Celebrity Witch Hunt

I'll get this out right away. I have no sympathy for people who predate on women and children, sexually or otherwise, and they should be prosecuted wherever possible.

But (you knew that was coming, didn't you)

I cannot agree with the current witch-hunt being propagated by the police and the CPS against middle grade celebs.

Leaving the Saville issue aside for the moment, lets consider a few of the more absurd points of these attempted prosecutions.

First, I'm sorry but I defy anybody to honestly be able to recall an event that happened 40 years ago with sufficient clarity to base a criminal prosecution on it.

Second, much of what is being held up as sexual harassment or assault is being measured against today's norms of acceptable behaviour. Regardless of the legal view, much of what is being classed as a crime in these cases was considered acceptable practise at the time the act was committed. In my mind, this violates natural justice.

Third, the argument 'well he was a famous celeb, nobody would listen to me' is utter rubbish. The police might not have, but the papers would have torn into any of the celebs currently being tried/charged with glee in a feeding frenzy of supposition and innuendo, with only the slightest hint of verification to the story.

These three considerations make the prosecutions of DLT and Bill Roach, and I suspect Freddie Star and Rolf Harris an utter mockery of the legal system.

Its even more of a mockery if you accept the significant probability that of them were intended to be followed up by civil cases for extensive compensation. And there surely has to be a strong, if not compelling argument to suggest that in the VAST majority of the cases brought against the men listed above, and even against Saville, the prospect of a payout is the driving force behind the accusations. Over a hundred people are today making representation in the High Court to strip the CHARITABLE TRUST of a man never found guilty of a crime except by the media.

I know my wording it that way will annoy some people, but it is a fact, and its absurd that these people may be able to get a payout on no more proof than it is more probable than not that Saville was a bad man. Given that it is not the man who is to be stripped, but the trust he set up to benefit others (regardless of motivation), I have to conclude this is wrong. I make no defence of Saville, and suspect that there is no smoke without fire, but raiding a charitable trust for personal gain is also questionable.

And yet the real tragedy in all this is those who had been truly assaulted. I am not talking about 'he stood too close to me' or 'he put his hand on my arm and left it there too long' (both Saville accusations). That's not assault. I'm referring to those who were genuinely hurt, and who need help and closure. Their needs, their truth, is being drowned out by the feeding frenzy of low-lives who see an opportunity to work the system and milk themselves some compo.

Sadly, while we continue to accept and promote the compensation culture exported by the USA, this sort of thing will keep happening, and justice will continue to be overshadowed by potential personal profit.


Child Killers of Belgium

I’ve held off blogging on this to give tempers time to cool and heads time to regain equality with hearts.

There has been a huge furore in Belgium over new legislation that allows for the children to be killed by the state. Sorry, what I meant to say there was that minors had been given the same right to ask for their intolerable suffering to be ended as adults have - and should have world-wide.

The usual cries of ‘oh but it can be abused, and children could be coerced into asking to be killed’ came screaming from the religious fringe hiding behind the misnomer ‘pro life’. We can manage pain, they say.

But they can’t. The medical profession does not yet understand pain. It cannot reliably medicate to relieve back pain, let alone the pain of advanced cancer. Or perhaps the pro-lifers - sorry have to stop there for a moment because every time I use that phrase a bubble of nausea forms at the back of my throat.

These anti-choice pundits are not ‘pro-life’, because what they advocate is not life, it is existence - in pain and horror and suffering, and usually because they are religious. There is no ‘life’ in the horror they would have people endure.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Or perhaps the ‘life-haters’ really do think that wrapping somebody in a fog of opiates until they can’t remember who they or their loved ones are counts as palliative care?

I cannot repeat often enough that it is a relatively simple matter, at least for a society that gives a damn, to put measures into place to adequately protect everybody, adults and children alike. Measures that already exist in a number of other European states and which the ‘life haters’ don’t like people to mention. This is how I would do it.

After an application for surcease of suffering, the case must be reviewed by a panel of doctors, at least two of which must not be professionally connected to the applicant’s doctor. If that panel agree that surcease is an option, the matter goes to a second panel, whose default response is to refuse and who must be convinced that there is a reasonable cause, that the applicant is aware of what they are requesting, and that there is no evidence of coercion

And let’s be honest. Any system can be abused, but if somebody is that determined to relieve themselves of an awkward grandparent or child, there are much easier ways than doing it than through ‘voluntary euthanasia’

The ability to end one’s life, or to request help ending one’s life, when it has become intolerable through terminal or whole-life ill health should be a basic human right, of adults and children, and we should not be held hostage to dying in pain and horror by a bunch of outdated fools who are more interested in their religion than in the well-being of others.

Gently, Gently

I confess to being a 'George Gently' fan and I am very much enjoying the new series. As with all TV, I tend to be far behind the curve. For example, I still have the complete season 4 of Haven on my sky box, waiting to be watched.

But as the latest Gently drew to a close, for me at least on Sunday evening, I was stuck by just how perfect a fit for the role of George Gently was Martin Shaw. He was good as Judge John Deed, but Gently seems to be one of the very rare cases. Which, of course, set me to arguing with my partner about other such matches.

Surprisingly we both agreed instantly as Ken Stott as John Rebus - another match made in heaven. Then it got a bit more difficult. My partner raised the stakes with Megan Fellows as Anne of Green Gables, but I felt unqualified to challenge. Then it was my turn to raise of call - and I realised I had nothing. Compared to Stott and Shaw, I actually couldn't come up with a role that was so 'it couldn't be anybody else'.

I was surprised.

Any suggestions? Dare you offer anything? It will almost certainly be disputed, if not ridiculed. :)


Gods Of Chicago

Quick heads up to my loyal fan. I bumped into this initially as the first part of a 'serialised novel' and immediately decided to wait until it was released in its entirety because I hate antic....

...pation and waiting for the next instalment. Based on the bit I have read  - go try this. It has steampunk, diesel punk (sort of) gritty noir investigative journalism and demons. What more could you want?

Find it here