Tag Archives: GOV.UK

Investigating Self

I have always held myself to the highest degrees, I have always doubted myself. This has nothing to do with ego, or with the fact that I am better than others. This is about the setting that I am not perfect and I too make mistakes. I have never had doubt there. You see, the people claiming that they do not make mistakes are liars, plain and simple. It is not, or has it ever been about making mistakes or guilt. It has forever been about the ability to repair or adjust actions taken. I have forever stood by my words, whether wrong or right, and when wrong I have never opposed being corrected or adjust the view that I had. That is the responsible steps for any person to take.

And in the past I have given a very clear setting of the entire Novichok debacle and now, actually 6 daus later, I am taking a look at the US papers, you see, there are clear screw ups there. Yet there is also news that was never spread by the media to the degree that had to be given, was that not strange too?

So let’s take a look at the UN event (at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/you-dont-recruit-an-arsonist-to-put-out-a-fire-you-especially-dont-do-that-when-the-fire-is-one-they-caused).

On Sunday, 4 March, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city centre after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police officer, was also seriously ill after having been exposed to a nerve agent. Following this attack, the United Kingdom notified the OPCW, invited them to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and we briefed members of the Security Council. The OPCW’s independent, expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Novichok nerve agent.

Here in the first part we see that there is already one part (when you nitpick) it. The setting ‘the Novichok nerve agent‘ might be partially correct, we see that the BBC gives us two parts. The first: “The name means “newcomer” in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed in secret by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s” and the second part is “One variant was reportedly approved for use by the Russian military as a chemical weapon“. When we see that Novichok is a group, which specific one was it? Some will say that this is merely Semantics, yet the UN and the UNSC are ALL about semantics, the specifics are very important here, because it allows for ambiguity, and that is not a good thing. In addition, when we consider ‘One variant‘, was that the one that was found? A lack of details is already seen from the very beginning from a whole host of media deliverers and that is not a good thing.

The second part is even worse. With: “On 4 September, the OPCW’s independent, expert laboratories have again confirmed the UK’s identification of the Novichok nerve agent with a very high level of purity and to remind Council members, the very high level of purity means that it will have been made by a state“, we are now treated to ‘with a very high level of purity‘, as well as ‘made by a state‘. These two parts are important, the first one was not mentioned in the initial attack, the emphasis on the purity is important, because all parties hit by the initial attack survived, the third victim, the police officer was seemingly indirectly exposed, implying that his exposure was even less and we do get that he was lucky and that the indirect exposure gave him a much better chance, yet the ‘purity’ now gives the question on how the first two survived in the first place. and if we see the reference to ‘the use of such agents on door handles‘ later in their statement, was there evidence of that, merely an example and if it was the door handle, one would be exposed for certain, the second one would have more likely than not evaded exposure for longer, optionally exposed to a much lesser degree (an assumption on my side).

Yet the second part ‘made by a state‘ remains the issue. You see, in ‘Does it taste like chicken‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/05/does-it-taste-like-chicken/) we see: “The additional information that was published in 2016: ‘Iranian chemists identify Russian chemical warfare agents‘, which we got from http://www.spectroscopynow.com/details/ezine/1591ca249b2/Iranian-chemists-identify-Russian-chemical-warfare-agents.html. You see, the problem was already clear in the previous attack“, the fact that Iranian academics created the substance for detection with: “The authors succeeded in synthesising and obtaining detailed mass spectral data on a series of unusual nerve agents. The data have been added to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ Central Analytical Database (OCAD)” we are given the prove that the evidence shows that this is not limited to state actors, hiding behind the term ‘purity level’ is just folly in several levels. The fact that this was done in 2016 also shows that the formulas had been out for a while, the Leonard Rink case is further evidence still, all elements ignored by too many players.

Let’s be clear, there it is not in question that there is more likely than not a Russian involvement, yet the evidence that it was Russian state remains debatable, that part has always been the case. In addition when we are confronted with “testing of the hotel the pair stayed in in London revealed the presence of traces of the Novichok substance in their hotel room” is clear evidence of the two persons being involved in all that, yet in opposition, the entire matter of  “Looking around in the security business, I have been confronted with quotes like “their lack of covert tradecraft seems kind of bizarre“, “The shitty tradecraft, not just with clothes but by traveling together, and by leaving a noticeable trail“, as well as “Arriving together??? Staying together??? Leaving together?” is a first instance in all this” is equally important. Open sources all over the place by people in the security industry are giving us the question on why these two remained so visible, so outspokenly noticed. Even as a non-Trade-craft person I would be more likely than not be able to avoid clear detection and identification for around 50% of that time, that setting in all this matters, because we are confronted with a government knowingly targeting the wrong player, more likely than not the wrong Russian player.

This now evolves into something more when the statement “The GRU has time and again been responsible for Russian interference in other countries’ affairs, and most recently, we saw US indictments of GRU individuals in relation to the 2016 Democratic National Committee PAC“, not merely connecting two events, we are given ‘we saw US indictments of GRU individuals‘, yet when we look deeper we see in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateoflahertyuk/2018/08/23/midterm-election-hacking-who-is-fancy-bear) “The group (Fancy Bear) – also known as APT28 and Strontium – is allegedly affiliated with Russian military intelligence agency the GRU. Fancy Bear’s aims centre around geopolitical disruption through cyber influence“, it is not merely the ‘allegedly’ part it is also the ‘affiliated’ part. What officially connects these two? What evidence is there that in the first they are officially connected, and in the second part where is the evidence? The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service has them too in their papers, and I am not debating their existence, yet the clarity of evidence is missing.

For example, we do not question the SVR, the GRU or the FSB. We know who they are and what they do, that was never in debate. Yet when it comes to hacktivists and cyber criminals, the line gets to be blurry, more important, either of them can be both and at that point, is it them, or are they doing what their government tells them, or even a third party? Now we see Ambassador Karen Pierce having her moment of folly connecting the two together, making matters worse, or perhaps better started ‘more impossible to prove‘. That was always the case, proving that it was all state driven. It was never on the Russian part, that part was easy enough (almost too easy), it is the state driven part that is the case and when we get to rely on that some parts were ‘almost too easy‘, you better believe that it is anything but that. It still gives me the stronger conviction that this is organised crime, most likely Russian organised crime. At that point the equation changes by a lot and that is where we are stuck. Even as we accept (with the evidence of trace), how come that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were not infected? Why would anyone be this casual in the usage of the material, but allowing for trace toxin in their room? That question also remains at present. So when we are given ‘we have clear evidence of Russian state involvement‘, we see the speech, but what evidence was handed over showing that evidence? Merely two names and two passports? If that is the evidence then it is evidence that is slimmer than a silk thread, no weight can be applied to it with any confidence, no matter how strong silk is regarded to be.

Yet there is other news too, interestingly not from a government source. We see (at https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/key-suspects-identified-in-novichok-nerve-agent-poisonings-/3009475.article), the acceptable parts come in two stages: “Consequently, the agency was not able to conclude from its chemical analysis that both poisonings were definitely caused by the nerve agent discovered in the counterfeit perfume bottle“, as well as “Impurities in the nerve agent samples taken from the Skripals’ and the unknown storage conditions of the bottle have made it difficult for the OPCW to conclude whether the two nerve agents originated from the same batch” elements I brought out before these articles were released. Now, we must also critically challenge these statements, because ‘impurities’ implies more. It could merely be the humidity it got exposed to, which is not strictly an impurity, merely a lessened impact. So the precision of ‘impurity’ could also spell as evidence that it is optionally not the Russian state, merely a Russian player and my much earlier opinionated assumption that it was not smuggled into the UK, but optionally made in the UK is more visible with ‘whether the two nerve agents originated from the same batch‘, or the UK would have to admit that it is lacks and allowed for Biological agents to get smuggled into the UK twice over, hurting everyone’s ego.

Which leaves us with the final quote: “Consequently, the agency was not able to conclude from its chemical analysis that both poisonings were definitely caused by the nerve agent discovered in the counterfeit perfume bottle“, giving the UK a much larger problem, one I do not envy them to have. Part of me wants to examine all the CCTV footage myself (if it comes with a job). Too much in that does not make sense in the entire setting (yes I am happily paranoid). There is too much flim flam in all this. We see that with the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-45362840). When we are given “A number of vehicles which were used in the response to the Salisbury Novichok poisoning have been buried at landfill. Defra said the “potentially contaminated items” were taken to a site at Bishop’s Cleeve near Cheltenham before “being disposed of safely”“, all this whilst we have been told from more than one source that water and humidity dissolves and the Independent gave us last week: “Within the environment, these agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent“, such an overreaction is not merely stupid, it now implies that there is more, or perhaps a lot less and no one wants to open that can of worms. If you wanted to overreact, just drive it into a swimming pool and take it out the next day, fix the car and use it again.

Even if we accept that some overreactions are merely due to fear, a healthy dose of fear mind you, then still the entire Russian State part does not make sense. In the end, two targets that are still alive and two unknowns are dead. If I was either a ‘member’ of SVR, FSB, or GRU I would have been hurt in my pride and take one of at least two dozen of lethal solutions (not of them toxins) to remedy the situation. If you doubt me ask anyone in any of the NATO related special forces this simple question: ‘Can you live with your failed operation that left the enemy alive and innocent people dead?‘, some of these people do not accept failure in any way shape or form ever, I have the weird hunch that this ego driven sentiment is also present in Russian special forces. These people are weird that way (all of them, go figure), only fortifying my belief that we are dealing with another fish altogether and figuring out what fish we are dealing with is actually a lot more important than most think. Identifying that player should be the top priority before it is too late, merely because if I am proven right, it will also show that a lot of high end spokespeople will validly receive the limelight with merely one question ‘Show us that evidence!‘ At that point we will see soon thereafter a new option in Google Search:

Which one are you looking for?

  • WMD (US) Iraq
  • WMD (UK) Salisbury/Amesbury

What a legacy for these people to leave us.

#OneStepClosertotheWeekend

 

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Flames of the blame game

The Guardian gave us a story on Wednesday and it was a story. Now, we can argue that there are more than a few markers in place, So when we see “The British system for fire testing building materials is utterly inadequate and underestimates the ferocity and spread of real blazes, a study commissioned after the Grenfell Tower disaster has claimed“, that might be good and proper (still debatable), yet the part that seems to be skated over, the icing of denial so to say is the facts that I had were a given in June 2017. They were in the Reynobond PE brochure. It has two important messages. The first being ‘This test method measures flame growth on the underside of a horizontal test specimen, using the Steiner tunnel test‘, that is interesting as we know that cladding tends to go vertical, so why not do a vertical test? The second was “It’s perfect for new and retrofit projects less than 40 feet (three stories) high“, these two alone should have stopped the dangers in its track. A request for a vertical flame test for the Grenfell building, as well as the need for a written confirmation that Reynobond PE was in fact the acceptable option for this building. Merely the application of common sense in the entire matter and the article by Robert Booth should have reflected that. So when I get to read “But they fail to reflect how materials burn in the real world, according to a highly critical report published on Wednesday by the Association of British Insurers (ABI)“, I start wondering who the stooge is that is taking the heat for the massive blunders that got 71 people charcoaled. I saw that within 5 minutes whilst reading up on the basic facts on the matter that basic issues had been negated, or merely ignored. So it is not what the ABI is suddenly preaching on how systems were outdated, it was the mere application of common sense and the lack of it within the council (or is that the KCTMO) to sign off on these matters got 71 people murdered, because when we consider the absence of common sense, they are not people, or victims that were killed, they ended up being the collateral damage of a mass murder, that is how we should see it, and that is how I personally regard that to be. When we consider “a building is significantly more flammable than the British Standards Institution test BS8414 shows“. When we consider the Evening Standard in August 2017, where we see “Alison Saunders said that although investigations were at a “very early stage” gross negligence manslaughter was among the offences that prosecutors will consider if police find enough evidence“. The mere documents I found (product brochures), seem to hold that part of the evidence, unless proper fire testing was done and Raynobond had given a written guarantee that Raynobond PE would suffice for the additional 21 storeys, there is a first setting of evidence that ‘gross negligence manslaughterwould already be an option that seems to fit (for now). Yet the Guardian also had important goods on June 16th 2017. With company director, John Cowley stating “Omnis had been asked to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower“, so as we move from Omnis Exteriors to Harley Facades, where was the council in all this? So when we see “the Fire Protection Association (FPA), an industry body, has been pushing for years for the government to make it a statutory requirement for local authorities and companies to use only fire-retardant material. Jim Glocking, technical director of the FPA, said it had “lobbied long and hard” for building regulations on the issue to be tightened, but nothing had happened“, we see that the law had been inadequate for a long time, yet in addition to this This against the latest article where we see “The BS8414 test is overseen by the BSI, a private company appointed by the government as the national standards body. The panel that drew up the rules for the test include representatives from the plastic foam insulation industry. The BRE, which carries out the tests, is the former government building research station that was privatised in 1997“.

You see, these two statements are the actual ballgame now. When we consider that: “as the UK’s National Standards Body, the BSI is also responsible for the UK publication, of international as well as European standards. BSI is obliged to adopt and publish all European Standards as identical British Standards (prefixed BS EN) and to withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict“, so when we accept that and also accept that “Frankfurt’s fire chief, Reinhard Ries, said he was appalled at the fire at Grenfell Tower and said tighter fire-safety rules for tower blocks in Germany meant that a similar incident could not happen there. US building codes also restrict the use of metal-composite panels without flame-retardant cores on buildings above 15 metres” a statement that the Guardian gave in June 2017, we see that there is a massive amount of systemic failures. With ‘withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict‘, there is an implication that whilst the BSI was ‘privatised’ it never ended up doing its job (a speculative assumption that seemingly holds water after reading several accounts). The massive requirement for much higher fire protection levels imply just that and in all this, people hid behind a veil of insecure assurances and in all this ignorance is not a defence, not by my standards and not in court.

So when we take a look at that fire test that the BSI has (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4KA8S4yLoI), I personally get the feeling that Raynobond PE was never properly tested in this way (or any way for that matter), not before the fire at least, so when we look at the mess of interactions, I wonder what it will take and that too was covered by the Guardian when we see the quote “Cressida Dick, said on Wednesday that detectives were a long way from passing files to the Crown Prosecution Service and that she had asked for extra government funding over several years to help cover the costs of the inquiry“, I think that it goes further than this, the entire sales trajectory, the entire consultancy path from deciding on the parts to be ordered and the implementation of it all shows to be a clear factor and all the documents give rise to a much larger problem. When we see the mere interaction that the BSI is claiming to have and what we get as response from Germany (a EU nation) implies that the foundation of fire protection is just not there. The statement by the Fire Protection Association (FPA) bears this out.

The final part is the impact of choice. ITV gave us “The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation – which managed and maintained the council’s housing stock – decided to put the contract back out to tender and Rydon ended up agreeing to take it on for £8.7 million“, which puts the KCTMO in the hot seat, almost literally. You see the cost cutting had influence on several fronts and there is no way that it was all personnel. They also gave us “On Thursday night Rydon repeated its assertion that all the refurbishment work carried out at Grenfell Tower met both building and fire regulation standards and was signed off by the council. Grenfell Tower was built in 1974. The refurbishment project was, in theory, an opportunity to retrofit the building with a sprinkler system but it wasn’t taken. I’m told the idea wasn’t even discussed“, so which ‘fire regulation standards‘ were signed off on and who signed off on it? As we see that there is a huge discrepancy on the fire regulations at all, we can make the assumption that the council, or their representatives will now need to rely on large levels of ‘miscommunication‘, to avoid having to stand in the dock. More important, there is a desperate need to get these documents collected and soon, before they accidently go missing through the use of ‘Miss Filing‘ and her alleged ability to conveniently place documents, that poor lady does get blamed too often for too many things, ain’t that the truth!

In this I will end with the setting that Huw Evans, the director general of the ABI opened. He gives us the quote: “This latest research is yet more evidence that fundamental reform is needed to keep our homes and commercial premises safe from fire. It is a matter of urgency that we create the right testing regime that properly replicates real world conditions and keeps pace with building innovation and modern design“, yet as the director general of the Association of British Insurers he should have been aware, clearly aware that is that the task of the BSI, The British Standards Institution is to ‘withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict‘, and with the quotes seen, as well as presented settings regarding the prohibition panelling which we got from Frankfurt’s fire chief, Reinhard Ries regarding ‘tighter fire-safety rules for tower blocks in Germany meant that a similar incident could not happen there‘, we need to wonder how cladding is set (if it is set) in Europe as per the European Committee for Standardization. Yet none of these spokespeople seems to make reference to that did they? That is the setting we see and we see it from several sources, which now gives the question in all this, what is Huw Evans actually targeting, because it is not merely the overhaul of BS8414. The mere lack of mention in the cladding process because when we see the mention of the Hackitt review (independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt, at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668831/Independent_Review_of_Building_Regulations_and_Fire_Safety_web_accessible.pdf), that part is not merely showing parts of the entire matter to be a joke, the findings on page 67 of that report “Contributors believe products are marketed with specification data presented in ways which can easily be misinterpreted. Indeed, individual elements are often used as part of compound systems that are not fully tested as systems“, the findings I had from one brochure (Raynobond PE) shows that the cladding should never have been used in the first place. In addition on that same page we see “The standards of workmanship for the installation of some safety-critical products (e.g. cladding) is not made explicit in the Approved Documents“, which is odd to state the least, I get that it is in the report, yet the fact that the KCTMO might not have set minimal levels, whilst approving a party for £2.5 million less should have been foremost on their minds. In addition, the application of: ‘the Approved Documentsmight be valid, but it leaves me with a whole range of additional questions. Here is that report: Attached

And we need to consider on page 6 “I am aware that some building owners and landlords are waiting for direction from this review on what materials should be used to replace cladding that has been identified as inadequate“, shows that whilst the Europeans have settings for standards on fire prevention, the BSI has not set the target that high, even as we saw ‘withdraw pre-existing British Standards that are in conflict‘, giving us more questions regarding the BSI, as such it seems that the tenants are in a much more dire situation, because there is every chance that Huw Evans, the director general of the Association of British Insurers is all about the insurance part and what he sees so far could spell that the overall insurance of apartments in high rises are prone to larger insurance premium increases than one would usually expect and there is a precedent for Huw to do just that, even if we do not grant insurances any consideration in the most optimum of times, they do have the right to up the premium if the risk warrants it, so in that regard, well over 350 buildings are loaded with tenants that will see their premiums spike as per next year’s insurance bill, that is, if the ABI is willing to wait that long, because that is at present not a given. Not when you tailored yourself for the Financial Times interview on April 25th.

Even I had not predicted the Grenfell situation to be a mess so complete that one might actually wonder how anyone has any value regarding safety or quality, it seems that there are many tainted sides to all this and that just like the blogger who in 2013 got the Metro to give us (at http://metro.co.uk/2017/06/14/council-threatened-blogger-with-legal-action-over-grenfell-tower-warnings-6708453/) “A local blogger who highlighted the danger in Grenfell Tower was sent a legal letter by lawyers working for the local council – accusing him of defamation and harassment” as well as “The letter, which was allegedly sent in 2013, was sent by a solicitor working for Kensington Town Hall. The local group behind the blog alleged that there had been serious failings on fire safety“, this was published Wednesday 14th Jun 2017, whilst the letter was from 2013, if the Grenfell Action Group can produce that letter for the media, we have the partial evidence of a much larger issue, the issue that certain dangers were optionally, optionally because the refurbishments were not completed until 2016, an actual danger. If any of the elements of the blog are shown to be there at the night of the fire, we see more than a systemic failure, we see clear Kensington Council acts that were in place to minimise exposure of dangers. And in that I will state that it only holds grounds if the letter and the 2013 blog show elements that were a true fact after the fire. The mere fact that the council struck out to a blogger is an actual concern as well. This is not about freedom of speech, it is the fact on what was written, but I need both to ascertain whether the Metro had anything viable at that time.

With so many fingers in several pies and so many ‘considerations’ of the pastries that is set on a large table named Grenfell, there is the danger that any interaction and any connected evidence will delay official acts, investigations and proceedings more and more is now a serious consideration whether in the end prosecution of any party remains viable. It would upset so many players but the question is realistic enough and that is not a good thing, not in this time and place.

 

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The News shows its limit of English

It was Sky News that showed a dangerous escalation as per next year if the Conservatives do not change certain parts of their immigration plan. Even though this is now all over the news, the BBC reported this in Feb 2012, it is only that this administration will now be confronted with it. So could this government have made such a blunder?

It is the Guardian that produced the most disturbing quote (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/22/new-immigration-rules-cost-nhs-millions-nursing), stating “Employers have had since 2011 to prepare for the possibility their non-EEA workers may not meet the required salary threshold to remain in the UK permanently.”, as I see it, that quote boils down to “You have 4 years to get rid of them, or get them nationalised“, which is saying a bit much!

Yet, when I look at the immigration rules appendix i (final) i see the following at section 245HF

At (d)(ii)(1) it states:

(1) At or above the appropriate rate for the job, as stated in the Codes of Practice in Appendix J, or

After which we get the 35,000 pound issue, so when we look at appendix J (at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/420539/20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_j_final.pdf) we see the following: on page 18 and 19 we see category 2231 Nurses (the appendices are attached to the story).

So the question becomes, what were the papers making noise about? Sky News, the Guardian, Daily Mail, et al. Is it me, or are they just starting a needless panic?

Section I (at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/420536/20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_i_final.pdf) states: “Pay requirements which the Secretary of State intends to apply to applications for indefinite leave to remain from Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportspersons) migrants made on or after 6 April 2016

Then on page 2 we clearly see the issues reported.

Let’s go by the booklet:

  • First (a) no unspent convictions (so no criminals, makes sense….yes?)
  • Second (b) no general grounds for refusal and no illegal entrant (again, makes perfect sense)
  • Third (c) have spent 5 years lawfully in the UK, which was always a requirement, and in any combination of the following:
    As a tier one migrant, excluding the Post Study work, or the Graduate entrepreneur.
    As a tier 2 migrant (general migrant); the bulk of all nurses will be a tier 2 migrant.
  • Then this person also needs a letter from the sponsor (their boss) that they still require the applicant (basically that this person has a job, which as a nurse is pretty much a given).
  • In addition to this that the applying migrant is paid at or above the Codes of Practice in Appendix J, which gets us to the other appendix (J) which clearly states that a nurse does not need to make 35,000 pounds.

So can anyone tell me why these papers were not read correctly by the writers of the stories (or their editors for that matter)?

The paper clearly indicates that this is the situation with all nurses for 2016. So why are these publications stirring panic amongst the nurses?

Perhaps the journalists are not British citizens and they failed provision 245HF (f), where it states: “The applicant must have sufficient knowledge of the English language

OK, that was a mean statement to make, but in this day and age where doctors and nurses are nervous enough, adding silly levels of stress are just a little bit too silly for words in my slightly less humble opinion (just for today).

On the other hand, if there are new revisions and I was unaware of them (basically I had not found them at the GOV.UK site), I will be eating humble pie and upgrading this story as soon as I am aware of it.

20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_i_final

20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_j_final

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Legally and Criminally Insane?

There is an issue that had been on my mind for a long time. First of all, I do not have a car. I had a motorcycle for a while, but not at present. I never cared for cars that much. When you live in the big city, a car tends to be an expensive asset and it rarely gives you additional time. I learned that if one manages their time correctly you get heaps done without a car. It does not always work that way, I can admit that and for almost half a century, I have only desperately needed a car around 10 times. So, for me, a car is really not that needed.

You might wonder where this is going!

I just read an article, basically the second driver in a series of thoughts (at http://news.sky.com/story/1286644/brakes-slammed-on-over-zealous-spy-cars). The first one is a number of articles all pointing back to speed cameras (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/10613388/Motorway-speed-cameras-to-be-rolled-out-to-stop-those-driving-faster-than-70mph.html) and a third topic in this matter can be found at http://www.mindfulmoney.co.uk/trending-news/parking-fines-by-councils-reach-nearly-255-million-in-2013-with-tables-of-the-top-finers-by-local-authority/.

So, why these issues? We have traffic laws (UK, Australia and heaps of other nations). They are not like the three rules I got explained for driving a car in Egypt (in 1982), where it seemed that:

1. If you did not honk your horn, you are at fault.
2. The heaviest car has right of way.
3. A non-Egyptian is always at fault.

They seem simple and pretty much fit the bill.

In most Commonwealth countries we have set rules on speeding and parking. So, I do not get the problem when people start bitching over speeding tickets. Was there a speed limit? There always is and there is always a reason why it did not apply to that person. I reckon 1 out of 250 will have the actual honest defence that they missed the speed limit sign, which gives us 249 people who should keep quiet and just pay up, or should they?

Now, I will admit that I am slightly on the fence towards the topic with the title “Brakes Slammed On ‘Over-Zealous Spy Cars’“. Is that really a wrong approach?

Even though the heart of the matter quoted “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear“, which is fair enough. My issue is that these people parked illegally, so why is that an issue?

The quote “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls” remains funny as most town halls will never ever make profit, even if we fine roughly 87.2254% of the London motorists, London would still come up short by a sizeable amount.

It is in the area of the parking fines article we see this quote “The capital is extremely congested so we’d expect to see a higher number of restrictions in place and penalties being issued. However, there is a fine line between fair and opportunistic that councils shouldn’t be tempted to cross.” Here I wonder how to react. You see, if the council revokes a driver’s licence after 3-4 fines for no less than one year, it seems to me that the congestion problem will solve itself overnight. I agree that these transgressions are not in the league of Manslaughter or Grievous bodily harm, but laws are laws and are traffic laws any less? (Well, less than murder, yes!) There will always be excuses and some will remain valid.
L or P plates correctly displayed at start of journey‘, which in all honesty could happen. There is ‘on medical grounds‘, where the driver was helping a victim into a hospital. There will always be a grey area that we in all honesty must deal with. These are the parking fines and there are a few more valid reasons, but some are just out there. I felt a lot less lenient when it comes to speeding. You see, there is always that joker who thinks he is in control and when speeding goes wrong, he refuses to die for the sake of it, but will have killed someone else. When we read that: “X (name removed) was jailed for eight months for causing death by careless driving“, I wonder why that person is not spending life in jail for murder. the quote “Believing they were walking ‘deliberately slowly’, she engaged the clutch and revved the engine of her Honda Civic to scare them off the road while her car was still moving at around the 30mph speed limit” gives additional feelings of anger. These pedestrians were at a pedestrian crossing? 8 months jail and a two year ban is all she had to do, which in my book seems just wrong.

It is the quote “We are opposed to speed cameras in general. The evidence of their success in promoting safety is not good and in reality what is happening now is that the police are using speed cameras to fund their other activities through speed awareness courses.” by Roger Lawson, a spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) that gives additional concern. Perhaps these measures do not go far enough?

It is currently stated that if you are caught speeding then you will be handed an absolute minimum punishment of three penalty points and a fine of £100. How about making that four penalty points and a fine of £200? Also during special times, like Easter, Christmas and so on, the demerits double, making the driver extra careful. Next we see that ‘if you accrue 12 points on your licence within a three-year period‘, should then in honesty become ‘if you accrue 24 points on your licence within a two-year period‘ the driving ban should be no less than 24 months, no matter how essential your driving license is. If someone states that this is too draconian, then I personally agree as well, but many acts do not change the mind of the driver now, so why not give them something to fear. It seems that public transportation frightens them a lot.

What do we get from this?

That is indeed the question. It seems that a total disregard for parking and speeding rules is getting out of hand, and whilst it seems unfair to some, this is also a possible way to stop congestion. It also stops a little pollution, so we do get a double whammy on this front.

This all gets me to Law and Morality by John Gardner (at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lawf0081/pdfs/lawmoralityedited.pdf). It should seem clear that my approach is ‘aim to serve the common good (Finnis 1980: 276)‘ and ‘aim to justify coercion (Dworkin 1986: 93)‘. There is no denial that this is about coercing the driver to abide by the rules. We should at that point also consider how unjust the laws of traffic are (if that is the raised issue). But is it?

How often could you not park because someone had taken the spot that was rightfully yours? How often have you or someone you directly known to be in almost direct danger because of someone speeding? When a population above a certain level states yes to both (as it currently seemed to be the case), should these laws not change to something more draconian?

Is it not so, that in my imaginary change, we are changing the premise that we all have a right to drive a car, into the premise that driving a car is becoming a privilege for those abiding by the set rules? Is this not deprivation of freedom? We are to some extent already imposing those rules to pilots, considering the lack of accidents there, should we not take the same approach with car drivers? Should we not pass a certain parameter to be considered a driver? We demand skills to many environments that are a lot less hazardous, so why not car drivers? You see, as I see it, the car industry had forever been an open field as it was so lucrative to sell to so many people. Now, with the saturation we see, cars are almost too available and gas prices go through the roof. What if it becomes a privilege? What if the car driving population goes down by 20%? Cars might not become cheaper, but gas certainly will as there is a 20% less need. Public transportation will suddenly get a massive boost and the chance that all this reflects on higher safety standards and less need for emergency aid is also a good thing. We will always need emergency services, but consider that they will have on the emergency services. Here is where I got surprised. When we consider the numbers (at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13040/acci-emer-focu-on-2013-rep-V2.pdf), we see that in the UK the response for ‘Road traffic accidents accounted for 1.4 per cent of type 1 department attendances in 2012/13‘. That was a number I did not expect to see, so am I looking in the wrong direction? When we look at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255125/road-accidents-and-safety-quarterly-estimates-q2-2013.pdf, we see a rolling statistic of 1785 killed and 23,530 regarded as killed or seriously injured, which makes the Accident and Emergency (A&E) data in England a slight question. Especially as we regard page 17 of that PDF and the spread of the traffic cases on page 22. Well, No! The numbers make perfect sense; it just shows that the 23,000 are well spread over the timeline; it is just that these 23,000 are in the end only 1.4%. Yes, in case you wonder, I did notice they are not all from the same frame, but we see only a few percent change over these time frames, so that overall the picture is still usable for the most, just that the relief for Accident & Emergency would be minimal (alas). I had hoped that the traffic changes would lessen their work a lot more.

So, am I just trying to add morality to a traffic case? Gardner explains that at times morality needs law, just as law is in need of morality at times. So we are still with the question, is adding draconian measures to traffic laws morally considerable, or will the act result in a lack of morality for the law? That issue is brought to light when Gardner gets to item 4. “Does law have an inner morality?” There we have a nice consideration. Is morality not a setting of norms, hence in reflection is it not a form of discrimination? I am doing that by discriminating against the transgressors, but am I doing this in an unbalanced way? If we accept that morality is seen as a system of values and principles of conduct, and the bulk of people break speed limits, is the morality of speeding not one that should change? If almost all break the speed limit, is the law not unjust to being with and as such is this law, draconian or not a transgression of accepted morality and therefor a law that should not exist?

The facts now fit the statement that Roger Lawson gave us, is this about funding, or about safety? That is not easily answered and without knowing the true and complete course of the 1785 killed. How many got killed through speeding? If we accept that the UK has roughly 34.8 million cars in use, should 0.00525% decide the consequence of the rest? When we look at the deaths, that is what we see; we get 0.0676% if we include the wounded. So, when looking at this, no matter how we twist or turn the data, well over 99% suffers because of a few. There is no question that none of this changes for the victims of these events, but it shines a harsh light on certain aspects of traffic safety and the approach it has. Should the laws change however? There is growing evidence at this point that my Draconian approach is just not the way to go, it shows an increasing tendency to be unjust. We can all agree that unjust laws should not be followed. But in the second degree, are the current laws too harsh?

Here we have several other factors to consider. If congestion is the cause of many evil, then my draconian approach survives the test as it solves part of the problem, yet will it solve the situation? There is no real way to tell. We should however question whether we want to take away the car as a basic freedom, because that is what a car embodies and revoking freedoms is as we can all agree highly immoral.

It seems like we took an opposition approach and through this we learned that people like Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have a clear case. The same could be said for Roger Lawson, which takes us to the question whether the UK should consider losing the speed limits all together. Would you believe that someone made that case? Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett did this and makes a good argument for it, which gives wonder on what to do next? He stated “If we are going to do anything about speed and villages we ought to take down all the signs and say all villages are 30mph [48km/h] and you drive on roads like they do in Germany and Italy, as road conditions say”. So if this works in Germany and Italy, why should the UK not go that same way? It cannot just be the weather as the weather in Germany can be even more treacherous as it is in the UK. Is it not also the case that the simpler any traffic issue is, the less confusion we are likely to face? The Egyptian example at the beginning is an extreme one, but does show the effectiveness of simplicity (except for rule three which can be scrapped in Common Law on grounds of discrimination).

Perhaps some changes the UK could get by learning from its neighbours, who knows, perhaps after this the French, Dutch and others will follow the Italians and we might get a reasonable equal traffic system (one can only hope). The end of the article comes down on Stephen Bett stating “UK motoring organisations have dismissed Bett’s comments, with the Guild of Experienced Motorists describing them as ‘just nonsense’“. But is that so? The numbers seem to be in his favour, the evidence of simplicity as generic evidence has been proven again and again, so is it all nonsense or is Stephen Bett onto something? Even though he stepped aside as PCC while an investigation is carried out into his expenses (since yesterday), the points he made should be seriously investigated, especially if proof can be given that simplicity drives down the number of accidents and transgressions, which is a win/win for all people.

So as I see it, the act to add Draconian laws seems almost criminally insane, which is actually what is happening in Spain, but we will get to that in due time when we see the results of Spain implementing such harsh rules.

 

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