation of their actions, or Speaker Martins inaction, have been slow in coming from New-Labour’s front bench.

One hopes that complaints will be made against the officers involved for their, quite possibly illegal activity. Behaviour that strikes at the heart of the way, what is left of, our parliamentary democracy functions. They should be suspended pending the outcome of a parliamentary investigation and hopefully disciplined.

I would have thought it was in the country's interest to have things like the fact that the home office were employing illegal immigreants to look after their security, and the incompetence of those who employed them, exposed to parliamentary scrutiny. Rather than allow the home office to use possibly illegal big brother tactics to conceal such things.

This should be part of an MPs job. It is in the public interest. He should not be arrested whan he does it.

Civil wars were fought over this matter in the days when parliament had more intestinal fortitude.


This blog would like to express its solidarity with the people of India - and particularly the citizens of Bombay at this time.

We all know they have suffered a murderous citywide attack by calculating, but rabidly savage murderous religious maniacs, who care not what atrocities they do. Apparently driven by a twisted and wickedly distorted ideology.

Innocent honest hardworking citizens making their way home, indiscriminately mowed down in hails of bullets. Men, women and quite possibly children indiscriminately slaughtered by evil wicked people.

In stark contrast to the murdering scum who perpetrated this atrocity, tales have emerged of acts of selfless bravery, heroism and dedication to duty by ordinary citizens of Bombay such as hotel staff.

To paraphrase…

One can’t help but think that we are all citizens of Bombay now - and that may be something to take some pride in being.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Crooked Lawyers

I was disappointed – but not surprised - to read that crooked immigration lawyers have been milking the immigration and legal aid system for all it’s worth in order to facilitate economic migrants gain illegal residence in the UK.

Apparently, according to the papers, they have even fiddled forms, prepared false stories and suggested to ‘clients’ how they can disguise their fingerprints. So much for the Government’s much vaunted - and largely pointless - Biometric IDs.

One quails to think how many of these parasites there are out there, but the report seems to suggest some £12 million extra may have siphoned out of the system in the past year. Presumably some are more cottage industry ‘extra pocket money’ types, rather less industrial scale than others.

One question that springs immediately to mind is: What is the real difference between these sleazebags and the human traffickers who smuggle migrants into the UK illegally? They are “white collar” is the only obvious one.

One suspects that the maze of human rights legislation introduced by this government can only assist these crooks in their schemes, as it appears to do for most other sorts of crooks and terrorists. If ever there was a case of the law of unforeseen consequences biting inept legislators in the backside the human rights legislation would appear to be it.

Clearly it didn’t escape some lawyers that the legislation - and specialising in it, might be a licence to print money. One must suppose it would have been more apparent to politicians who are also trained lawyers…

Will any politician have the intestinal fortitude to take this ill thought out legislation on? Health advice would be: ”Don’t hold your breath”

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Quote of the day

“ If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.”

Winston Churchill

Repent at leisure?

Apparently the Government are going to rush through legislation to ensure there will never be another “Baby P” case.

Ed Balls the “Children's Secretary” is planning to put forward legislation make local services more accountable forcing them to chart their progress in intervening at an early stage.

Now any right thinking individual would wish to prevent any such dreadful thing ever happening again. But one fears hurried I’ll considered legislation is not the solution.

It is almost certain there is perfectly effective legislation already in place that would be adequate to the purpose - if only it had been used. Similarly there was an enquiry after the last dreadful failure of Harringay Council with Victoria ClimbiƩ. An enquiry made recommendations, were they ever actually implemented properly? Were all existing guide rules adhered to?

One suspects not.

The last thing this country needs is yet another piece of New Labour legislation that only does what other legislation, if actually enforced, already does, or invents new subdivisions of existing offences.

You can be sure it will not be any better and will almost certainly eventually be found to have unexpected and detrimental consequences, in this case probably to ordinary families.

Herodotus (484 BC - 430 BC) observed “Haste in every business brings failures.” This seems to have entirely escaped the attention of the current government, with their hatred of any history not post 1945 and not spun.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Quote of the day

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Dr. John McCrae (1872-1918)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

RoSPA warns of "health and safety" threat to freedom

It seems that even those with a vested interest in the Health and Safety industry are realising things may have gone just a little too far.

The chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Tom Mullarkey warned safety experts they will be accused of constructing a nanny state and damaging freedom if they continue to meddle unnecessarily in people's private lives.

He pointed out the obvious fact that "absolute safety" is an unattainable goal in any case.

Clearly it is insane to mindlessly persue absolute saftey beyond the point where the persuit of it is a greater threat to public well being and quality of life than the original risk.

Unfortunately one fears things may have already gone too far to be recoverable.

Whilst Mr Mullarkey may have a real interest in safety it is difficult to credit that many of those behind the burgeoning compensation culture do not have their eye at least as much on the money to be had at the expense of the taxpayer and consumer - that and their lucrative jobs.

This in turn terrifies the likes of teachers, volunteers and local councils that they will be sued. Those that are still willing to take the chance they may arbirarily be accused of being a paedophile if they so much as pat a child on the head and are willing to undergo the bother and expense of often multiple criminal records checks.

Could it be about time there were much stiffer costs for bringing some of the more dubious cases for compensation to court, for both the party that brings the case and their attournies. Also it might be good if a much greater weight were given to their not having taken reasonable precautions, or if they are partly responsible.

More more rational limits on amounts awarded might also be a good thing.
It begins to look as if greed for un justified and undeserved compensation payments is gnawing away at some of the underpinings of a healthy society.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Quote of the day

“He who has never hoped can never despair.”

George Bernard Shaw

“Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

“We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”

Barack Obama

Monday, 3 November 2008

The problem with crude oil

Due to the general economic slowdown oil is no longer in such demand right now. This had resulted in a drop in the price of crude oil. Now OPEC want to restrict supply in the hope of driving prices back up.

Now I am not generally in favour of what the Green’s are. Their science often seems dubious, their policies ill thought out. Their motives anti progress, anti people. To the point where the mere fact that they may endorse something is enough to raise suspicions about it.

Never-the-less I do sometimes involuntarily find myself marching in parallel with them. Their dislike of oil is one of those occasions. Needless to say I am not demonising 4 wheel drive vehicles and their drivers, wanting to impose punitive taxation on air travel, or want to see Tata forced to stop selling cheap cars in India.

Still it would be nice to wean the world off carbon fuels. This is difficult as there is a massive existing technology and infrastructure. It is not like starting out from scratch.

The thing is, a standard car/truck, preferably made with a stainless steel engine parts and exhaust could run almost unmodified on hydrogen gas, producing nothing but water in the way of emissions. Zero Pollution.

Now Hydrogen can be ticklish stuff, but so can petrol. Surely it can not be beyond the wit of the worlds engineers to come up with a relatively 'safe' (as safe as petrol) means of storage, if only a really tough tank/bottle.

If it could be accomplished it would be an easy win in so many areas and has the potential to grant energy self sufficiency.

With sufficient power it would be possible to crack hydrogen from water.

So then, lots of power… atomic power stations anyone? Follow the French lead?

That would certainly cut green house emissions, but having power to spare is probably not sufficiently hair shirt for the Greens. Obviously not hair shirts for them personally, just the rest of us who would get to live in mud huts and die before 45.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Halloween in Second Life

Halloween, or All Hallows Eve (AKA Samhain or All Saints' Day) has just been and gone over the weekend. This celebration tends to blend into Nov 5th firework night in the UK

Taking a leaf out of JMB and Moggs book I thought I might post on the subject.

It is also interesting to note that other cultures celebrate festivals often involving fireworks, such as Diwali or the festival of Lights celebrated by celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and also Buddhists I believe.

Every year, up to this one, we have put out a pumpkin jack-o'-lantern and enter into the ‘spirit’ ;-) of the thing. This year, despite good intentions, it was left just a little too late. Unfortunately I was left attempting to acquire one at short notice in the midst of an apparent pumpkin famine.

I drove round all over on Friday afternoon, but was unable to find one. Rather than completely miss out, I thought why not decorate my place in second life? They are unlikely to have run out of pumpkins there, effectively having an infinite supply.

So I set off and visited a few rather spooky pumpkin emporia. There was a positive wealth of spooky Halloween gear, most of it at reasonable prices too. So I made a few judicious purchases, including spooky glowing lights and an animated ghost.

My place in sl is a pleasant terraced half-timbered building in the Tudor sim of Reading Primley, Renaissance Isle, so it has atmosphere anyway.

On my return from the expedition it was the matter of only a few minutes work to fix up some pumpkins, the ghost lights and a the piece de resistance - the ghost, that I set up to emerge from my front door and float into the street every now and again.

I think the whole thing worked well.

So Happy Halloween, Samhain, Diwali, etc. all.

Oh and at this time of year let’s also not forget the man reputed to have been the only one ever to have entered parliament with honourable intentions - Guy Fawkes.