Faint Hearts 70

I hope that some of the sentencing overreactions to the looting will be corrected. But I saw one hilarious overreaction last night as Spurs supporters were herded past our flat here from Tynecastle after their match. There was the kind of massed phalanx of police that I haven’t seen since the miners’ strike, with armoured helmets and horses much in evidence. In the middle of this mass, much outnumbered by police, was a tiny little knot of Tottenham Hotspurs supporters, being herded towards Haymarket station.

Having seen Spurs hammer Hearts 5-0, I suspect the Spurs fans were too ecstatic to be annoyed. But it looked really extraordinary, so on going down to the chippie I asked a policeman why the huge escort – Hearts supporters aren’t known for violence against visitors. He replied very gravely that the looting had started in Tottenham, and they didn’t want that kind of nonsense here. So either the police had no intelligence on how many Spurs fans were expected, or they had decided to escort them three policemen to every fan. Scottish fear of the barbarian English is quite a wry concept.

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70 thoughts on “Faint Hearts

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  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ John,

    O.K. no B.S.

    ” For some years I have been bothered about changes in the judicial system, particularly when habeas corpus was abolished during the Iraq war. This had not happened since the time of the treason-trials of the 1790s, which lasted a decade and was another disturbing period in British history.
    Like Suhayl I should like to hear Courtenay’s slant on this.”

    I am minded as follows:-

    A. There will be disproportionate sentences passed to passive political feelings.
    B. Honest sections of the judiciary will have a meeting in response to the fallout from the divergence from established sentencing practices and most likely feed their opinions into the main stream judiciary and to society at large.
    C. By the time the appeals come up – the sentences will be significantly reduced and the hype will be history.


    P.S. I stand in support of habeas corpus and I do not think that the disturbances warrant the suspension of established rights.

    Any more questions?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ All,

    There have been questions posed to me which I have answered.

    Now – the riots are in effect a “seven day wonder”. But – where has all the money gone – Afghanistan – Iraq – and now Libya. Briing it home and tend to the people’s needs and stop illegally bombing innocent people and sending drones with missiles against them.

    That is the real issue in the broader sense of global affairs.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    “Faint hearts” – indeed.

    John Pilger just wrote this:-

    “It hardly seemed coincidental that on the day before Cameron raged against “phony human rights”, NATO aircraft – which include British bombers sent by him – killed a reported 85 civilians in a peaceful Libyan town. These were people in their homes, children in their schools. Watch the BBC’s man on the spot trying his best to dispute the evidence of his eyes, just as the political and media class sought to discredit the evidence of a civilian bloodbath in Iraq as epic as the Rwanda genocide. Who are the criminals?”

    If it is neo-feudalism that you want – then – go ahead – embrace it. I am not with you.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Courtenay, thanks very much indeed. Much appreciated. Good to know these views. But I (and John, I think) were not – I think – asking you about the current situation wrt the rioters. We were asking about the link Scouse Billy posted relating to Family Courts and why human rights organisations like Liberty seem reluctant to get involved with reform of those systems. This came on the back of a rationally critical look at Liberty’s Director, Shami Chakrabarti.
    Here is Scouse Billy’s link again:
    Just wondered what you’re views on it might be – when you have a mo! Thanks very much.

  • ingo

    Thanks for that link Scouse Billy, it has somewhat opened my eyes to Liberty. I knew about secret courts taking away children, the Webster case went viral after all, but the extent of its use and ‘adoption targets’, have vile implications.

    Liberty should explain its position with regards to child abusers, whatever form this may take. Secret courts and super injunctions seem to exist to cover up the embarrassing policy flaws and mistakes a system of Government/a private individual makes.
    That not a single party has spoken out against them and made them a target for reform speaks volumnes.

    Vronsky’s link was a stark reminder of what these ex politicians in high places become when freed from the yoch of public service,i.e. bastards.

  • John Goss

    Suhayl’s right Courtenay. Thanks for your opinons on the abolition of habeas corpus, but it’s the link on which I commented on which we’d really like your opinion, just re-posted by Suhayl from Scouse Billy’s original post. Sorry about any misunderstanding. It’s the secret courts’ issue which separates mothers from their children without the mothers having a voice in the procedures, an issue that Liberty has systematically failed to challenge.

  • John Goss

    On Tuesday evening Lindis Percy was arrested again together with Melanie Ndzinga. The last time she was arrested was for acrrying a US flag raised upside-down on a flag-pole.

    “Melanie and Lindis were talking to some young men in a car who had stopped to ask questions. Two North Yorkshire Police officers from the Counter Terrorism Unit arrived.

    Lindis was taken to Harrogate Police Station and charged under s 89 (2) Police Act 1996. She was released on unconditional bail and is to appear at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court on 6 September 2011. She will plead not guilty.”

    The UK police seem very keen to protect the US base at Menwith Hill, by constantly arresting a pensioner, who is quite rightly asking on what grounds there is a US base spoiling one of our national parks, when parliament has never approved the existence of this monstrosity. Yet when it comes to riots, and serious breaches of the law, the police stand back and watch. In the case of Lindis Percy it is looking, from a lay viewpoint, like police harrassment of a pensioner.

  • mary

    Another little bit of the British secret society here like the Dr Kelly documents. Who is being protected?

    Wikipedia –
    In 2003, the Sunday Herald newspaper ran an article entitled “Should the Dunblane dossier be kept secret?”, a reference to documents relating to the Cullen Inquiry into the massacre which are +++ to remain classified for 100 years++++????. In a discussion board on the newspaper’s website, anonymous contributors claimed that Robertson had signed a recommendation for a gun licence for Thomas Hamilton in his capacity as Hamilton’s MP. In fact, Robertson had never been the gunman’s MP, and the claims were totally unfounded. Robertson sued the Sunday Herald and the paper settled by paying him a five-figure sum plus costs. A subsequent action by Robertson, related to the terms of the newspaper’s apology, was unsuccessful. The first case became an important test case as to whether publishers can be held responsible for comments posted on their websites.[8][9]
    The Wikipedia page is quite thin considering the number of posts he has held. I see vice presidency of the British Council, goverorship of the Ditchley Foundation, patron of the British American Project and even an honorary doctorate from Dundee University! The only award he does not seem to have received is the Nobel Peace Prize. Perhaps that’s in the post.

  • mary

    Vice chairman of the British Council not vice president. I see an amazingly long list of gongs too, royal and otherwise.

    4th recipient of the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award
    2004 Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, First class[12]
    30 November 2004 – Knight of the Order of the Thistle
    12 November 2003 – Presidential Medal of Freedom (United States)
    8 September 2003 – Ridder Grootkruis in de Orde van Oranje Nassau (Knight Grand Cross in the Order of Orange-Nassau).
    2003 – Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
    2000 – Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania
    24 August 1999 – created a life peer as Baron Robertson of Port Ellen.
    1 December 2003 – Grand Order of King Petar Krešimir IV (Croatia)
    1993 – joint Parliamentarian of the Year for his role in the Maastricht Treaty ratification
    1991 – Grand Cross of the German Order of Merit
    Honorary Regimental Colonel of the London Scottish (Volunteers)
    Honorary Doctorate from the University of Paisley (awarded 5 July 2006)
    Honorary Doctorate from the University of Dundee
    Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bradford
    Honorary Doctorate from Cranfield University (Royal Military College of Science)
    Honorary Doctorate from the Baku State University, Azerbaijan
    Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
    Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE)
    Elder Brother of Trinity House.
    2003 – Atlantic Solidarity Award bestowed by the Manfred Wörner Foundation

  • Scouse Billy

    Thank you to all who have commented on my link earlier.
    It is quite a resource albeit uncomfortable reading to say the least.
    It is refreshing to be in the company of enlightened free thinkers who don’t shy away from such topics.
    Back on topic (ish), there is an e-petition that demands that all government documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster should be released.
    100,000 signatures are needed before it can be assessed for parliamentary debate. I have watched it grow from 20,000 to 60,000+ in the last 2 days.
    If anyone here would like to sign it is here:

  • ingo

    What are you saying Mary… Could this possibly mean that freemansons not only covering up their relations and conversations they had with Breivig in Norway, here in Scotland, it looks like the brethren provide a cover up organisation for paedophiles.
    How could we forget the history of Government ministers involvement in such despicable crimes, the northern Ireland scandal in the 1980’s spring to mind, A boarding school for boys was involved if I remember rightly.
    I’m sure that Craig could tell of far more explicit cases of characters that emerge from such milieu Tapeley vividly describes in Anon’s link, i.e. the abandonment of rich kids in convent and boarding schools, who emerge hardened, ruthlessly business like and cold blooded, the perfect environment for paedophilia to thrive.
    Give it a mix of tradition and freemasons mumbo jumbo and you have a secret society that supports its ‘friends’ and fellow brethren, regardless.

  • mary

    Ingo Robertson is too litigious for my liking and I don’t want to land Craig into the same position that the Sunday Herald faced! I agree with your suggestions and would confirm that public schools breed killers. Perhaps it is something to do with maternal deprivation. I went to a girl’s school which had boarders and they were a nasty cruel and elitist bunch.

  • John Goss

    Scouse Billy – I signed the Hillsborough petition (now nearing 70,000).
    Getting back to the secret courts, doesn’t the fact that Guantanemo detainees are getting an open hearing create a precedent for the mothers who have their children removed?
    I despise anything with the word secret in front of it: secret services, secret societies, secret courts, secret meetings; none of them is up to any good.

  • Scouse Billy

    John, I agree with you regarding secrecy: in particular the establishment cover ups – one rule for them, another for the rest of us.
    Media complicity plays a large part too – note the lack of coverage of the other riots/protests throughout Europe and even Israel.
    As an example, I wonder how many people are aware of the torching of “fat cat’s” luxury cars in Berlin.
    Here are 2 different angles:
    1. AP http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/vandals-torch-cars-in-1119395.html
    2. Conspiracy Planet http://www.conspiracyplanet.com/channel.cfm?channelid=2&contentid=8852
    Meanwhile, thanks for signing – I’m back to watchuing mt team at the Emirates…

  • Jack

    “So either the police had no intelligence”

    You got it in one there, mate. If most of the policemen I know personally had black powder for brains, they couldn’t blow their caps off.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “I despise anything with the word secret in front of it: secret services, secret societies, secret courts, secret meetings; none of them is up to any good.” John Goss.
    True, in general. Yet the phrase, ‘secret assignation’ communicates a certain frisson, does it not? (!)
    Thanks go to you, Scouse Billy, for the excellent link and for bringing up the subject. Hope your team win. Everton, I presume.

  • Scouse Billy

    Vronsky, thank you I will have a good look.
    Suhayl, my team did win – my great grandfather was an original investor in 1892 when the (small) club you mention decided to up sticks and do the dirty on John Houlding, Anfield’s owner 😉

  • John Goss

    Has anybody thought to ask if Craig’s all right? He’s not gone to Ghana yet has he? He generally reprimands us for going off blog – me as guilty as anyone.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    [email protected] and John,
    My apology – I had not paid close attention and assumed I had addressed what was asked.
    If I am to get it right the second time – the question and issue is:-
    ““The secret courts view of evidence – often reliant on pseudo or ‘crank’ science, and hugely based around the use of non sequitur (the legal term “it does not follow”) may provide a pointer to the likely future for criminal justice in the United Kingdom.”
    And what do I think of that – as it relates to the specific family law context and further as related to any likely application to the recent riots? ( not sure in all the reading I am seeing the clear question – but that is my formulation. Hope I got it right).
    I am not the expert in family law, but have been involved to some extent in family law matters, but not as a specialty. Anyway, will see what justice I can do to the question.

    Putting things in focus, I quote from:-
    “Director of Liberty (formally the National Council of Civil Liberties)
    Forced adoption & the secret court establishment
    This policy was expressed in a response to a Department of Constitutional Affairs consultation, prepared by Ruth Cabeza QC of Field Court Chambers, London, on the subject of the opening-up of the English and Welsh Family Courts;
    Children who are adopted by non-family members without the consent of their parents are unlikely to ever benefit from a system which renders open their adoption proceedings.
    The exception to this rule (the proposal for reducing secrecy in the Family Courts) would be in adoption, for this is a very private matter and once a placement order has been made there can be no public interest in the adoption proceedings themselves particularly if the birth family have not given up the child for adoption themselves. There should be no presumption in favour of allowing the media or the public or any other category of persons into adoption hearings.”
    (Source: http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/pdfs/policy06/transparency-in-the-family-courts.pdf)

    The secret court system in England and Wales operates processes that go far beyond those that Liberty campaigns against in the criminal justice system, say towards, terrorist suspects. Indeed the regime that a secret court can impose on a woman extends any of the allegedly onerous ‘Control Orders’ that Liberty has fought against, into an entirely new sphere; one whereby even access to legal representation is denied to a woman. Here Robert Woffinden, writing for The New Statesman in 2000, discusses the disparity of how human rights in the secret courts compare with those in the criminal justice system;”
    My general observations:-

    A. There are principles of family law here intertwined with procedural questions of fairness and constitutional protection of rights ( the mother’s vis-à-vis the best interest of the child).
    i) In adoption and child custody issues – the “best interest of the child” is the paramount test.
    ii) Secrecy has historically been present in aspects of family law for ostensibly sound reasons.
    B. There is a problem with reference to the mother’s rights:-
    i) Why shouldn’t she have legal representation at her expense, if she can afford same – or – at the public expense on legal aid if she can’t?
    ii) The right to a hearing and a hearing that protects the rights of those affected by decisions of the courts is a fundamental requirement of jurisprudence within the Britiish system of justice.
    C. There is an operative conflict between A and B above.
    The mother should be heard and I come down on the side of B, while saying that the operative principles at A can also remain operative.
    As a practical problem – a child that is facing serious abuse and imminent danger, we can all agree – must be protected forthwith – and if that involves a court order removing the child from the care of the mother –then that must be done forthhwith. The mother should neveththeless be free to pursue her rights in court and make claim that will be decided one way or the other for or against the primary protection order.
    May I take this right into a case I was involved in within the last year. There was teenage pregnancy and the mother had the child but, the child also had a deformity. Within the first month of birth, the mother took the child to a teacher who also did social work and left the child with the teacher. The teacher for over 8 years raised the child and there was no effort by the biological mother to claim the child. Adoption proceedings had never been finalized during this time. The biological mother instituted to reclaim the child and the Magistrate order that the child be returned to the biological mother. The child went into deep depression and also tried to burn down the biological mother’s home. There was a application to the higher court and with both psychological and psychiatric evidence the Magistrate’s ruling was reversed, while permitting visitation rights to the biological mother. This is an actual case.
    The rules are not cut and dry and the practical problems that are dealt with in family and custody issues are easily resolved.
    As regards specifically “secret courts” the following might be considered:-
    i) There are some situations where witness protection becomes necessary, but this should not be extended into the trial process itself and the courts as far as practical should remain within the public domain for public scrutiny and openness.The watchful eye of the public is a very effective tool to ensure that justice exists within justice system.
    ii) “Secret courts” go against the grain of openness, justice and the fair trial process.
    iii) The family law compulsory adoptions would require the opinion of a family law expert within the field. I go no further in my expressed opinion than pointing out that there are instances where the child’s welfare can be in serious jeopardy and does require intervention.
    iv) So far as any transference of “secret courts” into the sphere of the criminal law, is a move a move I am opposed. The Executive and Judges oftentimes have a tendency to believe that secrecy is necessary and as a corollary that in secret they know better than the public which itself does not need to scrutinse in open court or be fully informed. I am opposed to any such trends.
    I don’t know if this answers your question – Suhayl and John?

  • John Goss

    Thanks Courtenay, I think you’ve put a lot of unpaid time into explaining the issues. Is there any way that secret courts can be abolished, so that the rights of the mother are heard? In the case you were involved in, that of the teacher who took in a child, later reclaimed by the biological mother, was the higher court that reversed the magistrates’ decision a secret court? I can understand a court putting reporting restrictions on the press, but I cannot understand a mother not having the right to have her side of any contention heard. It beggars belief. I understand that not all mothers are perfect, or good, and some are downright irresponsible, but secret courts take away a basic human right. In other words what are the ostensibly sound (historical) reasons for secrecy.

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