Human Rights

With reference to Rachel from north London’s blog, I would like to draw people’s attention to the gradual erosion of our Human Rights in the UK.

On the government’s own website it says that our rights include:

  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of assembly and association

So, freedom of expression… is that not being permitted to express your opinion in a public forum even if others may disagree with you? The UN have decreed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that:

Everyone has the right to opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The UN regard things like war propaganda, incitement to violence and certain forms of hate speech as outside the remit of freedom of expression.

With regards to freedom of assembly and association, Wikipedia states that [ref]:

Freedom of assembly is the freedom to associate with, or organize any groups, gatherings, clubs, or organizations that one wishes. It is held to be a key right in liberal democracies, where by citizens may form or join any political party, special interest group, or union without government restrictions. In legal systems without freedom of assembly, certain political parties or groups can be banned with harsh penalties for any members. Public protests against the government are usually banned as well.

In 2005, the people of the United Kingdom were restricted from demonstrating in the vicinity of Parliament by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. This act requires anyone wishing to demonstrate within a half mile of Parliament to get authorisation to do so. The main reason for this piece of legislation being a single man demonstrating against the war in Iraq, Brian Haw, which some members of the government have found to be distasteful.

Is this the sort of thing an elected body of MPs should be doing? Restricting the people’s ability to let them know, in times of civil unrest, what their views are? Should we allow them, once they’ve been elected, to shut themselves away from the nasty world outside and silence those who hold and wish to express conflicting views.

As a nation we have, in the past, condemned regimes which have limited the freedoms of people in this way. Is this, in fact, the same sort of regime we wish to be governed by?

I don’t.

Camera Update

Ok, so after much dribbling… they went and took away the decent 350D deal I was looking at (350D+18-55mm+55-200mm+grip). So, instead, I’ve gone and got myself a Canon 400D with standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 and dmc‘s 75-300mm f4-5.6 to go with it… along with a rather swish looking backpack to keep it all in.

Oh, and “yay for Jessops” for price matching. Shame the only black 400d in Kent appears to have been in Maidstone… oh well, it’s in Whitstable now 🙂

Call for donors

On PM on the way home today, they were talking about the massive shortage of donors of sperm. One thing they said was that, for example, there is only one registered sperm donor in Scotland and (if I’m remembering correctly) none in Northern Ireland.

This got me thinking about whether or not it would be the sort of thing I would want to do. I don’t really know much about it other than the right to anonymity of donors has been removed so donor-conceived offspring are able to trace their biological parents (although said parents) have no legal rights or obligations regarding them.

Having read the documents on the HFEA website, I am quite encouraged to find out more but would welcome any comments from people. If you don’t want to make public statements, please email me.

CocoNut-ty

Well, after some pottering around the hosue today we went to the beach – lots of *huge* waves – it was great fun! Foo was sitting on the beach with his (old still) camera as is his wont when he spotted something bobbing in the water.

I swam to get it and Lo and Behold it was a coconut! I threw it up the beach to foo and it cracked the outside shell – foo prised it open (Cue squelching noice) and we ate half each 🙂 The milk was still inside (until foo found it.. :o) ) and it was very yummy.

We think it must have escaped from Herne Bay before it got used on a coconut shy – any other ideas?

In search of…

I’ve been umming and arrings (and drooling) over getting a new camera for some time now (seriously thinking since about March).

Most of this time, I’ve had my eyes on a Canon 350D with some combination of lenses. [1]

What I’m after is a low-end, but extensible DSLR which I can experiment with, have fun with and, hopefully, take some nice pictures. I have borrowed a number of FD lenses from my dad which I’d like to be able to use (there are converters around), at least to start with.

I currently own a Fujifilm 2850Z which I’ve had for just over 4 years now and, although it’s a great camera, it’s showing its age [2]. I’m going to keep it, if anything, for Sarah 🙂

I suppose what I’m asking is: Any advice?

Footnotes

  1. Probably either the kit Canon 18-55,55-200 lenses or the Sigma equivilant.
  2. 3 cyan pixles, only 2 mega-pixels…

Speeding Coppers

Over the past couple of years there have been at least two (well, two that I can remember) cases of prosecutions of Dangerous Driving being brought against police officers.

Both of these cases have involved a highly trained officer driving a new car on an M class road at night very fast (in excess of 150mph).

Road traffic groups today condemned the absolute discharge of PCD Mark Milton from the West Mercia force who received a conviction for dangerous driving while accustomising himself with a new vehicle. They have suggested it would have been more appropriate for him to have used a race track to do such testing.

I have every sympathy for the officers in question here. They have limited time to get to know new cars, are very highly trained in safe, fast driving, and may be called upon later that night to, for example, chase a stolen car down a motorway. If we do not support our officers in doing their jobs, how are we able to complain when they can’t do them?

I read that the police force in question are going to appeal the judgement. I hope that, although the officer may have broken the letter of the law, the judges overseeing the appeal will understand the difficult situations that we put our police officers in and overturn the guilty verdict or are we to further tie the hands of the people who protect us?