Saturday, 25 April 2009

Police, PMs, Presidents like to feel that they are untouchable

"To whom more is given, more will be required"

Our culture, our prejudices always tend to give the benefit of the doubt to all authority figures (except, perhaps, social workers!). We all seem to be most sympathetic to our own kith and kin, our own kind, our own class. We are less sympathetic to the stranger, the poor, the immigrant, the classes beneath our own. Hence, our prisons are stuffed full of a disproportionate number of blacks, the poor, the mentally ill and the illiterate - and, now, asylum seekers.

I am always astonished by the number of miscarriages of justice in which the Police are implicated. They tend to go for the old lags, the men already known to them. They go for the likely characters; the men who look as though they are up to no good! Getting the hard evidence is less popular. They also feel that they are entitled to use the tactics of the criminal to beat the criminal. In other words, 'cos they are on the side of the angels, they can use any means to get their good end. They are convinced that, for them, the ends always justify the means. Or, the ends are so important, the means can be stretched, are elastic and ethics can be ignored. Hence, the Police will hide their uniform numbers, be heavy handed and feel they are above the law (they used excessive force - unprovoked attacks, in fact - at the G20 protest in April 2009). No wonder there are so many complaints and so much rough justice. (Remember David Jessell and his 'Rough Justice' TV programmes?).

I think, for men and women of integrity, these sloppy, short-handed methods should be treated more seriously. The Police are so powerful that when they break the law, justice should be applied. It is less popular to do this 'cos we don't like to think that they could possibly be crooks and must, therefore, be charged with a crime. However, the good Lord says, "To whom more is given, more will be required." There should be justice done to deal with lawless Police officers to get the Police to be what we all think they are - upright, clean living, setting a fine example to the rest of us. The problem is, I think, they let themselves down too often and nothing is done. The murder of the Brazilian electrician is one of many examples. General Pinochet also got let off. Margaret Thatcher, in sinking the 'Belgrano', contrary to the rules of engagement when the ship was outside the exclusion zone, killed over 400 Argentinian sailors yet, was unassailable; but, was not beyond criticism on the TV programme, 'Nationwide'.

An extension of this is when our Prime Minister and President think that they can short circuit the UN and international law by deciding they can attack other independent, sovereign nations and, in consequence, be responsible (directly and indirectly) for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. However, even with this enormous war crime, both men are untouchable. Yet, the Lord says that these top men (who both belong to Him) should be required to account for their sins. More is given to them; more is expected of them. Does this not mean that we should be stricter with those in power? But, always justice tempered with mercy, of course.

We are more prepared to forgive those in authority for their crimes because, it seems to me, we are almost all prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to the Police and we supported every post-war governments' unethical foreign policies (Robin Cook's phrase when he was Foreign Secretary). For example, although the small majority of the UK seemed to be against the attack and six year war on Iraq, the people were not against our invasion and, so far, eight and a half year war on Afghanistan. The ends still justify the means when it comes to Afghanistan. Incidentally, our present war is the fourth against Afghanistan since 1839; we lost the previous three and we are losing this one. Our foreign policy is not only as unethical as ever but is as incompetent as ever!

Last night's 'Unreported World' on Ch 4 showed how Kabul is a bloodbath and a hell hole thanks to our well intentioned and sincere intervention but, it is wrong, stupid, immoral; simply a war crime. And more troops from the US/UK are pouring in from Obama and Brown! Attack and invade, occupy and fortify, grab and brag is what we do best as the New Colonialists from New Labour.

ever the law makers, enforcers and upholders break their law, behave like criminals and worse, rather than us lot sympathising, excusing and turning a blind eye, prosecution and justice tempered with mercy is essential - in my opinion. "Those to whom more is given; more will be required."

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Scrappage scheme for planet Earth!

We can scrap, use and waste resources until we are blue in the face. We humans are the king pins on this planet and we can do what the hell we like because we are in control. We can rip through our remaining oil and gas and coal reserves, regardless 'cos we must have unlimited growth and expansion to allow for our love of living way beyond our means, our limits and our boundaries.

We are entitled to have as many babies as we like and to consume just as much as we like, with no holds barred. How dare these greens tell us that living infinitely on a finite planet is not a good idea. Of course we are not part of nature or part of the web of life, as these greens tell us. We are the top dogs on the planet and what we say goes. We can live unnaturally on a natural earth. Our science and technology and new inventions will save us from our excesses.

Carry on regardless, scrapping perfectly good cars. Waste is what we do. Unstoppable growth of people and the products they want is what we do and nothing can possibly stop us. Over-consumption and over-population does not matter and, anyway, is none of my responsibility. I'm going to continue to live it up today and to hell with tomorrow. Scrap the lot of 'em - ten years or ten months old - build in obsolescence and, build bigger, newer and faster - and, ever more humans on planet earth, for good measure. It won't run out of precious resources or habitable land - will it?!
We're not disrupting life-support systems. Are we?
We're not scrapping life on earth. Are we? Only cars, after all.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Smoke nuisance in remote glens and hills!

Here I am, wanting to get away from the big city and its, sometimes polluted air, into the clean, fresh, invigorating winds of the big hills in Scotland. It sounds like a great idea, especially for someone like me in the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who cycles to work and for work, almost every day, in Birmingham and the Black Country.

The only snag is the grey and sometimes brown smoke wafting over the hills and down the valleys in the otherwise pristine environment of the Highlands. What causes this nuisance - and, for me, something that is harming my health, when there is no way for avoiding the smoke? It is the annual muirburn; the heather burning at the end of March and in April. The very weeks that are my favourite for burning rubber off my Vibram soles between the short days of winter and the long midge months of summer.

Is there anyone else out there who dislikes the heather burning and thinks that it puts walkers at a disadvantage for the benefit of the sportsman with his rifle? Or, do you not mind the occasional breathing in of smoke and smelling the fire of the recently blackened hillside?

On Easter Sunday in 2007, I was one of many tourists toiling up and down the path to the summit of Mount Keen, the most easterly Munro, when we were enveloped in smoke. The wind had re-ignited the fires of the previous week's heather burning. This last holiday, on both 1 and 3 April I was enveloped in smoke. Once in the hills north of Blair Atholl and, again, walking north from Loch Glascarnoch, in the Far North to visit the remote Corbett, Carn Ban.

Burning of anything spews out yet more carbon dioxide when one scientific research paper after another urges us to limit our greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of all humanity.

Am I on my own in wanting heather burning restricted or even stopped?