Friday, 19 August 2011

I have seen many country of origin information (COI) reports in my time, and I am generally a big fan of them, but the current UK Border Agency one on Sri Lanka is genuinely shocking.


The UK Border Agency are now relying on war criminals as a source of evidence. It gives a new meaning to the phrase blame the victim.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

'Britain's public snubbing of the court emboldens Moscow, Ankara and other governments who would prefer to ignore its rulings'

What Cameron and other government ministers before him who renounce the "perversion" of human rights really seem to object to is judges making decisions that the government dislikes. Witness the attacks on "unelected" British judges and the European court of human rights over rulings on torture, immigration, prisoner voting and a host of other political hot potatoes.

Strip away the high rhetoric from these attacks and they amount to a rejection of government being subject to the rule of law along with everyone else, and the fact that in a system with checks and balances the executive doesn't always get its way.


Scapegoating human rights, judges and the European court may be effective politics in the eyes of some in government, but it corrodes respect for human rights and the rule of law. That is surely not the outcome the prime minister wants.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


'some were so brazen they made no attempt to disguise their appearance'

Sunday, 14 August 2011

playing this atm. really like it.

(via Yatesy.)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

cannot articulate what UK garage means to me

Thursday, 11 August 2011

looting scum, send him down

A college student with no criminal record was jailed for six months on Thursday for stealing a £3.50 case of bottled water during a night of rioting.

Nicolas Robinson, 23, of Borough, south-east London, carried out the “opportunistic” theft at a Lidl supermarket in Brixton as he walked home from his girlfriend’s house.

Robinson threw away the water and ran when he was confronted by police but was arrested and quickly admitted what he had done.

His solicitor told Camberwell Magistrates’ Court
[Robinson] had “got caught up in the moment” and was “incredibly ashamed”.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

above the door of the Walworth clinic on the Walworth Road in southeast London, a stone is inscribed with a Cicero quotation, The health of the people is the highest law.

this lets me inelegantly segue into observing that nurses, physiotherapists and foot doctors are being used by an increasingly cash-strapped NHS to screen general practitioner referrals back to those same GPs who had sent patients off for extra care in the first place, and no doubt there'll be more like this as funding cuts bite.

elsewhere, we have David Cameron responding to the looting and violence that has recently convulsed urban England (tragically, three young men died defending their neighbourhood in Birmingham, there has been at least one fatality amid the violence in London, and more Londoners made homeless, whilst jobs and livelihoods have been wrecked or affected in more than one city), by promising a fightback of ordinary Britain against the rioters and looters.

you can't blame Cameron for using the language of fightback, but it is a kick in the teeth for him to re-appropriate the term, given in recent months some in Britain's beleaguered public services sector were using it as a rallying point to argue against the Tory-led coalition government's small state hollowing out of the support struts for some of the country's poorest and most vulnerable quarters.

i think Mary Riddell (in the Telegraph, of all places) had a point recently when she wrote "nor, as Adam Smith recognised, can a well-ordered society ever develop when a sizeable number of its members are miserable and, as a consequence, dangerous. This is not a gospel of determinism, for poverty does not ordain lawlessness. Nor, however, is it sufficient to heap contempt on the rioters as if they are a pariah caste".
(Kenan Malik is also worth reading.)

i hope Cameron heeds Riddell.

i'm not sure he will.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

very sadly, not really a surprise

Friday, 5 August 2011

All of the bells in a city or town rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

In a sense, one might define the contemporary poor in the United States as those who, for reasons beyond their control, cannot help themselves. All the most decisive factors making for opportunity and advance are against them. They are born going downward, and most of them stay down. They are victims whose lives are endlessly blown round and round the other America.

- Michael Harrington, 1962

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Gerhard Richter: Panorama

Oct 6-Jan 8 2012 Tate Modern

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Monday, 1 August 2011

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld

- Augustine