Posts Tagged ‘law’

Much internet fun to be had on twitter right now, but belies a serious topic.

Porn Tsar & MP Claire Perry responding to a clamour from Parents, voters, the Daily Mail had touted a plan to force ISPs to filter internet content according to an approved list given by the Ministry of Truth, Government.

This, of course, was all in the name of protecting the kiddies from the Tsunami of filth that lurks online ready to pounce onto unsuspecting 5 year olds and drag them off to be trafficked to BBC DJs.

Adults would be able to opt out of this censorship filtering, but further into the proposed great British firewall plan was the intention to log all search terms and report them to Governemnt agencies.

So why am I against it you surely cry? Why am I happy to sacrifice the innocents upon the alter of liberty?

Well firstly, and simply, it is bullshit. It fails on every point.

It will save exactly zero abuses. Predators do not use google to satisfy their urges. A voluntary filter will not prevent ftp traffic, emails, usb flash drives, or secure connections.

Filtering and blocking websites can be circumvented as any teenager who wishes to pirate music can tell you.

Dozy bint Perry MP conflates perfectly legal porn with images of abuse. Whether your tastes extend to looking at the Daily Mail side bar, or to tamer rude videos the fact remains they are legal. Why should a puritanical MP wheeling out moral bandwagons force you to effectively register to be able to view them? Because that info would never end up on say, a CRB check to become a teacher or foster carer would it?

The issue of child abuse does not require more law. It requires the enforcing of the ones we have. It is already a crime. What it needs is the hard work of coppers supporting to prosecute and punish properly individuals who perpetrate such acts. It is heinous and should not be equated with porn, fetishists or anything else the moral crusaders deem inappropriate on your behalf.

If you want some idea of how technologically literate Perry is, she was advised earlier this week that her own website was insecure.

Lo, and behold! the following day her site was hacked and filled with porn. Not illegal abuse images, just run of the mill smut. This was reported on the political blog Guido Fawkes. It is important to note the word reported there.

Claire Perry immediately took to twitter…

That’s right. She accused him of hosting the porn (actually it was her site doing the hosting), hacking her site, and sponsoring the attack. She then went on to try and bully him into removing the report by threatening his paid work at the Sun

As of now the allegations remain up, despite being asked to remove them. She offered no proof other than her outrage, and she has disappeared off of twitter whilst anyone having passing knowledge of a computer rips into her about not knowing her screen grabs from her hyperlinks. Following a readers poll it appears Guido has instigated legal proceedings over the allegations.

So the upshot? She has probably killed off any chance of her policy making it through. It is just a power grab on the ability to censor the net after all. even a Tory website has torn her to shreds over secret plans to exaggerate ISP success at filtering. The real responsibility for looking after children lies where it always has done. With parents. As I have remarked before, if you wouldn’t let your kids talk in the streets with a stranger, or chat on their mobile with a stranger in the dead of night, why do you think it is ok to let them do it on a computer?

Your children, your responsibility

So few last words. First up this was ISP Andrews and Arnolds response to the prospect of China like censorship of the net in the UK
selection

and finally, apparently this may be Claire Perry MP briefing her tech team about the internet

After Phorm and Prism that we know about, do you really trust the politicians to tell you what you can read?

Right. I suspect there will be some offensive language on this post, consider yourself warned.

Gay marriage is in the news. Apparently some MPs (mainly old, male and tory) are dead against the sort of shenanigans that some MPs (mainly old, male and tory) get up to becoming recognised in law. So they’re tabling amendments to try and wreck the passage of the bill to allow gay marriage.

“It’s wrong!” the exclaim, “unnatural”, “it will undermine the sanctity of marriage” and off course my favourite “against [deity of choice here]’s will”

So here’s my issue. What the flying fuck has it got to do with anyone else whether two consenting adults who love each other and want to make a commitment recognised in law to each other do?

What gives these self important twats the right to decide how others live? Don’t agree with gay marriage, fine, don’t fucking get one. I don’t agree with lots of things. Guess what? I don’t do them. I do not get to impose my values on everyone else. (Otherwise I could beat boy bands to death).

If you seek to impose your values on others you better have some damn good evidence. Not just a book of fairy tales, but evidence. It will not undermine marriage. I’m married (yes really!) and guess what will happen to our marriage the day following gay marriage being permitted? Nothing. Not a fucking thing. I will still be as happy and in love as ever, I suspect I will still get moaned at for not doing the washing up/hoovering/leaving pants on the floor. The only difference is that I may get an invite to more weddings.

If the whole idea makes you uneasy, uncomfortable or outraged. Guess whose problem that it? Yours and yours alone. Stop making it others. Stop making excuses for being a bigot. Live your life how you want and do others the same courtesy.

…and if your imaginary friend tells you it’s wrong then tell him/her/it to come see me and I’ll tell them to stop being a bigoted homophobic prick as well.

now to lighten the mood, here’s George Takei being far more eloquent, humourous and forgiving than I can manage.

So Google “do evil” according to self anointed head of the tax inquisition Margaret Hodge MP. They did after all pay only £2.3m corporation tax on a £3.2bn turnover in the UK. Seems a bit dodgy I think we can all agree.

Two things here, I’ll start with the hypocrisy first, and there is an MPs expense list sized shitload of it.

Hodge is a shareholder in steel company Stemcor. Her family company (which include trusts and holding in the name of her children in order to avoid inheritance tax) latest accounts show that the business paid tax of just £163,000 on revenues of £2.1bn in 2011. Less than 1/100 of 1%. There are of course spluttered excuses that the company pays all the tax it owes under law and that she has no direct control (since she put it in trusts and her sprogs names to avoid even more tax)

If you really want to choke on your conrflakes you can see her excuses trotted out here. (Students of body language, enjoy!)

or here

After all she is on record as saying “The tax you owe is a duty. It’s an obligation.”.

So here’s my second point.

They both obey the law. Maybe not the moral one we’d all like to see followed, but I suspect they have an army of highly paid accountants ensuring they follow the letter of the law. Like MPs who scammed the system, like public sector chiefs who pack remuneration boards with cronies, technically they have done nothing wrong.

And who drafted the laws? Who decided on one of the most complicated tax codes in the world? MPs. Especially those that seem to have an interest in the countries taxation system. MPs like the Queen of hypocrisy Hodge.

So before she drags more companies in to try and embarrass them into voluntarily filling up the exchequer, Companies that employ people who actually pay income tax, national insurance, VAT, fuel tax, council tax, inheritance tax & capital gains tax to name just a few (and so unlike her and the rest of her scumbag colleagues) Maybe Hodge ought to have a long hard look at herself and her holdings in tax avoiding Stemcor.

After all if it’s so bad, then why isn’t there a law against it, or if it is why isn’t it enforced?

Do you have the freedom to restrict others freedoms?

That in essence is the case before the Human rights courts. Can religion be grounds to insist or refuse on behaviour in the workplace.

It is unfortunate that they seem to have swept up several cases into one as they are very different. But I think boil down to this. Are you free to give offence or can you stop someone offending you?

First up is the wearing of crosses or religious symbols. Work places prevent them on the grounds it may offend someone. As long as it doesn’t interfere with your work or constitute a hazard, and breaks no laws what’s the real problem? If someone wants to be offended by the sight of them – Vampires for instance – then they should of course free to do so.

By the same token refusing to carry out work because the customer offends you. For example Islington Council registrar Ms Ladele who refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies. She is free to believe what she likes but not to be employed by all the taxpayers but to refuse to carry out work for those that personally offend her. Fine, be offended, and do the work you are paid for. You do not have the right to make the world fit your views. She does of course have the freedom to leave and seek other employment.

Of course in a court of law if any of the applicants can supply evidence that their particular brand of fairy tale nonsense is actually true then the courts should listen. But I guess we’re not expecting any breakthroughs there are we?

+++UPDATE+++
Bloody hell. Sense prevailed.
The court took my advice on each and every case!

So, an update.

Following the hiring of Buddy Ed at Cleveland Plod I thought it would be interesting to see if the new Commissioner did in fact follow the rules in his first decision.

According to the act he referenced in his report he should have proposed the appointment of Buddy Ed to the Police and Crime Panel and awaited their response (to be within 3 weeks of the submitted proposal), at which point he can either accept or ignore their report. Given that he sacked the previous Chief exec and gave Buddy Ed the job in less than a week from winning the election this all seems a bit unlikely…

Anyway. I emailed the Chair of the Police and Crime Panel at Stockton on Tees Borough Council, Councillor Norma Stephenson

Cllr Stephenson
I am emailing you in your capacity as Chair of the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel following Cllr Harringtons recent “tweet” regarding the same. (https://twitter.com/cllrharrington)
Following the information he linked to I read the report by PCC Coppinger regarding the recent appointment of a new Chief Executive (Mr Ed Chicken) for the police authority in which he references the requirement of The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, Schedule 1, paragraph 9.

The PCC neglects to reference section 10 of the same schedule http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/13/schedule/1/enacted
(copied for reference)

Section 10
(1)This paragraph applies if a police and crime panel is notified under paragraph 9 of a proposed senior appointment.
(2)The panel must review the proposed senior appointment.
(3)The panel must make a report to the commissioner on the proposed senior appointment.
(4)The report must include a recommendation to the police and crime commissioner as to whether or not the candidate should be appointed.
(5)The panel must comply with sub-paragraphs (2) to (4), within the period of three weeks beginning with the day on which the panel receives the notification from the commissioner of the proposed senior appointment.
(6)The panel must publish the report to the commissioner made under this paragraph.
(7)It is for the panel to determine the manner in which the recommendation is to be published in accordance with sub-paragraph (6).

Given that the PCC was elected on the 16th Nov, and that he confirmed to the BBC on the 22nd Nov (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-20443895) that he had appointed Mr Chicken can you confirm that the Police and Crime Panel scrutinised the firing of Mr Pudney and hiring of Mr Chicken in accordance with the Act? Can you confirm that the Panel was given sufficient notice to examine the PCCs required notification (section 9) and produced a report in accordance with Schedule 1, section 10 of the act? Could you inform me as to the date of the meeting this decision was scrutinised at, where the report was published in accordance with Section 10 para 6 and if possible provide a link to the minutes?

You would think it would be fairly simple to remember if you chaired a meeting in the last 3 weeks regarding the controversial appointment of the brand new Commissioners Buddy Ed?

Apparently not. Although the reply was very quick, it consisited of…

I have forwarded your email to #### ####. Head of Law and Democracy at Stockton Borough Council.
Councillor Norma Stephenson.

We shall see what comes next!

We have a new Police overlord in the socialist utopia of Teesside.

Barry Coppinger took charge as PCC following the elections in November. Surprisingly his first act was to sack the previous Chief exec of the Police Authority, Stuart Pudney. Who was brought in on £90,000 per year contract to help with the mess Cleveland found themselves in when the Chief Constable, the deputy Chief constable and the Authority Chairman were all arrested as part of investigations into corruption.

In his place he immediately appointed Ed Chicken whose vast experience as executive member for community safety at Middlesbrough council was obtained working with, surprise, surprise, Barry Coppinger.

Anyway. This week Coppinger has to meet the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel at Stockton Council. As part of this there are written submissions explaining his actions so far. You can read them here…

It’s interesting to see his reasoning. His report includes…

To consider the appointment of a Chief Executive by the Police and Crime Commissioner, further to the requirement of, Schedule 1, paragraph 9.

I actually looked this up.

It reads

Scrutiny of senior appointments

9(1)A police and crime commissioner must notify the relevant police and crime panel of each proposed appointment by the commissioner of—

(a)the commissioner’s chief executive,

What Commissioner Coppinger fails to note is that under para 10 of the same schedule

10(1)This paragraph applies if a police and crime panel is notified under paragraph 9 of a proposed senior appointment.
(2)The panel must review the proposed senior appointment.
(3)The panel must make a report to the commissioner on the proposed senior appointment.
(4)The report must include a recommendation to the police and crime commissioner as to whether or not the candidate should be appointed.

So the proposed appointment should have been scrutinised by the panels, a report delivered back to commissioner as to whether he could go ahead, and only then was he in a position to appoint his buddy. It would appear that in the first paragraph of his first report he has already broken the rules to continue in the fine Cleveland tradition of giving jobs to mates…

It will be interesting to see if the Panel hold him to account over this, given that it effectively dilutes their authority.

Next….

Following the election result on Friday 16th November, it was necessary to consider, very quickly and carefully, what staffing would be needed both to signal change, and to achieve my manifesto commitments in the context of very considerable public expectation.

No period of finding out what the Police in Cleveland actually need, but straight in with what does he need to fulfil his political agenda…

So having dismissed the Police Authority chief exec summarily, he then details the criteria upon which his Buddy was hired.

1)   Ability to complement my own experience and background.

2)   Shared values in respect of the role of the police service and its accountability to the community.

3)   Considerable experience of community safety and partnership/wider criminal justice landscape.

4)   Understanding of operating within a directly elected individual model environment.

5)   Ability to begin immediately

Obviously you can’t find these anywhere as crass as a job advert, as the post was not advertised. Given that he was appointed within days of Commissioner Coppinger taking over I find it hard to believe that anyone had anything as dull as an interview, and as has been seen already there was no scrutiny as required by the panels.

He then waxes lyrical for some time about buddy Ed’s accomplishments at Middlesbrough Council on each of the criteria. How he pioneered “talking CCTV”, how he “requires the support that this experience brings, to enable me to translate my manifesto commitments into action. I have worked with him for over 10 years and so know that we can work together successfully without risk.” – basically confessing he is not up to the job without his buddy to see him through, and is incapable of forming professional working relationships?

His last justification for Buddy Ed is very telling…

Finally it is important to explain why I felt it essential to have a person I can rely on totally, in place from day one of my term of office; even though this meant displacing the Chief Executive of the former Police Authority. I do not wish to be critical of the former post holder but the post I have filled is different, its scope is far broader. It could be argued that the former post holder could develop and adapt – but time is pressing and there was too much risk associated with that approach. I am only too well aware that I must make some very significant decisions very quickly. The budget position is pressing and a restructure is needed that matches available resources to my priorities. A plan must be produced which you expect to see in January and a Chief Constable must be recruited. I therefore felt that the course of action I took was the only practical way forward. Indeed it is a very common approach taken by politicians entering office at a senior level.

Or to you and me, I wanted my buddy in the job regardless of the previous holder, and wanted it done fast so no-one could argue.

Commissioner Coppinger has already been criticised int he press for this action, but he defended this stating

all contracts would be honoured and pledged there would be no “net cost increase” to taxpayers linked to the appointment of Mr Chicken.

Really? So taxpayers aren’t continuing to pay Mr Pudneys contract which he is rightly entitled to? Or we aren’t paying the taxes to Middlesbrough Council to cover Buddy Ed’s wages whilst on secondment? Or are Middlesbrough council simply doing without an executive member for community safety whilst Buddy Ed is away? Because if they can manage without him for that long, you have to question whether they actually need one at all?

So is he really justified?

Was the previous Chief exec really unsuited for the role?

Stuart Pudney has been chief executive of North Yorkshire, he’d also worked in trading standards and according to the Authority he brought “a wealth of experience in regulatory services, the police and local government”. Considering he was already in position, and continues to be paid by Cleveland Police we can assume he was ready to start work.

So it would appear that that only one of Commissioner Coppingers criteria that he may fail on is

“Ability to complement my own experience and background”

Or in other words, Commissioner Coppinger was not prepared to work with him.

So, back to the report. The commissioner finishes with a flourish…

The role of PCC is designed to be decisive, to cut bureaucracy, and to provide clear accountability. I believe that my actions have demonstrated this

If by that he means take decisions without correct oversight or process, hire cronies over qualified and experienced personnel without proper appointment processes and generally wallow in the mire of corruption and malfeasance that Cleveland Police Senior levels seem determined to cover themselves in.

Could be an interesting first meeting. It should be. I’m guessing it won’t be though.

Big news apparently!
Homophobe and unelected Bishop, son of lady Williams of Elvel, long time oil exec and product of bastions of privilege Eton and Trinity college Cambridge, Justin Welby, to become head of unelected and tax evading cult!

Of course those who claim he was elected are technically right, although despite heading an organisation that profits from centuries of tax breaks and state funding you were not offered a vote, in fact the selection panel consisted of

  • Chair – the Rt Hon the Lord Luce KG, GCVO
  • The Reverend Canon Clare Edwards, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  • Mr Aiden Hargreaves-Smith – Diocese of London – elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
  • Mr Raymond Harris, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  • Professor Glynn Harrison – Diocese of Bristol – elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
  • Mrs Mary Johnston – Diocese of London – elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
  • Mr David Kemp, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  • The Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Primate of The Church in Wales, elected by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion
  • The Rt Revd James Newcome, the Bishop of Carlisle – elected by House of Bishops
  • The Very Revd Andrew Nunn – Diocese of Southwark – elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
  • The Rt Revd Michael Perham, the Bishop of Gloucester – elected by House of Bishops
  • The Reverend Canon Mark Roberts, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  • Mrs Caroline Spencer, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  • The Revd Canon Peter Spiers – Diocese of Liverpool – elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
  • The Revd Canon Glyn Webster – Diocese of York – elected by General Synod to serve as members of the Commission for a five year period
  • The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
  • In addition, the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments( Ms Caroline Boddington), ), the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary (Sir Paul Britton) and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon) are non-voting members of the Commission

In fact much the opposite; You are not permitted any say on the running of his organisation which benefits from state acquiescence on a massive scale, yet since he was appointed to the house of lords he gets to vote on acts of the house and was even appointed to Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in 2012.
Good to know that we’re moving forward into the 21st century on the whole accountability, transparency and equality things isn’t it?

Two news stories that have been dragging on that to me share some bleak and disturbing similarities.

First up Jimmy Saville. Now bereft of headstone, reputation and venues named after him, despite as yet being convicted of nothing. It is alleged he carried out decades worth of abuse of children and vulnerable adults in places such as the BBC, Great Ormand Street, Leeds hospital (where he was a volunteer porter), and numerous other places.

Now a multitude of voices crawl out of the wordwork to pour fuel on the flames as they stoke up the witchburning. Now the man is dead, now the abused children are damaged, now the accusers have nothing to fear, now the horse has well and truly bolted, they speak out.

That Saville was a weirdo and probably a molester is no surprise I think. What shocks is the sheer number of people that must have known, must have covered the facts, in effect must have facilitated his abuse.

If you knew what was going on, truly knew, and did nothing, you are an accomplice. You left children and sick young adults unable to defend for themselves to the clutches of an abuser. You put your job or career before them. You should be named and shamed.

Second story is that of Lance Armstrong. Wonder boy and darling of the new super-sport cycling now exposed as drugs cheat and bully. He is alleged to have systematically doped and encouraged others to do so. He is alleged to have threatened other riders to capitulate to his demands, threatened reporters who wrote articles he disagreed with or that threatened to tarnish his teflon reputation as the hero who defeated cancer. Again people knew, and did nothing.

But the thing that really joins the two events, the thing that makes my blood boil, is the defence I have seen on more than one occasion.

“But think of the charitable work they did”

They got away with their crimes in part because they raised cash for good works. They were shielded and tolerated because they helped fund hospitals, or research. They used photogenic kids in dire medical need as a cover for their activities. In effect, allow me to carry on or little timmy suffers. People rationalised the harm they did as it allowed them to keep their job, or carry on their research. They put their own goals first and profited from the crimes.

The fact they raised a few million that was put to good use does not absolve them from their crimes. Or do we just put a price on abuse? Million quid per small child? or 2 years of drugs cheating?

They perverted what should have been good and noble activities to be little more than covers, and if you use that answer in any way as an excuse for allowing them to continue you were an accomplice too.

I believe that “but think of the charity they bring in” will now be termed the Armstrong-Saville defence…

But watch who you talk about!

Offensive on twitter and facebook about lost children? 3 months jailtime.

Celebrate 6 soldiers deaths and call for more of them to actually be murdered? Community service…

So if you’re offended by anything, not only can you write to points of view, or worst case a strongly worded letter to the Times. Now you can get the perpetrator locked up. Unless of course they pick on the forces. We all know they’re considered fair game.

Here we go again!

The Church has written in vehement disgust and appaled anger at the Governments plan to allow gays to call their union marriage. If this heinous and outrageous crime is permitted they claim they will break with the state (and all those subsidies?) and threaten to stop conducting weddings on behalf of the state.

Despite the fact fact that the Governments proposed legislation granting all orientations the same partnership rights specifically will not force Clergy to conduct gay marriages they are up in arms that anyone else be allowed to do something they disapprove of. They go further in insisting they be allowed to retain their bigoted and discrimatory church rules because they fear it could be challenged in the European courts. Which is somewhat strange, as they appear to be a fan of these coursts when it suits them?

I’ll forgo reiterating all the usual arguments about religion, and ask this.

If they break with the state, refuse to carry out state work (ie; marriages) then what is the church but a social club with some funny rules and charitable status?

In order to keep charitable status, any charity must abide by the equality act which unlike the rules they call laws, is in fact a Law, that states;

…makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of a protected characteristic in a wide range of areas including employment and the provision of services.

The following are protected characteristics:

age
disability
gender reassignment
marriage and civil partnership
pregnancy and maternity
race
religion or belief
sex
sexual orientation

Failure to comply with this should mean a charity loses it’s charitable status. Should be fun when they have to pay some tax on their income, property and investments. Maybe then they can contribute to helping the poor in society instead of sitting in churches and mansions and spout outdated prejudice against minorities.

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