Thought, experience and memory from a brain in a jar, one that sometimes has control over a thirty-two-year-old Londonite.

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Location: Herne Hill, London, United Kingdom

18 September, 2006

So much for Reid then...

John Reid, who began his job as home secretary stating the department was unfit for purpose, and began working on its administration rather than looking at the various scary new powers and duties previously pushed for, now wants to close "legal loopholes" in order to prevent safe verdicts being quashed on technicalities. A good idea in principle, but the BBC helpfully listed a few such loopholes thusly:

Common examples of so-called loopholes include the police failing to properly read suspects their rights, or searching homes with out-of-date warrants."
So the "loopholes" are actually not loopholes at all, but the police (and therefore the home office) not doing their jobs properly. I once met a defense lawyer who revelled in getting people off the hook due to technicalities. I asked him if that wasn't morally dubious, but his reply was that the police have rules and procedures and they have them for a reason. He viewed his actions as a means of punishing the police for not obeying those rules and procedures, and of course if the police are punished for such misdemeanours, then they will get the message that they must try harder. It's the importance of clear feedback, folks!

What is more worrying about Reid's sudden change in tactic is that he is beginning to adopt too familiar NuLabor rhetoric - the same meaingless claim that he wants to "rebalance criminal justice in favour of victims". This was last trotted out when Safety Elephant wanted to remove the rights of wrongfully imprisoned folk from receiving compensation if they have their convictions overturned with their first appeal. Clarke came very close to suggesting that somehow the wrongly convicted were a) not victims and b) were criminal regardless of their acquittal. All this to cut a piss-poor £5 million a year, which one commentator noted wouldn't cover the subsidies for the House of Commons bars.

Again the issue seems to be a binary one - either we have to have our rights read to us or we don't; either police have to obtain a search warrant or they don't. You can't legislate to cover over the police's incompetence without removing from the police the obligation to observe the rights of the citizens it is supposed to be protecting and serving. To suggest that you can is to suggest that the law should operate on a fuzzy case-by-case nature, and that ultimately we cannot know beforehand our rights, or in what way the law actually applies to us. Say bye-bye to that feedback, folks!

This is the latest in a long line of modest proposals (The NIR, the children's index, vehicle tracking, carbon rationing...) that thinly veil NL's determination to create a controlling all powerful Big Government. And where does it get us? Billions of pounds in overspend on schemes that, though easy to fit into a sentence, cost a fortune to even come close to implimentation and usually come unstuck as soon as NL encounter something they hadn't thought of. Which brings us back to Charles Clarke's rebalancing of criminal justice away from victims of injustice. Now people who are acquitted after their first appeal receive no compensation, irrespective of the length of time they have spent in chokey, and have no alternative but to sue the Government, thus costing the Home Office much more than £5 million a year.

17 September, 2006

Spread The Word

Who do you think you are? A benefit for NO2ID. Featuring,

Dara O'Briain (Host of Mock the Week and Have I got News For You)
Paul Sinha (Perrier nominee 2006)
Josie Long (Perrier best newcomer 2006)
Kevin Eldon
Lucy Porter
Wil Hodgson (Perrier best newcomer 2004)
Gary Le Strange (Perrier best newcomner 2003)
Andrew O'Neill
Ben Norris

with MC Daniel Kitson

Book tickets here:

Nuff said.


Ex-Fish Coach Is Terror Suspect
Ex-Fish Coach Is Terror Suspect,
originally uploaded by Simon Scott.
On our weekly shop on Saturday we came across the following splash. Frequently the Southwark News splashes fail to make any kind of sense to me. Did the coach used to be a fish? Does he coach things that used to be fish? I suspect he is the ex-coach of fish, but that doesn't get me much further. Is this something to do with sport? Usually if I can't understand it it's sport. I wouldn't know the off-side rule from a rule forbidding a player to score a goal when there are no players of the opposing team between him and the goal save the keeper.

I also like the way Southwark News always seems to try and punch above its weight, with the splashes getting closer and closer to those of the Evening Standard. I'll try and get more of these in future.

08 September, 2006

I knew one day my prints would come

I got my 20 complimentary prints through from Truprint. So strange to see pictures that have only ever existed on monitors transferred to little squares of card.

I knew one day my prints will come

I got my 20 complimentary prints through from Truprint. So strange to see pictures that have only ever existed on monitors transferred to little squares of card.

07 September, 2006

Martin Scott-Tumbling

What once was a Resonance Open Spot is now being brought to animated glory by Joseph Champniss. A clutch of good people can be found here:

The Lonely Traveller

Plus Ce Change

So recently I renewed my passport, thus avoiding being incorporated into NuLabor's stasi database 'til long after it has collapsed under its own weight and crushing uselessness.

But UKIPS like to save money on their forms. It's probably small potatoes but if they put the price of passports on all their documentation then every time they increase the price of renewal (which will effectively be £93 or more by the time the windscreen scrapers start being issued) they have to ensure that all outstanding forms have been removed from circulation, and that they have been reprinted with the new prices on. To save all that hassle they place the cost of renewal on a single sheet of paper. I lost mine, but if memory served it was about an inch across and written in pencil on that old fashioned kind of toilet paper you used to get in pads.

As my mother will tell you, I had spent an age getting round to my passport renewal so when I finally got my fearful symmetry committed to photographic paper in the biometrics stylee, I was rather keen to just get on with it and get the thing in the post. But how much was it? Being unable to find the tiny bit of paper (come to think of it, I cut myself shaving not long before, and may have used it to quell the bloodflow) I had to take a best guess, and used a figure that I had hastily scrawled on the "where the money goes" handout. And not long after I bundled the whole thing in the post, I received a letter telling me they had received the application. Then a letter telling me that I had sent them too much money, and that I would receive a cheque for the outstanding amount in a few weeks' time. Then I got my old passport back with the corner cut off. Then I got my new passport. Then I got the cheque, for the princely sum of £1.30. I've not paid it in yet...

Also, I noted that on my new passport (biometric chip included) you cannot see the colour of my eyes. What is more, for all the lipservice paid to biometrics, one's eye colour isn't recorded on the passport.

05 September, 2006

You can't always choose your supporters...

The BBC News website is currently running a have your say on whether or not Tony Blair (the Prime Minster) should go. One of the comments runs thus:

I'd rather he didn't quit, he is the best Prime Minister we have had this century and his successor will have some big shoes to fill so can only be a

Which century?