February 2006 Archives

Ken Livingstone seems to be dragging out the whole "concentration camp guard / German war criminal" jibe debacle, by obtaining from a a High Court Judge, a temporary stay of his 4 week suspension as Mayor of London which was due to start tomorrow, March 1st 2006, until his appeal is heard in the High Court, sometime in the future.

Those people who are repeating the propaganda about "unelected tribunals" versus "democratically elected politicians" need to be reminded that High Court Judges are not elected, but are appointed, for good reasons. There do not seem to be any complaints about "unelected High Court Judges" from Ken Livingstone when they grant him something which he wants.

It seems that this suspension of the Mayor of London will be on full pay, but that the legal costs, claimed to be £80,000 for the Adjudication Panel tribunal will have to be borne by Ken.

Any award of legal costs in the High Court is up to the Judge, who may or may not award them to Ken, win or lose.

When you are in a hole, stop digging.

According to The Guardian and others:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which pursued the complaint against Mr Livingstone after members of the London assembly had already censured him, represented only a "small section of the [Jewish] community," he said. A higher proportion of Jewish Londoners had given him their first preference vote in the 2004 mayoral election than had Londoners as a whole.

It is inconceivable that any of the people who voted for Ken Livingstone in 2004 then expected him to be makling the comments which he did in 2005.

How many of those people would still support him now, if he resigned and stood for re-election now ?

The Guardian quotes Ken Livingstone on his 4 week suspension:


The decision to suspend Mr Livingstone, who was elected with sizeable majorities in 2000 and 2004, was taken by the Adjudication Panel, the government body which deals with serious disciplinary cases involving local government.

Its three members comprised a lawyer, a former local authority chief executive and a lay member. Last night it seemed certain that Mr Livingstone would challenge the decision in the courts.

"This decision strikes at the heart of democracy. Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters or for breaking the law," he said. "Three members of a body that no one has ever elected should not be allowed to overturn the votes of millions of Londoners." He said he will decide next week whether to challenge the decision at the high court."

Both The Guardian and Ken Livingstone seem to have conveniently forgotten just how few people did actually bother to vote for him in the 2004 election

1st Choice votes: 685,541

2nd Choice votes: 142,839

(On papers where the 1st and 2nd choice vote were for the top two candidates, the second choice votes were not counted.)

Total votes for Ken Livingstone: 828,380

Electorate: 5,197,647

So only about 13% (1st choice) to 16% (including the 2nd choice votes) of the electorate chose to vote for him.

Even including the 2nd choice votes, to claim that "the votes of millions of Londoners" were cast in favour of Ken Livingstone is untrue

The Decision by the Adjudication Panel for England to suspend Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London for 4 weeks from 1st March 2006 , is now available online, but only as am Adobe .pdf image scan of a faxed document.

Given the public interest in informed discussuon on this topic , bothe here on tis Mayor of London blog, and elsewhere, we have transcribed this 5 page document into text below. N.B. there are a couple of strange "word processor" type errors in the document:

The BBC tv news is reporting Ken Livingstone has been suspended for 4 weeks from 1st March by the Adjudication Panel for England

No doubt he will appeal this decision,.

The full decision will probably be available online "within 14 days" on the Adjudication Panel for England website

Again we ask, will the taxpayers of London end up paying these , presumably large, legal costs ?

Ir will be a further scandal if he continues to be paid salary and expenses during this 4 week suspension.

What a disgrace !

The TV media are reporting that Ken Livingstone has been "found guilty" of btinging the office of the Mayor of London into disrepute, over his stupid "concentration camp guard" insults to a Jewish reporter for the Evening Standard, and his subsequent attempts to bully and brazen his way out of the ensuing media frenzy, which certainly reflected badly on the international reputation of London.

Why he could not have apologised months ago is mystery.

We await the decision of the rather pompously named Adjudication Panel for England , to which the complaint to the Standards Board for England was referred, to see what punishment, if any they impose.

In theory they could disbarr Ken Livingstone from public office, but that would seem to be unlikely, unless, for example, they order him to apologise, and he defies them.

Who pays for Ken Livingstone's legal costs ?

Are the taxpayers of London going to be stung for the legal fees in this case ?

The Independent carries a report that details of Project Cyclamen are to be presented to the Metropolitan Poice Authority:

Hunt for 'dirty' bombs is stepped up with new passenger scanners By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent Published: 22 February 2006

Screening systems to stop terrorists from smuggling nuclear devices - such as atom or "dirty" bombs - into Britain are being installed at airports, ports and railway stations. Scotland Yard will also test people on the streets of London for nuclear weapons or radioactive material.

[...]

The Home Office and the Metropolitan Police have been trialling a series of initiatives to stop a chemical, biological or radioactive attack, and deal with the aftermath of any such terrorist incident, a new report details. Radioactive detection devices have already been fitted at Waterloo international station and Heathrow and Gatwick airports, and all major ports of entry are having similar systems deployed. The Metropolitan Police are trialling a vehicle that contains a machine to detect radioactive material and a "walk-through" scanner.

Ten further vehicles - known as mobile radiation detection units - to take part in stop-and-search and anti-terrorist operations are planned for other parts of the country.

In London the Met intends to fit patrol officers with "escape hoods" that allow them to breathe safely if they come under a radiological, biological or chemical attack. They also have a people carrier that is for "extracting" what the Met calls "significant important persons", such as politicians, police chiefs, and medical specialists, from radiological, chemical or biological attacks, and then decontaminating them.

No decontamination facilities for the general public then, only for "significant important persons" ? That is not acceptable !

Details of the measures, which are part of Operation Cyclamen, are disclosed in a report by Commander Mick Messenger, the officer in charge of the forces response to chemical biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents. It is being presented to the police authority in London tomorrow.

Commander Messenger's report says: "The MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] will be involved in trials of the mobile radiological detection capability and use of a pedestrian portal.

"Radiological detection has been/is being installed in major ports and transport hubs. Waterloo international station and Heathrow airport have fixed detection capabilities."

He adds: "Since '9/11' the Metropolitan Police Service has been developing an operational response to a deliberate release of a chemical, biological or radioactive material."

The senior officer discloses that the Met is examining plans to have specialist CBRN teams that can be deployed with firearms officers and surveillance units to check for traces of contamination or radioactivity around a terrorist hideout.

Whoaaa ! Hold on a moment !

Radiation detectors are one thing, but issuing them to the sort of combined surveillance and firearms teams which were involved in the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting could be the recipe for more innocent people to be killed as a result of the inevitable false alarms during a time of high alert.

The report says: "Officers are also equipped with a range of Home Office approved specialist equipment to assess the release of powder, liquid or vapour.

"In addition, the MPS has taken delivery of five purpose-built CBRN vehicles, including one specially designed for the extraction and decontamination of significant important persons."

Why is the Metropolitan Police Service wasting money on duplicating the decontamination functions of the Fire and Rescue Service, who should be far better trained, and have more real life experience of hazardous chemical incidents than the Metropolitan Police ever will ?

[...]

Screening systems to stop terrorists from smuggling nuclear devices - such as atom or "dirty" bombs - into Britain are being installed at airports, ports and railway stations. Scotland Yard will also test people on the streets of London for nuclear weapons or radioactive material.

Will the Greater London Assembly or the Metropolitan Police Authority even bother to ask about the training and procedures in the use of these radiation detectors, which will have to be very sensitive, and therefore error prone, if they are being pointed at random to try to scan people in crowds ?

If such detectors are to be of any use in detecting "dirty bombs" rather than actual nuclear weapons, they must be capable of detecting the radio isostopes used in medicine, as that could be one of the main sources of such material.

What about cancer patients and other patients undergoing medical radionucleide tracer procedures e.g. prior to a heart operation for mapping out fine blood vessels etc. ?

Such patients are already warned that they are could set off radiation detectors at airports, which is a controllable situation.

However, given the numbers of such patients in London at any one time, there is a non-negligable chance that their temporary radioactive state will be detected, in secret, or as they randomly pass by, or happen to live next door, ti where a surveillance and firearms team is staking out a suspected terrorist hideout,

There must be proper training and procedures in place to make sure that innocent radioactive medical patients are not threatened or killed by gun toting policemen in a panic, when the radiation detectors give an alarm.

The controversial brewers Shepherd Neame seem to be trying to be too clever by half, in their latest advert in the London Evening Standard for their mediocre Spitfire Ale.

Placed in exactly the same spot on the back page, directly under the Quick Crossword and the Sudoku puzzle, this latest attempt at humour
appears to make a cryptic reference to their similarly placed and very offensive Nazi "--SS" advert, for which they are awaiting a non-broadcast adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The slogan reads:"Gott in himmel, ve vill never break ziz code."

However, to the left of this mildly blasphemous oath (how is it appropriate or tasteful to invoke "God in Heaven" in order to advertise beer ?) is an upward pointing arrow symbol, (white with drop shadows). This symbol which was presumably deliberatly chosen, looks like another Nazi runic symbol used by the SS and by todays racist and white supremecist groups and individuals, as well as by some non-racist pagans: the Tyr Rune, named after a Norse god of battle and warfare.

Does the "ve vill never break ziz code" refer to the Advertising Standards Aurhority's Committee of Advertising Practice Code clause 5.1 (Decency) ?

DECENCY (ie avoiding serious or widespread offence)

5.1

Marketing communications should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability. Compliance with the Code will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards of decency.

This Tyr rune is far more obscure than the double Sig rune SS symbol which the previous advert carried, and is only likely to offend neo-nazis and racists who object to being associated with weak, warm, bland, mediocre Spitfire Ale,

Why can't Shepherd Neame actually use Spitfire aeroplane symbols in their adverts ?

N.B. there are plenty of other British beers which are superior to Spitfire Ale.

It is all very well for the Metropolitan Police or the Metropolitan Police Authority spokesmen to talk about "assessing the risks to public safety" and "collecting evidence for possible future arrests" with regard to the demonstraions outside of the Danish Embassy, where violent slogans were shouted and murderous threats were displayed on placards.

The existing public order and incitement to violence laws should have been perfectly adequate to deal with the situation, but the argument that not giving the oxygen of publicity to a minority of extremists by arresting them on the spot, is very sensible.

However, what then, is the justification for arresting, prosecuting and convicting people under the Serious Organsied Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area powers in Parliament Square or Whitehall, who have not uttered anything violent, and who were no possible threat to public order or national security or any hinderance to the operations of Parliament ?

If the Metroplitan Police are to command the respect of the people of London, they should be seen to be acting fairly, and treating all groups equally.

At the moment they do not appear to be doing so, on either "public order" or on "anti-terrorism" issues.


.

Ken Livingstone has published another fake public "consultation" regarding his "Low Emission Zone" plans which will cover the whole of London within the M25 starting in 2008.

Low Emission Zone Consultation

Frequently Asked Questions

This will cover all the 33 London Boroughs within the M25, but not the M25 itself, and will seek to limit particulate carbon air pollutants , which are mostly produced by pre-2001 vintage diesel engined lorries etc. through Yet Another Automatic Number Plate Recognition enforced system of fees (£100 to £200 a day) and fines (£ 1000 or more).

Unlike the London Congestion Charge, presumably this LEZ scheme will need to be run 24/7 and at weekends.

"It is proposed that the LEZ would be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras similar to those used for Congestion Charging. Fixed cameras would be supplemented by mobile patrol units fitted with ANPR cameras"

Why have they chosen the most intrusive and privacy unfriendly "control freak" way of enforcing this anti-pollution policy ?

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