Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Smoke dreams

Well they done it. MPs have voted by huge margins to ban smoking from all public places including pubs and private members' clubs in England.

Let's open the book now: what are the odds on the first successful legal challenge?

My money's on a Rastafarian. While it's true the US ruled that Rastafari do not have the religious right to smoke ganja in violation of drug laws. And the Court of Appeal case of R. v. Taylor [2002] 1 Cr. App. R. 37, it was held that the UK's prohibition on cannabis use did not contravene the right to freedom of religion conferred under the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

My guess is that prohibiting the social and cultural aspects of smoking is in contrevention. Surely people may gather and smoke a placebo...?

Government view on Smoking "Hazy"

Ahead of a series of key Commons votes later today, the Government has come under increased criticism for sending mixed messages on the anti smoking bill.

The Health Sectretary Patricia Hewitt says she'll vote for a total ban, although the Department of Health is backing its original plans to allow smoking in private membership clubs and non-food serving pubs.

Far from giving a clear steer, the Prime Minister is understood to be taking a relaxed view, he commented, "Yeah whatever, man. Chill. Anyone got any munch?"

Gareth who spells toke in a strange Canadian way started this...but mine's cleaner. And more topical. And I'm on Day 20 as a born-again non-smoker so everyone else can suffer!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Is there such a thing as too much Lurpak?

I'm all for buying Danish - on principle - but man cannot survive on chips, beans, white bread and Lurpak alone.

Scott Martin who existed on such a diet died of malnutrition, aged just 20. He bled to death on Christmas Eve after suffering medical complications after an operation to remove three infected teeth. He had cirrhosis of the liver (but didn't drink) and developed a secondary condition, auto-immune hepatitis, which thinned his blood and prevented his body from healing properly.

Now don't get me wrong. This is not Lurpak's fault. Lurpak is excellent butter. In dairy, as in meats, being Danish has meant being good. And to boycott their produce really is a bit rich on ethical grounds. It is undeniable that the cartoons were run, almost without ripple, until the OUTSIDE world reacted. Inside Denmark, few saw a problem with them. Everyone knows it.
"Denmark, along with its Scandanavian neighbours, has been serious about social justice. It is a vigorously ethical nation, where integrity prevails and equality is subscribed to as a guiding principle.

Generally, the Danish are well-liked abroad and well-respected, with little prejudice against them anywhere, let alone backlash."

But the same article makes the very valid point that companies that use their nationality as a selling point are tying their fortunes to the acts of politicians and newspapers, and even to a nation's minorities, from football hooligans to travellers abroad.

So, while I prefer my butter the English way, salty...mmmn like my bacon.... (OK I KNOW I'm unreconstructed), I particularly liked the Lurpak commercials with Douglas (the little Aardman animation chappy) and the Penelope Keith voice-over. So in the interests of health and international harmony, I am proposing a revival of Douglas for the World Cup - football hooligan Douglas - sport, politics, religion, nationalism and healthy eating in one neat package - so educational.

Just remember children, balance, in diet as in all things is key! What about a percussion section?

Totally on message.

So said the Prophet

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who's sorry now?

Sion Jenkins was acquitted today after 9 years of repeated trial, retrial and appeal for the murder of Billie-Jo above.

If the slap he took in the court today at the Old Bailey from her natural family is anything to go by, they think he's got away with murder.

They may or may not be right. The jurors couldn't agree. The police have asked for anyone with further information to come forward but have not said they are looking for anyone else. Evidence of domestic violence that was suppressed as prejudicial to the trial is now coming out, which of course may be no more than prurient gossip. Either way, under the law, he's acquitted. And she's dead.

But am I alone in thinking that her "natural" family must bear their share of guilt?

Had they shown a bit more care and attention to her BEFORE she got fostered out, she would be alive today. If only because she would not have been there, then. Whoever killed her.

In my book it's a bit late to be screaming "Child Killer" from the visitors gallery nine years after she was murdered at her foster home. The time for action was before she was given to strangers.

Perhaps searching their own hearts would be more productive...

PS 20.55 I apologise to the BBC for stress on their servers for linking to and not hosting the image of Billie-Jo. Now rectified.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Danish Idolatry

The Grauniad's Playing

Seems there are plenty of Islamic Images showing Mohammed in full

Miniature of Mohammed re-dedicating the Black Stone at the Kaaba. From Jami Al-Tawarikh ("The Universal History" written by Rashid Al-Din), a manuscript in the Library of the University of Edinburgh; illustrated in Tabriz, Persia, c. 1315, (with minor modification).

Photoshop Challenge

OK chaps, this image by Anoneumouse over at the Anglo Saxon Chronicle is great. Anyone got any more that I can post?

Boycott Bacon

The folks over at Samizdata have got a a Danish Buycott going under the slogan, "Oink for Denmark, Western values and freedom of expression!", in order to show some solidarity with Denmark, who are facing remarkable pressure over the Jyllands-Postern 'Satanic Cartoons' . But since Denmark's main exports are lager and bacon the Islamic boycott of these products is unlikely to have much economic impact.

In an interesting development, however, Muslim activists around the world are seeing unprecedented support from an unlikely group....

PS There's some good stuff at DFH

Friday, February 03, 2006

Day 9

What happened to Days 1 to 8? I hear you ask....

It's a secret....tell you later if it works....

Hey, good so far....