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Day: June 10, 2011

Carmarthenshire Council abuse their power – arrest woman for filming open council proceedings.

This afternoon I was pointed towards this blog post entitled ‘Blogger arrested for filming council meeting: In Carmarthenshire, this is what democracy looks like’ on twitter and whilst my blood didn’t boil my head shook in despair. Sadly this is the type of thing has happens all too often. Someone in power doesn’t like someone/something and abuses their power in an attempt to silence them.

The blogger is question is called Caebrwyn and her blog can be found here. From all the evidence she has produced it seems as though the council decided that they just wanted to silence her and she had annoyed them with you know – taking an interest in what they do. So they basically by-passed the law and decided to call the police and say they she was breaching the pace. Now someone filming an event and not making a noise or getting in the way quite simply cannot be breaching the peace. Anyone with a brain knows that. It isn’t rocket science.

Still though four police officers turned up and proceeded to arrest her and keep her locked up until she signed a memo stating that she wouldn’t film council proceedings again. I think we all know exactly where she stands legally on this as the police cannot enforce that contract without suffering a humiliating defeat in court should they want to go that far. If something is not illegal nor against any rules (and filming open proceedings in a council is not against either the law or the rules of the council) then enforcing it is pointless.

The Carmarthenshire Council Chairman and Mark James are named as those who decided to step in and call the police. What arseholes. Not only that what power abusing arseholes. If you don’t like what someone is reporting – certainly when they are reporting it accurately and with evidence then you know what – deal with it and take the stick like a man. Don’t abuse your power and try to scare off someone doing something that is perfectly within their right.

If you don’t want to come across as an arsehole then the best way to do it isn’t by getting the person reporting it arrested but by stopping being an arsehole. It seems as though some people are just too stupid to understand this. The people involved in the decision to call the police and putting Caebrwyn through this experience should be disgusted with themselves but I suspect they just couldn’t give a damn.

These are people that we – the electorate – vote into office. Sadly they say all power corrupts but when it comes to infringing on someones freedom then it goes beyond the pale. There were other witnesses there and councillors and I wonder if they came forward to police to corroborate Caebrwyn’s version of events whether the police will arrest the Chairman and Mark James for wasting police time?

Somehow I doubt it.

This sickens me.

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Project Volvo uncovered but what is Gordon Brown’s legacy?

So this morning the Daily Telegraph reported the inner workings of the coup to remove Tony Blair. The coup seemingly centred around Gordon Brown, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband. No shockers so far. However the biggest shock seems to me to be the timing.

Now whilst I am a Lib Dem, it would be fair to say that I was (and to some degree still am) a Blairite. Yes there were many things that he oversaw that I thought were not good but he was very statesmanlike and I thought as the face of the government he was exceptional. He certainly wasn’t every-one’s cup of tea and whilst not exactly being liberal on certain matters (my clear bone of contention with him) he did move Labour towards the centre ground and did a lot of good things for this country.

Now some of them were clearly of Gordon Brown’s doing but I do personally feel the the Prime Minister’s job is to point the ship in a certain direction and let the ministers of the cabinet do the rest. He just oversees what is going on. Just like any powerful CEO or Chairman in any private sector business. The cabinet members write policy and are overseen by the PM. It is his or her job to ensure that everything ticks along.

Tony Blair led Labour through two landslide election wins and even after a deeply unpopular Iraq war they still won a very healthy majority in the House of Commons. Whilst Brown was saying that the public had lost all respect and trust for Blair, the electorate deep down still looked at him as a better alternative to the Tories. Considering just how deeply unpopular a war that was to have won in all honesty in such a convincing way showed that Blair was pretty much undefeatable and had Labour stuck with him then their odds of re-election in what I suspect would have been a 2009 General Election would have been far higher than they were in 2010 with Gordon Brown in charge.

Anyway I was talking about the timing. It seems as though Brown was putting together this plot (or probably intensifying it) when Blair was at his strongest. I have little doubt, in fact scratch that, no doubt whatsoever that if Gordon Brown was the PM when the Olympics vote was taking place that Paris would be holding the 2012 Games. None whatsoever. Brown does not have the charisma or respect in the world’s community to put that together. Then of course the events of the terror plots on London in July of 2005. Blair was gaining strength once more and Brown thought that for selfish reasons he didn’t to be PM because he thought he could do a better job.

This is a problem in every day life we all have. We all think we can do a better job than someone else. However until you show it you’ll never know and when only one person can do that job at a time (like PM) then to topple someone who is clearly doing a pretty good job because you think you can do better is not only gambling with your career but it is gambling with the lives of every single person in the United Kingdom. Big gamble to take.

But Brown was determined. He felt as if he deserved the chance and so started to make moves. His only problem was that Tony Blair was without a shadow of a doubt one of the smartest politicians that has made their way into parliament in recent times. You can throw a lot of accusations at Blair but not being sharp and smart is not one that has even a speck of foundation. Blair knew that the future of the party was not best left in Brown’s hands – certainly not at this juncture.

Brown himself wrote, ‘The press now write as if Blair is the only person who could ever win Labour any election.’ Well Gordon the press aren’t stupid. You couldn’t win the 2010 General Election even when most of the country still couldn’t muster up any love for the Tory party. In fact you may well have lost the election with your encounter with Gillian Duffy. Do you really think Tony would have either a) said such a thing or b) even if he did he’d never have seen it anywhere near a microphone. He was too savvy for that. Something which you weren’t.

Heck Labour could very easily still be running this country if Brown hadn’t have dug his heels in over him having to be PM. Had Brown accepted a deal with the Lib Dems which would have allowed David Miliband is all likelihood to become PM then Labour would probably be in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. I know Labour would have had a leadership election just like they did but I’m convinced that if they were in government David would have won. Ed was just not strong enough to lead a coalition or a party in government. In my opinion he still isn’t and if he fights the next General Election as leader of the Labour party then I’ll be shocked.

History will see Gordon Brown not only as a man who failed to ever win an election but also as a selfish man who was willing to put his personal feelings ahead of that of both his party and the country. It is a sad thing to say but that is what people will say. There is little doubt he was a bright man who served his country well through bad times but sometimes people just aren’t up to the job – and he was not up to the job of Prime Minister.

Now the head will fall on Ed Balls who is about as slippery as they come and equally as ruthless and determined as Gordon Brown. There is little doubt in my mind that if Ed Balls ever wins an election as leader of the Labour party then I fear for the future. He will put his stamp squarely on the country and what that will mean only time will tell but as for Brown his ultimate ambition was achieved but at a frightful cost for his legacy. He could have been part of a great era for this country but his selfishness and greed for the top job ensured that his legacy whilst not tied to Blair – will be written in unflattering terms for very different reasons.

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Bahrain Grand Prix is off – end – well until next year – maybe

So for once FOTA seem to be the good guys. They decided earlier in the week that the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix was not a good one and effectively forced the hand of the FIA and the race is now off again and will not happen this year.

The 2012 race is still on the provisional calendar but that is obviously not set in concrete. The whole situation in the country will you would have thought had to completely die down either way or the other (hopefully in the favour of the arab spring winning out).

My main issue though is what on earth drove the FIA to reinstate the race in the first place? I know the answer is money but there are more important things than money out there and one of those things is doing the right thing. It was never the right thing to go to Bahrain in this climate for any party except the Bahraini government.

The safety of all the F1 personal could certainly not be guaranteed and without a doubt the government would have had an insane clampdown on the arab spring before the race to ensure that when the world was watching they wouldn’t see what was really going on.

The FIA come out of this looking like money-grabbing tossers whilst FOTA come out looking like a sensible group of people – which isn’t always the case. I love F1 but when it starts putting the pursuit of money over people’s safety both inside and outside F1 and doing the right thing then I quietly shake my head is disbelief.

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