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Category: News

Who appointed Peter Herbert as the ambassador for minorities in football?

Who had heard of Peter Herbert a month or so ago? Anyone? Ok apart from the extremely smart and well-read people. Who apart from them had heard of this man? I thought as much. Well in the past month he has become a bit of a buzz name as he is in all the newspapers and wants to change society for the better. Good on him but changing society for the better is something that needs to be done with a plan or not just a scatter-gun approach and that is where this man is going wrong.

The majority of us first heard about him when he reported referee Mark Clattenberg to the police for using a racial slur against two Chelsea players. He decided it was his job to report said abuse even though he himself didn’t hear it but only had the word of hearsay like the rest of us had. If we all went to the police with allegations after we’d heard someone else say that someone had broken the law then the police would go into meltdown but he is perfectly entitled to report said claims to the police should he want to. I have no issue with that. Well actually I have a huge issue with it but I concede that legally there is no issue with that.

However today the police have decided to close the investigation because no victim has come forward to them and nor have that been able to obtain a shred of evidence. Chelsea Football Club have decided not to share with the police their evidence as they believe the FA are the right party to deal with this case. That is their prerogative but what does Peter Herbert think of this? Does he say ‘fair enough – it is up to those who were allegedly wronged to decide how to proceed’ or does he bleat about a conspiracy to save the skin of the referee?

He chose the latter. ‘It sounds remarkably like a football cover-up’ he said this morning on BBC Radio 5live. ‘It sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue swept under the carpet.’ are the next words out of his mouth. Yes the football industry wanted to sweep it under the carpet – that is why Chelsea Football Club went public with the allegations not two hours after they first surfaced despite Chairman Chairman Bruce Buck saying he had agonised long and hard over whether to go public with the allegations but I think that is a crock of shit personally. If I agonised long and hard over an issue I don’t take less than two hours to make up my mind – certainly when it is a fast moving matter with lots of new evidence as he spoke to all the players involved during that time. No Chelsea Football Club certainly wanted it out in the open and they wanted it known that they had accused Mark Clattenberg of using racist language towards two of their players.

So we can pretty much rule of the football club trying to sweep it under the carpet and it is they who have chosen not to cooperate with the police. Remember they did not make a formal police complaint so if no victims or no evidence come to light for the police then they can’t really do anything. This has annoyed Peter Herbert a great deal it must be said.

‘The information we had is that there are ‘no victims’. Well, if there are no victims, what on earth has been referred to the FA in the first place?

‘What on earth are the FA and Chelsea playing at then? Are they having some cosy exchange of statements between themselves and not giving it to the police?

‘We’re going to ask the borough commander for an explanation. Was there any co-operation? Was any evidence given? If none was given by the FA or Chelsea we want to raise that issue with the Minister of Sport.’

‘It really does beggar belief that the primary football authorities in the country do not understand the seriousness of hate crime.’

All of the above was said on BBC Radio 5live this morning and quoted in the article linked to above.

Well there are no victims in a criminal sense because none have come forward. Peter Herbert cannot claim he is a victim because he didn’t hear the alleged exchange between the referee and the player. So only those who heard it – and were offended by it – could be considered victims. Peter Herbert knows this but decided to ignore this as it didn’t fit in with what he wants to happen. He wants a police investigation not because it would get to the bottom of it but because it would give him a stronger platform to get his views across.

The borough commander will write back to Peter Herbert saying lots of nice things but will say something like ‘err…Peter. Sorry to tell you this but Jon Obi Mikel nor Juan Manuel Mata have come to us and made a complaint and we have to unable to get any testimony from anyone involved on the potential victims side so there is kinda no case to answer to. As a barrister I think you probably should know how these things work and stop wasting my time’ or words to that effect.

Hate crime is extremely serious and I’m pretty sure the FA know this. Remember they still charged and found John Terry guilty of using racist language despite a criminal court deciding that he didn’t. The difference between that case and this is Anton Ferdinand – the alleged victim wanted to cooperate with police and Mikel and Mata seemingly do not. Shouldn’t the alleged victims decide whether or not they want to take a matter to the police or should outsiders get to decide how each of us live our lives?

Anyway Herbert isn’t finished. Oh no. He wants Spurs fans to stop using the word ‘Yid’ and has given them a fortnight to comply before he reports every single Spurs fan who uses that term to the police. You think I’m joshing don’t you? Well I’m not. Read all about it in the Mirror. He also wants to set up a football association for just black players. Yeah that won’t fester an ‘us and them’ mentality. Of course it wouldn’t Peter…

I don’t know Peter Herbert from Adam as it were but he comes across as a man with no idea what he is talking about but he sure loves the sound of his own voice. He has decided out of nowhere that the game of football needs sorting out having attended a grand total of four games in his entire life he knows the game inside and out. Now the thing is he does make some pertinent points but they are being drowned out by his attempts at making waves.

It is not his job to decide how two football players deal with alleged racist insults towards them. No-one asked him to get involved and he has just taken it on his own back that he is the man to save the day. Well the thing is he isn’t. These two football players are grown men and can decide how they go forward. He is using a high profile case to get on his soapbox and either make a name for himself or he genuinely thinks it is his place to stick his oar in. Whichever it is he isn’t exactly helping the game – or the two players – by the way he is acting. He is trying to stir up racial tensions and when someone is doing that then personally I always question their motives…

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Will Lord McAlpine sue Sally Bercow and others who named him? If he does it might teach them a lesson

I was so frustrated last week. No not just the fact my first date of the year had been a failure but in the Lord McAlpine story and also the ambushing of the Prime Minister by Phillip Schofield. Now it has been a fair few years since I sat my Journalism Law exam but I remember one or two things and trusty McNae’s isn’t too far away. Namely what I remember is naming someone potentially involved in a criminal investigation when in fact they were not is not really a good thing. In fact it is a really bad thing. Throwing names out there that many people have on the social networks linking them to the paedophile ring in the government is also a really bad thing.

People have the misplaced trust that if 1000s of people name and shame the culprits then the law is on their side. Well that isn’t exactly true. In fact it couldn’t be more wrong. Strength in numbers is a good thing but when you are defaming someone all it means if they have yet another individual they could sue if they wanted to.

The old adage of ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ has been thrown at me regarding this. ‘Look if it wasn’t true then why are so many people talking about it?’ people exclaim. Well another great adage is that in this modern day era a lie is halfway around the world before the truth ever comes out. People believe what they are told by anonymous sources on the internet. If someone sets up a fake ITK account on twitter then people will retweet it and soon the lie becomes so widespread that people believe that it is the truth.

Someone posted the names of several high profile politicians on a group I am a member of saying that these were all the names linked to the paedophile ring according to the internet. It was basically a who’s who of politics over the past three decades. He said that all these people should face a criminal court and should step down as MPs or Lords until the cases were over. I pipped up and said that at this current juncture only one accusation had been made against a politician but that didn’t matter to this person (and several others) as the internet had spoken and the internet is the new judicial system.

What depressed me most though wasn’t the fact that he had said such a stupid thing (and others agreed) but more that his only defence was ‘Hillsborough’ and because there was a cover up in this instance that automatically meant there was a cover up here and that everyone named on the internet had to answer the accusations. I tried to point out that anyone on the internet can accuse another person. If he had been accused by anonymous sources on the internet then what would he do? Would he take it lying down or would he sue the pants off of anyone who spread the lie knowing it wasn’t true? No doubt he’d do the latter.

We live in a dangerous society where lies can be spread quicker than ever before and the lie will always be first and therefore will always live on even after the truth comes out in the minds of some people. Even though the accuser has now backed down in his claims against Lord McAlpine saying that the police told him that the person he identified was Lord McAlpine when it plainly wasn’t – some people will still believe that Lord McAlpine is guilty and there is nothing he can do about it. He cannot change those minds. All he can do is seek restitution against those who spread the lies about him.

There are some (semi) famous people who were dumb enough to name Lord McAlpine including Sally Bercow – who has never come across as the sharpest tool in the box as it were. She has since apologised and says she was irresponsible and mischievousness but does not believe that she did anything libellous. It is an interesting one because she didn’t overtly say ‘Look Lord McAlpine is a paedo’ but she certainly implied – heavily implied that he was the name at the centre of the investigation – which he was. As we now know though all the accusations were false and had she (and others) not named or heavily hinted at his involvement then he would not have been defamed. It would certainly be a landmark case should he sue her and would be extremely interesting to see how it played out as I genuinely don’t know but we need to find out whether just implying guilt on social media is defamatory or not. My guess is that it very well might be…

The thing is though Lord McAlpine was at least linked to the investigation (albeit it turns out falsely) but other names are out there on the internet who are not linked in any way, shape or form at the moment to any investigation around this case. These people have seen people openly tweet about them and even twitter itself may find itself in hot bother with one very senior Conservative MP because when you search for ‘tory paedophile’ or any words to that effect his name came up as one of the ‘suggested searches.’

The sad thing about all this is the investigation is now taking the back seat. Children were abused but that is now not the story. The story is about how the BBC acted and whether Lord McAlpine (and others) should sue – and who they should sue if so. They are legitimate stories because of how things have panned out but it is overshadowing what should be the real story. Hopefully the police can continue their investigation and get to the bottom of what went on but whilst that happens the BBC and potential civil cases will lead the way.

I hope people who were defamed sue – and even if they sue and give all the compensation they get to child abuse charities then some good will have come off it. I just think people need to understand that there is a law of the land and spreading malicious gossip on the internet is generally not considered to be a good thing. I live my life on the basic principle of treat others how I’d like to be treated. Would I like it if people were accusing me of crimes on the internet without having a smidgen of knowledge then would I like it? No I wouldn’t – and nor would any of the people that were doing such to Lord McAlpine and others. If you wouldn’t like it done to you then don’t do it. A good motto for life not just a good motto for not being an idiot and potentially finding yourself facing civil action.

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Phillip Schofield and his Producer are lucky to still be in a job today after his stunt on ‘This Morning’

We’ve all seen the news. We’ve all seen the clip and we all saw Phillip Schofield decide that the internet was a legitimate source for ITV1’s This Morning and a legitimate enough source for him to decide to potentially throw away his career. How insane?

Look Phillip Schofield is about as inoffensive as you can get. Reminds me a bit of Will McAvoy from The Newsroom before his meltdown at Northwestern. Someone who doesn’t rock the boat who people trust. However that all changed today when he decided to show the Prime Minister a list of names that he had found on the internet that are linked to a paedophile ring within government over the past three decades. Firstly just doing this is dumb and secondly he flashed it to the camera so that everyone could actually read the names. Yes the names are out there but it should also be pointed out that these names (bar one) have not faced any accusation from an accuser. They are just people saying they are ‘in the know’ and anyone can be ‘in the know’ on the internet.

I’m old school and don’t like witch hunts. If any of these people are accused of a crime then the police will investigate and they will be tried within the legal system. That is the way we work. We don’t try people in the court of public opinion as the court of public opinion would prefer to kill an innocent man on the off chance that they might have touched kids. Yes I’m more than happy to write that sentence. A large proportion of this country would happily take an anonymous accusation as fact and act as such.

This is why we have a legal system. We don’t have act without evidence. At this moment in time only one man has been accused of any crime and all the other names that Phillip Schofield showed on national television are not accused of any crime but now people think they are paedophiles. Mud sticks folks and you can’t take back what you do or say. These people are now smeared and that will never leave them and people will always think worse of them even if it comes out that the internet rumours were completely made up.

Lets look at what actually happened though as this wasn’t done on the spur of the moment. His producer will have known what he was planning to do and had clearly ok’ed it instead of telling Schofield that if he dared he’d be fired the moment the show went off air. It was a planned attempt to corner the Prime Minister and a planned attempt to take the moral high ground as being the man who had the balls to get the names out there and see how the PM reacted. He (and his producer) knew that would play out well amongst the public and would give the show a huge boost as it would make head line news.

The only drawback though is of course this behaviour is kinda not on. Malicious gossip is what they call it. Accusing people of crimes with no evidence in an attempt to smear them. He has of course since apologised – not for doing it but for doing it in such a way that the viewers could see the names. So he has no problem confronting the PM on gossip but he is apologetic that everyone else saw the name. No doubt he’ll be more apologetic if any of those people named decide to sue the network and/or him personally. I have always found being sorry is not an adequate defence in either a criminal or in this case a civil court.

I hate to call for someone to be fired for a mistake but as this excellent piece in The Telegraph says – it is a very legitimate argument to make. Schofield and his producer and seriously erred and a simple apology really isn’t good enough. ‘We’re sorry we have defamed several people. We have no evidence to back up the internets claims that they are linked to a paedophile ring but we decided to run it anyway on national TV because we thought (as this current juncture) baseless rumours were in the public interest.’

It doesn’t really fly does it> I suspect he’ll keep his job but he’ll get a serious bollocking and never do something so stupid again but if they want to fire him for that one mistake then I couldn’t argue too much with it. It was such an egregious error that it would be justified.

We shall see how it plays out…

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Are judges ignoring the law and reaching verdicts based on public opinion?

I’m not sure just how worrying the fact that I have typed that title is. I think it’s extremely worrying that it is a legitimate question. Let me tell you the story behind the title as seven men are sentenced to jail for not predicting a deadly earthquake. Yes you read that right. Seven men have been sentenced to jail because they didn’t predict an earthquake.

An earthquake in the small Italian town of L’Aquila in 2009 led to the deaths of 309 people. A tragedy for all involved but how did the six scientists and one government official who visited the town six days prior after two minor shocks end up in the dock? Well they predicted that there wouldn’t be a major quake in the town. They felt that the two minor quakes were not a wake-up for a fault line but more of an adjustment. They didn’t make this prediction based on blind hope. They used all the available resources at their disposal but as we all know predicting things like earthquakes or volcano eruptions or tornadoes are not perfected as yet. Heck do the Met Office get the weather right every day?

So we all know this. We know that predicting events that haven’t happened yet is a bit of a lottery. So we couldn’t ever blame these scientists for getting it wrong, could we? Well the Italian justice system did and has and yesterday they were convicted of 309 counts of manslaughter. Due to the way the Italian legal system is set up the men are free until appeals are heard and in all likelihood they will be acquitted on appeal because the charges are just absurd but as it stands they all face two years inside for their role in failing to predict a deadly earthquake.

I know we all hate the Daily Mail but in Michael Hanlon’s blog on their website he makes some excellent points:

It has been argued that they could have been more circumspect. Perhaps, but even so a criminal conviction (let alone a jail term) is absurd. They will appeal, and will probably be acquitted, but even so this coming from a country which gave us the Renaissance (and which to this day has a hugely impressive record in science and engineering) is a chilling reminder that we cannot take the Enlightenment for granted. It comes on the heels of another Italian verdict, this time by the High Court that mobile phones can cause brain cancer – despite there not being a shred of evidence that they do. What is happening is that judges are reflecting public opinion, not evidence. A disturbing trend we are seeing, and not just in Italy.

The legal system is not in place to carry the will of the masses. We left that behind centuries ago. However events such as these make me believe that even in fully democratic and modernised countries judges are ignoring logic and common sense and making decisions based on both their own personal opinion and the feeling of the public around them. There is no way anyone could ever blame these men for not being able to predict an earthquake. Yes they said that they believed there wouldn’t be a major quake and they were wrong and it led to people dying but can you really lay the blame of an supposed ‘Act of God’ at the feet of these mortals?

No. No you simply cannot. This verdict was reached simply because that was the strength of public opinion in the area because so many had been affected by the earthquake. The verdict was not reached because it was the right verdict to give. This is yet another example of the way the legal system is going and it is extremely worrying.

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Is a copper sucker punching a woman fair or foul?

Foul. End of blog. No wait. Lets look at the video and give you some background. A story has been making waves over in the United States in the past few days after video evidence emerged of a copper just walking up to a woman and throwing a haymaker and knocking her to the floor. The next cause of action is obviously to arrest the woman.

This all happened in Philadelphia at the Puerto Rican Day Parade it emerged that the woman who was punched and arrested may have been part of a group of people to spray silly string over some police officers. Now I know silly string can be a bit annoying but does it warrant someone being punched? At this point I really should share the video so you can see it wasn’t just a punch it was a proper swinging right hook. The type that if you or I did it we’d be in court and would be facing jail time. Please watch the police officer in the white top.

Now you could argue that he was going to grab her but I really don’t think so. If he was doing that he’d still be grabbing her around the neck and that isn’t on. For me it really looks like a pretty calculated assault. Now the officer in question has been suspended for thirty days and is expected to be fired but his union aren’t exactly down with that shall we say.

According to the LA Times report:

John McNesby of the Fraternal Order of Police said Josey (the officer in question) was being treated “like a second-class citizen.”

“He’s being fired without just cause, and we’re going to look forward to making sure he’s restored,” McNesby told reporters after Ramsey announced Wednesday that Josey was being suspended for 30 days “with the intent to dismiss.”

So he’s being treated like a second-class citizen because apparently punching women is fine in this guys eyes. Of course if he was being treated like a first class citizen he’d be in handcuffs himself for the assault but it looks as though he’ll be dismissed but is unlikely to face any police action himself.

As for the woman she had all charges dropped due to a lack of evidence against her. Her lawyer though makes a very pertinent point, ‘I think we can all see if this wasn’t on video, my client wouldn’t even have an opportunity to defend herself.‘ Very very true. If a bystander hadn’t of caught this incident on film then there is little doubt she would still be facing charges and the officer who struck her would still be on duty ready to punch other people to whom he took a dislike.

Modern technology has uncovered many lies that police have told in this country and across the world. We are bred to have an innate trust of the police but the more incidents like these that we see (and go on to YouTube and you’ll find a lot) the more you wonder if these bad eggs are seriously impacting the public’s perception of the law?

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A cream that makes a woman’s vagina ‘feel like a virgin’ again – I expected more uproar/debate…

I have flicked through Lib Dem Blogs and I can’t believe that no-one has blogged about the new vagina cream that tightens the vagina yet. It is a real story it was on the good old BBC. Of course they may have blogged about it when it first hit the news-wire in early August but I don’t recall seeing it anywhere there. I was forwarded the link yesterday asking for my views and I must say my initial reaction was that I didn’t know what to think. I certainly wanted to know what others thought of it though.

I think I’ll start with the advert…


Now I’m no expert in sex and what surrounds it but I’m pretty sure no daughter is going to dance around in front of their parents singing about how they feel like a virgin thanks to taking a new cream that tightens up their vagina. That just doesn’t seem to be what a daughter would do. I might of course be wrong but I think I’m got this one right.

As for whether the cream works well that is also a worrying aspect. I’m pretty sure anything that involves making changes to the muscles in the vagina area is probably not a healthy thing. So is this cream just a placebo or does it actually make changes to a woman’s lady parts?

Lastly this cream is clearly not aimed at women. It is aimed at men to get their partners to use it and make the whole experience more pleasurable for them. The women that I know well enough to have talked this over with have all basically said the same thing – it hurts the first time. None of them would go back to having sex in that same scenario so this cream is not for the women to enjoy the experience more. It is for the men.

Of course this isn’t just a physical thing as it is also a society thing. In India where the cream is out now the average age that women are losing their virginity has gone from 22.9 to just 19 in just the past twelve years. That is a pretty big change and shows that changes are going on but the question is whether attitudes are changing as well. That I am not sure but having a cream that will make you feel like a virgin again. I’m just not too sure about that.

A couple of people that I have talked to about this say it is no big deal and one said that it was ‘just like buying anti-wrinkle cream’.

I just don’t know what to think but I am sure there are some hefty opinions out there one way or the other…

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Lucy Wright beat extradition despite preparing to plead guilty so why didn’t Julian Assange?

I haven’t weighed in on this Julian Assange debate but I have many questions on the matter and there aren’t too many answers out there. Facts are few and far between but conjecture is all around. The vast majority of people fall into one of two camps – either it is a giant conspiracy or he’s a rapist doing whatever he can to avoid facing imprisonment for his crimes.

As per usual I am not firmly in either camp. I do think that there are many eyebrow-raising decisions that Mr Assange has made and they are at best questionable and at worse devious. If we take it as gospel that he fled Sweden when he was notified that he was going to be charged with sex crimes then why did he flee to the UK? That seems like a pretty dumb decision considering we extradite pretty much anyone unless there is compelling evidence to do and at this point let me bring up the case of Lucy Wright.

Lucy Wright (Robertson at the time) was arrested carrying cocaine through Buenos Aires airport in 2007. She did the crime and has no qualms about admitting that although she doesn’t want to face time behind bars in Argentina and wants to serve her prison sentence (whatever it may be) in the UK. She was granted bail and according to her own story which was featured on last weeks Banged Up ABroad on National Geographic fled bail and swam the Iguazu river to make it into Brazil with no passport and managed to con the police, the British consulate and Brazilian border officials to get an emergency passport and fled back home to the UK. Upon her arrival she handed herself into authorities but with no international arrest warrant against her name she was told to go about her life.

Two years later she was arrested under an international arrest warrant and the Home Secretary Teresa May said she had no reason to intervene however upon appeal the high court quashed the previous rulings and denied the extradition request due to they feared her human rights would be infringed. The less than sanitary conditions in Argentine prisons and the fact that she would face up to two years in prison on remand before trial and then up to 16 years inside would not be right but that isn’t what stopped the extradition.

They said an expert called in her case had provided “powerful” evidence that, as a woman and a foreign prisoner, she would have to endure a lack of food and hygiene products, and would face humiliating strip-searches by prison staff as well as attacks from fellow inmates.

The judges said, “The uncontradicted evidence shows a disturbing pattern of cruel, inhuman treatment being suffered by female prisoners and especially foreign ones in Argentina.”

This is why they stopped the extradition. The Argentine government did not give reassurances or guarantees that Miss Wright would not face inhumane treatment as a foreign female prisoner. They said that if they tried again and gave these guarantees then they decision might be reversed but for now they were not prepared to send this young woman into these conditions.

As for Julian Assange the Swedish judicial system is not the same. Mr Assange does not face inhumane conditions at the hands of the Swedes. Now whilst I have deep questions about how the case was brought against him it has been and there is no reason why he shouldn’t face those charges. The fact that he doesn’t want to clear his name is worrying as I’m pretty sure any innocent accused rapist would want to clear his name as quickly and as publicly as possible.

He fears that Sweden will extradite him to the USA but Sweden and the UK show no differences in how they would react to an extradition request from the United States. Also as far as I’m aware both the UK and Sweden would refuse to extradite anyone who is charged with an offence with the death penalty as a potential punishment. As the US want Assange over treason then I can’t see how Sweden would extradite him.

He says everything is a conspiracy. Well maybe it is but the only facts we have now are that he has been charged with a crime and is refusing to face those charges. It would be the most keenly watched criminal trial in Swedish history and it would be scrutinised beyond belief so if it was a conspiracy then it would be unravelled quick sharpish. The Swedes aren’t some backwater country where a few dollars in someone’s back pocket will get them the verdict and/or sentence that they want (as a keen watched of Banged Up Aboard you do see this happen all the time). I trust the Swedes to be fair.

So the differences between Julian Assange and Lucy Wright are simple. One faces real human rights issues should they be extradited and one does not. Mr Assange has lost an awful lot of credibility as the months have gone on. Whether he did rape these two women I have no idea but he’s been charged and if he is innocent then he has to clear his name. A man accused of rape who doesn’t want to clear his name is a man hiding something. What that is I don’t know but he is certainly doing himself no favours and the good will ended a long long time ago when he decided to request asylum in a country with a pretty mediocre (at best) human rights record. It is like he is just desperate to escape justice at any cost.

To me that is deeply troubling.

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Two girls charged with DUI, road rage, urinate in police car. Their license plate: YAY ME

I am not a police officer. I will never be a police officer. Sometimes we get annoyed at the police but most of the time we are thankful for them. However one thing we often fail to consider is some of the bad things – well not bad but maybe insanely mad things – that they have to face with. Today I saw a tweet pointing to a story with the headline above. It was enough for me to click and boy it is an absolute doozy.

The story in the Montgomery County Police Recorder is about women who weren’t overly pleased with a fellow driver and decided that they needed to hurl abuse at the driver, not once but on several occasions. The driver and her passenger were drunk so that probably didn’t help but they made a fatal mistake and did it in plain view of an off-duty cop. So the cop intervenes and they decide to run him over. Yeah bright. The passenger decides she wants to video the incident or her friend running over a cop so jumps out of the car and does as such.

After he gets run over the passenger flees. They find her a while later and after a struggle arrest her and because she is so pissed at the law she decides to urinate in the back of the police car. Not through being that scared just because she is annoyed that they arrested her. This is all a wonderful little story but the funniest bit (well in my view) is yet to come but is hinted to in the headline.

Yes the license plate on the vehicle spells out ‘YAY ME’ in pink with a big star on it. Seriously enough to make my head explode that a) someone would actually have this as a license plate, b) that in was in pink and c) that someone would actually have it as their license plate (I know that I have already said that but it was so important that I said it twice – joke c/o Red Dwarf season six).

I mean having ‘YAY ME’ as a license plate is so pretentious that it beggers belief but to have it and then seemingly perpetrate several crimes including urinating in a cop car, running over a cop and videoing such an incident (which isn’t a crime but flat out stupid) is just sheer madness. I haven’t even mentioned driving under the influence of alcohol yet.

Just wanted to blog this as I thought it was mad and shows that being a police officer is probably rarely overly dull…

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Tony Nicklinson denied the right to die but surely it is as important as the right to life?

Today has been a very sad day. No not because Julian Assange has been granted political asylum to Ecuador (there is a lot to play out there and many twists and turns) but because a man suffering from locked-in syndrome has been denied the right to die – and that is a truly depressing situation that we have found ourselves in.

Tony Nicklinson today heard that the court has decided that it isn’t for them to decide and is one for parliament and therefore they would not grant him and one other person the right to die.

Mr Nicklinson said the following in a statement to the high court:

“I have no privacy or dignity left. I am washed, dressed and put to bed by carers who are, after all, still strangers. You try defecating to order whilst suspended in a sling over a commode and see how you get on. I am fed up with my life and don’t want to spend the next 20 years or so like this.”

Adding, “Am I grateful that the Athens doctors saved my life? No, I am not. If I had my time again, and knew then what I know now, I would not have called the ambulance but let nature take its course.

“I was given no choice as to whether or not I wanted to be saved. However, I do concede that it was a fair assumption given that I had asked for the ambulance and associated medical staff. What I object to is having my right to choose taken away from me after I had been saved.”

“I’m not depressed so do not need counselling. I have had over six years to think about my future and it does not look good. I have locked-in syndrome and I can expect no cure or improvement in my condition as my muscles and joints seize up through lack of use.

“Indeed, I can expect to dribble my way into old age. If I am lucky I will acquire a life-threatening illness such as cancer so that I can refuse treatment and say no to those who would keep me alive against my will. By all means protect the vulnerable. By vulnerable I mean those who cannot make decisions for themselves. Just don’t include me.”

I don’t sit on the fence on this issue. I don’t even sit near the fence in all honesty. The man is of sane mind and does not want to live any more yet he is unable to end his own life. Therefore he needs assistance to end his life and I fully believe that people should be able to provide that assistance without threat of criminal charges following them. The right to life is as important as anything but the right to die is part of that.

I have seen bits and pieces on twitter that there will be a motion on this at Liberal Democrat Conference next month and it is certainly something that I would fully support. If someone feels that they have no dignity in life then surely they should be allowed dignity in death. When there is no question about a person’s sanity then for me there shouldn’t even be a debate. I am very disappointed by the decision of the high court today and hopefully it will be overturned either on appeal or by a change in the law. Either way this man (and others) deserve the right to die with dignity.

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‘You were a graffiti artist in the last century Sir? Well that means you are banned from public transport in 2012’

Twitter is sometimes really an excellent source of information. This lunchtime I saw a tweet with a link to an article on The London Vandal website. Not what you’d call really my natural territory. Being someone who is very boring an law abiding and who lets say didn’t exactly set the art world on fire before dropping it full-time after Year Nine. A website on graffiti was’t one that I had visited before. However…

The story linked was about how the police had gone on mass raids across the capital of known graffiti artists a couple of weeks before the Olympics. Seems a bit heavy handed on the face of it but when you delve further into the piece you will see that it isn’t about keeping these scallywags away from the games but these scallywags as it were aren’t actually scallywags at all. I just used the word scallywags three times in a sentence. I don’t think that would’ve gone down well with my print tutor at university but still…

Anyway these people who were rounded up and arrested and charged on decade old trumped up charges aren’t active in the graffiti community any more. They are regular Joe’s. It is a bit like all those men who were involved in football violence in the 80s. Most of them are now in there 40s and 50s and live regular lives. The football violence is something in their past. It is the same with these people but it seems the British Transport Police aren’t as convinced.

Slapping them with bail conditions that they can’t use any public transport or go within a mile of any Olympics venue is (to me) an extremely scary issue. It is clearly using powers they have to get what they want even if legal they are not moral. It is abusing powers to the utmost degree and trying to solve a non-existent problem. That is the sign of a police state and these actions (if we are taking the story and their sources at face value) that were taken against these bunch of people is not fair and it is not right.

I know there are bigger issues at hand and security is an important issue but this isn’t about security. This is about people abusing their powers as they are scared that there might be a bit of graffiti in London when the world is watching. Being arrested and bailed just so they can put extreme bail conditions on people is not how the law should work.

Again taking this report as gospel this is an absolute disgrace and those officers who decided that it was worthwhile are a disgrace to their profession. The thing is no doubt they think it’s a job well done. Rustling up a few low level criminals from a decade or more ago just in case they decide to do a bit of graffiti during the Olympics is appalling. Is this the country we live in these days? I’m afraid folks it is.

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