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Thought Police

Oscar Wilde Syndrome.

I trained as a Lawyer and my advice to anyone who is thinking of suing any person or organisation for Libel, even if you have been libeled, but especially if you haven’t, is don’t. Take it on the chin, ignore it and move on with your life. Under British Law it is much to much of a gamble either way, as the outcome of this court case today shows.

I have no idea whether Mitchell called the PC a fuckin pleb or not, and could care less. It is not a criminal offence after all. By all accounts Mitchell is a nasty piece of work who is ideally suited to the job of Chief Whip where being a bully is an absolute plus. He was nicknamed “Thrasher” Mitchell when he was a Prefect at Rugby Public school (yes the same one as the fictional Flashman… you just can’t make it up can you?). But there are some very disquieting aspects to the whole “Plebgate” affair.

First; there is the fact that one Police Officer has been jailed for obstructing the course of justice (presumably the one who pretended to be a member of the public who was just passing by and was “shocked” by Mitchell’s language, and just happened to email the Cabinet office using almost word for word what PC Rowland says Mitchell ranted at him, when he wasn’t there at all). Second; that three other Protection Officers have been sacked. And third; that another five are on gardening leave and under investigation, yet the Honourable Justice Mittings finds that there is obviously no conspiracy against Mitchell. Oh fuckin really??

On the balance of probabilities (not beyond reasonable doubt) which is how this case was decided, the good Judge found that…

‘I am satisfied at least on the balance of probabilities that Mr Mitchell did speak the words alleged or something so close to them as to amount to the same including the politically toxic word pleb’.
And the Judge then goes on to virtually insult the PC again…

Pc Rowland was ‘not the sort of man who would have had the wit, imagination or inclination to invent on the spur of the moment an account of what a senior politician had said to him in temper’

So which do you prefer then PC Rowland, being called a fuckin Pleb, or thick and unimaginative by a High Court Judge?

And the High Court Judge in question, has a bit of form for being an anti establishment dripping wet Liberal.

Oscar Wilde was a bloody fool to sue for Libel, it destroyed him, and the same has happened to Andrew Mitchell. The court costs are going to be eye-watering. And all he had to say in the first place was… Yes I called him a fuckin Pleb, because he is a fuckin Pleb! What of it?

They are barely even pretending these days

We are entering a very interesting period in public life.  Now I am not one that looks back to a halcyon golden age when government reports always held government to account.  The infamous Widgery report is proof of that.  But it seems that of late, the whole thing is getting more shameless.

Cameron recently claimed that the Wanless report into historic abuse cleared the Home office.  Of course it did no such thing.  It merely said they could find no evidence that the missing files had been lost deliberately.  I’m not sure what they were expecting to find.  MI5 couldn’t find any evidence either.  Considering the suspicion was that MI5 were using video footage to blackmail senior political figures, its unlikely the spooks would have said “Yes, we knew these cunts were raping kids, but god it was a useful stick to beat them with, so we thought – fuck it”

In the USA we had the ludicrous situation where the IRS, when accused of serious wrongdoing ‘lost’ two years’ worth of e-mails.  Try that as a defence if you aren’t the government.  Do we really think they would have lost two years of records that completely exonerated them?

Then we had the FIFA report that clears FIFA.  Only the report’s author said it was a travesty and disowned it.  So now what?  Well probably nothing.  I heard a senior football administrator type figure saying it was time to “move on”  Code for’ ignore’ obvious criminality.  UEFA could of course say “Publish the full unexpurgated report or we are leaving.  Try even staging  world cup without the Europeans.

And now we have Mr Cameron’s latest anti-terror proposals.  I had always thought of him as a fat social democrat, turns out he’s a creepy fascist.  The Government wants to stop British jihadists returning unless they agree to strict conditions.  Mr Cameron said that British nationals would be unable to return to the UK “unless they do so on our terms”. If not, they will face a temporary exclusion order of two years, with the possibility of another being imposed after that.  This is utterly remarkable.  It amounts to “if we suspect you do something (ill-defined) abroad, that we don’t approve of, you are guilty of it and aren’t coming back, unless you confess”  So let’s examine this:

Does this apply to anyone who joins a foreign army/fighting force?  Okay ISIS bad, got it.  What about the FSA fighting Assad (the people we wanted to arm last year?) Criminal or not?  What if you join the FSA as a medic?  What if a Brit of Syrian origin from an Alawite family went join the Syrian army against ISIS, what if they joining Hezbollah also fighting against ISIS in Syria?  What if you joined HAMAS, notionally the government army of Gaza, would this be okay?

What if a British/Iranian joint citizen did a year in the Iranian navy?  I was in school with a Welsh kid who went to Afghanistan in the 1980’s to fight the Russians (really), is he liable to arrest?  Is it only a religious thing?  If you go to join the (secular) Tamil tigers should you be arrested?  Should Mahal mums be worried?

Unlike some other countries, Britain does not have an effective law prohibiting its citizens from fighting for foreign armies, so as far as I can see, joining any state organisation from the IDF to the Syrian army is okay.  The latter being particularly mad, because you could be doing more or less exactly the same thing Hezbollah is doing in Syria, but in the latter case, I think you could face trouble under this new proposal.   This proposal seems chaotic and liable to random and subjective application. Far better as Dominic Grieve suggests, to prosecute people if they break the law and release them if they are found not guilty.  (And it will be very interesting to see how this new law is drafted, will it specifically apply to war, or will it be a catch-all “anything we don’t like” clause?)

The whole rational basis for public life seems to be imploding. It was always implicit that the law was rational and it applied to everyone.  If this ceases to be the case, it ceases to be law in a meaningful sense and becomes rule by fiat edict.

And now we have this (very vague) Met police statement that suggests senior figures in the 1980’s weren’t just raping kids, they were killing them as well.  We can really trust this who government thing huh? Never mind, there’ll be another report along in a minute.

Bill Clinton is right – the U.N. will prove to be a lot worse than the NSA.

Bill Clinton may be a crook (well forget the “may be” – he is a crook), but that does not mean he is not right – indeed it gives him an insight into corrupt minds. And not being in the service of a political ideology (being an “honest thief” rather than a “bitch” [a servant of the Soviets] – in the language of GULAG) he has no reason not to say what it is going on.

We now see what the Edward Snowden thing was really about (as well as giving the FSB some tips in the cyber war – stuff they most likely guessed at anyway). It was about discrediting United States control of the internet – thus giving Mr Obama an excuse to do what he always wanted to do. Hand over control of the internet to the United Nations international telecommunications union (read Russia, China and the Islamic powers). The NSA just wants to know what you are saying – the new masters of the internet (with no pesky First Amendment) will want to stop you saying it.

Was Mr Snowden just a useful idiot – or an FSB agent all along? I do not know – but the censorship of the internet (not practical under American control of the internet) is now a real possibility. Barack Obama may get his dream (control of speech – by P.C. doctrine) by the back door of the “international community”.

The young people (the ones who nod their heads at the “libertarians” on Mr Putin’s “Russia Today” television station) will not (yet) believe me. But the NSA (and yes the CIA also – people such as Mike Baker who risked his life so many times for young people who think he is a “Fascist”) were not the enemy (they never were). They (the NSA and the CIA) were not out to censor you. It is your “saviours” (the people you hero worship) who want to censor you.

“We are techno people, no censorship will work on us” – oh you silly people, that is not what censorship is about. Censorship is about the average person not seeing something.

The Egg Dance

I’ve recently got back from Amsterdam. Now I suppose it is moderately unusual to collapse into giggles in the Rijksmuseum’s section on Dutch 12th-17th Century art but I managed it. This is a detail from the picture that made me laugh…

That is a detail from The Egg Dance by Pieter Aertsen.

What made me laugh though was the caption next to it…

At right, in this brothel, a young man does an egg dance to the music of a bagpiper. While dancing, he had to roll an egg within a chalk circle – without it breaking – and to cover it with a wooden bowl. This ‘pointless’ amusement, along with the dissolute behaviour of the other figures, served as a moral warning against debauchery.

Emphasis mine. I just loved the phrase “This ‘pointless’ amusement”. Sums up life really. Less, seriously though, this was painted in 1552 and I guess you had to make your own amusement back then. The Rijksmuseum does also boast a large collection of impedimenta for drinking games. An inventive (if drunken) lot those renaissance Dutch.

In fact it stuck in my mind so much that upon my return I googled (I think the term is so ubiquitous as to have lost the capital like “hoover” has) the picture. I found this.

Now one of the first things I wondered was why the Rijksmuseum was so sure it was a brothel. To me (and my wife) it just looked like a fairly chaotic party in a home…

At the back of the room an old man is playing the bagpipes. Because of its shape, the instrument often symbolised the male genitalia. In the window is a jug containing a leek, a vegetable of the onion family. A sixteenth-century viewer would immediately have realised that the scene was a room in a brothel. Onions were supposed to be a stimulant. All around lie onion flowers, leek leaves and mussels, which were supposed to have the same quality. It was also thought to be true of eggs, the theme of the painting.

OK, the bagpipes I kinda got already. That’s a bit of a classic (cf Hieronymous Bosch)…

… Or indeed this. It is amazing how, across culture, time and geography, symbolism can be both steady yet sometimes obscure like the leek. Though that might explain the perennial appeal of Sir Tom Jones (or why, as I type, the Welsh are giving the Scots a hammering at the Rugby). This evening I shall be in the peculiar situation of cheering on France). Anyway back to my point.

From the same source (I almost hit “sauce” – hmm…)…

Pieter Aertsen has given this piquant scene a moral message that appears to reflect his own moral reservations. A joker is depicted on one of the wooden boards on the table, left, and on the other a goat jumping. These are cards in a Tarot set. In the sixteenth century everyone would have understood that these symbolised drunkenness and lust. The reel above the fireplace on the right is a sign of folly: in fact ‘reeling’ is still used today to describe a person swaying or staggering from the effects of alcohol.

The Egg Dance is one of the earliest paintings of a peasant scene. The elongated form suggests it was designed to be hung above a fireplace. This kind of genre painting was popular among the burghers of the cities. The moralistic message was often an excuse to paint a piquant scene. Aertsen was also commissioned to paint large religious works for churches. However, many of these were destroyed during the Iconoclast fury.

Emphasis mine. There is something almost reassuring about the continuity of this moral hypocrisy. We see it in modern times with the Islamosphere and the idea that a normally dressed woman is a hussy. And elsewhere.

“…the American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs” and she shows all this and does not hide it.”

- Sayyid Qutb (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood who are currently sexually assaulting “inappropriately hijabed” women and girls in Egypt” describing a Methodist tea-dance in Colorado in 1950.

Qutb apparently died a virgin having failed to find a woman “pure” enough for him. It would be farcical but for the Hell that has followed in his wake.

Or what about the most sanctimonious of businesses – the Co-op and it’s “Crystal Methodist”? The Co-op sells “ethical water” (whatever that might be) and it’s ordained Methodist preacher bank boss was using crystal meth, crack cocaine, ketamine and rent boys. Oh, and the bank had a “black hole” of over GBP1.5bn.

My favouritist newspaper in all the World is of course the Daily Mail which routinely in it’s “News” section includes scare stories about the sexualization of girls and women being driven into eating disorders by being “forced” by the media into looking like models and starlets right next to the “Femail” column (how cute) which is supposed to be about women’s issues (yeah, right). It includes stuff like this all the time.

So, to tie this all together… I’m not sure how but in some sense (and there are different variations but the basic tune is always the same) “elites”* of all descriptions will always find some sort of justification to indulge in the sins they would deny the plebs or… Well, something along those lines. Qutb is an outlier but there is still the same infernal moral arrogance of “I can see this for I am pure but you can’t”. It is the same as the burghers of Amsterdam all those years ago titillating themselves whilst feeling (or pretending to feel) morally superior to the lower orders.

Apparently there are things in the dungeon of the British Library that are so vile they can only be accessed in the presence of a couple of trustees of the British Library and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I bet Prince Philip has had a gleg…

*A term in political discourse I hate because when I was a lad “elite” meant the SAS and such. And not just gits.

Why I hate the Daily Mail.

Well, the Miliband stuff is beyond anyone’s pale.

I disagree with Ed Miliband on much but there is a hop, skip and jump between that and the virtual grave-robbing they’ve done recently.

But that (vile though it is) is not the real reason. The real reasons are the comments section called [out of their] Right Minds. It’s like a mirror image of the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

But nah, it ain’t even that. Nor is it the obsession with house prices (like the cost of a basic essential going-up is like a good thing?) or their idea that the entire population of Bulgaria is going to sell children to peadophiles in Midsommer next Thursday.

No. It is (and I have previously mentioned this) the right sidebar called “Femail”. Now apart from the name being hideously cute like a kitten that has just puked on a Persian rug it is (very) soft porn whilst the main editorial rants and raves about porn as though it were the work of Satan himself. The hypocrisy is risible in it’s obviousness. I have seen “Femail” sidebar stories trumpeting some starlet’s weight loss post-partum to size 6 (UK) next to polemics against the “media” (which clearly doesn’t include the Mail) for encouraging eating disorders in kids. Or some rant or rave about binge drinking or whatever next to some pic of some X-Factor wannabe falling out of her dress (and a nightclub) simultaneously.

But the Miliband thing is a shark-jump.

I wouldn’t wipe my arse with the Mail – even if I were Venezuelan.

And this is not because I like Ed Miliband. It is because this is plain nasty. If I disagree with the leader of the opposition I shall so and why. I won’t go after his dead father.

And this is the same paper that has campaigned for mandatory IP porn filters that you have to opt out of to protect the kids. But when it gets called on this dreadful stunt starts wibbling about “press freedom”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the paper ought to have been banned. I’m not saying they ought to be censored (or whatever) but… If they have the right to offend (and they do) then I have the right to be offended. By their grossness over the late Mr Miliband and their serial set of double standards that makes Dr Erwin Schrödinger’s moggie know whether it is coming or going.

Oh, and their football coverage is shite. Their coverage of WAGs (and their handbags that cost more than my wife’s car) on the otherhand…

Trogger*

The Daily Wail is up in sanctimonious arms about a “notorious internet troll” they have exposed.  Why is the Wail’s blood up?  Because uncompromising blogger Old Holborn verbally slaughtered a couple of sacred cows that no one dare tell bad taste jokes about.  And it caused the twatterati to descend into a frenzied virtual lynch party.

This is the face of one of Britain’s most notorious internet trolls.

As his alter ego Old Holborn, Robert Ambridge is responsible for a series of vile and offensive Twitter posts that have brought him death threats.

Apparently death threats are not as vile and offensive as taking the micturation out of a taboo subject.

Thousands were outraged when Ambridge, who appears on his Twitter page with his identity disguised by a plastic pig mask, tweeted about the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. He posted a picture of two overweight women and claimed ‘this is what crushed the 96’.

Whereas the millions who have never heard of OH and are too busy having a life to tweet probably couldn’t give a stuff.

Moral outrage.  The most persistent bane of our post normal society.  A dangerous threat to free speech.  Is OH offensive?  I’d say yes, having read his blog on and off over the years.  Sometimes I agree with what he says and on other occasions I think he’s a git.  I wouldn’t issue a death threat to shut him up though no matter how offensive his remarks.  Nor would I be insisting that “something must be done” to silence him.  If he wants to be a git making gittish remarks designed to annoy authoritarian gits then that’s his prerogative.

Ambridge, 51, a recruitment consultant and father of six from Braintree, Essex, also made disgusting comments about the murder of James Bulger which deeply upset his mother. But an unrepentant Ambridge claims people who are offended by his comments have only themselves to blame.

Yes, being offended on the behalf of someone you’ve never met has become a full time sport for the perpetually affronted brigade.  My reaction?  OH is being a controversial git gleefully poking what he knows is going to be a hornets nest to provoke a reaction.  The adult thing to do, if you are offended by him, is ignore him, not give him the oxygen of publicity.  But it seems we are not dealing with adults and that includes the journalists and the police.

‘It is not my responsibility what other people find upsetting. I didn’t target anyone. I didn’t send an email. They chose to read what I wrote. If they don’t like it, they should turn it off. I don’t care what people find offensive.’

Because making crass remarks might be offensive to those prone to outrageous bouts of herd apoplexy but it is not an offence in law.   It certainly isn’t a hound ‘em and flog ‘em out of gainful employment offence.  Oh wait, yes it is.  People have the right not to be offended.  By anyone or anything.  Anywhere or at any time.  And the authorities will be there to mollycoddle wounded feelings and take names.  All in the name of social inclusivity and clamping down on naughtiness to make the world a better place for everyone who is happy being a touchy-feely herdthink drone.

Justifying his tweet about Hillsborough, he added: ‘This is dark humour. People might not like my humour but I think it is funny and it gets a chuckle.’

So where is all the outrage about taking the mickey out of fat people?  Don’t they deserve to be treated with sensitivity?  Well no, because it is socially acceptable to believe that all fat people are greedy and stupid and deserve all the derision they get even when they don’t. Unlike Merseyside’s tragically deceased they aren’t a protected species when it comes to verbal abuse or offensive jokes.  Either everyone is a target or none at all.  I’ll settle for everyone because none at all is a tyranny.

This week, the self-proclaimed ‘satirical terrorist’ will seek to justify his vitriolic internet posts in an ITV documentary called Fear And Loathing Online.

Well yes, OH can be quite loathsome when he puts his mind to it.  However the only fear in this particular Wail story comes from the death threats of the morally outraged.  OH hasn’t actually threatened anyone, merely piddled them off.  Not the same thing.  So how come he’s the only pariah in town right now?  Have the thousands of column inches dedicated to our not bombing Assad being wrong, wrong wrong, finally run out of steam?

Ambridge agreed to be filmed without his pig mask, although his face was not shown. But The Mail on  Sunday traced Ambridge to his dilapidated Victorian home in Braintree.

Matthew Hopkins journalism at its most odious.  I’ll assume that howling mobs, pitchforks and flaming torches were optional extras not available on expenses.

With an appearance more akin to Coronation Street’s hapless cafe owner Roy Cropper than a cutting-edge satirist, he initially denied he was Old Holborn.

So what is a “cutting-edge satirist” supposed to look like?  And who wrote the benchmark specifications for the physical appearance of one?  Fatuous journalism at its most infantile.

But later, speaking at the wheel of his battered Toyota vehicle, gap-toothed Ambridge said: ‘I am there to upset the apple cart. It is a form of entertainment. Trolling is like putting a fishing line in a shoal of fish and seeing what you can get.’

I can see a pattern building here.  It’s not just OH’s opinions that are low rent.  His dilapidated house, battered Toyota and crooked teeth are proof that the Wail is dealing with a lowlife scumbag who needs to be put in his place – six feet under if the Twatter mob get’s its way.  He hasn’t broken the law.  The fact that he’s overweight, white and middle aged isn’t a criminal offense although the Wail is trying to build a case on those shifting sands of stupidity.  He has six children.  So what?  I am led to believe he has worked hard to bring them up instead of relying on the state to do it.  That isn’t a crime either.

Ambridge worked for Alchemy Recruitment in Braintree until April, when he was first outed as a notorious online troll. Following his Hillsborough comments, people bombarded the firm with phone calls and threatened to burn down its offices.

OH is a blogger who stirs the smelly stuff with a big spoon and then muses upon the fruits of the fall-out.  He’s certainly not everyone’s cup of cha.  Internet trolls lead the unsuspecting into an ambush which isn’t OH’s modus operandi at all.  But then, given the inferior, poorly informed and lacking a shred of research dross that passes for journalism these days, I suppose the confusion is understandable.  After all the newfangled  blogging media has only been around for a decade and a half – give or take.  Not enough time for the legacy media to catch up.

However, the ancient practice of witch-hunting is alive and well in the twenty-first century.  Anyone associated with someone possessed of free speech a penchant for controversy an aversion to political correctness the Devil’s evil forked tongue and tail is fair game and must be purged for the good of society. Don’t you just love this popular resurgence of a deeply unsavoury hysterical historical custom?

An investigation was launched by Essex Police over tweets relating to the Boston bombing, as well as the Hillsborough disaster and the Bulger murder. Ambridge has since left the company.

So are they going to investigate everyone who believes OH is entitled to his opinion no matter what sacred cow he’s tipped?  Are they also going to investigate the death threat tweets and emails he and his former employer received?  If not, why not?  Or is it now legal and acceptable to put someone in fear of their life for upsetting the herd or because they employ someone who has?

Police said the CPS is considering whether to pursue a case of criminal communication through social media involving a 51-year-old man from Braintree.

Clearly there is a certain demographic that never found its way out of the infants playground.  It is not the job of the police to nurse bruised sensitivities and pander to the chronically indignant.  Their job is to investigate, arrest and charge actual criminals, not harass people who upset the mores of self-indulgent, social puritans. So OH caused offense with his crass and very black humour.  So what.  It’s not like he was caught red-handed molesting kiddies, drowning kittens or mugging old ladies for their bingo money.

I was disgusted by the people who happy-danced at a certain old lady’s funeral a few months back.  But they were entitled to do that. I was content to mutter “gits” at the TV screen.  I certainly wasn’t motivated to hunt them down and send them death threats on behalf of the bereaved family.  Nor do I expect the police to “investigate” the matter as a possible “hate” crime.  Yes there was hate.  A lot of it.  But was it a crime?  Hardly.

 

*  It seems the Wail doesn’t know the difference between a controversial, politically incorrect blogger and a troll, notorious or otherwise.  Hence, Trogger.

“I’ve Got Nothing to Hide” and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

The argument that no privacy problem exists if a person has nothing to hide is frequently made in connection with many privacy issues. When the government engages in surveillance, many people believe that there is no threat to privacy unless the government uncovers unlawful activity, in which case a person has no legitimate justification to claim that it remain private.

Professor Daniel J. Solove has posted this paper as a 28-page pdf to be read on-line or downloaded (at no charge), at

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION
II. THE “NOTHING TO HIDE” ARGUMENT
III. CONCEPTUALIZING PRIVACY
……….A. A Pluralistic Conception of Privacy
……….B. The Social Value of Privacy
IV. THE PROBLEM WITH THE “NOTHING TO HIDE” ARGUMENT
……….A. Understanding the Many Dimensions of Privacy
……….B. Understanding Structural Problems
V. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

Since the September 11 attacks, the government has been engaging in extensive surveillance and data mining. Regarding surveillance, in December 2005, the New York Times revealed that after September 11, the Bush Administration secretly authorized the National Security Administration (NSA) to engage in warrantless wiretapping of American citizens’ telephone calls.1 As for data mining, which involves analyzing personal data for patterns of suspicious behavior, the government has begun numerous programs….

See Prof. Solove’s About page at

http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/dsolove/

Educated intolerance

Helen Szamuely reports of Leftist violence against the German anti-Euro party, the AfD. As she says, these people seem to have no awareness of their own movement’s history. It does sound worryingly reminiscent of an earlier era in German politics. But what really stood out for me was one of her own comments. The AfD is apparently considering suspending its campaign in Göttingen:

which, being a university town is particularly intolerant of any diverging opinion.

We all know it’s true. And we have a fair idea how that state of affairs came about. But what would the great minds of the past have thought about the fact that not only do some university towns suppress independent thought, but that we expect it?

And how do we fix it?

Edit: Removed italics that I’ve no idea why I’d put in.

Why I despise the Daily Mail.

Hypocrisy is the short answer.

The longer answer is their cutsey-named “Femail” sidebar on their website. It by and large consists of stuff like this. Note the second image where Ms Moss’s nipple is clearly visible. And this from the valiant crusader (that’s all over the front page of the print edition) against online pornography. This is the online version. See also this

I don’t know how they got these pictures – they look rather too HQ to be paparazzi but I dunno. I mean it could be a publicity stunt for Moss (who I note from the TV doesn’t seem to be advertising any perfume this Christmas) or it could be the long-lense lads. But… I dunno. The Mail are hypocritical scum either way. Personally I think pornography (however hard or soft) which is done with willing (and paid) participants is morally vastly superior to paparazzi stuff. But that is by the by. Both articles are available in seconds from the Mail website. How can they square that circle? Or do they want the Mail reclassified as an opt-in soft-porn rag? Because this is very far from the first time “Femail” has published “compromising” pictures of ‘slebs.

Or… pictures of say, Rihanna’s (very nice) bottom in her skimpies in the “Femail” column whilst editorialising elsewhere on the corrosive effects on teenage girl’s self-esteem of pictures of “perfect” female bodies or claiming this is resulting in ever younger boys sexually assaulting girls. And all this whilst claiming implicitly (explicitly) to be the moral keel of the nation.

In a sense it would be fitting and sweet if they were cast into the outer darkness of “Asian Babes” or “Monster Jugs” – hoist indeed upon their own petard. But I object to this censorship anyway and in deep principle. Somebody has to decide what is unsuitable for kids and I think that ought to be us adults. This is not a matter for government. It really shouldn’t be. It also implies mission-creep for there is already talk of websites involving deliberate self-harm. And what after that? It’s just government control of the internet.

Our playground. Not there’s. They only hate it because they don’t understand it. And they are small people, pathetic people. People who do not believe that individuals can ever do the right thing without coercion, if not outright violence.

If you go down to the park today…

…prepare for a nasty surprise.

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre authorities obviously don’t believe they have enough authority so they are maneouvring to grab a little more power for themselves.  They are proposing to ban smoking in parks and other public open spaces and people can now be cautioned or fined for not having a plastic bag.

First off I’ll tackle Blackpool extending it’s draconian no smoking policy.

Moves are being made to ban smoking in Blackpool’s parks.

The ASBO-pilots, muggers, drunks, druggies and perverts that frequent these spaces and make life miserable for local residents are a serious social problem yet it is smokers who are being singled out.  Why is that?

Health bosses today said the move was being made to protect children from the dangers of smoking, but the policy has been branded ‘outrageous’ by those who fear it could drive visitors away.

Think of the chiiiiiildren!  The sickeningly familiar war cry of the authoritarian control freak.  Let’s set aside the fact that the local park is a favourite venue for Blackpool’s many chavlings to congregate and pour cider and Stella down their necks and have a toke on a spliff.  Let’s consider the harm that can be done to people’s health if they suddenly inhale second-hand cigarette smoke that has been instantly diluted by the great outdoors.

Errrrrr.

Well there isn’t any, is there.

Okay, we’ll let that little factoid slide for now.  Let’s compare the evils of secondhand smoke to the effects of youth crime and anti-social behaviour in Blackpool that will be taking place, mostly undisturbed, under the noses of the anti-smoking stasi.   Obviously a whiff of ciggie smoke up the hooter is far more perilous to your health than risking sexual assault, a knife in the guts or being in fear of your life as you are robbed of your mobile phone and wallet while walking in the local park. Therefore banning outdoor smoking is clearly a priority so that the kiddies can carry on sending the crime rates soaring without fear of instantaneously developing cancer and keeling over, dead as doornails.  (Oh, if only…)

Signs are to go up at the entrances to 13 parks and playing fields advising the public the areas are now smoke-free sites.

Yep, those signs are going up for sure.  Even though the ban is unenforceable because the local council hasn’t yet drafted a witch-hunting charter by-law to persecute save smokers from polluting themselves or anyone else out enjoying the open air.  Permission is being sought from Blackpool council to install up to 34 signs.  Want to bet that common sense will prevail and the permission will be refused becasue it is not illegal to smoke in parks?

Nah, me neither.

So what’s with the plastic bags?  Well, when PCSOs aren’t busy hectoring smokers who aren’t breaking the law, all the while pretending not to see the various types of violent pondlife who are breaking the law, they are going to double up as dog shit police and they are armed with special powers.

Dogs fouling pavements and dropping their loads in parks and other public spaces is a problem; of course it is.  There is no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog unless you are blind or confined to a wheelchair.  Dog shit, especially the stuff from dogs who have not been regularly wormed, is certainly a greater hazard to public health than smoking outdoors.   Most dog owners I know (I’m one of them) do pick up after their dogs which is why most of the pavements in Over Wyre villages tend to be dog turd free.  There are times when I haven’t picked it up – in fields surrounding my village where piles of dung from livestock make picking up after a dog a complete nonsense.  But then the local farmers feel that dogs harrassing, or reducing, the local rabbit population is more important.  Shit in fields is readily bio-degradable you see.  However, shit on pavements and in parks is just plain nasty.  I have no quarrel with people being fined for refusing to clean up after their dogs.  No one who has had to scrape dog dirt off shoes, pram wheels and wheelchair wheels would object to that.

So what am I ranting about?  Well I’ll tell you.

This April, we completed the training of around 150 more staff, both from the council and the police, who are now able to confront people who are caught not cleaning up after their dogs and issue the culprits with fixed penalty notices.

There you have it.  Blackpool is one of the most deprived, drunken, drug-addled, crime-ridden shit-holes outside of any British inner city you care to name yet its council has the time and the money to train an army of 150 dog shit police.  Apparently dog shit is one of the top three urgent problems plaguing Blackpool residents.   Unbelievable and ludicrous.  I’ve lived in Blackpool and the reason I got the hell out of the dump wasn’t because of the dog shit.  It was because of the shit walking around on two legs and doing what the hell it wanted with little fear of being caught and punished.

But that’s not the half of it.  This crusade against dog-owners dog fouling has a more sinister element.

Council officials and PCSOs can confront dog walkers and demand they turn out their pockets and produce a plastic bag.  Failure to comply will see them either cautioned or fined

Yes, you read that right.  You might not have committed any offence but you can still be cautioned or fined for something you might be guilty of in the future.  Blackpool officials can now pronounce someone to be guilty by presumption if that person refuses to produce a plastic bag.  This is called a thought crime and has no place in any free society.  I often return without a plastic bag secreted on my person because I have already disposed of it in a poo bin.  And nowhere is it written in law that I have to carry one bag, let alone two or even three.  Okay, so I can take more than one bag but why should I have to?  Have I not already performed my civic responsibility and disposed of the offending material?  What gives anyone the right to dictate what I carry in my pockets or handbag?

I’d really like to see this piece of authoritarian idiocy piloted in council estates such as Grange Park and Marton where the likes of Chavvy McStabb walks his lovable pooches, Killer and Mauler.  It won’t happen of course.  Soft targets only ‘cos it’s ‘Elf an’ Safety, innit.  The criminal and anti-social elements will continue to wipe their hairy, tattooed bums with the law while ordinary folk out walking their dogs will not be given the benefit of the doubt and can be accosted like criminals even though an offence hasn’t been committed.

Most people, when asked to see their bags, have been able to produce them, and the ones who haven’t have, if necessary, been issued with fixed penalty notices. We are strongly committed to making our streets cleaner and have made it easier for people to clean up after their dogs.

No, it’s been made easier for the council to clean out council taxpayers pockets.  I haven’t noticed any increase in poo bins and the ones we do have are usually overflowing because the local council can’t be bothered to empty them more often.

Demands were today made to name and shame rogue owners after damning figures revealed the growing scourge of dog mess on the resort’s streets.

Damning figures?  Growing scourge?  Blackpool has a population of 140,000 so where do the council get off defining 557 complaints (how many were multiple complaints from one person?) as “damning” and a “scourge”?

The way the Blackpool Gazette article reads you’d think that the streets of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre are paved with excrement.  Actually they’re not.  What some areas do have is a minority of malcontents who walk off, shiftily scanning to see if they’ve been noticed after Fido has evacuated his bowels near Mrs. Jones’ gate.  There is, of course, the hardcore chavvy element who really don’t give a crap because what is any council official fond of his or her physical wellbeing going to do when faced with a specimen of deprived childhood violent, subcultural Scammelwittery** accompanied by a bull breed that’s behaving like you’ve just shoved a red hot poker up its backside?

Dogs doings are unpleasant but it certainly isn’t anywhere near the worst of probelms facing Blackpool.  At best it’s an anti-social annoyance which rather pales into insignificance when you factor in the tons of horse droppings decorating the promenade or the sheer scale of litter and broken glass dropped by thoughless people, both residents and tourists. It certainly doesn’t warrant an army of 150 trained council officials to “tackle” a problem less than 0.5% of the population gives a stuff about.  In short, it is overkill, despotic and an obscene waste of public resources.

** Kitty Counter rhyming slang – Scammel Truck.

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