Did you forget to take your medication?

I recognise that reading the comments on CiF is a surefire route to apoplexy and insanity. However, this is an excellent bullet-pointed list of Mad Things That Angry Right Wing People Believe, and hence worth reproducing:

In response to your puzzling question, what specific ‘freedoms’ have we lost? And please be specific. Although it was not directed at me personally I trust you will not object to an input from one who has served the crown in the defence of the freedoms our forefathers fought for. How are these for specifics?
• We are no longer able to share a joke with our ethnic or gay friends in case we are in the earshot of interfering snoopers who will report us for racist or homophobic remarks.

No, incitement to racial or homophobic hatred is illegal, making racist and homophobic remarks is entirely legal (whether you’re doing so as a joke with your ‘darkie’ and ‘bender’ mates who secretly despise you, or out of actual bigotry). Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

• We cannot object to the relevant planning authorities regarding the siting of Gypsy encampments as this is invariably translated by officialdom as a racist offence.

This is just mental. Obviously you can object to the relevant planning authorities about anything. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

• Photographing policemen in uniform is now an offence under the terrorism act. God knows why, because if a uniformed policeman is not undercover, his occupation is plain for all to see if one wanted to put a bullet in his head.

No, it isn’t. The CPS has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the intention behind taking the photos was to help terrorism. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

• We are not allowed to take photographs of railway stations, airports etc under the terrorism act.

Yes, you are. There isn’t even any legislation at all that could be misinterpreted as banning this. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

• We are not allowed to take photographs of our own children, never mind anyone elses, in various school group activities as we are all suspected paedophiles.

This has the grain of a point, although it’s got fuck all to do with the government and everything to do with other bloody parents complaining.

• We are not allowed to smack our children but teachers and parents, alike, are subjected to verbal and physical abuse by delinquent children. Only the other day it was suggested we should be banned from shouting at the little treasures.

Smacking children is entirely legal. Nobody sane or important has suggested banning shouting at children. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

• We are not allowed to shout abuse at politicians, particularly at party conferences, for fear of being detained under the terrorism act.

…whereas in the past you’d have been detained for breach of the peace, and also let go once you stopped being a tosser.

• We are not allowed to carry out a peaceful demonstration in the vicinity of Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament or now even coal fired power stations.

This one has a point, although it remains to be seen exactly what the power station demo busts were about.

• We are not allowed to eat or drink whilst driving for fear of persecution or should I say prosecution. Actually it amounts to the same thing.

Evil ZaNuLiebour, making me *look what I’m fucking doing* whilst in control of a two-tonne missile.

• We cannot travel on the tube, with or without a haversack on ones back, in the certain knowledge one wont be shot seven times in the head under the shoot to kill policy.

On the plus side, if you look Irish rather than suntanned, you’re probably less likely to be shot seven times in the head under a shoot-to-kill policy than under prior governments.

• We cannot smoke in public places unless of course one is a member of parliament and enjoy the comforts of the Commons bar.

Smoking is allowed in outdoor public places, and banned in the Commons bar. Otherwise, spot on.

• We cannot buy wine in a supermarket if accompanied by a minor.

So the government is responsible for one supermarket cashier being an idiot now? It’s legal to buy wine in a supermarket when accompanies by a minor. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

• We cannot go into hospital without fear of contracting MSRA or other bugs.

MRSA emerged in the 1960s, is lower in the UK than most other countries, and rates are falling. Otherwise, spot on.

• We have lost the rights to justice when any criminal act is carried out against us by a thief or violent thug.

What does this even mean? You can kill someone entirely legally in self-defence, and almost all violent acts against ‘civilians’ (ie not drunken fights between twats) are punished by imprisonment.

• We cannot walk the streets without being under surveillance but yet the criminals including some elements of the police always seem to escape detection by this means.

CCTV is massively important in bringing criminals to trial, and indeed in exposing misconduct by coppers. Yes, they sometimes make the tapes disappear when it suits them (Menezes comes to mind), they should be punished for this.

• We have lost all rights to question the spending of our public servants in local and national government.

What the blazing, flaming fuck? Every right-wing git spends every second of their waking day questioning the spending of public servants in local and national government…

• We were denied the right of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as promised in the Governments manifesto.

Yes, technically true. We have a parliamentary system rather than a plebescite system because most people are idiots who shouldn’t be allowed to operate machinery, never mind determine complex constitutional arrangements – nonetheless, once the government had made that idiotic promise, they should have kept it.

• Our DNA will be stolen from us and kept on file if arrested for any minor offence even if not subsequently charged.

…whereas if it were only ‘if charged’, that’d be OK? Yay extra-judicial punishment. We should either keep *everyone*’s DNA on file or nobody’s; anything in between is daft. (I’m probably in favour of a… in general, I don’t really give a fuck about ‘privacy’ freedoms, it’s ‘not being coshed round the head and locked up’ freedoms that matter).

In short, a couple of real things, mostly nonsense. That’s a pretty good summary of the current government’s critics, wouldn’tyasay?

Relatedly, I’m now going to vote Labour in the next election, since my new house is in the same constituency with the same, excellent MP I had two houses ago. And not the revolting bastard who ‘represented’ me in my last house, in between flirting with faded TV starlets and cosying up to evil religious loonies.

22 thoughts on “Did you forget to take your medication?”

  1. On the photographing thing.

    I'm sure you're right in principle, but the practice seems to be that weirdly bespectacled tourists are presented with the choice of deleting their pictures, or being arrested under prevention of terrorism legislation. Unsurprisingly most will opt for the former. See also photo-deletion at the G20 protests.

    OK this may all be a case of power-happy plods overreaching themselves, but still.

  2. Hmm. *An* idiot copper asked *a* weirdly bespectacled tourist to delete a picture. The resulting fuss made the papers, with it being made very clear by all concerned that the copper was wrong, and that coppers have no right to ask anyone to delete pictures.

    Similarly, although police occasionally run down children by driving like lunatics, you can't really claim ZaNuLiebour have given the police the power to run down children by driving like lunatics.

  3. You may or may not have some good points, but the fact that there are people like this (likely to vote Tory etc) is not really a reason to vote Labour, is it?

    If you like J Corbyn, then yes, that is a reason to vote for him (I vaguely remember him being half-way sensible about something or other).

  4. No, I'm now voting Labour because I've moved to where J Corbyn sits (he's halfway sensible about wars, detention without trial and police powers). The point was more that I'm not *not* voting Labour because of the stuff above, since it isn't true.

  5. "OK this may all be a case of power-happy plods overreaching themselves, but still."

    Well yes:
    a) this keeps happening
    b) the fact that there's no law permitting plod to do things that they keep doing and that they keep doing them suggests very much that government is at the very least remiss in not pointing this out to plod and possibly complicit on the basis that it causes better headlines.

    In fact it's not New Labour per se but the nasty, cosy triumvirate of politicians, senior policemen (paging ACPO) and journalists that needs busting up sharpish. Just exchanging the politicians won't help – it predates New Labour by a good way, although they decided fairly early on to ride the tabloid tiger while give the police extra power and resources without adequate measures being taken to curb the excesses that always happens when you do that.

    I know it's comforting to think that people in power follow the rules, but when people see people in power not following the rules and not just getting away with it but being actively assisted in getting away with it (the IPCC is toothless for a reason, after all), anger is justifiable, although it would obviously be better if this was directed accurately rather than in frothing blinkered rage, not least because being confronted with accuracy and people who take pride in being informed spooks modern spin-doctor-led politicians no end (their reaction to it is a good way of judging a politician's character as well).

    Also, a lot of Tories have no idea about historic British liberties (or, more importantly, those little bits of the British legal system that make a big difference, like the concept of the 'reasonable man'), either, so voting for them will hardly help matters. Boris Johnson, notably, is sounding very much on the wrong side of the public mood and he fits right into the middle of the unholy triumvirate as a politician and journalist who chairs the MPA and made great play of being pictured in the Sun in a policeman's hat promising to crack down on crime. It's one thing to pick on the usual suspects of yoof and knife-wielding lowlifes, another to have the drive to push through proper reform of the ghastly Met police.

  6. Quite incredible. Just utter, blatant, deliberate lying. MRSA is far higher here than in most comparable countires. Fact, end of. I even had my Father sent home from hospital because the fear of him catching an infection was too high. The hospital made it abundantly clear this was a normal routine occurence. If you have any experience of French or German hospitals you'd know that such a situation would be looked on with utter incredulity.

    That's just one example and one could "fisk" the whole gamut of your comments but what's the point? If you are willing to be so blatantly dishonest you don't need a degree that the whole post will be equally disingenous…

  7. Leaving aside my slightly unconventional view that it's illiberal to allow demonstrations close to Parliament, I think that the law was / is about to be changed on this, isn't it?

    That's one of the good things about Parliamentary democracy. Parliament does something stupid or illiberal (particularly where civil servants do their best to ensure that the law of unintended consequences is demonstrated again) and it gets overturned. Makes a complete nonsense of most of the 'the thin end of the wedge' arguments, dunnit?

  8. Can you have a word with this lotthis lot, John?

    I think that the law was / is about to be changed on this, isn’t it?

    Paulie, it's been two years since Gordon Brown made the promise, as part of the swishing of his new broom, to repeal that part of SOCPA. We're still waiting.

  9. On the point about DNA being stored even if not charged, I think that has now been overturned after a legal ruling in every right-wing maniac's favourite institution – the European Court of Human Rights.

    What with the Stalinist French plot waste of money bureaucratic dictatorship our masters in Brussels European Union going after the networks on data protection re Phorm, bloggertarians must be finding things very hard to understand.

  10. Actually, in Scotland, that is not exactly true…

    I had a small involvement in that case, and I can tell you that the dad's statement that he only "smacked" his child "once" is strongly contradicted by at least ten eyewitnesses. One witness told the court – under oath, with penalties for lying, mind – that it was a "vicious attack".

    Of course, all of that is considerably less exciting than OMFG the totalitarian PC leftist thought police will imprison us all in teh ZaNu-Labour re-education camp!

    There's a lesson to be learnt here about selective reading, granting credence to convicted liars for political reasons and the shittiness of tabloid journalism, if you care to learn it.

  11. due to utter shitness of wordpress & my phone (why d'you have to have sexy javascript 'approve' buttons that don't exist on primitive browsers, when you could just have a fucking link and some css?), new commenters on this post have been marked as spam. sorry. will sort when at a real PC and have time, which mightn't be for a while. cheers for reaction to this everyone.

  12. This post would have been better with references – hyperlinks would do. So I have to search to find out whether smoking is really banned in the House of Commons bar :

    The Commission agreed that, with effect from 4 April 2005,

    *

    the estate should be smoke free save as otherwise provided:
    *

    smoking should continue to be permitted in the Members Smoking Room, Annie's Bar, Bellamy's Bar and the Churchill Room Bar, but not in other catering outlets: and that steps should be taken to improve ventilation in those bars where smoking is to be permitted:
    *

    smoking places should be identified off the Committee Corridor and in a covered area outside the main building:
    *

    advice and assistance should be offered to those seeking to give up smoking:

    and that such changes should be communicated via the All-Party Whip to be published on 27 January.

    I don't know how many bars HoC has, but 3 smoking bars seems pretty good to me. I bet you can take your drink into the smoking room as well.

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