Saturday, 15 May 2010

The idea of overcriminalisation

There are two, or more, sides to any arguement. See here:

It seems to me that the idea of overcriminalisation is a 'steam engine' moment in English jurisprudence. It seems to me to be fundamentally wrong that laws that are passed through Paliament - with specific objectives in mind - can be used for purposes they were, and this is controversial, never intended.

Why, for instance, can a law directed at terrorism be used to check on our methods of rubbish disposal?

See, here:

In addition, opposition MPs fear the 2000 Terrorism Act could be used by councils to probe ordinary householders’ bins.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: “It is one thing for the security services to go through your rubbish but quite another for the council.

“They should concentrate their efforts in collecting it not looking at it. It is yet another example of a growing police state.”

That is not the most persuasive quote I have ever seen, but it is indicative of what you get when you allow loose legislation, well loose. It is used for unintended purposes by bureaucratic non entities. For that is what they do. Twist legislation beyond it's original purpose and apply it in, frankly evil, ways. There is, apparently, no consensus that religion has no right to protection. Apparently it ought to, and it does. I refer you to this thread, where I may have lost the plot, but remained polite:

We are completely stupid in allowing government to enact laws that are twisted far and away beyond their original intent. I do not believe it was the intention of Parliament that Harry Taylor should be criminalised. It is, however, the rule of unintended consequences. Crap legislation makes for crap decisions.

It was never right to allow you or me to prosecute under the criminal law for 'offence'. Your offence is my decency, and vice versa. Trying to arbitrate between us is taking the state, and the stakes too far.

Fuck your 'offence'. Fuck my 'offence'. Your right to offend and mine ought to be equal under the law.

There certainly ought to be no religious exceptionalism.

 I'd go as far as to say that Parliament has got this entirely wrong.

And the law that protects the god fearing is out and out wrong.

Salman Rushdie had a right to say what he did. And no petty fool had the right to do anything other than argue against him. Balancing the law in the favour of religious bigots is completely stupid.

That is the measure of what is right and what is wrong about this case.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

What next? Politics as a spectator sport.

OK, I am a bit depressed. I am a member of the SNP and, frankly, I have no idea where we go to next.

I see the loss of both our by election gains as a kick in the teeth by Scottish voters.

I really do not understand the dynamics of what exercises Scottish voters sometimes.

It seems to me obvious that Scottish voters are actually liberated in who they can vote for.

For instance, a vote for the SNP was not going to increase the overall Conservative majority at Westminster.

It seems that the availability of that freedom of expression - vote Green if you like - was denied in some sort of self serving masochism by voting Labour. Despite the fact that, if you think about politics at all, it would never have mattered. Scottish voters could have voted better, but were feart of the big bad bogeynman and assumed that the beautiful Princess that is Labour would save them, when it is now quite evident that they can't and weren't really interested in even trying.

Odd times we live in.

For, whenever we feel threatened by Tories, we revert to that.

It is a failure to, simultaneously, see how wee we are and how much better we could be. And a vote for the SNP would not have been a vote for the Tories, either.

This blog has kept an eye on Steven Purcell, but Glasgow voters just ignore that sort of stuff.

It is quite astounding. Usually folk will see the wood from the trees.

It seems to me that Scottish voters don't.

However, This is probably down to a pretty poor election strategy by the SNP. We should have done better, but we didn't, probably because we don't understand the electorate, and I don't mean 'focus groups'. It is far more fundamental than that.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Another Option - A Lab / Con pact?

It seems to me that Labour and Conservative's, apart, obviously from their unique tribal instincts, have more in common with each other than they do with Liberals, or Scottish Nationalists, or frankly, human beings:

Extending on that idea:

Could someone tell me what the heck is the substantive difference between them on the following, broad, subjects?

Most they are willing to do about fixing our voting system is AV’

Agree in principle about getting rid of our debt mountain,

Agree in principle that we are up shit creek without a paddle, on our finances,

Hate asylum seekers,

Hate immigrants..

Love Trident,

Hate the poor, but pretend otherwise,

Love the rich, but pretend otherwise,

Prison is the answer to all crimes,

Love the privilege of ‘your turn’ politics and will fight tooth and nail against any change to that,

Hate progressive politics.

Seems to me they have more in common with each other than they let on….

The Liberals ought to take a care, as Dixon of Dock Green may, or may not, have said.

A 'Government of National Unity' would be a disgraceful outcome, but no-one could argue against it's electoral legitimacy.

Could they?

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Some Points about Scottish and English Politics

Just a few thoughts on the post election apocalypse, as BBC News 24 would have it.

I do not think most people that are adult in England probably remember the deals that were struck in the '70's to form governments. You'd have to be, what around 55 or so and a precocious child to recall the negotiations that took place. Personally I had to remind myself of the details! So, there is a complete lack of  personal experience of the situation.

Scots, and the Welsh and those in Northern Ireland have lived with coalition government or minority government for years past. To that extent, you have a more sophisticated electorate and one that doesn't think the sky is falling down if it happens. It has happened and it is a non - event. 

Gordon Brown has conducted himself entirely constitutionally and correctly in continuing to remain Prime Minister. It astonishes me that folk seem to assume he should have simply handed the keys to Number 10 to Cameron and walked away.

What? Without Cameron having the opportunity to form a government? Because he certainly wouldn't have had the opportunity if that had been the case.

He would have been a hostage to being voted down on the first substantive issue, probably the vote on the Queens Speech, or his first budget.

Reasonable transfer arrangements have to be put in place, and as soon as possible, obviously.


I think that Scottish Liberal Democrats are being handed a poisoned chalice. It is very difficult to imagine that Scots voted for them on the assumption that they would ally themselves with the Tories. If the Lib Dems do enter a coalition or other enabling arrangement with the Conservatives, I think it will have a toxic effect on their votes North of the border. I would be astonished if Scottish Liberal MPs were unaware of that. They could face a situation where they were decimated.

There is sufficient evidence, I think, that Scotland drew it's skirts in at this election and voted substantially for anyone that would keep the Tories out. The fact that the chances that a Tory might get elected applied, reasonably, to only four of five constituencies did not matter. The fear of running away from matrons apron strings had an overwhelming effect on Scottish voting intentions.

Which is a distortion of our own politics, dancing to opinion polls that were completely unrepresentative of what would happen on election day.


Finally, it seems to me that there is a huge naiveté amongst English voters on what happens in the event of a hung parliament, one with no overall majority. There is an assumption that the largest party has a mandate to govern without taking account whatsoever of the aspirations of whosoever it's minority partners might be.

What the UK voted for is compromise.

You probably had to compromise when you cast your vote. It is a party political robot that actually believes every nuance of a political parties manifesto. I do not, for instance, completely subscribe to the SNP policy on nuclear power, but it is a relatively minor issue for me.

However when political parties are asked to make similar compromises they jibe at it. The Tories, for instance may see PR as a sticking point, just because; or alternately cutting £6bn from this years budget may be a sticking point for the LibDems.

Yet, these are the compromises that we all have to make in relationships and in casting our votes.

I see no reason why they should not be expected to do exactly the same thing.

There was no knockout blow in this General Election and, frankly, that ought to be enough to shake our political class out of their almost eternal lethargy.

I live in hope....

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I urge you.

Dunnno whether a vaguely SNP voter has it in their soul to read this post.

It seems to me that any attempt to say anything positive about the SNP is doomed to calumny. I'd urge you to ignore the shite and place your vote for your local nationalist candidate.
What that vote means is that you do not see Scottish Nationalism as an exclusive thing. If you are Asian or Jewish or African, as long as you say you are Scottish, you are. Which, is as it should be.


We are treated as if Jeff Breslin was, legitimately, a subject of due process, when it is quite clear that he is a subject of immediate political process. Backed up by foolish cops. Talk about breaking butterflies on wheels!

This is probably as near as anyone will ever get to comparing Jeff Breslin to Mick Jagger.


It is perfectly obvious that the deplorable concept of postal voting, or the ludicrous extension of the concept at least, may be a twist too far in democracy.

I'd quite like the SNP to come out against the whole idea of postal voting, at least without root and branch reform.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Agency - or not? Pat Bertroche.

KJB brought an interesting piece of American lunacy to my attention.

This shit

The highlight of which is this piece of self aggrandising, self unaware idiocy:

Speaking at a forum Monday in Toledo, 3rd District Republican candidate Pat Bertroche said police should catch illegal immigrants and document their whereabouts.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that he added, "I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I microchip an illegal?"
Bertroche — one of seven Republicans seeking the nomination to run against Democrat Leonard Boswell — said in a statement Tuesday that his comment was social commentary on how inane the immigration issue has become.

This is the victory of the political class over us.

We are no longer, even in democracies,  people anymore. We are reduced to machines. For make no mistake, the wedge strategy is to dehumanise 'the other' first and then get around to the rest of us. There is no 'natural boundary' between what he says now and what others may say in the future. It is to dehumanise the lived life, for the sake of political power. Lose this arguement, and it is a slippery spope to agreeing that we should all have a 'chip' or a 'tag'.

This is elitism of the first order. And it is an arithmetical game, where the only winner is likely to be a tiny, perhaps vanishing tiny, monopoly on human development. Not at all healthy.

Pat Bertroche should be resisted all the way!