The RSPCA, the judge and *that* hunting court case

December 22nd, 2012 § 5 comments § permalink

(I’m doing this on my phone so you don’t get any links and spelling/names might be slightly out.)

The RSPCA prosecuted the Heythorpe Hunt, David Camerons’ local hunt, for deliberately hunting with dogs. The hunt admitted their guilt and it cost the RSOCA approx £330,000 as they brought their own prosecution rather than leave it to the CPS.

The judge in the case made comment along the lines of the RSPCA being a bit silly and that amount of money could’ve been spent better elsewhere. Presumably stopping poor people killing animals for fun in council estates rather than stopping rich people killing animals for fun in the countywide.

The defendants also made claim that this prosecution was politically motivated because the prime minister has ridden with them a few times.

Two things here.

1. I’m pretty sure if the RSPCA had evidence of other hunts hunting dogs on purpose and not just losing control of the dogs, then they’d prosecute. To gather evidence to a standard where one can prove a hunt is deliberately going after foxes is notoriously difficult. Which is partly the second point.

2. For the judge to comment in his closing speech (or whatever it’s called) on the cost and what the prosecutors should do with their money instead is completely outrageous.

The court case is for someone to defend themselves against specific allegations of law breaking. The accuser is not on trial, if the accuser is bringing a private prosecution it is not up to the judge to tell them they should be spending their money elsewhere. The judge should deal with the case and that’s it.

The judge though, by bringing up how much the RSPCA had to spend to get this case to court, raises an important point – the cost of the law. Ask anyone that has has serious dealings with the law and they will agree. The law is not for the poor man but how much it costs is not a debate for a court case.

The RSPCA said they brought the case because they had no faith in the CPS, and they’re probably right. To get the evidence of deliberately hunting with dogs is extremely time consuming and I guess to get a successful prosecution a prosecutor actually needs to be there at the time. It’s probably quite hard to prove the ‘deliberate’ part after the event, and the police etc cannot be there at every hunt meeting just in case, that really would cause an outrage.

Private or public prosecution, it is not up to the judge to decide whether it is a waste of money or not. His job is to preside over the court and ensure justice is done. This judge should be seriously reprimanded.

Terms and Conditions

December 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Instagram has taken some shit over the last couple of days for it’s new terms and conditions.

You don’t fuck up, especially when you have the sort of money Instagram have, via their owners Facebook, when writing you’re T’s & C’s.

I hesitate to raise the Instagram topic on here. The controversial terms and conditions and subsequent ‘clarification’ have already received wall-to-wall coverage elsewhere.

But there’s a writing angle to the whole thing that needs some airing. The whole story is already being co-opted as a case study in the importance of clear communication and getting the tone right. This worries me, because that’s exactly what it isn’t, at least not in the way that’s being suggested.

This was the main offending paragraph in the terms and conditions:

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

There is nothing wrong with the tone of this paragraph. It scores highly on clarity, using plain language, active verbs, personal pronouns (us and you) – all the things writers go on about every day.

There is a lot wrong with the content of the paragraph, at least according to thousands of Instagram users. But that’s not a language issue – it’s a policy issue. Any writers trying to use this as an example of the importance of ‘tone of voice’ are misinterpreting the problem. To an expert in tone of voice, every problem looks like a tone of voice issue.

The situation isn’t helped by Instagram’s disingenuous ‘clarification’, which tries to imply that this was all a miscommunication caused by ‘confusing’ language.

Again, this statement from Instagram has been hailed in various places as a good example of crisis communication – clear and helpful in the way the Ts and Cs weren’t.

But again, this is completely wrong. The Ts and Cs were absolutely clear, even if their content was controversial.

By contrast, the ‘clarification’ is slippery, mealy-mouthed and contradictory.

Read the rest.

Catch my whimsical, non-filtered images here.

via @MooseAllain

The NRA wants to help

December 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

This sure is good of the NRA after all the damage it’s done over the years…

The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again

So, what’s the odds on that contribution being to let kids carry assualt rifles in school so they can defend themselves should anyone want to go on another killing spree in a school?

Update 21/12/2012:

Well, I wasn’t too far out, and if you remove my sarcasm, you could say I was right on the money.

How predictable, huh?

Come in child number 9. Your time is up

December 17th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

God has called them all home

Obama said.

Wow. God must’ve been having an off day and taking it out on them then.

No passing away quietly in their sleep for these kids, as innocent children should die. It’s a full on kicking, screaming, painful death full of fear recall for them.

God is kind and compassionate, apparently. That’s certainly a definiation of ‘kind’ and ‘compassionate’ I haven’t come across before.

Orange hazlenuts

December 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

My lad has a nut allergy. That’s not a problem in itself, especially as he takes it seriously himself, always asking people, when he’s eating food other people have prepared, if something has nuts in.

It takes you back a little at first when you’re told, or it did me at least, but then you settle into things. You remember to take his epipens with you about the place. You look at ingredients of anything new you pick up shopping, you ask in restaurants or, you make a packed lunch, just in case.

Now and again though, you slip up. You’re in a hurry and forget the epipens. You pick up a packet of food and forget to check the ingredients, or as happened tonight, don’t think you need to.

Because my lad has a nut allergy, we have chocolate spread that doesn’t have nuts in the ingredients. We have Tesco’s chocolate spread. This one…

chocolate spread

These are the ingredients:


It looks like Tesco, along with Cadbury’s, have found the secret of making chocolate spread without using hazlenuts.

So why the buggery, would they do this to their orange chocolate spread?…


They both have virtually the same ingredients, except the orange flavoured one has orange flavouring… and hazlenuts. Since when have hazlenuts tasted of orange? What purpose do they serve?

What irks me, is that the labelling is the same on both jars, apart from the colour. There is no indication to someone used to buying the plain spread that the orange one would have anything other than orange flavouring added. I must add that it probably irks me as a reaction to my slip up of only checking the ingredients at the last minute before opening the jar rather than on the shelf before purchase.

But why should the label be any different? It is from the same range of products, so the labelling would be the same. But why should it have bloody hazlenuts in it? As far as I can tell the only thing Tesco have done by adding hazlenuts to chocolate spread that doesn’t have nuts in, is to keep a little lads’ packed lunch from being a little more exciting.

Update 17/12/12:

I tweeted this post at Tesco. They responded…

My lad will be happy.

Update 27/01/2013

Well, what the fuck happened there, then? A nut free recipe was supposed to be being introduced for the Orange flavoured chocolate spread, but instead, look…

chocolate spread with nuts

Nuts where there wasn’t any previously. When Tesco tweeted that a new recipe was about to be rolled out, I thought they meant they’d be taking nuts *out* of the their orange flavoured chocolate spread, not putting hazel nuts *into* it’s ordinary chocolate spread.

But why? What has prompted this change of recipe? Have there been a sudden flurry of complaints about it not being nutty enough? After years of not having nuts in it, is it suddenly not good enough?

Very disappointed, Tesco. Very disappointed.

resignation = sacking + cash. Only for a select few though.

December 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Sometimes something happens that makes me realise I really don’t understand ‘big’ business and that there really is a ‘them’ at the top and an ‘us’ under their heel – and them and us play by different rules. And the rules are always theirs.

Today, it’s this

Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News International, was paid £10.8m after she resigned, it has emerged.

This isn’t rant at Rebekah Brooks, as such, or News International, but just the latest in a long line of such occurances. Most happen without hitting the headlines. I just can’t work out why, how ever much I think about it.

Ms Brooks had a job. Ms Brooks resigns from the job. Ms Brooks get a fucking massive wodge of cash as compensation for loss of office.

But hang on, she didn’t lose her office. She gave it up, didn’t she? If she gave it up then why should she be compensated? She wasn’t sacked unreasonably. She gave up the job of her own accord. Resigning is not losing your office.

Contrast that to someone working in a shop, a warehouse, an sales rep. They resign, they have to work a notice period, anywhere between a week to 6 months. They don’t get a payoff. In some, still uncontroversial, circumstances they might be paid in lieu notice, but then that’s still not a surprising amount.

So that’s the first difference. The lucky few resign and get a fucking big credit entry on their bank statement, the masses have to carry on working their notice or they’ll get fuck all.

But, Ms Brook is being investigated, and has been arrested, for wrong doing within the company she was employed at, so it’s not just a straight case of someone resigning to go to another job. She resigned to protect the company, or because her position became untenable and she was asked to resign.

Now, either way she has brought the company into disrepute. Either by being negligent and not knowing what the fuck was going on under her tenure or for at the very least looking the other way while her minions broke the law.

This fuck up of hers, and others, is costing the company a fuck of a lot of money. Once again, the ‘ordinary mad in the street’ would’ve been sacked. No chance to resign, just a push out the door whilst being told to fuck off.

Why do these people get the chance to resign? It’s not like they actually have their CV typed out on a couple pieces of A4 and might worry what sacking might do to their chance of future employment.

Now, I don’t know how much Brooks was paid a year for her job, but £10.8m is a fuck of a lot. That’s £900,000 a month over a year, or what someone would be paid at £50,000 a year, if they worked for 216 years.

… and I think I’ve just cleared up my confusion.

Brooks must either have one hell of a lawyer, or know some very dark secrets that the Murdochs’ don’t want out in the open.

So that’s going to be my business plan. Get some dirt on my boss until I can afford a shit hot lawyer.


December 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Patronising, insulting fuckers

Giving a speech at the London Chamber of Commerce, Engskov said: “I am announcing changes which will results in Starbucks paying higher corporation tax in the UK – above what is currently required by law.

“Specifically, in 2013 and 2014 Starbucks will not claim tax deductions for royalties or payments related to our intercompany charges.

“In addition, we are making a commitment that we will propose to pay a significant amount of corporation tax during 2013 and 2014 regardless of whether our company is profitable during these years.

Paying corporation tax when when you don’t make a profit is not paying corporation tax – it’s a gift. We don’t want Starbucks’ fucking charity, the wanker. We just expect them to pay the right amount of tax that is due.

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