The Outrage Continues

The Government must be loving the news out of Mumbi. Just like with 9/11, they are using it to bury bad news.

They haven’t buried it entirely. The Daily Mail has the arrest of Damien Green as the front cover. After all, MPs across the political spectrum are completely beside themselves. There have been waves of questions tabled about it, though ministers don’t have to deal with them until after Parliament comes back into session on Wednesday with the State Opening and the Queen’s Speech.  Tory MPs are threatening to disrupt the Queen’s Speech debate, which should be about the Government’s legislative agenda.

It has now emerged that the Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin, knew of the plans to arrest Damien Green and authorised the search of his parliamentary office. This has not done the Speaker’s reputation for incompetence any good. The calls for his resignation have never been louder. Unlike like the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the US Congress, the Speaker of the Commons is supposed to be completely politically unbiased and defend the rights of MPs. Again, MPs across the political spectrum are horrified at the Speaker’s actions.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, used the same language that I used in the previous post, “This is something you might expect from a tin-pot dictatorship, not in a modern democracy.” Tony Benn said this indicates we are now in a police state.

Government Terrorising the Opposition

It’s all over the top of the news – the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Times. The Government of the United Kingdom has just upped the totalitarian stakes.

It’s the sort of thing that happens in tinpot dictatorships. The Opposition spokesman on immigration, Damian Green, MP, has been arrested on allegations that he leaked stories to the media that he received from a Home Office whistle-blower. The police raided his home, his parliamentary office, and his constituency office.

There were allegedly four leaks between November of last year and September of this year. Green let the press know about:

an illegal immigrant that had been employed as a Commons cleaner,

a letter from the Home Secretary to the Prime Minister warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime,

that the Home Secretary was warned that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work in sensitive Whitehall security jobs but accepted advice from her officials for a news blackout on the affair, and

a list, prepared by Labour whips, of MPs’ likely voting intentions on legislation to extend to 42 days detention without charge.

The Tory Leader, David Cameron has rightly noted, “As Shadow Immigration Minister, Mr Green has, on a number of occasions, legitimately revealed information which the Home Office chose not to make public. Disclosure of this information was manifestly in the public interest. Mr Green denies any wrongdoing.” Instead, he was arrested by counter-terrorism officers.

Those officers came from the Metropolitan Police. It is no coincidence (and even the mainstream media are saying this) that today is the last day in the job for Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, forced out of office by the Conservative mayor of London Boris Johnson.

It is also no coincidence that it came as the House of Commons was in recess. The matter would have been immediately raised with ministers. As it is, they can operate without challenge for several days.

George Osborne said moments ago on BBC’s Question TIme, “It has long been the case in our democracy that members of Parliament have received information from civil servants. I think to hide information from the public is wrong.”  Labour MP Diane Abbott, not being very supportive of the Government, just said on This Week, “Civil servants have been leaking information to politicians since the dawn of the photocopier. The Metropolitan Police do some daft things. They would never arrest a Member of Parliament without getting some form of political cover.” In other words, as much of the media is saying, this has to have been cleared at a very high level, despite the statement by a Downing Street spokesman that the Prime Minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest.

Green is being questioned on allegations of the offence of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. This carries a possible life sentence.

There is terrorism involved here. The Government is terrorising the Opposition to keep it from raising questions about the Government’s competence and honesty at the highest levels. As one not surprisingly anonymous insider question has been quoted in the media, this is “Stalinesque . . . unprecedented in its high-handedness”.

The Swinging Vicar Responds

After lots of traffic to my post about the Swinging Vicar, it is only fair that I provide a link to the Mail of Sunday article giving her side of the story.

She claims that she’s never had sex outside of her marriage, but,

Despite everything, she insists that she could never rule out the idea of ‘swinging’. ‘I wouldn’t break up with Mick if he had sex with someone else,’ she says. ‘But it would be in a swinging context. I certainly wouldn’t have an affair. Sex, as long as it’s not harmful or abusive, can be a wonderful thing.

So she isn’t exactly a traditionalist.

Enjoying Research

When it came out, many of my friends Stateside raved about Gods and Generals, the prequel to Gettysburg. Being on the wrong side of the Atlantic, I was a bit out of the loop. The film went to DVD and I went on to other things and it drifted from my mind.

As I was doing work on my own Civil War novel that I hope will one day be picked up by a big Hollywood studio (or Ted Turner, as was the case with those two), I though about it again and thought it might be helpful in working on my mid-19th century dialogue. One of the online discount DVD stores had both in a boxed set for £5.99 with free shipping. No-brainer.

So late to the party, here’s my review of Gods and Generals: it’s a pretty good film, even if they left Sharpsburg on the cutting room floor. I would have watched the as of yet never released director’s cut of over 6 hours. The film is really about Stonewall Jackson, and I don’t mind that at all.

The film certainly gives justifiable attention to Jackson’s Christianity. While very serious about his religion, the general is not portrayed as dour as he is often thought to have been. His was not a miserable faith.

The only glaring problem I saw with the film was when a bunch of Confederate officers sang “Silent Night” around Christmas of 1862. While the music was composed in 1818, the English lyrics were not written until 1863. They certainly would not have been available in the hymn book handed to Stonewall’s adjutant by his soon-to-be fiancée.

I’m sure there were other liberties taken with history, but they didn’t jump out at me. The thing to remember is that it is the adaptation of a novel, not a documentary.

Swiftly to the Top

I got the new Taylor Swift record a few days ago. Like her first album, it knocked my socks off and it hasn’t been out of my CD player, other than to give it brief relief while I listen to her Christmas EP. It replaced my copy of the latest Kellie Pickler CD at the top of the stack.

I am at the top end of the Taylor Swift listener demographic and her lyrics do not reflect my level of life experience. Part of the appeal of her music, beyond drawing out the false nostalgia of high school and young adult experiences I always wished I had, is the relief from the overly sexualised themes that seem unavoidable in most music today.

The rumour recently raced through the Internet that Taylor was pregnant. Not only that – she was reported to pregnant by Joe Jonas. There was dripping salivation at these stories, because Swift and Jonas are both Christians and both virgins. This was almost as good a story as Jamie Lynn Spears’ second teen pregnancy. The world is desperate for good people to turn bad.

I’m glad that Taylor doesn’t do “Christian” music. There are probably still those out there that live in the same sort of musical bubble I did, where there is Christian music and secular music and if you are a Christian and a musician, it is assumed that you to the former because if you do the latter, there is something spiritually wrong with you. On top of that, if you do Christian music, you are expected to have a music ministry. If you aren’t out there to evangelise or worship, you need to have some sort of spiritual goal for your listeners.

Unlike a number of successful artists who have started a music career at her age, she does not presume (or presumably even desire) to have a ministry. She just writes good music on the themes of her life, most of which involve a revolving door of innocent relationships.

To review Fearless itself, it is satisfying because it goes where it wants to go and gets there. In constrast, while I like the Kellie Pickler CD, it doesn’t do this. It appears that Kellie is trying to do a country-pop cross-over thing, even including a re-recorded or re-mixed song from her last album.  I never heard her on American Idol, but she has a voice made for country. Taylor’s voice isn’t as intrinsically country, and her style is less distinctly country, but it isn’t all over the place.

The songs are as good as the first album, which is difficult for a sophomore project. Even though she isn’t a sophomore herself, as when she record the debut, she also doesn’t have a catalog to draw from that dates from the 6th grade. (Who else is so talented that they have a song written in elementary school on a multi-platinum record? Or début with a smash single written in freshman math class? There are some old unsuccessful songwriters out there that find this very irritating.) I can hear at least four or five radio singles.  It sold over 200,000 copies on the first day it was released and was certified gold by the end of the week. It had over 129,000 legal downloads in the first week.

I’m glad she (or her record company) has stuck with Nathan Chapman as her producer. He’s clearly got what it takes to tap Taylor’s talent onto tape.

Guilty Without Association

I don’t like the views of the British National Party. In fact, I find many of their views reprehensible.

In fact, the only thing as bad as the BNP is the persecution of BNP members.

There has been a leak of the BNP’s membership list and it has been published online. It included names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and in some cases employment. This will put jobs at risk due to political affiliation.

The place of the BNP in British politics is a bit like that of Communists in 1950s America. It is the forbidden party. Because of that, witch hunts are allowed.

Police officers who are members of the party can be sacked from their jobs.  As revealed by the Daily Mail, they can commit crimes while employed by the police (including benefit fraud, gun crimes, drug crimes, assault and theft) and keep their jobs. This is not seen as being incompatable with their job. They are protected by Government rules called Police and Misconduct Regulations which treats them differently form the general public. However, being a member of the BNP conflicts with the force’s duty to promote race equality and that means they can be summarily dismissed.

Stuart Janaway was with the Greater Manchester Police for 14 years, until last month. There’s no indication he was anything but a good cop. That was until he was accused of wearing a BNP badge at an England football match. Well, it wasn’t actually a BNP badge, but it was also worn by BNP members.

Janaway is not and has never been a member of the BNP, but that doesn’t matter. In fact, the BBC, the Mirror, nor Manchester Evening News’ main outlet bothered to mention that bit. Some outlets ran the story with a picture of an actual BNP candidate badge (every candidate for Parliament wears a party badge during the announcing of the election results), implying that this is what Janaway was wearing. To find out that Janaway isn’t a member of the BNP, you actually have to go to the MEN-published Asian News. In a surprisingly sympathetic approach, the Asian News noted:

A police spokesman said there was no evidence that he was a member of the BNP.

Acting Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, head of the Professional Standards Branch, said: “The Chief Constable’s Order of 2004 makes it clear officers are banned from being members of the BNP. This requirement extends into the private lives of officers.

“All officers and staff are aware that non-compliance will likely result in dismissal. The officer failed to live up to the high standards we demand.”

One source said: “The swiftness with which this matter was dealt with indicates that GMP will not tolerate such breach of police regulations.”

In 1998 Mr Janaway hit the headlines when he helped treat a shooting victim. He also saved a number people intent on committing suicide.

That’s right, the police said both that there was no evidence he was a member of the BNP, but that since officers are banned from being members of the BNP, being off-duty and wearing an emblem sometimes also worn by members of the BNP resulted in his swift dismissal and the loss of his pension.

In fact, it wasn’t even a police officer who reported seeing Janaway wearing the badge. It was a member of the public who had a grudge against him. Something even scarier? As another police officer noted, how did the police get a search warrant for Janaway’s house because of something that did not constitute a criminal offence?

Is it any surprise that the BNP are a little angry the personal information of their members has been published?

Promoting More Violence for Opposing Gay Marriage

Following up on my posting of the YouTube video of the violent protests against Proposition 8 in California, the rhetoric is getting even hotter.

It is interesting that just stating opposition to the views of the Gay Agenda is intolerant fundamentalism. Yet the aggressiveness of the response to this mis-named “fundamentalism” make Fred Phelps look almost gay-friendly in comparison. Even he and his ilk, for all their reprehensible behaviour, never suggest acts of murder and violence as the appropriate expression of their views.

I was reading the comments on the “Joe. My. God.” blog referred to in the WorldNetDaily article linked above. There is a post related to the same video I posted and the woman who was assaulted by the protesters. She’s pressing charges against those who attacked her. Some of the comments on JMG:

Can taking something from someone be considered “assault?” Seems like you would have to be beaten or touched in some manner for that to be assault. Too bad they didn’t kick her ass.

The bitch is lucky that she didn’t get nailed to it.

The old bitch got what she deserved…and now she’s back for more. If she wants to be nailed to her cross someone should oblige her. [Ellipsis in the original]

Thankfully she is 69 years old. She’s literally knocking at the doors of hell. [Apparently, protesting against gay marriage will cause you to lose your salvation.]

Good for her. She was assaulted.

I think a fitting punishment would be crucifixtion.

There were also comments to a blog piece about Matt Barber, quoted in the WorldNetDaily article. Unfortunately they were all so profane that they couldn’t be quoted here.

Yep, they want tolerance – and they’ll kill to get it.