Jack Shepherd the runaway speedboat murder is back in the UK behind bars where he belongs to serve his sentence, and he’s had another six months added on for going on the run. Not really looked into it but the original sentence looks short to me anyway!
On the same theme, Julian Assange is also behind bars and facing extradition proceedings from the US. The founder of WikiLeaks could also, we read, now face fresh charges from Sweden. I am a great believer, as you know, in free speech and openness. At times, upholding our belief in free speech can actually expose us to threat as we have seen with hate preachers. There are people doing highly dangerous jobs that we don’t know about to enable us to enjoy this privilege. Maybe that is the price we pay and to have them exposed, as Assange did, to additional unnecessary risk I see as treason.
There’s a lot of good about this week so let’s have a couple of bonuses!
We learn that Audrey Hepburn wasn’t just one of the great actresses of her time, but that she helped a British paratrooper evade the Nazis when they were occupying Holland in 1944. She was only 15 at the time!
Sir Mick Jagger is out of hospital after his heart valve operation and All Right Now! Rock on, Mick!
I had an argument with one of my sons, in his forties, recently when I was left on grandad duty for a couple of days. He said something about the Sky Box listening to us and I said rubbish! Yes, it knows the sort of TV we like but that’s not intrusive. No different to the supermarket knowing what beer I like
However, it has now been admitted that staff at Amazon can eavesdrop on us through Alexa. Well, not me because I haven’t got one! Apparently, the software exists to help check that the kit is working properly… that’s a novel after-sales service idea! It appears not to be limited to Alexa either, with Apple and Google being able to do the same with Siri and Google Home. I thought we had a Data Protection Law, but it appears that listening to me giving my bank details over the phone via a piece of kit I have for pleasure and didn’t know could do that, is OK. But if I send you an unsolicited email promoting something and creating jobs, then I’m a villain. Many of us gave a sigh of relief when 1984 came and went. Did George Orwell just have his clock wrong!?
I don’t know about you, but I find TV family game shows sickening! An investigation by the Daily Mail shows they are actually damaging society as they are enticing people to gamble. Matt Zarb-Cousin from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling (does that mean loading the odds in the punters favour?!) said, “Betting brands are becoming entrenched in popular culture. This has given rise to the misplaced perception that gambling is much safer than it is.”
I suppose I’m lucky that it holds no interest for me. If I draw a horse in a Grand National sweepstake it probably gets put down the day before. But what drives the gambler, what motivates them? Thrill of the competition, thrill of the risk? Why not try sport, tasks against the clock, or climbing Everest! Or maybe it is a symptom of modern life… get rich quick.
If you want a night out on class B drugs, take a trip to the West Midlands aka the Cannabis Capital of Britain. You won’t get nicked because the Chief Constable, Dave Thompson, doesn’t want to ruin your life chances! I’ve never taken drugs, but if I was there and did, how would he justify that in my case?
But the serious point is we are a United Kingdom with one set of laws. There are too many post code lotteries, especially the Health Service, but this is totally irresponsible. Now, oddly enough Dave, I’d be willing to give you a hearing of the value of reviewing some of our drugs laws and considering if they should be changed. Ben Elton makes a compelling case, but while it is the law, it is also your job to make sure it is enforced. The law of the land is not an a la carte menu where you can pick and choose the bits you want to enforce. On that basis, why can’t we then pick and choose the bits we want to adhere to. Madness that leads to a dangerous place!
Well, we all know that we were due to leave the EU on 29th March. It appears no-one told the Passport Office that we hadn’t because on 1stApril, no joke, they started issuing United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland passports! Although, you’d have to actually read it to see that as it’s red and looks like an EU passport, not blue like a British passport. What happens if we don’t leave? It’ll become a collectors piece I imagine.
In addition, what if you find yourself in front of a job worthy immigration official in some country that doesn’t like the British? Maybe they won’t let you in! After all, it is not actually a legit passport. Are we that disorganised and shambolic that we couldn’t carry on with the EU passports? The answer, I am ashamed to say… is yes! I’m reminded again of that lovely Irish ballad, ‘When I was a lad!’ The really scary thing is this actually isn’t me being a dyslectic old GTI, it is how sloppy we’ve become! Madness.