Friday 30 July 2010

Do you get it? I don't.

Let me recap on the events in the political and justice systems of the UK and abroad in the last few weeks.

I'm not even going to rant. I'm just going to make a list.

The Government has decided that, upon being a hospital patient, we do not have the right to choose when or how we die. However, we do have the right to demand taxpayers' money - of which there is a massive shortage when it comes to, for example, much-needed surgery - for sugar pills from a multi-billion pound industry that have been shown not to work.

A letter from my friend @medtek, and Islington PCT's response, both rather sum things up.

(By the way, before Dr Nancy Malik et al accuse me, I am very balanced about homeopathy. Indeed I have supported it so far as to make a list of its dozens of successful mechanisms.)

This is not simply whinging about silly allocations of taxpayers' money in the UK - on an international level, as the Quackometer points out, the problem is a lot more serious. The blind eye Europe turns to pseudoscience is lethal to millions.

On the justice front, throwing eggs at a demonstration has landed a man in jail. Meanwhile, the same Crown Prosecution Service that has fined Paul Chambers £1000 and given him a criminal record for a silly tweet which not a single person took seriously will not even prosecute the policeman whose violence against Ian Tomlinson in 2009 was followed by his death minutes later.

There seems to be a huge amount of debate about exactly what happened to the bodily fluid which was drained from the body. Apparently the violence itself, a video of which is available here, was insufficient evidence, or something else which can be read as "quite all right in the eyes of the law".

I seriously don't get it.

Oh, and I wish @CrazyColours the best of luck with this tweet!

There is another case I'd like to write about, but I don't have the money or bravery to get sued by the organisation. Suffice to say that I am greatly looking forward to one of its victims of this particular attitude appearing at Skeptics in the Pub in Wales this autumn!

Speaking of suing, you probably already know what I think about the Simon Singh case and that of many others. Now let me introduce the latest libel hero: Luke Bozier, who has been forbidden by Tangent to say he doesn't like Gordon Brown's website.

However, turning to an international level, the Claimant in a perfectly justified case in America has lost. The grounds for her losing is that, according to the jury, merely being present at a nightclub is sufficient consent for a) sexual assault and b) show your breasts on film without your knowledge, let alone any pay.

Er . . . why?

There is, at least, a law against the practice of genital mutilation of children in this country. Yet this summer, between 500 and 2000 schoolgirls will - they think - go on holiday. The article about what actually happens to them, I should warn you, made me feel extremely sick and faint for a long time - I recommend fresh air, a glass of water, and a good angry and restoring chat with some friends after reading it.

If you don't want to read this, let me sum it up: it happens in several countries worldwide, especially Africa; it happens to British children; it causes horrendous physical and psychological damage; it is not required by any religion; the victims are not anaesthetised or even warned what will happen; the tools are seldom sterelised; the danger of it happening is not grounds for asylum in any European country; and not a single person has been prosecuted for doing it or allowing it to be done to a child in their care.

There seem to be an awful lot of prosecutions and libel cases going on for things people have written. But things which people do that put others' lives in danger, or indeed terminate them, seem to be getting off scot-free.

I think the system is: do what you like, just don't put it online? Am I anywhere near getting it yet?

With regard to genital mutilation (which is dangerous and damaging to both sexes), Noodlemaz has researched and written about it extremely well; and you can also support the Orchid Trust and the Addis Ababa Fistla Hospital.

My head and stomach are both now spinning, and I need to get away for a bit.

If you need cheering up, may I most respectfully refer you to Jack of Kent who in turn will respectfully refer you to The Reply Given in Arkell versus Pressdram?

Right. Food!

1 comment:

Della said...

Alice, reading this post was just like reading my own thoughts having processed each of the events myself this week. I've been confused, sickened, shocked, angered and frustrated about them but not in agreement of any!! When we were all told to vote for change in May, I'm sure the majority of us were concerned with serious and important issues like where the priorities lie with the legal system.

The next concern of mine, on an international level, is what will become of the WikiLeaks scandal, particularly of the Afghan informants who have been named. Surely they gave intel to the military in return for security, but now they're just sitting ducks. Will the legal system prove itself for providing the true justice this situation deserves? If not, the US or British Military will never be trusted again and we quite literally will "have to fight our own battles" in the future.

I agree with you, why when there is hard EVIDENCE that promote an obvious charge are verdicts rendered with "inconclusive evidence"or the like.

How come we still can't find Osama? I bet if we got the CSA on the case, they'd find him in a week!!

As a country or a unit with the US, is the legal system not prioritising? Is it just out to protect colleagues of national and international security? - also remembering the Jean Charles de Menezes case in 2005 - Is there any wonder why citizens lose faith in the justice system? It makes me feel quite defenseless and in serious hope of never being up against such a system in this way.

Why are there so many grey areas and why do we have so many questions unanswered?