Monday, 31 August 2009
This is a guest Post by Mike Ion of Labourlist
(Labourlist has since changed the title, original is in the link above)
Reading various blogs, websites and newspapers over the summer one cannot help but be struck by the number of so called left-leaning commentators who have been at pains to point out that the likes of David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson aren’t too bad and that if we do end up with a Tory government in a couple of years time it wouldn’t be such a disaster after all. Too many of the left's 'intelligentsia' appear to place punishing Brown and Labour for their collective ‘failings’ above the reality of the very real improvements to the lives and life chances of whole communities that were abandoned by the Tories in the 1980s and 1990s.
For many middle class bloggers and journalists, voting Tory or even Lib Dem is a luxury that they can easily indulge. Why? Because they are the very people who can afford to not have a Labour government in office - but the poor cannot.
Labour has a good record in terms of fighting poverty over the past decade: 600,000 children have been lifted out of poverty since 1997, the poorest fifth of families will be £4,000 a year better off by 2010 and the winter fuel allowance, pensioner credit and increases to the state pension have taken over 2 million pensioners out of poverty. The 10p tax fiasco was not a deliberate attempt by Labour to penalise the low paid, neither was it a calculated, cavalier act designed to appease middle England. It was, quite simply, a mistake – nothing more and nothing less.
The ‘talk left but act right’ tendency that is so prevalent in much of Britain’s media appears to have decided that Labour does not deserve another term. They are apparently untroubled by the fact that so many of the changes made since 1997 could end up being rolled back by a Cameron-led, right wing Tory government that could easily dismantle most, if not all, of the things that have been achieved.
If Labour does fail in winning a fourth term and is therefore unable to introduce further reform of public services then the Tories will find it almost impossible to resist the ideological temptation to demolish the very ethos on which they are built - with more charging, less investment, good services for the well-off middle classes and second-class services for the poor.
Labour used to be the party that gave comfort to the afflicted whilst afflicting the collective conscience of the comfortable. It needs to regain its sense of identity and purpose and above all it needs to remind people that under the Tories it is unlikely that things would get better but they could get a whole lot worse.
Riot police broke up a mob of 200 Asian youngsters after they threw fireworks at officers in a town where a right-wing march was banned.
I now look forward to a fifth group being added to that list.
Princess Emma is in the process of negotiating a fresh £700 million pound contract with the Government to continue feathering her nest.
Yesterday the Ministry of Defence revealed that they are to discontinue the issue of live ammunition for front line reserves in order to save £700 million pounds.......
Now if you have been following the saga of A4e, you will have realised that there are jobs available, jobs that the Job Centres which we already pay to perform this task, could be matching up with the Long Term unemployed.
A4e earns £1500 for each Long Term employed who is coerced, by threat of losing their benefits, to go on their courses to make them 'job ready'.
Who do you think they Government should be giving that £700 million of our tax payers money to?
Front line reserves who need to learn essential skills to help them stay alive whilst they fight for Crown and Country? Perhaps we could send the army on paintball courses instead? Or Emma Harrison to help the long term unemployed play with sellotape and yogurt pots whilst they decline jobs?
Please use the Poll provided HERE. (Because I can't figure out how to copy it onto OH's site, I had enough trouble setting it up on my own site!!!)
I shall be sending the results to Patrick Mercer MP who said yesterday:
"We can't have a pop-gun army. The next thing you know we'll be reduced to Dad's army style training, shouting 'bang, bang'."
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Princess Emma of Sheffield can’t have been sleeping easily the last few nights, and the news that there are more than 100,ooo ‘Ps’ – otherwise known as Polish construction workers – heading to her feather bedded kingdom has caused great consternation in her land.
This could be why the latest edition of ‘Benefit Busters’ has been withdrawn from both the ‘on demand’ section of Chanel 4 and from the 4od web site. Those who missed Thursday night’s episode are being denied the opportunity to see Emma fail to justify the £700 million the government are shovelling in her direction to ‘train’ the unemployed and make them ‘job ready’.
Edited to add – I now have a link to an episode if you want to watch it. HERE
Her crack troops of trainers apparently considered a scene reminiscent of early editions of Blue Peter as the great unemployed sit around reading the Daily Star and constructing a ‘bridge’ out of old yogurt pots and yards of sellotape, whilst occasionally looking up and languidly turning down the opportunity of work with various local employers to be the best possible advert for the A4e company whilst they renegotiate their contract with the tax payer. The public were reputedly less than impressed.
Young Mark Pilkington, an ex-army man who had had a ‘few problems’ since leaving the service was hailed as a success – but he was already highly motivated and actually wanted employment. He took on a job laughingly described as ‘landscape gardener’ but which appeared to consist of clearing roadside brambles. Mark was delighted though, and there were touching scenes as he spent his first weeks pay cheque on his partner.
Disturbingly, although A4e claimed Mark as a success, and presumably will receive their full £1500 payment for finding him a job, he was already motivated at the beginning of his mandatory course (his benefits would have been stopped if he had not attended) and worse, when he had landed the job and called into the Job Centre to tell them, it seems that his Job Centre ‘controller’ was on such first name terms with the Greenco landscaping company involved, that she was able to pick up the phone, dial the number from memory and address the person at the other end of the phone by christian name…….in which case, why hadn’t she got him that job without the tax payer having to put another £1500 under Emma’s mattress?
Sadly within four weeks, he was laid off, through no fault of his own, and although A4e and Emma Harrison get to clock up another £1500 from the tax payer for having got Mark back into work, Mark will spend the next four weeks without any benefits whilst the DWP rebuild his claim. Apparently, this sort of thing goes on all the time. Companies take the unemployed off A4E’s hands, then drop them, just like that.
The staff at A4e seemed remarkably keen to recommend low paid, temporary, agency work, and when asked about this during the interview, Emma replied she was ‘gutted, gutted’ – she must be gutted – she gets £1500 worth of gutted every time she persuades someone to sign up for temporary work as young Mark did. It was pointed out to Emma in the interview that she might like to take this up at Government level and that her clients seemed to be losing confidence in her, she replied ‘ d’you fink I’m sum sort of Einstein or summink’ and giggled with embarrassment.
You can take the girl out of Sheffield and make her business woman of the year, but you’ll never iron the Sheffield out of her.
One unfortunate fellow had scribbled BNP on his folder (not actually uttered the fateful initials!) – wash your mouth out lad, this is nu-labour land, you can’t say anything like that! He was dressed down in front of a room full of his colleagues (and the watching TV audience) and threatened with being thrown off the ‘course’.
The most successful of her employees was the one who was handing out short term contracts – ‘0′ hours, no job security – there should be a total bar on A4e getting paid for putting people into employment that they know cannot last.The first episode had ended with three of the women getting two weeks unpaid work experience at Poundland!
Surely the Department of Work and Pensions must stipulate the minimum that Emma should be doing for her £700 million – I understand that her new contract will only give her 40% of her money up front, and the rest conditional on getting a job – but what sort of job? If this is how the company and its CEO perform in front of the cameras, God only knows what goes on there in real life.
Today we read that the News of the World is shocked to discover that a staggering 225,000 foreign workers have been signed up to build London’s 2012 Olympics.
Ministers promised the billions invested in the 2012 Games would be a LIFELINE for local workers and firms.
But the Olympic Development Authority (ODA), which is battling to get locals into the jobs, has found many of them unwilling to give up their BENEFITS.
As luck would have it, Poland is hosting the 2012 European Soccer Championships, and the:
“Economic Ministry believes preparations for the European soccer championships will generate at least 100,000 jobs in Poland. If the country is lucky, the total could be much higher. Dziennik indicates the number of jobs that the Euro 2012 effort generates may reach 370,000 jobs by the end of 2012. [...] A labor shortage will complicate that effort. Tens of thousands of Poles with construction skills emigrated to Great Britain, Ireland and other European countries after Poland joined the EU in 2004. Estimates are that Poland needs about 200,000 construction workers right now. It will need more as the pace of building picks up. To meet those numbers, the country will have to recruit many workers from abroad, not only from neighboring countries like Ukraine, but also from Asia, especially China.”
If A4e can’t get off their backside and find some jobs for labourers in the London 2012 Olympics building boom – then perhaps they could export some workers to Poland to fill the vacancies there – after all they do have offices there.
I’ve got a better idea. Instead of padding Emma’s mattress, why not offer the £1500 to the long term unemployed as a bonus after they have managed to find and keep a job for a minimum of one year?
Saturday, 29 August 2009
I notice that the BBC is preparing the ground for OFCOM to insist that they spill the beans regarding how much of OUR money is used to keep the likes of Jonathon Woss in the style to which he has become rapidly accustomed.
This is the result of one man, whoever he may be, leaking the MP’s expenses file.
Now I want a list of the salaries of ALL public employees. If a bandage costs the NHS £13.50 when I can buy it in Superdrug for 79p, I want to know about it.
So in the spirit of transparency, copy and send to your town hall:
Dear Town Clerk (no, not CEO. You gave yourself that title, I didn’t)
As you work for me, spending my money, I’d like to know what you paid yourself last year and what you claimed on expenses. With receipts please. Oh, and your departmental heads as well.
When we’ve finished with that, I’d like to know the going price for:
A: A set of traffic lights
B: One bulb for a street lamp
C: A primary school meal.
Once I know, I’ll tell you if I can find any of it cheaper. Including yourself.
Love and Kisses
Friday, 28 August 2009
We are now seeing the effect, the Fritzl Effect, of handing over too much responsibility to the 'experts' in Government to 'protect' us.
A few days ago a young woman turned up in a Police Station in Antioch California who had been imprisoned for eighteen years and one assumes raped as a minor as she now has two children. Yet again the person who committed these acts, had a wife 'who knew nothing', the neighbours who had reported their concerns that children were living in tents in the 'yard', were ignored. The man was a known Sex Offender on a lifetime parole, had a parole officer and the Police just knocked on the door and getting no reply went away after being asked to investigate why there were children living in a tent.
This morning my eldest son said, I cannot imagine this sort of situation happening here. Unfortunately we will not know until somebody eventually turns up.
When all 'responsibility' for the welfare of children is handed to the State, on the pain of being branded a paedophile for even talking to a child, and the State through the offices of the Police, Schools, Social workers is the most inefficient and incompetent way of dealing with this sort of abuse, it allows us the easy option to look the other way and not get involved.
The problem with Big Government it likes drafting thousands of new Laws, setting up Agencies with highly paid 'experts' packed with North Americans or North American 'hip' social policies. All expensive and ineffectual, but at least the illusion is created that 'something is being done'.
Any Law that cannot be policed properly is bad law, the Police despite their attempts to watch us all will fail.
At the end of the day an elected Prosecuting Magistrate should be in our legal system, somebody members of the public can turn to and let their concerns be heard without fear of being branded. The same role should hold the Police to account when they cannot be bothered to investigate something other than in a half hearted manner.
A large State achieves very little, other than large taxes, how long is it before our own home grown Fritzl victim turns up in Bedford,Bolton or Bournemouth ?
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Are you more likely to be thinking clearly in the final moments of great passion or whilst on the phone to your accountant? Answers on a postcard to Judge AlbertBartz.
Finding himself with no option other than to fine a motorist €245 for using a mobile phone whilst driving, he has electrified the staid German media with his obiter comments.
The Gummersbach judge pointed out that driving with one hand - if one hand is all you have, is not illegal. Engaging in masturbation with one hand is not illegal, indeed partaking in full consensual sex with your passenger whilst driving is not illegal, dictating his decision about the case onto a Dictaphone would not be illegal, fiddling with the car radio, setting the satnav system, even shaving or cleaning your teeth, and dangling your left hand out of the window and using your right hand to play poker on your laptop is not actually illegal, according to current German road rules.
A driver can use a mobile telephone while driving -- as long as he or she doesn't have to hold the phone or adjust the phone's headset while in control of the vehicle.
"You have to question whether using a mobile telephone in the car should be punished any further, when 95 percent of the most dangerous types of behavior (while driving) are not subject to any fines,"
Bartz also points out that it is hard for police to tell exactly what a driver has been doing with their hands, especially in an era when there are so many new digital devices they could be using while driving. He has forwarded the -- in his opinion -- offending piece of legislation to Germany's highest court, the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe as a potential violation of the German constitutional right of equality. A spokesperson for the Constitutional Court said that a decision on the issue wouldn't be made until September at the earliest.
Well said that man.
Yesterday we had the trainspotter who was treated like a member of the Baader Meinhoff Red Army Faction
Now we have Nick Witham being visited by Special Branch, Bomb Disposal and Norfolk Constabulary, in rural Wroxham.
Nick is a Phd student at the UEA.
Just Google 'Police treated me like a terrorist' and see how many stories you get. You are being watched, we are all being watched, but relax it is for 'public safety' !!
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
You grab their no claims bonus, I'll kick him in the nuts
Four years ago when I was on a business trip my Land Rover Discovery was broken into in the carpark of Bristol Airport. It was parked next to the 'security office' in the long stay car park. The break in was caught on CCTV cameras whilst security cowered in their box. The crims then use iron bars to break into eleven other cars. They then used my vehicle to smash their way through the 'security barrier'. All caught on CCTV.
The Police wander around Bristol Airport festooned with guns, mace, and other goodies. They have a nice little Police Station on the site as well where they can eat bacon sandwiches, donuts and drink tea. They saw nothing.
So don't expect a full blown terrorist attack to be thwarted by this lot. We would be better off importing some Glaswegian baggage handlers to give any potential terrorists a good hiding.
Two weeks later having reported the theft to my insurance company, reporting it to the Police was a bit more difficult, as nobody responded to my request for a crime number, a 'loss adjuster' arrived, with ' I was a Policeman' , written all over his face.
I was then subjected to an hour interview during which the implication was made that I had nicked the car myself. Despite the evidence of the 'security men' the CCTV cameras, and the damage to the security gate, and the fact I was in Aberdeen.
I had to fill out a twelve page statement, of who what why when, and get supporting statements from my colleagues in Canada.
The Insurance Company eventually paid up, two months later when they were about to be on the receiving end of a writ for breach of contract.
(The vehicle was eventually recovered by the drugs squad two years later, eight miles from the airport)
Today Mistress Guthrum has just been through the same experience, when one of her employees, had their company car nicked two nights ago, and it was used in a robbery. The first enquiry from the 'loss adjuster' was what was the background of the engineer was he reputable, had he a criminal record, was the company in financial trouble etc etc. She was made to feel about two inches tall and had to sign a witness statement.
Because of our previous experience, she asked him straight out, Have you been in insurance all your life. No, until two years ago he was a Policeman. What a surprise !
Old Policeman never die or fade away, they just find another job that allows them to carry on bullying the victims of crime, rather than catch hard core criminals. They work for Banks, Insurance Companies,the BBC and in Government.
ie 'We know where you live' (and we have 'channels' in which to check you out)
So Ted Kennedy has gone to meet his maker, so why are the BBC lauding his 'achievements ' . He comes from the loins of Joe Kennedy Snr US Ambassador to Great Britain, who wrote us off in 1940. Until two jets slammed into the twin towers he gave aid and comfort to this country's enemies.
His driving skills were non too great either. His explanation of what happened was pretty thin as well, but it helps to be stinking rich and have political clout.
So why Gordon Brown gave a Knighthood to the old blowhard is beyond my ken, as well as the BBC's praise.
Tony Blair will be hosting a series of seminars and speeches in London over the autumn. Organised by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, in association with DFID, Islamic Relief, WorldVision and Oxfam, they will cover the subject theme: ‘New Perspectives on Faith and Development’.
The goal is to explore the vital role that faith can play in all aspects of international development and speakers will represent a variety of faith and secular perspectives. Each seminar will look at the role of faith and the contribution of the faith communities to global development.
Each event will be held in London, though full details will not be released until closer to the time. You can register your interest to attend these events to email@example.com by Wednesday, 2nd September 2009.
Monday 7 September
Opening keynote address from the Rt Hon Tony Blair on Why Faith Matters for Development.
September Faith in the Marketplace?
Tuesday 6 October
Poverty & Conflict: Faith as a Solution or Cause?
Tuesday 20 October
Health and Education- Where Faith Fits?
Wednesday 4 November
Towards a Sustainable Environment: What Can Faith Teach Us?
Thursday 12 November
Closing keynote address from The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
Friday 13 November
Old Holborn has requested an invite
Is this the same stunt Stalin pulled ?
I posted here that Chicago was being forced to close Government operations for periods, now Rhode Island has had to follow suit.
This morning Public Sector workers are being softened up for the inevitable. Brown is going to attempt to end final salary pensions in the public sector in line with the Private Sector.
That puts him on collision course with the Public Sector Unions,as per the Post Office Unions, and a good chunk of his own Party who see the ever growing State as the way to Nivarna
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Is there a kindly soul out there who could edit my template so that:
The left colums are a bit bigger
The right columns are a bit smaller
The middle columns are bigger
Add a section on the right whereI can add a whole load of banners (like the fat poof Dale has) to act as a jump station to other blogs?
Free Old Holborn T-Shirt on offer, slightly soiled
UPDATE: Many thanks to you all. It's looking good! Now I want to add tabs to the top so each author here can have all their postings on a seperate page. Any good simple code out there?
"to share the burden of membership with new accession countries".So that's OK then, right? Latvians will be able to build as many windfarms as their politicians want because a Welsh taxpayer (oxymoron, I know) is paying for it. Romanian Romany "heritage" sites will be fully funded by the graft of Portugese Electricians.
I am a fervent European. I love the place. I also like Langhams Brasserie but they don't tax me to pay for the fucking lampshades in the Ladie's bogs do they?
Bastards. We need to do what the Swiss do. Pay for the bits we like and tell them to shove the rest up their arses - sideways.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Sunday, 23 August 2009
(Picture swabbed from here, where you can see just how expensive DNA analysis really is.)
Some commenters on this post were much more up to date with modern DNA technology than me. I'm a microbiologist who uses some DNA methods, not a molecular biologist who is expert in them all.
So it was especially interesting to hear from The Paragnostic in the comments there, who gave a description of the actual test used on those samples. It's far simpler than I thought. All it involves is the use of a specific enzyme to break the strand at specific points. Where those points are will differ between individuals but will not differ much between close relatives, if at all. The number of bits left, and the sizes of the bits, gives the 'profile'. It's not really very specific at all, given the number of people our government want on that database.
The potential for your sample to match with Ronnie Kray is rather higher than it would be if they were testing actual gene sequences. Cross-matches will happen. Instead of a database of criminals, where a DNA sample might throw up two or three matches, we'll have a database of millions of people which will throw up hundreds, maybe thousands of matches from a sample. Not much help if you're trying to narrow your search. They're building a haystack around a small pile of needles. Are they doing that because a) they are all astoundingly stupid and nobody has realised the problem, or b) because catching criminals is not, and never was, the purpose of that database?
This test will not distinguish between a human and a chimp. Since the lab will assume that the sample is human DNA and probably do no supplementary tests (such as checking to see if the sample contains human antigens), then the test might not spot the difference between a human and a banana.
So, coat your cheeks with banana and give your name as Mr. Fyffe. Then wait for that dawn raid on the greengrocer.
Seriously, this does lead to a rather more worrying scenario, which comes from a comment by Anonymous on the OH post.
My lady has just come back from a night in the small town of Cirencester which has recently seen some trouble.
Apparently there is a large police presence and they are going around swabbing people..........
Well, my first thought was 'just another database-filling exercise' but then I thought about it some more. Those police taking swabs are not scientists. They take the swab, demand ID, stick the ID to the swab and send it off. They are not trained to think about potential problems in sample collection.
Now, suppose they swab you. So what? You've done nothing wrong. You aren't concerned about being mistaken for a kiwi fruit when the next crime happens. You aren't worried about matching Gary Glitter's profile. Nah, not worried at all. Your ID is tagged to your DNA and that's that. Because you're carrying your real ID.
A criminal might not be. A criminal might have fake ID. Very likely, they bought their fake ID from an identity-thief who has picked up thousands of real peoples' ID details from bins and phishing attacks. In a random DNA-collection exercise, the criminal is the one with nothing to fear because their DNA sample ends up tagged to someone else's ID. They don't need to run or hide or protest at the sample collection at all - in fact they'll be first in the queue. The DNA belongs to the criminal. The ID tagged to it does not.
It could be yours, and you won't know until one early morning when the battering ram smashes your door in.
'Oh', you might say, 'it won't matter, as soon as they test my DNA they'll see it doesn't match'.
Will they test it? Why would they? It's already on the database so why test it again? The evidence is already there and DNA is infallible so why re-test?
The criminal has nothing to fear from the DNA database. The innocent have plenty to fear from it.
Whether you have anything to hide or not.
One more thing. For those who think handling and extracting DNA is really hard - I first extracted human DNA from a cheek swab in 1979, in a biochemistry practical class, first year. Every student got it right first time. It's very, very easy to do. That's without modern automated machinery. So don't believe the 'it's too hard for a criminal to do' crap. Given a swab of your cheek cells, I can get the DNA out of that in my kitchen. Certainly enough to leave a good sample at a crime scene. Really, that sort of brute-force framing is a doddle.
Open Letter FAO Chief Superintendent Ian Thomas,
New Scotland Yard
London SW1H 0BG
On August 17th, you wrote to the Camp for Climate Action, requesting further information on the location of our next Camp, which will take place from August 27th to September 2nd, somewhere in the London area. You say that you require this information in order to help with “community liaison”, to ensure the Camp is a “safe and healthy” event, and to help you put a “pre-planned and proportionate policing operation” in place. We are writing this open letter in order to alleviate your concerns, and to make our position clear both to yourself and to the public.
Community liaison has been a vital part of every Climate Camp. At Drax in 2006, Heathrow in 2007 and Kingsnorth in 2008, we put a lot of time and effort into spending time with local residents and allaying people’s concerns, and this year will be no different. We have a good track record of building community support for the Camp and for climate change campaigning, we’ve already been in touch with local Councils across London, and our friendly outreach volunteers will be chatting to the locals from the moment we arrive on site. We plan to be excellent neighbours for as long as we’re there, we’ll be open and welcoming to any local residents with questions or concerns, and we’ll leave the site spotless when it’s time to go.
As regards health and safety – thanks for your concern, but again we’ve got it under control. As with previous Camps, we’ll have great food, water, compost toilets, a team of medics, a wellbeing space, excellent on-site communication, emergency vehicle access, and a family space. We also have a “Safer Spaces” policy and a “Tranquillity Team” to help keep the site free from oppressive behaviour or aggro. Anyone who’s spent time at past Camps will tell you how friendly and safe the atmosphere is – better than most mainstream festivals.
Of course, there is one unfortunate exception to all of this. While most visitors to previous Camps have had an inspiring and positive experience, some of us have had to suffer violence, intimidation, theft, sleep deprivation and harassment, thanks to past examples of “pre-planned and proportionate policing operations”. Local communities have been disrupted by police road closures and indiscriminate stops-and-searches. Members of the public have been attacked with batons or arrested on trumped-up charges simply for standing on the perimeter of a campsite (nearly all of them have now been acquitted or had their charges dropped). Judging from past experience, the best thing the police could do to ensure the health and safety of the public at Climate Camp 2009 would be to stay as far away from it as possible.
Bearing all of this in mind, I hope that you, and the public, understand why we don’t feel able to reveal the precise location of the Camp at this time. Every other aspect of the Camp has been organised in an open, accountable and democratic way, via monthly public meetings. The only secret is the location. There’s a simple reason for this: I’m afraid we just don’t trust the police. Why? Because it seems as though every time we have a protest, the police turn up and start hitting people. Look what happened at the G20. That’s not really a very good way to win people over.
Just because you’ve started using friendlier language and talking about “lighter-touch” policing, do you really think we’re suddenly going to believe you’re our friends? Just a few weeks back the Big Green Gathering was shut down by the police on spurious grounds, for “political” reasons. If the police are really trying to build up trust within the climate action movement, then that’s a funny way to go about it.
The precise location of the Camp for Climate Action 2009 will be announced via mass text as part of the exciting August 26th “Swoop”. I’m afraid you’ll just have to sign up on our website, and wait for the updates just like everybody else!
The Camp for Climate Action Media Team
Written by M
OH UPDATE: Futher details HERE
Tom Harris put up a tongue-in-cheek post about getting the police to accept his DNA on the Database of Life. Dry humour, but humour nonetheless.
Iain Dale did not see the funny side.
Mr. Harris's little joke, while not at all funny to all those who have been arrested for trivia, released without charge and added to the database anyway, will have no effect at all on his own election chances in Glasgow. It won't have much, if any, effect on Labour in England and Wales either because Labour supporters have bought in to the 'anyone objecting is hiding something' lie. The reason it won't have any effect in Scotland is the same, plus...
The difference between the two is down to geography. Mr. Harris is in Scotland, where the police cannot take your DNA unless you are charged with something and can't keep it unless you are convicted. So his constituents will not be up in arms at his little joke. They haven't experienced the cataloguing of everyone, guilty or innocent - yet.
Iain Dale might well be on that database and if he isn't, he probably knows someone who is. South of the border, the police can take your DNA when they arrest you even if they decide not to charge you with anything, and it goes on the database regardless. So Mr. Dale lives where he can be directly affected by this Argos-catalogue of humanity. Mr. Harris does not.
Because of this, Mr. Harris regards concerns over the retention of everyone's DNA as mere paranoia. I can see why he'd think that way. A simple comparison of policing between the two countries shows that down south, the police are far more likely to make an arrest for a trivial offence, or to carry out their jackboot-style dawn raids, than here in Scotland. Since there's no mileage in collecting another DNA sample here, you're more likely to get a ticking off, a warning or a spot fine for being naughty. You won't be taken to the station unless you've been really bad.
Police in Scotland are still in the role of revenue collectors, just like down south, and they have targets so you have to be very careful towards the end of the month, but they are not DNA collectors so they don't need to bring in every suspect for sampling.
In Manchester, the police have just picked up 454 new samples in dawn raids (dawn raids on drunks being just a little more vindictive than necessary, I'd have thought). How many will be charged? Ten percent? Five percent? How many will be on that database? All of them.
So what's the big deal? Most of the comments in support of the database include 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' and 'DNA is complicated so it can't be used to fit people up', both of which are rubbish and the latter statement especially so.
I can set up a DNA replication lab, within my existing lab, for around £5000. I've used the technology before because it has applications in bacterial identification and it's really not difficult to use. I wouldn't need as much gear to copy DNA as I would for a bacterial analysis because I don't need to sequence the sample after I've made it. With a little sample of your DNA I can make many copies and strew them around crime scenes. I don't even have to know the sequence of your DNA to do this. With the help of accomplices I could leave evidence that will show that you committed five crimes simultaneously in three different UK cities while you were on holiday in Australia. Who will the court believe? You or the DNA? You really want to risk it? It's DNA remember. You can't argue with DNA.
If I was a Government funded lab set up to dispose of awkward people, I could assemble a copy of your DNA without ever seeing a sample. I could do it from the sequence on the database. We need never meet. This technology is not new, it's not something out of science fiction, it's been around for quite a few years now. All those GM crops - how do you think they constructed the genes to splice into the plants? All those bacteria modified to produce antibiotics - how did they do that?
There is equipment in research labs all over the place that can assemble a specific DNA strand from bottles of chemicals. It's automated. You give it the sequence and go home, and it's made the DNA in the morning. This equipment is not new. I watched one of these things in action five years ago (it was used for perfectly benign purposes in actual research) and it's an impressive piece of machinery.
DNA is made of four chemicals. Four. The order of these chemicals in the strand is what determines the action of genes, but there are only four chemicals involved. Almost all the machinery used to handle DNA has now been automated to the extent that you could train a badger to use it. Maybe even an MP. Replicating, sequencing and assembling DNA isn't the subject of research these days. It's an established research tool.
Getting a copy of your DNA made is no problem at all. A sample would work, but you don't even need a sample if you have the sequence written down. You don't need to copy the entire human genome, just enough to match the entry in the database. Piece, as they say, of piss.
Criminal gangs can easily afford to do all this and they can easily find someone far more expert than me in this subject who has a degree and no job and who is desperate and open to offers. The cost is nothing compared to the money going through drug barons or people traffickers' hands. All they need do is to watch train seats for USB sticks and they'll have that database. Fancy having a gang come after you because some Saudi millionaire needs a heart transplant, and you're a match? Or maybe your liver matches a Russian yacht-owner who's overdone the vodka while partying with an unelected leader of some country or other. It's not just governments disposing of dissidents you need to be concerned with. This government will - definitely - lose the database as they have with all the others. Then it's open season on your kidneys.
Nothing to hide?
How about your internal organs? I don't know about you, but I like mine just where they are, thanks.
(Although I've pretty much wrecked most of mine by now. Anyone stealing my lungs or liver for a transplant is going to get a nasty shock).
Friday, 21 August 2009
The current level of spending by Government cannot continue, and the Conservative and LibDems are already to committed to either maintain or increase spending in many areas. This is unsustainable.
Only today the PSBR (Public Sector Borrowing Requirement) has been released for July. In one month alone government has overspent and had to borrow the unsightly sum of £8.016 billion.
That means the government was over-spending by more than £258 million per day last month, which is living beyond our collective means by more than £10 million an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (H/T Guido) This means that the productive parts of our economy can no longer support such a huge government, the overspending and the restrictive regulations. (To give an example of how desperate these regulations have become, read this, punishment for attempting self help)
Copied in full from PJC.
Old Holborn is not a member of the LPUK for reasons unknown
It appears that councils and the Police issued over half a million requests to spy on us last year, equivilent to one in every 78 adults being "monitored" by the "authorities." Think about that for a moment. Someone in your street is being bugged by the State.
Are you one? Bet I am.
St Mary's is a general acute hospital that diagnoses and treats a range of adult and paediatric conditions. The Jefferiss Wing is an internationally renowned centre of excellence for the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with sexual health problems, including sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS.
Let it be AIDS, please.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
New migrants willing to canvass for Labour or another political party could get a British passport within a year under citizenship proposals announced today by the immigration minister, Phil Woolas.
They also face being sent on compulsory “orientation days” where they will be taught British values, social norms and customs – and be charged for the privilege.
H/T to Bella Gerens
I have just seen the speech by Kenny MacAskill on letting the Libyan, Megrahi, go, I had never come across him before, but zeroed on his politics immediately.
It was the bit when he mentioned the Prisoner Exchange Agreement with Libya, negotiated by the 'UK Government'. ie 'nothing to do with me guv, it was the bloody English again' forcing us to do something.
Then putting a positive spin on the whole thing by saying it that it was Scottish Compassion (something he maintains the Scots are world famous for) that prompted the release.
I would have more respect for Scots Nationalism, if it had the balls to say this is a Scottish Decision made under Scottish Law, rather than all the bleather about the English forcing this particular poisoned chalice on him, especially considering who the unelected Prime Minister is currently. Tack on the compassion bit if you will.
The realpolitik is that we have made up with the Libyans, we need their proven oil and gas reserves ( The utter irony of the Germans and Brits driving and fighting over all this oil in 1942, to control the middle eastern oil fields further east)
The three hundred people killed when the Iranian Airliner was shot down do not count, the three hundred people killed over Lockerbie do not count and Megrahi does not count. The game has moved on in the last twenty one years.
So sorry, Kenny, Mandelson gets the lunch with Ghaddaffi's son, you just get the climb down.
May-08 Maj Gen SV Mayall, Assistant Chief of the General Staff A mutual friend of ACGS’s has tentatively invited both ACGS and Frank Gardner (the BBC Security Correspondent) to a social event in May 08. Inevitably, there will be some discussion of areas of mutual interest and therefore clearance requested since it will not be possible, nor desirable, for ACGS to avoid talking to him. This will be a private lunch and not a formal media event/interview. Frank Gardner will be informed that it is off the record but ACGS will only talk on issues that he would be happy to discuss on the record. Note that Frank Gardner is a member of The Rifles Regimental Council and also speaks frequently at the Defence Academy and therefore engages frequently on a background basis. Approved
15 May, 13 June, 28 July, 18 Sept 1SL (First Sea Lord) "1SL is hosting a series of private dinner party’s at his residence:
15 May: Kate Silverton – BBC News Presenter and Reporter.
13 June: William Lewis – Editor in Chief, Telegraph.
28 July: James Harding - The Times.
18 Sep: Alan Rusbridger, Editor of Guardian.
The desired effect of these engagements is that decision makers and opinion formers properly understand the continued utility, diversity and relevance of the Royal Navy in delivering defence outputs. Media reporting of these events are not being sought nor expected. Standard agreed lines will be deployed throughout. Approved
29-Apr CINCFLEET - Adm Stanhope Hosting a dinner with various guests including Nik Gowing and Sarah Fletcher. Approved
10 & 11 Apr Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, CAS HRH is attending a 90th Dinner at RAFC Cranwell and is the Reviewing Officer at a flying training graduation on 11 Apr (Fg Off Wales will attend the dinner and is one of the graduations). DEF PR (RAF) drafting Min Sub for CAS to be available for either comment or interview at both press facilities (Clarence House lead). Topics of discussion will be the 90th anniversary (same message as this week), and Price William's training (echoing mesages from his regional radio on Prince William). No media bids as yet, but expected. Approved. Min Sub submitted.
01-AprGOC 4 Div, Maj Gen Everson To host an evening dinner at GOC's residence - Aldershot, which will allow him to engage with targeted members of local, regional and service media in accordance with his Army in Society tasks. Two media ops officers, SIO 4 Div and the SO2 4 Div will be present, along with COS 4 Div. Journalists have been invited from: Meridian TV, Aldersot News and Soldier Magazine Approved
26-Apr Major General W G Cubitt GOC London District St George's Feast of The Company of Mechants of the Staple of England (a livery company based in York). A short speech replying on behalf of the guests. Although asked in a private capacity, there is interest in military issues and this gives a brief opportunity to influence an audience which is a York general Livery Company. No media presence known. The talk will include mention of good performance on operations as well as grateful for support of the public Approved
01-May ACM Clive Loader, CinC Air Command CinC Air wishes to invite BBC journalist John Simpson and Liam Fox MP to dinner on 1st May at Queen’s Gap. The dinner guest list will also include: AVM Jones (Benevolent Fund), Sir John Day (BAE), Nick Cook (Janes' Defence Weekly), AM Peach (CDI) MinSub required - DefPR(RAF) to action
20-Feb CGS To meet with Kevan Jones MP for a one hour drink at the Reform Club. CGS has been invited by Paul Beaver (Defence journalist and a Col in the TA) to meet with Kevan Jones as he is a member of the HCDC, and has been at the forefront of a number of inquiries. He frequently asks PQ's paying particular attention to the work of the Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB). It is hoped that after Portcullis House briefing, CGS could answer some questions and concerns in a more informal way. Meeting should prove constructive and further relations between the Army and HCDC. A member of DGMC will be present. MinSub provided Awaiting Min approval
22-Jan-08 V Adm Boissier A request has been submitted to clear V Adm Boissier's invitation offered to David Shukman to DCINC Fleet's monthly formal dinner at Mountbatten House in the capacity of husband of Mrs Shukman, Snowball Consulting (Management Consultant employed by the London Business School). Dinner at Mountbatten House OSR. Approved
11-Dec CinC Air 2nd of a series of Dinner parties hosted by CinC Air. Attendees: Mark - Dep Dir of BBC; Col Neill - Canadian Air Atache; Air Mshl Sir Colin Terry RAF Rtd (Chair of Bucks SSAFA) Dr Kuman - CE Cancer Research; Mike Kurth - Boeing Approved
05-NovCGS Lunch with the Editor of the Guardian Newspaper Conversation likely to be based along the lines of the Hall reccomendations plus improving the stratigic relationship between the Army and the media Approve Subject to a submission to Min (DES) for approval
12-Nov CGS Invitation for lunch with the Chairman of News International and Editor of the Sun. To futher the stratigic relationship between the senior leadership of the Sun and the Army and is at the request of the Chairman of the News International. The Sun plans to run two weeks of stories on the Armed Forces in the run-up to Rememberance Sunday Approve Subject to a submission to Min (DES) for approval
12-Nov CE/DE Invitation to speak at a dinner given by the Army All Party Parliamentary Group, at the House of Commons The Under Secretary of State has approved this request Approved
13-Nov CinC Air CinC Air holds regular dinner parties with people from all walks of life and from across all disciplines Nick Ross (BBC Crimewatch) is one of the guests at his first party including guests from indusrty Approved
11-Sep CinC Air Dinner Party to be held at Queen’s Gap by the commander in Chief Air with Former BBC Newsreader Jan Leeming, Allan Duncan MP John Simpson Senior Media Dinner Approved subject to full guest list11/09/2007 CinC Air Cmd Request permission to invite the people listed below to a dinner party-• Jan Leeming – Former BBC Newsreader• Allan Duncan MP – Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton• Boris Johnson MP – Conservative MP for HenleyDinner party Submission to USofS11/09/2007 CinC Air To invite Nigel Chapman (BBC World Service) to a dinner party at CinCs house. Dinner party Approved
Full hat tip to Jess the Dog
I can only assume that there is a master plan to get all of our children in "university" so that they are saddled in their early twenties with £20K debt and no real qualifications to actually get themselves out of debt - a bit like the country actually
Idiots. A generation of children doomed. Monobrowed downs syndrome kids clutching a fistfull of worthless certificates demanding to be fed, housed and clothed by the State because the position they trained years for, namely Footballers Wives Fingernail Technician and Braiding Consultant doesn't actually pay £100K a year. - The Holbornettes are studying for the International Baccalaureate , not A levels
Down's Syndrome Boy passes 8 GCSE's. Really.
Dan Hannan strikes again
H/T LPUK Blog
Jefferson had it on the nail
....governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whatever form of government becomes destructive of these ends; it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.
You will not see or hear this message on the BBC or from Labour,or from the Social Democrats or the Conservatives
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
"Why should anybody let it go? If somebody attacks somebody on the street, you're not going to let it go … why should I just ignore it?" Cohen told "Good Morning America" exclusively today. "I couldn't find one reason to ignore it."
Google initially refused to unmask the unidentified writer, who Cohen, 36, claimed defamed her by posting words like "skanky," "ho", and "whoring" below her photographs. The IP address turned over by Google revealed that the blogger was an acquaintance of Cohen's.
Cohen said it was a woman she hadn't seen in about a year, but who was a regular fixture at dinners and parties, but she was not, as Cohen had feared, someone who was close to her.
"Thank God it was her… she's an irrelevant person in my life," Cohen said. "She's just somebody that, whenever I would go out to a restaurant, to a party in New York City … she was just that girl that was always there."
In August 2008, the unnamed blogger wrote five different posts entitled "Skanks of NYC" on the Google-owned website Blogger.com.
There were two photographs posted on the blog that show Cohen and an unidentified man in sexually suggestive positions. The captions below described her as the "Skankiest in NYC" and a "psychotic, lying, whoring ... skank."
One post read "desperation seeps from her soul, if she even has one."
The blog was eventually taken down even though Google continued to refuse Cohen the IP address until the court ruled in her favor.
Cohen, who described herself as a "serial monogamist" and has a "zero tolerance drug policy," said the words were defamatory and harmful to her career. Prospective clients would question her about the blog and what she was doing in the photos, she says.
"Finding new clients this year has not been a walk in the park," she said. "I've worked very long in this industry."
Cohen and her lawyer, Steven Wagner, said they are now planning a defamation suit against the blogger.
"We're not in it to make money," Wagner told "Good Morning America." "We're in it because something was done that was wrong."
In siding with Cohen, Justice Joan Madden of the New York State Supreme Court rejected the blogger's argument that "blogs serve as a modern day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting, and that the statements in this action when considered in that context, cannot be reasonably understood as factual assertions."
Cohen found out the identity of the blogger, whose name has not been made public, on Tuesday and immediately called her.
Cohen says she started out by apologizing to the woman for anything she may have done to earn her ire.
But she says the blogger told her that she didn't know what she was talking about and said the two women should not speak to each other except in the presence of their attorneys.
Cohen said she has chosen to forgive the woman who wrote the nasty words even though she says the blogger has yet to apologize.
"I have pretty solid friendships, and I trust my friends," she said. "I don't know what I would have done if it had been somebody that I valued as a friend."
Wagner said he hoped his client's triumph in court will show others that anonymity on the Internet isn't what it used to be.
"I don't know if it will change the Internet," he said. "It will change the way some people will act on the Internet."