Hate to Hate you, Baby

I have a very mixed opinion of James Kirkup. He’s a wet centrist with some very fanciful views on almost any topic you care to think of. Read any of his ramshackle think-tank’s output for confirmation that there’s very little on which he and I could agree, starting with the existence and munificence of the magic money tree.

But he’s done some stellar work in the Spectator on the matter of transgenderism and the silencing of any dissent or questioning of this bizarre new orthodoxy.

Today he brings us a tale that shouldn’t surprise us but still ought to manifest anger, depression and despair.

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To cut a long story short, Harry Miller – a former copper, owner of a company that employs 70 people, and upstanding member of the community – has a traditional opinion on the matter of transgenderism. He questions assertions that a trans-woman is the same as a born woman.

In the course of expressing his lawful opinion, he ‘liked’ and retweeted a poem that someone else posted on twitter that essentially says ‘trans-women are not women, don’t treat us like we were born yesterday’.

Someone subsequently trawled his twitter, compiled a selection of 30 ‘hate tweets’ that he had made, and made a complaint to Humberside Police.

A PC from Humberside Police looked to track down Mr Miller and, presumably using kindergarten-level Google-fu, tracked him down to his company, where the PC spoke to a company director who – de facto – works for Miller.

When Miller contacted the copper who’d made the enquiry, to find out what the story was, he was subjected to a half-hour hectoring about the ‘hate incident’ (i.e. not a crime) that had been raised against him. The copper gave him a lecture on transgenderism that a right-on teacher may deliver to a schoolchild.

Miller was told that he must ‘check his thinking’, and made sinister suggestions that this could lead to him being in trouble with his employer (the copper not realising that Miller owned the company).

Now, this is at once absurd and sinister, but there are a couple of points that Mr Kirkup doesn’t explore in his otherwise good piece about this incident.

The first is that since Miller is an ex-copper, he knows how to handle other coppers, and how to conduct himself when in communication with coppers. For the rest of us, the first law is “do not talk to the police – you can never get yourself out of trouble, but you can sure get yourself into it.”

In other words, if Miller had been rash or naive enough to say anything out of line he could have ended up on a spurious catch-all charge cooked up by the copper and his sergeant (public order, communications act, obstructing a police officer, hate crime etc). He knew that and kept his counsel. Someone else might have just told the copper to untwist his knickers and piss off, then spent the next 12 hours in a cell.

The second point, which I haven’t yet alluded to here is that Mr Miller considers himself to be pretty ‘right-on’. Speaking of his exchange with the PC, he says:

‘He said he would be passing my answers on to the complainant. I told him to tell that person I would gladly talk to them, that I’d like to take them out to dinner so we could have a conversation about this. I’d explain that I am a strong supporter of the 2010 Equality Act, and explain my concerns about possible reforms of the Gender Recognition Act and how that could affect legal rights for women.’

Whic goes to show that toeing the PC line and hoping the lynch-mob will hang you last is not going to protect you.

Admirably though, Miller says that he has no intention of changing how he acts, thinks, speaks or tweets.

How will he respond to the police attention? Will he change his approach to tweeting? He says no. ‘Free speech is a hill that we have to fight on. If we can’t express ourselves freely within the law, none of the other rights we have mean anything.’

It’s easy to see, though, that someone who doesn’t have the firm footing that Miller has – as an ex-copper and well established company owner – may feel that they needed to bite their tongue in future.

All in all, this is a great distillation of everything that is wrong with ‘hate-crime’ laws, and with the so-called Conservative government, and the so-called Conservative prime minister, who have folded – with alacrity – in the face of the progressive cult of weaponised victimhood, and enabled the cult, contrary to all good sense about what it means to be a free and fair society.

In the meantime, by the way, a little consideration of the proper priorities for a police force may be given consideration. From Humberside Police’s own website:

Humberside has seen a 24% increase in the number of Violence against the Person offences, which is above the national increase of 19%. 

The publication also shows an increase in the number of recorded Sexual Offences, which is up 14% nationally and 19% locally.

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

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

Alcohol

The thing that I really hate (well, one of them) about this coalition government is that we seem to have something very much like Labour.

It’s like you just need to pick & choose the most unpalatable parts of both parties platforms and merge them together.

With the Tories, you may get sound economics, but you get authoritarian social policies.

With the Lib Dems, you may get (sometimes crazily) liberal social policies, but you also get the economics of Keynes.

With the coalition, we seem to have Keynesian Authoritarianism.

I mean… graduate tax student loans with higher interest rates for the most successful? And redemption penalties for those that pay off early?

And in terms of authoritarianism, it’s hard to imagine even the puritans of New Labour coming up with this latest wheeze.

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The ”24/7 sobriety” programme involves people paying to be tested for alcohol twice a day after being convicted of drink-related crime, and appearing in court to face the prospect of a jail sentence if they fail.

Oh aye? Can you say AlcoBO?

It has already been implemented in the US, with the state of South Dakota reporting a 14 per cent drop in the prison population as a result, according to Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse.

He said he would like to pilot the scheme in the capital in 2011, subject to government approval.

He described London as having a "disproportionate problem" with alcohol where almost twice as much alcohol-related crime is committed compared with the rest of England.

Sooo.. you’re going to try this out in London are you? Based on a scheme hailing from the country with the most twisted attitude to alcohol of any Western nation? And from a state that no-one ever goes to, and is riddled with po-faced religionists.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, I’ve been thinking about this and the list is pretty long. Because while you can bet this ruse has been conjured up to tackle a hard core few persistent drunken troublemakers, it never turns out that way, does it?

"The advantage of this is it is not just punitive but corrective," he told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

Corrective? Do go on…

"It may be that it is used as an alternative to prison or conjunctive to prison."

Mr Malthouse said that current methods such as counselling did not work to discourage persistent offenders and that some needed a "more rigorous approach".

He added: "If you ask the police there are some people who cause trouble every Saturday night."

Ah yes, as I said.. it’s aimed at a hardcore minority.

Mr Malthouse said the American version of the scheme had a 99 per cent compliance rate and that it was "of no cost to the tax payer", because the people taking part paid a dollar per alcohol test. He described it as a ”cheaper and more cost-effective” alternative to prison.

Yes yes.. and for those who have committed serious enough crimes to warrant prison, perhaps this sanction has a place.

Sure, it’ll start that way, with such good intentions as pave the way to hell. But, sooner or later…

End up in front of the beak for a spot of drunk & disorderly? £100 fine, £40 costs and an AlcoBO. You’re ordered to be dry for 12 months.

Wanna bet it couldn’t happen? Wanna bet innocent and legitimate photographers could never possibly be harassed by the police under abusive invocations of our Anti-terrorism laws? No.. that already happens, of course.

Back to booze laws then. Ask drinkers in Crawley who have experienced the zero-tolerance approach, by the police and their plastic pals, to even genial and mild drunkenness of a Friday night.

This is the next logical step for the zealots, and you can bet the swelling ranks of hypocrites and puritans infesting this country will rub their hands together with glee, egging on the police and courts to take ever more radical action, against ever more trivial infractions.

Now to the reasons why this scheme is just as likely to be both unjust and unworkable, as it is to be implemented with relish by the drones and collaborators of the state.

It has the potential to be unjust in at least a couple of ways.

The first is that this will be implemented under the guise of preventing or punishing behaviour for which criminal sanctions already exist– Public Order Act , Offences Against The Person Act etc etc, and if these offences were properly dealt with, the need for this sweeping new power would cease to exist. So what exactly is this proposed law for? Probably to make life easier for the police, who are, obviously, never known to overstep the bounds of their authority, or to use their powers injudiciously.

The second is that, similar to the ASBO, it would criminalise an act which is, in itself, perfectly legal. I.e. drinking alcohol. To completely ban a person from consuming alcohol is a serious infringement of the rights of the individual.

Consider the eventuality I describe above, of these orders being handed out rather more freely than Kit Malthouse would care to admit.

Now, hand one of these orders to an alcoholic, say. One who holds down a job and lives a relatively untroubled life in terms of brushes with the law. What have you just done? Oh yes, you’ve said to someone addicted to a legal substance, ‘I will put you in prison each time you have a fix’. And will the alcoholic get the help and support he would need for this undertaking of sobriety? Not likely.

Next, a reason why the scheme is impractical and unworkable. They want to test people for alcohol twice a day? How?

Consider the pilot of this scheme, in London, with its highly transient population, as well as a million or more commuters who come from all over the country on a daily basis, not to mention the tourists.

Would they effectively want people to report to a police station for a breathalyser test twice a day? in London? For a year? Or perhaps they could be more sly than that and enforce blood tests and other invasive medical tests weekly or monthly, so that they could detect alcohol consumption?

Oh wait – there’s the massively expensive technology solution! Someone, somewhere must be building a breathalyser, that includes a GPS tag and cellular technology, so the recipient of the order has to self report, in real time. But how would those monitoring know who was blowing into the thing? No.. thats obviously gonna need more thought. Perhaps build DNA testing of saliva into the unit? Sounds cheap.

Sadly, the outcome of London’s pilot will be that the scheme failed because it was too localised. A projection would show how very successful the scheme would have been, if there was a national database and cross-county co-operation.

So even though the scheme will prove to be calamitously expensive, unjust and unworkable, it will be rolled out nationally on the basis of these finding.

If you look back at the last quote from Malthouse, above, it bears repeating:

it was "of no cost to the tax payer", because the people taking part paid a dollar per alcohol test.

Of no cost… no way. Not here, with the multi-million pound IT system, the gold-plated legislation, the enforcement teams, the medics, the courts, the prison places, the lawyers, the cases being defended in the the European Courts of Human Rights.

Spare us.

AJ

Sleight of hand

It’s not really made the news here, but yesterday, on 11th September, someone tried to blow himself up in Copenhagen.

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What struck me was the response of the Danish Prime Minister:

"Regardless of the background for the bomb detonation, it is important that we don’t allow ourselves to be guided by fear or change the way we live,"

These are fine sounding words in the “Keep calm and carry on” tradition. We heard much the same sentiment from the cunt Blair after 7/7/2005.

But actually, he should be telling that not to the public, but to the politicians.

Because, on account of the overblown threat of Islamist terrorism, governments across the western world have imposed profound changes to the way we live, and they have done so by promulgating a culture of fear and suspicion.

Basically, I’d rather live with the remote risk of being blown apart by a nutter, than live with the certainty that my daily life will be hemmed in by all sorts of bullying, state intrusion and compulsion as a sop to ‘security’. But I don’t get to have that choice.

Am I alone in that? Are the majority so invested in the idea that not only must “this never be allowed to happen again”, but that it is the job of the state to bring about this bubble-wrapped utopia?

It comes down to power and control. Again.

Accordingly, my nomination for cunt of the day is not the latest dickhead who couldn’t organise an explosion in a gunpowder factory, but Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen

AJ

Sold out to the over-reaching EU. Again.

I’ve been meaning to write a comprehensive post on the powers over matters of justice that we have handed over to the EU, including the European Arrest Warrant. Well, I say comprehensive, but I’m not a lawyer. I was just going to borrow extensively from excellent law blogger ObiterJ.

For a decent insight, read his posts:

    The evidence of the last Labour government selling the British people out is as comprehensive as it is frightening and infuriating.
    So this immediately caught my attention:

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Anger at Britain’s “gold-plating” of the controversial European Arrest Warrant is growing after it emerged that other EU countries have secured significant safeguards for their citizens that are not available to British nationals.

Although the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was intended to operate in the same way in all 27 EU states, The Sunday Telegraph has established that many other European countries have given themselves “opt-outs” or conditions to protect their citizens.

It comes after this newspaper first highlighted concerns last week over the way that the warrant system was being used in Britain.

Holland will not extradite Dutch nationals under the EAW unless the accusing state agrees that they can serve any prison sentence in a Dutch jail. The Belgians have opt-outs so that the warrant does not cover abortion.

Abortion and “abetting abortion” are crimes in some EU states, including Malta, Ireland and Poland – Europe’s most active issuer of EAWs.

Birth control campaigners fear they could be targeted by antiabortionists under the EAW, even simply for running a British-based advice website accessible from abroad.

France appears reluctant to extradite its own nationals under the EAW and has stated in the past that they will not be extradited.

Europe’s largest country, Germany, has imposed a “proportionality rule” stating that only those accused of serious crimes can be seized under a warrant. The definition of serious is not given, but it would exclude large numbers of the trivial charges dealt with by the British extradition courts.

One Kent motorist, Patrick Reece-Edwards, spent weeks in a British jail awaiting extradition to Poland on a charge of possessing a forged motor insurance certificate. When he was finally extradited, the matter was resolved by the payment of a civil penalty with no criminal record.

So many people – mostly Poles – are extradited from Britain to Poland on minor charges that special fortnightly military flights are operated for them from a London airfield. The hundreds of trivial requests are also a serious drain on police, prison and court resources.

Britain has no such opt-outs, and campaigners say that British judges are too cautious in applying the overriding requirements of the Human Rights Act.

Karen Todner, one of Britain’s leading extradition lawyers, said: “It is typical of us not to have given ourselves proper protection.

“British judges apply the EAW treaty to the letter and these massive injustices come about because the Government hasn’t thought this through.

“There are a lot of quite simple things we could do now to mitigate the harm done to British citizens, which could be done quite quickly through a simple administrative decision.”

British citizens sent abroad under the EAW are also at a serious disadvantage. Since foreigners are regarded as flight risks, bail is often refused and pretrial detention, even for minor crimes, can last for years.

I really don’t know where to begin.

What on Earth could those responsible for this situation have been thinking? Were they negligent, incompetent, acting out of complete disregard for people or what?

The ConDems say they’re looking at our extradition arrangements, but I very much doubt they have the will or the ability to right this massive and self-evident wrong that was yet another fantastic bequest from Labour. Perhaps more to the point, the same civil servants who lovingly gold-plated the whole thing in the first place are now, presumably, in charge of reviewing the arrangements.

Blunkett, who first signed off the EAW is unruffled about the perverse outcomes:

Mr Blunkett said: “I was right, as Home Secretary in the post-9/11 era, to agree to the European Arrest Warrant, but I was insufficiently sensitive to how it might be used.”.

This is just another reason why I just loathe Labour, and every single one of their supporters, for what they have done to the country I was born in.

I’ve already written to my MP about this, and as soon as Parliament is back in session, I’ll be hounding him for a response.

Do the same, make some fucking noise.

AJ

UPDATE: I wonder why I fucking bother, when DK comes along to remind us why he’s a leading libertarian blogger & I’m a useless cunt with copy & paste buttons.

Around the world in a day

This is a quality microcosmic example of the need for anonymity for rape suspects.

Lunchtime today:

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Swedish authorities say they have issued an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, on accusations of rape and molestation.

The warrant was issued late on Friday, said Karin Rosander, communications head at Sweden’s prosecutors’ office.

16:15 today on the website of the Swedish prosecutor’s office:

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http://www.aklagare.se/In-English/

Assange no longer wanted

Chief prosector Eva Finné has come to the desicion that Julian Assange is not suspected of rape. Considering that, Assange is no longer arrested in his absence.

Eva Finné will make no other comments during Saturday night.

So there you have it.

In a day, one of the world’s most recognisable names has been dragged through the mud, on the basis of iunfounded nonsense.

Jack of Kent is busily worrying about whether the above website is genuine. Why not go and see for yourself?

Plenty will no doubt hype up the conspiracies with the time honoured “no smoke without fire” rhetoric.

Yet again, a man’s name is dragged through the stickiest of mud for no just reason.

Disgraceful.

AJ

UPDATE: BBC News get with the programme.

One more comment. We all know that the internet never forgets, so Julian Assange’s name will forever turn up in certain searches on Google or whatever.

The post on Jack of Kent’s blog, for example, is tagged as follows:

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UPDATE: Jack has updated his tags to be more appropriate.

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Prize-winning audacity and unparalleled delusion. Labour in a nutshell.

You couldn’t have scripted this shit:

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Question: who said the following about which administration?

"…the greatest advances in civil liberties of any post-war government…"

Any guesses?

The answer is almost too unbelievable to be true…

They’re right, you know.

The above quote is taken from former Home Secretary and retiring Blackburn MP, Jack Straw’s endorsement of David Milliband yesterday (full text available here). It refers, incredibly, to the government of which both he and the Labour leadership contender were members.

Jack. Straw. ?! Thinks the New Labour government brought about "…the greatest advances in civil liberties of any post-war government…" !?

That’s right readers; the government which:

  • Introduced, then fought the ECHR for, the indefinite retention of innocent DNA profiles
  • Introduced the Identity Card and National Identity Register
  • Tried and failed to increase the length of detention without charge to 90, then 42 days
  • Introduced the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, to allow bureaucrats, councils and quangos to spy on people
  • Empowered the police to conduct random stop and searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act
  • Introduced authoritarian programmes such as control orders, the intercept modernisation programme and the e-borders scheme
  • Created a dizzying number of large and unstable state databases from ContactPoint to the Summary Care Record system

In fact, it was none-other than Jack Straw, who tried to remove the right to trial by jury during his time in the Home Office.

Those are some advances, Jack.

By Dylan Sharpe

For further analysis of Straw’s speech and Labour’s record, check out Full Fact’s article here.

Where do these people get the sheer brass nerve to make such assertions with a straight face?

Oh well, bye Jack – don’t hurry back, you wretched old bastard. I’ll pray for you tonight while I’m advising God of the people who need an immediate dose of brain cancer.

AJ

H/T Dick Puddlecote

Wrongness of the RSPCA

Someone (John Northam) posted a comment on one of my RSPCA threads earlier:

Came home from work to see a chitte to say they had taken my cat while i was at work- no explanation. A phone number that after 30 minutes of annoying waiting music and patronising advice on the treatment of snakes (!) turned out to be a fucking call centre and no attempt made to contact me.

My cat is 18 years old half blind and on his last legs but still comes to me for cuddles and food (he loves bacon). He is not in pain and I know he will tell me when it is his time to go. If the fucking bastards have not put him down already they will have scared the poor fucking creature to death by sticking him in a cage around loads of other distressed animals.

Which serves as a good reminder of the evil that is the RSPCA.

The RSPCA have their own little piece of New Labour legislation that they get to enforce. They have powers of entry and confiscation. It’s called the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

All of which I was reminded of when I read this:

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Once captured, they should, according to the 1981 Countryside Act, be humanely destroyed.

Considering his predicament, Raymond Elliott no doubt cast his eye around his garden. What should his eye alight on? The water butt. It was the work of a moment, he said, to immerse the squirrel, which died “almost instantaneously”.

But one man’s rodent euthanasia is another man’s squirrel slaughter, a fact that Mr Elliott found out when the RSPCA turned up and recovered Tufty’s remains. A six-month conditional discharge and £1,547 pounds in costs later, he has become the first person prosecuted under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act for causing harm to a non-domestic animal.

So how should one kill a squirrel?

“There are three methods we use,” he says. “Instant kill traps are always the first port of call.” If these can’t be used, Inglis turns to an “especially formulated warfarin grain-bake”,

Aha! Squirrel poison. Just like rat poison, sounds like a winner.

So I wanted to know a bit more…

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Under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, once an animal is under the responsibility of a human they have a duty not to cause unnecessary harm. ‘Pests’ like the grey squirrel can be killed in a ‘humane way’, such as a blow to the back of the head or shooting, but drowning or beating the animal to death is illegal.

Wait.. what? A blow to the back of the head is okay, but beating is a no-no? What if you land a poor blow first time. How long has to elapse before you take another swing without it constituting a beating?

Back to the poison then…

Foresters have a licence to kill the animals with poison

You need a LICENCE? Oh just fuck off.

This leaves only one option.

Inglis reaches for his trusty air rifle. “We do shoot them,” he says.

Win!

So, back to the RSPCA:

most people choose to trap them with wire cages that are available for as little as £12 from garden centres

However Laura Bryant, an Inspector with the RSPCA, said the majority of ordinary people will be incapable of killing squirrels without causing “unnecessary suffering” and predicted more cases in court.

“This case has very serious implications to anyone who has purchased a trap and then set it in their garden as to what they are going to do if they catch a squirrel in the trap?” she said.

She even questioned whether shooting or a blow to the back of the head could be considered humane. She said most people will have to pay a vet to have the animal put down or call in pest control experts and advised "squirrel proofing" the garden instead.

Take it to the vet to have it put down? Are you for REAL??? Jesus wept.

Okay, then…

Tom Blades, at the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, suggested people should take trapped squirrels to the RSPCA to dispose of since it is illegal to release the animals into the countryside.

Oh yes – take it to the RSPCA. Hand yourself in on a plate after they examine the squirrel, determine that it’s in poor health and decide that it had got that way since you trapped it. Ergo they have you on the same charge of “causing harm to a non-domestic animal”. They’ll bring a private prosecution against you and testify against you in court.

So I’d say they’re best avoided altogether. If you donate money to them, incidentally, I urge you to either reconsider or go suck an exhaust pipe.

Still, the RSPCA have a long and colourful reputation as being self-serving bullies and storm-troopers

We worked particularly hard for the Animal Welfare Act to be put into place

Indeed they did.

So what other voices of sense can we hear from the animal welfare community?

On Gardeners’ Question Time recently, the panel discussed several ways to dispatch a squirrel. But their answers prompted a storm from some animal rights activists, such as Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid. “The whole premise of gardeners killing squirrels is hateful and bigoted,” he said. “It’s the worst kind of intolerance. People should cherish them.”

Really? Killing squirrels is bigoted? The worst kind of intolerance?

I.. errr.. oh I give up.

AJ

UPDATE: Quentin Letts takes the matter up over at the Faily Nail.

Other bloggers on the RSPCA:

http://jamesmarchington.blogspot.com/2009/07/rspca-bully-boy-tactics.html

http://www.longrider.co.uk/blog/2010/02/15/rspca-greedy-bastards/

http://thylacosmilus.blogspot.com/search/label/RSPCA

I have twine. I shall now make a rope.

noose[1]

Prompted by something highlighted by CharonQC.

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Police were investigating today after an officer accidentally discharged a 50,000 volt Taser weapon into a man’s groin.

Peter Cox, 49, was seeking legal advice over the incident which started when he was stopped on suspicion of driving a BMW without insurance.

He spotted a patrol car following him and pulled over at his friend’s house in Bridgwater, Somerset, where he was doing landscaping work on July 13.

The officer pointed the Taser at him for a few seconds before lowering the weapon.

At this point, it discharged, narrowly missing the father-of-one’s genitals and hitting his groin and ankle.

Unemployed Mr Cox, who suffers from Guillain Barri syndrome, fell to the ground in agony and he was treated by paramedics on the front lawn.

He denied being aggressive and said the insurance company confirmed the car had valid insurance immediately after he was stopped.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said the weapon was discharged by accident and that an investigation was under way.

Mr Cox’s disease by the way, is this:

Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP), an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system, usually triggered by an acute infectious process.

Some of the symptoms seem disturbing and very unfortunate.

Meanwhile, the other day, Ambush Predator pointed this out:

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That doesn’t count accidental discharge of Tasers, apparently, since they’re not mentioned in the article.

And yet Tasers are, by law, classified as firearms. In days gone by, only firearms certified plod could carry or use a Taser. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, as I know Labour wanted to hand 10,000 of the things to non-firearms trained coppers last year.

So how does this affect you or me, in the world of law-abiding, middle-class professionals.

Well, stopped for a BMW apparently being uninsured? Hardly a Ford Escort, is it? Okay, I know there are now loads of snotty old Beemers around, but still, the one I sold last year was a 2001 model – hardly brand spanking new.

But of course, you and I always properly insure our cars, as much for reasons of exposure to unlimited civil liability as to remain within the laws of the land. So, if you read the article at the top, did Mr Cox.

the insurance company confirmed the car had valid insurance immediately after he was stopped.

So did my commenter in this thread. My emphasis.

AJ – I’m painfully aware of the new insurance database laws. I have had one car impounded because my insurance wasn’t on the database. I had to walk home and It cost me £117 to get it back the following day. The insurance company wouldn’t pay up because apparently it takes up to 5 days for your policy to appear on the database.

I was stopped later on in the year and had my documents with me. Again I wasn’t on the database. It appears that my reg no had been entered with a zero that should have been a “o”. They didn’t impound me that time because it was not the traffic cops that stopped me; they phone my insurance company and verified my insurance.

They did tell me that if it had been a traffic stop, my car would have been impounded, regardless of the fact that I had my documents because they could have been fake. They also said that the traffic cops wouldn’t even have made the phonecall, they would have just taken my car and left it up to me to prove I had insurance.

So there it is. Change insurers, or have an insurer that enters your registration plate into their computer in an unorthdox way, and you will get stopped.

You may be denied the opportunity to prove your car is insured, before it is impounded at your cost.

I travel all over the UK on business. What if something like this were to happen when I was in, say, Newcastle? 250 miles from home and 100lbs of luggage and kit either carried home or lost with the car.

I think I’d get pretty fucking irate. Possibly on account of my own health issues. And then PC Fucksmith would accidentally taser me in the bollocks.

There but for the grace of my imaginary best friend go I…

I give you the Muppets:

AJ

Uncommon sense from unexpected quarters

The drug-decriminalisation movement gets more heavyweight backing – from the chairman of the Bar Council, no less.

Chairman of the Bar calls for decriminalisation of drug use

Nick Green QC is chairman of the Bar Council, the professional organisation of barristers in the UK. Writing in the organisation’s magazine this month, Green called for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use, arguing (rightly) that a growing body of evidence supports the proposition that decriminalisation can have a number of positive consequences for drugs users and society. He lists the freeing up of police resources, the reduction of crime and the revolving door of imprisonment as peace dividends of ending the drug war, alongside improved public health. Noting that much of the mass media are given to moralising gestures and the whipping up of panic when it comes to drugs, he argues that the Bar Council, made up of lawyers and counting most judges amongst its ex-members, is in a good position to provide a rational argument, being familiar with both sides of the drug policy argument.

Mr Green’s intervention represents another profession speaking out in support of drug law reform at a time when the tide appears to be turning away from the prohibitionist model that was tried throughout the twentieth century, failed to suppress the flow of illegal drugs and added its own side-effects (including an entrenched criminal market and a global epidemic of injection-driven HIV) to those of the drug problems it was supposed to prevent.

I’m now expecting to see light at the end of the tunnel sometime soon.

AJ

H/T @CharonQC

Big test approaching for the ConDems

If this goes ahead, we’ll know immediately that this government needs to be fought relentlessly until it is defeated.

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The proposed power would allow officers from an EU country to demand information on anyone they suspect of an offence, no matter how minor or whether it is even criminal in the UK.

The directive would see UK police almost powerless to prevent the handing over of personal details such as DNA, bank account or even telephone records.

Fair Trials International (FTI) said it could result in disproportionate requests, such as demands for the DNA of plane loads of British holidaymakers following a murder in their resort.

It could also see British officers chasing crimes that are not even covered by UK law such as criminal defamation.

The EIO is designed to help law enforcement agencies in EU states share information better and be more effective in combating cross border crime.

But campaigners fear it grants significantly wider powers to foreign officers and will lead to a substantial increase in requests.

Dominic Raab, Tory MP for Esher and Walton, who raised the issue in the House of Commons yesterday, said: “Britain should not opt into this half-baked measure.

“It would allow European police to order British officers to embark on wild-goose chases.

“It would force our police to hand over personal information on British citizens, even if they are not suspects and the conduct under investigation is not a crime in this country.

“And it gives foreign police law enforcement authority on British soil.

“The Order won’t help tackle crime – it will waste police time and ditch safeguards that UK citizens expect from the British justice system.”

The Home Office has until July 28 to decide whether to opt in to the order or not.

So in two weeks time, we will know precisely where we stand regarding not just civil liberties, but regarding Dave’s promise of a referendum before handing more powers to the EU.

Oh – just one bit of dissonance to share with you from that story:

Some senior Tories are understood to be concerned about it but Whitehall sources suggested the Liberal Democrat members of the Coalition are more supportive.

Hmmm…

AJ

Cameron vs Facebook

I’ve commented recently on the sick and absurd dedications to Raoul Moat that have appeared on Facebook and elsewhere.

Cameron was asked about these tributes in PMQs yesterday. He pledged to have words with Facebook about it. They told him to take a running jump.

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Eminent Tellygiraffe commentator Ed West has posted on the matter:

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Now, as much as I’ve already expressed my despair at the mongiferous outpourings of sympathy and support for Moat, I do not support any effort to shutdown or otherwise censor, or ban, these sort of pages.

Apparently, Voltaire never actually said “I disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This disappoints me, but the sentiment is no less fundamentally sound for it.

AJ

Doctors: Diagnose ailments, prescribe remedies. And shut the fuck up.

The medinazis are one lobby that was always going to transcend a change of government, so this shouldn’t be surprising:

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You see, chaps, you don’t seem to understand a fundamental point:

WE KNOW IT’S NOT HEALTHY. WE ARE FREE AGENTS. WE MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES.

Some people get the balance ‘right’, others don’t. Although quite why we should take any of these health muppets seriously I don’t know, given their track-record of manifest ideological (or pharmaceutical) bullshit regarding smoking, drinking, eating and recreational drugs.

The driving force for the fact that they feel entitled and compelled to hector us all can be collapsed in one easy move: Their argument always boils down to the cost incurred by the NHS in treating smokers, drinkers, fatties etc.

So we privatise the whole thing and halve national insurance contributions. People can self-insure their health or take out a policy.

At a stroke, the power of doctors’ arguments of ‘public good’, ‘public health’ and ‘cost to the NHS’ all go straight out of the window.

Which is probably why you’ll not find too many doctors supporting my plan. Quite a change from when the NHS was created and 9/10 doctors opposed it.

Remind me though. Is the government’s Chief Medical Officer still an enormously fat bastard?

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Apparently not. Lardy Liam’s been replaced by a Quangocrat shrew. Good times.

AJ

Section 44 dead?

It can’t be as simple as this, can it?

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The change follows a European Court of Human Rights judgment last month which ruled the power to search people without suspicion under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was illegal.

No, it can’t, can it…

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"Officers will only be able to use Section 44 in relation to the search of vehicles.

So, as others have suggested, we can expect the Met Police to introduce and/or step-up vehicle check blockades or ANPR locations.

Oh and they’ll be looking for new ways to use the intelligence they can get from the permanent ANPR installations, as well as other CCTV, TrafficMaster, DVLA, ports etc.

Either way, the police will right now be discussing how to work around this ‘impediment’ to their ‘effective’ policing.

AJ

It is consultation time.

The consultation on the ConDem’s’ Grand Repeal Bill is here.

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You need to register, but you only need to give an email address, username and password & there’s no email verification process.

There are already lots of good ideas for things to repeal or amend, from the smoking ban to section 44 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Browsing through, there are even some things I didn’t know existed, let alone needed repealing, such as this one:

Reintroduce the HORT/1 "Producer"

Under the current system the Police National Computer Database is assumed to be correct with regard to insurance.  This is not always the case and unfortunately innocent motorists can be fined or have their vehicles impounded on the spot.  I agree with the sentiments of the law but there should be a period where innocence can be proven which the HORT/1 provided.  At the moment guilt is assumed which contravenes the basic understanding of British law.

Errr.. so if you drive cars on a trade policy, or on an ‘any car’ policy, hence the registration plate isn’t listed on the database, they can impound your car on the spot? Unless you always carry all of your documents with you at all times?

I’ll vote for that change. You can rate each proposal 1-5 stars like at the bottom of my blogposts.

Some other things I’ve asked for in the past from the government include:

  • Curtail powers of entry
  • Repeal the equality bill
  • Neuter the Digital Economy Bill
  • Scrap the e-Borders system
  • Prevent DVLA from selling details on their database to third parties
  • Bring ACPO into public ownership, or force it to disband.
  • Scrap PCSOs and stop handing police powers (detain, fine etc) to civilians.
  • Scrap NHS Summary Care Records
  • Repeal the hunting ban
  • Abolish the Health & Safety Executive
  • Scrap the Barnett formula

So get over there and make your voice heard, or sacrifice your right to complain in the future.

Now!

AJ

UPDATE: Old Holborn has a more comprehensive list of suggestions. And a link to (possibly) the definitive reference on the liberties we’ve lost.

Don’t ban the vuvuzela – ban banning stuff.

Okay. I admit. It sucks massive balls. The vuvuzela is the new ‘thing’ at this world cup.

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It sounds like a thousand flies feasting on an Ethiopian child.

According to SouthAfrica.info it is “SA football’s beautiful noise” which is much like saying the sound of glass being smashed into people’s faces is English football’s beautiful noise.

Teh clpwn has words on this matter. Their gaff, their rules. And so say I.

Because as much as I may loathe and detest the racket, I am massively cheered by how much it’s winding some other people up.

But the depressing corollary is this:

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Two points here:

1) It would, surely, be child’s play for broadcasters to use some sort of audio filtering technology, be it a band-stop filter or noise cancelling to attenuate the noise for TV viewers.

2) As Sepp Blatter pointed out earlier on twatter, “Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?”

Now, that’s problematic because it could be hugely tempting to pursue a ban on England flags, beer bellies, football shirts, air horns and such-like. But that’s because I harbour latent antipathy to football and the culture that surrounds it in England.

Enthusiatic England fans, though, should consider Blatter’s question carefully.

In the meantime, moaners should feel free to invest in ear-plugs. Their complaining is drowning out the sound of the vuvuzelas.

AJ

UPDATE: Even the Daily Mail sees the sense in my suggestions.

South African shopkeepers have reported a boom in earplug sales as visiting fans try to avoid the noise at matches.

Meanwhile, help could be at hand for TV viewers put off by the constant droning – an internet download promises to eliminate the sound from broadcasts.

The website, antivuvuzelafilter.com, says: ‘This is your chance to enjoy the FIFA World Cup 2010 WITHOUT the annoying vuvuzela noise!

‘Get rid of the vuvuzela noise through active noise cancellation.’

Well blow me down with a jungle trumpet.

Fair comment

Voltaire invoked:

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As I’ve written before, it would be deeply hypocritical of me to condemn the man for his eccentric views.

Of course, to me and many others, the perceived consequence of Thatcher being wiped from history may be stark and alarming.

Now put the boot on the other foot.

I’d put on a tuxedo and go to the opera of Blair and Brown being gunned down by an irate taxi driver in 1996.

To me, that would wipe out a multitude of national disasters in one fell swoop. To many on the left, it would mean the loss of 13 years of welfare, hosing the NHS down with money, replaced by poverty, pestilence and plague.

The Labour leadership ‘battle’ is so comically anodyne, with clichéd dog whistles aplenty, I hope this McDonnell chap makes the cut, if only to inject some much needed colour into the contest.

AJ

Best thing I have ever read in the Guardian

This.

The public should be invited to reject the politics of fear, that sees life as a perpetual terror of what might happen and a perpetual investigation of what has. It should not be asked to regard every child as a victim and every adult a paedophile, a terrorist or a mass murderer. The government should stop spending stupid amounts of money on a security lobby now running amok through the public sector.

There is no such thing as safe. There is only safer, and safer can require the greater watchfulness that comes with taking risks, witness new theories of road safety. Removing risk lowers the protective instinct of individuals and communities, and paradoxically leaves them in greater danger. But there is no government agency charged with averting that danger. There is no money in it.

Magnificent.

AJ