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    27th May, 2010

    People making up stuff about England shirts being banned

    by Sunny at 11:25 am    

    This is turning into a bit of an epidemic. First there was the case of England shirts not being banned in pubs.

    “We have carried out a full investigation and can’t find any evidence to substantiate this claim. No driver fitting the description given was working on any routes in this area at that time. Our buses were busy around the time yet no one else has been in touch with us about this alleged incident.

    “Far from banning England shirts on our buses First is fully supportive of England’s World Cup campaign and we are, in fact, currently fitting good luck banners featuring England flags on all our buses in England.”

    And this…

    “We have also checked with the Transport Police, the Ministry of Defence Police and Portland police, all of whom assure us they were not in that area at the time either.

    He added: “I can say quite categorically that Dorset Police has no policy to restrict the wearing of our national flag and similar emblems and certainly not during the World Cup competition.”

    There’s only one response: No one is offended by your England shirt/flag. Shut up.

    Nobody is banning any England shirts, you gullible xenophobic fool

    Gita’s vendetta against Amnesty getting embarrassingly desperate

    by Sunny at 10:50 am    

    It’s a shame that former Amnesty employee Gita Sahgal has not found something more useful to do with her time. Otherwise she wouldn’t be writing such lame diatribes against Amnesty International.

    What the hell was openDemocracy thinking giving her space? I hope they’ll be offering space to someone pro-Amnesty to take apart that rubbish.

    Listen Gita, we get it: you’re angry. No one rallied to your support other than a bunch of discredited neocons who are best known for their mealy-mouthed apologies for torture. Oh and Salman Rushdie, the man offering moral guidance after signing a letter supporting child-rapist Roman Polanski. I suppose not many sane people would be heartened with that kind of support. But Gita bravely kept giving more interviews to Christopher Hitchens so they could together take down Amnesty. Brave stuff. Meanwhile, Amnesty is not allowed to defend itself while it is being smeared all over the place.

    I know plenty of Gita Sahgal supporters also read this blog (and I’m not referring to the neo-con nutjobs). Folks, the article doesn’t even make much sense. It reads like sentences copied and pasted together from Melanie Phillips, Hitchens and Nick Cohen articles. This episode is over. Please find her something useful to do in support of women’s rights. I hope she’s not going to spend the next ten years trying to find places so she can recycle that same article slagging off Amnesty Intl. It’s not even worth fisking, it’s that bad. When you’re desperately trying to pretend the Catholic Church has done nothing wrong then you know something’s gone awfully wrong.

    Filed under: Humour,Media
    26th May, 2010

    Rape myths debated in schools

    by Rumbold at 10:04 pm    

    The Telegraph disapproves. I think it is a good idea:

    Children as young as 11 are being asked to debate myths surrounding rape – including claims that “women ask for it by wearing short skirts”. A charity is distributing teaching materials to secondary schools as part of a campaign to end violence against women.

    The pack, which schools can buy for £100, covers subjects such as domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, prostitution and human trafficking. Rape Crisis said the lessons were intended to encourage mixed classes of boys and girls to discuss issues surrounding rape.

    In one class, pupils are asked to debate claims that “women enjoy rape”, while another lesson instructs children to discuss the myth that “women ask for it by wearing short skirts, drinking alcohol etc”.

    As long as we live in a society where people are still willing to victim-blame, we need education like this. And as with a lot of reports regarding schools, I suspect that eleven year olds are not being taught about the graphic aspects; it is just that they happen to be at the same school.

    Filed under: Sex equality
    25th May, 2010

    Nadine Dorries continues to smear Tim Ireland

    by Rumbold at 9:39 pm    

    Nadine Dorries, who engorged thousands of pounds from the taxpayer, is continuing to smear blogger Tim Ireland, this time by comparing him to the mentally ill woman who stabbed the MP Stephen Timms recently. Mr. Ireland’s sin was to be involved in a running feud with Ms. Dorries. As Richard Bartholomew points out:

    Tim satirises Dorries quite mercilessly, and Dorries has made it clear that she has found some of his jibes to be offensive. But that’s life if you’re a public figure. Dorries knows damn well that she is not under any kind of personal threat from Tim. Why didn’t she give the newspaper an example of one of his threats, if she had anything? And – more to the point – why hasn’t the police had any contact with Tim? An MP claims that she has been forced off-line by threats, yet the police can’t be bothered to have a word with the supposed culprit? And the MP just accepts that without any bitter complaint about the unfairness of it all? Come off it. She’s lying, and shamelessly. Lying to the voters, and – if she’s sincere in her supposed religious faith – before God.

    Given that Tim Ireland has been the victim of a campaign in which his family were threatened by thugs, Ms. Dorries needs to withdraw these allegations quickly (especially as the campaign targeting him used such allegations to justify their behaviour).

    Filed under: Current affairs
    24th May, 2010

    The left reaction to government cuts may not succeed unless…

    by Sunny at 2:37 pm    

    Lots of people are, justifiably, outraged over the cuts announced today by the government. I think this outrage and narrative needs a bit of focus, if it is to put the coalition on the defensive3.

    For a start, it would be worth acknowledging that cuts in government spending cannot be avoided. Many lefties actually think we can carry on spending like we have been - a financially non-viable situation. The deficit is too big and dangerous to carry on the same level of spending.

    Secondly, the coalition government have been talking about the coming cuts for months, if not years. The public expects it and most people will be ok with it. Don’t expect them to automatically join in the outrage.

    Third: the key to mobilising public opinion against the cuts will rest on getting two things right: (1) successfully pointing out that these cuts will make the situation worse when the cuts could have been made more efficiently elsewhere; and (2) focusing specifically on what is being cut, and being able to inform particular demographics (mothers, students etc) how the cuts specifically hurt them.

    Opposing cuts in a general sense is a losing strategy.

    Update: Several have said on Twitter that the deficit should be financed by taxation. I don’t buy that for two reasons. Firstly, the deficit is just too big for that much of an increase in taxation to plug the gap. No really, it is. Do the math.

    Secondly, at one point the City was contributing to nearly 35% of our tax revenues. The sector is unlikely to ever recover to the point where it offers that much revenue in the future, so a long term decline in spending will be necessary. Furthermore, we shouldn’t even want to be that reliant on the City in the future for taxes.

    Either way, the maths point towards a long-term decrease in spending unless we can find some new growth industry that stimulates the economy.

    Filed under: Party politics
    23rd May, 2010

    Andy Burnham pretends no one talks about immigration

    by Sunny at 10:58 pm    

    This is simply an outright lie by Andy Burnham:

    I think our problem on immigration - and it was for me anyway clearly the biggest issue at the election - was the sense that we weren’t talking about it, so that some people felt we were either in denial or just didn’t want to talk about it.

    During all the three debates immigration came up as a major subject even though not all three were about home affairs. In fact immigration was the only subject that came up all three times during the 3 leaders debates.

    Furthermore, even before the debates, Gordon Brown made a major speech in March 2010 about immigration. Gordon Brown made another speech about immigration in November 2009 too.

    So either Andy Burnham doesn’t pay any attention to what his boss was saying or doing, or he’s a lying dirtbag who prefers to pander to Daily Mail prejudices with falsehoods. And this guy plans to revive Labour with new ideas?

    Filed under: Race politics

    Would anonymity for defendants benefit rape victims too?

    by Rumbold at 1:11 pm    

    There has been a furore over government plans to grant anonymity to those accused of rape (their accusers already have their identity protected). A number of feminists have come out and argued that this simply tilts the scales further in favour of men, as it gives the impression that rape defendants need special protection. There are also fears that not naming the accused would stop other women coming forward if they heard about a trial, and so it would be harder to convict serial rapists like John Warboys.

    Obviously, this change is better for the men accused of rape (which is good, as they are innocent until proven guilty), but could it be better for women too? Perhaps. We know from studies that some people are willing to blame the rape victim (or at least partially blame her), for the rape. This, combined with a perception that some rape victims are lying and desperate for attention, is likely to have a negative impact on some jurors, thus making them less likely to convict. Anonymity would eliminate the notion that a woman is seeking publicity, making some on the jury more sympathetic to their claims.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Sex equality
    21st May, 2010

    What is the progressive narrative on immigration?

    by Sunny at 9:39 am    

    My head is exploding with all the rubbish rhetoric about immigration since the election finished, let alone while it was in full flow. So much to write, so little time.

    There’s a few points I need to make.

    First, it’s possible to show via the polls that while people cited immigration as a concern - it still did not lose Labour the election. There were other factors that influenced votes much more. Especialy Gordon Brown’s unpopularity and the state of the economy.

    Secondly, it’s more obvious to point out that increased immigration does not lead to more support for the fascists: the BNP were trounced in this election thanks to a lot of local campaigning and organising and bringing people together (see Hope Not Hate). Right-wingers keep saying this, and blaming the left for the rise of the BNP. Now who will they applaud for the collapse of the BNP?

    Thirdly, the eagerness with which Labour leader contenders Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and David Miliband have made immigration their top concern shows how bereft they are of ideas. According to them, New Labour did nothing wrong in power, except it wasn’t hard enough on immigrants. Tell that to the children who were locked up in detention without charge. And they say they’re standing up for ‘fairness’. New Labour got nothing wrong other than immigration huh? Too bad the polls don’t support that view.

    It boggles the mind that people like Andy Burnham can blow racist dog-whistles and then claim to be left-wing or standing up ‘against unfairness’.

    Fourth, it’s worth stressing that what we need to talk about isn’t immigration in itself, but it’s impact: why aren’t there enough houses, investment in public services, job protection for low-income people? Labour leaders want to talk about immigration, but not its impact. They’ll talk about immigration but won’t admit they didn’t build enough houses or let down people in low-paid jobs.

    Fifth, here is the dilemma for the left. The public are not easily persuaded by facts. There’s no way of ‘educating them’. The right-wing media exists and it won’t stop printing false stories. And there are lots of traditional Labour supporters who have concerns about immigration (Labour was about 30 points behind in the polls on the issue).

    And there is little evidence that those concerns translated into lost votes. Labour had lost millions of voters even before this election, mainly because of Iraq. Nevertheless, Labour was about 30 points behind. So what would a progressive narrative on immigration look like? How do you deal with people’s concerns without sounding like the English Defence League, the BNP or Andy Burnham? How does that narrative offer solutions and hope without encouraging people to be bigots or making them fearful of immigrants?

    What’s the narrative? What do you say on the door-step? Thoughts?

    Filed under: Race politics
    19th May, 2010

    Rise in acid attacks in Britain

    by Rumbold at 9:53 pm    

    Charities and hospitals are reporting a rise in acid attacks, which is often a method of revenge on an individual or group:

    In parts of the developing world – particularly south-east Asia, the south Asian subcontinent and east Africa – acid attacks are common. The Taliban and fellow extremists have frequently resorted to throwing acid in women’s faces for even small transgressions, such as daring to go out unveiled. But there are concerns that such attacks may also be on the increase in the UK.

    Hospital admission figures for the past three years show a steady rise in the number of people being treated for acid attacks. According to the NHS information centre, 44 people were admitted to hospital in 2006-07 after they were “assaulted with a corrosive substance”. The following year the figure jumped to 67 and last year there were 69 admissions.

    As Rick Trask, one of Britain’s leading researchers on acid attacks, pointed out, it is not unique to any culture, but is usually gender-based (often aimed at women, or men who have had relationships with the ‘wrong’ women) and is a deliberate attempt to scar the victim. Meanwhile, Diana Nammi and Jasvinder Sanghera, heads of the charities IKWRO and Karma Nirvana respectively, report a significant number of phone calls from women from Middle Eastern and South Asian backgrounds worried about potential acid attacks on them.

    The police and the state have done some good work in combating ‘honour’-based violence, but this is a new and disturbing trend in the fight against it.

    BNP Update

    by Jai at 11:47 am    

    A roundup of some of the major developments involving the BNP since the recent General Election:

    1. An excellent summary from the Guardian here.

    2. Nick Griffin’s delusional post-election “analysis”, addressed to BNP members, including a huge exaggeration of the number of MPs the BNP would theoretically possess under the proposed proportional representation system.

    3. Griffin’s subsequent message in relation to the escalating civil war within the BNP. More ranting.

    4. Griffin’s third public message, including fabricated “percentages” of Barking & Dagenham’s non-white electorate along with the assertion that the BNP is the “British Resistance”. Believe or not, Griffin’s apocalyptic faux-Churchillian call to arms isn’t actually a spoof; he really did write this message.

    5. Griffin’s latest message, which can be summarised as “denial, denial, denial”. According to Griffin, any incriminating information which reflects badly on the BNP (described by Griffin as a “movement of national salvation”) is falsified and part of a huge global conspiracy.

    6. The BNP is facing a renewed legal prosecution over their constitution, since it turns out that they haven’t actually removed the problematic racist clauses as instructed (re: the previous successful prosecution by the EHRC) but just moved them to different parts of the document and slightly reworded them in an attempt to circumvent the injunction. Griffin was directly responsible for this, so he could be charged with contempt of court and potentially be imprisoned.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The BNP
    18th May, 2010

    Theresa May: The Counter-Petition

    by earwicga at 4:53 pm    

    I blogged yesterday about a petition calling for Theresa May to be relieved of the role of Minister for Women and Equalities.

    There is now a counter-petition available to sign which states:

    We feel that she is appropriate for the position as she has been a positive force for the cause of morals in this Country. Her appointment is productive as there is not a more appropriate person for the job who is prepared to acknowledge the many who do not support Gay rights.

    We consider she is ideal in her commitment to implementing effective change in this country whilst ensuring progress does not undermine decency, religious views and moral standing. [My emphasis]

    This has to be a spoof?  Surely?  And the nine people who have signed it have a great sense of humour don’t they?

    H/T Kez

    Filed under: Current affairs

    The Shell Ad the FT Refused to Publish

    by earwicga at 11:51 am    

    Edit:  Please re-post this advert on your own blogs and help spread the message and the censorship of the FT.

    Via Benedict Pringle & @AmnestyUK . More info from Amnesty UK.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    Talk on Transgender Children this Wednesday 19th May in London

    by earwicga at 1:14 am    

    On Wednesday Natacha Kennedy is giving a talk detailing her new research at Goldsmiths, in association with it’s Identity and Social Justice Research Group.

    Via Facebook:

    Natacha has been researching the lives of transgender children and young people. This is the opportunity to find out about the results so far of this research and to consider its implications.

    One of the most significant questions raised by this research is whether and how provision for transgender children in the school system needs to change, as it appears that transgender children are currently likely to underachieve substantially.

    Kennedy published a summary of the inital findings, which will be expanded on on Wednesday. Interesting info which includes:

    - Around 80% of trans people knew they were trans before leaving primary school. (this contrasts with around 2% of gay, lesbian and bisexual people). (more…)

    Filed under: Current affairs
    17th May, 2010

    Britain Could Lose Its Economic Sovereignty Tomorrow

    by guest at 10:01 pm    

    This is a guest post by Shamit Ghosh

    Britain can now be forced by ECOFIN to change its own budget and we do not have a veto - thanks to the Lisbon Treaty. In effect, we have lost our economic sovereignty - thanks to the former Labour Government and Lib Dems who refused us a referendum.

    Tomorrow Spain and Portugal Governments would be presenting their national accounts to EU’s Council of Economics and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) to highlight that both countries have taken appropriate fiscal measures to reduce their deficit. This was a requirement set out by the ECOFIN last week before it approved the 750 Billion Euros to bolster the Euro. In other words, fiscal policies of EU member states are in effect now under the control of the European Union.

    Last Wednesday, the President of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, announced plans to integrate European economies further. He said “In the end, we cannot have a monetary union without an economic union,” and this was reiterated by the unelected President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, when he told the media ““We can’t have a monetary union without some form of economic and – er – political union.”

    Continue Reading...

    Detention of asylum-seekers’ children to end

    by Rumbold at 4:36 pm    

    The Coalition has announced that it plans to scrap the policy, introduced by the Labour government, of imprisoning the children of asylum seekers, presumably in order to appear tough for the tabloids:

    Umair Umar recalls little about his ordeal at Dungavel, Scotland’s immigration detention centre — and, he says, he’d rather not. The 14-year-old and his family were held at the Lanarkshire facility for one night before being bundled in the back of a van and driven hundreds of miles south, where they were held at another centre, Tinsley House, in Sussex, for two days.

    “I don’t want to remember,” the child asylum-seeker says. “It was a bad three days.” Uzair, his 11-year-old brother, was frightened because they locked the doors. “It was like a prison,” he said.

    It was not a policy anyone could have been proud of, and it is good that it has been ended. The only problem is how to house the children now (as their parents will still be in detention centres).

    (Via Justin)

    Filed under: Civil liberties

    IDAHO 2010

    by earwicga at 2:42 pm    

    Via International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)

    In more than 80 countries around the world, homosexual acts are still illegal. Sometimes the law dictates life imprisonment. In seven countries the death penalty may be applied.

    Even in countries where homosexuality is not illegal, discrimination and physical assault is more than frequent. It is even worse for trans people who are particularly exposed, and for lesbians, who are particularly made invisible. In some countries, there is a positive progress, but it is fragile. In others, the situation is worse every year.

    Each year, for May 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia reminds everybody there is a need for action. It is celebrated through actions (exhibitions, screenings, debates, shows, TV or radio programs, etc.), and promoted by individuals, organizations, institutions, cities, governments in more than 60 countries, on every continent, from Albania to Zimbabwe.

    Today, for May 17th, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we ask:

    • all political leaders to fight by any means against violence and discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity;

    • all citizens to use this day to encourage hope, diversity and peace in the world, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    IDAHO Committee

    Here in the UK Theresa May has been given the role of Minister for Women and Equalities, a role she is shamefully and patently unsuitable for.  Make your voice heard in opposing this appointment here, here and any which way you can.  Or you can just sit back and allow discrimination to continue, as May will do, and pretend not to notice when your gay and/or trans friends and loved ones are abused.  May’s unsuitable appointment hasn’t been made by mistake, and neither has Phillipa Stroud’s.  The Government Equalities Office website states ‘GEO leads across Government on sexual orientation and transgender equality policy.’  I don’t want May’s views to lead across Government or anywhere else.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    16th May, 2010

    Why more women aren’t in politics

    by Rumbold at 8:51 pm    

    Lynne Featherstone, the new equalities minister, has criticised the ‘macho culture’ of parliament, while labelling the coalition negotiating teams as ‘pale and male’:

    “We are a long way from equality and we need to find out why that is,” she told the Guardian.

    “Looking at parliament and the way it behaves, any sane woman would look at that and say do I want to be part of this bullying, finger-pointing mob who don’t talk like human beings and are disengaged from real life? To try and manage a young family makes it very difficult.”

    The impressive Ms. Featherstone has asked the question that a lot of people can answer, but which no one can answer precisely. We can say for certain that there are issues holding women back from politics, otherwise there would be more of them in the field. But which factors? There are various factors affecting the number of women in politics, which fall broadly into two categories: attitudinal and structural.

    Attitudinal factors relate to a person’s views (whether male or female). In this context they matter when the person believes that women are not suitable for the political arena, because they are ‘naturally more domestic’, or not intelligent enough, or various other sexist views. These are fairly straightforward, and may be views held by either sex, or indeed a potential female candidate themselves. Attitudes like this can lead to rejection at the selection stage, hence the calls for all-women shortlists and similar devices.

    Structural issues are those which affect the nature of the role, such as the need for non-London MPs to spend extended periods of time in the capital. Structural issues can be more complex, as they overlap and sometimes contradict attitudinal ones. Take Ms. Featherstone’s remarks quoted above. She points to a structural issue, which is one of managing a young family while being a female MP. Yet this is also an attitudinal one, as it is based on society’s general view that women should (and will) do more to look after children then men. And her critique of the “bullying, finger-pointing mob who don’t talk like human beings and are disengaged from real life” is true enough, but then it again highlights the view that women are not supposed to be as confrontational as men. So making parliament more family friendly and less confrontational will help attract more women to politics, but it might not do anything to change attitudes (at least not initially).

    So which is the most important issue to work on in order to increase the number of female candidates/MPs? Is it attitudinal factors, or structural ones? The former matter more, but the latter are easier and quicker to fix. Dealing with structural problems is likely to increase the number of female MPs, but it isn’t until we see a greater shift in attitudes that the problem will really be solved.

    15th May, 2010

    EDL/WDL spokesman on the state of the nation

    by Rumbold at 8:36 pm    

    Richard Bartholomew has uncovered a gem of a YouTube channel, which is the domain of ‘Arrylad’, a spokesman for the English and Welsh Defence Leagues. Each video starts off with a bit of jaunty music, followed by a man in a balaclava going on a long rant about anti-fascists (the ‘antifa’ of the title). The comic effect is heightened by the surroundings. As Richard puts it:

    Nothing says “patriotism” like using the St George’s Flag for a tablecloth and plonking a can of cheap lager on it, right?

    Filed under: Humour,Other racists
    14th May, 2010

    The Papal Bill

    by Rumbold at 8:48 pm    

    The Heresiarch speculates on the probable huge cost to the taxpayer for police overtime when Benedict XVI visits Britain later on this year:

    Ratzo has been visiting Portugal, a country almost as bankrupt as the UK, and to the horror of British police observers, many well-wishers were allowed to come within egg-throwing distance. Meredydd Hughes, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire said that Portuguese police “have been much more relaxed and calm than we are about the distance the Pope is allowed to be from the people.” In the UK, there would be “many more physical barriers” - partly because of traditional British obsession with terrorist threats, but mainly because of “the anti-Papal protests which are expected in Britain.” Go and boo if you like, but he won’t be able to hear you. The taxpayer will be paying top whack for Operation Spare The Pope’s Blushes, naturally.

    Filed under: Economics
    13th May, 2010

    Don’t forget about the BNP

    by Rumbold at 6:56 am    

    With all the discussion over coalitions, and the electoral failings of the BNP, it is easy to forget about them. They will benefit from this though, as they did best as a party which was able to act as insurgents, reducing critics to yelling ‘racist’ at them rather than examining and dissecting their policies and behaviour. This was before the spotlights of mockery and detailed criticism fell upon them, making them look like an extremist laugh stock in the eyes of many. This successful strategy, which involved a lot of work by a lot of people, shouldn’t be ditched just because of the election, as the BNP, or something similar, could well regain their former strength and it would be back to square one. And in case the BNP try to soften their image, here’s Nick Griffin expounding his philosophy in 2007.

    (Hat-tip: Jai for the video)

    Filed under: The BNP
    12th May, 2010

    How long will this ‘betrayal’ charge carry on for?

    by Sunny at 5:32 pm    

    Sure, it’s early days, and there are a lot of people who want to vent their anger at the Tories getting in. So it’s no surprise to see that so far this has resulted in some very inane analysis and breast-beating about how Clegg ‘betrayed’ the Labour party.

    I don’t want to be a party pooper this early but I also want to avoid this meme setting in and people becoming ideologically entrenched.

    1. If you want to blame someone for losing the election, blame the Labour party for carrying on with an unpopular leader, a crap campaign (the highlights of which all mostly came from Labour supporters than the campaign itself), and a complete lack of vision about why electing Labour meant something other than ‘stay the course, I can handle the economy’.

    2. Blame the Labourites who poured cold water over the negotiations with the Libdems. Remember them? I don’t remember anyone going out there and forcefully making a case for a Lib-Lab alliance in the media, with some serious concessions.

    The Tories have offered some serious concessions to the Libdems. This isn’t to be sniffed at because it might mean the coalition survives and flourishes for a full five years. Which means the nastier elements of the Tories are neutralised because Cameron can rely on the Libdems for support. Simon Heffer and his Telegraph column can bugger off, Cameron can say.

    3. I also hate to break it to Labourites, but many still don’t see Libdems as rational voters who might actually dislike large parts of the Labour agenda. Might be something to do with the whole Iraq war, ID cards, control orders, 42 days, 10p tax, little progress on the environment, wasting money on Trident etc. We still don’t know what concessions Labour offered, but it was pretty obvious many of them gave up trying after GB’s resignation.

    I doubt there will be a horde of Libdem voters clamouring to now join the Labour party. Sure, some will. But it won’t be enough to build Labour into a bulwark against the Tories and Libdems. I bet many of them will actually be happy that some of the policies they voted for will actually be implemented.

    4. Over the longer term the danger is that if coalition politics becomes the norm, and I spoke to someone yesterday who said that even under FPTP it’s likely Hung Parl will be the norm, then Labour either has to absorb more Libdem voters, or entice them into a coalition next time. Screaming betrayal now won’t help either aims.

    Filed under: Party politics
    11th May, 2010

    The threat to Miranda Rights

    by guest at 10:42 am    

    This is a guest post by eGov Monitor.

    The Obama administration, after months of heckling by conservatives and the right wing media in the US, is considering modification of the Miranda Law that requires law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their constitutional rights to remain silent.

    Earlier this morning, US Attorney General Holder discussed the need for flexibility especially when dealing with terrorist suspects such as the Pakistan born US naturalised citizen who tried to explode a car bomb in Times Square in New York city last weekend.

    Mr. Holder said ” We’re now dealing with international terrorism, - And if we are going to have a system that is capable of dealing in a public safety context with this new threat, I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public safety exception.” The Obama administration has been under attack from Conservatives in America for reading Miranda rights to the suspects arrested in connection with the attempted bombing of Times Square as well as the Christmas day airline bomber.

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    10th May, 2010

    The present versus the future

    by Rumbold at 9:36 pm    

    The last few days have seen plenty of debates over political coalitions and the real or imagined splits between the parties, whether it be on taxes, spending, law and so on. Yet perhaps the most important debate is emerging across party lines, without people even realising. This debate concerns Britain’s future. Not in the empty way that ‘Britain’s future’ is usually discussed, but rather the need to make sacrifices now in order to make the future better for ourselves, and the divide between this and policies which preserve the luxury of the present at the cost of the future. The split isn’t a simple one. Most people advocate some measures that will help Britain in the future, while at the same time advocating measures that will harm it. These are not painless choices which everyone can agree upon, and some people will lose out in the short run. But the alternative is long-term ruin.

    There are numerous policies that fall into the above categories. The need to tackle climate change is held back by people unwilling to pay higher prices for energy, change their habits, and fund research into renewable sources. Many people are happy to talk about fighting climate change in theoretical terms, but once they need to reform their own behaviour, their ardour cools. Climate change needs to be managed, but it won’t be so long as it requires people to make sacrifices.

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    CPS insanity

    by Kulvinder at 2:59 pm    

    Paul Chambers has been found guilty of threatening to blow an airport ‘sky high’; you might think him to be some sort of fanatical lunatic who published credible threats against people or property.

    Infact, in frustration, he simply told a joke.

    hat tip to JackofKent

    Filed under: Current affairs
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