Monday, 25 February 2013

The Scally defence

In full the Scally defence is,

"Me mate said,
me mate wouldn't lie to me,
therefore it's true".

This defence is used considerably more often than might be expected, a specific subset is known as the "Nuremberg Defence" which is "I was only following orders", like it's better know version the Scally defence is ruled illegitimate in most cases, however it does seem to work if you a serving police officer and kill someone, as in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes and your mate is Cressida Dick.
The major flaw with the defence is that your mate may not be lying they may fervently believe what they are saying, but that doesn't stop it  being bollocks. Simply believing what you mate says makes you fully culpable.
The fact that your mates genuinely believe and spout bollocks is one of the major flaws in the arguments of the various conspiracy theorists/Freemen of the Land/ these people while saying everything TPTB say is a lie, while everything some random bloke, whose only qualification is to distrust the same people as you, is true. In fact applying applying "De Morgan's law" to the Scally Defence we arrive at the Assange Defence in full

"Me enemies said,
my enemies always lie,
therefore it is untrue".

These two defences are in fact the same, in both cases they abrogate personal responsibility and select one arbitrary group as truthful and the other as liars.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Daft arrest

The #daftarrest tag on twitter is dealing with the fallout from Carmarthenshire council getting someone videoing a council meeting from the public gallery arrested. The council was upset by the person filming's blog, apparently, to such an extent that the Chief Executive of the council used public funds to sue for libel against him, apparently without having read the allegedly defaming article. This neatly gets around the problem for the council that you cannot libel a public body.
During the meeting the council officers called the police, who obediently turned up, arrested the woman, cuffed, her and carted her off to the cells. The major problem is that HMG has gone as far as to actively encourage video etc. of public meetings.
This isn't the first control freaky action by council staff, not by a long way, recently Rutland Council was getting legal advice on whether or not it could sue one of its own councillors for libel. Further back in Liverpool was the case of "" who the council tried to set the police on, the police in the end said they could find no evidence of a crime, so the council carried on with threats by other routes.
If you work for a council like Knowsley then it is best to not answer any questions, asked by TV crews, on the street, unless you want to go through a protracted unfair dismissal case like Kevin Robinson.
The Carmarthenshire case raises some more interesting questions, firstly what did the police think they were arresting the woman for, shouldn't you make sure that what they are alleged to be doing is actually a criminal offence before you take any action, on top of that you have shown that the arrest was necessary, when you get back to the police station, that should have been an interesting conversation! Cuffing someone is assault in all cases, there is however lawful justification, which means that it was still assaulted but that it was for one reason or another justifiable, the person would try to escape, assault someone or self harm being options. There can be no lawful policy on cuffing everyone.
When that person arrived at the station the custody sergeant had to believe the arrest was necessary before authorising the woman's detention, when it was realised that what she had done was in no way illegal she was released but she should never have been arrested in the first place. The council CEO then decided to get public funding, from the council, to sue for libel, without having read the allegedly defaming article, this alone may be a first. This neatly bypasses the prohibition on public bodies suing for defamation.
The law is being flouted on an industrial scale, by the people who supposed to be running the system. It is largely a result of the reduction of ethics training. There is a big difference between what I as an individual, acting on my own and for myself can do when I feel it is right and how I must behave when I'm am acting as an executive or officer of an organisation. In any official capacity I am there to execute the rules as they a set down by policy or law, as appropriate. If as I Police officer I feel it is for the better if I cuff everyone rather than just when I have grounds on an individual basis for doing something, I am not fit to be in the police and neither are my colleagues, who do not arrest me for assault. If as a custody sergeant I authorise someone's detention after arrest when I would be prepared to let them go on police bail afterwards then I am a criminal not a police officer. If I work for a council and make up a rule about no filming and then report it to the police, I should be fired, the excuse "me mate said" is not a legal defence.
This flouting of the law has consequences beyond the person held against their will when an interview could be arranged at a convenient time, for both. It costs money to hold someone in a cell, they have to be fed, people could be doing other things.
A little power is a dangerous thing, it makes the holders of it crave for more, why invite someone to a police station for an interview, then release them with a note explaining what will constitute interfering with the investigation/witnesses/perverting the course of justice then, if need, send them a summons in the post, when you can lockem up for hours, and then bail them. The overall results are unlikely to be very different from the current system the same people will cause problems as broke bail.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

This blog is running late.

Route by Cnbrb
I'm sorry for this late update but I, along with a significant portion of the population of Liverpool and Merseyside, have been rolling around on the floor since Monday's HS2 announcement, clutching the most sensitive parts of our anatomy. The only major exceptions seem to be the politicians who seem to be of the opinion that nothing is amiss. Take this from the Luciana Berger "Good News on High Speed 2" a woman I have great respect and indeed lust for, but you'll notice no comments allowed on this one.
There has been some noises from some parts of the local media such as Larry Neild in Liverpool Confidential. The Liverpool Echo even managed a question mark on some of its adverts  but was still rather muted in "Business leaders push for high-speed rail link direct to Liverpool" what they don't seem to have noticed or have the guts to say is that Liverpool Politicians have failed, yet again, to secure an adequate result for Liverpool.
The best result would have been a direct link like Manchester, which went via the airport to a new station in the city centre but there are alternative packages of work which Liverpool needs and which would be directly relevant to HS2. The great and the good of Liverpool should now be trying to get some of these built in the 20 years we will be waiting for HS2.

Spur on

One option will be the conversion of the West Coast Main Line spur, from Crewe to Liverpool, to ETCS level 3, this will move the speed of the line up to at least 150 mph, an increase in top speed of 20%.  If we imagine that this can raise the average speed from Crewe from 64.8 mph to about 77.8mph, knocking 8 minutes off the 35.65 mile journey. This  would get the current journey time down to just under 2 hours and make the post HS2 down to 1.5 hours.
This was originally proposed as part of West Coast Route Modernisation: Feasibility Study this was eventually cancelled when it proved too complex, however this spur is far simpler than the entire line so should be practicable. It would save time as soon as it came into service even if HS2 never happens.
The problem of transitioning to and from an ECTS will have to be tackled for HS2, so it will not present a new technical problem. Though it would mean the upgraded of all vehicles using the spur to in cab signalling, but as this should be a long term goal it does not represent wasted expenditure,  the entire network should at the very least be upgraded to ECTS Regional, which would be cheaper to maintain than traditional signalling systems. Network rail is already installing GSM-R the communications system required, over the entire network.

A Platform for the future

Class 373 at King's Cross by Tagishsimon
This is not the first snub that has been sent Liverpool's way from the railway industry, one of the first was the omission of Liverpool from the Regional Eurostar plan, this would have seen services to the European Mainland direct from regional cities but excluded Liverpool, this was in part due to the lack of a sufficient length platform to take trains of the minimum length to use the channel tunnel. This entire plan was put on hold, though the trains required where built, as it wasn't considered economic.
It has been speculated that with the WCML speed being raised to 125mph the case may have changed somewhat. The introduction of HS2 will make the case even more favourable but Liverpool will still not have a long enough platform and we can be sure that the new Manchester station will have long enough platforms to accommodate the 394 metre long trains.
To extend Lime Street means either extending across Lime Street,  digging into the hill or placing the platforms in a tunnel beneath. This later option seems like the simplest solution. This would be considerably cheaper than the 7.5 mile tunnel. It may be possible to use the Waterloo Tunnel to provide a single platform with moving walkway connection to Lime Street and to the cruise terminal, though that would lack any expandability beyond 2 platforms, with a great deal of addition work.

Airport Link

A proposed Airport Link by the author
The failure of MerseyTram left the Airport semi detached from the rest of the Merseyside communications system, the new direct link for Manchester airport will provide better rail access than any airport in the UK and it is unlikely it will stop Metrolink wanting, and getting, a line to the airport.
As it is the WCML spur passes not far from Liverpool John Lennon and while constructing a diversion for heavy weigh trains would be expesive, a Tram-Train system could be added relatively easily and as there are already several sets of points between Woodend Avenue and Liverpool South parkway there would need to be no addition speed restrictions. The tram section would travel from the points near Speke Hall avenue, down the avenue to the airport and then return to via the rail triangle behind the vine yard street, the total length would be between 2 and 4 miles depending on the route picked. The use of flying or burrowing junctions would minimise any additional delays. Arranging the track like this would allow trains trams from both east and west to access the Airport so that if a small bay platform was added at Runcorn access to the Airport could be provided from there. Additionally a connection could be provided to Warrington Bank Quay via Widnes South, using the existing line, giving access to those coming south on the WCML for places further north, it might even be extended to a station on HS2.

A. N. Other

It is not like there is no other work that needs to be done on Merseyside's railways to bring them up to scratch, there is plenty, see here, but these 3 are directly relevant to HS2 and our lack of it. They all have benefits beyond HS2 the local politics should have been able to leverage HS2 to get some or hopefully all of them done, but in the end they got nothing. The proposal is a massive snub for Liverpool, the country as a whole would have benefited more if instead of the branch into Manchester the cost of that had been used to extend the line further north towards it eventual destination in Scotland. With Manchester getting a link like Liverpool's with ETCS speed upgraded and Metro Link gets a link to the airport from somewhere like Altrincham, even then Manchester with its longer platforms would have been at an advantage when it comes to direct European trains.

Silence?

So why the silence from our local politicians not a whimper of dissent? Is it because all 3 big parties have signed up to HS2 and they want to minimise those objecting to this plan, in which case are they our politicians? This is a typical failure by central government but a colossal betrayal by local politicians who's silence should have been bought with something that we can all see, one of the above would do but we get nothing not even the sound of gnashing of teeth. It is pitiful. I have contacted several local MPs for responses and got nothing, how many pieces of silver did they get?

See More Here.