AIDS or Cancer? Cancer or AIDS?

Which would you rather have? Go on, choose.

If you don’t choose, you’re failing in your duty as a citizen to engage in the process of selecting the powers that will rule over you and shape your destiny in the coming years.

Ludicrous, no? Okay, let’s try another one.

Tory or Labour? Which would you rather have?

You see the problem. Both are deeply immiserating, highly likely to diminish your quality of life, rob you of your independence and hasten your demise. You could end up with either, irrespective of your preference.

So, in these days of information, search engines and an internet that never forgets, why do some people still support, cheer and argue for political parties as if they were football teams? Why do they not see politicians and parties for what they almost always are, irrespective of thier colours? Why do we not reject the whole shooting match and drive them all into the sea?

How can you rationally and in good faith conclude that while the Tories are ghastly, hypocritical, selfish idiots who put their short-term self interest ahead of the long term benefit of the country – all true – the Labour Party doesn’t tick all of those boxes with equal alacrity?

Conversely how can you decide that Labour are authoritarian, meddling, economically illiterate, and obsessed with identity politics, while overlooking the track record of the Tories over recent years regarding privacy, civil liberties, access to justice, constant meddling in “pubic health”, the persisting deficit, tax raids on entrepreneurs and landlords, the emergent consumer credit bubble, the lack of progress on housing, going on about the supposed gender pay gap, riding the transgender hobby-horse etc?

I wish I had an answer – even a coherent theory – other than the one where many people are idiots who have been indoctrinated, not educated, and whose intellectual curiosity stops at predicting who’ll win X-Factor.

The war, as I see it, really is not between Tories and Labour. That’s a distraction and a false distiction when it comes to ideology and practice, as I’ve illustrated before. The war is between the political classes and the people.

The only ray of hope is that 52% of voters from across the political spectrum probably understand this, and voted for Brexit as a way to not only stick it to the political establishment here and in Brussels (as well as the useful idiots in the entertainment and media industry), but also to bring the frontline in the war between the state and the people back home to Britain, the better to wrap out hands around its scrawny duplicitous neck.

The next step after Brexit ought to be regional autonomy between and within the comstituent countries of the UK. Yet as of now, much to no-one’s surprise, actual Brexit (hard Brexit, the only Brexit, the one we actually voted for) looks increasingly likely to be spirited away by the poltical establishment, in favour of a foul-tasting placebo, for our own good.

Placebos have been proven surprising effective of late, but they’re unlikely to be effective against AIDS or cancer, so the war goes on with no end in sight.

What time’s X-Factor on, again?



Prisoners Dilemma…

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As you might imagine, a lot of people are up-in-arms about this extremely unusual situation.

It would be easy – it was my own gut reaction – to say that Lavinia Woodward should be in prison. Almost certainly, if she was the dirt-poor denizen of a run-down urban estate, she would this morning be eating corporation porridge.

And if it were a man – even one with as much charm and potential as this woman – who were charged with stabbing his girlfriend, do we think there’s the faintest chance he’d have experienced such leniency from a judge? Do we even think his sentence would be as short as this woman’s suspended sentence of 10 months?

Indeed the bigger question is not “should this woman be in prison?”

When I answer “hell yes” to that question, I’m actually answering the more fundamental question “should this woman be treated the same as a man would be, or as a woman of a different social class would be?”

To which the answer is unequivocally “hell yes!”

And yet when we examine this case, and what this woman did – in so far as we can do from newspaper reports (see Gell Mann Amnesia) – it is extremely difficult conclude that she received equal treatment before the law.

The New Statesman wheeled out a “Secret Barrister” to explain to us simpletons why this was not “Toff Justice”.

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If it sounds odd that a left-wing title would do such a thing, remember that the New Statesman’s ulterior motive is, as always, to justify, protect and further the interests of its privileged middle-class demographic of Oxbridge educated professionals with all the right views.

This “barrister” makes a narrowly procedural argument regarding how the judge arrived at his sentencing decision, and that’s all perfectly fine but this straw-man argument ignores the central point, and utterly fails to prove the headline’s assertion.  The  writer’s conclusion:

“for the reasons above, there appears nothing unusual, and indeed much humane, about the approach taken in this case.”

All this writer succeeds in showing is that this is how justice should work, and that Lavinia Woodward’s experience is in line with legal process. S/he completely fails to show that anyone other than Lavinia Woodward could expect to see such accomodating treatment from a judge.

It is unavoidable that the writer, in showing how sentencing guidelines were interpreted, explains that the judge has used his discretion. And that is the central point. Are we expected to believe that the judge’s spectacles really would have been so rose-tinted in any other case?

If nothing else, would anyone of a lesser social or economic standing have been able to avail themselves of the services of “top barrister” James Sturman QC? Would they be able to retreat to their mother’s home in Milan during their stay of execution?

Or would they be subject to the ever diminishing services of Legal Aid, and perhaps be in the bosom of a less indulgent family?

In fact, I’d be amazed if elsewhere in the New Statesman there wasn’t an article framing this as a question of class, inequality, and the diminishing access to justice for all, the latter being the most shameful stain on the Tories’ record in power this century.

Unsurprisingly, an investigation was opened into the conduct of the judge after a complaint was lodged with the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO). However, in less time than it would take most of us to find a meeting room to discuss the matter, the complaint was dismissed on a technicality.

Perhaps we shouldn’t hold our breath for the toxic feminist Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to launch an appeal against the lenient sentence.

The only aspect of this story that has yet to conclude is the question of whether Oxford University will allow her to resume her studies. Unless she decides to spare the University the dilemma by going elsewhere, I think I know what the outcome will be.


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