The Squat

Geeklawyer’s temporary chambers

Is this how government works?

Geeklawyer was at a recent government event on a trendy “hot right now” topic. All the government departments had picked up on the buzz, as had the press. It was soooooo very cool that all the major US European and UK consultancy groups had twigged that here was a new way for them to relieve the tax payer of fuckloads of cash. A conference was, therefore, arranged at a swish expensive location and all the top tier government departments, ministers and consultancies appeared: IBM EDS yada yada.

Geeklawyer has a friend who runs a small 5 man company with a cool idea: an obvious one, with the benefit of hindsight, but which he, like EDS, could undertake. The cost to government, however, would be 1/1000th of what EDS would charge in order to fail to do at all.

Geeklawyer, at his friend’s grovelling bequest, went along for a laugh: free ultra posh dinner, plus the opportunity to wind up the senior civil servants and government ministers in attendance (some of whom he had bullied whilst at school).

His chum is temporary flavour of the month for reasons too tiresome to go into; and everyone want’s to be his best friend. It is lovely to have friends of course: Geeklawyer understands this at a conceptual level. Geeklawyer is his friend also. Oh to have politicians and lawyers as one’s friends. Lucky boy.

But all of this is mere cynicism. What amused Geeklawyer was that because he attended with his ‘flavour of the month‘ chum, a senior civil servant (a Number 10 bod no less) described Geeklawyer to several drooling ministers as “One of the top three innovators in [concept X] in the country” – even though he had no fucking idea who Geeklawyer was other than ‘something to do with Mr Hot‘. Said ministers offered immediate sexual favours; well almost. And even though Geeklawyer had only the faintest idea of concept X. Most odd.

Were Geeklawyer not a more principled and decent fellow he might have chosen to exploit such ill-gained capital for personal profit. Fortunately for democracy Geeklawyer possesses stout principal, and an unshakeable moral core.

The modern political malaise can be traced to non-public school types, such as grisly grammar school oiks, getting into Oxbridge and thence public life or the professions and abusing in the most caddish fashion such accidental opportunities.

March 11, 2008 Posted by | love, politics | 8 Comments

Freedom of Assembly

If you are a little sick of the state of the right to protest in this country – given that you can be forbidden to protest near Parliament unless the police are, effectively, happy and give you permission to do so on terms they can set, then do something about it on March first: attend this rally (link via Melonfarmers).

Yea, protests are old fashioned but there’s nothing on telly anyway so WTF.

February 25, 2008 Posted by | politics, terrorbollocks | Leave a comment

Terrorist not really a terrorist says loony psycho, terrorist friendly, terrorist judge

Geeklawyer, along with his mates at the keepblairforpm website, have long decried the ‘enemy within’: the lawyers liberal meeja, and judiciary who have a secret agenda to undermine our beloved land of St George.

These scum would compel us to wake at 6.30 every morning and turn to face Mecca and worship Satan, or ‘the Prophet Mohammed’ as muslims prefer to call him.

Now, this heavenly mission is being frustrated by a traitor in their midst. A judge, so low than one can barely refer to him as “Justice” Collins, has deliberately released an undoubtedly guilty man knowing full well that he intends, following one lawyer’s site’s advice, to assassinate Tony Blair, the Queen, all of Parliament and the every child at the School for Handicapped Children at Hailsham East Sussex.

It is political correctness gone mad Geeklawyer says.

February 22, 2008 Posted by | crime, politics, terrorbollocks | 24 Comments

Stupid government websites

Geeklawyer recently attended the illuminating Web2.0 Transformational government conference at Parliament. It was attended by a small number of very switched on Government types who ‘got’ the Web and the possibilities of collaboration and open standards.

Great, but regrettably it was chaired by the total cock Alun Micheal who displayed the modesty and self-deprecation, in the face of criticism, that one would normally associate with Geeklawyer – except that he meant it!
So all government web facing IT is good? Erm no.

William Heath at the very readable IdealGovernment blog alerted Geeklawyer to an astonishing set of T&Cs at the site of the DirectGov website that purports to govern the conditions under which any website may link to them.

Apparently:

a) you must ask their permission to link,

b) you must describe DirectGov as they wish (i.e. you may not say anything uncomplimentary about them),

c) and you must remove the link if they want you to, immediately. Presumably if you don’t the same cops that executed Charles de Menezes will turn up at your door.

Geeklawyer is willing to provide free legal consultancy services to DirectGov on this issue. In the form of an executive summary, and free of charge here, it is:

1. No. No-one can be forced to accept T&Cs just by linking. Cretinous.
Where’s the explicit agreement? Hard, it is, even to see how one could
reasonably construe it in the circumstances. Tosh of the first order.
One isn’t bound by them.

2. The issue here is one of defamation and it can get a bit complex.
But broadly if the Government department is crap then a voter is perfectly entitled in law to say so. It is a partly matter of free speech and democracy and in addition
there is good law to say that governments can’t sue for defamation.

3. Removal of links: again, no. As a government agency they would be in all sorts of trouble if they tried to do so. Secondly if someone, e.g. Google or any random blogger, chooses to tell someone where to find some Government site that is publicly and lawfully available but the Government don’t like it then tough fucking titties, they can take their own site down. Suck my sweaty melons mr Brown.

February 22, 2008 Posted by | politics, T&Cs | 2 Comments

Nanny state at it again

Gordon Brown is not, so far, the disaster that Tony Bliar was but it is surely just a matter of time. He is at least genuinely of the left and more focussed on policy than media headlines. Of course that isn’t always a good thing. The left are inclined to paternalism and to lack any sense of global economics (Geeklawyer is not prepared to accept globalisation and it’s consequences without hesitation – but that’s another post). One, then, fears that he may be prey to all sort of crackpot thinktanks.

One such is the ministerial advisory board ‘Health England‘ who hope to force people to have a ‘difficult to get’ permit to smoke in the asinine hope that this will drive people away from destroying their lungs.

Professor Julian Le Grand seems to have left his brain sitting in a jar on the window sill while writing this report. Geeklawyer is not a smoker, apart from the very very occasional joint, and one assumes that the Professor isn’t either since only a man not lashed to the wheel of nicotine could possibly think that making someone fill in a form supply a photo and pay £10 will act as any sort of deterrence lasting more than, oooh, 10 nanoseconds.

All this will do is grow the black market & frustrate smokers, leading to unofficial buying co-operatives. Oh, and raise taxes license funds of course. Happy coincidence that.

More sensibly they suggest incentives for large companies to provide exercise hours. It says something for modern government that when one talks of the populace there is coercion compulsion and threats. But when it comes to large companies, with political clout and party contributions, one talks only of ‘incentives‘. Where is the liberal paternalism here? Where are the laws saying “Anyone who wants to exercise for an hour at work is entitled to so so without suffering any prejudice or penalty” “all companies of more than 50 employees must provide a gym“?

And what the flying fuck is “libertarian Paternalism“? This has nothing to to do with any brand of left or right libertarianism. Its proper name is statism, rebranded because socialism is no longer an acceptable political theory in Western government.

Update: More nanny statery – fireworks to be effectively banned.

February 17, 2008 Posted by | politics | | 35 Comments