Quite so, quite so

Supporters of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) should not necessarily be criminalised, because it impinges free speech, a joint parliamentary Committee says.

A report released today will say that the bill “may criminalise curious minds and expressions of belief which do not carry any consequent harm or intent to cause harm.”

The Joint Committee on Human Rights says it has “serious concerns” with the new powers the government is proposing in the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill currently going through parliament.

The Committee, chaired by Harriet Harman MP and made up of MPs and Peers, is concerned that some of the new powers are too vaguely defined and do not have sufficient safeguards to protect human rights.

Yes, yes, of course it’s Harry Harbird. But think on a little. We think that a government is going to pass a law that imposes he correctly strict punishments for actions and yet leave that speech as gloriously free as it should be, do we?

Sure they do

The church brutalised Ireland. People have a right to protest against the pope’s visit
Emer O’Toole

You’ve a right to say anything and protest anything you wish.

And also to accept what people think of you, consider you to be, as you do. Get on with it and accept whatever consequences there may be.

Well, yes, didn’t we say this?

First they came for the hoodlums. Now they’re after you
Zoe Williams

Asbos were once used to clamp down on unruly teenagers. Now they are being used in petty disputes between neighbours

I’m sure we did you know. Allow the State power and it will, in the end, be used against you. It’s rather the liberal argument against the entire Guardian project, isn’t it?

Erm, why?

The BBC has more than 400 transgender staff, a confidential internal survey has revealed.

The figure represents more than one in 50 of the workforce – about four times higher than the proportion in the population at large.

And it stunned the BBC executive behind the research, who described the total number of trans employees, at 417, as ‘very, very high’.

Tunde Ogungbesan, the BBC’s director of diversity, has now launched a major reform to make the Corporation more ‘trans-friendly’ following the findings.

The facts – OK. But the action, why?

Having a portion of something 4 times that in the general population would seem to indicate already being pretty friendly to that something, no?

Can’t you just smell the subsidy coming here?

The rise of so-called “fake news” means it is “vital” that high-quality journalism is supported, the Culture Secretary has said as he launched the latest stage of an inquiry into press sustainability.

Matt Hancock said a “fearless and independent press” is one of the foundation stones of democracy, but has been undermined by “dramatic technological changes”.

New research shows revenues from circulation and print advertising have fallen from £7 billion to just over £3 billion over the last decade as Facebook, Google and other websites have swallowed up an ever greater share of advertising spend.

At the same time, a Government review has highlighted “the role and impact of digital search engines…

They’re going to try and tax that digital side to support that legacy media. You can just taste the thought, can’t you?

All British media in a BBC style financial straightjacket.

Media plurality my arse.

Normally I’d be against mob rule

But since the Two Minute Hate is aimed at Trumpistas I’m just fine with it. Emmanuel Goldstein would be beyond the pale, but a Press Spokesman?

Donald Trump’s enforcers have lost the right to civil courtesy
Gary Younge

Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ ejection from the Red Hen restaurant might ordinarily be dubious. But these are no ordinary times

Recall, these are the people who insist it should be illegal to stand outside an abortion clinic and ask those entering whether they really, really, want to kill their own child.

One can have any view you like either way but both seem a bit odd.

Isn’t this fun?

Arron Banks, who funded Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU campaign, talked about using private investigators to dig up dirt on journalists looking into his business activities, evidence seen by the Observer suggests.

Last week, the Observer published evidence that suggested Leave.EU co-ordinated its social media messaging with the Kremlin, including re-tweeting attacks against journalists and MPs by the Russian embassy.

But shocking new evidence includes emails from the same period in which Banks and Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s press spokesman and Banks’s business partner, appear to discuss hunting for “personal stuff” to use against Ian Katz, who was editor of the BBC’s Newsnight at the time.

Investigative journalist, using stolen emails to write her story, complains that journalists might be investigated.

Geese, meet ganders.

The important thing about Facebook

It doesn’t actually sell data:

“If the goal of Cambridge Analtyica was to show personalized advertisements on Facebook, then what they did was stupid,” Kogan said, arguing that it is much more effective for any advertiser to use Facebook’s own advertising targeting tools.

They allow you to explore data so as to direct advertising programs. Entirely not the same thing at all.

No, really, there’s a difference between “Here’s some data for $” and “Here’s the tools which enable you to target ads, that’ll be $ for the ads please”

So, along with freedom comes calls for censorship

Amazon criticised for selling films promoting conspiracy theories on Prime

OK, Prime video has some nutters on it.

But as concern over online misinformation mounts The Sunday Telegraph can reveal it is also propagating the bizarre fantasies of Alex Jones and David Icke.

Mr Jones is a leading figure in the so-called US alt-right, known for his paranoid anti-government rants online.

OK. And here’s the kicker:

Amazon’s dissemination of conspiracy theories as part of a service challenging traditional television is likely to stoke debate over regulation.

The BBC and Channel 4 are demanding rule to ensure their programmes – which are produced under strict rules of accuracy – are guaranteed prominence as a shift to on-demand viewing via apps instead of channel menus accelerates.

On-demand-only programming is currently subject to much more relaxed regulation, although the Government has signalled a crackdown is in the works. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

They do indeed want to censor.

And they can go boil their heads, too.

About Tommy Robinson

From the comments:

Tim–why don’t you put your article about Tommy Robinson up on here?

It is not to your credit that you are with the likes of Seaman Staines, Ole Holebone and others buying the state’s COCrot.

OK, so here’s how I read it right now.

Tommy Robinson has been an idiot and broken a law he had been warned about, indeed convicted of breaching before.

Contempt of court is a serious crime. As it should be. As is potentially prejudicing a trial that’s underway.

Why is it a serious crime? Because everyone does deserve a fair trail. And the worse the crime, the more the possible criminal is someone we don’t, or might not, like then the more essential is the fairness of that trial.

Tommy’s in jail because he was being an idiot tosspot. Nowt else.

Well, yes, sorta, maybe

The “right to keep and bear arms” was included as the second amendment to the US constitution in 1791 (Report, 17 February). Surely it would be logical to restrict that right to the types of guns available at the time: muskets and flintlock pistols? Semi-automatic guns have no place in private hands.
Elaine Yeo
Enfield, Middlesex

The logical restriction would be to what you can make at home. On the very simple grounds that you’ll never really be able to regulate that anyway.

It’s amazing what you can make with a hobby CNC machine these days. There’s even that high school student who made a nuclear bomb (sans payload, to be sure).

There’s sharing information and then there’s sharing information

Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn were part of a group of at least 15 senior Labour figures who shared information with Eastern bloc agents, it is claimed.

Jan Sarkocy, a former Czechoslovak spy, described the MPs as “great sources” to himself or his colleagues in the KGB.

The new claims come after he said on Friday that the Labour leader had shared information with the Communist Czechoslovak regime.

My own opinion – based upon no evidence other than just this is what I think they would have done – is that they were over the line. That line between “Here’s a newspaper article” and into “I desire that the system be smashed, here’s some good info.”

But it does depend upon where you draw the line. A generous drawing of it, a too generous one, would have me myself as an agent of the Americans, Brits, Russians and N Koreans all at the same time. That there were some really taking Moscow Gold is known fact. That all were not so. Most I would think would fall under the Tony Benn exception. Regarded by the Soviets as too dippy to be reliable.

Lie detectors don’t work

Lie detectors have been used to send 160 sex offenders back to prison, Ministry of Justice figures have revealed.

Probation officers have sent paedophiles and convicted sex offenders back behind bars after flagging up concerns about their behaviour or the answers they gave to the polygraph tests.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) started using lie detectors on convicted sex offenders in August 2014 and around 50 people are tested on the machines every month.

Officials have the power to send sex offenders back to prison if the results of the cross examination on the lie detectors trigger concerns for public safety.

Bit of a problem that, isn’t it?

Psychologically they can:

“The machine says you’re lying”

“Yes, sob, sob”

But other than that they don’t. Not the basis upon which we should be jugging people.

Seems entirely reasonable

Almost two thirds of Muslim women who marry in the UK are not legally wed because their Sharia ceremonies are not registered in law. The percentage is rising, with estimates suggesting there are as many as 100,000 people in unregistered marriages among the 2.7 million Muslims in the UK.

Civil registration — as with all other marriages in Britain — would provide couples, particularly women, with the protections and rights of family laws, ensuring that they face fewer “discriminatory practices,” a recent report commissioned by the government has concluded.

All marriages in England (at least) which are legal marriages are civil registered. Sure, often enough it’s the priest, vicar or rabbi doing the paperwork but that’s what is happening.

So, why not?

Note that this isn’t to try and have special rules for Muslims. This is to afford them the same rules as everyone else.

About that modern slavery

Nearly 200 migrant workers who were ‘rescued’ by anti-slavery police yesterday were back at work on the farm today.

It comes after at least 100 of the workers descended on Camborne Police Station, Cornwall, last night to protest their boss’ arrest at RH Scrimshaw and Sons at Bosahan Farm.

The huge crowd of workers gathered in anger stating they were not victims of slavery and worked in good conditions — and could earn up to £250 a day.

They were part of a group of around 200 people found when police swooped on the site yesterday morning.


Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that the three arrested men were aged 68, 49 and 41 – and one was not 61 as earlier released.

Now, about those 100,000 Vietnamese tarts in the nail bars…..

Does he keep the anonymity if found guilty?

The alleged fantasist who sparked the Westminster paedophile investigation has been charged with child sex offences.

The man, who can only be identified as Nick, was arrested last year and has already appeared in court, charged with multiple offences relating to allegations of making and possessing hundreds of indecent images of children. He has also been charged with voyeurism.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which allegedly took place between 2015 and 2016, and is expected to stand trial later this year.

Isn’t it something of a breach of civil liberty for someone anonymous to be convicted? You know, justice must be seen to be done? One of the points being that no one can just get railroaded, we’ve got to know who is being punished for what?

But this isn’t the way we do it

John Worboys will be asked if he objects to wearing an electronic tag when he is eventually released from prison.

Worboys, 60, dubbed the ‘black cab rapist’, was due to be freed at the end of last month after being granted parole.

The Telegraph has learnt that the original conditions for Worboys’ release allowed him to live in London and without an electronic tag.

A Parole Board judged him no longer a risk to the public at a hearing in December despite complaints that he drugged and sexually assaulted more than 100 women while working as a London taxi driver.

Victims have now protested to the Parole Board about the terms of his release. They are demanding he is tagged and is banned from London where most of his victims live.

It’s the Queen’s justice, not mob justice, or good reason.

Given the democracy bit it’s absolutely fine to shout about how the law should be changed. But not to insist that a specific individual be subject to punishment not sentenced to by a court, nor that a specific individual must be punished without the law.

What a lovely anti-corruption drive this is

Several high-profile politicians who were close to Grace Mugabe, the former first lady, and opponents of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new president, have already been detained, prompting concerns that graft investigations might be used as a political tool.

“The big worry is that there is really no comprehensive anti-corruption drive but rather … some kind of witch-hunt by a victorious faction within the Zanu-PF … This is nothing to do with ending corruption, but a lot to do with vengeance,” said Dewa Mavhinga, Human Rights Watch’s southern Africa director.

And vengeance against those who have plundered a country is bad because?