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Permitted discrimination

We all know that we’re not allowed to discriminate against almost anyone these days, even though discrimination is, when you get right down to it, someone just making a choice. It might well be a choice that I think makes them an arsehole but the point is that it’s their choice. Still, when it comes to people who might look different, have different body parts in their underpants, worship a different sky-being or even worship the same one in a different way, it’s a choice you’re expected not to make anymore.

No, not even if they are ginger.

Not a bitch, okay?

However, the operative word in that opening sentence up there is ‘almost’ because the other thing we all know is that discriminating against the English is just fucking fine by everybody.* And so I see that Scotland have discriminated – in the sense of a choice and in the spirit of take and take – to take the fifteen hundred quid a head extra they get under the Barnett Formula and at the same time charge English students the thick end of ten grand to go to a Scottish uni.

But only English students.

Education Secretary Michael Russell this week announced that Scottish universities would be allowed to charge students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland up to £9000 (A$13,500) a year from 2012-13, after England and Wales raised their own tuition fees.
But Mr Russell reiterated his commitment to keep higher education tuition-free for Scottish students.
This means students from the other 26 European Union member nations can study for free too, because EU laws essentially preclude members from discriminating against citizens of partner nations, but leave them free to discriminate within their own country.

So there you have it. England and Scotland, not partner nations. The Act of Union is over 300 years old and the Union itself a century older, the two countries have benefitted from each other down the years, and currently one derives a not inconsiderable financial benefit – not just the Barnett Formula but the large public sector north of the border – but whatever that makes them they’re certainly not partners because the EU says partner nations’ governments can’t screw each others’ citizens. Screwing their own is okay, and of course that’s a principle function of government. And therefore screwing different groups of citizens is presumably a domestic issue that the EU isn’t too interested in. It’s discrimination, sure, but it’s officially sanctioned discrimination which means it’s perfectly fine and above board.

So suck it up, fellow countrymen, and pay up without complaining. And please remember not to take it out on any gingers even if it seems like they deserve it.

No, look, it doesn’t go up your nose, it’s … oh, nevermind

* Presumably not fine by English students wanting to study in Scotland, but I imagine they don’t really count anyway.

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Comfortably Dumb?

Click for article

Mr Gilmour, a 21-year-old Cambridge student, was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and criminal damage after climbing the Cenotaph and swinging from a Union flag at the protests on Thursday.
New pictures of Mr Gilmour show him lighting a pile of newspapers at the entrance to the Supreme Court. His attempt was foiled after fellow students alerted police about what he was doing.

I suppose he’ll claim it was a momentary lapse of reason but for my money he was lucky someone was there to stop him. You can potentially do some serious time for arson as it carries a maximum term of life. I’d say he should be happy that his fellow protestors weren’t all animals and that at least one of them was prepared to meddle.

It has also emerged that despite a public apology for climbing the Cenotaph, privately he was defiant. On his Facebook page he said he had not damaged the Cenotaph and criticised the media for focusing on him.
He wrote: “I did not actually damage the cenotaph. it is the warped priorities of the right wing media that has caused most damage right now.
“The red tops [tabloid newspapers] can go f*** themselves. They’re the despicable ones, they should have been paying attention to the poor person who had to have brain surgery after the police smashed her in, not to f****** stupid me swinging off a flag.

“Despite the numerous death threats, yes I’m fine. I’m genuinely sorry for what I’ve done. In all honesty I really didn’t know what I was doing.”

Doesn’t sound like he’s overcome with sorrow to me. No, Charlie, it’s too late to take it back now. Hells, bells, kid, do you think we’re all suffering from brain damage or something?

Mr Gilmour, who is studying history, arrived at the protests on Thursday carrying a red and black flag in one hand and a book of verse in the other.

History, eh? Well I didn’t think it’d be maths or economics or he might have worked out the consequences of setting fire to a public building. Look at it like this, Chaz, if the whole place had gone down flaming as a result of you setting a fire then not only could it be absolutely curtains for someone inside but you’d end up on the run and the repairs and rebuild costs, along with possibly increased insurance premiums, would have to come out of public funds. Public funds that you wanted to go into everlasting free tertiary education.

On Friday he appeared to realise the gravity of his actions on Friday.
He told a friend on Facebook: “I’m f*****, this is probably the worst thing I’ve done. I just wanted to swing from a flag. I didn’t realise it was the Cenotaph. I feel so ashamed right now.”
By Saturday, however, he had changed his tone: “Not only has the rising political youth movement been violently repressed but, despite its angry pleading screams for mercy, the nation has bent over and [been] f***** by the government yet again.”

Oh Christ. Why do you even have to keep talking, Charlie? One of the few things I can agree on is that the nation has indeed been bent over and fucked by the government, but it’s not because they’re making cuts since they really aren’t making cuts at all. Clearly we’re poles apart on this. Even as it is Cameron is being way too careful with that axe Eugene. Is it too much to ask that one of these days you and your fellow students will realise that taxpayers do not have bottomless pockets and that when one government has overspent catastrophically the next one has to find somewhere to economise – and I’d say they haven’t even fucking started yet. You might think Cameron’s a heartless cutter, Charlie, but the poor sods footing the bill look at the expenditure and the nation’s debt still rising and think, “Cuts? Where?” Do you think you can get that through your head? It would be so nice.

What a division bell-end.

PS – Sorry about the large number of gratuitous Pink Floyd references. I’ve just been having one of my turns. There will not be a prize for anyone who can spot them all and list them in the comments, but you’re welcome to claim bragging rights if you do.

PPS – I was trying very hard to work in Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict (that one doesn’t count) but eventually I became lost for words. Anyone want a go?

Equality before the Law.

Not applicable for men.

The Government has abandoned its pledge to grant anonymity to men charged with rape in England and Wales.

It was one of those many pledges which I had little hope for, particularly as the voices decrying the low rate of conviction for rape are pretty loud. To politicians they probably seem even louder when they’re in government than they did in opposition.

Justice Minister Crispin Blunt said there was not sufficient evidence to justify the move.
The decision to scrap the proposal, which was included in the Government’s coalition agreement in May, follows criticism from women’s groups.

Told ya.

Mr Blunt said: “The Coalition Government made it clear from the outset that it would proceed with defendant anonymity in rape cases only if the evidence justifying it was clear and sound, and in the absence of any such finding it has reached the conclusion that the proposal does not stand on its merits.
“It will not, therefore, be proceeded with further.”
He went on: “The assessment has found insufficient reliable empirical evidence on which to base an informed decision on the value of providing anonymity to rape defendants.

Never mind the wittering about evidence and fucking value. What about the very real damage that spurious accusations can and do have on innocent men – the unlucky ones who are convicted or remanded occasionally becoming prison rape victims themselves – simply because, like any other criminal case, the accused is routinely identified but uniquely the accuser always has anonymity if desired?

“Evidence is lacking in a number of key areas, in particular, whether the inability to publicise a person’s identity will prevent further witnesses to a known offence from coming forward…”

I suspect there’s also a lack of evidence as to whether the inability to publicise the accuser’s identity will prevent potential defence witnesses coming forward. What if an accuser has made false claims which are known to associates but, because of an unwise decision to point the finger at someone with a ready and rock solid alibi that was known to all, never went as far as any police involvement? Those people might volunteer that information to the defence but for the fact they have no idea the case they’re reading about in the papers involves the same person. Worse, the continued anonymity post conviction means that they might never become aware of it, thus preventing the information from surfacing on appeal as well.

Has this actually happened? No idea, and I’m not suggesting it. But it’s a possibility, just as is the possibility that prosecution witnesses might not come forward if defendants have anonymity, and not only am I confident that the evidence is lacking here too I doubt there’s been much effort even to look into it. We wouldn’t dream of using that as a justification for scrapping the anonymity of accusers, so why is it a barrier for defendants, who are innocent until proven guilty, from being anonymous until/unless convicted?

But the lamest argument of all is this:

“… or further unknown offences by the same person from coming to light.”

Utter bollocks. Seriously, a ten year old could spot the colossal fucking flaw in this line of reasoning, and it’s really a bit of a concern that the fucking Justice Secretary has missed it. But for Crispen Blunt here it is, avoiding long words as best I can:

If people in jury box say man in dock is bad man then man with wig on bench wave hammer and say you go prison you bad man and no more anonymity* for you, we tell all other people who you are. Then if bad man has been bad man to other people before now they no who he is and that he bad man, and they see in paper and TV and they go police and say what bad man did. And then you drag the fucker’s arse out of his prison cell and put him before another court.

D’you see, Crispen? Nobody is suggesting anonymity should stay after someone is convicted, which means that further unknown offences most certainly can come to light. Just not during the original trial, that’s all, and since UK courts consider it so important that the jury decides the verdict on the evidence before it that previous convictions are generally excluded until after the verdict is reached I’d expect further offences to be tried separately anyway. In short, anonymity up to conviction will probably make absolutely no difference to the chance of other offences coming to light.

But in all likelihood neither Crispen nor the Justice Department are really that stupid and this will have occurred to them already, but that’s irrelevant because it’s not the real reason for going back on the anonymity pledge. When the reasons given are so ridiculous I simply can’t believe it’s much more than a lack of political will. That somewhere a decision was made: too many people will make waves if we do this so fuck it, let’s not bother.

Maybe it’s good news for rape victims, I don’t know. But I’m certain it’s bad news for two other groups. Obviously it’s bad news for any guy unlucky enough to be falsely accused, but I’d go further than that. It’s bad news for the whole of society when the law treats people differently according to nothing more than their chromosomes.

* Sorry Crispen, but I just couldn’t avoid that one.

I’d be lying if I said I was surprised – UPDATED.

I don’t have much time to rant at length about the further selling out of what was once the United Kingdom but is presumably now Europe West Zone Two or something, but it’s pretty much what I expected as soon as the worthless prick went back on his campaign promise to hold a referendum on the European Treaty. As I wrote more than a year ago, once it was clear that the Irish and Czechs weren’t going to the only thing the UK had left that meant it would remain the UK in any meaningful sense was the thickness of David Cameramong’s spine.

… Cameron is going to have to grow a set and actually say what he plans to do before the election. I’m sure he’s looking forward to that like a cat looks forward to going to the vet, but since the Consititreaty is expected to become law across the whole EU within weeks I imagine Cameron will simply wring his hands and wail that nothing can now be done and if only the country had not voted the wicked wicked Labour government the UK would not have been sold to the Eurocrats on the cheap, so awfully sorry about it but we’re not going to have that referendum. I may be 100% wrong about that – I hope I’m 100% wrong and I’m halfway to praying to a God I don’t even believe in that I’m 100% wrong – but I can’t help feeling that if Cameron was serious about it he’d simply have said that there would be a referendum no matter what.

And of course we all know what the result was: just as expected he wrung his hands and said it was too late and that nothing could be done. Since then we’ve seen even further concessions made and it’s looking more and more like the choice back in May, at least as far as the EU was concerned, was not whether the UK was for or against more integration but whether more integration was to happen quickly, very quickly or very very quickly. Christ, it’s not even been a year and the Cobbleition have already extended the European Arrest Warrant and coughed up more money Britain hasn’t got to the EU, with commitments for yet more in the not too distant future. So it comes as no surprise at all that more power is quietly being transferred to the EU on the quiet (see Douglas Carswell’s blog here, here and here).

So what the hell was the election for? It didn’t decide who governs Britain, did it? And what the hell is the government and Prime Minister for? Because as far as I can see it’s not running Britain so much as being the PR department for the Civil Service and the EU bureaucrats who really decide how things go in European West Zone Two these days.

UPDATE – The Grim Reaper has noted a particularly astonishing piece of chutzpah on this from none other than the Labour Party in this report from Auntie Beeb.

The PM spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy among others and argued for the ‘lowest possible’ increase. His plea came amid fears that a 6% rise would cost the UK another £900m a year. Labour has accused him of failing to stand up for British interests.

Something on which Labour are the world renowned fucking experts, though how they’ve found the gall to actually come out and say that is quite beyond me.

Light blogging.

There will be some, not least because the weather forecast here in the Off World Colonies is for more ‘getting the shit kicked out of us all‘ wind and storms, and last night’s go left some areas without power and who knows who’s next. It drives my next door neighbour through the wall.

G’day. Got any batteries I can borrow?

Random outbreaks of not proper blogging are likely, with the chance of scattered posts and the possible formation of thought later in the week.

Omission statement.

Having mentioned the Dave and Nick Repeal Show in the last post and having seen a reminder of a much better one over at Douglas Carswell’s blog I suddenly realised that I’ve known about it for a while and never put a link to it here. Time to fix that.

Not so much having a dream as a delusion.

I was going to blog something about Diane Abbott’s verbal and mental (very) gymnastics when asked about her decision to educate her son – cue socialist gasps of shock – privately instead of at the state schools she admires so much, but Al Jahom’s said it first and better. What a shame Diane Abbott didn’t consider her words as fully as AJ did.

A long campaign and a longer result?

Even though the election campaign officially began on April 11th it does seem to have been going on for bloody ages – something else which is Colostomy Brown’s own fault since everyone knew it had to be by June 3rd and all the parties could start an unofficial campaign months beforehand. Now it seems the UK may have a long wait for the final result since, according to what Tom Paine hears, in places voters were being allowed in to vote after the polls had closed. This is a bit of a no-no and could allow results to be challenged in court, to say nothing of the possibility of serious and/or widespread fraud being discovered as a result of the various police investigations into postal voting in some areas. So imagine if the Tories get the result everyone is predicting at the moment and fall a couple of dozen seats short of an overall majority, but a couple of dozen seats had questionable results due either to iffy postal votes or late votes that should have been discarded and may not have been. Not just the TV debates Britain is importing from the Yanks but the need to get a courts in to decide the result, or at least if areas with ‘irregularities’ should re-run their elections. Though perhaps that’s being unfair on the Yanks – I’ve blogged on the postal votes before but the late vote issue is either down to voters leaving it till the last minute, in which case stiff, or poorly run polling stations with insufficient ability to cope with what many expected to be a much higher than usual turnout. From where I sit this situation looks entirely self inflicted, and if it ends up being sorted out in a series of unedifying courtroom spectacles the UK will have no-one else to blame.

The word is "bullshit".

Colostomy Brown is still trying to get the bigot genie back in its bottle.

A day after insulting an elderly widow who asked him about immigration, the Prime Minister visited a factory in Halesowen, in the west Midlands, where he told workers he was focused on the economy rather than his encounter in Rochdale.

So focused that he managed not to notice that more of Gillian Duffy’s questions related to the economy than to immigration (as well as his microphone).

Bullshit.

In a speech to staff at Thompson Friction Welding…

Who, given Brown’s well known inverted Midas touch, should really have their fingers crossed that the place isn’t closed down on Monday.

…he said: “Yesterday was yesterday. Today I want to talk about the future of the economy.”

So did Gillian Duffy, you fucking imbecile. But you were far too busy seething inside about what a bigot you thought she was and which one of your staff was to blame for allowing her within a hundred yards of you.

One worker asked Mr Brown what Labour would do to stem immigration, telling him: “It’s way too high in this country.”

Did he really? The fucking big… er, oh. Probably can’t say that now, can you, Gordon? The thing is that millions now believe that you’d be thinking it in private. You can apologise and draw lines under it and talk about the future and move on as much as you like, but you can’t unsay what you said and you can’t change the impression it gave that you’re a crotchety, remote, two faced, control freak, power addicted cunt. Okay, for a lot of people – a few people with Nokia embossed back to front on their heads, for example, but also just lots of people who’ve thought you were a bastard to begin with – you weren’t so much giving the impression as reinforcing it, but the point is much the same. Still, you want to keep trying to gloss over it for the last week of the campaign, you go right ahead. Watching you squirm will help people not to forget.

As JuliaM said in the comments this morning, it’s like having a birthday and Christmas all at once.* Really the only downside is that the benefactors are going to be a couple of parties I dislike almost as much as Brown and Labour.

* Except that he’s not on fire.

24 hours in a day.

Just not enough sometimes. Certainly not enough to get some blogging in as well, hence some pretty lightweight stuff over the last week or so (apart from the ANZAC Day post). Still, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and providing it’s not the proverbial train I might get some blogging in maybe Thursday.