Saturday, May 23, 2009

Doing the right thing

This week saw the arrival into my grubby little hands, direct from my solicitor, of the document which the Treasury Solicitor has submitted to the Appeal Court on behalf of the Home Secretary and which gives the reasons why the Home Secretary should be allowed to appeal against HHJ Jarman's recent Judicial Review. The main reason advanced seems to be that to grant me a victory would create a constitutional crisis and encourage others to ask the court to do the right thing!

I've got a couple of things to say about that.

Firstly, this country has no constitution, never has had. The nearest we have ever been to one is Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215 in Runnymeade Meadow. However, even that was not a constitution. It was merely the Barons (and those who commanded large gangs of cutthroats) wanting to keep their pillaged loot and not be put on trial for stealing it in the first place - much like our present bunch of bandits, generally referred to as the House of Commons.

So, we have never had a constitution and for those who keep referring to things as though we do have one, well, that is sheer humbug and gammon to confuse the ordinary man into thinking he has rights. He doesn't.

If he did, then so many of the poor things which go on in this wonderful sceptred isle would not be tolerated - and aren't in countries where they do have a constitution.

Secondly, how can the Treasury Solicitor object to the fact that my victory over the Hosts of Error would bring about the practical downfall of the system? If that's the case, then it is a reflection on the inhumane system, not on me!

It merely demonstrates the fact that the system being operated is unfair and unjust and that it is imperative that it be corrected as soon as possible.

William Garrison said:
I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - and I will be heard!
Lord Hewart (1870 - 1943) said in a judgement in Rex v Sussex Justices, 9th November 1923 (Kings Bench Reports, 1924, Vol. i, p. 259):
It is not merely of some importance but it is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
Then of course we have Magna Carta itself:
To no man will we sell, or deny, or delay, right to justice.
Then let us not forget Lord Milner, that staunch devotee of justice, as fine a man who ever donned a black cap. He said:
If we believe a thing to be bad, and if we have a right to prevent it, it is our duty to prevent it and damn the consequences.
Now, I could go on all day quoting these eminent figures from the past, who all said the same thing really:
Do the right thing! As long as a man goes about doing what he knows in his very soul is the right thing, then he will not go far wrong.
That last one is my own of course. But if a man should do what he absolutely knows is the wrong thing, for the sake of expediency or some other reason, then he must learn to live with himself and hope that one day he will be forgiven. Unfortunately, that won't help the people whose lives have been ruined by his acts.

Perhaps the Treasury Solicitor should consider Parliament? He'd fit in there all right.

The Voice in the Wilderness

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Creating a pen and ink

There is a shortage of news this week, and nobody to blame but the Mills of Justice - they grind exceeding slow, as the Bible would put it. Consequently I have to think of something else to write about. It's very odd, but I seem able to sit down at my sophisticated machine, invented in the 19th century by someone who couldn't write very clearly, and simply produce a lot of waffle at the drop of an aitch. Perhaps it is the Irish in me, the gift of the gab, so to speak.

This leads me quite conveniently to something which I feel needs commenting on - writing. I use a fountain pen as my preferred weapon of mass production and the preference stems from my callow youth when, as a schoolboy, I had a gift of a fountain pen from an aunt who thought it might encourage me to write her a letter every Christmas. I don't recall if I did but I think it improved my handwriting because, for some reason, the use of a fountain pen has that effect - it encourages care.

So, I use a fountain pen, and of course this means that I have to keep it filled with writing ink - bottled or cartridge, either will suffice. Have you ever tried buying writing ink? It's not as easy as it would seem, not in Long Lartin anyway. We are allowed to buy it, no doubt about that, it is listed on the document of items prisoners can purchase and have. There it is, bold as brass - ink for fountain pens.

Try to buy some.

I applied weeks ago to buy ink and the answer I got back was that they would need the name of the pen and any other information I had to enable them to get the right ink. I duly informed them that the pen is a Messenger and either cartridges or bottled ink would be fine - blue or black, either would do.

They wrote back that they did not have a supplier and had I tried the prison shop/canteen.

Of course I had! They said that they do not sell ink.

The answer to that was, did I have the name and address of a supplier?

Of course I have - CPL Computer and Office Supplies of Blandford in Dorset.

The answer came back - sorry, you can't order from there, they are not an approved supplier. Why don't you ask the governor if you can have it sent in from outside?

So, that is the position at the minute - I can have ink but I am most definitely NOT ALLOWED to have it. I can order it but not from anyone they deal with and certainly not from a perfectly legitimate supplier - because they are not approved!

What do I do next?

This is the sort of obstacle put before prisoners all the time. I don't want to seem unkind, but I don't see how anyone can consider my problem as anything but the most simple and easy to resolve, yet the difficulty created is astounding.

If they cannot sort out a small problem like ink for a pen, what chance is there of them getting something complex and difficult right? Not much.

Lord Salisbury said:
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe.
and I would like to add:
If you believe the prison service, you need counselling.
The Voice in the Wilderness