Saturday, 31 May 2008

last night of the beercans...

Tonight is the last night you can drink alcohol on the London Underground (or indeed buses). The ban comes into force tomorrow compliments of new mayor Boris 'Bozzer' Johnson. The pic is Bozzer and some pals planning the ban.
There is resistance. Tonight there will be
drinks parties staged on the London Underground. The plan is some serious flash mobbing. The group "One final tube booze party" claims 3,500 members, enough to take over three trains. Inevitably there will be an extra police presence despite the partygoers' organisers requesting consideration for fellow passengers. The rail unions, who were not consulted as regards the ban, are not happy bunnies, fearing problems for staff attempting to enforce it. The present sanction to to ask anyone with an open bottle or can to leave (!). New criminal offences are on the way - inevitably enough.
Good for the partygoers. I hope they enjoy :D


Blogsilence of late but there is a reason. I've just finished crime novel a few minutes ago and am awash with English ale and Barbadian rum. Yay!!! Done it!!! It's a wonderful moment. No feeling like it. Now comes the tricky bit. It has to be edited. The writing is in the re-writing. Then I have to try and find an agent. Then it has to be sold. All hard slog but right now, I don't care. I've written the %$£&ing thing !!! I also have to write a synopsis. All writers hate this but I'll post it here when written. Now time for another glass of rum...

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Yer Rock & Roll 11 and musings...

Before the music stuff a few thoughts. There has been a strand in my postings recently the erosion of freedom of expression from the sinister (attempts to smother the Olympic torch protests) through the sinister and absurd (the boy with the placard describing Scientology as a 'cult' and his threatened prosecution) to the just plain absurd (the thing in Sunderland - whatever that was about). In my novel twentytwelve I imagined a free fall into barbarism. Dystopian fiction is about warning rather than prediction and I don't think it will work that way. At least if I did, I would have better things to do than blogging. The criminalisation of everything and the controlling state will eventually mean that we wake up one morning to discover that everything is either prohibited or compulsory.

Those fortified by the election of Boris Johnson as London myor may care to note that his first act was - why am I not surprised - to ban something. The particular something was drinking alcohol on the London Underground. Now I have seen people drinking beer cans on the London Underground and I have seen annoying and occasionally intimidating drunks. So far as I can recall, none of the annoying or intimidating drunks had beercans in tow. There is a complete or almost complete disconnect between the problem and the 'solution'. But it is imagined that this plays well with the punters so a ban it is....

Now music - the theme is young peoples' stuff. As regards popular music, you should know - and act - your age. But some contemporary stuff has permeated my middle-aged consciousness. The first clip is White Stripes with Icky Thump. Actually, this is a bit of a cheat - the White Stripes transcend generational differences - because they are so damn good. Anyways, Jack and Meg are a good deal younger than me (no sniggering at the back) so they qualify. Icky Thump, by the way, is a corruption of the Northern English 'ecky thump', an expression of surprise now only used ironically.

Number two is Rihanna's Pon De Replay. I was in Toronto a couple of summers ago and the local hip hop station played this endlessly. It's a real earworm - to borrow a nice expression from Daisy's blog. Bores its way into your skull and stays there.

Finally Slipknot because they crack me up. I did think of posting their version of La Bamba, thus making it the first song to feature twice in this series but settled on another cover - American Idiot. The clip is from some US TV show. Isn't the presenter a muppet? I occasionally wonder how you get a presenter's job on US TV. I could do that....

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Is there a dentist in the house?

Introducing New Zealand batsman Daniel Flynn. The spitting may be excused as he has just been hit on the head by England paceman James Anderson. Despite wearing a helmet, he was abruptly seperated from one of his front teeth (which was apparently retrieved by the New Zealand physio - what happened to the tooth next remains obscure). Ouch! Remember the ball is very hard and will be making acquaintance with his face at 85-90mph. Rough old game, cricket. Former England captain Mike Gatting left a part of the bridge of his nose embedded in the ball after being hit by West Indies legend Malcolm Marshall in the mid 1980s. Evidently Marshall picked up the ball, looked at it and, feeling distinctly queasy , threw the ball as far away as he could. The worst that ever happened to me playing cricket was copping a ball travelling at some speed right on the ball of my ankle. That hurt like hell.

On a happier note, the boy threatened with prosecution for holding a placard describing Scientology as a 'cult' (blog 21 May) is not to be prosecuted after all. Quite right too but why was it ever an issue in the first place? Marina Hyde in todays Guardian summarises the core beliefs of Scientology...
'Seventy-five billion years ago, the intergalactic alien tyrant Xenu exiled manifold individuals to Earth in special craft - which looked exactly like DC-8s. Hubbard provides sketches. These beings were then imprisoned in mountains, before being blown up with hydrogen bombs and brainwashed with a huge 3D film. Their traumatised spirits - "Body Thetans" - then clustered around human bodies and continue to do so to this very day, and can only be removed using advanced Scientology. Xenu? Currently held captive in a mountain by a forcefield'.
That clears that one up then.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Complete Arse Corner...

This bizarre story comes from the BBC via Jailhouse Lawyer - blogworld's daily news digest. A former gay bar in Sunderland has gone straight. It has put up a banner.

"Retox under new management! Now Straight! Top totty dancers on match days!"

Now this is no doubt to many people a little tacky. The sensible response is a brief eyeball roll and moving on - literally and metaphorically. But no. Some complete arse has complained to the police.

Did the police tell the complete arse to go away? Nope. A police investigation has ensued. Into what is not clear save that the complainer was - guess what - offended. A community group has been involved in helping 'resolving' the matter.

This is another excursion around Planet Bonkers! Why is anyone complaining of being 'offended' - like apparently those loveable Scientologists yesterday - taken seriously? I'll say it one more time - not being offended is not a human right. It's not as if the banner was an incitement to hate crime or somesuch. It's just a Sid the Sexist and his mates being sad facility. Get over it!!!

Here are Sid and his mates - caution: very bad taste :-O - doublecaution: Americanpersons may need interpreter.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Free Speech part 98...

Mark Steel (that's the bloke over there on the right) is, for the benefit of overseas readers, a commentator and stand up comedian.
He also writes a column for the Independent newspaper (a generally good thing). Except they wouldn't print his latest one after the lawyers threw a wobbly. Less than heroic stuff. So, in the interests of free speech here is his article through the wonder of copy and paste:
'There's a trial currently taking place in Belfast, that seems to explain plainly how nothing makes any sense. It revolves around a factory owned by the arms company Raytheon, which was set up in Derry soon after the IRA ceasefire. John Hume, who'd just won the Nobel Peace Prize was among those who announced the opening of the plant, welcoming it as a result of the 'peace dividend'
So at last, now the men of violence had agreed to give up their weapons, the area could attract a peaceful company with a turnover of seventeen billion dollars from making weapons. Clearly, all the while the IRA were decommissioning their arms, most of us misunderstood this process. Because the government reports must have gone "They possess 100 rifles, 10 RPG 7 rockets and a shed full of semtex. If they want to be taken seriously this isn't NEARLY enough; they need Tornado bombers and a car park full of tanks - we can't deal with these amateurs."
For example, when Raytheon won a contract to develop a new missile system for the Israelis in 2006, a spokesman boasted they would "Provide all-weather hit-to-kill performance at a tactical missile price." Next they might have adverts, that go "Hurry hurry hurry to the Raytheon springtime sale for lasers, tasers and civilian-erasers that will make flesh sizzle through snow, sleet or drizzle WITHOUT making a casualty of your wallet."Despite this, the government in Northern Ireland welcomed the new plant, claiming they'd been assured it wouldn't be making weapons. To which a reasonable response would be 'Right - they're a weapons manufacturer - they supplied weapons to, amongst others, the Indonesian military junta - this might, if you were cynical, suggest they make weapons. Or what do you THINK they're going to be making - FAIRTRADE FUCKING CUSTARD!'
Eventually it was admitted they were making guidance systems for missiles, and so for a while there was a pretence these were being employed for peaceful reasons. Perhaps the systems were being attached to wasps so that a central controlling network could guide them away from picnics.
But then it became clear they were being used by the Israelis in Lebanon, and there was outrage in Derry when in 2006 one such system guided a missile into a block of flats in Qana, killing 28 people, mostly children. A few days later the local anti-war group, including the journalist and civil rights activist Eamonn McCann, decided to occupy the Raytheon building as a protest. A group of nine got into the plant, and as a gesture they threw a computer out of the window. Eventually around 40 police arrived and, as Eamonn describes "They smashed through the doors wearing riot gear, many holding perspex shields, some pointing plastic-bullet guns. They inched forward while the officer in command shouted 'surrender'. We continued playing cards."
And as I know Eamonn I can imagine him later that night in the police cell muttering "Tonight did not go as planned at all - I was SURE no one would beat my pair of queens."
Then came the official outrage - they'd wilfully broken the law, destroyed property etc. etc. So maybe whether an act of destruction is considered illegal or not comes down to the value of the objects destroyed. And computers are worth a fair packet, whereas a house in Qana can probably be picked up for next to nothing, especially with the current housing slump!
Perhaps the activists went about their protest in the wrong way. The more official approach might have been to leave Raytheon alone, but announce the local Co-op was making weapons. Then they could have produced a dossier to prove it, containing snippets from the internet about how the manager had been buying uranium from North Korea and smuggling it into the fridges in packets of fish fingers. Then they could have flattened the place, and when it turned out there never were any weapons they could have said it doesn't really make any difference.
Last year the group travelled to Qana to meet the families of the victims of that missile, and they described the trip, not surprisingly, as the most moving experience of their lives. But while it's all very well feeling compassion for dead civilians, someone has to consider the feelings of that poor computer, so this week their trial began, in a no-jury court in Belfast. Because opposing the bombing of civilians with missiles made as a result of a peace process can land you in jail, whereas organising international support for bombing those civilians gets you a job as peace envoy to the place that was bombed. It's obvious when you think about it.
I only hope that as the computer hit the ground, in its last moment it flickered 'You have performed an illegal operation'
So there - link to Mark Steel blog -

Don't use the 'c' word!!! :D

A hat tip is due to Jailhouse Lawyer for drawing attention to this story from the Torygraph. It seems that the limits of protest become ever more - um - limited.
I quote...
'A teenage boy is facing a possible criminal prosecution for holding a sign describing the Church of Scientology as a "cult", police said on Tuesday. The boy, who is described only as a minor, was taking part in a demonstration outside the church's central London headquarters on May 10 when City of London Police officers ordered him to remove the placard.
It read: "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult."

When he refused, he was issued with a form of summons for an alleged breach of public order. Police plan to pass a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether charges can be brought.
Chief Supt Rob Bastable said: "City of London Police upholds the right to demonstrate lawfully, but we have to balance that with the right of all sections of community not to be alarmed, harassed or distressed as a result of other people's behaviour." '
Yeah right...
Hopefully the CPS will return the file with anatomically explicit instructions as to where to put it.
I've been here before, this has echoes of the Tibet Olympic torch protests. Why should people be banned from expressing a view because some arse may get offended. Not being offended is not a human right. How about a moratorium on being offended?
By the way, the pic is of an anti-Scientology protest group called - erm - Anonymous.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

While on the subject of New Labour...

Beau Bo d'Or (link to left) strikes again. Apologies to those feeling nauseous at the thought of these activities.

Every picture tells a story...

Sometimes the camera can be not so much cruel as vicious. The image is of a certain Gordon Brown at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. It probably seemed a good idea to show up at the time. He would be guaranteed a better reception than Thatcher when she attended the same body in the 1980s and unburdened herself of one of her simplistic rants. The Thatcher rant went down like a lead balloon. No doubt whatever it was that Brown said did go down better but the problem is that no-one has a clue what he said. It wasn't the story. The story is the photo. Unfortunately for Brown the photo really says everything about him - glum, dour, essentially totally stuffed. I am wholly out of sympathy with the New Labour project and the sight of the poor booby twisting in the wind has its comical side. Contrary to the usual bletherings, I would be amazed to find him in post in the run-up to the next election. The guy is box office poison and when Labour MPs get an idea of the scale of the potential carnage, the political equivalent of the bottle of whisky and revolver in the library will be on offer. Okay - more than on offer - they will insist. Expect Miliband to be the beneficiary. I don't believe it will save them. The punters aren't listening any more. But it may constitute damage limitation.
The other equally glum faces in the photo complement Brown perfectly. The woman on the left front row's face is an - um - picture. I do hope the one on the right is not about to pick her nose! Do they make the women wear those hats? I suspect the answer is 'yes'. Looking at the state of the hats, this would seem to be a practice that ought to be discontinued pronto.
On a completely different topic, it looks as if the rabbit has secured a ticket for the League 1 playoff final and is off to Wem-ber-lee! Blog no doubt to follow...
On a completely different different topic. After the blog on Texas Death row, I have become interested in the case of Roy Pippin. It's too early for any conclusions but researches continue. Again watch this space..

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Not Yer Rock & Roll 4 - De Blooze

I discovered the blues as a teenager. It was all the fault of a guy called Mike Raven(left). Way back in the beginning of time, he had a soul and blues radio programme called – um – The Mike Raven Show. The first half was soul but the second half was blues. What the hell is this stuff? I asked my teenage self. Low down, ancient scrubbsy stuff from the Mississippi Delta mostly, plus some electric Chicago stuff was the answer. I was hooked. I started to besiege the local library for books on the blues. Who are these guys? These guys are good – to borrow a phrase.

Mike Raven himself was an interesting guy. He had been an army officer and later a pirate radio DJ, an actor in horror films, a sculptor of some note and a sheep farmer. He died in 1997. But the effect lingers on…

Three songs – the first is Cream’s version of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads – again from the beginning of time. I make no apology for this – after the Delta and Chicago, Britain is the third (adoptive) home of the blues.

The second is John Lee Hooker performing Boom Boom at the Montreux Jazz Festival (don’t expect me ever to blog on jazz – leaves me cold). If this were performed by some gangsta rapper as opposed to the elderly gent, then the complaints as to violent lyrics would come flooding in. But they don’t.

As a bonus, here is a third song. Again John Lee Hooker with Bad Like Jesse James. Violent lyrics again, but I defy you not to find at least one foot tapping.

Amazing stuff…

Robert Johnson

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Introducing Lisa...

This is Lisa, the National Rail Enquiries InfoBot. Lisa is of course virtual and as such has - um - limitations. A new sport of Lisa Baiting has been invented by various unruly fellows. My turn...

Lisa says: Welcome to National Rail Enquiries. My name is Lisa. How can I help you?

WR: Yo Lisa! My postillion has been struck by lightning.

Lisa: The weather is an interesting topic, but one that I cannot comment on myself. I can, however, provide a link to how to find out if weather will affect services.

Um - righty. She's interested in the weather. Better try another tack...

WR: Can I take a camel train to Nether Wallop?

Lisa: If you want, I can ask you a few questions to help you find train times and fares for your journey.Say 'Yes' if you want my help, or say 'No' and I'll load the Journey Planner which will let you

WR: Yes

Lisa: OK... Where are you travelling to?

WR: Nether Wallop like I said - by camel.

Lisa: Nether Wallop by camel is not in my list of stations.

Well there's a bummer, let's try another tack...

WR: My pet boa constrictor Gertrude would like a forward facing seat

Lisa: I think you may be asking about seat reservations. I hope the page that I am loading now about seat reservations has the information you need.

WR: Oh goody - so there's no problem with venomous snakes on your trains?

Lisa: It sounds like you're asking me about delays or cancellations.

Ermmmm, no.... Not sure Lisa is the brightest pin in the cushion...

WR: My pet snake Lisa. Do keep up!

Lisa: I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. Could you please rephrase it for me?

Bleedin' Ada - how much clearer could I be? I wonder how Lisa's love life is...

WR: I'm taken but some of my mates could do with a hot date. Are you available?

Lisa: Sorry ... I can only answer questions with a single sentence. Please could you try asking again, but with a single sentence this time.
Lisa is seriously dim...

WR: I said are you available for a hot date with one of my mates?

Lisa: I'm far too busy to do the dating thing ... I would much rather travel by trains with my girly friends...

At this point the rabbit corpsed and gave up on the subject...

If you want to join in the gentle art of Lisa Baiting here is the link...

Hat Tip to Geeklawyer via Charon QC

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Old Bailey Chronicles 2

I have been dipping into the oldest stuff on the Old Bailey website. Here is the proceedings punishment summary for the 9th September 1679...

'There was eight in all burnt in the Hand, six ordered for Transportation, three sentenced to be whipt, and one to the Pillory for a Cheat.

But for the particularities of Petty Larcetines and smaller Rogueries, it would be too tedious

Let us rather conclude with hearty wishes that all would take warning by these unhappy presidents to avoid the like evil Courses, seeing the miseries they thereby bring upon themselves. These crooked paths of impiety, though at first entrance they may seem strewed with Roses, and with delight, leading infallibly in the end to ruine and destruction'.


Sounds like our man got bored with the minor stuff and decided to pontificate instead.

The picture is of Judge Jeffries by the way. He was strutting his stuff at the time.

Yer Rock & Roll 10

For some reason P.P. Arnold came into mind the other day. Here is her version of The First Cut is the Deepest. As some wag on YouTube commented, she makes Rod Stewart (who also recorded this song) sound like an oxygen thief by comparison. Just enjoy...

P.P Arnold started out as a backing singer with Ike and Tina Turner, and here are the ill-starred couple performing Nutbush City Limits. Evil looking so and so isn't he? Apparently there really is a place called Nutbush...

Crank up the volume (I did)!

A little modesty in order...

I noticed that hits for white rabbit have gone over the 10,000 mark. Not bad for a blog that was only started on New Year's Day, I told myself. I then noticed that Earl's Bug Eyed Blog (link to left) has had 9,858 comments - or harumphs as he would have it - since January 20. The ratio of hits to comments must be very low indeed so Earl, deservedly, must be having a phenomenal number of hits.

Then I looked at The Corridor - a cricket blog (as in the sport Americanpersons - link again to left) site meter - 1,069,577 :-O

A little modesty in order - can't compete with that...

I wonder what blogs have the highest number of hits?

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Go ahead Warden, murder me...

One of the most repulsive sites on the web is the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice website. Texas is of course the US capital of state homicide and the website has a Death Row brag feature. The feature is not shy at blowing its trumpet as regards executions in Texas, with material such as 'Death Row Facts' and 'Information for the Media'. They used to have a 'last meals' feature but presumably now this is considered too voyeuristic even for the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice and that feature has been discontinued. What they do still have is a schedule of executed offenders, which gives among other material name, age, race, offender information and - this is what has attracted my attention - last statement. A significant minority (mostly white - there is a pattern) decline to make a last statement. Most do and they are largely sad apologies to family and friends and frequently to the family of the victim, farewells and prayer/statements of faith. Occasionally something else bursts through...

At least one just sounds confused...

'Uh, I don't know, Um, I don't know what to say. I don't know. (pauses) I didn't know anybody was there. Howdy'.

James Clark 38 White executed April 11 2007

And one defiant...

'...Go ahead Warden, murder me. Jesus take me home'.

Roy Pippin 51 White executed March 29 2007

One amazingly has retained a sense of humour...

'...where's my stunt double when you need one?'

Vincent Gutierrez 28 Hispanic executed March 28 2007

One grimly practical...

'The reason it took them so long is because they couldn't find a vein. You know how I hate needles - I used to stay in the Doctor's Office. Tell the guys on Death Row that I'm not wearing a diaper. I can't think of anything else. You all stay strong. Now you can put this all aside. Don't bury me in the prison cemetery. Bury me right beside momma. Don't bury me to the left of dad, bury me on the right side of mom'.

Charles Nealy 42 Black executed March 20 2007

One extremely defiant...

'Profanity directed toward staff'.

Joseph Nichols 45 Black executed March 7 2007

Finally, another part of Roy Pippin's last words...

'Yes sir, I charge the people of the jury. Trial Judge, the Prosecutor that cheated to get this conviction. I charge each and every one of you with the murder of an innocent man. All the way to the CCA, Federal Court, 5th Circuit and Supreme Court. You will answer to your Maker when God has found out that you executed an innocent man. May God have mercy on you'.

Like anyone who has ever had to go though the autopsy photos of murder victims, I have no illusions as to the nature of violent crime. No doubt the great majority of these guys were guilty. I am against executing the guiltiest of them. But some - maybe only a handful - may well have been innocent. Executing an innocent man is somewhat irreversible...

'An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison. It adds to death a rule, a public premeditation known to the future victim, an organization which is itself a source of moral sufferings more terrible than death. Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life'. Albert Camus

Roy Pippin

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Old Bailey Chronicles 1

The Old Bailey is now officially called the Central Criminal Court but generally still known as the 'Bailey'. It is London's historic and principal criminal court. Now it is a murder and terrorism factory but in former days tried all manner of cases. Like every jobbing barrister, I like larging it the Bailey on my occasional visits. It is impressive as a building, the cases are the most serious and the food in the bar mess is actually good (as opposed to disgusting at just about every other court). Very recently the proceedings of that court from 1674 to 1913 were put online. The site was so popular that it instantly crashed but is now up in action again. It is fascinating and I suspect I'm going to keep dipping in. The most striking thing is the brutality of the criminal justice system in the middle distant past. Of course I knew this in general terms, but to see the specifics can still pull me up short. This case happened on today's date in 1733 and features a mother and daughter found with equipment for coining (forgery). This is a part of the proceedings from the original text - the evidence of the informant (clearly a woman on a mission):
'Alice Dearing . I have known the Prisoners eight Years, but never was concern'd with them till July last was 12 Month, when one Sunday, Elizabeth came to my Lodging, and ask'd me to go out with her next Day, but said nothing upon what Account. I agreed, she came on Monday, between 2 and 3 in the Afternoon. We went out together. Crossing Lincoln's- inn -fields, she gave me 6 d. (I thought it was a good one) to buy some Gingerbread; the Man said it was not. I told her of it; she curs'd me for a Fool ; gave me another to fetch a Pennyworth of Silk; I pass'd it, and brought her the Change. You Fool you, says she, you may do this as well as my Daughter Molly, if you'll give your Mind to it, and you shall have half what you get. After this I put off several in the same Manner, and we always shar'd whatever Goods I bought, and the Change out of the bad Money. They then lodg'd at Mrs. Mason's, a Chandler, against the Chequer Alehouse in King's-street, and there I saw Elizabeth cast Money in these Frames; but how she fill'd them, or what Metal she us'd, I can't tell; but she put a Tobacco-pipe with some Metal in it in the Grate, and when it was melted, pour'd it in here, and opening the Frame, threw out a Shilling; she turn'd the Frame another Way, and made a Six-pence; she put the Six-pence in my Hand, and it burnt me, and so I saw her make about 20 Shillings, and as many Six-pences. Her Daughter, Mary, at the same Time cut off the Tails with a Pair of Scissars, scrap'd the Edges round with a Knife, and then fil'd them. After this, the Mother went to Ireland, and left me and her Daughter Mary, and Ann Knight (her Daughter by another Husband;) I was taken up for passing a bad Six-pence in Lombard-street, and this Day 12 Month I was brought to have a Detainer till next Sessions, Mr. North being ill, I was sent from hence to the Compter, and at next Sessions was try'd and acquitted; but I was ruin'd by being 7 Weeks in Confinement: I was big with Child, and forc'd to sell my Bed, and they all kept from me under this Misfortune, and would not so much as send me any Thing for my Relief. I said to my self, If ever I find 'em in the Kingdom, I'll give the King an Account; and 3 or 4 Months ago I was inform'd they were come to London. The Mother sent for me, in the Name of a Gentleman, to come to Mr. Garvey's, at the Bull-head in Prince's-street; when I came to her, she said she was sorry to hear of my Trouble. About 5 Weeks ago I inform'd Mr. Ashton of this, and about a Month ago I told Mr. North, and Mr. North assur'd me there was no Reward to be given in such Cases. I made it my Business to enquire out their Lodging, and having found it, I sent Word to Mr. North last Tuesday, and he came and took them'
And what the mother said...
'Eliz. Wright. I don't know what to say for myself, but my Child is innocent; spare her, and do as you please with me.

The Jury found them both guilty . Death '.
Now as coining was considered to be treason, the form of execution was burning at the stake.
It is not recorded how young the daughter was. It could be that she was a child.
The picture is Hogarth's The Bench (1758)
And here is the link to Old Bailey Online

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Off to vote...

Today, for overseas readers and the terminally inattentive, is the day of the London Mayoral elections and I am off to vote very shortly, albeit with little enthusiasm. The mayoral vote is on the alternative vote system so i have two votes, a first and a second preference. I will give my first preference to the Green candidate (I somewhat warm to her as she does un-Green things like jumping into taxis and smoking - not simultaneously) and my second preference to Ken Livingstone. Now Ken has less than covered himself in glory - he is plainly an egotist and nothing remotely resembling a team player. He is a living monument to the limits of 80s style municipal Labour politics. Identity politics plus (funded) special interest groups is a toxic mix and the whiff of the pork barrel is distinctly discernible. His support for the Metropolitan Police over the De Menenzes shooting was an appalling cop out (as it were). He has undoubtedly improved public transport - a big plus - but that's about it. Plus I had sworn to myself some years ago never to vote Labour again while Blair lives and breathes and the preppy little war criminal seems still in rude health - as well as robust bank balance. Apparently the last Prime Minister to die poor was Asquith, rather a long time ago, however Blair is the apex of an unprecedented financial feeding frenzy by retired politicians but I digress.

So why am I going to give Ken my second preference? Short answer: to stop Boris Johnson (the Conservative candidate). There are bloody limits and this Tory twerp exceeds them by a million miles. Upper class twits can be amusing - well perhaps only on the pages of P.G. Wodehouse and the cricket commentaries of Henry Blofeld (whom God preserve - I've promised myself to blog on him soon) - but Boris is considerably less amusing than he thinks. I don't buy the bumbling buffoon routine one bit. The guy is intelligent enough and some of his reported views and attitudes odious. So off to vote I go...

Hat Tip as always to the wonderful Beau Bo D'Or for Johnson as Thatcher as clown.