Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Stirring Up No Support for Religious Hatred Bill

The Government Loses Again.

The Government has clearly lost all the arguments over their inane religious hatred Bill. In the Lords, unlike the Commons, this results in them also losing the vote. Yesterday, they lost very heavily, 260 to 111.

The venality and stupidity of the Bill is surely unique. It is deliberately vague, so that the public would not know if they are committing a crime. To emphasize the point, the offender does not need to intend the harm that the Bill purports to address to be convicted. It only has to be likely that someone - anyone - might react to their actions in such a way as to have hatred stirred up within them.

Lord Plant of Highfield expresses this: .. “It is curious that, according to Ministers and Government supporters, some of the brainiest lawyers in the House—I am not a lawyer; I have been called many things in my time, but not a lawyer—seem incapable of understanding the Bill. If that is true of such eminent lawyers, how much more evident is it going to be to people outside this House who are dealing with these matters at a less elevated level?”

The Government offers assurances that the ordinary public don't need to know if their acts are criminal or not, as prosecutions will not occur without the consent of the Attorney General. I assume we are supposed to trust that this future AG will judge at all times wisely, as opposed to unwisely.

Lord Lyell gives an example:

"If one takes the example of what the Prime Minister said after the bombings of 7 July, which, in my view, was entirely reasonable, he said that religious teaching that encouraged the bombings was vicious and appalling. I do not believe that the Prime Minister intended thereby to stir up racial hatred. I feel confident myself that he had no such thought in his mind. On the other hand, his comment was entirely reasonable in the circumstances. Nonetheless it may well have been likely to stir up some people to hate those who had carried out those vicious and appalling acts as a result of what my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay called their perverted religious beliefs. In those circumstances, it seems that the Bill as it stood prior to the amendment passed by the Committee about an hour ago—the Bill as proposed by the Government—renders those words an offence and that the only thing that would stand between that offence and prosecution would be the opinion of the Attorney-General."

One would assume that the AG (a political appointee) would be 'wise' enough if this case arose. But less august accused may fair less well. A young military officer (Winston Churchill) famously wrote that "The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine‹must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men."

Noone could argue that these views would be immune from the risk of falling into the ears of one in whom they might stir up hatred! Seven years for young Winston.

But enough about the Bill. The vote was a very heartening result. It shows that not everyone in Parliament is on the theocratic bus. As does this EDM (812) published today:

"That this House questions the need for a Faith Communities Liaison Group, with the remit to `lay the foundations for the effective long-term involvement of the faith communities perspectives and needs in policy development across Government', given that faith communities already have the same rights as others to respond to public consultations, to seek to influence public policy, to initiate contacts with Government, and to lobby honourable Members and Ministers; notes that people with no religious beliefs are the second largest faith group shown in the recent census figures, but are generally excluded from Government meetings with faith groups; and concurs with the British Humanist Association that allowing faith groups disproportionately to influence the Government in this way is undemocratic and discriminatory and can help to perpetuate the erroneous idea that religions have a monopoly on moral values or social concerns."

Well done them.

Friday, October 21, 2005


The Tory Leadership Candidates

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or is David Davis capable of conveying meaningful public policy ideas in compound sentences that he delivers off the cuff? This facility has always been important to my judgements. (George 'brilliant' (see third cartoon) Bush can't deliver extemporaneous compound sentences of any kind.)

I listened to DD on Radio 4 this morning. OK, perhaps I was still sleepy. But that was how it seemed to me.

He came out with streams of stuff like this (random example - I can't find a transcript):

"I have been asked questions about drugs policy which have invariably then been written up, rather mischievously I may say, as an attack on David and an attempt to put pressure on David. So I'm going to say this right now. For the next six weeks I am not going to answer any questions on drugs, policy or otherwise because I am simply not going to have this debate dominated by this issue."

All of which made sense, and contained moderately complex ideas.

Whereas Cameron came out with inanities like "Cut me down the middle and I a modern compassionate Conservative."

When asked whether he had any actual policies , he said "I cannot write the 2009 manifesto today." So it's obvious he'll win. Perhaps his cheesy slogans will be a match for Blair's.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The Shortest Suicide Note In History

"Liam Fox 42."

If Fox can get more votes than Ken Clarke (38), the Tories are serious only about marginalising themselves, not about regaining power. They just don't get it: all around the country, people are saying 'Liam who?'. 'Cameron? Pardon?'.

Not that I like Ken Cancer, of course. The BMJ editorial also has an account of his career, the details of which deserve consideration.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Here we are again

A little under a year ago we at oneampfuse pointed out that the then Iraqi President's strong opposition to the long-anticipated assault on Fallujah was not being widely reported. We are now proud to bring you the news that Iraq's Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, has denied British accusations against Iran. Perhaps he's lying--after all, he did say it on Iranian TV. In any case, to the best of my knowledge, you'll struggle to discover this fact in the British press.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Harriet Miers: Key Bush Advisor on, erm, Nominations



"Friedrich's boss, White House Counsel Harriet Miers, will be a key advisor to the president as he decides who to put forward as a replacement for O'Connor. And much of the information Miers will rely on will have been compiled by Friedrich, who coordinates the office's work on judicial selections."

Poor George Bush. He doesn't know very much. So he just days what he sees: "I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with Supreme Court Justice". I don't know who Friedrich is. But s/he better watch out if an ambassadorship opens up in Iraq.


Limbaugh on Toast

"..whoa, gee, what in the world got in -- what's he saying here? What in the world? Doesn't he know that this is gonna -- doesn't he know people aren't gonna -- doesn't he know that he's setting himself up here? Listen to what he said next. That was not reported.."

Media Matters for America have Limbaugh on toast, as he trys to go on the attack to defend Bill Bennett for his comments on abortion ("you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. ")

"What he said next" was reported, of course.

Limbaugh's rant is astonishing. MMA only print the last portion. Here's some other highlights:

"I want to start with this Bill Bennett business because there's a lot more to this than meets the eye. People say things every day in this country that nobody hears or reads. I read things on the Internet on both sides of the aisle that are simply outrageous, but if I don't tell you about them or if somebody doesn't warn you about it, you don't see it, it may as well never have happened. There is a movement in this country. It is a movement. It's not just a phenomenon. It is a movement. The movement's called political correctness, and political correctness is a purposeful obstacle. It is set by liberals to impede the truth. Political correctness is there to make sure that liberals don't have to hear certain truths that they don't want to hear, that contradict their world view. That's precisely what political correctness is. Political correctness is an assault on the First Amendment. It is an assault on the whole concept of freedom of speech.."

"..There are certain things that you cannot think, particularly and especially if they happen to be truthful. If that truth offends the sensibilities of liberals who have created political correctness.."

Yes, Rush, I agree. (I can only assume that, by 'political correctness' he means 'correctness' and by 'the truth' and 'truthful' he means 'preposterous streams of drivel'. Otherwise this just doesn't make sense. He goes on:

"This is the foundation of the civil rights movement, folks. The foundation of the civil rights movement is that this country is unfair and unjust by its very structure! By its very existence as put together and assembled by the Founding Fathers."

Once again, in full agreement with Rush, as I tend to think that slavery was sort-of-unjust. That'll be my correctness. (How many slaves did the founding fathers & mothers own? When did women get to vote?)

He goes on (and on..) about Liberals:

"They don't listen to Bill Bennett. They don't listen to me. They don't listen to Sean Hannity. They don't listen to anybody else on the radio. They read this hack little website that is paid for by George Soros and other Democrats and contributors, and it becomes a source authority for them. It features many things taken out of context. Purposefully, to create what has just happened with Bill Bennett. It's all part of the left's machinery that is in place to do what I have been saying for the longest time. They can't defeat us in the arena of ideas.

"They cannot get into the arena and debate liberalism versus our conservatism and win. Their whole modus operandi is to discredit people who are conservative and on the right, so that they do not have the influence that they have had or do have because it is changing minds and changing hearts in this country. It is a panic and fear-oriented operation just as is most of the left's ginned-up activist group organization today. They're rooted in fear, they're the cornered vermin, the cornered rats and they find themselves swirling down into the abyss.

This from a man credited with the invention of 'nonguested confrontation'!

What's supposed to be worse, "not listening to Sean Hannity", or being "cornered vermin"? I'll take both.


Harriet Miers is Bush's Nominee.. Who's She?

Think 'Brown' and guess..

Cronies, cronies, cronies: for every chicken house a fox.

Isthatlegal?'s Eric Muller agrees, with four repetitions. And I think he knows something about it.

Crony crony crony crony crony. There. That's five.

(via John Cole, another disapproving conservative.)

UPDATE: As Muller says, 'the base is not happy'. In fact, they're hoppin' mad. Follow his link to '' which contains some of the most splendid anti-bush rhetoric you've seen for a while, apparently from Bush supporters now furiously removing bumper stickers etc..

Confirmthem also emphasizes this lovely snippet:

"She was National Co-Chairman of Lawyers for Bush-Cheney in 2000 and helped manage the Bush v. Gore litigation effort."

Nice separation of powers! That'll be the 'bridge that unites' executive and judiciary. Why bother having three expensive bits of government?

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