Category Archives: Justice

What is an extremist?

David Cameron "For too long..." To David Cameron and his crew of cheap-work conservatives, an extremist is a Muslim.

David Cameron promised us a crack-down on extremism as early as 13th May: “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.”

In this video, you can hear David Cameron explain that he has no notion that either the US or the UK ever intervened violently and lawlessly in the Middle East prior to 11th September 2001. Apparently for David Cameron, history began when he became the MP for Witney on 7th June 2001: nothing important could have occurred before then.
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Filed under Justice, LGBT Equality, Racism

Strip Greece

Bread and milkPrivatisation of national assets. Deregulation – grotesquely, bakeries and milk are specifically mentioned as no longer to be subject to pesky government interference. Bread and milk. Removing workers’ rights to strike, to collective bargaining, to their legal rights in the wake of mass redundancies. No matter what the Greeks voted for, no matter what they wanted their government to do to help them: no democracy allowed.

This is a replay of another war: but not seventy-five years ago, only twelve.

GreekDemand_1One of the plans for the conquest and plundering of Iraq that went awry for the Bush administration was that all Iraqi nationalised assets were to be privatised. Saddam Hussein’s government had nationalised about 30% of Iraqi industries: the plan post-conquest was for the Coalition Provisional Authority to pursue policies that, as Donald Rumsfeld said in the Wall Street Journal in May 2003, ‘favour market systems’ and ‘encourage moves to privatise state-owned enterprises‘.

Eurogroup Demand page 2But, as the Bush administration discovered, their planned timetable of conquer, plunder, then hold elections, made the selling of the plunder unlawful: only a properly-elected government can lawfully sell national assets. A government established by foreign conquest explicitly can’t do so. Bush declared victory in Iraq on 2nd May 2003. The first post-conquest democratic elections were held 30th January 2005. One certain reason for the 18-month delay was that the Bush administration was trying to find some legal loophole that would let their planned mass privatisation go ahead.
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Filed under Economics, Justice, Poverty

Police Scotland and the Bannockburn deaths

Loch Earn, Stirlingshire

“I went past the crash, not even 100 yards away from her. If anything happens I’ve got to tell myself that.”

Lamara Bell and her partner John Yuill were visiting Loch Earn, Stirlingshire, in a blue Renault Clio on Sunday: their car went off the road Sunday evening.

An “experienced officer” was called at 11:30pm on Sunday night on the 101 non-emergency number by a member of the public who had spotted the car in which Lamara Bell and her partner John Yuill were lying – Yuill possibly already dead, Bell critically injured – down the embankment off the M9 near Stirling.

The “experienced officer” neither entered the call “into systems” nor sent out any message to operational teams in the area.

Eventually another 101 phonecall about the crashed car finally led police to it, shortly before 10am on Wednesday morning 8th July: but Yuill was dead, and Bell was dying.
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Prolife parliamentary procedure

Extend the 1967 Abortion ActThis afternoon in Westminster, MPs will debate the last stage of the Scotland Bill before the third reading and voting to pass the Bill to the House of Lords.

One of the recent amendments added to the Bill is from Fiona Bruce, a Conservative MP from an English constituency.

In the House of Commons there is an unfortunate concatenation of MPs who seek to ensure that UK healthcare outsources safe legal abortion overseas, and to subject women who cannot afford to travel to a forced pregnancy. Their excuse for doing so is that a human fetus is protected by “the sanctity of human life”, though a pregnant woman is apparently not so protected.

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, is a member of this group and was the proposer of the last-minute amendment to the Serious Crimes Act which would have ensured doctors were banned from allowing an abortion if the abortion was sex-selective. This significant change to the 1967 Abortion Act was proposed as a late amendment which would be discussed and voted on only at the third reading of the Serious Crimes bill before it was voted into law.

No consultation on this amendment had been done with groups such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives, or the British Medical Association, all of which opposed the amendment.

The expectation of Fiona Bruce and her supporters was that MPs would vote for her amendment because they would not want to appear to support sex-selective abortion: there would be no time – they evidently hoped – for any consultation or explanation why it was a bad idea to vote for doctors to be criminalised if they could be accused of approving sex-selective abortions: how there is little to no evidence of any sex-selective abortions on social grounds in the UK (the key “evidence” was a sting operation run by a Daily Telegraph journalist who lied to doctors and clinic staff and secretly filmed their honest response to her lies).
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Filed under Healthcare, Human Rights, Women

Police accountability

Thirty years ago:

“At one point the police surrounded a coach and it stopped. A woman inside stood up and held her baby up – in a very melodramatic fashion, you wouldn’t normally hold a baby that way for fear of dropping it. But she did. She yelled at the police that there was a baby on board. “There was a pause of about five seconds, then from the back of the police ranks, whistling over our heads came a very large flint that exploded the windscreen over the baby.” Yet that was not the worst thing [the Earl of Cardigan] says he saw that day. “At some point in the crazy melee there was a heavily pregnant woman wandering around. Two policemen came up behind her with batons and clubbed her around the head and shoulders, and down she went.”

Wiltshire PoliceThese were travellers going to the Stonehenge Solstice festival in 1985, attacked by the Wiltshire Police. The police attacked the convoy using “police tactics used in the miners’ strike to prevent a breach of the peace” (such as mounted South Yorkshire Police attacking picketing miners in Orgreave, on 18th June 1984).

Ten years ago, in 2005, Tony Thompson, the Guardian’s crime correspondent, wrote with apparently sincere bafflement:

It remains a mystery why the police felt compelled to use such violence. With evidence that radio logs of conversations between officers on the day have been altered, the full story may never be known.

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Julian Assange evading justice

Julian Assange t-shirtThe statute of limitations for the crimes that Julian Assange is evading justice for in Knightsbridge, will expire this August.

Swedish prosecutors will therefore travel to London to carry out the interview that Assange jumped bail to avoid.

During that interview, Julian Assange is likely to be charged with rape and sexual assault.

But as Assange doesn’t want to go to jail in Sweden for the crimes he has already admitted to in his testimony, it’s likely he’ll stay in the embassy in Knightsbridge until the statute of limitations expires in Sweden.

Doubtless he will still have defenders who think raping a woman while she’s asleep is not that big of a deal. But at least he won’t be able to claim he was never charged with any crimes: he just evaded justice.

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Filed under Justice, Women

Human rights: the right to vote

Ben Jennings - prisoners votesYesterday, for the fourth time, the European Court of Human Rights ruled again that the UK is in breach of human rights by having a blanket ban on allowing convicted prisoners serving a custodial sentence the right to vote: it’s nearly ten years now since the UK was first ordered to make some change in this ban, and neither Labour nor Conservatives have cared to do so. (The ECHR has made no order for monetary compensation, which is the only thing likely to move either party.)

In October 2014, there were 7,755 prisoners serving a custodial sentence in Scotland: the imprisonment rate in Scotland is 147 out of 100,000 people (via the Howard League). Since August 2010, there has been a statutory presumption against convicted criminals being sentenced to short periods of imprisonment, unless the court can show reason why this should be so. From the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010

“a court must not pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term of three months or less on a person unless the court considers that no other method of dealing with the person is appropriate.”

If a person goes to jail, it will under most circumstances be because they committed an offence that the court decided mandated a sentence of four months at least. The general rule for any sentence of 12 months or less is that a prisoner will be released automatically on probation after they have served half their sentence.
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Filed under Elections, Human Rights