Jul 242012

As usual when people pursue a single issue, logic fails and the plot gets lost. That is the case with what David Gauke, a Treasury minister said, and/or with the discussion that followed it: David Gauke: we shouldn’t ignore hidden economy Paying tradesmen cash in hand morally wrong, says minister Money Morals: Is it really morally wrong to pay my cleaner in cash? How ‘morally wrong’ is it to pay cash-in-hand? “David Gauke, a Treasury minister, told The Daily Telegraph that home owners who allow workmen to evade VAT or income tax were forcing others to pay more”. To show . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Feb 212012

Yet again, “Koran burning” is in the news: BBC: Nato apologises for Afghan Koran ‘burning’ Telegraph: Afghanistan erupts over Koran ‘burning’ There is confusion about whether it is always wrong to burn the Koran, (it isn’t), and if not what the principles are. First, let’s get back to basics. According to Islam, the Koran (or Qur’an) is text from Allah in ( now medieval) Arabic, originally read to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel. When written in book-form, it is properly called a Mushaf, (there are various spellings), although many Muslims and non-Muslims also call the book-form the Koran. (See The . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Dec 022011

The British Security Industry Association has published a 4-page PDF guide to its members about how they should treat photographers. (Thanks to the RPS Journal for this link). Some extracts Key guidance for security personnel If an individual is in a public place photographing or filming a private building, security guards have no right to prevent the individual from taking photographs. If an individual is on private property, s/he may not take photographs if such activity is expressly prohibited or requires a permit which has not been sought or granted. In this instance, a security guard may inform the individual . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Oct 022011

I won’t repeated some of the basics covered in Human Rights Act versus Bill of Rights. Instead, I’m puzzled about some attacks on the Human Rights Act that are being made at the moment. I’ll comment on Bill Carmichael: When rights are so wrong, because it appears compatible with other views. There appears to be a lack of logic: Take just one example this week – the case of Siraj Yassin Abdullah Ali, an Eritrean convicted of helping an al-Qaida cell plot bomb attacks on London tube trains and buses, just two weeks after 52 people were murdered in the . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Sep 252011

The Ministry of Justice is currently consulting on a white paper which seeks to criminalise squatting of buildings where there is no resident. All sides of the debate are publicly making their cases. Here’s mine. (My formal response to the consultation is at the end). The UK has various laws on squatting: Wikipedia: Squatting in the UK (summary) Wikipedia: Squatting in England I have just one home, and obviously I am sometimes away for a few days, on holiday or staying with other people. If someone gets into it while I am away, and squats in it, I can get . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Sep 222011
The human rights of intruders

I believe that I have (or should have) the right to kill an intruder in my house to protect myself from injury (and not just serious injury). Does that mean I think that “intruders leave their human rights at the door“? No! I believe human rights are universal, and the intruder retains them even when attacking me. But that doesn’t mean I should have to hesitate before killing the intruder, and I wouldn’t be violating the intruder’s rights. Those statements may appear to be contradictory. I believe they are consistent. This post explains why I think that. (I am a . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Sep 022011
Abortion - some unemotional analysis

Abortion is in the news in the UK. See: Nadine Dorries’ abortion proposals – Fact and Fiction I am among the least qualified to comment on abortion. I am a childfree man who is not likely to be remotely involved in such a process in the foreseeable future. But my detachment may be useful for introducing some analysis to this topic. (I don’t claim originality for most of the ideas here, but it would hard to cite all the influences). Trying to treat an inherently emotional subject unemotionally leaves out a lot that is important. I expect there is something . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 232011

A Demos report “The Truth About Suicide” (by Louise Bazalgette, William Bradley, and Jenny Ousbey) has hit the headlines. It suggests that at least 10% of suicides are by people with chronic or terminal illnesses. Let us hope that an important message is finally heard and understood: Sometimes suicide is a rational and sensible way of handling an illness or disability, and support or assistance rather than prevention is sometimes the best response. (Disclaimer: I am a paid-up member of “Dignity in Dying“, which lobbies for a change in the law on assisted dying. I want the change to the . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]