Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Rabbit at the cricket, Libya, East Coker and Jerry Lieber

The rabbit hopped off to the last day of the last England v India Test Match (that's as in international cricket American persons) and took some pictures on his phone cam. Here are the photos. Yes the game can last 5 days (as this one did) and still not produce a result (makes sense to me) but in fact there was aresult and England won and thus became officially the best team in the world and got a seriously dangerous looking mace as trophy to prove so. The game was at the Oval in south London, a ground the rabbit is very fond of. The above pic is of the Vauxhall end.

Above is a view straight across the ground from the rabbit's seat. I think it's Anderson bowling to Tendulkar but I might be completely mistaken about that. I should say that though I wanted England to win and do a whitewash, I wanted to see Tendulkar get his hundredth international century too. As it turned out, he got out on 91 and remains stranded on 99 international centuries.

For the sake of completeness, here is the view towards the pavilion end. the light was not on my side on this one. The players are on a drinks break hence the huddle of white clad people on the pitch.

By mid afternoon the crowd got skittish and started a Mexican wave. I think this is the Mexican wave heading our way but it isn't very clear. Sorry about that.

And this is the moment that England won. I detest nationalism but confess to being something of a patriot.

This photo is from the awards ceremony at the end. At first on reviewing the pictures I couldn't work out why I took it, then I remembered being amused by the small boy on his father's shoulders waving an oversized blue hand about.

While on the subject of small boys, here is the England cricket lion, purchased for the newest and smallest rabbit on the day.

On a completely different topic, I then spent until far too late on Monday evening watching events in Tripoli on tv. It must be said - although it gives me no pleasure - Sky News had the BBC knocked into a cocked hat as to coverage. While the BBC had endlessly repeated footage from earlier that day and talking heads, Sky had Alex Crawford on one of the Mad Max style rebel vehicles as it drove deeper and deeper into Tripoli. Compulsive viewing and huge credit to Alex Crawford who will surely win some sort of award for pluckiness and drama.

East Coker (above) is a village in Somerset associated with T.S. Eliot and in particular his Four Quartets, the second of which is entitled East Coker - yes folks, the one beginning 'in my beginning is my end'. Now Eliot was a difficult man and some of his racial attitudes in particular cannot be excused but I would give just about any body part (no, not that one, there are limits) to write poetry like he did. Try The Wasteland for size. What can I say apart from pure genuis? Don't attempt to answer that. It's a rhetorical question.

In any event a campaign is afoot. There is a proposal to build 3,700 houses nearby on the fringes of Yeovil on what is presently open arable land.

People need houses and I am against nimbyism (not in my back yard) but no. Not there. There is a proposal to go for world heritage status for East Coker if that is what it takes to stop the development. The rabbit says leave East Coker as it is!

And finally, the rabbit was sad to learn that Jerry Lieber of Lieber and Stoller fame died the other day. They wrote the above - among a lot of other stuff. Enjoy!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Of riots and sentences and even more Christine

David 'Dave' Cameron, a prime minister, has not by general consensus had a good - I struggle for the phrase - breakdown in social norms period. I mention in passing that the rabbit has received an e-mail nominating Cameron for the hitherto nonexistent Knob of the Year award. You got it! Cameron has appeared peevish, superficial, not quite on top of things - oh and various beastly people keep reminding him of his Bullingdon Club past. Invitations to 'Dave' to give a rendition of the famous chant 'Buller, Buller, Buller! Buller, Buller, Buller! We are the famous Bullingdon Club, and we don't give a fuck!' are unlikely to be greeted with a favourable response.

So 'Dave' has gone for that old standby for politicians in trouble, playing tough. Oh yes, he is tough. Words can hardly describe the toughness that is 'Dave'. In full on showboating mode, 'Dave' pronounced 'what happened on our streets was absolutely appalling behaviour and to send a very clear message that it's wrong and won't be tolerated is what the criminal justice system should be doing'.

Now as a legislator, 'Dave' is entitled to alter the criminal justice system in any way he sees fit - not matter how idiotic - but where 'Dave' can butt out is as regards providing the mood music to a certain approach to sentencing. It's a seperation of powers thing. Inevitably Home Secretary Theresa May has joined in the 'tough' rhetoric. From Labour a deafening silence - Labour decided in the Blair era that it was never again going to risk the 'soft on crime' label and has duly maintained a stony silence subject to coded - even impenetrable - comments by Miliband (E). Grudging respect has to be given to some Lib Dems for actually standing up to this farrago of bully pulpit posturing.

Just a few comments. One subtext is the moral panic as regards Facebook/Twitter as if the riots were all orchestrated by these media. I suspect the proposition is overstated, as is the proposition that gangs were the driving force behind the disorder. Now gangs undoubtedly exist and are undoubtedly in many ways a menace but I do not accept that the events of last Sunday to Tuesday were instigated and manipulated by a collection of 15 year old Napoleons. When the likes of China or Mubarak's Egypt close down or hyper regulate social networking sites then we rightly cry foul. Some overexcited media talk and we are in danger of sleepwalking into regulation ourselves.

The proposals to evict council tenants if an occupier - not necessarily even the tenant(s) - is convicted of a riot related offence. This smacks of collective punishment - outlawed in times of war by the Geneva Convention. Why stop at eviction? How about some West Bank style house demolitions?

Sentencing - yes, some sentences are off the wall kneejerk responses. Also, the climate in which the normal sentencing guidelines appear to no longer apply produces bizarre disparities. For example in one case in Bury St Edmunds a 17 year old escaped custody after posting to his Facebook friends  'I think we should start rioting - it's about time we stopped the authorities pushing us about. It's about time we stood up for ourselves for once so come on riot - get some - LoL'. We are in silly kid territory here. He received a community rehabilitation order and a year's ban from social media. Meanwhile Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22 - both of previous good character - were sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for inciting a riot that never happened on Facebook. Similarly and equally contentiously, a student with no previous convictions was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for stealing £3.50 worth of bottled water. Over the top? Even in the context if a riot, the rabbit thinks so.

In a way most troubling of all - because of the presumption of bail which follows from the presumption of innocence - large numbers of people who would undoubtedly be granted bail with little difficulty in another context are being remanded in custody. It has never been suggested here that the particular problem of the riots has simple causes or invite simple solutions but the one thing that must be true is that the powers that be cannot imprison their way out of the problem.

Plus the rabbit is shocked to have to announce that Piers 'Moron' Morgan has so provoked poor Christine with his impertinenvce that she felt herself constrained to walk off set. There is no excuse for bad manners, I am sure all will agree. Hat Tip to Catchy

Monday, 15 August 2011

Apes, Knob Extra and Christine

As threatened yesterday, the rabbit hopped off with no great expectations - and despite an e-mail from Boston, Mass saying not to waste the rabbit's time on it -  to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It's actually okay. Even better than okay. I'd seen the criticism that it doesn't have a plot but in point of fact it does. Quite a clever one too. Good visually too. Go see. Ave Caesar.

Yesterday's posting was somewhat rushed so did not quite give the magnificence that is Michele Bachmann full exposure - but did give her one too many 'l' in her first name. Anyway, Michele has an unusual husband named Marcus who is involved with la Bachmann in a body - I don't actually think it is called Pray Away The Gay - but that is the general idea - which helpfully explains that prayer could rid people of homosexual urges and resulting in eventual be 're-orientation'.

Don't try this one at home kids. Andrew Sullivan, the excellent Sunday Times American correspondent describes Marcus to the effect of him being camper than Graham Norton which would suggest that all may not be well on the re-orientation front chez Bachmann. Mind you they have loads of children, Oh never mind...

More sensibly, our heroine introduced a  Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. No doubt a useful piece of legislation.

Meanwhile Michelle's co-knob Rick Perry has signed execution warrants for some ridiculous number of people including at least one apparently innocent person. Seems a very suitable candidate. Just like Michele.

Even more meanwhile, Christine O'Donnell keeps e-mailing the rabbit. Her latest news is that she has a book coming out. Here is the link to the Publishers Weekly webpage for this august opus. Go on! Post a comment! You know you want to! Most demented comment wins a Golden Rabbit (virtual of course).

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Fawkes on state strangulation and Knob of the Week 6....

Recent events have rather buried the story of Paul Stainey aka Guido Fawkes and his e-petition to restore capital punishment for the murder of children and police officers killed in the line of duty.  He has no chance but 100,000 signatures and the petition is debated in Parliament. Suggestions that Stainey is simply on a self-promotion binge are of course to be deprecated.

In the unlikely event that he reads this, a question from the rabbit. If murder is proved against any person for the killing of the three young men in Birmingham who were seeking to protect their neighbourhood - and neighbours - then that would not be capital murder on Planet Stainey. In what sense are  the murders of children and police officers killed in the line of duty 'worse' than the Birmingham deaths if proved to be murder and thus by exytension more 'deserving' of the death penalty? I ask as someone opposed to capital punishment in all circumstances.

Or are we in self indulgent bollocks territory here?

Which leads seamlessly to another Knob of the Week Award and the first joint award of this prestigious prize. The rabbit declares the joint winners toibe Republican presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry. Bachmann has recently left her church - a body being of the opinion that the Pope is the antichrist. Now there are many criticisms that can be made of the Pope but the criticism that he is the antichrist suggests not playing with a full deck so Bachmann (a) looks a flake for being a member of such a church in the first place and (b) looks opportunist for having left it as she launches a campaign for the Republican nomination, it presumably not having escaped her attention that there are millions of US Roman Catholic voters out there who might be less than impressed at the thought of an adherent of a church considering their spiritual leader as the antichrist. And as for Perry - well it is hardly coming over all Dawkins to view this as wholly inappropriate for a political leader in his capacity as such. It didn't work by the way.

While on the subject of knobs, follow the link for some innocent fun at the expense of 'Dave', a Prime Minister. Hat Tip to Nathaniel Topley via Charon QC.

I'll say a little more about the riots soon but must dash - with no great expectations - to see Thingy of the Planet of the Apes. Some clown in central Croydon was wandering about 'singing' the following song tunelessly the other day. He wins deputy knob.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

After the riots

A few random thoughts. The header is 'after the riots'. I think that's it. The killing of the three young men in Birmingham has caused such a wave of disgust that there will be no more riots. Until the next time.

The above photo is the most bizarre - as opposed to dramatic or tragic - to emerge from the riots. For overseas readers and the terminally inattentive the man in the middle with the red tie is Ed Miliband, a leader of the opposition and the woman to his left (okay his right, our left) is Harriet 'Hattie' Harman, his deputy. What is the bizarre bit is the unnaturally excited expression on Hattie's face. The man with the headphones is wearing a T shirt. it reads:


Surely this prospect could not be the cause of Hattie's blissed out expression?

Best riot related quote comes from journalist Aditya Chakrabortty: 'It was almost Proustian. Except the madeleines were looted'. Ermmm. Quite so.

Most bizarre riot related fact: The Iranian government offered to send human rights monitors to Britain. I confess myself somewhat puzzled by the idea of Iranian human rights monitors. What exactly do they do usually?
More seriously, the man who probably stopped the riots is Tariq Jahan ,father of one of the three young men killed in Birmingham on Tuesday night. He was heartbroken and heartbreaking. I do believe it was his words that basically stopped the riots bar the shouting.
And the shouting will now commence, starting at the recalled House of Commons today. Two nonsenses need eliminating in very short order. Firstly, the riots were not about, or caused by 'the cuts' in some mechanical way. Secondly, nor were they simply about human wickedness without context other than the wickedness itself. This is not a nation at ease with itself. Remember that to the extent there are 'feral' youths on the rampage, there are also - as touched on recently - feral elites. Our rulers - politicians, bankers, media players - think the rules don't apply to them either. Then it becomes no surprise that the underclass take over the former Bullingdon Club role as Lords of Misrule as the former members of the latter move on to other things, such as being Prime Minister or Mayor of London.

Okay, and as a parting shot some more relevant Clash stuff.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Afterthought to riot diaries...

There is a British propensity to carry on through all sorts of lunacy as if nothing is happening. As immortalised by this scene from Carry On Up The Khyber.

the riot diaries...

Unless you have been hiding under a stone or engaged in trekking in the more remote parts of Papua New Guinea, it will not have escaped your attention that there has been a revival of the occasional British summer recreation of rioting and looting. The supposed cause is the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan in Tottenham (that's in North London overseas readers) on Thursday the 4th August. The shooting led to a peaceful protest at Tottenham police station on the following Saturday which lead to rioting in that area on Saturday night which spread to neighbouring areas on Sunday night which went viral yesterday. No, I don't think the rioting is anything to do with the Duggan case - his family have dissociated themselves from it. The motivation is excitement and greed. It is fair comment to say that the rioters - or some of them - are young people who have little or no sense of having a stake in society  It is also fair to say that much of the policing of inner city areas is heavy handed if not to say downright oafish and stereotyped - but this is scant consolation (or excuse) if you have just been burnt out of your home or business by the rioters. So it's just plain wrong and to talk as I saw Darcus Howe do on BBC News 24 this morning of 'popular insurrection' is total rubbish. That it ain't.

So.... My day in riot zones. Yesterday I was at Edmonton County Court. At about 3 o'clock the message arrived from police. Rioters heading your way. Evacuate and close the court. Rapidly 'adjourned part heard' as we say in the trade. I walked down to White Hart Lane railway station with a law student and an interpreter who had been on my case. Now this is mid afternoon there was a lot of broken glass about from a series of shattered shop windows but the place was eerily calm. There were people about but nothing unusual. It was just like a normal Monday afternoon - apart from the broken glass. We got on a train to Liverpool Street. Uneventful.

After a couple of hours in the office I went to Earl's Court to meet a friend who is over from Macau. We had dinner and thereupon repaired to his hotel to share a bottle of wine. Both my children ring. Am I all right? Did I know Croydon is ablaze (I moved to Croydon about 2 months ago)? I should say that I had got a text saying that the Croydon branch of my gym had closed for 'security reasons' but otherwise hadn't followed the news other than to gather that there had been street disturbances in the day in Hackney, apparently triggered by a police stop and search. My gym is in Surrey Street, Croydon. The below image is from Surrey Street last night. It is of a  woman jumping from her first floor flat. Police at street level are waiting to catch her.

I decided I'd better get back. I travel to Victoria station - again uneventfully. At the back of my mind is the thought that maybe trains to East Croydon (my local station) have been cancelled. No - there is a train stopping at East Croydon leaving in about 5 minutes. I'm on it. It stops at Clapham Junction and then on to East Croydon. Older son is still concerned.

There follow a series of texts. Let the texts take up the story:

White Rabbit: So far so good. Got to Clapham Junction safely.

Older son: Get out of Junction. There are hundreds of kids tearing it apart.

WR: Station was fine. passed through it now.

The railway station was completely peaceful. No sign of the mayhem outside.

OS: Ok cool. Yeah they are completely fucking up Clapham Junction. The riot is a big thing :0

Younger son later told me he was driving through Clapham Junction and kids with stolen televisions were running across his path. He got back safely and kept checking if I was all right. They are good like that.

After a historical digression as regards Brixton (see image below from Brixton last night), there are exchanges about copycat activities in Birmingham.

The train stops at Selhurst. This is not a scheduled stop, I don't like this. Have they closed East Croydon and are planning to turf us out at Selhurst?The idea of walking from Selhurst through a riot zone or trying to find a cab is not attractive.

WR: Train stopped at Selhurst.

WR: Ah - moved again.


I got to East Croydon. Lots of police on station forecourt. Only one exit still opened. I walk through. A large group of people on the other side of the road. No hostility or anything. They are just standing around. I head briskly back to the flat - a ten minute walk. My ex texts to see if I am all right. I call her, son and friend from earlier that evening. Yes, I'm fine thank you. Meanwhile in another part of central Croydon...

May you live in interesting times. Only one song to end this posting with... For more images follow this link.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Okay, I can't help it...

Okay, I'd promised myself no babypics on White Rabbit but just one can't hurt can it? Anyway, it's August and no-one's looking. Above is baby's first trip to a restaurant - okay Pizza Express as can be seen from the menu - aged 8 days. He has just been fed and filled a nappy so looks appropriately relaxed. The smallest small rabbit still doesn't have a name but is known to a number of people including his grandfather as 'Clint' - the baby with no name after the man with no name. All will become clear... Oh and the object middle right edge of the photo isnt Thing from The Munsters but his father's (still connected) right hand.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The thought police stopped in their tracks...

About the first thing taught to the law student is that there is no such thing in English law as thought crime. Or to put it another way, people are tried for what it is said they did and not for what they are.

No-one appears to have told PC Plod aka the City of Westminster police's  - erm - counter terrorist focus desk (sic) who have communicated with local businesses and residents to the effect that informing on anarchists to the local old bill - just for being anarchists - is a worthy activity. 'Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police' they pronounce.

Sex and travel spring to mind as an appropriate response. The City of Westminster police whatever-it-is lumped anarchists together with Islamist terrorists (but not the EDL). It has been pointed out that to be an anarchist is not to be a criminal, that anarchists advocate grassroots organising as opposed to acts of terrorism and that some anarchists are also pacifists. They may not be constitutionalists but - at the risk of labouring the point - we do not have thoughtcrime.

Happily, plod has become embarrassed by the episode. Cue a climbdown by Belgravia's finest. The call for finger pointing  - sorry information 'could have been better worded' Scotland Yard admitted. Indeed it could. 'The Metropolitan police service does not seek to stigmatise those people with legitimate political views' we are reassured.

Oh good. Some basic 'how not to make an idiot of yourself' training seems in order. The rabbit confesses to very mild and wishy washy anarchist sympathies - but don't tell the Belgravia police.

Meanwhile, an interesting idea has been floated as a response to what its proposers calls 'feral elites' - political (as in MP's expenses), financial (bankers' bonuses and conduct generally - 'nuff said?) and media (just the word 'Murdoch' will suffice methinks).

Just as Leona Helmsley notoriously said 'only the little people pay taxes' our rulers appear to hold the unshakeable conviction that the rules are only for the little people and not for them. They apparently have some sort of dispensation.

A People's Jury of a thousand citizens has been proposed. It's an interesting idea. Watch this space. The rabbit apologises if some recent postings have been dangerously near to serious. Usual silliness will be resumed as soon as possible. Didn't we do well by the way?