Thursday, 6 September 2007

The Poliblogs 6th September 2007

Lord Justice Sedley: put everyone on the DNA database

Many years ago, when I studied Administrative Law at university, our lecturer would preface every single discussion of any court case involving Mr Justice Sedley (as he then was) with the words that the learned judge was a ’staunch defender of human rights’. It was therefore with mild alarm that I read this morning that the selfsame judge has suggested we should all be put on a DNA database.

Bel is thinking

Slap drones for everyone

Lord Justice Sedley has said that the retention of DNA samples for some of the UK population, as is current state policy, involves bias against ethnic minorities. It would be fairer, the judge claims, to collect DNA from everybody in the UK, even visitors.

Let’s move past the vision in obtuseness that requires every person in the land to wait in line for DNA sampling and ask the obvious question: why is the current national DNA database (NDNAD) biased?


Setting the agenda

Pragmatic politics or a timid climb-down? What do you reckon to the Scottish Government’s legislative programme?

With a light smile, Alex Salmond openly acknowledged that his programme wasn’t exactly as billed. But then, as he also acknowledged, he doesn’t have a majority at Holyrood.

Blether with Brian

Drunk in charge of a dog

We read that: The grandmother of Ellie Lawrenson was nearly twice the legal drink-drive limit when the five-year-old was mauled to death by the family dog, a court has heard. She failed to take proper care with a dog and a child. From the other reports of the case, the dog had been scared by fireworks and she should have handled it accordingly. She should not have let it near a child if it was behaving strangely. Drink has nothing to do with it.

Freeborn John

Brown: a true son of Thatcher

The PM has openly praised the Iron Lady. You shouldn't be surprised, though - he has been a closet Thatcherite for years.

Simon Jenkins

David Cameron gets the White Van Man vote

"They ought to bring back national service"

...The clarion call of white van men, cab drivers and retired colonels everywhere.

Well that's what David Cameron wants to. All 16/17 year-olds should go on a "boot camp" and wrap themselves in the Union Jack, he reckons. In fact, he initially proposed this in 2005 but he has pulled it out of his "in case of emergency lurch right" box to fit in with his "on the hoof" PR "programme".

Liberal Burblings

Coalition for the nation?

Hit tip to Jonathan Calder for his heads up about Mark Oaten's article in The Times publicizing his new book, Coalition, which suggests that we must not be afraid to contemplate a coalition with whoever gets the most seats in a hung parliament, even if that means doing a deal with the Tories. I'm afraid I don't share Mark's own suggestion that because the Tories have joined us in the lobbies against many of Tony Blair's civil liberties erosions it necessarily gives us common ground to work on.

Jock’s Place

How much of the bounce was down to media Gordomania?

It seems now like it comes from a different age but the above was how that normally level-headed paper, the Guardian, was reporting British politics less than a month ago.

To have equated the bungled and amateurish attack on Glasgow airport, the consequences of a couple of heavy rain-storms and a few cows getting a disease with, say, Churchill’s first month in May 1940 was just plain silly.The journalist who wrote such drivel and the editor who passed it, no doubt, feel embarrassed. But it does reflect the mood of the time that seemed to affect all parts of the media. But reminding ourselves of the extraordinary honeymoon that Brown enjoyed does put the current polling turbulence in context.

Political Betting

Titan Rain - is there any evidence of actual Chinese government cyber attacks on the United Kingdom?

Following on from the media reports that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel about email malware targeted at German goverment computer systems when she visited the Chinese communist regime in Beijing, on Monday, the Financial Times reported vague or anonymous US reports about an allegedly similar campaign targeting the US Defense Department bureaucracy, dubbed "Titan Rain".

Spy Blog

Fear of crime: officialdom and Labour in denial

The front page of The Sun newspaper carried a story on Saturday of the results of its Ipsos MORI opinion poll. The poll showed a 5% lead for Labour, which is hardly an overwhelming Brown Bounce. With Labour sitting smugly on 41%, Gordon Brown has achieved this: he is not Tony Bliar, and at the moment people are willing to trust him. The other polls are more realistic, showing Labour at around 36%.

The Wilted Rose

Even Mexicans drink more than we Brits

Would it help if I had an example of Tories not running Britain down (or running it down ironically)? The following article was written by Bryony Gordon of The Daily Telegraph and it debunks the popular Tory myth that the country is headed to hell in a hand cart with lager and fag in hand.

Belittle Britain

Cameron should be above dissing his internal critics

David Cameron launches his National Citizen Service idea today. I think it's a great idea but this morning's BBC News bulletins were giving at least as much attention to Mr Cameron's putdown of Michael Ancram. This is what the Conservative leader told The Sun (my emphasis):

Conservative Home

EXCLUSIVE: Electoral Commission Chairman Confirms LibDems May Have to Pay Back £2.4 Million

Last night I interviewed Sam Younger, the chairman of the Electoral Commission. In this ten minute clip from the hour long interview I ask him about various issues to do with political donations.

Iain Dale

Why we need party politics

Since Gordon Brown became leader of the Labour party he has recruited many non-Labour experts to help him in various areas, including Conservative MPs John Bercow and Patrick Mercer recently. Most people think that this sort of thing is a good idea, as it means that the Labour party is ‘putting country ahead of party and getting the best person for the job’. I once shared this approach, but now I am opposed to it. On the surface, it seems harmless at worst, or even beneficial.

Pickled Politics

Democracy and the future: Who represents us socialists?

In my opinion, an issue we all need to consider very strongly within the party and Labour movement. Although arguably the Labour Party itself has never really been a socialist party, it has been the only political and parliamentary mass representation that socialists and social-democrats have ever had access to, and success with in terms of implementation of ideas.

Labour Home

Boris: Why Londoners should vote for me

I am campaigning to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, and, while I do not want to abuse my tenancy of this space, let me briefly say that it is high time the Labour incumbent was removed, and it is high time all 32 London boroughs - from Barnet to Bexley, from Hillingdon to Havering - received value for the average £288 every household is paying for the Mayor; and anyone who wants to find out more about our plans for less crime and improved housing and better transport should now dial up a website called

Boris Johnson

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