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Further Parliamentary odd and ends

I disover that as far as Phil Woolas is concerned, a dog is not man's best friend, but rather "a flexible mobile resource, deployed on a risk-assessed, intelligence-led basis". Admittedly this is in the context of detector dogs at ports and airports, but the next time I encounter a friend's mutt, I will scratch its back and say 'hello, you old flexible mobile resource, you'.

This great nation's gaols appear to be full of villains:

"John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what property has been lost or stolen from his Department in the last 12 months; and what the estimated cost was of replacement of such property"

Jack Straw: "....For the year to date 2008-09 the following unaudited balances are available for the value of property lost or stolen within HM Prison Service, where the majority of cases arise, totalling £190,396".

I am shocked, shocked.

We have a negative balance of trade with Syria, including invisibles. £441m in exports, £631 in imports. A gold star to anyone who can think of any of Syria's exports, bar international terrorism. I will spare readers the effort, as it is oil, cotton and phosphates.

David Drew's family look to be in with the chance of a holiday of a lifetime:

"Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's advice on travel to Sudan is; and what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on travel to the Sudan".

The simple answer would be 'are you on crack?', but Gillian Merron sighed and replied thus:

"Our travel advice is constantly being updated to reflect the current situation in Sudan.

The latest travel advice for Sudan which was last updated on 16 March 2009 is available online at [...]

Trouble is, the link is dead, and the FCO's site comes back with 'Error - page not found'.

Meanwhile, part of the Hague Convention is still swinging in the wind some 55 years on, by the look of things:

"Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans there are for legislation to introduce the provisions of the Hague Convention; and if he will make a statement. [267306]

Barbara Follett: The Government intend to introduce the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill, which will enable the UK to ratify the Hague Convention, as soon as parliamentary time allows".

A bit of sniffing around discloses this:

Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

Done at the Hague, 14 May 1954
Entered in force: 7 August 1956

Just think of all the idiotic things that the last 12 administrations have found Parliamentary time for, and roll your eyes heavenwards.

Sticking with matters divine, in the other place, Lord Lester is exercised thus:

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 25 February (WA 91) regarding faith denominations whose places of meeting for religious worship have been certified by the Registrar General, which faith denominations are referred to as "other".

Quoth Lord West, "In the Answer to WA 91, the Registrar-General categorised as "other" any denomination where there were less than 150 places of worship certified at that time which included the following"

In among some splendidly named entities, my favourite being 'Who Object To Be Designated By Any Distinctive Appellation', it would appear that there are fewer than 150 Hindu temples, which strains credulity somewhat.

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Blogger jailhouselawyer said... 9:44 pm

In my experience, I can only quote Victor Serge, Men in Prison, "if there are any differences of mentality and morality between criminals and guards or policemen, they are generally, and for profound reasons, all to the advantage of the criminals".

I know of instances of both police and prison officers stealing property.

Therefore, no shock horror value from me. But. I appreciate your sense of humour.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:05 am

Indeed. Doutless you know about the Stanford Prison Experiment.  

Blogger jailhouselawyer said... 12:27 pm

Yes, indeed, I read about it a few years ago.

I was part of a secret experiment in the Hull Prison Special Unit, we were, in effect, guinea pigs. Labelled "The mad, and the bad, the difficult, and dangerous".

I was not allowed to use unwarranted violence. Yet expected to survive in a pressure cooker environment. I resorted to psychology. It pulled me through. Whereas the losers are still going around and around the prison system, I am now outside.

Interestingly, a psychologist told me about an incident when he was abroad and at a checkpoint and demanding his human rights be respected. The guard responded by poking his machine gun in the psychologist's stomach. The psychologist decided that discretion was better than valour at that point in time.

Similarly, I recall during the Bosnia conflict a soldier commenting on Sky News that there was no human rights there just gun law.

Sometimes neither guns nor the law are the answer, and it comes down to negotiation. The government are up against the wall in the Prisoners Votes Case, in my view, they could do worse than negotiate with me.  

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