Paul Dacre must di…

June 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

A couple of links.

Angry Mob – Abuse and Defamation

Angry Mob receives a Nasty-O-Gram from the lawyers of Associated Newspapers.

Ministry of Truth – Daily Mail threatens media blogger with libel action over two year old article

Unity casts an over over the blog post in question and the letter sent to the hosting company.

Needless to say, neither the Daily Mail or Paul Dacre, come out smelling of roses.

New Law. now with added newness

June 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I was just browsing the Express (yeah, yeah, I know, but sometimes I like to smear myself in shit) and read this story about new law and order stuff from the Conservatives ( link)…


DAVID Cameron last night hit back at allegations that his Government is soft on crime by vowing to back home owners who fight off burglars.

Announcing a major legal shake-up, the Prime Minister pledged that property holders who use “reasonable force” against intruders would not be prosecuted.

How is that new?

David Cameron said: “My mission is to make sure that families can feel safe in their homes, and they can walk the streets freely, without fear. The system today is failing and badly needs reform.”

It needs reform so badly, it’s going to stay the same.

…the most eye-catching announcement was legal protection for people who defend their families and properties during break-ins. It would allow home owners to hit burglars or even shoot them as long as the force used can be shown in court to have been reasonable.

At risk of repeating myself, how is that new?

“So we will put beyond doubt that home owners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted.”

How is, oh you get the idea.

The PM’s measures include increasing the number of life sentences handed out by the courts and ensuring that serious sexual and violent offenders spend at least half of their jail terms in custody.

Under current rules, many can walk free halfway through their sentences.

All together now… How is that new?

A new criminal offence of squatting will also be introduced to protect home owners, and squatters will be stripped of the right to claim legal aid to fight their cases.

This it is a little worrying. I don’t know any figures about squatting or what squatters give for being squatters, whether it’s to use unused property or poverty or being outside the benefits system, but I doubt the majority actually want to be squatters any more than a property owner wants to host them. So it would be nice if alongside this proposal to rid the land of squatters and prevent them from claiming someone elses property, the government put in place some other way of getting these people back into accommodation.

I love this little quote from Ken Clarke…

I’ve made a number of U-turns in my time. They should be done with purpose and panache when you do them.

If you’re gonna do a u-turn, make it a stylish one. Preferably wearing a hat at a jaunty angle.

On the existence of God

June 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Subsitute ‘babelfish’ for anything a believer says proves that god exists…

The argument goes something like this:
“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”
“But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”
“Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t though of that” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

Douglas Adams – the Hichhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Local paper holds local MP to account. oh. maybe not then.

June 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Richard Bartholomew, did a post on Saturday about Nadine Dorries attack on Tim Ireland, has followed up the suggestion in her new and worse re-post that

My local newspaper editors and journalists are well aware of him and describe him as a ‘menace’ and much, much worse.

Bartholomew asked, via Twitter, the editor of Bedfordshire on Sunday. The resulting conversation, I must say runs completely against what Steven Baxter reckons about local rags, but then there is alwasy an exception. Oh, wait. Tim would be recognised as a local to Chris Gill, and so I suppose, just like Dorries ‘isn’t accountable to non-constiuents’, Chris doesn’t give a toss about non-locals either.

Have a read of Richards’ post. It is quite a shitty and depressing read.

Nadine Dorries: Any excuse to smear an opponent

June 18th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

Whoa! Something has got Nadine Dorries pissed off this evening and she really wants to take it out on someone.

After two lines expressing her disappointment about the judgement of a plumber that harassed his wifes’ lover, with one of those two lines taken up by the hyperlink, Dorries embarks on a tirade against Tim…

I myself am in the position, as noted by Guido, of being subjected to a particularly nasty form of online harassment.

Noted by Paul Staines? With a link to his blog, not where he does actually note it. And what’s this ‘particularly nasty’ form of harassment? Being called out on lies? Bringing to the attention of the public rather large payments to a friend for not a lot work? Trying to get personal information someone is legally entitled to, but being ignored?

Mainly due to the fact that I campaign against late term abortion and for a more responsible society which allows our children to enjoy a childhood free from the influence of an over sexualised culture and for a more responsible approach to sex and relationship counselling.

No, this level of scrutiny is due to avoiding the truth, not telling the truth and hiding the truth, whilst being a public servant.

One of the especially ‘poorly’ compulsive obsessive’s, recently alarmed the Police enough for them to issue a verbal warning on tape following a five hour interview. Following the warning, his tweets and blogs have remain monitored, as are those of people he communicates with on a regular basis in which I am discussed or mentioned.

Oh, I just love the scare quotes around the word ‘poorly’, implying this person not well. Obviously, the scare quotes mean that that is not what is meant. But we know, don’t we? We’ve read newspapers, we know how they work, don’t we? *gives conspiratorial wink*

Yes, this man, fuck it. We all know she is talking about Tim. Yes, Tim was given a warning. A verbal warning. A verbal warning is not anything official, like a caution. It was for one incident, the Flitwick husting. Not for any series of events. If you’ve been following this saga, you would not be surprised that it took five hours for the police and Tim to discuss this issue and it’s complexities.

Seeing as I am in quite regular contact with Tim, and a member of the Nadine Dorries Project, can I assume that, and I am gonna ‘sex’ this up a bit, can i assume that I am being bugged? Probably not. You see, the letter from the police saying that Tim got a verbal warning, for which he had to ask for, also explains that the matter is closed and only relates to the one occassion. Why would the police monitor all the people Tim has contact with to keep an eye on any mentions of Dorries if all they can do is say ‘be a bit careful in future’?

Frankly, I remain blissfully unaffected. I don’t ever read them and never come into contact with anyone in my constituency who does. I believe that to read them lets a sliver of nastiness into my day that I just don’t need.

Dorries doesn’t read anything that isn’t from a supportive constituent either. She leaves it to her staff to filter out the non-supportive and supportive mail.

This particular man also harasses anyone he comes across who has any contact with me, by bombarding them with emails, freedom of information requests and repetitive telephone calls.

No. Tim asks questions. When he gets the run around, he investigates further as to why they are being evasive. And usually comes up with something that explains why they are being evasive.

He even travelled across the country into my constituency once to a local meeting pretending to be a local to film me and lied to the meeting organisers and the audience about what he was doing, until a Labour supporter ‘outed’him.

From Tims’ place to Flitwick is hardly ‘across the country’. Its an hour away. As for lieing to the organisers of the Flitwick hustings? Take a look for yourself…

TIms’ post about it is here, along with independent accounts here and here. Make up your own mind.

Therefore, I cannot mention on my blog where I am going, only where I have been and am very careful about photographing who I have seen, tagging or naming people on photographs. I don’t mention what people have said or who they work for. I am careful about mentioning the names of anyone I am in contact with, where they live or where I am or what I am doing on any particular day, until the day is done. I hardly mention anything, because I don’t want other people to be subjected to what Ed West, of the Daily Telegraph, describes as ‘deranged’ behaviour.

But Dorries does mention all those things, and twist things up. She used the stabbing of another MP as the reason she shut her blog down and closed her Twitter account, saying it was on police advise. The stabbing of the MP happened after she closed her blog though.

This online menace certainly appears deranged as the other people he harasses in a less public way than me will testify.

Who? Who will testify that Tim is that deranged that they have had to involve the police? No one. That would be why there is nothing on police record.

And therefore, for the sake of the people who work for me (he has already forced one member of staff to resign) I had really hoped for a different outcome today.

Dorries’ mate resigned when Tim looked into their business relationship and started asking questions about how little work was seemingly being done for the amounts being paid.

Let’s hope another court case comes up soon with more compelling evidence. Who knows, maybe it will have to be mine.

The amount Dorries bleats on, she should have plenty of evidence to get Tim banged up for a spell.

I wonder why the police have done so little, then…

Update: 18/6/2011 11.20am

Dorries’ post has now been removed, but I have a screen grab here (see next update if this link doesn’t work).

Update 19/6/11

Dorries has reposted her work of fiction, under the title of My Day In Court. It is pretty much the same but with added guff, and no more truth.

I have given the original screen grab a more permanent home. You can find it here, and a screengrab pof the new post can be found here. (Due to a plugin-in or something, you may need to copy and paste the URL into a new window/tab to get a full size look at the screengrabs.)

The disabled: not worthless, just worth less

June 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

So this is why there should be an opt-out of the minimum wage, is it?…

[Phillip Davies MP] claimed the most vulnerable, including those with learning disabilities and mental health problems, were disadvantaged in their search for work because they had to compete with candidates without disabilities and could not offer to accept lower pay.

He claims he was told this on a visit to Mind. Another Tory challenged Davies…

Mr Davies was challenged over his remarks by fellow Tory MP Edward Leigh who told him: “Forget the fact there is a minimum wage for a moment. Why actually should a disabled person work for less than £5.93 an hour. It is not a lot of money, is it?”

Mr Davies replied that, irrespective of whether it was “right or wrong”, that was “just the real world that we operate in”.

So fuck right or wrong, eh? So instead of saying just get on with it, how about Davies doing something to right the wrong rather than letting, again vulnerable people get fucking shafted?


Mind have issued a statement

Today, Conservative MP Philip Davies suggested that disabled people should offer to work below minimum wage so they get a job when competing with able-bodied people. He quoted a visit to a Mind association in his statement.

Mind’s Director of External Relations Sophie Corlett said:
It is a preposterous suggestion that someone who has a mental health problem should be prepared to accept less than minimum wage to get their foot in the door with an employer. People with mental health problems should not be considered a source of cheap labour and should be paid appropriately for the jobs they do.

It is simply unacceptable that fewer than 4 in 10 employers will currently consider employing someone with a mental health problem. We should be trying be educate employers and challenge negative attitudes towards mental health problems rather than forcing people with mental health problems to undercut their way in to the workforce.

Mind has found that over 50 per cent of people with mental health problems are living on a weekly household income of less than £200 – what the Government defines as ‘living on the poverty line.’ Paying people with mental health problems less money than non-disabled people will not help them into work it will just widen the poverty gap.

(via DailyQuail & Unslugged

On assisted suicide.

June 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Right. Lets knock this assisted suicide thing on the head. It’s not hard.

The clue is in the name. Assisted suicide. Not fucking euthanasia. There is a big difference between the two.

Assisted suicide is where someone decides that they do not want to live any longer but does not have the ability, for whatever reason, to bring their own life to an end.

Euthanasia is someone deciding someone elses life is not worth living, and then killing them.

Some groups, especially evangelical christians, muddying the debate by bringing up the Nazi haulocast. This is completely disingenius, designed to slip in the fear of a society that will just kill off anyone that doesn’t fit in for whatever reason. These wankers should be ignored and told to go fuck themselves with rusty crucifix.

The debate is currently about whether assisted suicide should be legal or not, and there is a fairly easy answer to this question. Yes.

Assisted suicide should be legal. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, you have control over your own body. It is yours, nobody elses. No one can tell you what can or can’t do with it. Even doctors can’t stick a needle in your arm to save your life if you expressly deny them permission. With this being the case, why should a doctor not be allowed to stick a needle in you arm if you do give them permission?

Christians and religious folk don’t have to have an assisted suicide if they don’t want to. That is up to them. Nobody is going to force them. To deny a suicidee that right because of a belief they do not hold is outragous.

The same for doctors, they shouldn’t be penalised in any way for not helping in an assisted suicide. They will have to make their own decision, wrestle with their own conscience about the issue.

The debate shouldn’t be about whether assisted suicide should be legal or not, it should be about what checks and balances should be in place to protect vulnerable people from being coerced in to it or they aren’t able to express their wish unambiguously.

Fucking religious folk with their ‘ooh, you can’t do that, the magic sky fairy will not be happy’ can get to fuck. Bring on the fairy, I’ll kick his fucking arse, if he is, indeed, real.

Minimum wage op-out

June 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Why should employees have an opt-out of the minimum wage (.pdf)? What does it achieve?

It just makes the vulnerable even more vulnerable by enabling unscrupulous employers to put pressure on an employee to waiver the’re right to it.

You can say there will be sanctions for employers that will do this, just as there are employers that don’t play by the rules already. This just gives them something else to fuck people with and, realisticaly, if people are getting fucked over now when everyone has to be paid a certain amount this is not going to make the system more robust, is it?

(via TheNatFantastic)

Rape in University

June 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Julie Bindel has a peice on CiF about rape in university. Loging in and stuff on the Guardian site is a ballache for me for some reason so my response is here.

Leaving home to go to university is an exciting time. Often, the taste of freedom can be intoxicating. It can also be one of the most dangerous times in a woman’s life. Young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. Studies have found that females aged 16-24 are at high risk of sexual violence and harassment. However, policy on violence against women during this and the previous administration has made no specific reference to students.

Why should there have been a specific reference to students? How/why are they more at risk than other women?

In 2010, a nationwide survey on female students’ experience of violence conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS), found that one in four respondents had experienced unwanted sexual behaviour. Hidden Marks, the first study of its kind, also found that one in seven women students had experienced a serious physical or sexual assault while at university or college, and over two thirds had experienced some kind of verbal or non-verbal harassment. This included groping, flashing and unwanted sexual comments. As one respondent said: “Almost every time me and my friends go out to a club you can guarantee that one of us will have some kind of violence or unwanted attention forced on us by drunk men.”

How does this compare with women in general or women in that age group that aren’t students? Are the figures higher or lower? Without a comparison that figure is meaningless, although even just one rape is one too many.

Unsurprisingly, alcohol features in the majority of the assaults and many instances of harassment. But we should be clear that whether the perpetrator, victim or (as in most cases) both are drunk, it is not the bottle of booze that commits the crime.

Exactly right. No excuses.

In the study, women who had been drinking were far more reluctant to report than others, for fear of not being believed. I can understand why; I recall the case in 2005 of a student who said she had been raped by a university security guard who was escorting her back to her halls of residence because she was too drunk to make the journey alone. The judge ordered his acquittal, saying that “drunken consent is still consent”.

Just as being drunk is no excuse for raping someone, you can’t withdraw consent once you’ve sobered up and blame it on the booze either.

Am I blaming the victim when I say that someone shouldn’t drink so much that they may do something that they regret?

We should learn from the way in which student sexual assault has been dealt with across the pond. UK academics Alison Phipps and Geraldine Smith, in a forthcoming paper, highlight several reasons why campus sexual assault gets far more attention in the US than it does here. First, women’s studies courses that can lead women into engagement with feminist activism are widespread, whereas in Europe such courses are on the decline. Second, there exists good, solid data on the prevalence of sexual assaults on US campuses, and journalists give the topic decent coverage. Finally, there is far more emphasis placed on the responsibility of the universities themselves to prevent such crimes.

Fair enough.

The turning point in the US was a notorious and tragic case in 1986, in which a female student was raped and murdered by a male fellow student. The late Jeanne Clery’s parents founded Security on Campus Inc, which embarked on a sustained programme of lobbying the federal government that led to the 1990 Clery Act. This act, among other things, requires that institutions collect statistics on campus crime and take steps to address and prevent it. Let us hope the UK does not have to face such a tragedy before universities take serious action.

Why leave it at universities? Why not make hospitals, leisure centres, workplaces do the same?

There are a number of simple things they could do immediately to make their female students safer. Most obviously, they need to have cross-institutional policies to tackle violence against women students – readers may be surprised to know that they don’t already. Campuses could also be made much safer by proper lighting and security in student residences, with bus routes can take female students as close as they can to their door.

I am surprised that ‘cross-institutional policies to tackle violence against women students’ don’t exist already. I do have one that fits the bill already though, and can be applied to anywhere not just universities – Report the rape to the police and give the victim whatever support they may need.

Proper lighting would be a help, just like proper street lighting in towns is, too.

By proper security, I assume Julie means that only students can get into halls of residence via a locked keycoded door and a security guard, which is fine uless it’s another student or security guard doing the attacking. In that case does ‘proper security’ mean female guards and CCTV?

How about a bus to take male students to their door, to help stop them getting beaten shitless by drunken thugs?

My friend Alice Vachss, a former sex crimes prosecutor who has done exemplary work in the US on campus sexual assault response, says that if she could change only one thing, it would be to increase the consequences for friends and allies of the sexual aggressor who harass, taunt and threaten women trying to come forward with a complaint:

“Despite all the beautiful work that’s been done here in the States, our campuses are still so rape tolerant that the most likely outcome for a campus sex crime victim is that she leaves school. Campuses may be the last true remaining communities. Sure we need improved policies but most fundamentally we need policy enforcement that changes that community culture.”

Cultural change is difficult to achieve. But if institutions are prepared to work with students’ unions, police and local women’s services, it may be possible to chip away at the culture in which sexual harassment is sadly part of a “normal” Friday night out.

Cultural change is the key here, whether it’s students or not, but that change needs to start before the kids get to uni.

Bahrain: I’ll get my dad on you!

June 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Via D-Notice2012 (the blogger formerly known as D-Notice) I hear that the Bahrain government is going to sue the Independent for publishing stories about anti government protesters being shot by police, torture, being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia, etc. Y’know, the usual Middle East dictator/ruling royal family past-times and hobbies.

My first reaction was “good luck with that”, but then I remembered our courts aren’t the most sensible at times, especially when a foreign government (and one that is now in the Saudis’ pocket) is concerned.

D-Notice notes that UK local governments can’t sue in English courts, so foreign one shouldn’t be able to either. It looks like they’re gonna try, though.

If Bahrain does get to court it’ll be for libel, I presume and so the onus will be on the Indie to prove what it says is true rather than Bahrain to prove otherwise. This, I’m guessing shouldn’t be too hard for the Indie to do seeing as a) it isn’t just the Indie saying this stuff and b) the Bahrain government has singled out Rober Fisk as the main reporter responsible and Fisk has a reputation for being bob on with this type of thing.

But does Baharain really want to go to court, or is it, more likely just trying to scare the Indie/press?

Bahrain has much more resources than the Indie and so could drag this out and cost the Indie so much that it hashas no choice but to capitulate, after all, if this did get to court and the judgement went against Bahrain, it could open it up to charges of war crimes or crim against humanity (or whatever) and end up with arrest warrant being issued against it’s leaders for the International Criminal Court (or whatever the place is called).

Would that threat if the ICC scare the Bahraini officials? I doubt it.

My second reaction was ” WTF? hasn’t this guy read the British press?”

The “Publications director-general and acting press and external
media director-general” Nawaf Mohammed Al-Maawda has

called upon all media to observe accuracy and objectivity and project the true image…

Hahahaha! In the British press?! Like I said, good luck with that one.

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