UK’s Prison Service never ceases to amaze me

Thousands of prisoners have keys to their own cells.


Home Office minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: “It’s mainly used for people who are soon going to be released or in open prisons.

“It’s all part of providing incentives to encourage them to take more responsibility for themselves, to give them a little bit more respect and decency.”

I’m still not quite understanding the concept of an open prison. Seems paradoxical to me.

I can understand wanting to give prisoners something to feel responsible about, but KEYS TO THEIR OWN CELLS? WTF? Why not give them keys to the gates, it’ll be a real test of responsibility then.

I think a programme like Cell Dogs would be more appropriate in teaching inmates to prepare for a life as a law-abiding and civic-minded person.

This weekend I…

  • went to Brian and Carene’s for a few drinks (and fell asleep, I’m so lame)
  • had McDonalds for lunch (I was craving very bad food)
  • went to Neil’s friends, Roy and Pam’s house for their miniature class reunion (there’s something seriously wrong when his peers have children old enough to go to primary school — when did we get that old?)
  • turned the clocks forward for British Summer Time (I am NOT used to this)
  • ran jogged the St Andrew’s Hospice Lanarkshire Ladies 6K at Strathclyde Park
  • checked out furniture, Mandor’s (got some remnants), and Miller’s (got nothing)
  • had some homemade tomato soup
  • watched a little Grey’s Anatomy
The Londoner
Neil spotted this pub in the East End of Glasgow. Alan sure gets around.


me crossing the finishing line, photo by Neil

I did take a hit off the Ventolin inhaler this morning, because I’ve been suffering a very mild case of bronchitis. We got there in plenty of time, and it all went okay, except I walked a few times because I was trying to monitor my breathing, and once was due to a stitch. It was a bloody cold day for a run, even colder than the Oxygen Deficit 10K in February.

Things were made worse by my having not run a step in almost two weeks, since I fell ill. But it went okay, I was only two minutes off my normal time. At the moment, I’m trying to figure out if I should enter the Tom Scott Road Race (I have less than a week to decide) because I’m still not feeling too healthy, although four miles is only 6.4 kilometres.

So… I did it. I raised almost £300 for two separate charities. If I do enter the Tom Scott race, I’ll wait till the May race to raise more funds, give the people I’m hitting up for cash a month or so to recover. Hehe.

The pros and cons of the LKY

Anger at ANU honour for Lee:

But the decision to honour Mr Lee has incensed university staff, students and human rights advocates who accuse him of running an authoritarian regime in Singapore over the past four decades in which he has quashed any political opposition.

The academics and anyone connected to ANU are well within their rights to oppose the honour. I don’t argue with their point of view, but they must understand as well that Singapore would not have got to where it is economically (as quickly) without that iron fist. It’s good and bad. Good for Singapore in the economic sense, bad because we are a bunch of children (no matter what chronological age we are) who expect the ‘gahmen’ to take care of the things we don’t want to be responsible for but complain about a lack of freedom.

Australia’s relationship with Singapore was severely strained throughout last year when the Singaporean Government now headed by Mr Lee’s son Lee Hsien Loong carried out the execution in December of 25-year-old Melbourne man Van Tuong Nguyen after finding him guilty of drug trafficking.

Mr Chee has also condemned the decision in a letter to Professor Chubb, saying “do you not think that the award of this honorary degree to Lee Kuan Yew mocks the memory of Nguyen and the others who were hanged by the Singapore Government?”

I disagree with the death penalty, too, but NGUYEN was caught TRAFFICKING DRUGS THROUGH SINGAPORE, and I imagine pretty much everyone knows that Singapore HANGS drug traffickers. That policy ain’t new. I hadn’t realised a misguided youth doing something incredibly stupid in a place where he would be executed if caught was MARTYR MATERIAL.

So, if the ANU academics feel so strongly about LKY being honoured at their university, are they going to resign in protest? I definitely support their right to protest and their reasons for doing so, but I hope they don’t, like Chee Soon Juan, bring up Nguyen. It just undermines the whole thing for everyone (well, me).

Cake. Eat.

Hey, how come Scotland is so ready for secession and the dependence on England is a complete sham and propaganda perpetrated by Unionists if they still expect money from Westminister to prop up their economic policies?

There are serious flaws in the SNP’s policies – not least its plans to replace council tax with a local income tax, set at a uniform 3p in the pound across Scotland. That means the end of councils’ accountability for local taxation, but it also assumes Scotland will still receive the £380 million currently paid from Westminster for council tax benefit – which seems unlikely, to say the least.

The SNP said that they would make up the council tax shortfall by getting £450 million from the Scottish Executive. Where, pray, will the Scottish Executive get the money? From Westminister? By cutting spending elsewhere? Does Scotland have a money tree only the SNP know about?

How do you solve a problem like Iraq?

I sacrificed an hour of sleep last night to watch, with rapt fascination, Question Time (the panel, Have Your Say). I wasn’t exactly surprised to see John Bolton refuse to answer Tony Benn’s charges and SMIRK at him like a demented lemur.

Tony Benn was right to say the UN charter has been all but torn up by unilateral actions by the US and its ‘allies’. The audience member was right to say other members such as China were undermining the power of the UN by looking out for their own interests (as EVERY country clearly is, evidenced by the US in this case as well). Benazir Bhutto was very right to say the decision to go to war and what’s happened is in the PAST, and now what the world has to do now is help Iraq decide on its future.

Since I have no concept of what it’s like to fear for yourself and your family every single day, all I can do is rabbit on about ideas. Perhaps it’s time for the ‘allies’ to alter their role in Iraq, instead of clearing insurgents from villages (which reminds me of trying to remove community cats in Singapore and finding that new ones have moved in soon after) with guns to training villagers in civil defence. You know, fire service, emergency medical help, teacher training, additional training for doctors and nurses, counselling, that sort of thing. If a village collectively decides NO MORE to violence and is given the tools to help themselves, they will be able to help themselves.

From what I can gather, the reason insurgents and their ilk are allowed to hide in the village is (aside from fear) the attitude that the occupying forces are NOT their friends. Shooting innocent people (or your presence apparently causing innocent people to get blown up) wouldn’t really make you many friends. How about doing it one village at a time, motivating other villages to get started on their own civil defence preparedness?

This is not to say that it won’t still be a dangerous and not very nice place to live for a long time to come, but wouldn’t it set Iraqis on the right road? Maybe the individuals feel powerless, but if a village could be protected while they learn these civil defence skills, things could slowly start to improve on a permanent basis.


The convicted armed robber who lodged a Legal Aid ‘human rights’ case about telephone calls (i.e. that a recorded message identifying the origin of the calls was a breach of his human rights) WON.

Judge Lord Glennie said this policy was not made with the authority of parliament.

He said: “In some societies, it might be regarded as obvious that a person convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a period of imprisonment should, for the duration of his imprisonment, be deprived of his civil rights.

“Such a notion has no place in our society.” said the judge.

Because, you know, convicted armed robbers showed due respect to other people’s civil rights and private property when they held a knife to their throats.

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said: “Back in February when we first heard about this, I warned that we would be a laughing stock if this man won his case.

“There is a clear issue here – are the rights of the law-abiding majority being served ahead of the rights of a minority who happen to be in jail? It appears not.

“Prisoners forfeit a number of rights when they go to jail for their crimes, which should include the ability to dictate on what terms they make a phone call.”

Yup. I’m laughing.

Jail phone case appeal considered

Sir, the public house has no place in polite society

Is it bad that I find this funny?

Seriously, I adore the smoking ban that has meant our clothes do not require hardcore laundering after a night out (assuming we don’t spend too much time stuck in the doorways with the smokers).

(However, as I have said before, there is a hardcore smoker in the house so our cleaned clothes need laundering anyway. Almost makes me want to live in the pub like an alkie.)

The placement of the articles sure seem like a subconscious (or perhaps conscious) effort to KILL THE PUB. What are people gonna do without the cheap beer from JD Wetherspoons? Everyone’s gonna get hyped on their 99p (69p if you’ve got SnapFax) coffees and caffeine will be classed as a dangerous drug (it should, with how sick it can make a person).

Pub trade ‘has gone up in smoke’

Alcohol nearly as harmful as heroin, warn top scientists

Neil thinks it’s time for Scotland to go independent

Prisoner demands ‘right to vote’:

Aidan O’Neill QC, representing Birrell, criticised the authorities for failing to act in time to prevent such a situation arising.

“This is not a try-on or some kind of clever lawyers’ attempt to get somebody out of jail free,” he said.

“This is bringing to the court the legal consequences of a political decision to go ahead with an election which unlawfully stops prisoners from voting.”

Birrell, who was not present in court for the hearing, is also seeking £1,000 damages if the election goes ahead and he is not allowed to go to the polls.

The next legal challenge being brought by convicts will be, I wager, the authorities’ power to incarcerate them at all, as depriving them of their liberty must surely be a contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.

(Note on the title: so that the Scottish courts will be able to ignore the European Convention on Human Rights and treat these ‘challenges’ with the contempt they deserve.)

Update: thank FUCK a judge dismissed it. But WTF is this possibly paying him damages — that’s conceding he was right?!!!!