Archive for the ‘Law and Order’ Category.
A court in Scotland has found Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula, guilty of a ‘hate crime’ for teaching his girlfriend’s pug to respond to remarks such as “Gas the Jews” by raising a paw in an imitation of a Nazi salute. I shouldn’t have to say, but will anyway for the hard of thinking, that this was childish, tasteless and offensive of him, however funny he thought it might be at the time. Far more offensive than his extremely poor joke however is involvement of the criminal justice system and Meechan’s probable gaol sentence when he next appears in front of the Sheriff on April 23rd.
To the lay observer such as your humble author this case bears more than a passing resemblance to the miscarriage of justice which was inflicted upon Paul Chambers for his ill-advised tweet back in 2010 (Ed: yes really). Quashing Chambers’ conviction took over two years; hopefully Meechan’s ordeal will not last quite as long.
In a free and fair society, which Scotland – and the wider UK – demonstrably don’t appear to be, Meechan would be free to be as tasteless and offensive as he likes without the legal system becoming involved so long as he is not inciting violence against a person or group thereof. Any backlash against this ‘joke’ would then be left to his peers and society at large to enact, not the state.
Never one to miss an opportunity to suck up to the bully, Labour scion Dan Hodges barely manages to allow the bodies of those murdered in the Paris attacks on Friday to cool off before using his Torygraph column to call for us to welcome even more state intrusion in to our lives by supporting the monstrously illiberal Communications Data Bill (aka the Snooper’s Charter). This will, he believes*, ensure that London isn’t itself the target of such an atrocity.
He offers no evidence as to why we should do so, just the emotive plea of someone who thinks that he can gain security by sacrificing the civil liberties of 65m or so people.
Since his only attempt to justify this piece of useful idiotry when confronted on twitter was to repeatedly pretend that all the security services wish to do is have a look through people’s browsing history – as if that isn’t bad enough given the state’s propensity to try to hang you for what they find on your hard disk if they can’t get you for what they initially wanted – I thought I’d deliver a cold hard dose of reality to him and anyone else who thinks that this piece of legislation is a great idea…
The brutal truth, although you might not like it very much, is that the price of living in a liberal democracy is that occasionally we will be the victims of an outrage such as we saw in Paris on Friday night.
No, that doesn’t mean I want to see people murdered in cold blood. Nor does it mean that I disapprove of sensible precautionary measures that may prevent incidents (such as not allowing those with mental health issues to have access to firearms**).
What it does mean is that I am an intelligent, grown-up human being who accepts the possibility of it occurring rather than someone who is so scared that something bad might happen to me that I wish to sacrifice my freedom in order to be swaddled in the dubious comfort blanket of the police state.
Every Friday 13th Maggie McNeill asks people to speak out in support of the decriminalisation of sex work and activities surrounding it. Those who have read this blog for long enough or follow me on twitter will have realised by now that this is something I support wholeheartedly.
Why the support? Obviously as a libertarian I see no reason why consensual contractual interactions between adults should incur the wrath of the violent state but there is more to it than that. I’ve previously mentioned that I’m known to enjoy the kinkier side of life. This includes activities that the anti-sex wing of the puritans who seek to rule our lives would prefer wasn’t available to be seen. That’s not the whole story either.
Several years ago (exactly which year I can no longer remember) I once provided sexual services for cash, trying (very badly in hindsight) to play the dominatrix to his submissive.
There have also been a couple of moments in my life when, if things had happened very differently, survival sex work could well have been a necessity. For me it may have been the path not taken but others have had to walk it and some will have suffered as a result of activities which could have made it safer being outlawed.
We in Great Britain (note I do not say UK) are fortunate in that prostitution in and of itself is not illegal – however activities such as brothel keeping (which stops sex workers grouping together for their own protection) are. This is not the case in other countries. In the so-called ‘Land of the Free’ prostitution is illegal and rescuing ‘victims’ is big business for both law enforcement and charities. Sweden pioneered what is now referred to as either the ‘Swedish Model’ or the ‘Nordic Model’. Under this approach the customers of sex workers are prosecuted. Northern Ireland is following this route and the Canadian government, after their Supreme Court struck down all of the laws surrounding sex work because it ruled them harmful, is trying the same even though the government there admits it is likely to be only a matter of time before another challenge in the Supreme Court produces the same result.
New Zealand has shown the way forward. It would be nice if the rest of the world followed.
The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) is the not so new UK regulator (quango) for on-demand programming and the reason for its existence can be traced back to how the UK.gov decided to implement the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive. As always if there is an easy way to do something and a hard way, UK.gov will take the latter approach and thus ATVOD was born.
Although it initially set its sights on the MSM, in particular the pockets and the websites of dead tree press, ATVOD has found much easier prey in the form of online adult entertainment and restricting access to it in the name of protecting the children.
Highlights including pushing for bans on payments to non-UK-based websites and lobbying for laws to increase the age-checking carried out by UK-based providers.
In a Statutory Instrument laid before parliament on November 6th 2014 and which came in to effect on December 1st, the Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey proposed that the content of UK-based video on demand (VOD) services should be held to the same standard as physical media as set down in the Video Recordings Act of 1984 (a response to the moral panic about so-called video nasties in the early 1980s).
In practice this means that only content that would be passed for an R18 certificate can be sold legally by VOD producers in the UK with some of the practices that this excludes being:
- Watersports (if another person is involved)
- Heavy bondage
- Discipline beyond a mild spanking
Many UK-based producers of adult content (which include Dominatrixes who film and sell video clips of their sessions) are, understandably, rather miffed at this change as it is likely to lead to the closure or relocation of those studios which produce the non-mainstream content that it is now illegal to sell.
One of them, Charlotte Rose, organised a protest (including facesitting) for yesterday in Old Palace Yard, across the road from the Palace of Westminster and I, as someone who is an occasional consumer of video material covered by this change in the law, went along to it (and took some photographs – including the ones you see here).
The protest took a while to get going with things not formally getting under way until almost 30 mins after the advertised start time. As well as Charlotte, speakers included obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman and Jerry Barnett of Sex and Censorship. The main point made by both Jerry and Myles was that this is not just about porn but rather the ever tightening restrictions in the UK on the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression – of which clamping down on pornography is but one strand. The recent attempts within the UK to impose the ‘Swedish Model’ (successful only in NI so far) of banning the purchasing of sexual services are another and I have no doubt that UK readers of this blog can call to mind other things.
Charlotte says that she wants this to be just the start. Time will tell if that is anything other than wishful thinking.
Legal: Consensual sex between people aged 16 and over.
Illegal: Taking pictures of people aged 16 and 17 that can be considered sexual in nature as, because they are under 18, the pictures are, by law, child pornography.
Yes, I’m aware this situation isn’t new. I just wanted to point out, for posterity, how blitheringly stupid the situation is.
According to leaked information about the forthcoming Queen’s Speech, the government wishes to close a ‘loophole’ in the law which allows paedophiles legally to download manuals on how to groom children by treating those who download such material in the same way as those who download material which might be used to build bombs are.
This is not the criminalisation of actions which cause non-consensual harm but the criminalisation of viewing information which the government objects to.
Information is neutral. It can be also be distasteful but knowledge of bomb-making (i.e. chemical reactions) does not make one a terrorist. Neither does knowing how those who do wish to abuse children might operate make one an abuser.
Deciding what people can (or can’t read) is censorship.
Yesterday the excuse was terrorism. Today it is paedophiles. What will it be tomorrow?
In an interview with the Evening Standard Alison Saunders, the successor to Kier Starmer as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), ‘that attacks on women and other hate crimes were a “blight on society” that affected all sections of the community’.
Sorry Alison, but attacks on women are crimes – nothing more, nothing less. An unjustifiable attack* on any individual is a crime and there is no need to elevate one victim above another – regardless of their gender, nationality, political allegiance, skin colour, religion, sexuality, height, weight, shoe size, when they add the milk to tea/coffee or whichever order they apply jam and cream to their scone (however they pronounce it). Clear?
Why did I get the feeling that she’s not going to be any more useful than Kier?
Wayne Stilwell is, to be frank, an idiot.
For reasons known only to himself, he decided on 31st January this year to waste good bacon by taking it to Edinburgh Central Mosque and leaving it there.
Since anyone with half a brain cell knows that Muslims tend not to be too keen on pork products, this action was only going to cause offence.
All rather pathetic but nothing that the proverbial clip round the ear couldn’t have sorted out.
Sadly the Scottish judicial system decided that it wanted to keep this farce rolling for a bit longer and Stilwell was charged with a breach of the peace. According to Wikipedia, Scottish law defines this as
conduct severe enough to cause alarm to ordinary people and threaten serious disturbance to the community.
A very generous catch-all, I’m sure you’ll agree, given how alarmed ordinary people seem to get these days over rather innocuous things.
Stilwell, who has been held at HMP Edinburgh since pleading guilty, was handed a 10 month sentence on Tuesday.
10 months? For admitting to being a total prat? Huhne and Pryce only got 8 months apiece for perverting the course of justice, and Julia regularly mentions cases where habitual offenders get less than that for property and violent crimes.
Could someone please explain to me why taking Stilwell off the streets for 10 months (less once you consider probation etc) makes Scotland safer because from here it is a sentence that makes as much sense those handed down to Barry Thew, Matthew Woods and Jacqueline Woodhouse amongst others.
Following on from Dick’s post on Wednesday evening I thought I’d contact the train operating company I have the pleasure of using and ask for their official policy on e-cigarette use by customers using their facilities.
I’d previously seen a not very encouraging twitter reply to a fellow passenger…
…but I thought I’d confirm this, just in case the twitter account called it wrong…
Dear Misanthrope Girl,
Thank you for taking the time to contact c2c.
Because of their similarity in appearance to cigarettes and the vapour they produce, their use could cause confusion for staff and could potentially cause tension with other customers. Like many other operators, we don’t allow E-Cigarettes to be used in areas where smoking is banned, this includes platforms and on board trains. Our posters will be updated in due course to provide advice to our customers.
I hope this information assists you, if there is anything further that we can help with then please let me know.
Customer Services Executive
…but it seems that they didn’t.
I’m still debating whether or not to reply to Mr. Bradley pointing out that not all e-cigarettes look like cigarettes and that the vapour he is so concerned about is nothing but water. Somehow I think I’d be wasting my time though.
By the way, does anyone know why smoking is (apparently by law) banned on platforms? I can understand it on those that fit the description of what constitutes an enclosed public space but since so many platforms are exposed to the elements, I’m unsure as to why it is banned on those.
Self-styled ‘Child Protection Expert’ and teller of tall tales about Jimmy Savile and Duncroft, Mark Williams-Thomas (MWT), has – I assume in order to be able to pontificate in great detail via any media outlet which will let him – been keeping a beady eye on the trials of Mark Bridger and Stuart Hazell, and today came out with these words of wisdom…
MWT’s argument here is that if you do, watch or indulge in X then Y will happen as night follows day. By the same logic the following statements are true:
- All cannabis users will take harder drugs such as crack cocaine, heroin etc.
- Anyone who has watched pornography will become a rapist.
- Owning a firearm means that one day you will walk into a school and massacre a classroom full of children.
But, since we know that they aren’t, you really do have to be a complete cretin to assert that possessing an image of child abuse (as distasteful as it is) means that you will automatically become a killer of children for kicks.