The Pride of Britain

This is a disgusting country. After dealing with really nasty teenagers today, I came home to read this story about an incident in Derby. Rather than relay it to you, I’ll copy the first bit of the story:

A suicidal teenager was taunted until he jumped from the top of a city-centre car park by a crowd of baying shoppers who had gathered in the street below.

In a shocking indictment of modern Britain, youths passing in the shopping street yelled at Shaun Dykes to kill himself over the course of three hours.

At least one bystander allegedly taunted the 17-year-old by shouting: ‘How far can you bounce?’

The A-level student eventually plunged 60ft to his death from the multi-storey car park after police negotiators tried in vain to talk him down.

Then, in a final sickening act, some of those responsible for the abuse outside the Westfield shopping centre in Derby apparently clamoured to take pictures of the teenager’s body from behind the police cordon using their camera phones.

Yesterday, police branded the mob’s behaviour a ‘shocking reflection on society’ as they joined community leaders and concerned onlookers who were at the scene of Saturday’s tragedy in condemning the crowd’s behaviour.

The Latest Excuse for Terrorism

I think anyone would have to admit it was a mild response, by radical Islamic standards. The house and office of Martin Rynja, the UK publisher of The Jewel of Medina has been firebombed. The book, which has already been pulled by Random House in the US, tells the story of Muhammad and Aisha. Aisha was the wife he married when she was nine years old.

Of course there have been the usual fatwas calling for the death of the author, in this case Sherry Jones, but these seem to apply to anyone connected with publishing the book as well. It’s a good excuse to authorise the killing of as many infidels as possible. London-based radical cleric Anjem Choudhary is promising more attacks if the publication of the book goes ahead.

I’m not saying I support the publication of the book. Publishing any literature describing the sexual relationship between a nine-year-old and anyone should be in violation of all sorts of obscenity laws. But that’s not the problem for radical Muslim clerics. The forced marriage of pre-pubescent girls is not uncommon in the countries and cultures in which they were born. No, it’s that whole insult to Muhammad thing.

It’s not insulting to say that he had sex with a nine-year-old – that’s history. It seems it’s just insulting for an non-Muslim to write about him or for someone to novelise him. Apparently the book even tries to put a positive spin on this love story. You’d think the clerics would love that.

Lack of Convictions

Once again, between extensive discussions in the comments and work, I’ve gone several days without a new post. And once I have something to post, it’s one of those topics that is important to me, but doesn’t tend to generate a lot of viewship. Oh well. . .

Even though crime in the UK has continued to rise, the number of convictions in trials is at a seven-year low. If this were because the quality of criminal defense work is getting better and better, then I suppose that would be okay. But I don’t think that’s the reason.

This is really due to three main causes. Police forces are under a lot of pressure to meet targets. They need to charge defendants. They put together sloppy cases that the Crown Prosecution Service can’t win.

The other two causes create a danger to the public. They endanger public safety by using cautions instead of trying to get convictions. A signed caution counts just a good for the statistics as a conviction, because it is an admission of guilt.  As reported in The Daily Telegraph, from 2002 to 2006, “there was a 142 per cent rise in the use of cautions for violence against the person from 23,607 to 57,273. There was a 75 per cent increase in cautions for robbery and a 60 per cent rise for sexual offences.”

That’s right, chances are that if you rob someone, the cops will say, “Okay, you’ve admitted you’ve done wrong. Now don’t do it again. We might take you to court if you do.”

The police are also endangering the public with fixed penalty notices. A fixed penalty notice is like a traffic ticket. A cop says you are guilty and issues a fine. The number of fixed penalty notices has risen dramatically, in no small part because the number of crimes for which a notice can be issued has also expanded significantly. This is bad for civil liberties, because there are an increasing number of transgressions for which the burden of proof is shifted to the defendent. But it is also bad for public safety and welfare, because for those who are committing some of these offenses, there is no criminal record.

The following information is from the Home Office:

Offences where a notice might be issued

Examples of offences where a penalty notice for disorder may be issued include:

  • intentionally harassing or scaring people
  • being drunk and disorderly in public
  • destroying or damaging property
  • petty shoplifting
  • selling alcohol to underage customers
  • selling alcohol to somebody who is obviously drunk
  • using fireworks after curfew

Maybe it’s just me, but some of these seem fairly serious for there to be no record attached. You can harrass someone, destroy their property, or steal from their shop, then pay a small fine and go back to what you were doing. Or you could use your shop to sell alcohol to children.  No big deal.

Something that shocked me as a former criminal defense attorney in the States was to learn that only 67.5% of cases in Crown Court (where the more serious cases are heard) result in a guilty plea. And this is an increase. In the States over 90% of cases are pleaded out. This means that that in over 30% of cases sent to trial in Britain, the defense thinks they have a shot at winning. I suppose with a 61% acquittal rate this is not surprising.

This either means that defense lawyers are really good or the police are fitting a lot of people up and having their cases collapse. I think I’m going with the latter.

Fecal Atheism

While much ado is made about Christian fundamentalist in the comboxes of this blog, it must be said that not all atheists are gentle, peace-loving folk.

I came across this article tonight. It seems Timothy Brown wasn’t willing to let his persuasive intellect suffice in his bid to convert Helen Watson to unbelief.

Yes, there are some crazy Christians out there. Mr Brown is in a whole other league.

Free Prescriptions for Rationed Drugs

Gordon Brown’ popularity is at an all-time low. The Labour Party looks to walloped at the next General Election.

At Labour’s annual party conference, Brown needed to pull a rabbit out of hat to try to revitalise his prospects, particularly to ward off challenges within his own party. There’s nothing Socialists like better than giving away something paid for by someone else’s money.

Gordon will be giving free prescriptions to cancer patients. Sounds really good doesn’t it? Well, the Scots are already phasing out charges and the Welsh have already abolished them. So really, Gordon is giving free prescriptions to English cancer patients.

If you live in the States, you may realise how expensive cancer drugs can be. In England, they cost £7.10 a bottle. Everything costs £7.10 a bottle. So you’re thinking, wow, from $14.00 per prescription to free – not bad a deal.

It’s not a bad deal as long as you can get the drugs you need. Gordon never said he would pay for all cancer patients. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will still control which drugs are available. It will continue to work out its matrices and decide whose life is worth saving and whose isn’t. Some cancers and cancer patients are worth treating and some aren’t. That’s the reality of socialised medicine. That’s the reality Gordon Brown can’t do anything about.

And if you are in the States you may think, well, that’s just Britain; nothing like that can happen here. That’s the reality Barak Obama won’t be able to do anything about, if he gets Hillary’s way.

Customer Service

I’m sorry I haven’t posted recently. Between participating in the active conversations going on in the comboxes of recent posts and completely revising my Key Stage 3 schemes of work, there hasn’t been time for anything new. That being said, I have to relate and email exchange I had today at work. One of the lovely children I teach stole my DVD remote. I need a new one. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

From:Sol
To: parts@companymanufacturingmyDVDplayer
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 9:26 AM
Subject: replacement remote

I purchased a DVD player, Model DDVDH1, Serial No. R452007005054A, from Asda in Hooterville, England a few months ago.

I no longer have the remote and would like to know if it is possible to purchase a replacement, either from you or from a supplier of your products in the United Kingdom.

Kind regards

Sol

From: parts@companymanufacturingmyDVDplayerbutusingadifferentemailaddress
Date: 22/09/2008 15:28
To: “Sol” Subj:
Re: replacement remote 

Hello,
We would need to know the model radio you have.
Thank you

From: Sol
Date: 22/09/2008 17:39
To: parts@companymanufacturingmyDVDplayer
Subj: Re: replacement remote

As stated in my previous email, I do not have a radio, I have a DVD player. As I stated, it is Model DDVDH1. Thank you

Right to Privacy or Piracy?

For the Left, a woman’s right to privacy extends to the distinct organism that may be temporarily living in her womb, but not to her emails. Well, at least not if she is a Republican. Wait, come to think of it, she doesn’t even get the right to privacy over her womb, either.

There is much ado about the fact that hackers broke into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo account. The Left are quite proud of the illegal activity of their compatriots – activity that if it involved the account of a Democrat would be part of the great Right Wing Conspiracy and just further evidence of the corruption of the Republican Party. Shades of Watergate and all that, I dare say. But since it is the much-hated Mrs Palin, she’s fair game.

The only problem is that Sarah’s email doesn’t divulge a smoking gun. The Left want to regulate what sort of people can say what sort of things in their private email, so if Sarah said anything relevant to her position as governor, they believe the public (meaning left-wing hacks who are looking for ways to chip away at the McCain-Palin ticket) should have access to it. They have therefore tried to insert what they can between the lines to make the emails juicier.  The general tenor of their approach seems to be, “She’s a Republican, she’s conservative, she’s a Christian for pete’s sake. There’s gotta be some muck that will stick to her. If we look hard enough, surely we will find something.” They have, after all, thrown everything at her.

Since the policies and values of the Republican Party generally, and Palin specifically, resonate much more with the American people – the ones denigrated as stupid idiots in left-wing blogs – liberals are left with trying to find scandals. They can’t win on policy. They can’t win on experience. Their empty message of change has been usurped by a substantive message of change – not change for the sake of it, but change to those things that need further reform or adjustment.

And they have to hack into Palin’s emails, because Obama’s campaign made sure we knew that John McCain can’t send them. Why they wanted to make fun of the the fact that he can’t use a computer keyboard because of the injuries he suffering in Vietnam, I don’t know. It’s apparently part of their strategy: “Don’t vote for John McCain, he’s old and he’s crippled.”

Republicans aren’t hacking in Barak Obama’s emails. They don’t need to. It’s pretty obvious there’s not going to be anything in what he says in private. After all, there’s not anything to what he says in public.