Calling politicians ‘childish’ is an insult to children…


Paul Bernal's Blog

Rather than write about the more obvious points about Plebgate – from the actions themselves to the foolishness of taking libel actions when the consequences of losing could be so damaging and when your reputation has already been substantially repaired – I want to write about one particular turn of phrase used by Mr Justice Mitting. He said that Mitchell’s behaviour had been ‘childish’.

It’s a common enough description – and anyone who ever watches the ridiculousness that is Prime Minister’s Questions, the absurd self-importance, name-calling and point-scoring that most politicians seem to get up to on the BBC’s Question Time knows what it refers to. Politicians do seem to spend an inordinate amount of their time – and from the evidence in the Plebgate libel trial not just their time in the public eye – engaging in this kind of activity. They even do it in the laws they…

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Facebook And Twitter – Handling Extremism And Disorder


Paul Bernal's Blog

For the consideration of Parliament…..

Facebook And Twitter – Handling Extremism And Disorder Bill (‘FAT-HEAD’)


  1. When this Act applies
  2. Facebook and Twitter
  3. Social and Moral Responsibility
  4. Code of conduct
  5. Extremism
  6. Disorder
  7. Acceptance of blame
  8. Extent, commencement and short title




Make provision as to matters concerning the social and moral responsibility of Facebook and Twitter, to ensure that proper cooperation is made with the authorities in relation to morality, extremism and disorder.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1. When this Act applies

This Act applies whenever an event of such significance, as determined by the Secretary of State, requires it to. Events include but are not restricted to acts of extremism, of disorder and…

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Should @BBCTrending #BBC Correspondents Publish Detailed Biogs On #CameronOut!


I raise this subject because of Sean Coughlan’s post on the BBC website about Tristram Hunt’s private school business rate relief warning from Labour.

The BBC says that Sean has added the analysis below to the story written by Hannah Richardson:

“This demand for the private school sector to work more closely with their state school neighbours will probably be seen as a symbolic gesture.

It allows the tone of Labour’s education policy to sound different from the government’s, when otherwise they have much in common.

The amount of money under threat, £147m per year across more than 1,250 schools, might hurt the smaller struggling private schools. Average fees are about £12,000 per year, but it is not going to trouble upmarket schools charging more than £20,000 per year.

A bigger challenge would be the loss of charitable status and the accompanying tax benefits. But a long-running attempt by the Charity Commission to put pressure on this was pushed into the long grass.

Perhaps more pressing is the recent warning from a leading private school head teacher that if they become too expensive, they risk losing their character and sense of educational purpose and could become playgrounds of the rootless global super-rich.”

Firstly, two correspondents writing on one topic strikes me as a bit extravagant (at a time of austerity).

Secondly, how is this deemed to be an analysis piece?  That last sentence says give us your money to ensure David Cameron may be able to afford to send his children to Eton.  In other words, end our taxpayer funded subsidies and we will have to fully turn ourselves into an export business as a result of increasing our student fees.  And there was me thinking that, in a time of austerity, we all have to do our bit to help UK plc pay its way in the world.

And for the record, the global super rich already send their children to the likes of Eton because of their character, sense of educational purpose and because they long ago became the playgrounds of the rootless global super-rich.  Eton is a place valued as much for the lifelong connections that may be made there as for the education which it provides.

Mr Coughlan’s analysis, channelling the views of the private school sector, reads more like a defence of privilege rather than an analysis of what has been said by Tristram Hunt.  It does, though, serve as a reminder to some on the Left of how quickly these bastions of privilege react at the sight of a single, solitary enemy scout merely observing the lie of the land.

Unlike some on the Left, I have no qualms against using the arguments of this sector against it.  We are, they say in the main article, an asset to the nation.  However, it is clear from Mr Coughlan’s analysis that they are underselling themselves.  Time surely for them to have the burden of public subsidy lifted from their shoulders so that unencumbered by, nay, liberated from the dead hand of the state they may take their rightful place in the firmament by sweating their assets to the full and charging the market rate for their services?  Such an ascension would be a boost to our exports, both visible and invisible.

“Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “pointing the finger at independent schools is a 1980s view of education”.”  Dear Barnaby, surely it is long past the time that the free market logic that closed down the mines in the 1980s was finally applied to the private school sector?  It may “hurt the smaller struggling private schools” to do so, but they will have to improve their productivity or face closure.  It is the way of the world.  After all, I assume the world owes no one a living is still a complusory lesson on your sector’s syllabus?

Incidentally, Mr Coughlan, where did you go to school?

A new Snoopers’ charter, drip by drip?


Paul Bernal's Blog

Snoopy with charterWhen the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was passed with undue haste this summer, the one ‘saving grace’ promised to us by the Liberal Democrats, hitherto guardians of our civil liberties and killers of the Snoopers’ Charter, was the ‘sunset clause’ of December 2016, and the promise of careful and considered review of powers before then.

That careful and considered review – or rather several careful and considered reviews – began. Specifically, the Parliament Intelligence and Security Committee continued the review that it had begun before the hasty passing of DRIP, while the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation began his own consultation. Both these reviews do seem to have been both careful and considered – I made submissions to both of them, and was invited to a highly illuminating ’round table’ session by the ISC, as well as receiving a fast and clear response by the Independent Reviewer…

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I Am With The 85%, I Refuse To Dance To #ukip’s Tune Of Hate! #ThanetSouth


Add your name and share the 85% image with your friends.  Let us tell our politicians that we will not tolerate them trying to out-ukip ukip.

Opinion polls give ukip the support of just 15% of the population.  Where are the other 85%?  The problem is we are quiet – even silent.  That can change, right now if we make a stand!

By signing the pledge, you will be making a commitment to help defeat the politics of fear and hate.

Of Course #ukip Advocates A Policy Of Repatriation, It Can Do No Other! #ThanetSouth

Of Course #ukip Advocates A Policy Of Repatriation, It Can Do No Other! #ThanetSouth


ukippers (and many across the political spectrum and in the media) say we are swamped and, in particular, that our public services are being stretched to breaking point.  The answer?  Suspend/pause, reduce or end migration.

If we are already swamped and if, as even most ukippers seem to think, we will not be leaving the European Union until about 2020, following the logic of those saying migration is the root of many of our problems, then we will be even more swamped then than now.  Consequently, sending them home is surely, is it not, the logical answer?

In fact, as we leave the EU and seek to close our borders against EU migrants then we will have to send them home, because they will be sending their migrants from here back to us.  That number may be as high as 2 million and heaven knows how many expatriates will return home as we exit the EU.  We could even find ourselves with a net inflow.  An inflow worsened by the fact that those coming back, being on balance older, will impose a greater strain on public services than young, healthy, tax paying EU migrants who leave their dependants at home.  Logically, we will then have to start sending home people here under our current points based system that applies to migrants from outside of the EU.

I was surprised that (a tired and emotional?) Mark Reckless said what he did when he did, but I was even more surprised at the surprise of others when he said what ukip’s policy would be towards migrants, on an exit from the EU.  If you talk about migrants swamping public services and taking jobs, decry any other policies, but those styled as controlling migration to address those issues, then repatriation is where you end up.  Particularly so when you want to cut taxes, public spending and the deficit even more than George Osborne.

ukip’s repatriation policy has been hidden in plain sight.  Disturbingly, even the liberal parts of the media prefer to engage in a US style debate about flags, where they can have a pop at all sides of the argument, rather than address such a serious and divisive matter like mass forced repatriation.  Some form of repatriation is ukip policy and as they plan to couple it with requiring all of us remaining here to comply with their definition of British values and culture then we are in the presence of a fascist party.

Incidentally, when did we become the 51st State of the United States of America?  Halloween becomes, every year, ever more modelled on that of the USA; we seem to be a heart beat away from pledging allegiance to a flag and Black Friday this year arrives at Tesco on 28th November.  Why do we not go the whole turkey and celebrate Thanksgiving the day before?  Under ukip, one senses, we might well seek to confirm our status as the 51st.  Farage likes to hang around and be photographed with men, often libertarians, to the right of the Republican Party.  Funny though, I see no evidence of him offering me a referendum on bending the knee to Uncle Sam.  I might just vote Yes

I Am With The 85%, I Refuse To Dance To #ukip’s Tune Of Hate! #ThanetSouth

ukip should be taken seriously.  But it may not like the experience | Andrew Rawnsley

I’m not a good man! And I’m not a bad man .. I’m an idiot. With a box .. passing through, helping out ..


When I was a little boy I had an imaginary friend, and when I grew up, he came back.  He’s called the Doctor.  He comes from somewhere else.  He’s got a box called the TARDIS that’s bigger on the inside and can travel anywhere in time and space.  I ran away with him.  And we’ve been running ever since.

“She caught a familiar sound, distant, like something heard on the edge of a dream.  May be it was only a memory, but it meant so much.

It meant freedom, a love that embraced the alien, the outsider, and the oppressed.  This sound couldn’t tolerate hatred and violence, but found itself unable to be silent in the face of evil.  That’s why it rended, tore its way across time.

To Ace, the wheezing, groaning sound seemed to be blown from the distance on some Christmas breeze, a legend as silly and as powerful as Santa Claus in the gathering twilight.”

Timewyrm: Revelation

“As we learn about each other, so we learn about ourselves.”

“I don’t believe that man was made to be controlled by machines.  Machines can make laws, but they can not preserve justice.  Only human beings can do that.”

“It all started out as a mild curiosity in the junkyard, and now it’s turned out to be quite a great spirit of adventure.”

 “One day, I shall come back.  Yes, I shall come back.  Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties.  Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”

“There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things.  Things that act against everything we believe in.  They must be fought!”

“I am not a student of human nature.  I am a professor of a far wider academy of which human nature is merely a part.”

“I do tend to get involved.”

“Keep it confused, feed it with useless information — I wonder if I have a television set handy?”

“I reversed the polarity of the neutron flow.”

“Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know.  It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”

“A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.”

“There’s no point being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes.”

“Answers are easy.  It’s asking the right questions which is hard.”

“The localised condition of planetary atmospheric condensation caused a malfunction in the visual orientation circuits.  Or to put it another way, we got lost in the fog.”

“Where’s your joy in life? Where’s your optimism? … Whenever you go into a new situation, you must always believe the best until you find out exactly what the situation’s all about.  Then, believe the worst.”

“For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about!”

“The illusion is always one of normality.”

“What’s the use of a good quotation if you can’t change it?

“Planets come and go.  Stars perish.  Matter disperses, coalesces, forms into other patterns, other worlds.  Nothing can be eternal.”

“Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way.”

“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea’s asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song.  Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, somewhere else the tea’s getting cold.  Come on, Ace. We’ve got work to do.”

“I love humans.  Always seeing patterns in things that aren’t there.”

“Never give up.  Never give in.”

“You lot.  You spend all your time thinking about dying, like you’re going to get killed by eggs, or beef, or global warming, or asteroids.  But you never take time to imagine the impossible: that maybe you survive.”

“Some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty.  It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.”

“There’s no such thing as an ordinary human.”

“People don’t understand time.  It’s not what you think it is … People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect … but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly … timey-wimey … stuff.”

“Just remember, music isn’t just orchestras and pop stars and special people with albums and downloads and concerts, it’s you.  Because the music of the spheres is all around you.  When you’re on your own, just close your eyes, and you’ll hear it.   Music.  Inside your head.  ‘Cause everyone’s a musician.  Everyone’s got a song inside them.  Every single one of you.”

“The way I see it, life is a pile of good things and bad things.  The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

“People fall out of the world sometimes, but they always leave traces.  Little things we can’t quite account for.  Faces in photographs, luggage, half-eaten meals.  Rings.  Nothing is ever forgotten, not completely.  And if something can be remembered, it can come back.”

“Good men don’t need rules.  Today is not the day to find out why I have so many of them.”

“Hello, Stormageddon.  It’s The Doctor, here to help.  Be quiet.  Go to sleep. No really— stop crying.  You’ve got a lot to look forward to you know: a normal human life on Earth.  Mortgage repayments, the 9 to 5, a persistent nagging sense of spiritual emptiness.  Save the tears for later boyo.  Oh, that was crabby.  No, that was old.  But I am old, Stormy.  I am so old.  So near the end.  But you, Alfie Owens.  You are so young, aren’t you?  And you know, right now, everything’s ahead of you.  You could be anything.  Yes, I know.  You could walk among the stars.  They don’t actually look like that, you know — they are rather more impressive.  [uses his sonic to make a starry sky appear on the ceiling]  Yeah!  You know, when I was little like you, I dreamt of the stars.  I think it’s fair to say, in the language of your age, that I lived my dream.  I owned the stage.  Gave it a hundred and ten percent.  I hope you have as much fun as I did, Alfie.”

“We all change.  When you think about it, we are all different people, all through our lives.  And that’s ok, that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.  I will not forget one line of this.  Not one day…I swear.  I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”

“Let me tell you about scared.  Your heart is beating so hard, I can feel it through your hands.  There’s so much blood and oxygen pumping through your brain, it’s like rocket fuel!  Right now, you could run faster and you can fight harder and you can jump higher then you could ever in your life, and you’re so alert, it’s like you could slow down time.  What’s wrong with scared?  Scared is a super power!  It’s your super power!”

“Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones.  But you still have to choose.”

“Even my incredibly long life is too short for Les Miserables.”

“Pain is a gift.  Without the capacity for pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict.”

“I am not a good man.  And I’m not a bad man.  I’m definitely not a president and no, I’m not an officer.  You know what I am?  I am an idiot!  With a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning. I don’t need an army, I never have.  Because I’ve got them.  Always them!  Because love is not an emotion.  It’s a promise.”

“He’s like fire and ice and rage, he’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun.  He’s ancient and forever, he burns at the centre of time, and can see the turn of the universe.  And … he’s wonderful.”

“Splendid fellows… all of” them!