Saturday, April 16, 2005

Wayne Rooney "had jumbo sausage"

The BBC - first with the big stories.

Just Another Day's Work ...

For our criminal "justice" system :

A 17-year-old jailed after a crash on the A47 in Norfolk which killed an unborn baby has been given legal aid to try to keep his name out of the media. King's Lynn Magistrates ruled the youth, from the Wisbech area of Cambs, should be named so the public could call police if he was behind a wheel.

But they said he should remain anonymous until his lawyers tried to challenge the ruling in a higher court. On Friday it emerged he was given legal aid to go to the High Court.

The theory is a little different :
The key goals for criminal justice are to help reduce crime by bringing more offences to justice, and to raise public confidence that the system is fair and will deliver for the law-abiding citizen.

But the practice ?
The Legal Services Commission, which assesses legal aid claims, said the Commission was obliged to look at every case objectively and base a decision on financial eligibility and a case's legal merits.

"We cannot differentiate between applicants for legal aid on the grounds that a decision to grant funding may be unpopular in a particular case," a spokesperson said.

In other words : "up yours, Joe Public".

UPDATE - and here's our old mate Lord Justice Woolf, "helping to deliver for the law-abiding citizen".

Shooting Parrots

Another for the sidebar - I wonder how long they've been linking ?

I must say I do like it when nice well meaning liberal types link to me - so much more fun to epater les guardianistas. Liberals are generally good people - working hard at paving the road to hell with their good intentions. It's just the consequences of their ideas that are evil.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Marcus The Bard ...

Seems to have been really riled by the Toynbees and Eagletons of this world as they perform the Shepherd's Hey on the Pope's grave. Joins Non-Trivial Solutions and Squander Two in dissing the liberati, but from an explicitly Catholic perspective. Good stuff.

Ben and Chloe Revisited

Even though she says nice things about me, Irene Adler's latest post needs to be read. Triggered by the Pub Philosopher's Ben and Chloe post, it describes an embarrassing moment at a California graduation ceremony. The keynote speaker ? Convicted murderer and left icon Mumia Abu-Jamal. The embarrassing people ? Friends and relatives of the police officer he killed.

It is only recently that I have begun to reflect on the small band of determined friends and relatives of Officer Daniel Faulkner, with their terrible, stupid-looking flyers -- people who would most likely never live in Marin County, send their children to the nation's top-rated public schools, or rub shoulders with Sean Penn; people who would wear black socks with brown shoes and sport Farrah Fawcett hairdos years before the newly married Duchess of Cornwall would make them fashionable again.

I remember the future Ben-and-Chloes (or Kyle-and-Jens!) of Northern California wildly cheering Mumia's speech, just before they left university forever, and went on to graduate school at Berkeley or UCLA, or to their stock options, their professional partnerships, their plain wooden frame-houses in Marin which will probably fetch far more than $1.5 million apiece by the time they are able to afford them. I think of them, and what the friends and relatives of Officer Daniel Faulkner must have felt when they heard those cheers, and I blush, embarassed, warm-of-face, remembering how I was afraid to be seen reading those awful, amateurish flyers describing how Mumia had murdered their loved one, one Officer Daniel Faulkner, a working class man who gave his life to clean up some of the mess left behind in a Philadelphia urban ghetto by Ben- and-Chloe (or Kyle-and-Jen!)

This reminded me of something I saw on the news a few years back, (I think) just after the Good Friday Agreement, where Gerry Adams and Bill Clinton were meeting together with a lot of concerned 'human rights' celebrities - Bianca Jagger was there - can't remember if it was in Ulster or Washington, though I think Washington.

There was one forlorn figure with a placard outside the security cordon, protesting against Adams red carpet treatment. As the beautiful people entered, some, assuming him to be a Loyalist, shouted things like 'Give up ! You lost !' at him. He was a father whose child had been killed by an IRA bomb.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Inside Information

According to the Today programme (RealAudio), the widow of murdered IRA solicitor Pat Finucane "has written to every judge in Britain complaining about the nature of the inquiry into his death which the government has promised".

Hmmm. I wonder where she got the names and addresses of every judge in Britain from ?

I hope they remembered to cross off Lord Justice Gibson.

Big Tommy

Another new Brit political blog, Big T likes to try and raise up impossibly difficult and dense objects. When he's not supporting the Tories, he's a powerlifter.

Nice posts on the CRE and lying. Welcome aboard.

A Few Early Bluebells

Remember all that fuss in the Guardian, Indie and BBC about voters being allegedly deprived of the opportunity to register ?

Couldn't happen here, of course. Since Labour came to power our previously corrupt election system has improved no end. What a pity that apparently 80% of the soldiers in Iraq won't be able to vote.

UPDATE - correspondent Nick tells me the non-appearing leaflets are discussed here and the election here at the Army Rumour Service site. Sir Tim Garden's appearance on Today is here.

The SNP claimed a delay in the distribution of information leaflets was designed to prevent Labour losing votes as a result of the Iraq conflict.

In January, minister for veterans Ivor Caplin told the Commons that 100,000 advisory leaflets would be distributed to bases in order that serving personnel could be included on the electoral rolls in their home constituencies.

The Electoral Commission confirmed the leaflets were dispatched to the MoD on February 4.

But Jeff Duncan, campaign manager of Save the Scottish Regiments, claimed they did not start arriving at British bases until March 1 – 10 days before the deadline.

Given that it can take more than two weeks for post to arrive from bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr Duncan claims many troops were given little or no chance to exercise their democratic right.

Mr Duncan said: “It is a travesty.

“What is going on when we are sending men out to defend the Iraqis’ right to vote but we are not defending their own right to vote?

“We have a situation where the MoD have, at least for five weeks, sat on a bunch of forms.

“It raises the suspicion that someone is trying to disenfranchise people who could unseat Labour MPs.

Back in the UK, all right-thinking people know that any attempts to link asylum and terrorism are desperate fictions of the deranged Right.

In the States, Liberal Larry celebrates the work of the late Andrea Dworkin.

And two terrific posts at the Social Affars Unit blog. Although I've lived in the sticks for 20 years, horsey people are still alien life forms to me. I see them at the races, with the stout shoes, binoculars, tweeds and hats, or on horseback coming past the house, but I don't really know them. So this post on the Hunt AGM is a great help.

And this one, on exporting Western democracy to non-Western nations, is good too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Linda Walker Starts Hunger Strike

Teacher Linda Walker, jailed for six months for the hideous crime of discharging an unloaded air pistol into the ground near a group of young criminals, has reportedly begun a hunger strike, after being refused bail by Mr "Justice" Royce pending her appeal.

The Justice For Linda Walker site is here.

She Never Hated Men

Most of the UK will never have heard of the American writer and campaigner Andrea ("I have no problem with killing paedophiles") Dworkin, but that didn't stop the Today programme wheeling out Lisa Jardine yesterday (RealAudio).

In the Guardian Katharine Viner writes :

As Julie Bindel, feminist and Dworkin's friend of 10 years, says: "She was the most maligned feminist on the planet; she never hated men."

As Peter Briffa says, judge for yourself.

Next week in the Guardian - "Oswald Mosley not anti-semitic, says Goebbels".

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Way To Go, Son

The Spinster Of This Parish writes on how he came to love New Labour. An honest and touching tale.

Some of it might have been that I got burgled for the first time and that changed my attitude to all that tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime rhetoric that I'd hated as glib and meaningless.

Whereas the millions of poor people burgled during the 1980s and early 90s were punitive morons driven by a tabloid agenda. But you were right, Spin. In practice they were glib and meaningless. Tough on crime ? Let's just forget about that, shall we ? Tough on the causes ? Of course - crime is caused by an absence of Sure Start schemes !

Then I began to see the reasons that had stopped people voting Labour weren't as selfish as I'd thought. A strong economy means being able to afford your home, means not losing your job, means being able to give your family a pretty decent start in life.

Hey ! Dad ! You're not a square after all !

I guess I was a little ahead - having looked at the crime figures before 1997, and noted what had happened under Michael Howard, I really thought those glib and meaningless phrases meant something.

Let me tell you all about it.

In the early hours of May 2nd, 1997 a heavily pregnant wife comes downstairs, wondering why her husband, whom she had left before midnight watching the election coverage, is still up. In the kitchen, the chatter of simultaneous coverage from the television and Radio Four. On the table, a half-empty bottle, a glass and an overflowing ashtray. At the table, her husband, with the kind of fixed ear to ear grin that comes from the conjunction of great joy and Glenlivet, slurring "It's fantastic ! They're being slaughtered ! Labour might finish a hundred seats ahead! Portillo's just lost - to a gay guy ! And they're saying Norman Lamont might not hold Kingston ! Every time I think about going to bed they announce another recount in a safe Tory seat - it's an absolute massacre !".

What a night. After 1978, 83, 88 and perhaps worst of all 1992, victory at last. Although I didn't carry things as far as an old Militant comrade who tragically drank himself to death in celebration, I sat and drank on, moist-eyed and maudlin as Tony Blair made his emotional victory speech.

Cut to almost exactly three years later. It's 5.30 in the office and I'm packing up to go home. I browse the late news items - what's this ? "Blair slow-handclapped at W.I. conference". I click on the item and smile as I read - 'seen this ? Brilliant !'. On the drive home I am full of an angry happiness as I listen to the speech faltering, hear the audience unrest - see ? You can't bloody well fool everyone ! A thousand Diana Goulds are telling you what they think of you and your New Britain ! And over the following days I lapped up the press coverage with an unholy joy, becoming aware as I did so just how much I hated the Government for which I voted and for which I had longed. I first campaigned for Labour (the 1971 Bromsgrove by-election – Terry Davis won) when I was at school and have been voting Labour ever since.

In the words of Talking Heads 'How Did I Get Here ?'. Is it just old age and parenthood, a comfortable job and a nice (though tumbledown) house, inevitable ossification and selfishness ? I have pondered these questions at length but it was bit by bit, policy issue by policy issue, and through my and my friends' personal experience that I found myself inexorably moving to what before I would have certainly called 'the Right'.

Time permitting, I'll pick up on some of these during the next week. Education, transport, the economy, welfare, crime, immigration. That's a long enough charge- sheet. And this isn't a Tory manifesto. Many of the disasters Labour preside over began in the 1980s.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

White Guilt = Black Power

The world and his significant other are rightly raving about Jane Galt's essay on 'gay marriage', which brought to mind a fine essay on the same subject from Hoover fellow Shelby Steele. It's here. The piece was written in response to Andrew Sullivan's friendly fisking (that's a 'k') of Shelby Steele.

I'd forgotten what a good writer Shelby Steele is. If there was a decent links page for him he'd be on the sidebar. Here's his take on white liberal guilt.

"institutions today lose their mainstream legitimacy unless white guilt defines their approach to racial matters"

"White guilt is best understood as a vacuum of moral authority. Whites live with this vacuum despite the fact that they may not feel a trace of personal guilt over past oppression of blacks. Whites simply come to a place with blacks where they feel no authority to speak or judge and where they sense a great risk of being seen as racist. It is a simple thing, this lack of authority, but it has changed everything.

One terrible feature is that it means whites lack the authority to say what they see when looking at blacks and black problems. Political correctness is what whites have the authority to say about blacks, no matter what they see. It is a language of severely limited authority, of euphemisms that steer whites around associations with racism."

While we're at it, a rare sighting on the Web of Richard Littlejohn, interviewing Michael Howard in the Spectator.

Ignore The Pop-Ups

They seem to come with iWebtunes, providers of music to webbies. I'll drop it tomorrow, but for Sunday get your ears round Sinfonye, performing Hildegarde of Bingen's Favus Distillans, recorded at Toddington Church in Gloucestershire. From this CD.

DRIPPING HONEYCOMB (Favus distillans)

A dripping honeycomb
was Ursula, virgin,
who yearned to lie with
God's lamb,
honey and milk beneath her tongue.

For she gathered around her
a flock of virgins,
a fruit-bearing orchard,
a garden in bloom.

Rejoice, daughter of Zion,
in the exalted dawn!

For she gathered around her
a flock of virgins,
a fruit-bearing orchard,
a garden in bloom.

Glorify the Father,
the Spirit and the Son.

For she gathered around her
a flock of virgins,
a fruit-bearing orchard,
a garden in bloom.

Grrrrr !

(via Adrian Warnock).