August… not a great month…

The sky is overcast with rain threatening clouds. The news is about Afghanistan and Iraq, and the impending ‘defeat / withdrawal’ of British forces in Basra. American sources say it could be ‘ugly’. It is ugly. All war is ugly and this war is uglier than most. Military top brass want us out of Iraq and say that the armed forces are over-stretched. Some journalists and ex-forces commentators write about our Nato allies having barbecues in the safer parts of Afghanistan, while our troops face the heaviest fighting and casualties since World War II. I read one report which stated that German forces are not even allowed by their government to operate in the safe areas at night.

I can’t comment on these matters. Like most of us, I can only read reports and wonder what the next twenty years will bring in terms of terrorism and conflict. Some say that it could be even longer than twenty years.

The law blogs are fairly quiet. The hills of Tuscany are alive with the sound of lawyers. British holiday resorts are preparing for a bit of sun. Apparently, we are going to have some for the bank holiday weekend.

I caught up with the newspapers.
Nick Cohen, writing in The Observer, writes of a young NHS psychiatrist (who blogs under the name Shiny Happy Person) who took a walk in the grounds of her new hospital. The flowerbed spoke to her. She reassured her readers that she was not ‘neuroleptic-deficient’ (I shall be looking into this condition to see if I should get it) and described the disembodied voice; “This is a no-smoking area. Please put your cigarette out. A member of staff has been informed.”

As Nick Cohen pointed out, it is not against the law to smoke outside but, apparently, an increasing number of organisations are buying voice capable smoke detectors to locate outside their premises and threaten smokers that a member of staff has been called should they light up in the doorway or immediate surroundings.

And now, of course, we have Chief Plod seeking powers to raise the drinking age to 21 and to ban drinking in public places unless the public place has a specific licence permitting it. The problem is not drinking. The problem is under age drinking and out of control young people, who no longer fear rebuke or police or court action. The press say that people are too frightened to go out or confront these yobs. It is ten years since ASBOs came in. We still have mindless violence on our streets. Not many Police on our streets as far as I can see. 1800 Police officers are currently deployed to contain a group of ‘Climate change’ protesters, some remarkably inarticulate, at Heathrow.

Right… I have had enough of this depressing post. I’m going to start another one and, as I cannot see if the sun has gone over the yardarm, I am going to order a glass of Rioja.

3 thoughts on “August… not a great month…

  1. My blog has been a little quiet recently. Unfortunately, I am not in Tuscany, but in England, doing my best to avoid the smoking police. As for the blog, I’m waiting for my Muse to give me inspiration…

  2. Hi John… the rains still fall on the london west lands… The local half-price dinner eating wildebeest have arrived at The Bollo. They do not drink much wine or other alcohol, but, in their weekly migration to our pub, they are part of our wild life, part of nature… and then they go… for another week.

    They say we will have sun soon…

    Tonight… it looks as if I will be watching Panorama.. it has come to that.

  3. Mi’learned friend doesn’t know the meaning of quiet. The St Germain case followed the Hull Prison riot. The prisoners sued against the prison officers brutality and the Board of Visitors in O’Reilly v Mackman. Can’t have prisoners just having their day in court, so judicial review was dug up and revived. First you have to get past the judge to get at a public authority. Given that the liberty of the subject is paramount, and a lawful imprisonment has become unlawful why were these prisoners not freed? The judges made both a legal decision and a political decision. Only the first is lawful. It is not for the Judiciary to make a political decision that is for the Executive. The judges showed a bias towards the State. Judicial review must provide an effective remedy under the Convention. In my view, these prisoners should have been released. To give the Executive time to appeal when it has clearly been shown to be in the wrong with its “Catch 22″ situation. That is, the State has put the onus upon the prisoner show that he is not a risk to the public. Whilst at the same time denying him the opportunity to show this. The judges should have had the courage to order the prisoners released. The onus is upon the Executive to change its policy. This is what is going to take time not the appeal. That is administrative convenience.

    O’Reilly v Mackman should be revisited and kicked into touch. Citizens should not have to seek the permission of a judge to take a public authority to court. The case should be judged upon its merits. Protecting public authorities in this way only leads to more abuse.

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