Tag Archive: Liberty


Rights and Privileges

The first time I heard someone say that if you commit a crime you lose all your human rights it was from James Whale.  I didn’t believe he meant that and I thought he said it deliberately with all his characteristic bile (this is how they pitch at that particular audience), in full knowledge of the fact that there is a difference between rights and privileges.  If you believe in human rights they must be inalienable.  You never stop being a human being, no matter what.   I was very concerned last night to see the director of Liberty unable to counter that argument.  She appeared to be at a loss. 

Before people talk about replacing the European Human Rights Bill with a Citizen’s Rights ruling for the UK, I wonder if the people who want to do that also want to invalidate the fact that it was largely, if not entriely, the UK that drafted the Human Rights Bill in the first place. 

Giving an undeserving person in prison the vote along with the deserving does no harm.  They can only vote for what the law allows.  So I say, if a party is illegal in nature, you should not allow it to stand for election.  You can’t blame the voters if you as the decision makers will not take that stand.  It isn’t fair to whip the populace for choosing something you have allowed to be on offer.  If what is considered legal is seen as a democratic ruling, then it is up to those in power to take the responsibility to uphold that ruling, and barr what is illegal.  Please stop having whinging public arguments about it.  It seems fairly clear to me 🙂  (Erm, excuse me, aberrant and ignorant 5 minutes).

Denying the vote to a deserving prisoner at the same time as denying it to an undeserving prisoner, though, can indeed cause a lot of harm.

I say that whoever is against this European ruling is wrong, and needs their human competence examined.  Look at the recording.  Look at the hatred that flares up in the eyes of the woman who positions herself against it.  That is what I personally find horrifying every time I meet it.  It’s witch hunt, scapegoat stuff.  It’s a nasty, irresponsible loosing of base, blind passions to make decisions about how we are to govern ourselves.  That is validated every day by politicians and media.  So everyone thinks they have a right to relate out of those passions in every day life, even if they hold power.  Guys, are you trying to get us to self-destruct?  Is that your aim and goal? Because it most certainly looks like it from where I am.

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OK first impressions of last night’s show, but drawing on stuff I’ve known for ages.

Jack Straw introduced control orders.  I didn’t know that.  I also didn’t realise until fairly recently that I had been the subject of a limited(?) control order, although actually I think mine was more pernicious than what they say a full control order is, there was a denial that it was happening, and I kept being put in a mental hospital, and the media was on my case.  So while I did not have the physical accoutrements of a full control order – tagging, curfew (I had the phone and computer monitoring and probably hidden surveillance in my flat, even though I had my own sweep done for bugging devices and they said it was clean.  I asked about conflict of interests and everything and I knew they sold their services to bigger interests than mine, and if they were told to say they hadn’t found anything, that’s obviously what they would have done.  Maybe they took a chance on the probability that I wouldn’t conduct my own.  They also said that bugging devices are obvious.  I don’t know.  I have no experience or knowledge.) I did have those things effectively imposed by psychological means.  Unless I am exalting myself beyond measure.  Maybe I really am just a woman who has fallen by the wayside in the same normal, humdrum way as many others, and at this stage of my life I want someone to blame.  All I intend to say on this is, if I was subject to a control order, I was far too distracted to understand that that was what was happening to me, and everyone else in positions of immediate power in my situation affected by the media involvement was too busy playing hide and seek and blame the psycho to even think of involving me in what was happening at an early stage, even though they knew it was and I was open about the fact that I knew it was.  I just saw it as stalking.  I knew nothing of control orders.  The authorities didn’t want to know, I saw it as obviously criminal, and I had no one to turn to.

Some other things about Jack Straw.  I used to see this as just a winsome serendipity, but there is a pub in Hampstead called Jack Straw’s Castle (unless it has closed, I heard something to that effect).  When I was at college (when the degrees were handed out I was the last one on the platform because I got the lowest degree of my section, it’s not even honours), I spent a year obsessing over an essay on Thom Gunn, an English Poet who moved to California in America.  He has a book of poetry called Jack Straw’s Castle, named after one of his poems.  Jack Straw’s Castle was his local pub.  He died a few years ago.  The part of the essay title that got me was, ‘Wherever I am, I am what is missing’.  I didn’t have to use Thom Gunn’s poetry, but it is a quotation from one of his poems, and I did use his poetry.  It felt at the time like a very deep experience for me.  It took all my time and energy that year (worrying about it and working it) and I got nothing else done.  That’s why I didn’t even get Honours.  I think most of my essays were 2.1/2.2 standard.

Here, for me, is the heavy part about Jack Straw, the politician (These guys are asking for my surrender, and I am a surrender monkey.  This goes against the grain for me, and against my conscience).  He is a consumate actor.  He is doing my uncle to a tee.  The hunched-overness, the facial expressions, the vocal patterns and expressions.  At the beginning of the programme last night, he hunched over his notebook writing whatever in a way totally reminiscent of my uncle hunched over his racing form book.  But there was guilt flashing around all over that studio last night. Watch him carefully, and you will see he sometimes loses the act and straightens up physically and poshes/intellectuals out in his bearing and air.

I believe, from the last time I was with my uncle, that he is having the same problems I am.  I do not know how Jack Straw has got hold of this impression of my uncle, but from what they were saying about control orders last night, it made me think my uncle has also been a subject of surveillance.  I may be wrong.  That’s where the ‘invading family life’ bit of my post title comes in.  My uncle’s name is Frank.

Liberty was also represented there.  I have written to them twice since I have been here.  The first time I got an answer saying that it wasn’t the kind of thing they dealt with, and the second time I got no answer.  I had asked to be put in touch with Shami Chakrabarti.  I had seen her apparently being worked over, so it looked to me at the time, by Jeremy Paxman.  To me it is obvious that she is aware of my communication.  She didn’t appear to be thinking very clearly last night on the subject of votes to prisoners, for a human rights campaigner.  perhaps i have given her more credit than she is due.  As someone who has had some teaching on how to read literature and presentations, and as someone who has been involved in performance arts, I think I can say that I know they were working the audience.

I’ve only watched the programme once so far, but she was giving the performance of her life.  When she adopted the little girl lost tone when she said, ‘what, all of them?’, over the loss of rights in prison, the audience was right there with her.  There was a definite, sympathetic attention shift.  And that is what they were looking for.  The dictat is ‘keep smiling, keep talking’, but all the time your mind is working and you know what you are looking for, at least, that is how it was last night, I am fully convinced and sure.  And what it said to me was that, if the audience is in any way representative, our politicians and rulers have broken the hearts of our nation.  So I’m not alone after all. 

That will do me for now.

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