Bedtime story

Shortly before I was born, the town where I grew up was attacked by terrorists of a certain religious/ethnic group. Only five people were killed, more by good luck than anything else. Fifty more were injured as they drank. The country was horrified, and demanded revenge.

Immediately after the attack, and another similar one, the government passed a law allowing it to counter the Evil Certain Religious/Ethnic Group Terrorist Menace by detaining suspected terrorists without the normal legal safeguards.

The police made good use of the new law: only three days after it was signed, they arrested four young people from the relevant religious/ethnic group and persuaded them to confess to everything. A year later, the four were convicted of murder.

15 years later, a different court accepted that the police had beaten them into confessing, and that they lied in court to secure a conviction. The four were acquited. Civilised people across the country and the world hoped that this would be the last time the desire for revenge against the Evil Certain Religious/Ethnic Group Terrorist Menace drove the country to lose its senses.

Of course, nobody ever learns anything.

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Fuck you, David Blunkett

Just fuck off before you destroy the rule of law any more.

And if I see one more idiot claim that the criminal justice system is ‘weighted in favour of the criminal’, then I might just explode [*]. It’s weighted in favour of the *defendant*, who *may or may not* be the criminal. Even if he’s done it before.

Although the people who deserve the biggest kicking are the ones who say ‘of course their convictions should be disclosed, they shouldn’t have been let out in the first place’. That isn’t the fucking point, unless you also favour random strangers abducting ex-cons in the streets and torturing them to death.

Relatedly, I’d like to ban the phrase ‘to take the law into one’s own hands’. No, you didn’t ‘take the law into your own hands’, you committed a crime because you judged your own case to be more important than the law itself, you arrogant selfish scumbag. In my world, vigilanteism would be the most strictly punished crime, and anyone who romanticised it would get their legs broken.

After due judicial process, of course.

[*] Not with a fetching dynamite belt round my waist at a Society Of Right Wing Bigots meeting, tempting though it might be.

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Fair and unbalanced

While my commentary is demonstrably demented, and while I should probably be shot by secret servicemen and then denied entry to the US, I’d hate to be preceived as unfair.

So this is an excellent post from David T at Harry’s Place, trying to reconcile the liberal dilemma of freedom of speech versus freedom from persecution for religious minorities. And, as befits any good liberal, not coming to any definite conclusions.

Mr T is far more charitable to religious groups than I’m inclined to be – after all, their views are silly, and they can all sod off – but he does have a point here, given the way people undeniably use religion as a proxy for race hate (see LGF. Or preferably don’t).

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Towering intellect of the day

"Sometimes I wonder if the word racism even translates to other languages, because the world outside of English speaking countries doesn’t seem to understand the concept" – from here. Who says Americans have no sense of irony?

I don’t know why I still occasionally follow links to LGF. It never fails to bring on Charlie Brooker-esque rage fantasies involving the mass extermination of its contributors.

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Bilderberg against Bush

I wish the world *were* run by a secret conspiracy of Jewish businesspeople. It would feature rather less brutality and violence, and rather more tolerance and civilisation, than currently.

One of the most demonised organisations among people who believe this is already the case is the Bilderberg Group, which features 100 of the world’s most important people coming together each summer – either to discuss secret plans for taking over the world or to have a posh holiday away from the wife and kids, depending on your levels of credulity.

Jim Tucker of the American Free Press isn’t a very nice or credible man, as amusingly profiled in Jon Ronson‘s excellent book Them. Mr Tucker is a far-right extremist, who says ‘nigger’ frequently and thinks gays should die of AIDS. He’s devoted his life to ‘exposing the Bilderberg conspiracy’.

According to Mr Tucker’s article on the most recent Bilderberg meeting, the conspiracy that controls the world believes that the US shouldn’t have invaded Iraq without UN authorisation, that the current administration spends too much money on military operations in the developing world and not enough on foreign aid, that Britain should join the euro, and that American and Asia-Pacific Unions should be created to mirror the EU.

Excellent points all round, I reckon: let’s abolish this democracy bollocks and bring on world government. In the meantime, based on the general tone of the meeting, I’m guessing the conspiracy that controls the world isn’t backing Dubya this time round…

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Sauce for gander

A final thought on the Guardian’s Clark County project: what proportion of the Iowans who said "how dare foreigners tell us what we should do?" also think that the people of Iraq have been terribly ungrateful for their liberation?

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Not to be taken literally

As you may have noticed, this is a socially liberal, pro-capitalist, pro-free-trade, secularist, anti-unprovoked-war weblog. It’s hosted on the domain name

Now, if you think the domain name is a reprehensible celebration of terrible crimes against humanity or an indication of my political leanings, then you’re a dolt, and I recommend you don’t read any further, any satire, or indeed anything other than The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Assuming that you can deal with that, I recommend you take things you read here with somewhere between a pinch and a pillar of salt. I believe strongly in the rule of law, human rights, and liberal values, and would always apply these to any actions or serious calls for actions.

To apply this to a real-world example, the fact that I’d throw a party if that bastard Bush were dead [*] doesn’t alter the fact that – even if it weren’t counterproductive – killing him would be utterly terrible and wrong. If he wins in November, he’ll be the duly elected leader of the world’s second-largest democracy. That isn’t someone who should be getting assassinated, even if he is the worst leader that that country has had in 150 years.

Nonetheless, sometimes the actions of the man, his appointees and his supporters send me into the kind of crucifixion-based reverie that I mentioned yesterday. And if – like the people who objected to Charlie Brooker’s article – you can’t tell the difference, then I pity you.

[*] To forestall any ‘you support the terrorists’ concerns, I’d also throw a party if Saddam, Osama, Mugabe or Kim Jong Il were dead. And I’m much more open to moral arguments in favour of killing any of those four.

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Fine accomplishments all

Here is a list of 100 of President Bush’s accomplishments. Every single thing on the list is a documented fact, rather than an opinion (although should anyone dispute the facts, I’d be interested to hear from them).

I’m sure that, having seen the President’s glowing record of achievement, even Charlie Brooker would agree that the most appropriate fate for him is re-election rather than assassination.

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A safe bet

I seem to agree with Tessa Jowell on something, which is surprising. But then, only nannying busybodies and religous lunatics could object to the government plans to descabbify Britain’s casinos.

Laws on alcohol shouldn’t be structured around stopping alcoholics from drinking too much. Laws on food shouldn’t be structured around stopping gluttons from eating too much. Laws on shopping shouldn’t be structured around stopping shopaholics from shopping too much.

If you disagree with the propositions above, then you certainly fall into the nannying busybody or religious lunatic category. If you don’t, is there any coherent way you can say that being a gambler is worse than being a pisshead, a fatso, or owing £75K on your credit card?

Update: probably ought to add, Ms Jowell’s suggestion that casino opponents are motivated chiefly by anti-Americanism is extremely silly. For a start, outside of Nevada, Atlantic City and Indian reservations, gambling is far less legal in the US than it is in the UK…

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