Mildly Droll: A Tale of Human Wrongs

ECHRThe Guardian has put up a skit in which, they say, “Patrick Stewart, Adrian Scarborough and Sarah Solemani expose the problems in the Conservative plan for a UK bill of rights.”

Well, no, actually.

The Guardian is the newspaper of choice for the Watermelons, and famous for its inability to spell. It is not famous for being funny. Except inasmuch as it is the butt of long-running jokes in Private Eye.

Human rights is one of those topics like UFOs, fairies and homoeopathy – it tends (with some noble exceptions) to be those people with the greatest interest in it that are the most misguided. It sounds good, of course.  But when it comes to the details, what one sees time and time again is that the protections of something like the European Convention on Human Rights are protections that are already present in a well-developed legal system like English law. And so, in the various “What has the ECHR done for us?” questions posed in the skit, it turns out that the answer is “Nothing useful at all”.  The gloss that it adds to the rights that were there all along is pretty much all bad news, harming the lives of citizens, not protecting them.

In short, the ECHR does a very poor job in areas where the English law had already done rather better. The skit is wrong on every Continue reading

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Hillsborough Baby Of Truth Thrown Out With The Bathwater Of Fudge

I posted a while ago about the Hillsborough Report, in which a panel set up by Liverpudlian Government Minister Andy Burnham[1] and chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, exonerated some Liverpool football fans.  These were the fans who in 1989 crushed to death 96 other Liverpool fans while trying to get into a football ground in Yorkshire to watch a football match that was just starting.  The finding was that the fans who did the crushing were not at all responsible for those deaths. It was all the fault of the police and other authorities.

map hillsboroughNow, in case you, dear reader, are American or otherwise a bit vague about English geography, I should explain that the north of England is divided by the Pennines, a range of hills which runs North-South. The Pennines are too hilly for anything much apart from a National Park.  On the West is Lancashire: the two big cities are Liverpool and Manchester. And on the East is Yorkshire, including York and Sheffield. There has been a bit of rivalry between them.  In 1455, for example, they went to war[2], and stayed at war for 30 years. Exact figures are hard to come by, but perhaps about 50,000 people were killed in that conflict[3]; it was ended, ironically, by a Welshman, Henry Tudor, at the Battle of Bosworth, who promptly got himself Continue reading

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Reprise time

It seems that Google has stopped lindexing my old posts, from my old site 2008 etc.  I do not blame them – it is probably rare that anyone looks at them. Well, especially so since Google do not index them any more.

So, just to confound the sytem, here they are. The images have not copied across, but if you really want to see them, they should be available by following the link above:

Robert Fenwick Elliott’s Blogging Diary Continue reading

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Gored on the logic of their own hubris

BrandisGeorge Brandis may not be everyone’s idea of a really good time, but this bit of argument deserves a round of applause.

CSIRO is the Australian government’s research organisation. It gets about $1 billion per year of taxpayers’ money. In recent years, quite a lot of that has been spent, not in doing any research, but in proselytising on the subject of climate change. We see for example this on their website:

There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, our new research shows.

Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques.

Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.[1]

Now, I used to be a scientist. That was a long time ago, when I was Continue reading

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I need a PA!

I am busy, but really quite a bit of my time is spent doing admin stuff. Which is dumb – it is time I could be spending doing other stuff, like earning money or finishing my book on Extra-Contractual Recoveries. I need a personal assistant.

So if you know anyone who might be prepared to spend a day or two a week at Myponga Beach, where I live and work, please let me know.

Things I need help with are summarised on my practice site.

There could be worse jobs. There are good Continue reading

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Blairmore -Blairless?

blairmore.jpgIt is an odd irony that David Cameron’s family’s trust should be called Blairmore. Blairless might have been more apt.

It is also, I suspect, a dangerous precedent for him to have revealed the details of his tax affairs.  If politicians are to be routinely exposed to this sort of scrutiny, I wonder how much the potential pool of capable people willing to stand for public office will shrink? It is all very well for penniless career politicians, who have never had a real job, and whose families have no money, to volunteer their tax returns. They have nothing to declare.

People who have inherited some wealth might want a bit more privacy for their families, and should Continue reading

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The Lure of the Wild

WP_20160410_001I have never been keen on killing animals for fun. Regardless of whether they be mammals, birds or fish. Probably a function of having been brought up in a city? It is not that I presume to tell country people how to control the foxes that slaughter huge numbers of other animals, including chickens. Nor do I presume to tell anglers whether or how they should kill fish.

But fish hooks do strike me as particularly unpleasant things.  They are designed, of course, to assist with the killing of fish, so they are not designed for their helpful qualities.

Poor Perdita got a fish hook embedded in her flank a week or so ago.  It being Easter, she had to go to the Emergency Vet an hour away for it to be cut out with the benefit of an anaesthetic. So that was a few hundred dollars spent.

This weekend, it was a lure, with many hooks on its tail. Happily for Perdita, this one – evidently made to look like a prawn – was not embedded in her flesh, but just Continue reading

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Harrows Arrows

WP_20160409_002.jpgI saw a dart board case in a shop the other day, and bought it.

Once upon a time, back in England when I was young and went to the pub, I was OK at darts.  Not brilliant. But just about good enough to make a pub darts team.

It has taken a while to get it back.  The first time I played my son Jamie, he streaked ahead, despite not having played before. Unluckily for him, I got my eye in just in time.

I wonder if it is still possible to find a set of darts with proper feathers by way of flights?

Modern darts – of the better ilk – have very narrow Continue reading

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Make Love, not War (if you want to go to prison)

bulldog

I put up a post the other day about a young man who has been sent to prison for 6 years for making love to a young woman. By way of contrast, two other young men (also from the North of England) have escaped any substantial punishment notwithstanding having being caught on camera torturing the family pet – a bulldog.  They had videoed the event, but then later accidentally dropped the SD card on a supermarket floor.  Someone evidently found it, watched it, and reported it to the RSPCA.

The young men were Andrew and Daniel Frankish. To screams of delighted fun from them, the poor animal was repeatedly abused, thrown down a flight of stairs, stamped on, kicked and then hurled head first onto the floor. The dog was thereby crippled, losing the use of her hind legs, and was later put down.

The pair received Continue reading

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Dutch Courage

This is interesting. As reported in The Times:

Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected a European Union trade and security treaty with Ukraine last night in a poll closely watched by both sides of Britain’s referendum campaign.

The No campaign won with 61.1 per cent, against 38.2 per cent for the Yes group, despite the latter being backed by all mainstream Dutch political parties.

It is the last phrase that is notable. All mainstream UK political parties (not you, UKIP) are remainians.  But the Dutch vote still went Continue reading

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