Wednesday, 26 January 2011

States of confusion

I am unsure whether I am unusually perceptive of bull dust or so naïve that I cannot understand plain English. The latest confusion comes from the words of our Chancellor Osborne who has been commentating on the dodgy performance of our economy over the past months. The chancellor blamed the severe weather for the weak figures, but said he had no intention of changing his programme of cuts to public spending. "These are obviously disappointing numbers, but the ONS has made it very clear that the fall in GDP was driven by the terrible weather in December," Mr Osborne said.
Quite true, About the weather anyway. However, as politicians do, he wanted to big up where he could. In a video clip, he drew attention to manufacturing which had performed well in comparison with other sectors and that is where I smelled a rat. What is it about manufacturing that is weather proof? Their workers have to battle the same snow and transport cancellations. Raw materials still have to get to where they are processed and then the finished product delivered to the customer. Power outages were fairly widespread.
Another apparent anomaly was the question of control orders. The proper administration of these requires very significant use of trained surveillance operatives and equipment. To maintain comprehensive observation on one man has been estimated as needing 40 personnel. It seems that the original legislation was loosely drafted and those subject to an order have successfully challenged them in Human Rights courts. Much discussion is in hand regarding alternatives.
The shape of new orders is likely to consist of
End overnight curfews - but overnight residency at named location
Tag suspects - same as now
Bans on visiting locations difficult to keep under surveillance
Allow mobile phones - but only if numbers are supplied
Foreign travel ban
Ban on meetings with other suspects
. I am quite sure that I could operate a ring of terrorists within these confines.
Add in another factor. We have recently heard more about police moles who infiltrated action groups. Not very impressive.Quite a few of these undercover officers went under the bed clothes with nubile members of the group and confessed their identity and role. There were instances where personal protection officers did naughties with the wives of their charges. Undercover work is especially stressful where officers are away from their normal milieu for long periods and their going rogue is a real risk. Seems as if these risks were not detected in the cases that have come to light. Assume these traits are repeated in those involved in watching the control order procedures - are we really getting the anti-terrorist defences that are claimed?
My doubts as to what I read and how I translate this into real concern involve a peer of the House of Lords who was done for fiddling his expenses.He is a qualified barrister in criminal law but put forward the defence that some of his colleagues had suggested he do this to make up his income from his position in the House. This sort of conduct is well covered in the legislation where the Theft Act includes a section
17. False accounting. — (1) Where a person dishonestly, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another,—
destroys, defaces, conceals or falsifies any account or any record or document made or required for any accounting purpose; or
in furnishing information for any purpose produces or makes use of any account, or any such record or document as aforesaid, which to his knowledge is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular;
he shall, on conviction on indictment, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.
His claims were in respect of car journeys he did not make and rent of a house where he never stayed. His alleged advice was tested only in one case but fell down when the witness denied ever giving such advice. However, there is no mention of any investigation being mounted to see just who else - if anyone - was up to the same caper. Lord Taylor has not yet been sentenced.

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