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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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This is what I am finding particularly fascinating. Clinton, you will recall, was nearly impeached for ejaculating on an intern's dress so the bar for 'high crimes and misdemeanours' is not high. But if not reporting election expenses properly is sufficient -- and a couple of Tories were weighed off recently for putting campaign volunteers up in Thanet hotels -- then politics in the Free World really is in trouble. Democracy does not come cheap. No pun intended.

It's completely obvious by now they'll never get Trump for being a Soviet asset. They'll have to make do with Julian Assange. Except he's already done six and a half years so that'll be 'time served'.
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Mick Harper
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Time to step up to the plate once more on behalf of Chris Grayling. Not him personally, you understand, he's probably a right jizzock, but in defence of the AE principle: governments are almost invariably rational.

His latest offence is having to pay £33 million to EuroChunnel for a botched contract re Crashing Out Precautions. I don't want to diminish ministerial responsibility too much but a contract of this sort would be negotiated by minions and (above all) lawyers way below Chris's pay grade. Yes, he signed it off and no, he didn't read the small print. That's not what he's there for.

So there's now a dispute. Probably the contract was badly drafted. Word is that the Ministry would/might win in court but it would take time. The dispute would jeopardise emergency imports of time critical products after March 29th, if crashing out happens. Now Chris is asked to make a political decision. He rules that since £33 million is chickenfeed, emergency imports (medicines mostly) take priority, so he orders the £33 million to be paid.

Roof falls on his head.
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Grant



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ejaculating on an intern's dress so the bar for 'high crimes and misdemeanours' is not high


Last time I did that at the office party it was certainly recognised as a misdemeanour.
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Mick Harper
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You were an intern at the White House? Tell all!
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Mick Harper
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The reason for the rise in knife crime may be because of the success of the reduction in gun crime. It is noticeable that victims are never professional criminals (who continue to carry guns as a matter of course). The situation is analogous to nuclear weapons: states with them don't go to war, states without them do go to war.

A few years ago it was normal for gang members i.e. criminals but not professional criminals, to carry guns. 'Normal' as in a rival gang member couldn't know whether he would or would not be. Now he knows he won't be. It is, as it were, safe to threaten/use a knife. This in turn makes carrying a knife a rational act for gang members generally.

As with nuclear weapons vis a vis standard ones, people are prepared to use knives as they are not prepared to use guns. In all probability the situation is returning to the pre-gun culture when knives were frequently carried and knife-deaths were common (common, by the overall standards of British violent crime). However the reversion from post-gun to pre-gun makes it look as though knife deaths are rising rapidly. Which they are but only to what might be called, heartlessly, the norm.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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The more folks talk about knife crime, the more young men, will carry knives to "protect" themselves. The more people carrying knives, the greater the level of knife stabbings.
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Mick Harper
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Why the quote marks? It does protect them. You'll be talking about gang rappers on YouTube next.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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I would hazard a guess you are more likely to be stabbed if you carry a knife.
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Mick Harper
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This is a strictly 'governmental' position. Society has an interest in people not carrying knives so the message goes out, in various forms, 'carrying knives is not good for you'. But for the individual, especially the individual gang member, this is not necessarily true. If you, Wiley, were going out for some gang-related activity, and other gangs carried knives, what would you do? Even at the very narrowest level of "Would I be more or less likely to be stabbed, with or without a knife?" the answer is not necessarily (or even actually) "I will be more likely to be stabbed if I take a knife."
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Mick Harper
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The high water mark has been reached in the Trump hysteria. Paul Manafort's sentence of forty-seven months (the liberals wanted that many years) is the signal that order and calm are to be restored to the Republic. Next week the Muller Report will start leaking and amidst the catalogue of shocking behaviour, there'll be nothing important. The Democrats will sniff the wind and start consolidating their present 518 lines of enquiries into none.

That might be all very well for the American body politic but what are we going to do for entertainment? Look, if we're going to get rid of May anyway why don't we make her the head of a coven or something. And the Corbyns are an ancient family dedicated to rooting out the May Queen and her spawn. Well, that's actually true but a satire along those lines anyway. Come on, let's get creative.
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Mick Harper
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And it was all due to a rookie mistake. When the defence brought Manafort into court in a wheelchair, the prosecution should have swung the doors wide open, pause, and in comes ... Ironside.
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Mick Harper
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An excellent illustration of politics-as-normal this week. Police cuts vis a vis rise in knife crime. Who's right? Well, as usual, just me.

1. The more police there are, the less knife crime there will be (along with crime of every sort except maybe police corruption)
2. The rise in knife crime is not correlated with the drop in police numbers (different years)
3. Mrs May is correct to dismiss the cuts as a factor
4. Her opponents are correct insofar as reversing the cuts will have a marginal effect on knife crime.

While everyone is busy arguing this out, only I am free to think about the problem itself. And since it doesn't affect me and I am satisfied it is not an overly important problem for society in general and nobody listens to me anyway, I'm not going to bother.
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Wile E. Coyote


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I gave a jaunty "Happy women's day" greeting to a Ukrainian colleague, who told me that womens day was a joke and only celebrated in Eastern Europe because women were treated so badly for the other 364 days.

"Is that what you really want?" She said.

"No" I said, and scarpered.
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Mick Harper
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A good idea of the calibre of Presidential candidates was given to us last night when watching a certain Beto O'Rourke (Italian? Irish? Slavonic?) throwing his hat in the ring. I would have more confidence in his chances if he had spent five minutes with a speaking coach who would have told him "Don't make repetitive arm gestures in an attempt to show emphasis and on no account don't start using voice emphasis to coincide with the repeated arm movements. It makes you look completely deranged. And not in a good Trump way, either."

I can award him no better than evens favourite at this early stage in the ante-post market. Before either Joe Biden or Chelsea Clinton have declared.
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Mick Harper
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Steve Coogan was on the Brexit march yesterday. That pretty much tips the balance for me.
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