Thursday, May 31, 2012

Non-sequitor for the day

Report here:

Warwickshire's chief fire officer, Graeme Smith, had condemned the decision to press criminal charges against the three senior officers who he said had been "treated like common criminals".

But Det Sup Ken Lawrence, who led the Warwickshire Police investigation, defended the case.

He said: "We have a legal duty to investigate every death in whatever circumstances.

...

"So I would pose that question, how can anyone suggest that that doesn't warrant an investigation?"

And I would pose a question. How does a duty to investigate mean that criminal charges must be brought? Answer, in the box-ticking targets driven, "every incidence must result in a sanctioned offence" world of modern anti-Peelian policing.

It is a tragedy that the four fire-fighters died. But, let's be honest - like being in the Services, being a deep-sea fisherman or, admittedly to my surprise, a window cleaner, you know it is a dangerous job when you take it on.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Utterly stupid CiF comment

Yes, okay, I know. We're selecting from a cast of millions here. But this one really annoyed me:

If you think gay relationships are as real as straight ones then supporting civil partnerships for sisters means you must support marriage for a brother and sister.
Now note that the vermin is suggesting that the commentor they are castigating hasn't thought it through. Which is, at the least, egregiously ironic.

If you support a legal partnership for aged sisters, you probably mean it without the lesbian incest. (Ed notes: there is an assumption there. But we'll ignore it for decency's sake.) In which case, you could be assumed to support a similar legal partnership for a brother and sister, without the heterosexual incest.

And, frankly, I do - and for non-bonking friends, regardless of family relationships. Particularly on the "next of kin" grounds - who would you rather make critical medical and legal decisions for you if you were incapacitated? Somebody you have lived with for years; a nephew or niece you haven't seen, except for funerals, since their 12th birthday; or the state?

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Gays are coming to eat your marriage!

For various reasons, I'm reading some of the CiFatuous responses to the Archbishop of York's interview (silly hat alert) and explanation on his views on gay marriage.

Personally, I don't agree with him. And submitted as much to the Alex Salmond Glorification Society's public consultation on the aforesaid. Even the church of which I am a semi-detached (theologically) member is pretty much in favour (both provincially and locally) of being allowed to marry gayers (and make them priests, bishops and even Child Protection Co-Ordinators!) And I'm entirely happy with all that.

But why do the "all Christians are bigots" bigots insist on quoting the Old Testament? The "Good News" - the new covenant in Christ? The difference between Christians and Jews? The reason I can eat langoustine or wear polycotton without feeling religously unclean?

Okay, if they quote St Paul, then they're on a less sticky wicket. But he had a downer on all sorts of people. And definitely wasn't the Son of God.

I really also can't get my head behind the "it will destroy heterosexual marriage" argument. I'm sorry, but I can't. I didn't marry Mrs S-E because I could but I really fancied the boy down the street. To be honest, we got married because, having lived together for a while, we thought it appropriate before we had kids. Our moral judgement - not precedent for you or anyone else. Two (or two million) gayers get married - it won't make any difference (good or bad) to how we feel about each other.

For an alternative view - well argued and relevant - see Peter Ould's blog.

Just as a note - my previous vicar was gay. I'm going to his wedding in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Me, you prat, I would

Proof that we are dumbing down to the USian level in our churnalism.

And I do appreciate that it is evidence that al-Beeb has the same sort of subbing issues as some of our more appalling daily rags:

The A word

Who would wear a hoodie with the slogan 'Asbo'?

Irony, dear Sir, irony. I met our new bishop on Sunday. I spent some time trying to consider how rude a sarcastic t-shirt I could get away with before Mrs S-E told me to stop being a pillock and put a smart shirt on. I obeyed. Rapidly. But hopefully not cringingly.

Beecroft and the Bleeding Obvious

Just sayin'.

Okay, he's pretty senior in their commune, so you couldn't just give him DFID. But couldn't he have been put in some position less obviously affected by his Maoist outlook? Health, maybe. Treasury Secretary?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just buy

This fortnight's "Private Eye". Frankly, it's worth the £1.50 just for the cover.

Although mine is already damaged for prosperity by the spluttered dots of Burgundy as I failed to hold the laughter in.

Amended: That's now last fortnight's PE now, of course.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gay Marriage, the ASA and Archbishop brûlée

His Grace, well on the conservative side of the debate, has got in to trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority. Which is really quite difficult for somebody who has been charcoal for quite so many years. Being the blogosphere, quite a few people have weighed in on it. So, here's my ha'penny's worth.

Firstly, the ASA should fuck right off. If there has been a complaint or ten, then they should direct their wrath, queries, whatever to the advertisers - in this case the Coalition for Marriage - not Cranmer. As per this recent case. ASDA were hauled in front of not-the-beak, not the TV company or the ad agency.

Secondly, this is a clear matter of current political controversy. There are clear ECHR / HRA Article 9 and 10 points to be made in terms of running the ads. On both sides.

Thirdly, my personal point of view? Ideally, I'd like the government just to back completely off from the whole marriage business. Allow nearly anybody to have a registered partnership - and it really doesn't need to be sexual. The whole "next of kin" thing is the clearest example, to my mind, of allowing a life-long partner, a relation or friend - subsequent to official acknowledgement by both parties - similar rights to a spouse. The right to make the appropriate decisions in nasty situations should defer to the person most likely to make the decision you would want, not some Victorian hang-over of who is your "closest relation". The "I don't want to be thrown out of our house if one of us dies" scenario scores highly too - even if you think heavy death duties are appropriate, this is only delaying, not cancelling them.

Marriage can then be left to the churches. The Quakers, Episcopal Church and Reform Jews can marry gayers. Islam, the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox (Christian or Jew) can refuse. Of course, this won't happen. In which case, my personal view is that allowing gay marriage is a good thing. YMMV.

And, I can't see the legal point being made following the ECHR Schalk judgement. If the government makes marriage available to homosexuals - as it already has to trans-sexuals, there is nothing in that judgement which says that churches will be able to be forced to conduct gay weddings. Divorcees, trans-sexuals, non-confirmed members of the relevant church are already permitted marriage, yet the various faiths are specifically and explicitly permitted, unlike civil registrars, to allow or deny wedding services based on their beliefs. I cannot see any difference in ECHR between these cases and homosexuals.

Although, as a corollary, I could see that a law permitting civil marriages to homosexuals while banning churches from conducting gay weddings could be subject to Article 14 challenge. I expect that the current legal status is only maintained because a similar ban on conducting heterosexual registrations with religious overtones or on church premises applies.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

From the "Draft" Archives

Spring cleaning time at the blog. Here are the titles of some posts that didn't make it:

  • "In defence of Eric Joyce" (about his Labour Uncut piece.)
  • "ACPO - Not even following their own rules." No idea.
  • "Yes, we have a new National Idiot." - Iftikhar Ahmad
  • "Libertarianism and the Election" Analysing various party policies on a statist / libertarian slant. I gave up, in disgust, half way through the Tory manifesto headlines.
  • "Self Congratulatory Puff Piece". I really can't remember. I must have been wonderful, however.
  • "Will you just stop going on about RIPA?" Journalists and facts - never known to mix company.
  • "The Bastard Children of Creationism". No idea. I was annoyed at the time. Tagged "swearing" already.
  • "For the Greater Good*" Military casualty reporting.

It's not a "super moon"

It is the same moon that it has been for some billions of years. You are channeling an idiot astrologer.

All that is happening is that perigee (the periapsis point of a system dominated by the Earth - Gaia) is co-inciding with the full moon. The Earth / moon system has a periapsis point every lunar orbit (about a month.) We have a full moon every month (where we get the name from - it is a hint.) Some times they happen about the same time.

I'd note that the gravitational effect is even greater when perigee occurs at the new moon. But that's much less spectacular, so you don't get idiots (or journalists, but I repeat myself) writing about it.

Next occurence - June 23rd next year. Unless, of course, the world is destroyed as we roll over into a new Mayan Great Cycle, apparently some time in Dec.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Officer Voldemort, I presume?

Sighs,

Mr Williams' family has told the inquest they believe he may have been killed by an agent "specialising in the dark arts of the secret services".

Then he wouldn't have been left in a bag in a rented flat where he was bound to have been discovered. He might have been left, dead, in an extremely compromising position. Or simply disappeared.

If you accept the (widely accepted) premise that SIS do actually run around in tuxedos, drinking martinis (shaken not stirred) and killing people.
 
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