Room 101 beckons

February 20th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

Steady on Sinkaspud. Be careful what you say, mate. You don’t know who’s listening…

Shit! They got him!

Lindathecat needs to tone it down a bit, too. She seems a little too enthusiastic…

Edward Leigh MP: missing the point

February 17th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

with an awful metaphor…

As it happens, the council prayers case was brought to the High Court by the National Secular Society, an organisation which is given a level of media attention completely out of proportion to its size or relevance. In fact, it was pointed out recently that the NSS has about as many members of the British Sausage Appreciation Society.

This is Edward Leigh, the Conservative member of parliament for Gainsborough, and if you hadn’t guessed he’s talking about ‘militant secularism’.

And the metaphor? I warn you, it’s fuck awful

Unlike the National Secular Society, which wages a continual campaign against the public presence of religion, the British Sausage Appreciation Society does not see any need to bring court cases against the nefarious influence of sausage’s rivals – the nefarious influence exerted by eggs, buttered toast, or fried kippers. Indeed, one suspects the aficionados of the British sausage have discovered something the secularists have missed out on: all these can survive together and even get along well with each other without one affecting any other to its detriment. The secularists would have us break our fast on a tasteless God-free gruel, but I will always prefer the Full English.

See? Another supposedly intelligent person that sees anything and everything as an attack on the freedom of people to practice their religion.

Is it really that hard to understand the difference between secularism and wanting to stamp out religion? Do I really need to go over it again?

Warsi just doesn’t understand Secularism

February 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Baroness Warsi has shown once again she doesn’t understand what secularism is

“What I am calling for is faith to have a voice at the table, but there is a big difference between that and allowing faith make the final decision. I am not arguing about outcomes, only saying they should have an opportunity to have their say,” she said.

“That is the difference between me and the secularists who think faith should be wiped out,” she added.

Warsi needs to learn that secularism isn’t the same as atheism and secular people are religious people too. It’s almost like she’s ramping up the rhetoric to scare the shit out of people to get what she wants.

Faith should ‘have a voice at the table’, it should just have to make it’s own way to the table like everybody else. It shouldn’t have a seat reserved for it. Secularists aren’t arguing about outcomes either. Religion shouldn’t be given a priveliged place above anything else.

Secularist don’t want religion wiped out. They just don’t want it given a free pass in politics.

In her speech on Tuesday, made to trainee Vatican diplomats, Warsi said strong faith makes a person more tolerant of other faiths, despite history teaching that religious fervour can sometimes prompt pogroms.

Warsi. Blinded in one eye. Secularism is gonna turn the place to shit, but religion? Nooo, it’s all good, isn’t it. *shakes head, rolls eyes*

Warsi should shut the fuck up. She’s proved her point, that she doesn’t understand this secularism stuff. It’s almost as if it’s deliberate. It’s getting tiresome now.

militant secularism

February 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I wrote a post about how Nadine Dorries and Baroness Warsi are shitting themselves about a judge ruling that having prayers on a local council agenda contravenes the Local Governments Act 1972 (or something) and so prayers had to be moved off the agenda. Apparently this is persecuting the religious and if we keep going we’re going to end up in a mad, mad dictatorship with people being fired from a Trebuche foreven the slightest mention of a god of anykind.

My post got too ranty and incoherent. So here we are with this one. Trying again.

These fearmongers waffle on about militant secularism, about how no one is going to be able to practice their religion, or wear a cross or turban out in public. I presume they’re worried about about other religions not just christianity. No one seems to mention the others though.

The thing is, there is no such thing as ‘militant secularism’. Secularism is about separating religion from the state. There is no official national religion, prayers and other religious practises are performed during official duty or procedures, the state does not give favour towards one religion or another. Once that has been achieved you have a secular society. Secularism is secularism, there is no ‘militant’ about it.

Once you start removing religion from the personal and private lives of people you move beyond secularism and into the realm of a totalitarian state. Secularists do not want that. Secularists don’t give two shit what other people believe. they just do not want religion involved in running the country.

Take religion out of the legaslative process? That is A Good Thing. Laws shouldn’t be based on scripture. Your beliefs shouldn’t dictate how people that don’t believe what you do are treated.

Take the evangelical off the street corner? That is A Bad Thing. I might not like the bloke on the street corner shouting about how we’re all doomed unless we kneel before his imagination, it may even offend me to be cast as an evil sinner (it doesn’t, by the way), but that is his free to do that. He is not making me do anything. I can ask him to shut the fuck up. I can argue his points. I can ignore him, but he is not compelling me to behave or act in a certain way. The is man is, quite rightly using his freedom of expression, amongst others and no secularist would take that away.

So all this shrillness about about the collapse of society if a few people don’t say a couple of words to a diety in the morning is absolute bollocks. If a group of people need to have a moment to reflect on the business ahead, to thank or ask for guidance from a mythical entity then do it on your own time.

Either you give a give shit about religion having a say in running the country, and want to stop it, in which case you are a secularist or you don’t. These gits, with all their talk of DOOM if a prayer is missed seem to be confusing secularism with being a cunt.

What doesn’t help keep things in perspective is stuff like this, the poll in the Telegraph

“Are you worried by the threat of militant secularism in Britian?” is the question, and what a fucking question. Threat to what? The threat that the church of England will lose it’s priveliged place in the corridors of power? The threat that laws will be passed using reasoning and evidence rather than based on what someone wrote 1500, 2000, 4000 years ago?

Three of the four answers are just as stupid and don’t relate to the question.

Answer 1: “Marginalising religion is a form of intolerance seen in totalitarian regimes”

Religion isn’t being marginalised. It is just needs to be removed from the legaslative process. In totalitarian regimes, a ban on religion, or the ban on all but one, pervades in to the private lives of people. Secularism is not about that.

Answer 2: “People should worship in private and not display religious symbols in public”

Out in public, in public places, on their own vehicles, on their own bodies people, are free to do what they want as long as it doesn’t cause a breach of the peace and other public order laws. That’s not an answer about secularism, it’s an answer to a question about freedom of religion.

Answer 3: “People should feel proud to worship in public and display their faith”

Secularism isn’t about making people ashamed of their beliefs, just as much as it’s about the state not shoving religion down peoples’ throats.

Vicars, bishops, imams, rabbis, santos and all sort of religious people and people with religious beliefs have a great deal to contribute to society and the running of it. They should be allowed to contribute ideas born of religion so they can be debated as to whether they are good ideas. Those ideas shouldn’t be there just because they come from religion though.

Anyway, this post is long and rambling enough and I’m gonna start ranting again so it’s stopping here.

Read All About It! Trevor Kavanagh In Fisking Shocker!

February 13th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

Trevor Kavanagh (also freezepaged here)…

THE Sun is not a “swamp” that needs draining. Related StoriesThreat to free Press alert
PROBE into practices of papers must not kill free Press, Culture Sec warns
Nor are those other great News International titles, The Times and The Sunday Times.

Maybe not. Lets see where the police investigation leads, shall we? After all, all this phone hacking and poor journalistic practices was, as someone from News International once said, one rogue reporter. And yet here we are.

Yet in what would at any other time cause uproar in Parliament and among civil liberty and human rights campaigners, its journalists are being treated like members of an organised crime gang.

I think people are quite justified in thinking News International and it’s news titles are an organised gang. What are the charges so far? Intercepting private messages. Intimidation. Coersion, sometimes bordering on blackmail. Bullying. Paying the police. Sounds not quite straight up law abiding to me.

They are subjects of the biggest police operation in British criminal history — bigger even than the Pan Am Lockerbie murder probe.

Maybe that’s because of the period of time the investigation covers and the amount of victims, which is more than the Pan Am bombing produced.

Major crime investigations are on hold as 171 police are drafted in to run three separate operations.

In one raid, two officers revealed they had been pulled off an elite 11-man anti-terror squad trying to protect the Olympics from a mass suicide attack.

You’ll excuse me if I don’t take Trevor seriously about this mass suicide attack. Not only has The Sun had dodgy sources in the past, but if this was such a big deal, a mass suicide bombing at the Olympics, don’t you think it would’ve been mentioned in the news already? It would’ve been too good for the press to pass up. They love a good scaremongering. If this mass bombing is real, and the press have kept it quiet so the bombers aren’t given the tip-off, then Trevor has just given the bombers the tip-off. Either way, Nice one Trevor, you cock.

Instead of being called in for questioning, 30 journalists have been needlessly dragged from their beds in dawn raids, arrested and held in police cells while their homes are ransacked.

Yeah, maybe the dawn raids were a bit over the top. I don’t know what the police were expecting if they’d just knocked politely at the door. Journalists hurriedly flushing notebooks down the toilet? But again, The Sun has been one of the loudest shouting that the police don’t do enough and are too soft. You reap what you sow.

Wives and children have been humiliated as up to 20 officers at a time rip up floorboards and sift through intimate possessions, love letters and entirely private documents.

Hmm. That sounds famliar. Pot, meet kettle.

At least the journalists that have had their private stuff riffled through are being accused of more than just screwing someone they’re not married to.

It is important that we do not jump to conclusions.

Nobody has been charged with any offence, still less tried or convicted.

Jesus fucking christ. Listen to him. Has he no idea what his paper is like? Yes, Trevor. It is important not to jump to conclusions.

Yet all are now on open-ended police bail, their lives disrupted and their careers on hold and potentially ruined.

Is it any surprise that Britain has dropped nine places to 28th, behind ex-Soviet bloc states Poland, Estonia and Slovakia, in the international Freedom of Speech league table?

This is nothing to do with free speech. This is about breaking the law with no justifiable defence. The press are just as free to print whatever they want. They can even break the law to get information, as long as it is in the public interest defence. The press is so free to print lies and rubbish by their columinists even the PCC, the supposed regulator, doesn’t think it’s worth pulling them up on it.

So when the police get matters so far out of proportion, we are entitled to ask: Who polices the police?

Well, it certainly shouldn’t be the certain parts of the press, especially when those parts are being investigated for links so close it could be considered the police forces PR department.

Why should questions about police procedures be handled solely by the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is notoriously reluctant to rule against police?

Oh, Trevors noticed then. Once again, it’s been obvious to nearly everyone for a long time but somehow, Trvors only just thought to mention it now his shit has hit the fan.

This inquiry has even begun to disturb those of our critics who have been at least partly responsible for what many see as a “witch-hunt”.

Quite right. We mustn’t presume guilty unless proven. That would be quite wrong, wouldn’t it Trevor?

The Guardian has raised questions about freedom of the Press. Its media analyst, Steve Hewlett, says that when it comes to paying for stories, no newspaper — “tabloid or otherwise” — is exempt.

Maybe not, so those sources that are paid need to be carefully checked. Not just The Suns’ but all the papers. The Sun and Murdochs’ titles may be the titles that people are showing most glee towards when there are arrests but it is the industry that is being investigated. Trevor shouldn’t take it so personally.

Yet in a quite extraordinary assumption of power, police are able to impose conditions not unlike those applied to suspected terrorists.

Under the draconian terms of police bail, many journalists are barred from speaking to each other. They are treated like threats to national security. And there is no end in sight to their ordeal.

And who’s been calling for more draconian police powers…?

Their alleged crimes? To act as journalists have acted on all newspapers through the ages, unearthing stories that shape our lives, often obstructed by those who prefer to operate behind closed doors.

No, their alleged crimes are illegally listening to voicemails and paying police officers for information, amongst other things. In a lot of cases the journalists aren’t unearthing stories that shape our lives, they are puting a spin on them to manipulate the public to get what their proprietors want from the ruling elite of this country. The press, especially the tabloids don’t just report the facts and let us decide if something is right or wrong. They are not just happy with putting their views across through the editorial columns, they have put they’re own agendas into the stories. ommitting details that contradict them, exagerating some aspects and making complete fabrications, as detailed in the plethora of blogs and websites that are dedicated to shouting “bullshit” at them whenever it appears.

The rich and powerful have and always will try to obfuscate and hide things that are damaging or illegal that could be inconvenient to them and quest for more money and power, that is why the public defence clause is there. No one is denying the press need that clause, but they have made it harder and harder to defend when they do the normally illegal information gathering techniques on fucking celebrities.

These stories sometimes involve whistleblowers. Sometimes money changes hands. This has been standard procedure as long as newspapers have existed, here and abroad.

There is nothing disreputable about it. And, as far as we know at this point, nothing illegal.

Money changes hands. Fine, but the checking of it needs to be a fuck of lot more stringent. Just because something has been ‘standard procedure’ for a long time doesn’t mean it shouldn’t come to a stop. Our standard procedure was to hang criminals. In the USA segragation was standard procedure. Tradition is no reason to keep something. Ever.

Without good sources no newspaper could uncover scandals in the public interest.

Certainly, the world would never have learned about the expenses scandal that landed so many politicians in jail.

Very true. The press can get it right, just like a stopped clock is right twice a day. A couple of good stories does not justify the amount of shit raking and filth that the press make us swim in the rest of the time, though.

Which brings us to a sensitive domestic issue within the News International “family” which we cannot ignore.

Using ‘Family’ does bring to mind, rather than a group of companies, a crime ‘family’. I’d have thought Trevor would want to avoid that.

It is absolutely right the company co-operates with police on inquiries ranging from phone and computer hacking to illegal payments.

We are right to hand over any evidence — emails, expense claims, memos — that might aid those inquiries.

As it should, although ‘helping the police with their enquiries is not usually seen in such a good light by the press.

It is right that those inquiries are carried out separately from the journalists under investigation. Nobody on The Sun was aware in advance that ten colleagues were about to be nabbed.

Why should anybody be told of immenent arrests. What has that got to do with anything?

It is also important our parent company, News Corp, protects its reputation in the United States and the interests of its shareholders. But some of the greatest legends in Fleet Street have been held, at least on the basis of evidence so far revealed, for simply doing their jobs as journalists on behalf of the company.

Yes, Trevor. Protecting News Corps interests. That’d be why the original investigation, completely swallowed by the PCC and the Police, to which Nes Intl has close links, went for the cover of a lone rogue reporter. Get the situation closed down as quickly as possible. Move on. Carry on. This is bigger than bloody money. This is about the poisonong of the well in which we all drink. And now The Sun and other companies in it group are not liking it one bit now it has to drink it’s own piss.

And those journalists just doing their job? Maybe, just maybe there is evidence that hasn’t been passed to you. Or they could be innocent of everything. Lets see shall we and not jump to conclusions, as you seem to be so creful of all of a sudden.

Meanwhile, a huge operation driven by politicians threatens the very foundations of a free Press.

We have three separate police inquiries — Elveden, Weeting and Tuleta.

There is a Parliamentary inquiry and of course the free-ranging Leveson Inquiry into newspaper practices.

This ‘operation’ isn’t going to threaten stop a free press. If it does, something would’ve going very, very wrong. What it will do, hopefully, is create a better press. One that doesn’t trade favours with the police, one that doesn’t scare the shit out of people in case they come to the press’ attention, for the right or wrong reasons. A press that can still investigate stories using shady tactics, but does so only for important stories.

The field is open to almost anyone with a grievance to deliver their two cents’ worth, even touching unrelated issues such as Page Three.

The process, costing tens of millions of pounds, threatens to roll on for at least another year and probably two.

People affected by the press should be able to give their view. After all, many of them, even some celebrities have been worried about what sort of dirt the tabloids would dig up on them, that is nobodies business, if they spoke out.

If Trevor is so concerned about the cost then maybe his industry, should contribute towards it. After all it is the behaviour of his industry that has made something of this scale necessary.

Interestingly, nothing on this scale is envisaged for the banking industry which has brought the nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be something like this for the banking industry. But is Trevor asking for the bankers to be treated like the press or the for press to get off as lightly as the bankers, I wonder…

Before it is too late, should we not be asking where all this is likely to lead? Will we have a better Press?

Or a Press that has been bullied by politicians into delivering what they, not the readers, think fit?

As opposed to what we have now? The editors world view imposed on every story so that it fits their agenda rather than delivering news, accurately and truthfully and letting their readers make up their mind?

At least with a politician they can be voted out.

Barking up the wrong tree

February 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The Guardian

All dogs are to be compulsorily microchipped so that their owners can be more easily traced under a crackdown on dangerous dogs to be unveiled today.

How the fuck is that going to help fucking anything? The only thing it’ll do is help trace the owner of a stray dog.

If a dog attacks somebody then there is only two possibilities, either the owner (or person responsible) is going to be present or they’re not. Either way it won’t matter a shit if the dog is chipped or not. At the time of the attack the equpiment needed to scan the chip is not going to be present.

If the dog is a stray, it’ll have fucked off before the police or dog catcher arrives and everyone will be non the wiser as to who owns the dog.

If the owner is with the dog then they’ll either fuck off before the police turn up and they’ll have a description of the dog and the owner to try and trace them, or they’ll stick around and face the consequences. In either case having a chip in the dog will have been no use at all.

The only use for a chip is for identifying the animal in the case of a stray or a dogknapping. It is not going to reduce attacks or help find dogs responsible for attacks.

I don’t know the solution to the problem of dog attacks and ‘dangerous’ dogs, or if the problem is as big as it’s perceived, but a fucking microchip is going do fuck all to help.

Do Not Feed The Troll

February 7th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Someone really should have a word with Dave about Nadine Dorries. The sort of word that you’d have with someone that had their shirt poking out through their trouser zip…

(source, source) (h/t @dlandoncole, screenshot by @unslugged)

There is so much in that tweet that says so much about Dorries, that it is a little gem that just sums her up.

It’s hysterical. It tries to shut down her opponent immediately. It is threatening, whilst taking a victim stance. And as to the law, it is completely wrong. It is also completely at odds with a couple of other tweets from Dorries over the previous two hours…


and the tweet that got the reply from @mrhazzers…


Now, without implying @mrhazzers was trolling (he wasn’t, it was a good point that Nadine continuously refuses to address), that’s a funny old laugh Dorries has got.

*If you don’t know what @mrhazzers is referring to then you want to read the following:

#Dorries: The MP Who Cried Wolf (The Letter, Part One)
#Dorries: The MP Who Cried Wolf (The Letter, Part Two: Flitwick & humphreycushion)
#Dorries: The MP Who Cried Wolf (The Letter, Part Three: Chris Paul and a special surprise… or two)
#Dorries: The MP Who Cried Wolf (The Letter, Part Four: A Burglary, Carter-Ruck & Me)

This post isn’t even worth giving a title

February 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I saw this in my feed reader from the Conservative Cornerstone Group…

That little teaser sounds like the post could’ve been a chuckle, but it’s been removed for some reason.

Maybe Edward Leigh realised he was talking bollox as usual.

Stamp Duty FoI response

February 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I got a reply to my Freedom of Information request about stamp duty relief for first time buyers.

I asked…

  1. How much has HMRC spent in finding out if someone has previously bought a house or flat in the UK.
  2. How much has HMRC spent in finding out if someone has previously bought a house or flat anywhere else in the world.
  3. How much STLD has HMRC recovered from people who have claimed not to have previously owned a house or flat but have owned one in the UK
  4. How much STLD has HMRC recovered from people who have claimed not to have previously owned a house or flat but have owned one somewhere in the rest of the world.
  5. How many first time purchases have HMRC investigated whether the buyers have previously owned a house or flat?
  6. How many of these investigations have HMRC found people claiming not to have owned a house or flat have actually owned a house or flat a) in the UK and b) anywhere else in the world?

I didn’t get the figures I asked for. With regard to the first to questions about how much it has cost investigating whether a first time buyer is actually a first time buyer or not…

In response to parts 1 and 2, I am writing to advise you that following a review of our paper
and electronic records, I have established that HMRC does not hold the information you
I can confirm that HMRC’s SDLT investigation work is managed by a small central team that
co-ordinates resource drawn from across the Department – including solicitors, policy
advisers and specialists in anti-avoidance, compliance and investigation work. A central
record of data on the total number of staff addressing SDLT compliance work in respect of
first time buyers claim issues across these teams is not held.

…and the rest of my request is refused section 31, the qualified exemption rule, as it could give a clue as to the chances of getting caught.

I think this exemption is going a bit far for parts 3 and 4, how much HMRC has recovered, but without the rest of the information it doesn’t really mean much. It’s just a figure that has no scale to it.

I can see how revealing the amount of investigations HMRC has carried out and the amount of fraudulent first time buyers they’ve found could give away their success rate and so the chances of being caught.

The problem is, each piece of information is not really any use without the rest so, unless you guys can come up with a reason why HMRC should cough up then you’ve got till the beginning of April to let me know.

Plans for bi-annual MOT dropped

February 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, has withdrawn plans to change MOTs from the current timings of the first MOT at three years and then annually thereafter, to four years and then bi-annually. This is A Good Thing.

The proposed reform was part of a Governmentwide drive to sweep away red tape in what was described as a “bonfire of regulations” aimed at stimulating business and economic growth.

I have no idea how reducing the amount of MOTs performed every year could be described as ‘reducing red tape’ to enable businesses to grow.

Obviously to perform this function on behalf of the government some requirements have to be met, somewhere secure to store the certificates, like the company safe, properly trained mechanics to perform the MOT itself and a bay with specific equipment required to carry out the MOT. The equipment can be fitted to an existing bay in the workshop that already has a vehicle lift or pit, and is something a good workshop will already have, and with proper maintenance will last for years. The mechanic with the paperwork to carry out MOTs does not get paid that much more than a mechanic without. The only real cost would be to send a mechanic a workshop already employs off to get his certificate. There really isn’t much ‘red tape’ at all.

In all my years of working professionally in vehicle workshops, not once has one been inspected by the ministry. Once the initial inspection has been done to grant the licence to carry out MOTs, garages are pretty much left to their own devices.

The only thing extending the period between MOTs would do is reduce the revenue from them, in terms of the actual MOT itself and also in the repair work that a failed MOT throws up, and that can’t really be considered helping businesses, can it?

The bigger issue though, is in vehicle safety. The MOT is an annual check to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. For many people the MOT is the only time a car gets more than just the depth of tyre treads looked at.

Supporters of the change argued that cars were better built and more reliable than they were.

Cars may be better built and more reliable, but without proper maintenance, even a modern car can be dangerous. The cost of an MOT once a year, just under £60, is not a massive burden to a motorist and the twelve months period in between is a good time period. The test also has ‘advisory’ notices, not just pass or fail tick boxes. A ball joint is worn or some rust in the wrong place is getting serious but not serious enough to fail. This gets flagged to the owner as needing attention. The annual test puts a bit (just a bit) of impetus on the owner to get it fixed. A bi-annual test would reduce this even further.

In addition ministers were keen to be seen to be driver friendly by easing the financial burden at a time of soaring fuel prices.

Getting rid of a £60 cost once a year does nothing, except reduce the income of MOT test stations and increase the risk to everyone else from dangerous vehicles.

If ministers want to be seen to be doing something for the driver, then reducing the tax burden of fuel would be a good start, and not just not increasing the tax on it. A good example of getting rid of ‘red tape’ to the benefit of industry and customers are the new rules on block exemption

The new rules introduce a 30% market share threshold above which agreements between car manufacturers and authorised repairers will no longer be block exempted, aligning the rules with the general framework (Vertical restraints block exemption Regulation 330/2010 adopted on 20 April, see IP/10/445 and MEMO/10/138). This will make it easier for the Commission to tackle possible abuses to the detriment of consumers, such as the refusal to grant independent repairers access to technical information. It will increase competition between authorised and independent repairers.

The new rules will strengthen repairers’ access to alternative spare parts which can represent a big share of the repair bills.

Car manufacturers will no longer be able to make the warranty conditional on having the oil changed or other car services only in authorised garages. Of course, manufacturers may request repairs covered by the warranty – and paid for by the manufacturer – be carried out within the authorised network.

More of this would be good, please.

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