Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Category: UK Page 2 of 8

BBC. 2009.

Just . . .

Details here.

The Stupidity of British Public Policy on Photography


World Cup: US v. England in First Round

Man, this sucks. I was just telling someone the other day that the only time I engage in a good bit of enthusiastic nationalism is on behalf of the US in the World Cup.  But I just can’t see myself rooting against England.  Certain English players, yes.  But not England.

“I’m not shaking your hand, you’ve got blood on it.”

Father of slain soldier to Tony Blair.

Sunday Night Music

Or music for eternity, really:

YouTube Preview Image

Sometimes It Works

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: 10 Downing Street <number10@petitions.pm.gov.uk>
Date: 2009/9/11
Subject: Government response to petition ‘turing’
To: e-petition signatories <number10@petitions.pm.gov.uk>

Thank you for signing this petition. The Prime Minister has written a
response. Please read below.

Prime Minister: 2009 has been a year of deep reflection – a chance for
Britain, as a nation, to commemorate the profound debts we owe to those who
came before. A unique combination of anniversaries and events have stirred
in us that sense of pride and gratitude which characterise the British
experience. Earlier this year I stood with Presidents Sarkozy and Obama to
honour the service and the sacrifice of the heroes who stormed the beaches
of Normandy 65 years ago. And just last week, we marked the 70 years which
have passed since the British government declared its willingness to take
up arms against Fascism and declared the outbreak of World War Two. So I am
both pleased and proud that, thanks to a coalition of computer scientists,
historians and LGBT activists, we have this year a chance to mark and
celebrate another contribution to Britain’s fight against the darkness of
dictatorship; that of code-breaker Alan Turing.

Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on
breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that,
without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could
well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can
point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt
of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that
he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross
indecency’ – in effect, tried for being gay. His sentence – and he
was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison – was chemical
castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own
life just two years later.

Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing
and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt
with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his
treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance
to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and
the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted
under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more
lived in fear of conviction.

I am proud that those days are gone and that in the last 12 years this
government has done so much to make life fairer and more equal for our LGBT
community. This recognition of Alan’s status as one of Britain’s most
famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long

But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to
humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united,
democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once
the theatre of mankind’s darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in
living memory, people could become so consumed by hate – by
anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices
– that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European
landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls
which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is
thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism,
people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war
are part of Europe’s history and not Europe’s present.

So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely
thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved
so much better.

Gordon Brown

If you would like to help preserve Alan Turing’s memory for future
generations, please donate here: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

Petition information – http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/turing/

If you would like to opt out of receiving further mail on this or any other
petitions you signed, please email optout@petitions.pm.gov.uk

Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

From Richard Metzger:

Titled Harry Patch (In Memory Of), [the new Radiohead] song is a tribute to the oldest surviving Tommy who fought in World War I. Harry Patch was 111 years old when he died on July 25th, 2009. He fought in one of the grimmest battles of the war, the Battle of Passchendaele, where over 325,000 Allied casualties occurred and over, 260,000 Germans. The 99 day battle from July 31st 1917 to November 6th 1917, saw an average of 3,000 British troops killed, wounded, or captured daily. (By contrast, in Iraq, 3,650 US troops have died and approximately 26,000 have been wounded).

As Harry himself said:

“Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims”.

YouTube Preview Image

You can buy the track here.  All proceeds go to the Royal British Legion.  Please consider.

(Found via Xeni Jardin)

Midweek Makeover: Zeebrugge-Hull Edition

Not a lot to say, other than that this was inspired by recent conversations about the P&O Ferry between Zeebrugge and Hull.  I’ve got a couple dozen tracks that are well associated with that route.

OMD’s original:

YouTube Preview Image

Nada Surf’s cover (please, just ignore the video):

YouTube Preview Image

Photo by Simon Barrow

UK Labour Party’s No Good Very Bad Horrible Week

Honestly, I dislike so many of the people involved I just can’t pick who to cheer for.  And the week is only half over.

CCTV Catches Criminals! Well, Unless They’re Also Cops

I’ve written before that I think there are significant cultural differences between the US and UK, in terms of attitudes towards CCTV. But some things are cross-cultural, like law enforcement’s disdain for cameras when they’re the ones being recorded:

The chair of the police watchdog conducting a criminal inquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson [a man who was found dead at the G20 protests shortly after he’d been shoved to the ground and hit by police] faced fresh criticism today after it emerged he was wrong to say there was “no CCTV footage” in the area where the alleged assault took place.

[ . . . ]

This morning the IPCC initially stood by Hardwick’s claims. “Mr Hardwick said there was no available CCTV footage of the incident and we stand by that. Any footage that is available, whether taken by police or by the public, will be fully investigated as and when it becomes available,” it said.

However, at 10.30am, after pictures were published showing cameras in the area, the IPCC changed its stance. “At this point, Mr Hardwick believed that he was correct in this assertion – we now know this may not be accurate,” the IPCC said in a statement. “There are cameras in the surrounding area.”

The IPCC would not comment on why, almost two weeks after Tomlinson’s death and one week after it said its investigators had pieced together his last moments by looking at “many hours of CCTV”, Hardwick had been mistaken about the locations of cameras.

Just an innocent mistake, I’m sure. And speaking of “innocent mistakes”, you can follow the link above to see another example of what I’m sure will be characterized as much – a G20 constable striking a woman with the back of his hand and then swinging a baton at her legs. All to keep the public “safe.”

Page 2 of 8

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén