Uh.. guys.. I think I might know why that is…

Just one week ago, the media were reporting that “Children and teenagers have a profound lack of trust in the police”.

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Well, why ever could that be?

Publishing the findings of an 18-month inquiry, the committee said children and young people’s first contact with the police was vital in shaping their attitudes towards them.

‘Ingrained attitudes’

"For a significant number of children and young people, this experience is a negative one as a victim or suspected offender," the report said.

"Once a negative encounter has occurred, it takes time and hard work to change ingrained attitudes, which are often passed on from one generation to the next".

Some children and young people, the report suggested, feel humiliated when they come into contact with the police, are confused by their procedures, and do not believe they are there to protect them.

Let’s go back to that first paragraph above..

Publishing the findings of an 18-month inquiry, the committee said children and young people’s first contact with the police was vital in shaping their attitudes towards them.

It’s difficult not to keep mulling this over when you subsequently read two very salient stories on two consecutive days:

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Well that’s just one isolated incident, and accidents will happ… what? err.. oh.

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LOL

AJ

The Rough Sleep of the Righteous

This is doing the twitter-rounds today, and it’s pretty disgusting, actually. It’s not at all surprising though, because the police in the UK are, and have been for some many years now, completely out of control.

Without thought, tact, discretion, compassion or nouse.

In fact, such are the systemic problems with many laws as they stand, and the way policing is directed, managed and undertaken, that you really have to be utterly immoral to do the job. If you’re a copper, you are, de facto, a wrong un. A willing wearer of the state’s lumpen jackboot, disrupter of innocent lives in mindless pursuit of targets, all the while satisfying whatever thuggery is needed to quieten your personal inadequacies.

So, onto the main event:

Confiscating the food and shelter of homeless people.

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Police swooped on the homeless, grabbing sleeping bags and food parcels donated by the public, in co-ordinated raids around the borough.

Adam Jaskowiak was one of the men targeted and said he pleaded with police to be able to keep his things but was ignored.

He was sleeping with eight other people finding shelter for the night in the former Ilford Baths in High Road, Ilford.

All of their belongings were bundled into a police car leaving the men, one in his 60s, stunned.

A police chief told the Recorder the operation was carried out to “reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers”.

But Mr Jaskowiak, 34, said: “They were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it and the food, but they said ‘no’.

“I just grabbed as many of my things as possible and put them into a bag and ran.”

He was given the sleeping bag by the Salvation Army, Clements Road, Ilford, over the winter months after becoming homeless when his friend died.

Unbelievable, right? But the brave, righteous soul behind this initiative has a name. And that name is SCUM. But he prefers to call himself Chief Inspector John Fish.

Ilford Ch Insp John Fish said: “The public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers, this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”

 

InspJohnFish

Chief Inspector Big Strong Hardman. Pic from here.

I hope you sleep real well in your warm cosy bed at night, Chief Inspector John Fish. Has your wife left you yet, or is that inevitability still in your grim lonely future?

As an aside, it’s worth bearing in mind that the way the Met Police treat the homeless is clearly a mere bagatelle compared to how they treat rape victims, in the pursuit of their twisted priorities.

AJ

ACTA: Maybe it is time to sit up and take notice of globalisation

Not in the way the left so often claim to, but still, there are questions of a genuine global corporatist stitch-up that should concern us all.

That any topic should come as a surprise to me, being reasonably well read, in terms of keeping abreast of current affairs, is cause in itself for concern.

Well, I certainly sat up and took notice when I happened upon this Daily Mises Podcast about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

Gennady Stolyarov at the Mises Institute, opens thusly:

A clandestine international treaty is currently being negotiated among parties including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the European Union, Japan, Singapore, and Morocco. It can justly be called the greatest threat of our time to the advancement of human civilization. Considering the magnitude of the other abuses of power pervading the world today, this might seem an exaggeration, but the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) contravenes every principle of civilized society, both in its content and in the nature of the proceedings leading to its creation.

It threatens to undo the accomplishments of the great Internet revolution and to thrust humankind back to a time when individuals had no public voice and no countervailing power against politically privileged mercantilist institutions. ACTA tramples on essential rights that have achieved even mainstream recognition: innocence until one is proven guilty, due process, personal privacy, and fair use of published content. Moreover, because of its designation as a trade agreement, ACTA could be imposed on the people of the United States by the president, without even a vote of Congress.

So far, so alarmist, huh?

Read on or get the MP3 Podcast to hear the narrative unfold.

Some excellent background information on ACTA can be found in posts by Stephan Kinsella (here and here) and Justin Ptak (here), as well as in a detailed communiqué from the American University Washington College of Law. The first official draft textDownload PDF of ACTA was released only as late as April 20, 2010, even though the treaty has been negotiated since 2006. A subsequent draft textDownload PDF was leaked on July 1, 2010. An earlier discussion draftDownload PDF was made available on WikiLeaks on May 22, 2008. Indeed, the extreme secrecy in which the ACTA negotiations have been shrouded should itself lead to the strongest doubts regarding the merits and desirability of its framers’ intentions.

Learn how not only will all free-content providers end up on the wrong side of the law, but how powers will be introduced enabling, and perhaps obligating at the request of a corporation or trade body, border forces to inspect the personal property of travellers for ‘contraband’ or ‘pirated’ copyright material. That means, potentially, having to account for the contents of your pen drive, you laptop, your phone and your iPod.

The EU protests that it isn’t so.

But do you think it won’t happen?

As Stolyarov reminds us:

It is immaterial whether or not the intent is to target massive commercial cross-border "pirating" operations: where the authority to engage in a certain act against ordinary individuals exists, it will be invoked somewhere, sometime, by somebody.

Yes they will. Oh yes the will. The thin end of the wedge isn’t always a fallacy or rhetorical diversion.

In any case, US border agencies already have all these powers – unsurprisingly, what with the all powerful, protectionist dinosaurs, RIAA and MPAA being US organisations. This makes it all the more likely that the US based WTO and UN will support throwing this global, totalitarian, cultural faraday cage over us all, and the EU will sign up with alacrity.

I plan to do more reading on this, but on first inspection, it seems like a nightmare waiting to be unleashed on us.

AJ

Policing priorities: Not the easy targets, oh no. Never.

I see that while the police weren’t able to keep a crowd of yobbos away from the Prince of Wales, they were able to put the fear of all holy fuck into a 12 year old boy who wanted to picket his constituency MP, David ‘Heir to Blair’ Cameron, over the closure of local facilities.

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Click through, and once you’ve digested the main thread of the story, steel yourself for a masterpiece of self-serving dissemblance from the Thames Valley Power Rangers.

AJ

Quick, look over there!

While the mongs are focussed on the results of our bid for the 2018 World Cup, a couple of excellent examples of how liberal and unstatist our new coalition overlords aren’t.

First, there will be regulation of what clothes shops are allowed to sell for children.

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ORLY? Presumably, these children are feral orphans, who are turned loose into the world at 7 years old. They don’t have parents to raise them, guide them or retain responsibility for them. Enter Nanny. Presumably the same Nanny that Andrew Lansley says he’s making redundant from the Department of Health.

And as if that’s not bad enough,

The document also promised to create a new group of experts to tackle “low levels of body confidence” among children and teenagers. Ministers are concerned that many young boys and girls feel they have to live up to impossibly thin airbrushed images of celebrities in magazines and advertisements.

Oh. Okay. Because the 60s, 70s & 80s didn’t have skinny models.. anorexia wasn’t invented until 1997 after all..

And anyway, maybe ‘the kids’ feel that the images they have to live up to are impossibly thin because they graze on Greggs pasties and Krusty Cremes, and play Xbox all day.

In any case, what is is that the government thinks qualifies it to have opinions on any of these things, less still to start imposing whatever ludicrous, misguided and spendthrift schemes they have in mind?

Speaking of which…

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I.. errr.. oh will you all just fuck right off.

AJ

Dear Tories, Go Fuck Yourselves.

If I had voted Tory at the last general election, as I most certainly did not, now is about the time I’d be starting to feel really fucking stupid.

They’ve barely been in charge for 5 minutes, yet they’ve managed to abandon all the policies, promises and pledges that might vaguely have appealed to me, or at least to the traditional conservative.

As if that’s not depressing enough, they rub our faces in it by being as good as their word on the most hideous, interfering, statist articles of Social Democratic endarkenment that they’d promised us.

Take Mr Andrew Lansley, who got a brief mention the other day.

In February, Obo wrote a post about one of Lansley’s proposals, and he tackled the subject with his usual uncompromising aplomb.

Hannan and Carswell are regarded as utter fucking lunatics by the Tory leadership, who prefer to have policies like this instead:

Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, has launched the Conservative Party’s new green paper on public health – A Healthier Nation.
The Green Paper outlines how we will tackle Britain’s public health crisis by completely overhauling Labour’s failing system of dealing with public health.

Okaaaaayyyy …

Much greater responsibility for tackling problems like obesity, drug use and teenage pregnancy will be devolved to communities on a new payment-by results basis, with extra rewards for improving the public health of the poorest. In spending their dedicated public health budgets, communities will be obliged to partner with local bodies, like schools, businesses, councils and GPs.

I’m sorry, Mr Lansley, but just chucking the word "devolved" in there doesn’t fucking mean shit, you mendacious cunt. And what’s with this "partnering" cockwaffle? Obliged? So if my local trust doesn’t want to "partner", fuck them anyway? How is that "devolution", you lying fuck?

There will be a new focus on innovative strategies, with national campaigns harnessing the latest behaviour change research and delivered by providers who are paid by results. We will provide prizes for ‘open source’ suggestions for successful new public health strategies.

No. No. No. Just fucking NO!

And as assuredly as anything ‘good’ has been abandoned, everything ‘bad’ is being pursued with relish, and to the letter.

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Schools, employers, the food and drink industry and communities themselves are being urged to do their bit to make the nation healthier.

Ministers said they wanted to unlock the potential of all sections of society in setting out their plans.

Projects being promoted include everything from bike training in schools to voluntary cuts in salt and fat content by food manufacturers.

I’m sorry? What? I seem to recall the last 10 years have been marked by schools forcing kids to have ‘healthy’ school meals, intruding into packed-lunch items in search of contraband calories, by the drinks industry being forced to adopt “Drink Aware” bollocks and food manufacturers ruining every damned item of food they’ve sold by replacing all the fat, salt and sugar with sawdust and grubs.

And as if companies don’t already do enough interfering and hectoring of their staff?

But no, it’s not enough. Andrew Lansley thinks there’s still some way to go. Still some potential to be unlocked. Because we’re not absolutely fucking miserable and downtrodden yet, so there must be pockets of joy, fun and indulgence that have remained beyond the reach of the bully-state.

Good job the Big Society is here to make sure that everyone is equally, and irrevocably miserable.

Isn’t this just the most New Labour thing you ever heard? Heir to Blair indeed.

If you voted for this, you’re a fucking idiot and I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.

AJ

UPDATE: TimDog (in the comments below, the filthy linkwhore) has written a very good piece on this.

The Joke Trial #Twitterjoketrial

No, not mock trial. Not even a trial where Rolf Harris sings “Tie me kangaroo court down”

This is a joke trial. Of the kind that makes a mockery of justice.

I speak, of course, about the Paul Chambers case, about which I and others have written extensively.

Yesterday, Paul’s appeal against his conviction under section 127.1(a) of the Communications Act 2003 was denied on all counts.

I am utterly aghast. Paul, and his nearest and dearest, must be utterly devastated.

Commentary on Twitter has been almost universally of the view that Paul’s treatment, at the hands of the CPS and the courts, is simply disgraceful and utterly baffling.

Take this post from CharonQC, for example. It refers to some of his tweets on the matter:

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He makes some useful points, too.

WE MUST DO – AND DESERVE – BETTER THAN THIS….

I won’t be arrested for saying this (I  assume.. although nothing is certain, it would seem) …. I won’t be prosecuted for saying this (ditto) …. I do not practice… so I can’t even be censured… (pretty sure on that one).   We really do need to sort our legal system out if it can bring about such an absurd and unjust result….. even if *The Law* justifies the decision of the judge as framed… if that is the case.. we need better laws..and we do deserve them.

And this, it would appear, is the rub.

Stereotypically inscrutable legal tweeter, @Art_Li makes some good points in the comments of Charon’s post.

He suggests both that the judgement is, tacitly or otherwise, a matter of policy….

What I will say is that behind every law and/or prosecution, there is a public policy decision (read motive). The policy decision in this case MAY BE one to discourage “joke” threats, whether on Twitter or elsewhere IN ORDER TO minimise the “leads” the police and security services have to follow up on a daily basis. We know resources there are not unlimited and already they are following up on dozens if not hundreds of leads every day (that is not a fact, just my assumption).

… and that the high court is unlikely to overturn the decision, because it is based on the strict interpretation of a law, as handed down by the House of Lords (now Supreme Court).

  • The following passages from the House of Lords judgment in the case of DPP v Collins (2006) may be of interest. This case was referred to by Mr Chambers’ legal team as well as the Judge in the recent appeal. The case concerned offensive messages but the wording of S.127(1) includes menacing messages too. (Capitalisation below is mine) :-

    “The very act of sending the message over the public communications network … constitutes the offence even if it was being communicated to someone who the sender KNEW WOULD NOT BE IN ANY WAT OFFENDED or distressed by it”.

    Lord Bingham of Cornhill : “it must be proved that the respondent intended his words to be offensive to those to whom they related or BE AWARE THAT THEY MAY BE TAKEN TO BE SO.” … “It can make no difference to criminal liability whether a message is ever actually received or WHETHER THE PERSONS WHO DO RECEIVE IT ARE OFFENDED BY IT.”

    It appears the Judge was therefore applying and following the Collins precedent.

    Art

  • I’m not a lawyer, and I can’t claim to understand the precise technical implication of the ruling, but it frustrates me greatly that Art thinks this is so fundamentally important. As if the law is an end in itself, before which all must bow down, however absurd it may be.

    Charon does, on the other hand, know a bit about the law…

    If this is taken to extremes – then many disagreeable statements are capable of coming within this definition and then we are truly doomed…..

    There is a place for a common sense approach to be taken into the application of our laws….. and if that can’t be done by the judiciary, then we simply have to get the law changed so that we don’t have these manifestly absurd cases.

    Art’s point seems to be this: The ruling of the Lords is the ruling of the Lords, and that’s that. That there is no latitude for a judge in any lower court to make any different or differentiated ruling.

    Regarding the chances of success in the High Court, Art is, therefore, not optimistic.

    The implication is this: there are only two realistic ways of fixing the situation.

    One is to take the case to the Supreme Court in order that they may over-rule, clarify or supersede, the DPP vs Collins ruling – for only they can do so. A defeat in the High Court looks like an expensive and risky step that will have to be taken in order to undertake the even more expensive, and even more risky journey to the highest court in the land.

    Having come this far, and Paul Chambers might not thank me for saying this, it would be pointless if he now won in the high court, leaving the next hapless twitterer to role the dice time after time in the same way he has had to, in the face of judge after judge who takes an inflexible reading of DPP vs Collins.

    Far better, it seems, would be for the case to end up before the Supreme Court, where the issue of DPP vs Collins could be put to bed.

    The other thread to be taken up is for the statute under which Chambers was prosecuted to be changed, amended, repealed, dumped in the great legal shredder.

    With the farce that is the Government’s so called ‘Your Freedom’ consultation around a grand repeal of so-called bad or illiberal laws, I don’t believe we can in anyway count on this important matter being addressed.

    Which leaves the option of lobbying, campaigning and insisting that this ludicrously framed law is fixed. Making representations to your MP, to the Minister of Justice, to the Prime Minister. To the newspapers, on the internet, on placards and through loudhailers.

    This is evidently the view of @John_Demetriou. Art Li clearly leans towards the view that getting the law changed is the only way forward.

    And yet, that won’t clear Paul Chambers’ name, or give him his life and career back.

    I wish Paul well and hope that this all, in the end, works out for him. It’s been a shit year for him. The state has made him their plaything, and the state doesn’t play nice.

    #######

    Nor will any change in the law come in time to help the Conservative councillor chappie who was arrested yesterday and bailed, accused of the same offence as Chambers, for tweeting that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown should be stoned to death, in response to her on-air assertion that the west has no right to cast moral judgement against the practices of some Islamic countries.

    Delicate, vulnerable Yasmin called the police. She said:

    Alibhai-Brown, who writes columns for the Independent and the London Evening Standard, said last night she regarded his comments as incitement to murder. She told the Guardian: "It’s really upsetting. My teenage daughter is really upset too. It’s really scared us.

    "You just don’t do this. I have a lot of threats on my life. It’s incitement. I’m going to the police – I want them to know that a law’s been broken."

    She added that she regarded Compton’s remarks as racially motivated because he mentioned stoning.

    So, rolled into one, from Yasmin, we have a ludicrous playing of the race card, a bit of ‘nasty Tories’ political point-scoring and great fear, offence and upset – all from some daft tweet, the likes of which must occur en masse on forums, twitter and blogs, in response to inflammatory comments from this controversial talking head.

    Do Mel Phillips, Rod Liddge, Simon Heffer, Peter Hitchens  or even Jeremy Clarkson not attract vituperative and unpleasant critics? Judge Jacqueline Davies, who presided over Paul Chambers’ defeat yesterday has certainly been in receipt of twitter ordure in the last 24 hours.

    And, apparently, like a good little socialist, Yasmin’s first and last response is to run crying to nanny.

    Compton’s arrest may well be the first indication that the Chambers conviction has opened up the floodgates for to police arrest any one for any contentious, angry or humourous tweet at any time, “even if it was being communicated to someone who the sender KNEW WOULD NOT BE IN ANY WAY OFFENDED or distressed by it”"

    Think about it? Get in a political argument on Twitter, and next thing, some offence-seeking lefty will decide that it’s best to rebut your argument by calling the police and accusing you of being a racist/homophobic/offensive menace, even if you are a threat to nothing more than the merit of their argument.

    A free for all and a legal feeding-frenzy could ensue, which would seal the deal on our lack of freedom of expression in the UK.

    Might as well delete all your tweets now, folks. We are truly and genuinely screwed.

    AJ

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