Archive for The Wicker Man

Another Wickerman Volunteer

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Posts that are far longer than I first intended, Rantings, The Wicker Man list with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2011 by awickerman

So a Labour MP manages to irritate me and neatly explain why I will never vote for the current version of the Labour Party and think less of anyone who does. Her particular words of wisdom;

An MP has backed calls for the DNA screening of all men in Bristol as part of the hunt for the murderer of Jo Yeates.

That MP being Kerry McCarthy who, quite aside from anything else, is in favour of ID cards, against a proper inquiry into Iraq and felt she was worth £175,000 in expense last year making her the joint 35th greediest MP which, given the intense competition among the money grabbing rat bastards in Westminster, is quite an achievement.

But back to the point, she now wants to DNA test 150,000 men (420,000 people in Bristol city, half are men, 30% of those are either very young or very old). As she herself says;

“Quite how the police would organise this I don’t know,” she added.

Which tells you all you need to know about the Labour way of thinking, it’s the announcement and the press statement that matter. ‘Sending a message’ and all that jazz not actually getting anything done, unless of course it’s raising taxes, pissing money against the wall or starting wars in foreign countries, in which case go for it.

I don’t really need to list out all the problems with this monumentally bad idea, but I will because what the hell?

  • Does the killer live in Bristol City or the outskirts? What if he’s just outside the catchment? What if he’s in Greater Bristol (pop 1million)? or Bath? Despite the best efforts of many governments, petrol is still affordable and despite Network Rail’s work to the contrary there are still trains in the South West.
  • How the hell do you actually arrange testing that many people in anything like a sensible time frame? Do you stop every single other DNA test in the country or accept the wait and take months. Also how do you pay for this, sure the testing will be relatively cheap (assuming you get a bulk discount) but the manpower of door to door swab testing 150,000 people is terrifying.
  • How do you handle those who refuse? I know I would on principle and there would be others. As far as I can tell the standard police line from past mass trawls is ‘We treat them all as suspects, investigate them and then arrest them’. That’s a hell of a lot of extra work and manhours and you’ve just spent the entire police budget on DNA testing. Plus it is just begging for an Independent Police Complaints investigation and alot of wrongful arrest suits. Hell they’re already facing one from the landlord, do they really want more?
  • Related point, what if the killer isn’t stupid enough to hand over their DNA? There will be others and surely you can’t treat all of them as suspects. Actually scratch that, she was one of the Labour MPs in favour of 90 days without trial so she probably would lock everyone up.
  • Finally (though I’m sure there are others) are you sure on the suspect? What if he is over 70 or under 16, it’s not unknown and you’ve just added a few thousand more targets, plus terrified half the tabloids with ‘Police DNA testing 13 year old boy!’ headlines, which will go down well. And you are sure the killer is a man aren’t you? After all the reports say there wasn’t a sexual element, so how are jumping to the conclusion the suspect is a man again?

Now to be fair the idea has worked in the past, the article mentions the murder of Louise Smith where the killer was indeed stupid enough to give his DNA despite moving to South Africa. But that was back in 1998 (1995 for the crime) so why such an old example? I know why the BBC mentioned it (Beeb supporting Labour idea non-shocker) but why such an old one, surely it must have been tried since?

And of course it has, it just hasn’t worked. Here’s one of the more recent goes from only last year, the case of Michelle Samaraweera who got a blaze of publicity and a big DNA sweep but to no effect. Hence why they relaunched the murder enquiry a few weeks back. There are of course others and as far as I can tell none successful, perhaps why the poor BBC article writer had to go back over a decade in order to find something positive to say about the idea.

For all my many, many, many doubts about the current mob in government it’s incidents like this that remind me to thankful that we don’t have to have idiots like Kerry McCarthy in power any more. Because truly the Wicker Man would be too good for them.

In which I despair about Journalism

Posted in Alas the Mystery Remains Holmes, Almost Beyond Words, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on September 14, 2010 by awickerman

The Standard releases the news that the investment managers of various London council’s pension funds are investing in Tobacco company stocks while said councils are also running anti-smoking campaigns.

Is this news? Really? The fund managers are doing their job (maximising the return on their client’s investment) and the councils are keeping hands-off from the decisions (as they should, imagine the complaints if they’d tried directing the pension funds towards their own pet projects!). As the article points out most London councils have a massive pensions black hole that needs to be filled and tobacco stocks are good investments, especially in a recession. Now if smoking was illegal in the UK and every tobacco company had been chased out at gun point I could perhaps see the point, but at the moment smoking is still legal and I don’t think anyone is seriously proposing a total blanket ban.

There is no point to this story, no-0ne’s done anything wrong, and more importantly what the hell is Roy Castle doing there? Seriously WTF?

A Wicker Man Short

Posted in The Wicker Man list with tags on June 8, 2010 by awickerman

A Wicker Man candidate in brief. Today’s deserving victim is – Nick Palmer.

The former MP for Broxtowe (Nottingham) he’s got his ‘You were kicked out by the voters’ cash to reacclimatise him to having a real job. This amounted to the substantial sum of £54,000, which is annoying but not enough to get him a place in the Wicker Man.

Mr Palmer’s crime is that after receiving this big pile of cash (on top of damn near £160k in expenses last year including employing his wife) he decided he just hadn’t had enough of milking the tax payer and so signed on. Worse he has the cheek to claim it’s ‘to learn about the system’ as politicians ‘should have experience’ which is clearly bollocks. If he actually cared about the system he would have looked years ago, while on the second point he lost his seat after being rejected by the voters, therefore he is not actually a politician. He is in fact an ex-politician and therefore by his own logic doesn’t need to know.

It is in fact obvious that 13 years of being on 64 grand a year (plus  maxed out second home expenses), employing relatives and then a giant redundancy package weren’t enough. Nick just had to take even more tax payer money just to feed his addiction, from the look of it he was straight in Monday morning desperate for his fix of someone else’s money.

Nick Palmer you stand condemned for your greed and shameless avarice, that plus your horrific voting record mean there can be but one sentence;  death by flames in the Wicker Man when the time comes.

Safety Priorities

Posted in Almost Beyond Words, Irregular Features, Rantings with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by awickerman

A somewhat regular feature round these parts is the railways and the general ineptitude of all involved. However of all the idiots found on the railways I reserve a special hatred of Bob Crow, a man who richly deserves his place in the Wicker Man.  My problem is not that he only cares about his members to the detriment of everyone else, that is after all his job as a union leader, no my problem is that he doesn’t even care about the safety of his members. I hope this example illustrates why;

This circular recently came round from Network Rail, one of their regular safety advisories telling everyone who ever works on the railway what the latest dangers/accidents/f*cks up are. Normally these are fairly useful but not too shocking (though occasionally they are just outright hilarious, last year we were all officially warned about adders. Snakes on a train anyone?).

This one though shocked the hell out of me, the lookout warning system was so badly designed that a low charge battery would fail the self test but leave the display frozen saying “Status OK”. Given anything on the railways has to go through horrifically expensive and exceptionally drawn out type approval lasting months or often years (hence why it all costs an utter fortune and there is never any choice in what to buy) they really should have caught this. Particularly as the Hun who make it specifically mention hot swapping batteries as a feature. On top of all this the unit was prohibited from all rail operation for many years after a string of dodgy accidents, hell just last year a warning was issued about it’s very counter-intuitive control system. All in all it is not a good unit, it’s hard to use and clearly not properly tested. Frankly it’s dangerous, which is a shame as conceptually it’s a damned good idea, certainly it’s better than blokes with flags shouting and blowing whistles, which is the current NR system for much of the country.

So has anybody from the RMT said anything about this threat to their members? Demanded proper type testing? Perhaps attacked management for sending them out with unsafe equipment? Decried privatisation forcing cost-cutting on safety? Of course not, not even in the specialist press has anyone heard a peep about this. If Bob actually gave a damn about his members safety he might have mentioned it, if nothing else it could be used to support his argument that Network Rail’s modernisation plan rests on untested and possibly dangerous technology, but he clearly doesn’t.  He’d much rather spend time shouting about the evils of rail franchises than actually working to keep his members safe, truly the Wicker Man is too good for him.

%d bloggers like this: