Well, I guess I did fall out of the habit of updating…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 730 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I don’t want to fall out of the habit of updating this blog, so I thought I’d mention something that just struck me, about the police caution, which if Wikipedia can be relied upon, is approximately

‘You do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but I must warn you that if you fail to mention any fact which you rely on in your defence in court, your failure to take this opportunity to mention it may be treated in court as supporting any relevant evidence against you. If you do wish to say anything, what you say may be given in evidence.’

The problem is, as we have seen from the Andrew Mitchell ‘pleb’ affair, what happens if the police, as they seem to do most of the time, are unable to recollect  what a suspect has said accurately, if at all?

My solution to this – and I think at this point it really would fix more problems than it creates – would be for police to record all interactions with people who have been cautioned, if not the public in general. Who can doubt that they would then be far more careful about sticking to the letter of the law? The only practical drawback is that they would likely stay away from the public altogether, but that’s an indictment of poor training, if anything.

A wired up society may be the only defence we have now from sliding into tyranny.

My first attempt at what I think is ‘trackbacking’… Hope it works, because this article will be of interest to some people I know…

Inforrm's Blog

The Defamation Bill published last week after the Queen’s Speech contains four clauses of especial significance for the internet:

  • Clause 5  a new defence for website operators in respect of third party posts.  In essence this significantly enhances website operators’ protection for posts by identifiable posters; and is also designed to encourage website operators voluntarily to disclose to defamation complainants the identity and contact details of the author of an anonymous defamatory post.

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The abbreviation on the side of the building, ‘GC’, looks a lot like the one for Gloucestershire College, and is probably intended to, but there is nothing prestigious about ‘Gloucester College’. you can’t even Google it unless you add the name ‘Shahid’, and then things become a lot clearer. Another big title with nothing behind it, like the earlier ‘Colwell College’, and almost certainly no more than a student visas con trick, or a placekeeper while other plans for the building come to fruition.

At the last local elections, the fence outside this building was festooned with Labour posters. Now it’s the turn of the Tories to find favour with the owners, however they have done so, and although the first set to be put up two weeks or so back have all been torn down, more have arrived, most of them put behind the windows.

I hope that whoever wins, though I doubt it will be the Conservatives, a spotlight will be put on the activities of this ‘college’, and we’ll know what is happening in our community for a change.


The former Colwell Centre

I can’t believe this is still ‘awaiting moderation’, over six months later…

Seymour Road Crossing Shelved By Tories

22/06/2011 2:18 am

Please Note: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I’ll say it again…

Frankly, unless you have had anyone injured as a result of the absence of a crossing, you are in exactly the same position as us, with High Street. Highways won’t shell out for a crossing without good reason, and that was passed down to us from our own Labour county councillor. Our new Conservative city councillor has long campaigned for the crossing, but I suspect his hands will be tied in the long run…


I can’t recall now whether I said ‘I’ll say it again’ because I posted it to this blog entry before, and it was moderated and rejected, or because I said it in reply to the same subject on some other Labour blog, perhaps Kate Haigh’s.

Something similar has happened with Play Gloucestershire’s blog. For the ‘February Half-term’ entry, I wrote a week ago that Malcolm Dunn of the city council had not informed me of their half-term events, nor had they been advertised in the local press, but that next time, it would be nice if they would do something in St. James’ Park. That disappeared, as did my following remark on their willingness to engage with the public. My last attempt (‘Play Gloucestershire is really amazing :)’) still doesn’t seem to pass muster, after four days now.

When you add the inability of the Barton & Tredworth Heritage Community Heritage staff to manage their website, as well as GAVCA’s unwillingness to promote their voluntary sector forum by participating in discussions, it shows a pretty poor effort all round in engaging with internet users.

Update: ‘Even ‘Play Gloucestershire is really amazing!’ doesn’t pass muster, and has been moderated away. Can anyone get a comment approved? These guys aren’t exactly a bundle of fun…

Despite the entry below, and despite the fact that my complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about, among other things, editor (in chief?) Ian Mean claiming the individuals who caused disturbances in Barton & Tredworth and the city centre in August were from my ward (the implication of claiming they ‘shamed’ B&T), has been rejected, for the spurious reason that a brief line four days later (almost) said otherwise, I do have to complement an organisation, or a part of it, when it’s merited.

Anyone who still visits the thisisgloucestershire website, particularly if they are interested in political stories, and especially ones involving Labour, will be aware of an individual going by the name of ‘James_Glos’, who for the most part, only posts comments against our Conservative MP, and in defence of the local Labour party and ex-MP Parmjit Dhanda. When I was able to post, I used to use his name in inverted commas because unlike myself, he is cagey about his identity, which is the hallmarket of a ‘Red Flag’ style sockpuppet. The only purpose of ‘James’ seems to be running online interference for the aforementioned local party.

Yesterday, ‘James’ posted this, below the ‘Date with your MP’ article:

Wednesday, October 26 2011, 2:35PM

“Tim, I’ve no idea who “my lot” are but I’m afraid whoever is MP there performance is going to be judged and commented on. I don’t think Mr Graham has done very well thus far, so I’ve said that.

I assume you were equally saddened when the previous MP was criticised on those pages. In fact I’d have thought you would have been more than saddened since the abuse was real quite crazy. So much so that a harassement order and a ban from this website were required for the main perpetrator. An honest critique of Mr Graham’s performance doesn’t really compare with that does it?”

The last part contains a reference to a rather despicable attempt by Parmjit Dhanda to gag me in the run-up to the last general election, which failed in its intent but was ultimately a success in that, although the local police completely mishandled their attempt to serve me with a harassment warning order, when I later referred to PC Steven Crown in a TiG article about (another?) city centre police officer abusing his authority, it was enough to get me banned from TiG, which ultimately has led to a whole world of hurt.

So, since the above comment is also pretty despicable when I have no way of responding, I complained about the post when I saw it yesterday, on the grounds of ‘libel’. That didn’t work, perhaps because TiG’s moderation company don’t view it as untrue. Just as I didn’t think what I said in passing about local Labour so many months back, and would say about any main party, being economical with the truth, was in the least bit controversial. This being the case, I reported the comment again, as ‘abuse’. This tends to always work, because nowadays, it’s enough to just say one feels offended by something for it to be labelled as offensive, without question. I rather suspect that it was ‘James’ or someone very like him, who made the same complaint about my innocuous comment. Innocuous, certainly, when compared to other comments on TiG that are left alone because nobody has an axe to grind with the commenter.

And work it has. Before 10:20 this morning, the comment was still there. After 10:20 it wasn’t. So my praise where it’s due is that everyone, even me, has an equal right, in the eyes of TiG’s moderation company, to get comments removed if they choose to take it.

Of course, as Marge Simpson once said, ‘That’s not necessarily a good thing…’

P.S. some people might question why I should get a comment removed, then re-post it here. Well, it isn’t the lousy comment, it’s the fact, mentioned above, that I don’t have the opportunity to respond. People can say any nasty thing about me they like as long as I have right of reply. Having that denied is quite frustrating. It’s funny, but with Richard Graham being such a disappointment (really, more so than I could ever have thought), and the Liberal Democrats being their typical selves, I flirted with the idea that, even with Dhanda still on board, there was little other choice but Labour. ‘James’ has reminded me why our local branch are still, for the most part, a shabby, untrustworthy bunch.

OK, because I said I would try to keep up with the blog, here’s that other thing about Asda and their automatic tills…

I was picking up some bits and pieces, just after tea, around 8pm, and the auto-till rejected my card. An assistant came over, and it was the usual thing, ‘could I pay any other way?’, which in this case meant cash, of which I didn’t carry much around on me.

Now, ten years back, this would have been pretty embarrassing for me, and I would have just counted my change and made a quick decision about what I should leave behind, just to put the situation behind me. What I did now was to not rush but instead take out my mobile and phone my wife to check the state of our account, and yes, she was adamant that we had more than enough to cover the purchase.

So I asked the assistant if my card might work with another till and she said no, it wouldn’t. All this time I’m putting the groceries back into the basket, so I can reswipe some of them and pay the cash. But I see an empty till, and the assistant has gone to assist someone else, so I think to myself, they’re not going to arrest me for this, so what the heck…

I use the other till, swipe everything, use the card, and it works just fine. I resist the urge to rub this fact in the assistant’s face as I leave…

This is worth mentioning because it’s the last five or six years of being forced to stand up to people in the community that I would not have said ‘boo’ to previously that has given me the confidence to stand up to commercial bureaucracy. Police officers, councillors, MPs, chairmen/women, people who park in front of schools… generally, the people who go through life thinking they are above criticism. People who know me should be aware that if they have problems getting answers from any of these people, they won’t get fobbed off if they ask for my support, and I won’t take the authority line at face value, because even technology fibs sometimes.

The Martin Luther line might sound a bit cheesy, but it accurately represents my position.

Next up (possibly); why the BBC’s attitude to social media has become a disgrace…

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