Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Monday, 9 August 2010
One of the things that sometimes gets lost in all the talk about drug laws, harm reduction, classification etc. is the sheer amount of time that the police spend on activity relating to the existing drug laws.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
I cannot believe what I have just witnessed in a video taken by police during a pursuit of a disabled pensioner motorist who they suspected of not wearing a seatbelt last September in South Wales. You can watch it below:
Footage captured on a police dashboard camera shows one officer striking the driver’s seat window with a baton up to 15 times and another officer jumping on the bonnet of the car and kicking the windscreen in an apparent attempt to crack it.Police pulled over Robert Whatley, 70, for not wearing a seat belt as he drove through country lanes in South Wales. The 8-mile chase started after officers tried to give Mr Whatley a fixed penalty notice but he drove off.The retired businessman, who is recovering from a stroke, was covered in glass when officers from Gwent police surrounded his Range Rover on a country lane following a 17-minute chase.Mr Whatley, who was expecting officers to gently knock on the window of his £60,000 car, said: “I couldn’t believe what was happening. The police went completely over the top – you would have thought I had robbed a bank.
“I was terrified when they started smashing in the window and trying to kick in the windscreen. I tried to shield myself but I was showered with glass which could easily have gone into my eyes. “It’s something you might expect in America but not in the quiet of the British countryside.”
Mr Whatley, who never broke the speed limit during the chase, said he had become confused during the pursuit.He said he thought that the blue lights and siren of the pursuing car meant the officer was giving him a police escort home.But he finally pulled over when he was confronted by a police “stinger” device on the road into Usk.Mr Whatley, who has a heart condition, was later charged with several motoring offences.
Lloyds TSB announced an unexpected profit of £1.6 billion for the first half of 2010 this week.
After all, we do not elect governments to speculate with our money in the banking market.
Saturday, 7 August 2010
In my copy of PC Pro this month a leaflet dropped out offering a free £50 trial of Google AdWords. Although I had never really considered advertising for this blog before I thought if it's free I could give it a go, mainly as a test to see how effective £50 worth of advertising this way could be. I am a bit sceptical as to its value for something like this and certainly would not pay anything without evidence that it was worth it.
A £5 account activation fee or equivalent credit deduction required, depending on your preferred billing options.
Your account will be charged a non-refundable GBP £5.00 activation fee upon continuing.
Google charges a one-time activation fee to ensure that our advertisers are committed to creating well-targeted advertisements. The fee also helps cover the costs associated with creating, maintaining, and, if applicable, cancelling an account. The activation fee is non-refundable, even if an account is open only for a short time.
The Daily Mail today has a story that William Hague is to address the Lib Dem conference next month:
The Foreign Secretary, widely seen as one of the best orators in the Commons, is expected to lead a Conservative charm offensive at the gathering in Liverpool in the hope of winning over disaffected LibDem activists.Tory sources suggest Mr Hague will give a 'witty' address, rather than focusing heavily on policy.
William Hague is not part of the conference agenda and I can confirm that he has not been asked to speak at the Liberal Democrat conference. No Conservative ministers have ever been approached to speak at our conference.Fringe events are still being finalised, and it is of course possible that an independent group may have invited Mr Hague to speak at their Fringe event. But this is no different to any other year and it is common for MPs of all parties to attend these events.
Friday, 6 August 2010
These are the 5 most read posts on this blog from the last 7 days:
Jeff Randall has a piece in the Telegraph today entitled "Hypocrites, lightweights and clones – can't Labour do better?" where he rips into the Labour leadership contenders. I am not going to comment on the entire piece and indeed he does make some interesting points. However the details in the fifth paragraph are not among them:
At the last election, David Miliband's share of his constituency vote fell by 8.8 per cent, Andy Burnham's was down by 6.5 per cent, and Ed Miliband's by 3.8 per cent. Even in seats where Labour could put up mannequins with red rosettes and still win, these would-be champions managed to go backwards. Ed Balls, whose constituency had its boundaries redrawn, suffered a fall of 8.4 per cent and just scraped in. Only Diane Abbott, defending Hackney North, was able to increase her share of the vote (by 6 per cent).
David Cameron made a mistake yesterday when he claimed that Iran has a nuclear weapon. This comes after a period in which he has done other things that some think are questionable, notably some remarks he made about Pakistan "exporting terror to India" whilst in Pakistan. Indeed he is holding talks with Pakistan's President Zadari today to try and patch up relations with him later today.
He should take the rest of the month off and come back fully refreshed in September.
Thursday, 5 August 2010
- Millennium tears Wedgie a new one.
- Anthony Barnett on the difference between "Fair votes" and "Fairer votes".
- Luke Akehurst cautions Labour that the pendulum will not swing back towards them on its own.
- Nick Lane writing on Lib Dem Voice suggests a cheeky idea for how Labour could cause real problems for the coalition on the electoral reform referendum.
- Emma Burnell writes an open letter to the Labour leadership candidates.
Steven Evans is calling for action after his 13-year-old son, Dean, was attacked by a Staff at Holy Cross Recreation Ground, in Church Road....Mr Evans believes dogs should be banned from anywhere children play.He added: “I have dogs myself, and I always muzzle them when I take them out.
David Cameron set the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday by seemingly off-the-cuff suggesting that the current situation where people can stay in council houses effectively for life may be reviewed during a Q&A session.
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Towards the end of the House of Comments podcast that we recorded yesterday, we discussed aspiring politicians who have controversial views on issues and the potential consequences of them being completely open about this.
If you are a political blogger and would like to participate in the future, please drop me an e-mail here.
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Do you remember a few months ago, the dreadful case of the two babies who were mauled by the urban fox in London?
There was a great programme on Channel 4 last night "Our Drugs War", the first of a three part series by Angus Macqueen on why the war on drugs can never be won. Angus used to think that banning drugs was the best way but after having looked at the evidence he now says he was completely wrong.
That's right. Tom Harris, that stalwart of First Past the Post has a blogpost this morning which makes the case for the Alternative Vote. You should read the whole post as I have only included snippets below. He specifies the circumstances in which he thinks it can work well:
AV is a good system for filling a single position. If Britain had an elected president, for example, he or she would probably be elected by AV, or at least in a run-off ballot. That would make sense.Similarly, if a local party is choosing a parliamentary candidate, AV is the best system to secure the maximum amount of support for the victorious candidate from party members. And, yes, when electing the leader of a party, AV’s the system to use.
But when you’re electing 650 people from across the country, you’re not just electing 650 individual MPs – you’re electing a government....And that’s why FPTP remains the best system for the Commons and AV is the better system for electing party leaders. Horses for courses, see?
Monday, 2 August 2010
I am getting tired of having to highlight these cases but they keep on happening, despite the statements from senior police and politicians. This one happened at the weekend and is reported in full on the NUJ website:
Carmen Valino had images deleted from her camera by police and was threatened with arrest whilst photographing the scene of a shooting in Hackney, East London.
The incident happened on Saturday 31 July as Valino photographed a crime scene from outside the police cordon whilst on assignment from the Hackney Gazette.
She had identified herself as a journalist and showed her UK Press Card to the police.
A police Sergeant approached Valino telling her that she was disrupting a police investigation and to hand over her camera. After protesting to the Sergeant that she was in a public place, outside the cordon he had no right to take her camera, he grabbed her wrist and pulled out his handcuffs. Before he could put the cuffs on she handed him her camera. He then left for five minutes before coming back, bringing Valino inside the cordon and asking her to show him the images and deleting them. Valino was told that she could come back in a few hours to photograph the scene.
This incident highlights how police are not following the law or the agreed ACPO Media Guidelines which state:
Members of the media have a duty to take photographs and film incidents and we have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what they record. It is a matter for their editors to control what is published or broadcast, not the police. Once images are recorded, we have no power to delete or confiscate them without a court order, even if we think they contain damaging or useful evidence.
How many more times? This has to stop. See here for some previous examples I have covered recently.
I am starting to think that the only way this will ever stop is if members of the public to whom this happens launch private prosecutions against the police officers involved, perhaps with the support of an organisation like Liberty. The officers who do these things are clearly breaking the law by acting in this way and I suspect they would not have a leg to stand on.
It is clear that all the edicts from on high are having little effect on the actions of officers on the ground.
Following on from my post yesterday where I suggested that the Lib Dems should separate out the AV part of the constitutional reform bill in order to help Labour support a "yes" vote in the ensuing referendum I would like to expand a little on one of the points I made.
I highlighted how whoever wins the Labour leadership election will just have been elected using AV. This is not a trivial point. It actually goes to the heart of the mandate that they will have.
It would be incredible if, having just been elected using that method they then went on to oppose exactly that reform for the election of MPs. I expect the public would find it very hard to understand how it can be good enough for the election of political elites but not good enough for the rest of us. This is a particularly acute issue at the moment in the wake of the expenses scandal when one of the things that infuriated people was how there was one rule for MPs and another for everyone else.
So, frankly I cannot see how the new Labour leader would want to put themselves in that position. They would have enough of a job explaining why they were campaigning for a "no" vote in a referendum that was in their own manifesto, let alone the absolute hypocrisy of the election of their own position would expose.
And so if the new leader is not going to credibly be able to oppose the referendum, it would be far better for them to throw their full weight behind a "yes" vote rather than do it in a half-hearted way (which might be tempting). Otherwise, if the vote fails then it would reflect badly on them too.
After all, this will be the first big test of national opinion on an issue since the general election. Won't the new leader want to be on the winning side and to be seen to have visibly contributed towards this positive vote?
The Radiology Degree blog today has a list of 25 reasons to legalise cannabis and 25 reasons to keep it illegal.
Sunday, 1 August 2010
I am just back from a long weekend away and one of the things that I have been mulling over is how we can win the AV referendum next May. I expect my thoughts on this might prove a bit controversial but hey ho.