Posts Tagged ‘Orwell’

Yep. I’m still here and still sane. Just about.

This was a post I started writing a while ago but today’s antics gave me cause to finish it. I know I’ve not ranted in a while but had to get this off my chest following the last few exercises in democracy.

When did everyone become such bad losers? How did we move from accepting (maybe grudgingly) that our party, or point of view was not the majority and dealt with it like adults, instead becoming screaming hysterical snowflakes demanding another vote, or that it simply be ignored, or for the more tin foil hat types that it must be some form of covert ploy by hitherto unseen cabals?

I grant that the last UK general election, EU referendum and now the US election have thrown up unexpected results. But so what? Since when does that mean democracy itself is broken? How does that imbue those who feel they’ve lost with some victimhood status that they can wail and scream and demand they still get their way?

More simply, what the fuck happened to people?

The ability to accept and enact public votes is one of the cornerstones of a civilised culture. By all means disagree with, work against the current decision and start campaigning for a future change. But the incessant tantrums and screams that it cannot have been a fair vote since it didn’t go their way just sound like a toddler who’s been told no sweets.

Seriously? Is that how we’re going to run things now? We can have democracy as long as democracy gives the right results?…. Or to put it another way. Suck it up snowflake.

mask
As some may know, I enjoy a bit of a play on twitter now and then. I find the immediacy entertaining, not to mention the continual amounts of “fail” that occurs when corporations or overblown egos come face to face with the real public and are unable to avoid their responses.

I especially love the idea that politicians and those who seek power feel compelled to actually engage. If a tweet is framed reasonably it must be tough to avoid answering. Occasionally you get answers which is more than any other medium provides.

Anyway, in response to one of my tweets the leader of Stockton Borough Council, Robert Cook engaged…
ccok tweet

The awful grammar of someone who is in charge of a public authority aside, his point being I do not use my real name.

Is it a fair one? After all I do not use my real name here either, and I am on occasion somewhat disparaging about some people in positions of power.

In response, I think no.

There are several reasons I prefer to remain largely anonymous (largely as a fair few people know full well who I am)

My main concern is that of my loved ones. Those who take issue with matters of fact yet want to know your name are seeking to make it personal. They want to play the man not the ball. If they are prepared to do that then they may be prepared to attack those near to me convicted of their guilt by association. I am not willing to risk their professional or personal well being.

Next it is precisely because they wish to make it personal. Without a name they must engage the point, the topic or the argument. They cannot sidestep valid points of question so easily. Since I make no points using my past behaviour as a supporting argument then my past behaviours or positions are irrelevant.

Lastly protection. I may be employed in a sensitive position, I may be in charge of a controversial project, I may do business with those I criticise and wish to keep taking their money, or it may be more personal. Perhaps, yes, I am your father.
luke_i_am_your_father

So I guess my point here would be. Why do you want to know? I am not seeking gain power over my fellow man. Quite the opposite I wish I could be left alone. I do not seek to tell others how to live, I would have us leave each to live how they chose. I do not seek to take your earnings, your liberty or your belongings. Why does my name matter?

At best because you want to check I am a voter of yours. That’s cynical and makes points no less valid. At worst it is so you can attack me personally instead of my arguments. Even more cynical, intellectually and morally bankrupt and does nothing to argue against any point I may make.

So in my more usual language. Stop avoiding the question and actually give the people that pay for these arse-brained ideas an answer.

So it’s all kicked off. Dodgy Dave says he want’s to stay in but you can have a say, Red Ed reckons we can produce more turnips with our euro partners and it’s all so confusing if we allow a vote. Stroppy Nigel is laughing away like someone who’s farted in a lift and legged it, and to be honest does anyone really care about Nick?

What next?

The commentators and political class seem to assume referendum = out vote. Not convinced my self. But I stick to certain principles (see I do have some)

First up, no-one born after 1957 has ever been allowed to have a say on European membership. The last vote in 1975 was for an economic community. Not a political federalisation. That is wrong.

A referendum may give short term instability, but in the long term…
An out vote takes away an excuse for all our woes. We can at least have more control over the UK.
An in vote gives the government an actual mandate for negotiating and taking a fuller part in the EU.

Not having a referendum will ensure the matter continues to be endlessly talked about, questioned and the feeling of undemocratic imposition by faceless bureaucrats continues.

In short referendum good whatever the outcome. So lets get it over and done with.

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.

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.

The Downing Street work experience lad has been spouting off again. Apparently the wealthy need to pay a bucket more tax to solve the crippling debt the politicians caused to buy the feckless idle bastards votes.

He neglects to mention his definition of wealthy, I suspect it will not include politicians, footballers and those with millions enough to enable them to come to arrangements with the HMRC. It may I suspect include you if you inherit grannys house, or manage to scrape a living wage above the maximum state benefit level.

Want something to make it feel better? How about this. In the 25 years the Kinnocks have in the EU between them the troughing scum have pocketed £10,000,000 between them in pay and perks. Ten fucking million. They amounted to nothing except a drain on the public purse over here, so they were rewarded by being sent to the mother of all troughs to fill their piggy paws with as much tax as possible. They have contributed nothing to this world and it will be a better place without them.

Quick sums for you. £10 million over a combined 25 years, means they needed to entire tax contribution of 65 working people at the average 2011 wage (£26,052) just to keep these pampered porkers in enough swill.

Would you like to guess what “profession” their useless spawn married his way into?

Wonder why I hate politicians?

The government says so.

Ever paid cash in hand for anything? Of course you have. That little job for the garden? Or that quick plumbing fix you needed? A quick spray on the car door where you scraped it? A quick £50 and no receipt?

According to treasury Minister David Gaukes in the Telegraph

“I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy

A heinous crime apparently. However I find it morally repugnant that the cretins in Parliament lied and cheated their way into pocketing vast amounts of these taxes that someone had to actually earn. So how did he vote when we wanted to know what they were doing with our cash?

20 Apr 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill — Keep disclosure for MPs’ expenses — absent
20 Apr 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill — Exempt only correspondence — absent
18 May 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill — That the Question now be proposed – absent
18 May 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill — Continue to disclose MPs’ correspondence — absent
18 May 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill — Exempt constituents’ letters only — absent
18 May 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill — Third Reading — absent
18 May 2007 Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill — Third Reading absent
30 Apr 2009 MPs’ financial interests — Full and complete registration – absent
30 Apr 2009 MPs’ expenses — No lower limit for declaration – absent

Data from They Work for You and PublicWhip.Org

Curiously quiet on the subject in fact.

I’ll tell you what I find immoral. That an ex-PM shredded documents so they couldn’t be examined. That nepotism runs rife and couples exploited loopholes to pocket £10,000s of extra cash. That some of the bastards outright lied to steal more money. I could go on for ages, if you feel the need to rage then just read this.

So what else did the burbling hypocrite go on about? (and on and on to be honest…)

Where arrangements are artificial, where they are contrived, and designed for the purpose of reducing National Insurance contributions for the employer or the employee, then those artificial arrangements are such that they do constitute tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is tax avoidance

Well yes tax avoidance is tax avoidance. Obviously a genius of the English language there. What it is not is tax evasion. The two things are very different. One is illegal (evasion) , the other is organising your affairs within the law to minimise your tax burden. Given the way the morons piss it away when you do give it to them why wouldn’t you? But from his speech you would imagine that anyone who profits from helping people minimise tax are also repugnant immoral monsters, stealing vital resources from terminally ill orphans and spitting in the faces of pensioners? These worshippers at the altar of mammon such as corporate tax lawyers who help corporations avoid billions in tax.

Someone such as Rachael Gauke in fact. Wife to the aforementioned hypocitical shit spouting piss stain of a public sector leach.

So still feeling bad for paying that gardener in tenners?

We may as well as we get another knee jerk law to combat Trolls!

It displays the staggering level of ignorance the judiciary has for the internet. It will be a criminal act to upset someone. Will there be an official list of insults available? What about sites hosted internationally? If I host my website in the Caribbean or South America how exactly would they prevent publication? On Twitter will we see a repeat of the twitter joke trial where a man is arrested and tried for an obvious joke, but the thousands who re-tweeted the exacts same words are ignored?

Farcical, and another attempt at censorship. freedom of speech means people will get offended. So what? be offended; you are free to. Be as offended as you like. But we all know the only use to which laws like this end up being put to is to “protect the privacy” in hiding rich and powerful wrongdoing.

So frankly and as this is about bad language on the net, you can all go fuck yourselves if that’s the case.

I don’t find trolls particularly amusing. Like a playground kid shouting names. Just ignore them, if they threaten actual violence then they have broken existing laws and should be arrested for that. There is no need for more ill conceived rubbish masquerading as law.
 

This week saw the insanity of the olympics reach new proportions as the organising committee (LOCOG) got Space Hijackers removed from twitter. A peaceful bunch of protestors who seek to maintain public spaces for public uses. Who in their own words seek to

“battle the constant oppressive encroachment onto public spaces of institutions, corporations and urban planners. We oppose the way that public space is being eroded and replaced by corporate profit making space.”

Not a notorious terrorist organisation – their crime? spoofing the olympic symbols.

Note, that is a crime they stand accused of, not copyright infringement as such. Such is the Orwellian reach of this vanity project the political classess have made it criminal to encroach on their ability to profit from these games. Any undue advertising, protesting or anti games sentiment is not permitted. It has been made criminal with officials having the right to enter property and seize anything they deem not in accordance with the games legislation.

It is for instance now an offence to use branded phrases such as

The word ‘London 2012’
The words ‘Olympic’, ‘Olympiad’, ‘Olympian’ (and their plurals and words very similar to them – eg ‘Olympix’
The words ‘Paralympic’, ‘Paralympiad’, ‘Paralympian’ and their plurals and words very similar to them – eg ‘Paralympix’

The legislation goes wider, you may not use specific words in conjunction as described

For the purpose of considering whether a person has infringed the London Olympics association right a court may, in particular, take account of his use of a combination of expressions of a kind specified in sub-paragraph (2).
(2)The combinations referred to in sub-paragraph (1) are combinations of—

(a)any of the expressions in the first group, with

(b)any of the expressions in the second group or any of the other expressions in the first group.

(3)The following expressions form the first group for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)—

(a)“games”,

(b)“Two Thousand and Twelve”,

(c)“2012”, and

(d)“twenty twelve”.

(4)The following expressions form the second group for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)—

(a)gold,

(b)silver,

(c)bronze,

(d)London,

(e)medals,

(f)sponsor, and

(g)summer.

So not only have they effectively trademarked the year 2012, you are committing an offence if your advertising has the words London 2012 on it.

So what of the legacy? Surely that is the real payoff from all the disruption and cost?

So lets take a sport dear to me – shooting. The promises of lasting venues is a sham. Rather than use the money to invest and improve in a lasting venue there is a purpose built one to be torn down after the games. The government have been forced to enact temporary law to allow pistol shooting, but permits only cover the athletes and then only for the games. So the British Olympic team will again be forced to train outside of the UK. Although it is amazing there are any as the funding for the pistol shooters was removed whilst rifle and shotgun continue to be promoted.

So despite the private roads for the profiteers and politicians, denied to ambulances, why should you care? Well how about on cost?

The olympics were supposed to cost £2.4bn when bid for. Latest estimates concede that has risen to around £24bn (and that’s official accounting, I dread to think what is hidden). That’s £400 for every person in the UK, or about 2 and half grand for an average family. For 2 weeks glorified egg and spoon with associated hangers on. That’s 10 brand new hospitals right there.

The spirit of the games is dead. It was trampled to death in the rush of the great and the good to profit in both cash and vanity. It died of a heart attack feasting on the official food of the games, McDonalds, it lost its teeth to the offical drink Coca Cola and the official chocolate Cadburys, it went blind from Dow Chemicals in Bhopal,

I actually quite like the Olympics themselves, I like watching the obscure stuff, it’s usually hilarious. But I’m inclined to agree with the spacehijackers

We’re not opposed to the sports events, and we’re all in favour of having a big party – but only if everyone’s invited.

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