Some points

Serious point: fuck Tony and his stupid, stupid penchant for criminalising things that are already illegal as a substitute for doing anything about them.

Silly point: it seems the Germans invented the shoe bomb.

Media point: this got no coverage in the British media. Are we really that bored of plane crashes already, or is it just that Indonesians are less important to us than Cypriots?

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11 thoughts on “Some points

  1. No coverage apart from the BBC of course.

    Oh, and the Guardian, Ananova, the Daily Mail. I’m sure there’s more if I look.

    If you mean the print media haven’t covered it, that’s probably because it only happened a few hours ago (02.40 GMT to be precise).

    Give them a chance, eh?

  2. Ah, the time-honoured tradition of writing to the newspaper to complain they aren’t covering [insert third world disaster here] so your letter appears in the edition that has dead people all over pages 1 to 12…

  3. I did that once, in 1999, but I thought it was fair enough as the Guardian covered half its front page with the news that Des Lynam was moving to ITV (or was it Richard and Judy were moving to Ch.4) and an Indian train crash that killed 600 got a measly few paragraphs on an inside page. Luckily they didn’t give it any more space the next day.

  4. Re forced marriage: I’d always assumed that you could not be compelled to swear an oath against your will, or enter into a civil contract without your consent. (Lawyers please correct me on this). This is therefore a prime example of Young Mr Tony chasing headlines rather than doing anyhting substantive or meaningful. Utter nonsense.

  5. Christopher: third-place on the BBC website all morning, no mention on the Today bulletin, etc. The fact that America is still a den of underwater anarchy probably helped too, but still…

    Nick: you’re absolutely right.

  6. No, a contract that requires one party to do something illegal is invalid. And I’m fairly sure one entered into under duress would be unenforceable.

  7. The further away the disaster, the smaller the number of column inches. That’s a rule of thumb among chief subs, of course, since special interests will be considered (Commonwealth countries, eg).

    Equally, pressure on space from Katrina and its discontents means less for every other foreign story.

    Plane crashes per se are pretty common, so they have to have a bit of colour or dramatic context to get more than perfunctory treatment (unless it’s a quiet day).
    There seem to be an extraordinarily disproportionate number in Latin America, for example.

  8. Serious point: fuck Tony and his stupid, stupid penchant for criminalising things that are already illegal as a substitute for doing anything about them.

    Generally, I agree, bigtime. But I’m not sure what’s your problem here, really. Forced marriages aren’t explicitly illegal, from what the article says – just in terms of kidnap, assault, etc. Which maybe won’t occur to people a) arranging a forced marriage or b) trying to escape one. With regards to stuff like ASBOs, yeah, the tendency to either criminalise stuff that’s already explicitly illegal, or effectively criminalise stuff that’s not illegal on the grounds that the people doing it aren’t ‘our sort of people’, is a problem. In this case, it’s not explicitly illegal, and making it explicitly illegal isn’t going to infringe anybody’s human rights or affect legitimate activities, so I don’t really see the problem.

    As for "doing anything about them" – well, like what? Honest, not snarky, question.

  9. There is a reason why forced marriages aren’t illegal, by the way, despite the fact that this is not exactly the first time they have become issue o’ the week for our political class. The reason is that it is actually fearfully difficult to define one in legal terms that will stand up. Very few people are forced to get married through actual force (the registrar would probably notice for one thing). What usually happens is that people are "forced" into marriages by a combination of social pressure, emotional blackmail and parental threats to stop providing them with housing. I don’t want to downplay how horrible this must be for those involved, but it is equally obvious that if you’re going to make these things the subject of criminal law, then you really are opening a can of worms.

  10. Indeed, D2, all the ways someone could be conceivably "forced" are illegal already (kidnapping, initimidation, assault, blackmail), etc. Marriage is a contract, so there’s probably perjury too. Coercion ("You got her pregnant, now you have to marry her" or "You can’t live with us the rest of your life") is pretty much the basis of civilised society isn’t it?

    Lorna, if the illegality of "forcing" marriage is an emergent property of several extant laws, what’s the point? The judge would be forced to say that having found the defendant(s) guilty of breaking several laws, they therefore have also broken another. This seems silly. "The more the laws, the more corrupt the state." I forget which Roman, but he was a smart one.

    Now, did Diana Spenser really want to marry Charles Windsor? Subsequent events suggest not.

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