Kitchen Table Extremism

December 19, 2015

Imagine yourself as a Muslim child growing up in the east end of London. Your immigrant parents are hard working and your home is warm. Everything in your life is normal and safe except for one strange thing. Each day your dad tells you that the western world is conspiring against Islam. That America and Britain are attempting to destroy your religion, your community, your identity. He then tells you that Islam is a peaceful religion.

Your childhood is happy. You do well at school. By the time you reach your teens, you are expected to go to university and achieve far more than your parents ever could. Again, each day, your dad tells you that the west wants to destroy Islam. It’s hurtful to know that the white people around you pretend to be friendly but in fact are duplicitous.

At the age of 15 you discover ISIS videos on the internet. They also tell you that the west wants to destroy Islam, but they tell you that your father is wrong. Islam knows how to fight back. You are inspired. You steal your brothers passport and credit card and you go to Syria with the intention of joining them. When your parents discover this, they are furious that the police did nothing to stop it. They blame the local mosque for radicalising their child. Read the rest of this entry »

The Conservatives Are Sacrificing Our Security Over Europe

October 29, 2014

During last week’s PMQs, David Cameron spoke of the failure to deport foreign criminals by accusing the opposition Labour Party of not being supportive of his efforts. Can I suggest that Labour can be supportive, if the government implements this simple policy to help protect the British people?

The Livescan fingerprint computer is the modern way of taking fingerprints, by placing the hand against a plate of glass, and allowing the computer to scan the prints. Within minutes Livescan produces the identity, photo and previous convictions of the subject.

Livescan is installed in most police stations in the UK and across the EU. This means that if someone is wanted as a paedophile, in Lithuania, then the computer has the power to immediately identify this person.

Unfortunately, the UK Livescan system is not connected to the EU, because the Tories don’t want integration between our criminal justice system and the rest of Europe. This means that foreign paedophiles and murderers can come to this country and evade detection. Even if they were arrested for some minor offence, we wouldn’t realise they were wanted if they gave a false name. The only way the officer could identify them, would be if he made a manual enquiry with Interpol, or happened to remember their face from a wanted poster from whichever country. Read the rest of this entry »

What Ronnie Biggs tells us about the electorate

December 19, 2013

The life of Ronnie Biggs was notable for a story that people across the whole world were drawn to. The train robbery itself is well known to the reader, but the story of celebrity and rebellion is what makes him deserve an obituary today.

The story was not the one that policy makers would like; a man who fought the law and apparently won. But it was largely a lie, sold by Biggs to an awaiting media in order to escape his life of poverty in his third-world home, yet the need of people to own this story was truthful, and for us, it would be wise to consider its relevance.

In the film Goodfellows we were told an American mafia story in two halves. The first half concerned with the sheer joy of the gang being a law unto themselves. “Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”. The individuals who made up their own rules, while the state, with their corrupt police officers, was impotent. Yet, the 2nd half completely turns the story into the sheer horror that this apparent freedom from state control necessitates, opening with an horrific murder where the victim is stabbed repeatedly in the boot of a car until his life finally drains for him. The audience is shocked and sobered. The joy of being lawless is no longer apparent. The horror of the removal of the rule of state is apparent.

The media story of the Great Train Robbery with its huge haul was similarly turned by the horrific beating of the train driver, Jack Mills, mercilessly smashed across the head with an iron bar in an pointless and homicidal attack. The story progressed till the robbers were caught and the state was victorious. The matter would have ended there, if Biggs hadn’t escaped.
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Binging paedophiles out of the shadows

November 23, 2013

The happiest client I ever represented was a paedophile who had walked into Limehouse police station and handed over his hard disc which contained thousands of images of child pornography. He was laughing and joking and brightening up the whole of the custody suite with his good humour, even though he could be facing a jail sentence.

The disc contained images right across the spectrum of seriousness. At the soft end was an image of a six year old in stockings and suspenders, lying spread eagled on her back, with a caption over her crotch saying “Click here to Enter”, so there was no mistake about the nature of the material.

Because he’d handed himself in he was given a caution, meaning he’d have no criminal record but would be put on the sex offenders register. You’d expect him to be delighted, but the moment we got outside, he suddenly burst into tears and was inconsolable.
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John Mills, Tax and Dishonesty

June 7, 2013

On the issue of taxation abuse, we need to move on from the oversimplified distinction between legal avoidance and illegal evasion.

At the moment some avoidance has shocked people, while other avoidance, such as my tax free savings, is not such an abuse. In order to sort out the difference between good and bad avoidance, I suggest people concern themselves with whether the avoidance was dishonest or not.

In the case of George Osborne’s complaint about a Labour donation, we need to ask, was John Mills dishonest in his method of avoiding tax in this donation? If he was, then Labour is in trouble, if he wasn’t then we are not. Mr Mills chose not to sell the £1.5m of shares and give the cash to Labour, as that would have been taxed as a capital gain. By giving Labour the shares, then Labour will be taxed on the dividends, but only liable to the capital gains if they are sold.
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Cameron’s Watergate (LabourList 25th July 2009)

February 23, 2013

This post that went out on Labour List in 2009. I never archived to this website, mostly because it caused such a ferocious reaction that the Labour List editor, Alex Smith, said he regretted posting it. However, it later proved to be influential because it breached the taboo that said that the press couldn’t be touched. Following this, Journalists from The Washington Post were sent to London to assist The Guardian in researching hacking and this eventually led to the Leveson enquiry. I’ve uploaded it today in order that it doesn’t get lost.

I’m never short of admiration for David Cameron as a campaigner. He has no policies, but he is a brilliant man for the way he has pulled his party around and made them so electable. But it just seems strange the way this rash of thefts and bugging has been happening since he’s been around.

First we had the Damian Green business where a civil servant stole information that was embarrassing to the Labour government and then chanelled it to the press through this MP. Although the Tories point out that Gordon Brown once leaked a document, Gordon went on the record. Next we had Derek Draper’s email being hacked and then published by those ironically accusing him of wishing to smear, when all he did was consider it, before thinking better of it. Then the expenses file; a member of the Conservative Party selling revelations to The Telegraph when The Sunday Times was the obvious buyer, but wouldn’t have led on the Duck House story. It’s all a bit weird.

So why would David Cameron hire a man that Fleet Street considered to be unemployable? Coulson’s News of the World scoops were all explained by the original prosecution, so that’s not his attraction. Nor is he a party animal; he voted for Blair.

So why, why, why would David Cameron hire a man who had recently been involved in a scandal where people had been sent to jail for stealing information from public figures? Everyone knew that the hacking was massively more widespread on the basis that the News of the World had broken so many stories in the previous couple of years and this was the explanation. So why would a future prime minister want to have anything to do with him? Why?

Cameron says “Everyone is entitled to make a mistake”. But surely this must be because there is a deep bond of friendship that can overcome this stain on Coulson’s character? What other explanation would David Cameron have for employing and sticking by a man with an apparent expertise in hacking people’s phones? He could have any press officer in the world, why Andy Coulson?
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Prosecuting Libor – Lessons from Hacking

July 8, 2012

“He’s wrong,” said Ed Balls, on the Andrew Marr Show, publicly contradicting the regulator, Adair Turner, who previously claimed that cheating the Libor market was not a criminal offence. It was a ridiculous example of how a regulator can’t see the woods for trees, and it was right of Ed Balls to bring clarity.

Adair Turner is an economist and an academic. He can’t be expected to know the law, and we’ve learnt in recent years that we need a tough lawyer to perform the role of regulator. It is therefore extraordinary that his replacement will be Mervyn King, another economist and academic, who also can’t be expected to know the law.
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All Equal in the Eyes of the Law (except Barclays)

June 30, 2012

It is a long standing principle that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. However, this principle has been forgotten in recent years, as successive governments have sought to be friendly to business, without making the distinction between freedom of enterprise, and the commission of criminal acts.
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How Cameron can beat Miliband in 2015

June 26, 2012

According to YouGov, David Cameron’s approval rating has shifted from -25 to -18 over the period of the recent tax avoidance story. This improvement flies in the face of the media view that Cameron would suffer the charge of hypocrisy for condemning Jimmy Carr, when so many Tory donors are guilty of the same.

It now seems that Cameron was in touch with the public mood. The media taunts on Cameron’s hypocrisy have served little other than to highlight the Prime Minister’s intervention, while swatting Ed Miliband into the shadows and out of public glare. The crackdown on tax avoidance is now a Tory issue to be grabbed, while Miliband has so far been uninspired on a territory that the public would expect to be owned by Labour.
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Arrest Jimmy Carr!

June 21, 2012

Arrest Jimmy Carr!

It’s time to stop messing around on this one. Jimmy Carr wasn’t doing tax avoidance, that’s when you put money in an ISA. What he was doing was tax evasion, that’s when you dishonestly avoid paying the tax that you owe.

He put his money in an account of a company in the tax haven of Jersey and then had that company pay him his money back in a loan. He said he didn’t need to pay tax on that because it was a loan. I say that’s a big lie.

The reason he tried his luck in this way is because the Inland Revenue have traditionally been frightened of scaring off wealthy people by being too aggressive. So the wealthy use these dodgy schemes, and then when the IR come to speak to investigate, the wealthy negotiate how much they’re going to pay in tax.
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