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?!!!!

In which I go on about a disease I’ve never had

TB and the test from Wikimedia

Shauna, in her epic journey to the UK, did not (at least I don’t remember it) mention the letter she got from the NHS asking her to go in for a TB pre-vaccination test. You know, the one where they stick you in the forearm and send you on your way, then check on you a week later and if you’ve got a nasty huge red rash larger than 10mm (or whatever) you’re okay? If you’re not you have to get the BCG vaccination, which takes forever to heal and almost assuredly leaves a less-than-inconspicuous scar?

my TB vaccination scars concealed under skin inkI received such a letter a couple of weeks ago. Someone in the house (okay, Neil’s mother) was dying to know why the NHS was sending me something when I hadn’t even registered with a doctor yet (and I still haven’t — yeah, I know, but I’m so used to just winging it and self-medicating), and she had to wait till I got home, a FULL DAY of not having her curiosity satisfied.

Upon calling the number and leaving a message and having them call me back, they learned that I’ve been vaccinated against TB more times than your average Brit (so I’m off the hook and don’t have to take time off work to present myself for invasive needle procedures) and according to them, all the information they get from the port authorities is a list of names and addresses.

When I first got to the UK, the health person at immigration wanted my chest x-ray. I told her I didn’t have one, and she said I “should”. I responded that the visa office in Singapore did not include that in the list of things I had to present, and surely if it was a requirement I would not have got my visa in the end?

I’m thinking that’s why I got the letter. Also, TB cases are on the rise in the UK. This has NOTHING to do with me, okay?

(The photo of my arm circa 2001 before the addition of Reverend Jesse Custer and Tulip is there to show you how my scars have now been… er… concealed.)

Gay adoption and forcing everyone to accept it

Since I’m a bleeding heart liberal on most days*, it might come as a surprise to some that I don’t support requiring religious adoption agencies to work with same-sex couples.

This is definitely not to say that I don’t think same-sex couples should raise children. As long as a relationship is healthy, respectful, and responsible, I think children raised in that environment have a better than average chance to be well-rounded, compared to children raised in dysfunctional families, homo or hetero.

Having covered my arse there, here’s what I think. Adoption agencies should be given the freedom to appeal to ‘niche markets’, as it were. I think there are enough non-denominational agencies that serve the majority of the adoption-seeking market, so what’s the harm in some religious agencies choosing to serve only heterosexual couples (I’ve always wondered if a woman who likes to wear strap-ons married to a man who likes to have his fudge packed would be considered a heterosexual couple)? IMHO, if a gay couple chooses to go to a religious adoption agency, knowing full well that that agency feels their union is wrong, they are deliberately seeking conflict. And people who seek unnecessary conflict are not going to be the best parents.

There appears to be a market niche that hasn’t been filled just yet. Since the UK now legalises gay unions, why can’t there be an adoption agency that has a specialty in placing children with these couples?

(Neil agrees that religious agencies should be allowed to discriminate, too, but for different reasons. He thinks adopted children are stigmatised enough, to then add ‘gay parents’ to the mix just makes things worse — but he thinks offspring of gay couples who used a surrogate or sperm donor would be more okay. To me, this begs the question of what is more stigmatising in the playground, being adopted or having same-sex parents?)

* I’m beginning to think I’m more of a libertarian now.

At least they can send text messages to give the bad news

10,000 passports were issued to imaginary people last year. If I’d known it was so easy to get a UK passport I wouldn’t have spent so much money and time getting a proper visa.

It admitted 10,000 passports were wrongly given in the past year, but said plans to interview applicants would combat such fraud.

The current level of incompetence (no face-to-face interviews?) dazzles me. If they can’t sort out their own passport office, what in Deity’s name can they do about more complex issues like asylum seekers and illegal immigrants?

Coughing up lovely phlegm

Since I’m crook, there aren’t going to be any gym visits prior to my 6K race (I now laugh at the misnomer) on Sunday. That means I won’t have run a step since early last week.

However, I may not do a lot of running on the day either, as my colds — if serious — end up becoming bronchitis. So if I’m not feeling at least 90% healthy, I’m gonna be walking / jogging lightly.

This sucks. I’m not happy about this bloody cold at all.

This distresses me, as my stamina seems to feel the effects of not exercising extremely rapidly, and I’m going to have start my training again from square one. What’s worse is I’ve actually lost weight these last few months — my hip bones are becoming more pronounced and I can see more of my ribs. My whole goal of exercising and eating like it was going out of style was to put muscle ON.

Yes, small violin.