Posted Wednesday, 24 February 2010 at 17:04
Tomorrow the DPP, Kier Starmer will publish a new guidance regarding policy on prosecuting assisted suicide cases.
The report follows a period of consultation, which was apparently nudged into action by the Debbie Purdy case.
The law regarding assisted suicide in unequivocal; It is illegal to assist anyone in the taking of their own life.
Prior to the consultation process, Kier Starmer said,
‘Assessing the public interest is not simply a matter of adding up the number of factors on each side and seeing which side of the scales has the greater number. Each case must be considered on its own facts and its own merits. Prosecutors must decide the importance of each public interest factor in the circumstances of each case and go on to make an overall assessment.
In that one paragraph, Kier Starmer has implied that the law is no longer relevant and if Parliament refuses to change the law, he will make it up himself.
The media love a sensational story. Anything which involves tears and tantrums, life or death, finds top billing in the ever increasing drive to sensationalise the news.
The BBC has possibly been one of the worst offenders in terms of pushing an agenda of ‘normalising' attitudes towards assisted suicide. No one can deny that, in the case of Debbi Purdy, it’s tough. Tough not to sympathise and even tougher to say no.
But we have to, because when we pass a law that makes it ok to help someone end their own life, whatever the qualifying criteria, we suddenly plunge millions of people into a position of vulnerability.
People for whom the State is ‘next of kin’. People who feel a burden on their families but know that they are secure and protected by the law. People who may feel depressed and low today but may cope well tomorrow.
None of these people make interesting news. None of the elderly sat in sheltered accommodation make good commentary on the lunch time news and no one sat in a hospital bed unable to articulate an opinion will find a Sunday news reporter beating a path to his bedside for comment.
The vocal minority will use the opinion of those who have been fed their plight via the media to campaign for change.
Whatever Kier Starmer states tomorrow, the law has not changed.
Tower Block of Commons
Posted Monday, 8 February 2010 at 15:35
Whoops! I forgot it was on tonight.
Channel 4 at 9pm.
How much do you think it costs to make a meal for 12 people?
Posted Monday, 8 February 2010 at 13:55
Dizzy says it all for me today
Thanks Dizzy. Not sure about the spoon though.
Posted Friday, 5 February 2010 at 12:01
Monday night will see my first contribution to Tower Block of Commons and I can guarantee that anyone who watches will be shocked within the first minute.
If I had seen the first minute of footage before I began, there is a strong possibility that I may have turned on my heel and headed back to the arms of those who love me best of all and thought twice about giving up eight days and nights of my life.
The mum, whose flat I slept in for the first two nights, was one of the loveliest ladies you could meet. She was beautiful: a conscientious mum who kept her flat spotless and worried about her children’s education. There was no chaos in her life. No disorder. Everything had its place and she was someone who was battling life’s adversities full on and making the most of it. Her kids were absolutely fantastic and within just two days they had jumped right into my heart. I have thought about them often since I left the estate, especially over Christmas, and I am hoping they will be able to come and spend some time with me over the summer.
I knew before I left there was a strong possibility I would be staying either with children or elderly people. Having declined the offer to take part in the programme last spring, I found myself eventually participating two weeks before Christmas.
Despite all I have said above, programme two, which is going out on Monday, was my very least favourite to make.
For programme three and four I had a brilliant Director/Producer, Cal Turner, who also produced 'From Asbo Teen to Beauty Queen'. Her professionalism and knowledge carried the next six days through to be both enjoyable and great filming. I felt as though we achieved our objectives and as though I was really working hard and not wasting my time. It was also nice to work with someone the crew respected and wanted to learn from.
When I arrived with my first family I had to hand over my cash and phone to the film crew and live on job seekers allowance. This was a bit of a joke as on the first day I was asked by the director to cook a meal for twelve, attend an Ann Summers party and have my nails done at a nail bar. If I had really been living on job seekers allowance none of those things would have been possible. I hasten to add I did not do everything the Director told me to, I did however, hand over almost all of my cash and phone.
Having been well brought up there was no way I was going to stay in someone’s flat for two nights and not leave a gift behind when I left.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage this as the camera was literally in my face from the moment I opened my eyes until I slept. Along with runners, sound, and other technical staff, the crew of around 4-6 never left me for a single moment. I even had a cameraman sleeping next to me one night. Security were also with me 24/7.
Aware I was staying with children, and it being two weeks before Christmas, I wasn’t going to leave my family without leaving some Christmas presents behind for the children, so I popped £50 where any self respecting female who knows how to get what she wants would - down my top. My Miss Trunchbull of a Director wouldn’t dare go there!
There is a twist to the story of the first family and I’m not saying what it was, however, when the camera crew left on the first night, I told my host I had the money. I didn’t have to, she would never have known. It was one thing to trick Miss Trunchbull, but another my host.
Watch what happens…you will never guess..
Posted Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 11:45
This is a story of greed and corruption.
It has taken place on the floor of a London Derivatives Trader used by ordinary people who are investing savings or a pension in currencies.
Before I posted this blog, I have sent a Barrister's statement of case, a CD with a transcript of recorded conversations and the technical analysis of email traces to Hector Sants at the FSA and Detective Superintendent David Robertson, at the fraud desk of the Economic Crime Directorate. They have both received their copies hand delivered this morning.
I have retained a separate copy of the documents for one reputable financial journalist, or blogger, should any be interested.
The Trader I have reported trades not in the City of London area, known as the square mile, but on a London street normally associated with up market shopping.
Via a duplicitous manner, someone from the floor of this trader obtained the password for a clients dormant email account. They then sent emails backwards and forwards, without the client’s knowledge, every day instructing themselves to buy and sell losing the client a vast amount of money. I also have evidence that false values of currencies were recorded at the end of each day in order to hide huge and vast client losses.
The technical evidence shows that all the emails were generated and sent to and from one server in the trader’s office.
The trader’s management at first blamed a ‘rogue’ trader, who is named in the documents, however; secretly recorded conversations with the management clearly identify that he was not the only person involved.
Over £70,000 has so far been spent in trying to bring this case to court; however, it now needs to go forward to the International Court of Arbitration subject to a contractual agreement between the company and the former client, owner of the computer falsely accessed, this will cost another £30,000 which is not available.
The depressing thing is that upon further investigation, the management of this company originated from a company that had already been investigated in the past when trading under the name Square Mile Securities, by the FSA. Square Mile was fined a reduced amount due to their own financial difficulties, closed down and the bulk of the management and staff became employees of the trading company I am now reporting.
I am making this case known on behalf of someone else as my concern is that as long as it takes to reach a legal solution, others may be suffering the loss of their life savings at the hands of a company I believe to possibly be corrupt through to its very core.
If a financial journalist or blogger would like a copy of the statement which identifies all parties fully, please call my office.
Posted Wednesday, 3 February 2010 at 14:39
I love this place and all the history and tradition it represents - my deferred vote slip signed in quill and ink.
Cameron on fire
Posted Wednesday, 3 February 2010 at 12:37
It was hot in the chamber, fuelled by Cameron's performance. When Gordon gets mad and he knows he is losing, the colour fades from his face. David was absolutley right re the new facination in vote reform to an AV voting system and when he quoted from Paddy Ashdown's diary and the fact that Gordon had always blocked reform - it was as much as we Tory MPs could do to remain seated.
Gordon wasn't interested during as '97 landslide for Labour, he never mentioned it during comfortable Labour wins in '01 and '05, however, all of a sudden Gordon thinks it's time we changed the way we vote. Now, why could that be I wonder?
Posted Tuesday, 2 February 2010 at 15:11
The link for The Daily Politics Show today. Discussion re Bercow was at the end.
Martin Salter MP argued the case for Bercow, and had a briefing document with him - who provided that? Was it Tim Hames?
If it was, should that be the case?
Posted Tuesday, 2 February 2010 at 15:02
Just about to write my blog for today and thought I would share an email which made me chuckle..
Since the expenses scandal I have checked out your blog periodically.
And I hate to say it but you just haven’t delivered the same fire, passion energy or insight that you used to..
Absolutely love the ‘Backs Against the Wall’ post.
Excuse me but.
Oh Baby Your ARE BACK!!
Backs against the wall
Posted Monday, 1 February 2010 at 12:11
Walking down the back of the Speaker’s Chair corridor at 11pm one night last week, I encountered the Speaker.
He had just finished sitting in the Chair for an adjournment debate.
It is a tradition that, if the Speaker is walking down a corridor, MPs stop immediately with backs against the wall and eyes diverted.
Frequently a member from the Sergeant at Arms department will shout ‘Speaker’ in a very loud and elongated manner prior to the Speaker leaving his office. This is to warn us all that the Speaker is on his way, and to clear out of the corridor quickly.
The practice of standing still, if you can’t get out of the way, and the clearing of the corridor is a seriously enforced tradition. Police are situated around every corner who shout ‘Speaker’ at you, if you are moving into a corridor the Speaker is moving along.
When the Speaker came into the corridor the other night, I kept on walking. I even smiled and said good evening to the Mace bearer, who looked so shocked I thought he was going to drop the Mace.
This incensed the Speaker, who I heard turn and complain, in a very loud voice, about what I had just done. I caught the word ‘she’ repetitively and loudly.
My response: if you want to drop the tradition of wearing the Speaker’s dress, then don’t expect me to honour the tradition of standing still in the corridor when you move along it. You don’t pick and choose traditions. If you do you begin to erode away at what brings millions of pounds into this country each year via our tourism economy. You erode the authority of the Speaker’s chair and, by doing so, erode the authority of Parliament itself.
So, I call upon my colleagues to join me. Don’t clear the corridor; walk with your head high. Look him in the eye and if he loses his rag, as he did with me the other night, then maybe he will realise that deciding which traditions to honour, or not, is not entirely within his remit.