June 12, 2008

I don’t get it. 42 days without charge seems like a very very long time.

The UN Declaration of Human Rights states:

Article 3:

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 6.

    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Surely to arrest someone you must have an idea that they have done something bad. To have an idea they have done something bad you would need some kind of proof. Why would it take 42 days to gather enough proof to charge someone. Isn’t there an offense of ‘suspicion of terrorism’? Do the police stop investigating at charge?

Perhaps that’s what needs changing rather than locking up people who MIGHT be guilty but against whom not enough proof has been gathered.

Innocent until proven guilty is the foundation of democracy. Eroding that foundation is a very dangerous thing to do.

I actually quite like Gordon Brown. His commitment to ending poverty, his work on reforming aid to Africa and his brand of social justice struck a chord with me. What happened to that Gordon?


Shawlands Community Forum

April 24, 2008

Tonight I’ve been invited to be on the panel for an open community discussion at Shawlands URC in Glasgow (map).

The topic is ‘What role can the Church play in the community?’ and I’ve been asked to speak about the church and young people.  There are another two speakers and the local MP was to have been on the panel but has been called away.

The event starts at 7.00pm and you would be most welcome to join us.

neither is being brown

April 18, 2008

taking photos not a crime

April 17, 2008

It seems that the authorities think that photographers are terrorists now. The BBC has highlighted a growing number of people being stopped by police for nothing more than taking pictures of buildings or in stations.

The Met even have a poster campaign going.

Who’s next?  Shoppers? Drivers?

Seriously, if someone wants to take a photo of a building they will, and they are hardly likely to get their digital SLR out with a tripod.  Some of the best photos are taken ‘covertly’ on the street to capture people in a natural state rather than posing.  Is that going to be outlawed?

When does freedom of speech become oppression?

November 26, 2007

Tonight saw the Oxford Union surrounded by protesting students.  They were up in arms against the appearance of two right wingers, a politician and and a ‘historian’, at a debate.  So far so good.  But the protesters stopped the debate going ahead.  People protesting against fascism stopped an open, public debate.  I’m sorry but I don’t get it.

You want to stop fascism?  Win the argument.  Have the debate, on TV, and argue the case and let’s get rid of this nonsense for ever.

I disagree with what the two guests stand for (hence no names) but I believe they have the right to be wrong and I have the right to tell them so, but they still have the right to disagree.  That’s called democracy.  It means having to put up with people saying things you find abhorrent because to ban them from speaking is fascism, the very thing the poor misguided smart kids were trying to stop.

The protesters were also trying to stop the debate getting publicity.  Well done.  Gathering a large crowd with placards and banners and megaphones never attracted any attention, right?

another glorious failure? not this time!

November 17, 2007

Well, Scotland didn’t qualify for the European Championships next summer after losing in the last minute to Italy.  This all sounds just like Scotland.  On the brink of success only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  But to be honest it wasn’t quite like that tonight.

Scotland were in the depths before this qualifying campaign.  We were ranked 86th in the world and to be honest that was probably generous.  Scotland were dire.

But that’s all changed.  Walter Smith took over.  He brought in Tommy Burns and Ally McCoist and some organisation and pride.  Suddenly Scotland started winning.  We were in the group of death.  3 of the 4 semi-finalists from the last World Cup were in our group, France, Italy and Ukraine.  We weren’t supposed to do well in that kind of group.  But we did.  We beat France, twice, Ukraine and but for a last minute goal would have taken a well deserved draw from Italy.  Scotland got 21 points in a group we would have done well to get 18 in.

Today was a hopeful day.  We were all really excited about the game.  The whole country seems to be on a high and today was perhaps just one more step on the ladder of national confidence that we seem to be climbing.  Italy, the world champions were at Hampden.  They needed at least a draw.  We really needed a win.

Italy scored in the first minute.  But Scotland never gave up and came back from the shock and equalised in the second half.  The Tartan Army were going crazy.  But it wasn’t to be.  That we even had a chance was amazing.

It looks looks like we have some good young players coming through although we are still short if any of the starting 11 are out.  The draw for the World Cup qualifiers is next week.  Our rise to 13th in the World Rankings means we will be in pot 2, meaning we should avoid having 3 of the top 4 sides in the world in our group.  I think we might even qualify this time… but then eternal optimism seems to be part of a Scotland fan’s make up.  The Famous Tartan Army seem able to treat victory and defeat in the same way.  Never too high, never too low.  The DJ’s choice of song at the final whistle… Que Sara, Sara.  We should maybe adopt it as our national anthem… but then I’m starting to think that we might actually believe the future is in our own hands.  And it looks bright.

Brown V Cameron

May 12, 2007

Yesterday saw two very different political images, both of which made me laugh a little.

The first was Gordon Brown’s campaign launch to be the next Labour leader and Prime Minister where he managed to hide behind the auto cue for most of his very good speech where he set out his new agenda with some interesting ideas and some bad news for the Torys as he stole most of their agenda with policy ideas to back it up.

The second image was David Cameron working in a shop.  He’s spent a couple of days living with a Muslim family in Birmingham to get a better idea of what life is like for them.  A good idea, if a little patronising.  The laugh came when he couldn’t work the till while he was working in a shop and admited that his maths was bad as he tried to give a customer change from £5.

An interesting contrast… and choice.