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February 01, 2006


Backword Dave

You're not often wrong Jamie, but you've definitely erred here. I remember writing on the first vote this government lost in November where I quoted the Mirror: "Ministers had been ordered back from abroad and one MP told to leave his sickbed to avoid such humiliation." They still do the deathbed thing, if that's "basic political tradecraft."

Still "According to Paul Goggins the law they tried to pass last night wasn’t even a law as such, since according to him it left the definition of what recklessness should be to guidance from the CPA to be produced at some later date." This seems to me to be true of every legistalation to come from the office of David Blunkett. What goes through Parliament is a sort of sketch, a not-even-working prototype. In matters of criminal law, this is monstrously unfair, as it means that if you end up in court, neither you nor your lawyers can consult the legislation nor precedent since the actual law is in the head of the Home Secretary and possibly the judge. How you argue your legal case is somewhat difficult to conjecture. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, even when it appears there is no written law to be gnorant of.

Chris Williams

It took a Tory to sum up what this is actually about:

Dominic Grieve: "I think it does send out a signal that parliament considers that the use of threatening language in inciting religious hatred is unacceptable and to that extent I think it does serve some purpose,"

Grieve obviously knows that Cameron is Blair-lite, and thus NuTory will demonstrate the same basic attitude to governance as NuLab does. Parliament, it seems, is not about laying down laws by which we will live, but about 'sending a signal'. So if an issue gets onto the redtop agenda (or, in this case, the hijab-topped agenda), then NuLab will bung in some ill-thought out legislation so that they can be seen to be doing something.

The resulting tangle is something that they expect Other People to sort out. You know, the help. This lot feel the same way about workers in the public sector as their Thatcherite estate-agent precursors felt about the industrial working class in the private sector, for much the same reasons.

The self-made (wo)man can never quite understand why the rest of us didn't make it up the greasy pole. The poor saps who have to enforce these rapidly-expanding dogs' breakfasts of legislation exist in the Hewittverse merely as obstacles to dynamic change, who have inexplicably failed to greet the last six policy announcements with the required fervour and gusto.


Dave - whoops, my mistake there. But it does seem to indicate a rapid degeneration between then and now.

"This lot feel the same way about workers in the public sector as their Thatcherite estate-agent precursors felt about the industrial working class in the private sector"

People don't understand this, or at least commentators don't. Maybe it's different for people who do work in the public sector or their friends and relatives. Having information from that source, I'm willing to bet that New Lab are loathed in the public sector below senior management apparatchik level more than anywhere else. And as a corollary I'd bet that:

a) the swing to the Lib Dems at the last election could be accounted in large part by public sector workers and that...

b) this had nothing to do with Iraq or various preudo-marketisation measures and everything to do with the fact that they're the ones taking orders from the fuckers and their placemen.


Chris W is absolutely f'kng on the money there:

[Parliament, it seems, is not about laying down laws by which we will live, but about 'sending a signal'. ]

Indeed, and usually in response to "the perception of an issue". Perhaps the solution is for them to pass imaginary laws to solve imaginary problems and then the imaginary voters can pretend to vote for them. If we put it on the internet we could probably get some money out of it.

and the sentence:

[The self-made (wo)man can never quite understand why the rest of us didn't make it up the greasy pole.]

sums up the greasy horribleness of the whole bloody bunch as well as Mencken did in his time. All there is to add is that in general they "made" themselves in the National Union of Students (or its equivalents at Oxford and Cambridge) rather than in the conventional way, so they have a particular venality which stems from the fact that politics is all they have. Remember Beverly Hughes? If I ever go mad and join the Weather Underground, it will be because of the memory of her, greetin and whinin over how *unfair* it was for her to be separated from her position, which she had worked so hard to get.[1]

[1] If she was a man I would have said "sucked so many dicks to get", but this is an accusation too often levelled at women and I wanted to avoid the confusion between metaphorical and literal greasy poles.


some - not all - of those cartoons were just fucking disgraceful sub Julius Streicher stuff

Eh? Aside from one that seems, possibly intentionally, to draw on caricatures of The Jew from 100 years ago, I wouldn't hesitate to publish any of them. I'd judge most tamer than your average Sunday broadsheet strip.

Backword Dave

Jamie, your basic point was sound. And Nick Robinson agrees: "It suggests not so much a loss of authority as a lack of grip by Team Blair. It also demonstrates the slow decay of instinctive discipline and loyalty in the Parliamentary Labour Party. Those things do happen to governments, but usually only just before their leaders stand aside or are pushed."


There were some really nasty fake ones doing the rounds, which I think BBC world wrongly thought were real. I thought a couple of the real ones were dodgy; doing an image of Mohammed is one thing, doing one of him as a human bomb is playing up to the brownshirts.The one with him waving a knife around wasn't exactly just celebrating freedom of expression, either.

All here, in case anyone hasn't seen them:


I don't for a minute think that any of it should be illegal but I don't think you could judge this entirley as a freedom of speech issue either. It was being used to get across a particular message under that guise. Of course, it's always going to be easier to do that if you have these absurd superstitions against publishing images of your main geezer.


Actually, the two you mention are the ones I noted. The second, I'd let go because it does appear to have something serious (i.e. non-fascist) to say about the subjugation of women. The first, I'd probably spike, not because of the bomb thing, which we'd probably not notice strapped onto Dubya's head. More because the way the illustration's rendered makes it look very like those c.19th "scary/evil/powerful Jew" posters. The idiotic reaction, though, has been way past proportionate to the supposed crime. And it's that fact that ultimately makes it a freedom of speech/expression issue, for me anyway.


For a satirical analysis of Tony's latest loss, try this KTAB News article: Religious Right: Government Wrong.

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