Monday 4 February 2013

Oh dear, over four months - this calls for some spamming ;)

So the rabbit has been absent for over four months - as in completely. I think that this is a sign of the times. Facebook is - I strongly suspect - killing blogging or at least making it distinctly unwell. A qualification is in order - it isn't going to kill off the Huffington Post or in another neck of the political woods, the Guido Fawkes blog. However the everyday 'citizen bloggers' - who have made a considerable contribution to the public good in my opinion - are giving up, slackening off or huddling together for safety.

I do think this is a pity but have succumbed to the - erm - charms of Facebook myself. If anyone would like to 'friend' me (sic - since when did friend become a verb? okay since Facebook that's when) then feel free to send request to Andrew Keogh on the dread Facebook. I will no doubt accept ... I'm not picky ;)

I think the solution is maybe to reproduce the lengthier Facebook posts here. It seems a shame to let go of White Rabbit completely. I'll see if I can do that ...

In the meantime, I have published a crime e-book on amazon. Here are the links to and

Go buy! Forgive the shameless spamming.


Saturday 29 September 2012

so what does a rhino sound like anyway? Plus Christine ...

Apropos of nothing in particular, but to get back in the swing of things, I have to report that people are constantly asking me, 'Tell me O rabbit, what does a rhino sound like?' As a part of the continued educational mission of White Rabbit, the rabbit is pleased to make all clear. Wasn't what you were expecting huh? Imagined them as gruffer? Well there ya go.

The rabbit is pleased to report that his old friend Christine O'Donnell still keeps in touch and writes regularly. She always ends her e-mails with 'God bless', which is sweet. Christine never seems to have any money as - strictly between you and me - she keeps asking for some. This is a little embarrassing and I wonder whether to have a word. Unfortunately, naughty Christine seems to have given my e-mail address to her friends. None of them seem to have any money either and they keep asking the rabbit for money too. One of them is called Josh Mandel and keeps writing to the rabbit banging on about what a good job he made of running the finances of some god forsaken place or the other. Now I couldn't give a stuff about this but, just to be polite and make conversation, I e-mailed back asking 'I wonder if by any chance you are related to the late Belgian Marxist Ernest Mandel.
No reply. How rude!
Much better manners were shown by another of Christine's friends, a person named Dean Heller. He is running for something or the other and takes a very dim view of something called 'Obamacare'. He wrote to the rabbit whose curiosity was aroused. A reply flew out of the rabbit hutch.
'Most informative I'm sure. I was just wondering if Dean is an academic or an ecclesiastical title'.
What a pleasant surprise to receive a reply.
'No, "Dean" is Dean Heller's first name.

Thank you,

Team Heller'
The 'Thank you' is a particularly nice touch. They are very welcome, I'm sure. This just goes to show that good manners cost nothing.
The last straw is that the Romney person has written asked for money. Apart from being (it has to be said) a Grade A twat, it is a truth universally acknowledged that he is obscenely rich. If Christine has given him my e-mail address I shall be very cross notwithstanding our friendship. I have written to the Romney person (I only addressed him as 'Mitt' as he wrote to me as 'Andrew' and it seemed only polite) ...

Haven't you got enough money of your own?
No reply so far ...


Wednesday 26 September 2012

Return of Knob of the Week

This is essentially for overseas readers as there cannot be a UK based reader who is unaware of Andrew 'Thrasher' Mitchell MP, government chief whip and pottymouther in chief. Thrasher as he is commonly known has caused a huge stir while riding his bicycle around Downing Street, presumably after conducting some very important government business. Now a rabbit confession - everyone should hold at least one unlikely - politically incorrect even - view to avoid being boring and predictable. The rabbit's is a deeply rooted aversion to cyclists as rehearsed here in an early White Rabbit posting.

Thrasher has done nothing to mitigate the rabbit aversion. Thrasher pitched up at the gates at the end of Downing Street complete with bike and demanded that armed police guarding the gates open them to let him through. The police told him to go through the side gate.

Does Thrasher do anything of the sort? Nope. He goes into one. There is a dispute as to what happened next but it is common ground that Thrasher started swearing. A police report seen by the Sun 'newspaper' has Thrasher saying to the startled constabulary  'Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs' The Sun also reported a witness as saying that Mitchell had described police as 'morons'.

How rude!

Mitchell admits saying 'fucking' but says he was using the word 'adjectivally' (strictly it's a gerund) and wasn't directing it at police.

Of course not.

The really bad four letter word in the context is pleb.The newspaper also reported a witness as saying that Mitchell had described police as "morons".The last thing the Conservative government wants is the odour of social contempt and Flashman like behaviour attached to it to grow stronger and Thrashman is - among other things, not all of them printable - a former public schoolboy and a millionaire. Directing social contempt at the police is particularly - to use an overworked word - toxic.

Thrashman denies having said 'plebs'. Of course everyone believes him. Not. Now if he didn't say the 'p' word then the police have dishonestly invented an allegation in their official report. This wouldn't be the first time but doing so in relation to a government bigwig is a bold move by the constabulary. Verballing a nobody in say Tottenham is one thing but doing the same to the government chief whip is another. No doubt 'Dave' Cameron - a prime minister - totally wishes the topic would go away.

But it won't. The story runs and even expands into further examples of Thrashman's odiousness - follow the link and read a series of goodies including Thrashman as wasp murderer.

Accordingly, it is the rabbit's pleasure to revive  a venerable tradition and nominate Andrew Mitchell as Knob of the Week.

Mind you, there seems to be a positive outbreak of borderline psychotic behaviour by Conservative politicians. The above mound of blubber is named Brian Coleman - a local government politician of no distinction whatsoever. He was London Assembly member between 2000 and 2012 when he mercifully lost his seat. It is reported that his re-election in 2008 was followed by  a bizarre acceptance speech at the count in which he announced that 'the king of bling is back' before storming out, accompanied by his mother. Ermmm ... His period at the Greater London Assembly was mostly 'distinguished' by huge expenses claims for taxis (he was the only GLA member to refuse to publish their expenses voluntarily). He is presently in trouble for refusing to apologise to a constituent he called a Blackshirt. Other previous Coleman gems have been calling two people 'old hags' at a council meeting and attacking a cafe owner for photographing him parking in a loading bay.

There has been in the entirety of recorded history been only one award of Deputy Knob of the Week. Mr Coleman ... Consider yourself the second.

Friday 24 August 2012


The background to these 1930s police mugshots is that they turned up in a junk shop in north east England and were donated to the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museum who uploaded them to Flickr whence they have gone viral. There's something morbidly fascinating about this collection of down at heel - and presumably long dead - petty criminals. The guy above should have been told that if you are going to wear a tie then a collar as well is a good idea.

The one above is very strange. One thing the mugshots have in common is that the subjects are downright hideous and this guy is no exception. The manuscript note is very odd though: 'Died in action Benwell Hotel'. Now of course 'died in action' would suggest dying in combat but our man was born in 1878 and would have been much to old to see action in World War Ii which would have been the only candidate. The Benwell Hotel, Mr Google tells me, is a pub in Newcastle upon Tyne. The only sense I can make of the note is that our man was killed either committing a crime at the Benwell Hotel or died in a pub fight and black police humour has taken over.

Most of the subjects just look rather crushed but this guy looks cocky. Presumably pleased as his sad nickname the 'Sunderland Kid'. It's notable how many were tattooed (see 'Marks'), which would have been relatively rare then, I think.

This guy looks like the young Peter Hitchens. Perhaps he is - follow the link to see Hitchens having a hilarious - erm - difference of opinion with Russell Brand. I like 'general thief and bad character'.

This guy cracks me up. He looks such a wide-boy. Probably not too good at crime though. Maybe should have stuck to gardening. And who was Evelyn and how did she feel about his bad life? Okay that's enough long dead villains ...

Sunday 12 August 2012

We know what you did last summer - sorry weekend....

Well you'll know what I did last weekend after you've read this if you pluckily make it to the end. This blog isn't really about me as a general rule but rules are there to  be broken. Last weekend the rabbit and best friend set off on a sort of male Thelma and Louise (without the ending) type road trip to the rabbit's city of birth namely Leeds. Things did not start well when the rabbit grossly over-ran in court and had to tear down to Croydon and then up to Finchley to link with best friend and hire car. Only one and a half hours late. Then boot it up the M1. 

Arriving about 8.30pm, the rabbit recalled that he hadn't eaten since a slice of toast and a banana sometime just after 7 that morning. We head off into the city centre. We found a French place called La Grillade. Never been there before but it was rather wonderful. Finding somewhere really good when you are seriously hungry and would eat just about anything is a wonderful thing. The rabbit had the Bavette a l' Echalotte with fries and salad and half a bottle of the house red. Thus fortified, the rabbit and companion headed back to the hotel to drink beer and talk until 1am. We like to talk.

The next morning, the rabbit went for a solo walk round the city centre as best friend went to visit cousin. I once came across a legend about a man who fell asleep for 30 years and woke up not realising what had happened but finding everything familiar but altered. It's a bit like that when you go back to a familiar place after a long absence. One thing that has not changed is the statue of the Black Prince in City Square. The medieval person had nothing whatsoever to do with Leeds (why the statue is there is obscure - the theory in Wikipedia is that it was bought and put in place to suck up to the future Edward VII) but there he is as some odd sort of local mascot and also very popular with pigeons as can be seen on close examination of pic above.

The rabbit had set off in bright sunshine but on the way back the heavens opened and he - and in particular his trousers got soaked. Who needs to pack a spare pair of trousers for a weekend break? Not the rabbit! Attempts to dry the trousers in the hotel room with a hair dryer were less than a conspicuous success.  But then inspiration came. This is a hotel. Hotels always have irons. The man on reception delegated to to let anyone else in, the rabbit repaired to the laundry room, removed his trousers and dried them in double quick time with a seriously hot iron. Problem solved. Then off to Elland Road, home of Leeds United Football Club. It's in the DNA. It's in the larger small rabbit's DNA too. He complains to me 'what have you done to me? I'm a South London boy'


The rabbit had a piece of unfinished business at the club shop, he having bought the larger small rabbit a Leeds 1975 European Cup Final Replica shirt. The  larger small rabbit complained that it was too large (it was a large) so the rabbit has worn it since (see below). A medium sized shirt was acquired from the club shop and awaits the  larger small rabbit's return from holiday in Turkey. The rabbit also paid homage at the statue of King Billy and then off to do family things.

Saturday evening was spent in Whitelocks (above) - the oldest pub in Leeds (1715) and one seriously cool place. We had been looking forward to this and it did not disappoint. The rabbit had pork belly with garlic mash and something or the other jus washed down with  ... I forget what - one dark and one blonde beer but beyond that ... erm. This is turning into we know what you ate - sort of - last weekend. Then an odd thing happened. We decided on the cheese board. It arrived with frozen grapes. Cue much mystification from Thelma and Louise (male equivalents thereof). The waitress spoke hardly any English as seems to be custom these days. A lady from the next table came to the rescue. 'Jamie Oliver is very keen on frozen grapes' she explained helpfully.

Um righty.

Actually frozen grapes are pretty good.

Then on the Sunday off to the cricket at Headingley as threatened in the last posting here. rather like the trip around the city centre, it was odd but good to be back at Headingley after many years. For American readers, this was day 4 of the Test (5 day international game) between England and South Africa and the main event of the weekend. And again for American readers, yes cricket matches can go on for 5 days without a result. Makes sense to us. And yes the rain can hugely mess with them.

At first, all was well (see above). Then it started raining. The rain started hugely messing with the cricket. Below is the rain coming down, the open stands abandoned, their occupants under cover and the beginnings of ponding middle left just below plastic sheeting put on to try and protect the surface.

After a stop/start the game was abandoned for the day mid afternoon. It's a hazard of following cricket. So it goes but it was fun like it lasted. Cue another long journey back to the rabbit residence. Here are Thelma and Louise (rabbit on right in shades - note the Leeds 1975 European Cup Final Replica shirt) waiting in vain for the cricket to restart. 

Oh and by way of further narcissism, I've been meaning to post the link to a podcast I did on the Charon QC blog a while ago. Now that's enough about me ;)

Thursday 2 August 2012

Olympics and Headingley

The above is pinched from the Charon QC blog. The person bottom left is named Jeremy Hunt. He is Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and is thus sort of in charge of the Olympics. He is also a total knob but the rabbit digresses. The caption is there because the clowns having the security contract - G4S (Group 4 Security - a shower with a track record of cluelessness and worse) contrived to fail to recruit enough security staff for the London Olympics. This failure was discovered at the last minute and the British Army was drafted in to make up the shortfall.

The next problem was empty seats. To have empty seats is considered unthinkable as the empty seats would tend to suggest that the relevant events were less than riveting (rabbit question: if most of these sports were any good to watch, why aren't they on the tv all the time?). Empty seats being a no-no the poor army gets drafted in to occupy them. The empty seats are apparently not those sold to the public but those denied to the public by virtue of them going instead to the 'Olympic family' (sic), corporate sponsors etc. - who then don't turn up. What is interesting about the photo is that if you look at the faces of the soldiers, most of them look bored to death. One can only wonder why ...

The rabbit is however hopping off oop north for the weekend, complete with ticket for the Sunday of the Headingley Test. Happily nothing to do with the Olympics. For the unintiated, the cricket ground is on the left, the rugby ground on the right ...

Jerry Garcia - 70th birthday

There is an odd contemporary thing that just being dead doesn't stop your birthday being celebrated and today is the late, great Jerry Garcia's 70th birthday and the rabbit can go along with marking that event. Happy Birthday Sir!

Plus today is also Yorkshire Day and the rabbit duly waves the white rose flag with pride!

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Just a quickie ..

... with Hat Tip to Charles Christian, just a quickie (as it were) from rabbit on the move. Oh dear!

Plus the rabbit's typo of the week award goes to the somewhat surreal 'jeep the faith'

Friday 27 July 2012

Romney unites the nation ...

The above is a person named Romney. He wishes to be President of the United States and to that end is doing an overseas tour so he can look 'statesmanlike' and hobnob with overseas leaders. It's a routine gig. Romney hit London yesterday on his way to frighten Angela Merkel in Germany and get his orders from - sorry have discussions with - the odious Netanyahu. Below and from the glorious Steve Bell is Chancellor Merkel in receipt of correction from the present incumbent so it will be clear to all why the prospect of the Romney person causes her such alarm.

But the rabbit digresses ... The Romney person has proceeded to make a balls up of heroic proportions of his London visit. Not content with addressing leader of the opposition and panda lookalike Ed Miliband as 'Mr Leader' (note for overseas readers: absolutely no-one would call the leader of the opposition 'Mr Leader' - it just sounds ridiculous) the Romney person also announced that he had a discussion with the head of the British security services (memo to the Romney person: you don't do that) but above all he has got the entire UK population behind the London Olympics.

Now it should be explained that the run up to the London Olympics has puzzled overseas persons in that it has been greeted by a very British barrage of eeyeball rolling and muttering. The rabbit has joined in this. We're just like that. Get over it. The substance of the complaints may be summed up as follows:
London's transport system - a delicate flower at the best of times - is bound to either grind to a halt or at least be massively disrupted. This happens regularly without the extra load generated by the Olympics.

Being required to festoon London with 'Zil Lanes' so that the 'Olympic Family' (what a sick inducing expression) or at least the top honchos can whizz around untroubled by traffic congestion strikes everybody as elitist, annoying and bound to add to aforesaid congestion. Ordinary mortals get fined £130 for driving in the Zil Lanes by the way.

The security measures appear to be paranoid and practice for living in a police state. The bloated incompetents of G4S (the hierarchy of which have got very rich at employing people who can't find anything else to do and paying them very little for assorted incompetently executed and in some cases unconscionable 'security' activities) have managed to make such a hash of a huge contract that troops have been drafted in to assist (I don't mind this - the troops will no doubt make a better job of it but why the G4S clowns had their pockets lined to screw up in the first place ios a cause for mystification.

Rocket launchers being planted on people's rooftops without their consent and against their wishes (don't ask).

The corporate sponsors getting well above themselves as regards the 'protection' of their commercial interests. It was serious asked if people could go in to Olympic venues in Nike trainers (Adidas is one of the corporate sponsors).

The opening ceremony - which is this evening as the rabbit writes - sounds promisingly bizarre. It is to be directed by Danny Boyle and features farm animals - as in real ones. Don't ask me why - but Steve Bell has struck again by satirising the opening ceremony as featuring a cow reciting John Keats' Ode To A Nightingale. No - yet again I don't know why but sounds promisingly surreal.

Also promising was posting the South Korean flag next to images of the North Korean players (who were actually playing) in the women's football game the other day. The North Koreans had a predictable hissy fit and walked off for an hour. This sort of cockup is to be encouraged.

But back to the Romney person ...

The Romney person was interviewed by NBC yesterday and announced, speaking of the london Olympics, that stories about difficulties with security guards and threats of border staff strikes were 'obviously... not something which is encouraging'.

Guess what?

The one thing that will totally piss any British person off is being talked down to by a US politrician - and especially an obvious knob like Romney whose claim to
have made a great success of the Salt Lake Winter Olympics got short shrift from 'Dave' Cameron, a prime minister. 'We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world' opined Dave. 'Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere'.

Ooh cutting! Of course Romney has back pedalled futriously but the damage has been done.

And the rabbit's present attitude? Well I'm softening. There is force in all the criticisms but I don't want it to be a shambles. I prefer the Winter Olympics with lunatics jumping off ramps at speed into the air and the sheer violence of the ice hockey but I'll watch some of it. It will be overblown but these events are always are. Chance ofa s ense of proportions may be filed away under 'slight'. Oh and Romney has a horse competing in some equestrian event.


Friday 20 July 2012

How cool is this?

'I was down in some low dive/talking all the usual jive' (Crooked Judge - New Riders of The Purple Sage)

One of the earliest White Rabbit posts is still the one that is most frequently revisited despite the passing of time, namely the posting on Becky's Dive Bar. I have just been contacted by a guy who does a blog called Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog. He is trying to track down the earliest example of the real ale pub and Becky's Dive Bar - and indeed the rabbit's posting - came to his attention and he contacted me. He also sent a couple of photos. Above is the entrance - and below amazingly is a picture of Becky no less! If you are not in the loop you have no idea how arare - and downright spooky - this is. If you are not in the loop also go read the original posting. Not all - but some things - will become clear!

Talking of cool - the rabbit has spoken to his public via a podcast on all round top bloke Charon QC's blog. Highlights not mentioned in Charon's preamble to the podcast on his blog include Charon nearly lighting the wrong end of his cigarette and the rabbit offering a medal to anyone still listening ...

Have a good weekend all ...

Wednesday 18 July 2012

The day the music died

The rabbit has been slow in reporting the major international incident that took place in Hyde Park last Saturday aka the Springsteen concert due to pressure of work but I can now finally pronounce. Given the endless rain that the UK has been inflicted with over the 'summer' due to something called the Jet Stream that normally drenches Scandanavia moving south, I had wondered whether the concert was going to take place at all. A Kylie and Jason reunion concert (ermmmm ... ) at the same location on the previous Tuesday was cancelled - the surface of Hyde Park being described as 'emulsified'. Nice word that ... Help was however at hand in the form of 800,000 square metres of wood shavings (yes really). Here are some of the wood shavings having been spread over the ground. The effect was bouncy, safe and distinctly smelly in an agricultural sort of way.

Through the warm up acts it didn't rain very much at all. Although some people had sensibly come well prepared.

The final warm up act, and the only one to get any traction with the audience who had basically come to see Springsteen and only Springsteen was John Fogerty. He put on a good show and got an audience reaction. Towards the end of his set the big screen showed Springsteen sitting otherwise out of sight to the side of the stage. Cue much cheering. Then a little later Springsteen came on to duet in the final Fogerty song. Like so ...

And the actual Springsteen set? Well his concerts are a cross between a huge karaoke session led by Bruce and a revival meeting. That's not to knock it. I think the guy is a total class act and an honest performer. He is one of those performers who you sense is actually on your side and not on a corporately sponsored cynical exercise in squeezing one last payday out of the punters. His workrate is phenomenal - as is the length of his sets (with consequences known now to everyone not in one of the remoter regions of Papua New Guinea). For the first hour it didn't even rain. Then the rain started. The wetter it got the more Bruce cranked up the energy levels. It is fortunate for the rabbit's dignity - which is of course immense -  that there is no record of him singing and dancing along to Darlington County/Working On The Highway.

The young rabbit was absolutely blown away by Springsteen's early work. Was it possible for rock music to get any better? The young rabbit doubted it. The signs that the man was mortal after all first surfaced with the simultaneously released Human Touch and Lucky Town in 1992 which were okayish and no more. There hasn't been a subsequent decline like say Bob Marley's - from red raw stuff like the Catch A Fire album generally to twee rubbish like Three Little Birds. The later stuff is good - some of it very good indeed (see below). And the guy is a supreme performer. Then of course among the E Street Band were Steve Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren - sightings to make for a very happy rabbit. The Ballad of Tom Joad and Shackled and Drawn stood out in the middle passage. Then working towards the end, full on karaoke session with Born In The USA, Born to Run, Dancing In The Dark and Glory Days. The last of these like so ...

By this time it was pushing 10.30 and Springsteen had been on stage for about 3 hours not counting the John Fogerty bit piece. On came Paul McCartney - not being a huge Beatles fan, the rabbit was less than impressed but a decent duet to I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout with a little bit of La Bamba thrown in for good measure followed. What happened then? Well we all know ...

What do i think? Well yes it was officious but the (not very many) people who live around Hyde Park are very rich, very well connected and hate the concerts in the first place. There are no doubt penalty clauses in the hire agreements for over runs. The organisers were no doubt getting jumpier and jumpier. Then someone threw the switch. The music didn't so much stop but fade away over a few seconds - a very strange effect.

Oh and guess how many complaints Westminster Council received as regards the over run? Two. Finally - here is a recent Bruce song to demonstrate that he can still hit the heights. It's not from the concert but was performed at it. Shackled and Drawn - Pure quality.

Friday 13 July 2012

Whiskey in the Jar

I found myself idly wondering how an old Irish folk song managed to acquire one of the rock guitar riffs of all time via Thin Lizzy. the answer to this particular question still remains obscure, but I do like the lyrics - not the chorus, which is aload of nonsense words, but the verses. Who was Captain Farrell? Wikipedia suggests a military or government official which sounds a likely answer. I also like the phrase 'took me easy' that appear in a lot of the online lyrics but unfiortunately that would appear to be amis-hearing of 'tricked me easy'.

Just to give a bit of background, here is Irish traveller and traditional musician Pecker Dunne (calm down American persons - he's called Pecker for an entirely innocent reason - see linked text) with his version of Whiskey in the Jar. He's 79 now, was born in a horse drawn caravan and is still around. And, no - I dont know why he seems to have a hole in his forehead either. Otherwise happy weekend to all  - the rabbit is off to see Springsteen in concert in Hyde Park tomorrow - it's still on despite endless rain thanks to 8,000 cubic metres of woodchip deposited over Hyde Prk. the rabbit is taking the plastic anorak thingy he got for Maid of the Mist - the boat that takes you up to Niagara Falls through a barrage of water droplets.

Friday 6 July 2012

Electronic cigarette terror and geobuck clam

Proof that as the Olympics grow ever closer the authorities are losing whatever grip on reality they may ever have  had came yesterday with an electronic cigarette. The rabbit has a friend who has taken these up - they are another nicotine replacement therapy (in passing the rabbit is not a fan of the same - they just feed the addiction in a less harmful way missing the point that the answer is to overcome the addiction) in which a nicotine vapour is released. The end glows green when the user takes a draw - a nice touch. Now unlike cigarettes they are legal everywhere - including on coaches. We go to a coach travelling from Preston to London where someone saw what turned out to be a passenger 'smoking' an electronic cigarette, a 'genuinely concerned member of the public' concluded I am not quite sure what except that she thought he was behaving suspiciously and called the police.

The result: a major anti-terrorism operation was launched, the coach was stopped in Staffordshire and armed police officers with military back-up shut the motorway for seven hours having detained the coach for four. They escorted the 48 passengers off the bus, telling them to walk with arms stretched out whereupon they were further told to sit in silence in a makeshift pen on the road while being checked by sniffer dogs (see above). 'I thought I was going to be shot. Everyone was terrified. Some people thought it was a bomb or a suspected terrorist attack while others thought we might have an escaped prisoner on board' announced the splendidly named Vermilion von Kangur, a passenger on the coach who seems at least to have got her 15 minutes fame out of the episode.

The response, which could fairly be described as 'enormous' involved police, army bomb squad and fire service. The overkill seems demented. Is there no proportionate way of finding out if there is a problem?

And above all, the suspicion remains that the paranoia around the Olympics is now colouring officialdom's attitude to absolutely everything. In a completely unrelated story, a 71 year old with an airgun looking for rats was arrested by anti terrorism police - complete with attendant helicopter! 'Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both'. Benjamin Franklin.

On more serious matters, a comment by JopJo yesterday set the rabbit on an online search for the geoduck clam. And here it is and a fine looking fellow it is too I'm sure all will agree. Natural habitat: the coastal waters of Washington State, British Columbia and - erm - trousers.

And before it is too late, the rabbit would wish to blow his annual raspberry at Wimblebore. Tennis or watching paint dry? Pass the brushes.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Circumcision, extradition and Angels' Share

This isn't new news - as it were - it broke last week but bears further consideration. A German court - in Cologne to be exact - considered the case of the circumcision of a 4 year old boy in accordance with the wishes of his Muslim parents. It constituted bodily harm, the court concluded (the matter became contentious as the boy began to bleed profusely two days after and had to be hospitalised). The boy's right to physical integrity and self-determination trumped the parents' religious freedom.

This as may be imagined became just a touch contentious. Jewish and Muslim commentators were predictably hostile. The Turkish Europe Minister offered grumpily to send the Germans 'scientific circumcisers' to 'show the Germans how to circumcise'. Very thoughtful, I'm sure - although there does not seem to be any suggestion that the procedure was carried out defectively. The fact that it was a German court ruling in a Jewish practice caused raised eyebrows.

And I think? well on one level the ruling seems unanswerable. To use a sharp instrument to remove  a section of someone's flesh is prima facie an assault. There are possible defences - namely necessity and consent but neither applies to the routine circumcision of infants and boys too young to give an informed consent. So does religious freedom trump the boy's right? Well maybe but if that is the case then the invidious result follows that parents motivated by religious factors have a defence but non-religious parents having their boy circumcised out of a belief that it is the appropriatev thing to do do not.

Hygenic arguments? Try soap and water. Plus all surgery carries a risk - albeit an extreme example, a link story shows 11 boys contracting herpes through a bizarre form of circumcision (TMI alert for details).

And therefore? I wouldn't make circumcision a criminal offence or actionable in damages generally. I'm not quite sure why I wouldn't but that's the view I reach. Incompetent execution of the circumcision or inherently unsafe 'techniques' (see link) must be at least actionable in damages in any event. Hopefully the practice will fade away with the passing of time without any martyrs to the cause.

I've blogged before on the unequal nature of UK/US extradition arrangements - the above young man is Richard O'Dwyer who gruesome secretary heresa May has approved his extradition to the US for -er - copyright infringement. He faces a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment for offences - which if offences they be - were committed in the UK and would attract a maximum 6 months imprisonment here. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has organised a petition. Feel free to sign.

Finally - and briefly - the rabbit hopped off last Sunday to see The Angels' Share. Go see. It's quality. I won't explain what the angels' share is for the uninitiated. You'll just have to see the film.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Fourth of July

It is the time of year again where it is customary for the rabbit to send Independence Day greetings to his American readers. Previous greetings have featured such gems as Brad Neely's Washington, the same person (Washington that is not Neely) crossing the Delaware and Springsteen's Darlington County - the connection being the 'me and Wayne on the Fourth of July' in the lyrics.

The rabbit is pleased to announce that he wil be celebrating Bastille Day - the 14th July - at a Springsteen concert in London so - Independence Day it is for this year ... Different sort of independence but there ya go.

Expect a posting on foreskins (legal issues pertaining thereto) and extradition tomorrow from the law blog that makes the others look pretty stupid :D - well most of them. Honest.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Oh dear ...

A quick couple of items for now ...

Following Sir Gideon aka George Osborne's U Turn on fuel duty some hapless - and previously obscure - junior minister by the name of Chloe Smith (me neither) was ceremoniously hung out to dry for the Paxman treatment on Newsnight last night. Oh dear ... Watch from 6.19 onwards.

Continuing the political theme, the rabbit rather liked German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Terminator. See below ...

Oh okay then, as a parting shot, a bit of sixties stuff - a well known rabbit partiality - if you insist. A Frankie Valli/Four Seasons double header...

Rag Doll, plus the B side - Silence is Golden. How's that for two sided quality in a little piece of black vinyl?

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Hopping back on board ...

The rabbit is still in the land of the living and as usual full of good intentions as regards more regular blogging but has been busy of late, principally trying to sort out publishing his crime novel on amazon. For those of you who haven't seen it on my facebook page here is a preliminary sketch for the cover illustration. the final version will be slightly different and will have title and byline obviously. Watch this space - much promotional spamming will follow!

Forgive the rabbit introducing a serious - and specifically British - topic. Indeed one which is not fresh news (the campaign arose during the period of rabbit blogsilence) but merits a mention in any event: the campaign to repeal (or at least amend) section 5 Public Order Act 1986, which provides as follows:

Harassment, alarm or distress.
1. A person is guilty of an offence if he-

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.

Which may sound a reasonable enough provision in the abstract but in practice is being used as a gag on free speech in the most ludicrous ways. A number of oddities arise: verbal abuse or insult is no doubt unattractive and a thoroughly bad thing but why should it be criminal (it will be noted that there are no qualifications as to intent) Similarly all that has to be shown by sub-section (b) is that 'harassment, alarm or distrsss' is 'likely'. Not that it actually resulted or anything quite so specific. A few illustrations of stupid, oppressive ways in which this stupid, oppressive provision has been used:

In 2010 A Christian street evangelist named Dale McAlpine was arrested and charged with this offence after expressing his belief that homosexuality was sinful. He expressed this view to a passer-by and a gay police community support officer while handing out leaflets to shoppers. There is no credible suggestion that the tone - if not content - of his expression of views was anything other than moderate. Now Mr McAlpine appears to have a number of odd views but so what? Why should his expression of this particular odd view result in his arrest and charge with a section 5 offence? What the hell (a subject close to Mr McAlpine's heart) has the criminal law to do with this expression of a mistaken belief of his on any sensible view.


Fortunately the charge was later dropped.

If anything even more grotesquely in 2008 a 15 year old was served the summons in respect of a section 5 offence by City of London police when he took part in a peaceful demonstration opposite the London headquarters of the Church of Scientology. The rabbit has blogged on this one before but it merits repetition. The boy had a placard confiscated which said that Scientology was a 'cult'.


Here are some of the core beliefs of Scientology ...

"75 million years ago, there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu who was in charge of 76 planets in our sector of the galaxy, including planet Earth, whose name at that time was Teegeeack.
All of the planets Xenu controlled were over-populated by, on average, 178 billion people. Social problems dictated that Xenu rid his sector of the galaxy of this overpopulation problem, so he developed a plan.
Xenu sent out Tax Audit demands to all these billions of people.
As each one entered the audit centers for the income tax inspections, the people were seized, held down and injected with a mixture of alcohol and glycol, and frozen. Then, all 13.5 trillion of these frozen people were put into spaceships that looked exactly like DC8 airplanes, except that the spaceships had rocket engines instead of propellers.
Xenu's entire fleet of DC8-like spaceships then flew to planet Earth, where the frozen people were dumped in and around volcanoes in the Canary Islands and the Hawaiian Islands. When Xenu's Air Force had finished dumping the bodies into the volcanoes, hydrogen bombs were dropped into the volcanoes and the frozen space aliens were destroyed.
However, Xenu's plan involved setting up electronic traps in Teegeeack's atmosphere which were designed to trap the souls or spirits of the dead space aliens. When the 13.5 trillion spirits were being blown around on the nuclear winds, the electronic traps worked like a charm and captured all the souls in the electronic, sticky fly-paper like traps ..."


It goes on but the rabbit is losing the will to live.

If people want to believe the above then that is their privilege. If they want to be suckered in to spending startling sums of money on quack remedies until they have been bled dry and are discarded by the Scientologists as of no further interest then that is their privilege too.

But people are entitled to peacefully assemble to describe Scientology as a cult without fear of arrest or of having their placards confiscated.

In 2005 one Sam Brown, 21, a student at Balliol College Oxford, was arrested for causing harassment, alarm or distress and fined £80 after asking a mounted police officer if he knew that his horse was 'gay'.

Ermmmm ...

Words fail me.

A comment by Peter Tatchell: ' ... any controversial or dissenting viewpoint has the potential to upset someone and result in them complaining that they felt insulted, alarmed or distressed. Liberal Muslims offend traditionalists, gay pride marches alarm homophobes, mixed race couples distress racists and gender equality is an affront to sexist men'. Giving insult and causing distress ought not - or at the very least ought not ordinarily - result in criminalisation. The criminal law should not be used as a vehicle for attempting to suppress ideas you don't like (and that includes don't like with good reason). The test is too low. There are stirrings afoot to repeal or at least amend section 5. Good idea.

Some music is in order as a parting shot. The rabbit keeps hearing the above as he hops around the equipment in his local gym. Good stuff and it has bored its way into his ear.

And finally - ever at the cutting edge of legal blogging - the rabbit presents for the edification of the public a most informative transcript from the Supreme Court of Queensland. Hat Tip to Charon QC

Wednesday 16 May 2012

A flying visit ...

I keep thinking that i must revive the old White Rabbit dreadful album cover posting. Here is a taster. It's got the lot, dreadful cover, surreal surname and an innuendo that puts Finbarr Saunders to shame.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Return of the rabbit - Nadine Dorries

For – as the well-known rabbit catchphrase goes – overseas readers and the terminally inattentive, the above person is named Nadine Dorries. She is a Conservative MP and until fairly recently was basically known for being very right wing and very anti-abortion (before anyone comments to say so, yes I know these are not necessarily the same thing).

Anyway, again for overseas readers there is a British occasion called Prime Minister’s Questions. It takes place weekly when Parliament is in session and the theory behind it is that it is an opportunity for legislators to hold the executive to account and – well – ask the prime minister questions. In practice is is a mindless shouting match that goes something like this:

Leader of the opposition: ‘Won’t the prime minister admit that he is a drivelling idiot who couldn’t make a half way competent job of wiping his own bottom?’

Cue huge noise from opposition MPs.

Prime Minister ‘On the contrary it is the right honourable gentleman who is a simpering imbecile and everything is the fault of the last Labour government’ etc etc

Cue huge noise from government MPs

Other MPs get to join in the fun and government MPs get to ask sycophantic planted questions. One interesting thing is that ‘Dave’ Cameron – a prime minister – gets genuinely as opposed to synthetically angry at Prime Minister’s Questions as if anyone insolent enough to criticise him is contradicting the natural order of things. Without permission.

In any event, some months ago Cameron in the course of Prime Minister’s Questions called Dorries – who is a member of his own party – ‘frustrated’. Presumably as in sexually. You don’t need to be a particular fan of Dorries to find this sort of witless patronising sneer – and Cameron has form for this sort of thing – unattractive.

Now the thing about insulting people is that they tend not to like it. And if they can get their own back on you they usually will. Dorries recently characterised Cameron - who is presently in huge amounts of trouble politically - and Chancellor Gideon ('George') Osborne 'two arrogant posh boys who don't know the price of milk'. The comment has resonated hugely.

Basically because it's so true.

Cameron needed this comment- which went viral in the British media - like a hole in the head. Dorries has put the boot in again, pointing out darkly that it only takes the signatures of 46 Conservative MPs to trigger a leadership election. Being sitting prime minister doesn't prohibit this - it is how Thatcher met her downfall. This again has gone viral in the British media. Now Dorries is undoubtedly a loose cannon but the moral of the story is that it is perhaps best not to make more enemies than absolutely necessary. 

I've been meaning to post this song for some time but now the context seems right. New Riders of the Purple Sage with Kick In The Head.