The thin blue line

Once again Britain’s finest have come under attack after it was revealed that claims that 70 police officers were injured in clashes with climate change protesters at Kingsnorth power station were not quite accurate

Only four of the 12 reportable injuries involved any contact with protesters at all and all were at the lowest level of seriousness with no further action taken.
The other injuries reported included “stung on finger by possible wasp”; “officer injured sitting in car”; and “officer succumbed to sun and heat”. One officer cut his arm on a fence when climbing over it, another cut his finger while mending a car, and one “used leg to open door and next day had pain in lower back”.
A separate breakdown of the 33 patients treated by the police tactical medicine unit at the climate camp shows that three officers had succumbed to heat exhaustion, three had toothache, six were bitten by insects, and others had diarrhoea, had cut their finger or had headaches.

Personally, I think that people are far too hasty to criticise the police, and those that do so should put themselves in the place of our brave upholders of law and order and ask whether they would be so quick to put their own safety at risk by sitting in cars, climbing over fences, braving the threat of sunstroke, toothache and “possible wasps”, shooting innocent Brazilian electricians in the head, opening doors with their legs and other such dangerous activities.

Our fearless police officers in action

Two of our finest show no fear by sitting in their car

Human Rights and responsibilities

Today sees the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it’s good to see that Justice Secretary Jack Straw is commemorating the event by, er, planning to water down our own human rights laws. In an interview with the Daily Mail he has vented his frustration with the Human Rights Act

The Justice Secretary’s admission that he is ‘frustrated’ by the way the Act has sometimes been interpreted by the courts alarmed campaigners.
He told the Mail there were genuine public concerns about the way it is being exploited by criminals and extremists to hide from the law. [...]
The Justice Secretary sympathises with those who complain that the act has become used by prisoners to avoid punishment or by Islamic extremists to avoid deportation.
He tells the Mail that he wants to ‘rebalance’ the rights set out in the Human Rights Act by adding explicit ‘responsibilities’, specifically to obey the law and to be loyal to the country. […]
He said: ‘I fully understand that Mail readers have concerns about the Human Rights Act. There is a sense that it’s a villains charter or that it stops terrorists being deported or criminals being properly given publicity. I am greatly frustrated by this, not by the concerns, but by some very few judgments that have thrown up these problems.’

There are three main planks to his argument. Firstly he buys in to the Mail’s “villain’s charter” line by complaining that the act is often used by criminals. Well that’s the thing about human rights – we possess them by virtue of being human, not by being law-abiding and they apply to the worst of us as well as the best. In fact an essential part of any charter or bill of rights is how we are treated when suspected of a crime (guilty or not) and if we are subsequently convicted. Furthermore, given the squalid state of our prison system it is hardly surprising that the government is found to be in breach of the HRA in the way some prisoners are treated. Of course there may be individual rulings which seem perverse (although it’s important to separate these from myths such as rioting prisoners being given KFC meals because of the HRA) but I see no evidence that there is any widespread abuse of the HRA which would require it to be amended. Continue reading

A tribute to Oliver Postgate

Oliver Postgate, creator of some of our best loved children’s TV shows, has died aged 83.

For those of us who were growing up in the sixties and seventies his programmes (created with collaborator Peter Firmin) are an integral part of or childhood memories and I have fond recollections of watching the Pogles, Noggin the Nog, Clangers and, of course, Bagpuss. In fact I have already have DVDs of the latter two series ready for my 6 month old son to watch when he is old enough (well that’s my excuse).

Anyone who has read his autobiography “Seeing Things” will know he was a great character and a true British eccentric.

So RIP Oliver Postgate, you will be sadly missed by children of all ages, especially those in their forties.

Pot, kettle (or possibly…fish, barrel)

One aspect of the Damian green saga which seems to have upset some people is the suggestion that he was “grooming” his mole, the objection being that this phrase is often associated with predatory paedophiles and was therefore inappropriate in this case.

One person who has particularly taken offence is Richard Littlejohn

In her [Jacqui Smith's] stubborn dissembling, she is aided and abetted by her allies in the police force, who brief menacingly that there are disturbing aspects of this case which have still to emerge, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Offensively, they claim that Green was ‘grooming’ a young civil servant to leak information – a scandalous slur normally used in relation to child sex offences.

Of course Littlejohn would never stoop so low himself as to make snide insinuations about someone’s sexuality, would he?

P.S. The title of his piece is “If I’m not here on Friday, you’ll know I’ve been nicked”. Surely it should read “If I’m not here on Friday, it’s because I live in Florida.”