Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Can children be criminals?

Can children be criminals? (BBC News, Monday, 15 June 2009)

"We have to tell children 'you have done wrong', and if that means going through the court system that's what we have to do."

The flaw in the reasoning is that in this country being convicted and being wrong couldn't be further apart, and the idea of British law as a moral compass has been thoroughly discredited. Only a few bigoted special-interest groups, such as Mothers Against Murder and Aggression (MAMAA), still believe in this myth. If punishment makes good behaviour, we must be the best-behaved nation in the world.

Especially under New Labour, laws have been introduced with the sole purpose of being able to put more people in jail for longer, for 'crimes' that cause little or no harm to anyone. A person a few days past their 16th birthday can be jailed for having consensual relations with a person a few days before their 16th birthday. Someone can be jailed for possessing "extreme porn" involving consenting adults. A computer user can be jailed for forgetting the password to encrypted files. A scientist can be convicted of libel if he justly, and in the best interests of the public, criticises the quackery of chiroquacks.

Conversely, the police can end the lives of innocent people without being prosecuted. Police can harass people and hold them in custody for several days even if very clearly no offense has been committed. They can do this without risk of receiving a reprimand from their superiors, and in fact it seems harassment and arrest have now become standard tools for dealing with any kind of dissent, encouraged by the highest echelons of the state. (See for example: Video shows surveillance protesters bundled to ground by police; Guardian, Sunday 21 June 2009.) Big companies such as BT can snoop on internet users without bearing the consequences. One PM and one former PM who are both guilty of deceiving the public and leading the country into a disastrous war will likely never be prosecuted.

If one gives a 12 year old boy a criminal record for calling a girl a 'paki' one doesn't teach him that it is wrong to call a girl a 'paki'. Instead one teaches him that the state is ruthless in how it treats transgressions of mostly arbitrary norms. One should not be surprised if such a boy then grows up to be a banker or MP, robbing people's money in ways that happen to be legal, but abject nonetheless.

Energy saving madness

Sainsbury's brings green power to the checkout with 'kinetic plates' (Guardian, Monday 15 June 2009)

The system, pioneered for Sainsbury's by Peter Hughes of Highway Energy Systems, does not affect the car or fuel efficiency,

In other words, it creates energy out of nowhere. Right.

"Hey you guys, let's drive our Hummer 30 miles to Sainsbury's and pass over the kinetic road plates! To save energy!"

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Jacqui's legacy

Jacqui Smith's marriage 'strong' (BBC News, Sunday, 5 April 2009)

I think I should be very open about my expenses, but there are bits of my private life that I don't think should be open to public scrutiny.

If what happens between consenting adults is exposed to public scrutiny, then that's quite awkward. Isn't it, Mrs. Smith? This is quite unlike your Extreme Porn Law (see Backlash), which doesn't interfere at all with what happens between consenting adults. Does it, Mrs. Smith?

As you sow...


Recommended reading:

Comment: Good riddance to a bad home secretary (politic.co.uk, Tuesday, 02, Jun 2009)

It fails to mention a few fuckups, but then again, there were so many. See also:

Rule nothing out with these Home Office farceurs – except competence (Guardian, Friday 8 May 2009)

For now, let's not rely on the next home secretary being less of a wackjob.

Gordon's unshakable truths

800 Britons on waiting list for Swiss suicide clinic (Guardian, Sunday 31 May 2009)

To value life is as much part of our nature as to have compassion with suffering fellow human beings. As we're all going to die, and many of us as the result of a painful illness, no one can escape the conflict between the will to live and the will to end suffering. No set of laws could offer a perfect legal framework to resolve that conflict for individual people in individual circumstances, but anyone who thinks they are entitled to an absolute judgement on this issue are either stark raving mad, the Pope, or Gordon Brown.

Brown against assisted dying law (BBC News, Tuesday, 30 December 2008)

He replied: "Well I'm totally against laws on that.

Physicians who spend their entire careers dealing with life and death, and the illnesses and suffering that separate them, would never use the word "totally" when they have to decide whether to administer pain relief to a patient at the expense of bringing them closer to the end of their lives. Terminally ill patients who consider active suicide have to make an even more difficult choice. But Gordon Brown is "totally against", so that settles it.

To a man who possesses absolute truths, I wouldn't entrust my bicycle, let alone the job of running the country.

it's not really for us to create any legislation that would put pressure on people to feel that they had to offer themselves because they were causing trouble to a relative or anything else.

So it is all about people getting rid of burdensome parents, siblings or children, is it? And what the hell is "anything else" meant to imply? Do you suggest that children want to treat their parents to euthanasia so they can get their hands on the inheritance? Or what? Come on, tell us what is in your sick mind!

Dear Gordon, step down now. There is not a soul in Britain who takes you seriously anymore, if anyone ever did. And take the rest of those loony-tunes with you!


People who want Gordon Brown to stay do this for all the wrong reasons, e.g. fear of losing their own jobs.

Call to back PM as unrest grows (BBC News, Sunday, 7 June 2009)

We're now less than a year away from the election. We have no more chances left. We either pull ourselves together, stake out what we stand for, or we will be gone.

Where does the well-being of the country come in? Or restoring the people's trust in democracy? We have entered the cynical phase of clinging to power for the sake of clinging to power.