Wall Fall Part 1: Lessons On The Database State – From the Stasi

The Wall Came Tumbling Down

On Monday it will be twenty years since the government of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik finally conceded victory to the millions of massed demonstrators demanding the end of their oppressive regime and opened the gates in the Berlin Wall, presaging the fall of the Soviet Union.

While crowds streamed across the border to the West and ‘freedom’, lights burned through the night at the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit. Well, lights burned there every night, the Stasi, like New York, never slept. Also like New York this made them paranoid and creepy.

But on this night, and on every subsequent night until the evening of January 15th, 1990 when demonstrators occupied the building, the lights probably flickered as well. During this time, the Stasi officers inside had been shredding documents. By January 15, it has been estimated that they had managed to destroy 45 million pages. Reckoned to be a mere 5% of their files. Most of these files contained intimate details of the lives of the ‘citizens’ of the DDR.

Reuters carries the stories of some of those citizens, and the effects upon their lives of their Stasi files.

BERLIN (Reuters)For decades, Joachim Fritsch struggled to understand why he was being denied access to higher education and passed over for job promotions again and again.

Then he got hold of a 400-page file East Germany’s dreaded secret police had compiled on him. The Stasi had arrested him back in the mid-1950s when he was just 17 years old and branded him a “provocateur” for failing to produce his identity card.

Harsh is the regime which would brand a callow youth untouchable for life.

The First Corner Case

The Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007 – a statutory instrument enabled by Section 12 of The Children Act 2004 – established the ‘ContactPoint’ database. According to the DCSF bumf

ContactPoint is an online directory holding basic contact information for all children. The directory is designed to ensure that there is easier and faster contact between professionals who work with children.

Even a brief skim of the enabling legislation shows this to be somewhat lacking, far more information is proposed to be stored than that. For instance Section 12 of the Children Act states that the database should record, for every child on the database.

information as to the existence of any cause for concern in relation to him;

As a parliamentary committee observed when the legislation was being debated, this is “an extremely subjective and open-ended phrase which is almost bound to include very sensitive information about a child”

We couldn’t damage a child much appending the word “provocateur” to their record, in the current political climate it is practically meaningless. It has been speculated, however, that we could achieve a similar effect to that observed above by applying the epithet ‘racist’. It is, of course, mere speculation.

The Second Corner Case

Fritsch was arrested for failing to identify himself when stopped by the police.

10 yards down the street however, we were stopped by a police medic who asked what my name was.

“I’m not so sure I want to tell you that” was my first response to this question, unwilling to comply with any attempts to draw me into casual conversation.

“Look, if you’re not going to tell me your name, I’m going to arrest you and we can get your name at the station” came the not so friendly reply.

Not a quote from Herr Fritsch, but a blog post by a member of Lancaster UAF reporting their experiences attending the recent demonstration by the UAF in Leeds against members of the EDL.

Police operations on that day were being conducted under the aegis of Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, “Powers to stop and search in anticipation of violence”, so by no means an ordinary set of circumstances. It should perhaps be noted that nowhere in it’s text does Section 60 give officers the power to arrest people for failing to identify themselves.

The Third Corner Case

Back to Reuters again :

Many people apply in order to prove they were unjustly imprisoned, to clear their criminal record and claim compensation for any time spent in jail.

“In a dictatorship, you don’t get any proof of what happened,” said Fritsch, who was twice imprisoned by the Stasi, and whose family distanced itself from him to escape Stasi persecution.

Fritsch, of course, had no idea why the Stasi had imprisoned him.

Up to 20 men regarded as Britain’s most dangerous terror suspects can challenge their detention after Britain’s highest court ruled that three of them had been denied a fair trial.

The men, who have been held under virtual house arrest under the Government’s control order regime, won the unanimous backing of a panel of nine law lords, on the grounds that the suspects did not know what they were accused of or what evidence was being used against them.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson called the judgment “extremely disappointing”, adding: “Protecting the public is my top priority and this judgment makes that task harder.

“Nevertheless, the Government will continue to take all steps we can to manage the threat presented by terrorism.

“All control orders will remain in force for the time being and we will continue to seek to uphold them in the courts. In the meantime, we will consider this judgement and our options carefully.

Apocalypse Now

So terrified were we of having to live under a regime such as that practised by the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit and it’s various Eastern Block contemporaries that we were prepared to engage in a nuclear war to prevent it from happening. So real was this possibility that the UK issued Civil Defence advice on what to do in the event of a nuclear war.

As previously mentioned on this blog, even a limited nuclear exchange would have utterly devastating consequences, and not just for those directly involved.

Even a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more, with environmental effects that could be devastating for everyone on Earth, university researchers have found.

Hyperbole ?

Could be, couldn’t it ? All the above listed similarities are, of course, corner cases, they involve the intersection of emotive things like child protection, racism and national security.

Tomorrow, in Wall Fall Part 2, I’ll take a closer look at the kinds of information that the Stasi collected and used for political control, and some of the ways they went about collecting it. Then we can ask the question again : “Is this just hyperbole ?”

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Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on Freedom Of Speech: A Reluctant Fisking

There are times when I feel sorry for Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I’ll see her on some TV program or other, commenting on this or that, and for a few moments I’ll think “she seems like a reasonable lady”, and then she’ll tangle herself up in equality knots, trip over her diversity and morph before my very eyes into a nasty totalitarian. The sad thing is that I don’t think she wants to be, in fact, I think that’s exactly what she’s trying to avoid.

The article she wrote for the Indy looking at freedom of speech issues in the wake of the recent twitter/blogosphere bitch slapping of Jan Moir is a case in point.

She starts off badly muddled already, making me wonder if she’s been drinking. In this paragraph, she seems to be attempting to construct some sort of bizarre naval metaphor for freedom of speech.

The ship flying the flag for free speech is often unsteady, sometimes leaky, as it sails capricious, tempestuous seas. Sometimes even the captains jump off and struggle to keep faith with its mission. Like the supremely erudite Stephen Fry who has always, to my knowledge, been an uncompromising champion of free expression, keeping watch on deck whatever the provocations.

I mean, seriously, what the fuck ? How exactly is freedom of speech like a leaky boat with an interchangeable plunging captaincy ? Who made Stephen Fry one of the captains ? And how did you manage to avoid the more obvious seaman gags ?

Luckiliy, Yasmin provokes herself into abandoning her leaky metaphor before the next few paragraphs, in which she accuses Fry of oppressing Jan Moir. Really.

Yet this Friday came the moment when Mr Fry couldn’t abide by his own credo and ferociously assailed the Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir for her freely expressed views on the young pop star Stephen Gately. His gay lifestyle, she suggested, was “more than a little sleazy” and his death was unlikely to have been from natural causes. Now Fry commands a virtual army on the web. He can make or break someone with under 140 characters.

Oh my GOD! How did he acquire such awesome power, and has anyone told the PRIME MINISTER ? Seriously, I think you overstate the rheumy old queen’s influence, but even were it so, it does not follow, as Yasmin goes on to suggest, that in motivating his “virtual army” he is necessarily causing Moir to loose out on her freedom of expression.

After all, she was free enough to publish her opinion in the Daily Mail, and many many people read it, and it is, in fact, still available on the Daily Mail’s website

Between the Mail’s comment section, twitter and the many many blogs who took issue with it, it turns out that many of those people didn’t much like what Jan had to say, and they took the opportunity to let her know in no uncertain terms.

That, to me, sounds like everyone got a pretty fair hearing. and so I’m not sure what this to do with freedom of speech issues, particularly given that I’m still trying to work out the boat/flag/captain gestalt metaphor, Yasmin feels otherwise

I can understand their rage. The column was ugly, insensitive and homophobic. However, though I passionately believe in free speech, I am not an absolutist nor a hypocrite. The only real argument is where the line is drawn. Perhaps fundamentalists like Fry will now be more honest and accept that there are limits. Even for them.

Ah, now here we are, this is where we finally get to the nub of the issue, this is the part where after seeming a bit confused, but generally sort of nice, Yasmin is about to morph before our very eyes into her very own version of the incredible hulk.

You’ll notice, dear reader, that Yasmin needs to consult a good quality dictionary and possibly a book about logic, as she has here set pen to page and committed that great logical fallacy : the supposition that their should be ‘limits’ on freedom of speech.

The most obvious thing to say is simply that if it’s got limits on it, it aint free.

To try and shake you out of this point of view, Yasmin proposes that we have a little quiz. Yes lets.

Seven events this month reveal the increasing tension between freedom and responsibility. Each case is testing and spawns its own, particular dilemmas. Only libertarian fools and fanatics would give set-piece answers. Test yourself.

I’m pretty sure I know where you’re going to go with this, and I’m pretty sure what my answers will be. Let’s see, shall we ?

First came the national furore over “Pakigate” and Strictly Come Dancing.

What ? That’s not actually a question you know ? I don’t what you’re asking me here. As such, I’m going to declare that one invalid.

Then a picture of Brooke Shields, aged 10, nude, was withdrawn from view by the Tate Modern. The photographer had paid her mum $450 for the image. Shields herself has tried to have this object of exploitation removed from the public eye. So a good call, I think, by the Tate.

Ah, I’m on firmer ground here, but you aren’t. This has sweet fuck all to do with freedom of speech.

It is left as an exercise for the reader to figure out why the Tate decided to (very briefly) use an image that almost certainly breaches the UKs very strict child protection laws in the opening of an exhibition, knowing that it would certainly attract a lot of comment from the press.

Frankly, I think the only ‘dilemma’ raised here is why Yasmin thinks it’s OK to heap child protection issues in with what purports to be an article about freedom of speech. It’s become as of cliché as Godwin’s law that people engaging in public hand wringing about practically anything will eventually use child protection issues as a battering ram for their agenda, and it is really not very cool at all.

The BNP’s bulldoggish Nick Griffin, a white supremacist, admired by the Ku Klux Klan, opponent of Jews, Muslims and mixed-race families, is invited on to the nation’s most prestigious TV programme.

Ah! Now we get to the actual meat of the issue, like so many other people, Yasmin is worked up about the BNP. Let’s take this one, since it actually is about freedom of speech. Firstly, let’s deal with “the nation’s most prestigious TV programme”, which I think is something of an overstatement, to say the least. certainly if we measure by viewing figures, QT is not even in BBC1’s top 30 most watched programs. According to the same source, BBC1 itself accounts for a mere 20.7% of audience.

According to this article in the Telegraph, QT’s biggest ever audience was about 4 million – is the number of people who thought it would be fun to see Margaret Becket destroy her career – which still wouldn’t put in in last weeks top 20. Average audience is 2.6 million, which wouldn’t even put it on the top 30 BBC1 programmes.

I suspect Thursday’s viewing figures will be even higher. That’s what “No Platform” gets you, so well done Retards Against Fascism and associated subsidiaries of the BNPs PR wing.

Moving swiftly on

He, who would deny millions of us the vote, is an emblem of democracy and his violent thugs who try to silence so many of us black and Asian Britons become beneficiaries of free-speech doctrine.

That’s not the question, the question comes later, but this is where Yasmin, like so many other seemingly well meaning folk, is starting to trip her self. Yes, the odious little prick that is Nick Griffin is indeed the beneficiary of ‘free speech doctrine’. And that is as it should be. We can’t just go around making exclusions to the ‘doctrine’ (or law, in fact) just because we don’t like what people are going to say. Yasmin is about to argue otherwise – or at least insinuate heavy handedly that other people ought to – of course, but the simple fact is this : The BNP represent a significant minority viewpoint. If you remove any of their rights, you are persecuting that minority.

The fact that you (and indeed I) may find them a hateful, despicable, minority is really central to the point. Indeed, Yasmin made this argument herself, although clearly not on purpose He, who would deny millions of us the vote, is an emblem of democracy and his violent thugs who try to silence so many of us black and Asian Britons

He wants to silence and disempower those (and plenty of other) groups, and that is bad. You want to silence and disempower the group he represents, and that is also bad.

Free speech simply ceases to exist when you deny it to groups of people that you detest. There are no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’, no matter how many times people twist themselves around this argument, speech is either free, or it is not. It is an absolute. There really are no grey areas to be found.

Cue the Hitler comparison. Griffin is nothing like Hitler, I don’t understand why people keep making it. He probably sits in front of his PC all day with his tiny flaccid cock in hand searching Google News for “griffin hitler”.

Hitler won the votes of the majority. Would the BBC have done him the honour, too? I say the BNP should be interrogated on news programmes but an appearance on Question Time is a privilege which the BBC now bestows on racists. It sickens those of us who expect better of the corporation.

Oh. OK, that’s new. Unlike the thuggish boot boys of the new left, Yasmin is only concerned about Question Time. Listen, Yasmin, the beeb has to be impartial, it has to be representative. Those are in the charter. If the BBC denies the BNP a platform it is neither. This is quite simple. Thus, it isn’t, in fact, a ‘privilege’ to be bestowed but a duty undertaken by a political program. When you say you “expect better”, what you are actually saying is that you expect them to enforce your personal prejudices. One of the common whinges levelled against the BBC by the various odious practitioners of race politics is that the BBC is “pandering to political correctness” by selecting non white members for it’s programs, and we don’t expect the BBC to enforce their prejudices, do we ?

Let’s move on to the next of your seven, because it’s a doozy.

Then comes the ghastly Dutch MP Geert Wilder who overturned the order banning him from entering Britain imposed by the former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. He curses the Koran, damns and insults European Muslims, is a fearless xenophobe and seems to enjoy the hurt he churns up. … I agree that he should be allowed into Britain and I was proud Muslims responded with good sense.

A British youngster politely explains why Geert Wilders must die

But to see him fêted as a hero in parliament was an affront. This must mean free passage for proscribed hate-makers – rabid imams, anti-Semites, homophobic black rappers. If not, it only confirms outrageous double standards.

Ah, see now, you’re almost there. Proscribed hate-makers – rabid imams, anti-Semites, homophobic black rappers – must indeed be treated in exactly the same way that is entirely the point.

The most serious threat to free speech has come from David Miliband, now a skilled double-dealer. He talks the talk on good British values and yet rejects the judgement of two senior judges who demand disclosure of information that could prove our intelligence services colluded with the US and others to torture captured Muslims in the “War on Terror”, in particular Binyam Mohamed who was held in Guantanamo Bay for many years.

This has nothing to do with freedom of speech, and the revolting Milliband did not ‘reject’ the judgement, he appealed against it, which he is perfectly entitled to do. You are here conflating the issue of freedom of information, important in itself, with freedom of speech. We will mark this as another invalid point in an article about freedom of speech.

Next the drama over a scientific study on toxic dumping in West Africa by the company Trafigura, whose lawyers obtained an injunction to keep the information secret, including debates on the scandal in Parliament. The gaggers were duly defeated but commercial confidentiality remains an effective weapon used by big business to keep us in the dark.

Yes, and that was wrong. The libel laws need to be reformed, and the judge responsible for granting the injuction should be taken into the street and beaten. Quite so. Was that right ?

You’ve (again) wrongly conflated two issues though. Commercial confidentiality is what the current government uses to keep us in the dark about how crap they are at administering large projects because they wrote an exemption into the Freedom Of Information Act, so that’s an FOI issue, not a speech issue. Trafigura via Carter Ruck used our overly repressive libel laws to try and silence parliament. Both of these are disgraceful, but they are not related.

And of course, no columnists woolly rant about freedom of speech would be complete without it. It’s the question on everyone’s lips. What to do about the bloggers ?

Lastly, the scientist Simon Singh (a good friend) is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association which objects to his attacks on the profession. He, who is supported by Fry and others, got leave to appeal against an earlier ruling that went against him. Many of us are silenced by the might of libel law. Money, as Orwell wrote, “controls opinion”. Singh wants more “freedom to criticise fairly and strongly” on the blogs and scientific writing. I agree but too many bloggers are mad or malicious.
So what to do about them? Not easy.

Actually, it is very, very easy indeed. Nothing. The mere fact that you raise the question puts you firmly in dribbling totalitarian oppressor mode. Again. Seriously, we’ve already agreed that the libel laws are harsh enough to be open to misuse, and we have seen high court injunctions issued via twitter. What do you want that’s extra ? Regulation ? Because some people say things that you think are mad or malicious ? Do you think those people believe themselves to be mad or malicious ? Perhaps they just have very different points of view to you ?

That’s your seven, and in every case where they actually to freedom of speech, my answer is : Let their be freedom, which is not to be limited only to things that do not displease you. I’m sure that this wasn’t the stance that you wished to take, but it is where you have ended up, as we will see shortly.

Let us move swiftly to conclude, because the rest of the piece is seriously confused.

Libertarian ideologues such as journalist Brendan O’Neill have no such moral conundrums:

Because there are none. Free speech is for all, or it is for none.

“Offensiveness is part of life; the politics of inoffensiveness is a threat to free speech and open debate.” Yes, until people’s deep feelings are roused as were Fry’s by Moir.

No. No. A thousand times no.

The Roman inquisition burned Giordano Bruno at the stake in 1600 for the heresy of heliocentrism. Certainly their deep feelings were roused.

Should Giordano have shut the fuck up just because the Inquisition were a little bit touchy about their doctrine ? Perhaps from self interest, yes, but he was convinced he was correct, and so it turned out to be.

Words do violence to humans, more sometimes than sticks and stones

Really ?

Only Sometimes

More and more freedom is what we must strive for, but a complete lack of restraint leads to anarchy and dehumanisation.

What kind of restraints ? A whole article and you haven’t managed to define any.

Because logically, it is not possible to do so and still believe in the right to freedom of speech. Whatever the consequences.

There was a time not so long ago when the military powers of western Europe were prepared to risk turning most of the Northern Hemisphere into little more than a faintly glowing glass wasteland in preference to their citizens losing the freedom to think and opine as they pleased. By contrast, having some tosser from the BNP on a programme with an audience smaller than the Antiques Roadshow doesn’t seem like such a big fucking deal to me.

Just sayin.

Carter-Ruck take it up the arse from horses

Mammoth elephant’s cock ticklers and occasional media lawyers Carter Ruck, not content with trying to gag the free press would now like to injunct parliament as well.

Carter-Ruck partner Adam Tudor today sent a letter to the Speaker, John Bercow, and also circulated it to every single MP and peer, saying they believed the case was “sub judice”.

If correct, it would mean that, under Westminster rules to prevent clashes between parliament and the courts, a debate planned for next Wednesday could not go ahead.

The Minton Report, which Carter Ruck would prefer you not to be able to read because it describes how their clients, Trafigura, are poisoning thousands of people and killing wildlife on the Ivory Coast, can be found at Wikilieaks (of course) here

You are guilty of child abuse until we say you aren’t

Bad news for parents who chose to educate their children at home instead of sending them in to the soul destroying wasteland cherishing arms of the state education system.

A review of home education in England is expected to recommend a national registration scheme for home educators.

Now whenever the Stalinist apparatchiks of the state start talking about building a database ‘register’ of anything you just know that it’s only going to be the tip of a very unpleasant iceberg.

And so it proves to be in this case.

It is also expected to say local authorities should have the right to visit any child taught at home.

Because ?

the government has also been concerned that home education could be a cover for abuse.

Despite the fact that

the review has not found any evidence that home education was being used specifically to conceal trafficked children, or forced marriages.

So on exactly no evidence, the state demands the right to enter your home because they need to make sure you aren’t abusing your children.

And just so you don’t make the mistake of thinking that really this is just about local authorities responsibility to ensure children are educated

The review is not expected to propose any minimum standards or set subjects.

As Peter Hitchens points out in here

I haven’t any evidence that any members of the House of Lords abuse their children, because there isn’t any. But on this logic, that state of affairs would presumably entitle the Department ‘For Children’ to probe their Lordships’ House for evidence of such abuse.

This is, simply, a hysterical witch hunt. Worse, it is the state’s apparatchiks treating our children as their property.

It’s prime instigator is unpeakable harpy and Children’s Minister, Delyth Morgan. She clearly has a bee in her bonnet abut the who child abuse thing, and believes that the state must have primacy over our children, and the rights of parents, in order to protect them.

She also obviously has a prurient obsession with the sexual habits of others, as she issued a further press release this week that contains this absolute gem

The full extent of sexual exploitation is hidden as it mostly takes place away from streets in private homes. It can take many forms from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for attention/affection, accommodation or gifts to serious organised crime and child trafficking. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power within the relationship with the perpetrator holding some kind of power over the victim, increasing the dependence of the victim as the exploitative relationship develops.

That’s right. Your relationship may seem consensual, but even you can’t be sure until you let Delyth Morgan Sex Stasi into your house to check. Presumably they like to watch.

Excellent coverage of the whole issue of Authoritarian Statists and the NSPCC vs HE, liberty and democracy can be found at Bishop Hill Blog.

Democracy and the BNP. An FAQ for the Righteous

Further to my previous post on the fascism of the anti-fascists, a few quick notes based on a heated debate that took place yesterday, and was no doubt repeated around the country.

Below are rebuttals to a few points that kept being made both on the net and on TV.

It is OK to abandon democracy and curtail freedom of speech for the BNP because they

Are criminals

So what ? So are millions of people who trip speed cameras. Do we deny then the right to an opinion ? You can not change the rules simply to fit one category of criminal that you don’t happen to like*. We deny suffrage to prisoners. Those who are not held at Her Majesty’s Pleasure are not denied any of their democratic rights.

Have vile policies and intents*

Indeed they do. But it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to agree with a party’s policies or intents in order to allow them a democratic voice. I don’t agree with most of the Labour manifesto. It is utterly irrelevant what their policies are. They are a legal political party with democratically elected representatives. Period. If no one else likes their policies, no one will vote for them. That’s kind of the definition of democracy.

Use violence and intimidation*

That may be so, although the only reports that I could dig up are in militant left rags that are hardly credible sources, but let’s assume that it is so.

But then again, there is this story

An arson attack at the Shrewsbury home of a British National Party member in the run-up to the local elections is being investigated by police.

A Union flag was taken from Alan Coles’s garden, in Underdale Road, and set on fire, in the final act of what he called a three-night campaign of abuse.

Mr Coles said it was not the first time he has been abused for his political beliefs.

He stood unsuccessfully for the BNP two years ago in local elections and during the campaign protesters broke his wing mirrors, made defamatory posters and put swastikas on the windows, he said.

That looks awfully like intimidation to me.

Or this one

POLICE say they have seized a deactivated Kalashnikov rifle, imitation handguns, knives and a number of devices “made from fireworks” as part of a terrorism investigation.

Two men aged 25 and 19, a 16-year-old schoolboy and a 20-year-old woman were this morning still being held at Launceston police station under the Terrorism Act.

The investigation came about after a sharp-eyed police officer stopped a 25-year-old man – believed to be Andrew Sprague – on Friday night daubing anti-fascist graffiti along the North Street subway under Exeter Street, just a couple of hundred yards from Charles Cross police station.

It is understood the man had sprayed the word “Antifa” – a militant anti-fascist organisation with international links.

Antifa eh ? Let’s look em up

PHYSICAL CONFRONTATION

Fascism is a violent ideology. Throughout history, fascists have used violence against those who oppose them. Antifa is a continuation of the antifascist tradition of confronting fascism physically when it is necessary. Physical confrontation is only one of our tactics though, we do not aim to fetishise it as one tactic above all others, nor will we allow a hierarchy to develop based on the kudos of street-fighting. If an individual member feels unable to engage on this level they are no less worthy as an anti-fascist than any other member of the group, however those with a moral problem regarding this issue should be advised that this is not the group for them.

Or this one

More than 30 gas-guzzling cars have been attacked by eco warriors, police said.

The tyres of the 4X4 vehicles were slashed and notes were left blaming drivers for climate change.

The campaign of destruction, over the last three weeks, has taken place in areas of Manchester popular with students.

The notes said the attack was not on the owner but on their choice of car.

Can you smell the hypocrisy ?

Represent a minority * viewpoint

No, don’t laugh. Donna Guthrie of Retards Unite Against Fascism told the BBC that it was OK to deny the BNP their freedom of speech (what’s left of it), which is legally defined as a basic human right because a) they are fascists and b) they got such a small share of the vote at the EU elections.

Really. So according to her, it’s OK to remove the human rights of minorities so long as they’re a minority that you really, really don’t like. Martin Smith made more or less the same point on Newsnight.

When did the Righteous have that meeting ?

And when the fuck did “I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” become “No platform for fascists” ? Oh wait, yes, I remember now.

More on “No Platform” later, perhaps.


* Eagle eyed readers will notice that these are exactly the same arguments that fascists supposedly use to vilify groups and then, e.g. cart them off to death camps. If they are the wrong arguments when they are in the mouths of fascists then they are the wrong argument in the mouths of the UAF and their lumpen trot mentalist cohorts.

Lords : Show us the evidence. Johnson : Mmm, poison!

Excellent news breaking on the beeb

Three terror suspects on control orders have unanimously won a major ruling over the use of secret evidence.

Nine Law Lords allowed the men’s appeals after they had argued they did not know what they were accused of.

Yes it turns out that you can’t possibly be considered to have had a fair trial if you aren’t presented with the charges or the evidence against you. Who’d have thought ?

The Law Lords have not quashed the men’s control orders, but instead ordered their cases to be heard again.

Only with the “evidence” this time. Good show.

Alan Johnson, immediately and enthusiastically gulping from the poisoned chalice gave the beeb a statement along the lines of

This is a very disappointing judgement, it is very important for the health of a free democratic society that the stasi security services be able to lock people up for years; then keep them under house arrest and convict them of unspecified crimes based on evidence that may not even exist. I would have thought that was obvious. We will of course be doing everything we can to reverse this terrible miscarriage of justice (i.e. that there is some). Mmm, lovely poison, can I have some more ?

There are only two types of evidence that are to secret to be heard in court, ‘intercept evidence‘ and heresay from ‘intelligence assets’. Neither of which would be allowed in a proper court of law in any case.

The government will fight this tooth and nail, through the Home Office and the Ministry of “Justice” *, and in the process Johnson will lose any credibility he might have had as labour Leader.

Labour : Democracy ? Pah!

Labour have suffered their worst electoral defeat in more than 60 years, they have lost ground to their pet bogeyman the BNP been beaten into the ground by a parties they have labelled “fringe” Or “extremist”. They are in open revolt against their most unpopular leader ever.

There has been some chatter on auntie beeb’s rolling news channel this afternoon about whether the backbench rebels have the strength to topple their leader. It’s not about strength though, Brown has to be the weakest PM in living memory, he would fall to a weak shove, it’s about weather they have the balls to stand up to him and the stomach to deal with the consequences.

More even than that, it is about their attitude to democracy and the electorate. There is no doubt, now, that Labour will no longer be the party of government after the next election. Even before the EU results the BBC’s Nick Brown – who is trying very hard to remain a creepy little bootlick – was moved to reveal that cabinet ministers’ were privately telling him that the choice they had to make was one between a long slow lingering death if Brown stays or an instant death if he goes and a general election is called.

Baron von Fey is currently doing the rounds promoting exactly this line as a reason for keeping the walking corpse at the head of the party machine in place.

It might even work, and if it does it will represent the most damning indictment of the Labour party we’ve seen so far, and it’s a field of very strong contenders. For the message that is sent to the electorate if craven New Labour decides to stick it out for another year is simply this : “We don’t give a rat’s ass what you think.”

If, knowing full well that they would lose an election, they shy away from it, they demonstrate once again that their contempt for us – and for democracy – is total. Their continuing cries of “for the good of the country” ring extraordinarily hollow when the country thinks what’s best for it is for Labour to pack up and go.

The numbers are very clear. Labour have been polling at around 18%, last night they took a meagre 15.7% of the vote, more than 60% of the public want a general election now. The Brownites can not be ignorant of this so we must draw the conclusion that they simply don’t care. Hardly a surprise to long time spectators of this gruesome socialist carnival it’s true.

But the problem for Labour now is that it simply can’t rely on the oft talked about voter apathy and political disengagement any more. The sleeping lion that is the British electorate has woken to find 646 grasping hands in its threadbare pockets, and roused from its long slumber it is seriously pissed off. We are used, these days, to getting our democracy in a fairly direct and instant manner . We decide things – who goes next, who’s got talent, who stays in the jungle – in mere hours with a simple text message. The public will not be satisfied with waiting a whole year to vote off their least favourite politicians.

The days to come will be revealing. Whether or not Labour decide to remove their accursed monocular helmsman matters little. The only thing that will leave them with even a shred of honour or dignity is to call a general election as soon as possible. To continue without when they have no mandate, when they have a party in open revolt and a weakened leader with a cabinet full of sloppy seconds will cause irreparable damage to the party. If Labour’s MPs truly love the party as much as they claim to in their resignation letters, they will go to the country. If they carry on, we can only assume that Boris Johnson’s rather unkind suggestion that what they really love more than anything, more than their country which they claim they serve, more than their party which they claim they owe everything, is their salaries, exes and bennies.

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