Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sledgehammers at the ready

I am shocked to hear that we have threatened to violate Ecuador's diplomatic immunity in order to arrest Assange.  I do not use that word lightly; I mean it, I consider it shocking that we (of all countries) should threaten to do this.

If some tin-pot dictatorship passed a law that said it could revoke the diplomatic status of UK embassies at will, and then exercised this in order to walk into a British embassy and pick up someone it claimed a right to, someone we had granted asylum to, then we would be livid - and rightly so.  We would climb onto our high horse and castigate the regime in question.  In another age, we would have sent gunboats with all despatch.  We might well still do the same, given our reaction to the last tin-pot dictatorship who upset us by declining to prove that he really didn't have the WMDs that he claimed he didn't have.

It is also a stupid step to take.  Unsavoury regimes around the world will have noted this; we can hardly complain if the same power is now exercised against our embassies and our people.  I hope I never have to take refuge in an embassy.  I hope Theresa May never has to.

I say this not out of any sympathy for Assange.  Personally, I think Ecuador should either kick him out onto Hans Crescent, or take him back to Quito and start extradition proceedings with a view to sending him to Sweden.  But the principle of diplomatic immunity is far, far more important than this one jumped-up little man.

We need Cameron to stand up, admit that this threat was completely out of order, amend the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 to rule this out, sack the Minister responsible, and apologise personally to Ecuador. Nothing short of that will suffice, in my opinion.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Those brutal cuts in full...

Here they are, in their full glory.  This simple infographic shows just how serious are the Coalition's cuts to government spending.  Look at it and weep:

Yep, as a proportion of the total spending, the cuts are an amount technically known as "sweet bugger all".  As a proportion of the deficit that they are meant to cure, the technical term is "not enough".

Next time a public sector worker bleats that the cuts are dreadful, do show them this.  

With thanks to the TPA for working it out and to Tom Paine for drawing it to my attention. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Read this and cry

Anna's latest explanation of where the Court of Protection has reached in its ongoing inexorable process of following the logical consequences of laws enacted with good intentions.

A family apparently trying in good faith to look after their daughter in line with their own traditions, with no evidence of any harm having come to anyone as a result, find the British State overruling them.  "Nanny knows best", at its worst.