Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 21/05/08

Cu*ts Are Still Running The World (*)

I don't comment as much as I used to about current events.

The main reasons for this are that it's not going to change anything, and that there are people who are far better at it than I am. People, moreover, who seem to have the time and energy to spare to make a habit out of it.

Sometimes, however, things come together to make a pretty pattern which I find I have to remark upon.


Item: Not content with wanting to bar-code the entire population with its ID card scheme (a large chunk of which they now want to hand over to their friends in the private sector), this régime of thugs now wants to collate and store details of all of our phone calls (mobile and land-line), our e-mails and our internet browsing.

Excuse me? From the people who brought you that grand farce, "Whoops! There Go Your Bank Account Details!"? Who have now resorted to the completely pointless arse-covering exercise of forcing all members of staff in the Department concerned to attend 'Data Security Workshops' (which are the equivalent of teaching an entire postofficeful of grannies how to suck eggs) just so that Top Shop can tick a box when they next report to their political masters? Even when the data was lost by a private company owned by King Rupert The Tax Dodger? The jerks who claim that they have to do it because of the European Data Retention Directive when it was Chuckie Clarke who pushed that Directive through in the first place?

The only consolation (but not much of one) is that they are 100% certain to make a complete pig's ear of it.

Item: Last week, two students at Nottingham University were arrested in the customarily melodramatic fashion. The alleged crime? The possession of 'radical material'.

Leave aside for now the inconvenient truth that the material is widely available on the internet, and that its subject matter was within the students' field of legitimate academic research. Forget also for the moment that ten minutes' investigation could have shown this to be the case. None of this stopped the police, the media and (to their eternal discredit) the administrators of the University itself from crowing about their success in combatting yet another potential lethal threat to our way of shopping.

Having been held and interrogated for a full week, the students were released without charge yesterday. Or, at least, one of them was: the other was immediately re-arrested on the grounds of alleged 'immigration offences' (well, Chief Inspector Knacker has to have something to show for it).

Response from the media? Silence.

This is the umpteenth occasion in recent times when the bizzies have gone charging in to round up naughty terrorists, only to have to release them a few days later when it turns out there was no evidence of any sort. Similarly, the media have been completely uninterested in the story once it turns out that there was no story. Conveniently, however, the good names of the victims have become sufficiently tainted by the operation as to make it easier to justify doing something else to them later on: like holding them for 'immigration offences', for instance.

Just think: if this ever more venal and cloddish government gets its way, any such future victims could - and almost certainly would - be held for six weeks, with all that that would imply for destroying their lives or careers. How convenient for neutralising dissent.

Item: A government-commissioned report has recommended that there should be a public holiday to celebrate 'our' armed forces, that members of said forces should be encouraged to wear their uniforms when off-duty, that it should be a criminal offence to discriminate against people in military uniform, and that state schools should be 'encouraged' to form military cadet forces and teach 'military awareness' as part of the national curriculum.

The report was produced by Quentin Davies, a former senior member of the Parliamentary Conservative Party who, finding that his party was no longer sufficiently right-wing for him, defected to the only possible alternative - New Labour. Davies is not the first example of a rat joining a sinking ship, but is perhaps the most extraordinary example in recent times.

I really don't know where to start with this. For a start, this government is the one who sent 'our' armed forces into harm's way in two illegal invasions and occupations. That may be the reason for the disconnect between the military and the general public. Moreover, it sent them there hideously under-equipped, wants to know as little as possible about 'our brave boys' when they come home dead or injured and expects their families to live in appallingly sub-standard housing. But never mind, we can all show our appreciation of their sacrifices by giving a public holiday in their honour!

The rest of it is the sort of thing you'd expect from a tin-pot dictatorship: turning state schools (where the pupils are nowadays largely from poor backgrounds and with fewer prospects because the pushy and aspirant have moved their little darlings into the private sector) into recruiting stations for the military, so that the potential chavs and neds can end up bombing and shooting foreigners rather than their neighbours or, with any luck, just killing each other. Culls the herd, don'tchaknow?

As for the thing about uniforms, will it extend to making it a criminal offence to not allow a pissed-up squaddie into a pub in Aldershot or Colchester on a Friday night? Or will their garb allow them to get away with anything up to (and possibly including) murder?

The militarisation of our society in the ways envisaged by this report (which, worryingly, has drawn admiring remarks from even the LibDems) brings to mind memories of Red Square or the juntas of Latin America rather than anything to do with peace, freedom or democracy.

(A brief footnote on my use of inverted commas around the word 'our': the armed forces are not ours, no matter what the Sun might say. On joining up, they take an oath of allegiance not to the country but to the monarch and his/her 'heirs and successors'. So, given that the government behaves increasingly with quasi-regal powers, if the forces were brought in to quell unrest against the government, they would have to do the government's bidding or be in breach of their oath - even if that meant shooting unarmed civilians in the streets. Think on...)

Item: And finally, Esther...On May 10 this year, a peaceful demonstration was held outside the London headquarters of that grand confidence trick called the Church of Scientology. One of the protestors was a 15-year-old lad, who was holding a placard which read: "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.".

He was approached by a police officer who told him that he wasn't allowed to use the word 'cult' to describe the cult. After a few minutes, a policewoman read him section five of the Public Order Act and "strongly advised" the boy to remove the sign.

(Section Five prohibits signs which contain images or words which are 'threatening, abusive or insulting')

This stout young fellow rightly stood his ground, quoting from a 1984 High Court ruling which described Hubbardism as a cult which was, moreover, "corrupt, sinister and dangerous".

The plodette then handed him a court summons and confiscated his placard.

So much for freedom of speech if you cannot legitimately quote the opinion of a High Court judge that a cult is a cult is a cult. But perhaps the action of City of London Police (a different body to the Metropolitan force) makes some sort of sense in the light of the fact that a score or more of their officers have accepted gifts from these dangerous loonies in recent years, and that the force's chief superintendent, Kevin Hurley, praised the cultists for efforts in "raising the spiritual wealth of society" when making a guest speech at the opening of that same headquarters building two years ago.

(More details here)

The rot in our land runs ever deeper.

(*) A reference to this fine song by Jarvis Cocker. Warning! Not suitable for work!