Friday, October 02, 2009

High Speed Music

Don't come any faster than this - watch Paul Warren on fiddle - or shorter either. But no one-chord wonders here :

What An Unfortunate Name ...

It sounds more like the sort of practice that Harriet Harman would deplore being advertised on the Web.

(Best of order in the comments, please)

Guardian Morality

This blog, eighteen months back :

Oh Lordy - "Disability Hate Crime". I suppose the idea is that although the current criminal justice system is totally unable to enforce existing laws on anti-social behaviour - witness the tragic fates of Christine Lakinski and the Pilkington family - they hope to add the disabled to the list of "protected species" aka designated victim groups.

The Guardian :

Although much of the abuse centred on the taunts about the children's disabilities, police failed to recognise it as a hate crime rather than simple antisocial behaviour, which would have made it a far higher priority.

The inquest heard that at the time of Pilkington's death, Leicestershire police had not implemented the Home Office guidance on hate crimes issued two years earlier.

Hinckley and Bosworth council's community officers visited Pilkington but never learned until after she was dead that anyone in the family was disabled.

And if poor Francecca Pilkington hadn't had a disability ? If she'd been harassed 'because she was there' ? Then she could go hang as far as the Guardian, the local authority and the police were concerned.

(via Dalrymple : "the seriousness of an offense committed in Britain now depends upon who the victim is. If a person is not of an identifiably protected group, he or she is not entitled to police intervention against abusive stone- and bottle-throwing youths. He is not entitled to protection at all. The Guardian’s article appears to accept that such behavior, so long as it targets a member of an unprotected group, is merely undesirable—“anti-social” rather than obviously criminal")

UPDATE - Aaarghh !

"Pilkington case may be a Lawrence moment for disability hate crime"

You Have Been Warned

Some people on 'the Left' gave up on democracy a long time ago - both Cherie Blair and Helena Kennedy are on record as saying that they saw the law as a more effective method of bringing about radical social change than dull old vote-grubbing - and when you look at the helplessness of the law-abiding and the empowerment of the criminal today, who's to say they were wrong ?

(incidentally, if anyone out there has mp3s of Ms Kennedy's recent 4 part R4 'Jeopardising Justice' series, please get in touch - I didn't record them and should have done)

Still, that dull old campaigning stuff played its part, and Labour have been in power for 12 years, arriving with massive goodwill and expectation, soon to leave with the hatred of many and the bitterness of their own supporters.

Laurie Penny has been to the Labour conference :

On Tuesday I walked along the seafront with Hilary Wainwright (another public school leftie) and John McDonnell whilst those two seasoned old campaigners- veterans of 1968, feminists and formerly die-hard Labour activists - mused that the future of the left lay in direct action.
John McDonnell is a fan of the IRA ("it's about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle") and has called for the lifting of the UK ban on the LTTE, more usually known as the Tamil Tigers.

It remains to be seen what manner of 'direct action' Mr McDonnell has in mind. Can't say we've not been told, though.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance Alert ...

Liberal Conspiracy on Andrew Marr's (IMHO disgraceful - I agree with Nadine Dorries) 'are you a loony or what' questioning of El Gordo, 28th September 2009 :

... right-wing bloggers kept questioning Gordon Brown’s sanity and calling him ‘bonkers’, demented and other names for partisan reasons. They justified this on the basis that some others within the Labour party had apparently also started these rumours. But no evidence is offered.

Then some national journalists referenced ‘internet rumours’ to repeat that smear, which was then used by the same bloggers to declare that they were justifed in their smears because it had reached national press and so it must be true. And so the BBC’s Andrew Marr bought into that feedback loop and asked a classic variation of: ’so when did you stop beating your wife’.

.... this incident illustrates that most right-wing bloggers come from the same stock. The ‘bonkers’ meme has been viciously repeated by right-wingers to undermine the PM. There is no evidence to it. The PM could be attacked in other ways – through his policies for example – but these people are only interested in character assassination. And yet only a few months ago they screamed hysterically about how the left was beholden to vicious rumours and chartacter assassination. Now they’re saying nothing other than cheering Marr on.

Damn right-wing bloggers, eh ?

I think they must have got the idea from that vicious right-wing Liberal Conspiracy site, 10th September 2009 ?

We have no way of substantiating this rumor, but let’s for a moment run with the assumption that Brown is taking anti-depressants.

My response? Good. Great. If the Prime Minister of Britain is suffering from depression or some other mental health condition, which given the stresses of his current position seems highly likely, then I’m glad he’s getting treatment for it. I’m glad he’s man enough to admit that he might need help.

Anti-depressants are used by millions of people in this country, although the stigma attached means that many of us don’t talk about it... It takes courage to go to the doctor and say that you have a problem...

I only wish more politicians would follow his example – after all, it’s not as if mental health difficulties in government are unheard of. Some of the greatest leaders the Western world has ever seen had serious mental health difficulties ... Winston Churchill ... Lincoln was also chronically depressed and anxious...

So is the ‘Prime Mentalist’, as he has become known, a person who has mental health problems? It certainly seems likely . Would that fact, by definition, make him unfit to lead the country? Absolutely not.

Not only have plenty of great statesmen and women had mental health problems, the experience of overcoming those problems and playing to one’s strengths may even be an advantage in politics – as it is for many people who, like myself, battle mental ill health.

I said at the time that this "isn't it great that the Prime Minister is mentally ill ?" approach romped home in the With Friends Like These Stakes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Labour Conference Opens

"There was something of stolid resignation about them all, as if they walked half in another world between lines of nameless guards to a certain and familiar doom."

(H.P. Lovecraft on the Gardner family in "The Colour Out Of Space. I know I've quoted it before, but it's such a perfect description.)