Jun 10

16 year prison sentence over forced marriage …

coupleThere is clearly a significant difference between a marriage of passion, an arranged marriage’, and a forced marriage.

Indeed, there is a great deal of argument that arranged marriages last longer as partners grow to love and respect each other.  Obviously, supporters of marriages of passion may disagree.

Whatever the arguments over ‘marriages of passion’ and ‘arranged marriages’, there is no doubt that both of them are significantly different to ‘forced marriages’. A recent criminal law case has resulted in a Cardiff businessman being sent to prison for 16 years after forcing a 25 year old woman into marriage. Forced marriages are prosecuted under Part 10 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Note also that Personal Tutors, Teachers, and/or Social Workers, will support anybody needing advice/help.

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Jun 06

Homework ban …

penNews that a top College are thinking of establishing a homework ban may not be all that it seems. Yes, it is true that they are contemplating reducing homework requirements. However, what they are also thinking of doing is introducing a form of ‘read and precise methodology’ prior to lessons.

‘Read and precise’ is something I have been pushing for many years. The idea is that a student should prepare for a lesson by reading about the subject of the lesson prior to the lesson delivery. What this should do is make the student feel confident about the subject area, which allows them to enjoy the lesson as they confidently participate in the class discussions.

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May 31

Jewish woman wins discrimination case …

jewishThe news story of a Jewish woman, who was refused a job because she cannot work Saturday’s, is a clear warning to businesses. Indeed, the compensation of around £16k makes clear that businesses need to ensure compliance with the law. It can be unlawful to discriminate in relation to existing staff, possible future staff via the recruitment process, and the provision of services.  See the news story.

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May 24

155 people jailed for internet trolling …

ITSky News reports that 1,209 people were convicted of internet “trolling” last year – equivalent to three guilty verdicts per day.

Of those convicted, 155 were jailed for sending messages or other material which was “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

The offence falls under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which was rarely used before the invention of social media networks in recent years. See ‘Think before you twitter”

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May 23

Is the PM trying to ‘hoodwink’ the electorate?

  EU       Is the PM trying to ‘hoodwink’ the electorate?

The Prime Minister David Cameron is to “get tough on immigration”. That, at least, is his claim. In reality, net immigration is at 318,000, of which a significant proportion derive from the free movement of EU workers.

The problem for the government is that in order to reach the PM’s promise of lowering immigration to the “tens of thousands”, they may need to somehow limit the number of EU citizens migrating to the UK. To do that, there will need to be a change to the free movement of workers rules that are central to the EU Treaty. Read More »

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May 19

Do equality laws “need changing”?

balanceThe decision in the Ashers Bakery ‘Gay Cake’ case – read the judgement of the court – will only serve to strengthen calls for parliament to pass legislation to protect religious freedom. That is for a form of religious conscience defence in discrimination cases. Former judge Sir Michael Tugendhat’s has argued that freedom which is confined entirely to the privacy of a person’s home is a form of oppression. He further argues that recent changes to equality law have led to a major increase in the number of Christians being marginalised for their faith.

His view is that laws have been rushed through parliament without a proper balancing of rights.

There is another view. If, for example, I ask Ashers Bakery to bake a cake with a “Love from Peter” message on. The message of love comes from me, and not the baker. The baker does have to agree with. or share. my love to bake and ice the cake.  He provides a service to the public. He should have baked and iced the ‘gay cake’.

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May 18

Travellers win discrimination case …

travellers

J. D. Witherspoon must pay £3000 in compensation to eight individuals, after travellers were turned away from a North London public house. 

Lawyers for The Traveller Movement claimed 15 people were turned away from The Coronet on Holloway Road on a day in November 2011.

They included travellers attending their annual conference taking place nearby, as well as a police inspector, a barrister and a priest who the pub “associated” with the group.

Pub owners JD Wetherspoon denied allegations of discrimination – but a judge at Central London County Court awarded eight individuals £3,000 each for “injury to feelings”.

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May 18

Love and forgiveness

scalesThere is no doubt that Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as Chair of the ‘South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission’, played a significant role in building the work of the commission around a Christian ideology. The evidence given was clear, with some of the crimes investigated openly classed as being evil, with murder and human rights violations evident.[1] Read More »

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May 11

Nagged husband syndrome

naggedThis news story of a “nagged husband” who had to flee to a safe house reminds me of my claim that one day a man will be able to use the defence of “nagged husband” to establish a ‘voluntary manslaughter’ loss of control defence: ‘See S55(4) of the Coroners & Justice Act 2009 in which things ‘done or said’ (or both) – restricted to: (a) Of an extremely grave character, (b) Caused D to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged.

Most students have ridiculed my suggestion. They may be right to do so, but the above news story does at least recognise the issue.

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May 10

Labour & Lib Dems need to ditch austerity policies.

austerity-britainBoth the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party did badly in the General Election. In Scotland the Labour vote collapsed, and it is clear to me that the anti-austerity policy of the SNP helped clarify the conservatism evident within the Labour Party message.

The truth is that both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party were unfaithful to the political ideologies of their own parties. Indeed, the Labour Party (socialist) and Liberal Democrat Party (libertarian) have a very different political ideology to the Conservative Party.  The ‘austerity’ agenda fitted in perfectly with the Conservative ideology. Austerity does not fit in with the Labour Party or Liberal Democrat Party ideologies, and that is why they both had a major problem at the polls.

Now, both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party need to find new leaders and plan for 2020. In doing so, they should recognise that the economic position will be very different at the time of the next General Election.  By 2020 the EU argument should be put to bed – with a referendum providing an opportunity for all political parties to rid itself of the unwelcome and divisive ghost from periods past.  If we stay in the EU, the issue is decided. If we leave,  we will have a whole new set of problems to worry about.

The Tories have promised to get rid of the need for austerity by 2017/18. This means that both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party now need to prepare for 2020 by moving away from the Tory agenda of  ‘austerity’ policies. Indeed, both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party need to produce policies that are consistent with their own distinctive and inherent political ideologies.

Let the Tories continue to be the party of austerity. What both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party need to do is to establish policies for a period of post austerity.

Also published in GBP GBP.

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May 04

Prepare for the exams …

byebyeThe best way to prepare for the exams is to “Ditch your boyfriend or girlfriend until after the exams”. If they really care about you, then they will understand and be there at the end of the exams. If they don’t care, and are not there, then you did the right thing to ditch them.

You need to focus on revision.

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Apr 29

A voting lottery …

ballotAlso published in GBP GBP.

With opinion polls suggesting that the General Election is too close to call, there is a real possibility that the election could be decided by the Russell Brand’s of this world. Indeed, people failing to vote could help determine whether David Cameron or Ed Milliband will get into Number 10.

Davis Winnick MP called for voting in elections to be made a “civic duty’. He introduced a bill before the House of Commons and argued that: “The right to vote is the most fundamental tenet of democracy and yet millions do not exercise it.”

In Australia, where a similar law exists, 93% of the public voted in the last General Election. This compares to just 65% in the UK – when 16 million registered voters did not vote.

Personally, I do not favour making it illegal to fail to vote. I would give everyone who votes five lottery tickets – with a chance to win a million pounds. Such an approach would encourage voting.

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Apr 20

Europe and free movement …

European-Union_240-animated-flag-gifsOver recent years a number of my wider family have migrated to other EU Countries. I have relatives now living in Spain and Portugal. I also have friends and former work mates living in France and Spain.

These relatives and friends have taken advantage of the EU free market and migration rules that enable the free movement of capital, goods, and people. Read More »

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Apr 19

A tragic loss of life …

This article is also published in GBP GBP.

boatAccording to UNCHR estimates 3500 migrants died at sea in 2014. As frightening as that number seems, the events of the past few days signify that matters are getting significantly worse. This morning there are reports of 630 migrants drowning over night. This follows 400 who are presumed drowned a few days ago.

These migrants are fleeing from Libya and hoping to reach Italy for a safe heaven. As Pope Francis says, European nations cannot sit idly by and watch thousands drown.  We need to give a lifeline and open our doors to helping such migrants. We must show humanity.

We need to push the leaders of all UK political parties. They need to act on this issue. Ed Miliband is right to criticise EU leaders on this issue. He too needs to announce what steps need to be taken as a matter of urgency.

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Apr 18

Wearing a full-face veil in court …

burkaLord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, has argued that judges should show, and be seen to show, respect towards different customs.

“Well known examples include how some religions consider it inappropriate to take the oath, how some people consider it rude to look other people in the eye, how some women find it inappropriate to appear in public with their face uncovered, and how some people deem it inappropriate to confront others or to be confronted – for instance with an outright denial.

In effect, he is calling on Judges to show regard for the customs of others. While such an approach is obviously desirable, there is concern that the use of a veil by a witness could hamper the giving of evidence – with facial expressions an important element of evidence delivery.

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Apr 17

A stupid suffocating ‘sleeper’ prank …

prisonGreater Manchester Police have warned of a stupid suffocating ‘sleeper’ prank being played by school children. The prank involves one child/person covering the mouth and nose of a another person until they pass out due to a lack of oxygen. The dangers from such is obvious – with victims going unconscious, with a danger of them dying.

As per R v Woolin [1998], if a person dies and the jury determine – beyond reasonable doubt – that ‘the defendant recognised that death or serious injury was a virtual certain outcome’, then life imprisonment for ‘murder’ is applicable. At best, the defendant could hope that (as per R v Church [1966]) they would be found guilty of dangerous/illegal act ‘involuntary manslaughter’.  Any child, of 10 years or older, could be charged with murder/manslaughter.

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Apr 15

Job sharing for MP’s …

jobshare

This article is also published in GBP GBP.

There are reports that returning officers have rejected nomination papers for candidates who wished to job share as an elected Member of Parliament.

For my part, I do not see why a Member of Parliament could not work on a job share basis. Indeed, many MP’s continue to work as Directors while also serving as MP’s. It follows that they too could be described as work sharing MP’s.

Job sharing or work sharing is an employment arrangement where typically two people are retained on a part-time or reduced-time basis to perform a job normally fulfilled by one person working full-time. Compensation is apportioned between the workers, thus leading to a net reduction in per-employee income.

Read More »

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