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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Where we have the Official Solicitor who deals with this sort of thing i.e. pulling the state's chestnuts out of the fire when it discovers PEN is on the case. I know about this because a friend of mine has just published a book calling for the immediate arrest, prosecution and imprisoning of the present and all living past Directors of the British Museum in the hope they would come after him. But the bastards are clever. They've used the old "Never heard of him" technique.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Craig Murray, for a while, is still seeing the funny side.

This blog will be going dark for a few months. The Queen kindly paid for my dinners for over twenty years while I was a British diplomat and Ambassador, and now she is going to be paying for my dinners again. That is very kind, I thought she had forgotten me.

Being a guest of Her Majesty will, however, prevent Craig Murray from being a witness at (or even attending) any more of the court sessions for Julian Assange.

For reports on that, we now depend on other journalists like John Pilger.

http://johnpilger.com/articles/eyewitness-to-the-trial-and-agony-of-julian-assange

Apologists that the UK Supreme Court is "just doing its job" need not worry. Pesky journalists could very soon be a thing of the past under revised rules.

Journalists could be treated like spies for reporting on matters of public interest under planned reforms to the UK’s Official Secrets Act. The Home Office consultation (which closes on Thursday 22 July) suggests journalists should be treated in the same way as those who leak information and those committing espionage offences.

https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/official-secrets-act-reform-harsher-penalties-for-journalists/
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Boreades


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Mick Harper wrote:
I know about this because a friend of mine has just published a book calling for the immediate arrest, prosecution and imprisoning of the present and all living past Directors of the British Museum in the hope they would come after him. But the bastards are clever. They've used the old "Never heard of him" technique.


Your "friend" is more likely to be put on the official list of Civil Restraining Orders. You can join (among others) David Charles Anderson, aka Jesus Christ/ A man Thomas in the name of God

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/civil-restraint-orders--2
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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We have to be brutish to all sides. The trials and agonies of Julian Assange are entirely the product of Julian Assange. He was everybody's hero until he refused to go back to Sweden. He was in no danger other than to serve a bit of time (maybe) in a two-star Swedish abide-a-wee. Sure the ineffable Yanks came after him once he'd made himself into a barn door but other than that... he is highly forgettable. But thanks anyway, Jools, for your yeoman service before that. You were one of the indispensables.

Now Pilger. He's a propagandist. I agree a very talented one but along with Noam Chomsky he's just a waste of a first class intellectual. Why or why etc etc.

But your news about the Supreme Court is worrying. Nobody is more contemptuous of lawyers and lawyering than me but at least in the old days they had the gumption (rhymes with Sumption) to be the Third Estate. It's not that I fear the British state making a power grab, I fear the British state is such an array of twatty arseholes these days they wouldn't know what to do with it after they'd grabbed it. Give it to the Nudge Unit prolly.
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Wile E. Coyote


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One of the more bizarre aspects of the Murray case is that if he, Murray, had named all the complainants before the Salmond case, he would now be free, as the judge only issued an order prescribing the complainants' anonymity after the Salmond trial started.

The net result is that this judgement will probably lead to journos naming complainants' names before a trial starts (which they are perfectly free to do in Scotland, as long as they don't prejudice the case) to avoid a later "Murray" prosecution, that is if a Judge makes an anonymity order after a trial starts.

Which is probably not a great way to get victims to come forward in the first place.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Payback time for Treasury as NatWest returns to profit Guardian

When the Great Meltdown of '08 happened and the outraged and long-suffering taxpayer had to shell out billions on failing banks, I said "Whoa, Nelly, don't you be affeared." I pointed out that this was in fact a once-and-only opportunity to buy cash cows at rock bottom prices. Since banks had been making billions in profit for as long as anyone could remember, it was a safe bet they would do so long into the future. "Ye'll get your money back and live in clover, my darlin's," I assured the outraged and long suffering taxpayer.

Well, this didn't quite happen because of a whole bunch of things that I won't go into now for the long suffering AEL reader but it is happening now.
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Mick Harper
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Deliveroo to withdraw from Spain in face of 'rider law' Guardian

A very interesting case. Basically the Spaniards are forcing the gig economy merchants to treat their employees as employees. Deliveroo are saying, "Oh yeah, you and whose army?"

It is certainly true that originally the gig economy (like privatisations) worked because it reduced payments to the workforce. What few people understood was that they only worked because the previous payments were too high. You are never permitted to say (i.e. think) that 'the workers' can be paid too much by the 'bosses' but this is clearly the case when 'the bosses' have no difficulty in attracting all 'the workers' they need by offering them less.

But... the free market ordains that the playing field has to be level and if one side is paying x and y and z whereas the other isn't then it's not a free market. So the Spaniards are ordaining a level playing field and Deliveroo are flexing their muscles. But the end result is clear enough. Eventually the gig economy will pay benefits, the gig economy will shrink a bit, then we'll find out how the gig economy fits into the grand scheme of things as we have been doing with all new models of 'how best to do it' ever since capitalism was introduced in whenever it was.

It would all happen a good deal quicker if everyone didn't roar around labelling everyone goodies and baddies and declaring it's the end of life as we know and love it.
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Mick Harper
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Prince Andrew faces counts of raping Ms Giuffre here in London, in New York and on a Caribbean island. Al-Jazeera

According to legal authorities this would be the first time a serial rapist has been active in such different and so geographically dispersed jurisdictions, said Mr Justice Cocklecarrot. Fortunately, he went on to observe, it appears all the victims are, as it were, the same victim so a great deal of public money will be saved there, just for starters.
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Grant



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Papers also like to ignore the fact that Ms Giuffre was seventeen when this first happened, so in the UK it couldn’t be statutory rape even if we had a crime of statutory rape
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Mick Harper
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Jetting once across the ocean to be raped might be considered unfortunate, to do it twice might be thought really unlucky. But to find yourself spending the night in a luxurious mansion in your own country and having to be raped all over again is worthy of Scarlett O'Hara. "Well, I do declare, and I thought you were my Prince Charming." "Whatever, doll, y'all right for Thursday?"
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Mick Harper
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It's annual exam day when all the networks go out and about to show how wonderful our young people are and how alarmist are reports that the country is going to the dogs. Channel 4 News was doing its bit with a long piece showing comely maidens and strapping, but not too strapping, youths all saying "Oh my god, three A stars, I'll be able to go to uni after all. I was so worried."

I lost count how many but at least fifty people were identifiable and maybe a dozen were interviewed however briefly. But the truly fascinating thing was that every single one was not, as the Census form has it, British white. Unless it's The Shell Guide to Butterflies I'm thinking of. Anyway, you know what I mean. None of them were like me.

I have no problem with this -- I have long pointed out that the white British have had their day and should be towed out to sea in giant rafts of edible pressed fungi -- but I do have a problem with Channel 4 News being so blatant about it. Remember, chaps, they haven't been towed out yet.
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Grant



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The revolution is on its way. I’m collecting old pallets to use as barricades.

Trouble is with my natural cowardice and asthma I’m going to be bloody useless when it kicks off. What happened to those football hooligans we used to read about all the time? Bloody premier league has a lot to answer for
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Mick Harper
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One of the unintended consequences (or was it?) of Covid is that terrorism has disappeared from our streets. This may be permanent because terrorism, like all things, is subject to the dictates of fashion. "Are we gonna set up a bomb plot, or not?" "I dunno. What about we all write letters to Points of View?"
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Mick Harper
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Plymouth Shootings

Could I enter one small plea? That we do absolutely nothing. Again and again, the damage these spectacularly bizarre events do is, not the death of a few individuals, but a whole country going into meltdown. Apparently we may not rest until a) the airwaves are covered with hysteria b) important people say 'why or why? c) other important people say 'we know' d) a detailed action plan is embarked on to make sure it never happens again with the result that e) sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

Why not first see whether it does or it doesn't? And even if it does happen again, that's par for the course too. Then usually it stops. If it doesn't, I advocate that steps a) b) c) and d) be followed. Followed by an apology from me about the unnecessary deaths because we didn't do it immediately. Or the resignation of important people if they adopted my strategy which is why they prefer the instant meltdown strategy every time. Why risk being an unsuccessful statesman when you are guaranteed to be a successful politician?
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Mick Harper
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As all here know I have been trying, for some decades, to persuade the sublime Marina Hyde to stop shooting quite so many fishes in barrels, so it was disheartening to be faced with
Dominic Raab: the foreign secretary who phones it in Marina Hyde Guardian op ed

But the episode itself is worth getting into the barrel for a quick slosh around. Firstly, everybody agrees that his dereliction did not in fact have any consequences, undue or otherwise. What was his offence? When told that a phone call had to be made to his opposite number in Kabul he 'palmed it off' on a junior minister. This by the way is what the junior minister is there for. The British government has a system whereby everybody goes off for a lengthy summer break (an absolute must for people who have an absurdly full schedule because, in the British system, they are both executors and legislators) but it's all staggered and skeleton-crewed.

Given the urgency of the situation one could be forgiven for thinking that waiting for El Domo to pack his bucket and spade and get a (commercial) flight back (from Crete) was a bit daft in the first place. But that wasn't his real crime. That was "Raab played while Kabul fell". But that wasn't his real real crime which was "The optics weren't great". In other words he should have hotfooted it back as soon as. As soon as it wouldn't have caused bad optics.

But the real real real crime is that nobody in the whole world gives a tuppenny fart what the British Foreign Office does or does not do and the people of Britain won't wear it. If only they would we might get on and be a force for good in the world.
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