Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This will get people to care about climate change

Danyl Mclauchlan thinks that people will never care about climate change, because its all so abstract. Here's something that will make them care: its goign to fuck up the global beer supply:

Trouble is brewing for the world’s beer drinkers, with climate change set to cause “dramatic” price spikes and supply shortages, according to new research.

Extreme heatwaves and droughts will increasingly damage the global barley crop, meaning a common ingredient of the world’s favourite alcoholic beverage will become scarcer. Key brewing nations are forecast to be among the worst hit, including Belgium, the Czech Republic and Ireland.

The researchers said that compared with life-threatening impacts of global warming such as the floods and storms faced by millions, a beer shortage may seem relatively unimportant. But they said it would affect the quality of life of many people.

And if you're not a beer fan, it will also do the same to coffee. And probably other types of food as well. Which is the real threat here: famine, and the consequent mass-migration and war it causes. And all because arseholes in America want to keep profiting by burning coal.

National's corrupt electoral practices

The National Party mess has just gone thermonuclear, with Jami-Lee Ross making public allegations that party leader simon Bridges repeatedly engaged in corrupt electoral practices. In his unscheduled press standup, he specifically accused Bridges of knowingly falsifying the identity of the "Cathedral Club" donor on his electorate donation return, in violation of s207G of the Electoral Act, and of instructing him to split a $100,000 donation from a "Chinese businessman" in order to avoid disclosure, in violation of s207LA. He says he has recordings and photographs, and will be going to the police tomorrow to make a statement.

(He also says he's been accused of multiple cases of sexual harassment by National Party staffers, which he portrays as a political stitch-up. We can treat that with the contempt it deserves)

This is an allegation of serious criminal behaviour. Both of these are corrupt electoral practices, and if convicted, both Bridges and Ross (because he's a self-admitted party to at least one of the offences) would be automatically removed from Parliament. Of course, that assumes the police will bother to investigate. And as we've seen, they are only interested in prosecuting electoral offences by small parties outside Parliament, not by those who might one day set their budget. So, I fully expect that nothing will legally come of this, no matter how compelling Ross' evidence. But if what Ross says is true, it should taint Bridges permanently, and renders him utterly unfit to be in Parliament, let alone a party leader.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Leaks, dirt, and ethics

So, National leader Simon Bridges thinks he has found his leaker: the same MP he granted leave to a few weeks ago for "embarassing" personal health reasons. Given that the leaker supposedly sent text messages to Bridges and the Speaker claiming to be mentally fragile, I'm not sure how much I really want to go near this. But earlier today Jami-Lee Ross tried to pre-empt things with a series of tweets claiming he was being stitched up, including this one:

Which is presumably related to this morning's revelations about a "clerical error" around donations. But if its more than that, and Ross does in fact have such recordings, he should release them. Because sitting on solid evidence of unlawful activities and corrupt electoral practices by a politician, presumably as "insurance" or "leverage", is not just unethical, but also being an accessory after the fact.

Our racist health system

When Don Brash and his ilk talk about "Māori advantage", they're ignoring a hell of a lot of empirical data showing that Māori are in fact disadvantaged. And now there's another data point for the pile: our health system is less likely to try and save the lives of non-white babies, and this is being explicitly blamed on racism:

Babies close to death are less likely to get life saving treatment if they're Māori, Pacific or Indian - and experts partly blame racial bias.

A Weekend Herald investigation can reveal the ethnic divide in resuscitation attempts on very premature infants.


Resuscitation was tried on 92 per cent of Māori babies, 89 per cent of Pacific and 86 per cent of Indian.

That compared to 95 per cent for "other" - mostly Pākehā and non-Indian Asians - which medical experts say is a statistically significant difference.

"Institutional bias or implicit biases are likely to play at least some part," concluded the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee, a taxpayer-funded panel tasked with reviewing deaths of babies and mothers.

The Mortality Review Committee is now calling for training to minimise the impact of that bias, and that seems like a good idea. Because this should not be happening. The quality of health care you receive should not depend on the colour of your skin.

The "solution" that wasn't

In 2013, National introduced its "solution" to housing unaffordability. Its "Special Housing Areas" were basicly a developer's charter, with fast-tracked resource consents and lax oversight. The aim, as stated in the bill's purpose clause, was to "enhance housing affordability by facilitating an increase in land and housing supply in certain regions or districts". Higher supply (via lower standards) was supposed to lead to lower prices. Instead, it raised them:

The previous government's solution to the housing crisis in Auckland actually made homes less affordable, research has found.

Special Housing Areas (SHAs) were created in 2013 and touted as "crucial" in "enabling young Kiwi families to get into their own home".

Developers were offered fast-tracked consents on the proviso a portion of the development would be "affordable".

But the creation of Auckland's SHAs have now been found to have pushed up prices by 5 per cent within the area.


"The SHA programme simply allowed developers to offer new homes with an additional attribute (a shorter delivery time), which allowed developers to set higher prices," the researchers said.

So, National lowered consent standards, and their greedy developer mates made out like bandits. Why am I not surprised?

The market is not going to provide affordable housing, because there's just no profit in it for them (or rather, less profit than building palazzos for foreign immigrants). The only way it is going to happen is if the government builds those houses for us (and enough of them to crash the market). The current government, at least, is taking the first few timid steps towards this.

NZDF decorated a war criminal

Nicky Hager has a new piece in North & South today, with new dirt on the defence force, including drunkenness in the field in Afghanistan, and a systematic failure to investigate a sexual assault. But the worst of it is that they decorated a war criminal:

Investigative writer Nicky Hager says sources from the Defence Force have exposed a culture of bullying, sexual violence, drinking and cover-ups in the military.

In Mr Hager's 12-page investigation, published in the North & South magazine today, he details how a source revealed that an SAS soldier - known as Corporal B for privacy reasons - was awarded the second-highest military honour despite previously being considered for court-martial action for killing two children in Afghanistan.

"The Americans asked the SAS commander if they could take one of the New Zealand medical staff, a medic, on a raid they were doing on a Afghanistan compound," said Mr Hager.


Mr Hager said the soldier got involved in a firefight and later found he had shot two young boys, who joined the adults in defending the compound.

"And then when he got back to base he became a very unhappy and confused person, because the SAS commander was saying 'well hang on a moment, you've broken all the rules here, we're gonna court-martial you'.

But instead, for PR purposes, they gave him a medal, relying on secrecy to cover up the circumstances (its mentioned as a footnote in Willie Apiata's press release). In this, they're behaving exactly like the NZ Police: rewarding staff who have behaved criminally rather than punishing them. And in both institutions the cause is the same: a secretive institution which believes itself to be above the law.

NZDF and its soldiers need to be held accountable for their actions in Afghanistan. The first part of that is cleaning out the command staff who ran that war and who believe themselves to be unaccountable to the New Zealand public. But there also needs to be a full investigation, followed where necessary by prosecutions. And needless to say, the latter can not and should not be run by NZDF, and probably can't even be run by the police (because their natural instinct is to grovel to power and not rock the boat). Instead, we will probably need a special purpose authority to handle it, independent of NZDF, the police, and the national security state. Its the only way we will be able to get any form of justice.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Cuts kill

Another example of how austerity kills. A couple of years ago, when National was looking for things to penny-pinch on so it could pay for its tax cuts for the rich, NZTA cut the number of checks it made on heavy vehicle certifiers. And suddenly, there was a spate of crashes involving heavy vehicles:

Newly-released information shows checks on engineers who inspect big trucks plunged at the same time as the number of large rigs on the road jumped.


The agency cut its heavy vehicle compliance staff numbers in half in 2014. Figures released under the Official Information Act show that led to the number of audits it was doing on truck-certifying engineers - who both check and design things such as towing connections and brakes - plunging from 70 a year before 2014, to just 30 a year since then.

The discovery of a mass of poor certifications, and a spate of cracked or weak towing connections, has massively disrupted the industry this year.

NZTA denies any link between its cuts and higher crash rates, but they would, wouldn't they? Meanwhile, it seems pretty intuitive that failing to check the work of the people checking safety allows them to do a sloppier job, and that these may in turn have contributed to crashes. Unfortunately - and conveniently - police record-keeping is inadequate to show any link. But there's a reasonable case here that National's penny-pinching led to unsafe vehicles - and killed people on the roads.

New Fisk

A hundred years ago a ship sunk in the Irish Sea, causing more than 500 deaths – here's what its legacy can teach us about Brexit

One state at a time

While America is looking like a pretty horrible place at the moment, there's some progess: the Washington state supreme court just abolished the state's death penalty:

The Washington state Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down the death penalty there as unconstitutional and “racially biased,” a ruling that makes it the latest in a string of states to abandon capital punishment in recent years.

The order will not stop any scheduled executions because Washington state has already frozen its death penalty under a moratorium by Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in 2014. But the court’s order, which declares that death sentences in the state should be converted to life in prison, is a sweeping rejection of capital punishment at a time when it is being used less nationwide and as states are struggling to obtain the drugs needed for lethal injections.

In their opinion, the justices focused on what they said was the unequal use of the death penalty, describing it as a punishment meted out haphazardly depending on little more than geography or timing.

“The death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner,” the justices wrote. “While this particular case provides an opportunity to specifically address racial disproportionality, the underlying issues that underpin our holding are rooted in the arbitrary manner in which the death penalty is generally administered.”

This is a state decision rooted in state law, so Republicans can't overturn it with their stacked federal supreme court. And while its not the rejection on principle any decent court would have made - the death penalty is cruel, unusual, inhumane, and contrary to international human rights norms - anything which stops the killing is good.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Submission on the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill

  1. I support the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill and ask that it be passed with the amendments suggested below.

  2. As this week's IPCC report shows, humanity needs to move rapidly away from fossil fuels if we are to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Our global carbon budget does not allow humanity to burn the fossil fuels we have already discovered. Therefore, looking for more is both pointless, and insofar as it encourages the burning of fossil carbon and the pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, actively dangerous.

  3. Banning offshore oil exploration is a small step towards making that necessary shift, but it is a step in the right direction, and I support it. Banning exploration will gradually strangle the oil industry in New Zealand, and so reduce our contribution to global climate change. Obviously it needs to be followed up with further action: banning onshore exploration, banning fossil fuel extraction, banning fossil fuel vehicles, and ultimately banning fossil fuel use entirely. But those (and measures combating other greenhouse gases) are topics for other legislation.

  4. The bill however does not go far enough. There are two obvious flaws which limit its effectiveness:

  5. Holders of exploration permits have a statutory right to convert their permit to a mining permit if they make a discovery. If the government is serious about calling time on offshore oil, then it needs to remove that right, or put a sunset clause on it. Given the urgency of the global situation, I recommend eliminating it entirely for any petroleum permit outside of onshore Taranaki. Alternatively, a five year sunset clause seems more than generous, keeping in mind that any mining permit means another twenty years of dangerous emissions.

  6. Holders of exploration permits can also have them changed to change the area covered, the minerals to which they relate, extend their duration or change their conditions. Section 7 of the bill partially addresses this by forbidding petroleum permits from being extended to areas outside the onshore Taranaki region. However, this would still allow a holder of an existing permit to have it extended or have its conditions modified to remove "drill or drop" or surrender conditions, which is contrary to the intent of this bill. It also allows the holders of permits for other minerals - for example, ironsands - to have their permits changed to allow them to explore for or mine petroleum. The bill needs to be amended to ensure that no existing offshore petroleum permit can have any change to its conditions, and that no permit of any form can be changed in any way so as to allow the prospecting or exploration for or mining of petroleum outside the onshore Taranaki region. Failing to do this will invite game-playing by the fossil fuel industry, and will directly undermine the purposes of the bill.

  7. I do not wish to appear in person before the committee.

Benefit sanctions don't work

The Greens are currently campaigning to end benefit sanctions, under which people have their benefits cut and are left to starve if they refuse an arbitrary and demeaning drug test, or fail to take the first shit job they are offered. its a sensible policy, because the evidence shows tha tthese sanctions just don't work. Locally, MSD has concluded that the sanctions regime does not help people find secure and meaningful employment: those forced into shit jobs or into low-level training through the sanctions regime simply end up back on benefits again, with no increase in their financial security. And its the same story in the UK:

There is “no evidence” that benefit sanctions encourage claimants to get into work or increase their earnings, according to a government report published last month.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been accused of “sneaking out” the findings, which cast doubt on the effectiveness of a key element of its flagship universal credit system.

The report, published with no ministerial announcement on 12 September, shows docking benefits as a punishment for alleged failures to comply with Jobcentre Plus rules does not encourage claimants to apply for additional work, and in some cases “damages the relationship between the work coach and the claimant”.

But then, in both countries you get the feeling that sanctions regimes aren't actually about helping people. Instead, they're about punishing the poor for being poor, and finding some ways to chisel "savings" for the government (while ignoring long-term costs, of course). sanctions regimes are there to fulfil the vindictiveness of people like Paula Bennett and Judith Collins - not to actually do any good for beneficiaries, the government, or society.

They're cruel. They're ineffective. They're pointless. So why continue with it? Or are we really just into pointless sadism?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


So, the government thinks its in surplus, to the tune of $5.5 billion. Of course, its nothing of the sort. As I noted last time, when there are queues for basic healthcare, people without homes, underpaid public servants, and kids going to school hungry, the government having cash on hand isn't really a surplus, any more than I'm rich if I have $1000 in my wallet and a $10,000 overdraft. What we have is deep-rooted social and infrastructural debt caused by decades of austerity and NeoLiberalism - debt that isn't recorded anywhere on the government's books. But the fact that its not recorded doesn't mean it doesn't exist or doesn't cause problems - merely that its not properly managed. And the government needs to manage it, by paying off that debt and investing in hospitals, homes, and yes, teacher's salaries, before it makes any moves to gives it themselves as tax cuts.

Bigotry loses in Romania

Romanians went to the polls over the weekend to vote in a constitutional referendum to ban same-sex marriage. Or rather, they didn't - because the referendum failed due to miserably low turnout:

A referendum to establish a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Romania has failed - after only a fifth of voters bothered to turn out.

Romanians were being asked whether they wanted the constitution changed to specify that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

But just 20.4% of eligible voters cast ballots - short of the 30% needed.

The referendum appears to have been a plot by the government to distract from ongoing corruption scandals by appealing to bigotry. Fortunately it didn't work. Those who opposed the change boycotted the poll, holding boycott parties instead. Unfortunately Romania still doesn't recognise equal marriage in law - but at least there's not a constitutional prohibition on it. Meaning that that failure to recognise can easily be overturned by the European Court on Human Rights when it catches up with the rest of society and recognises such legal bigotry as fundamentally incompatible with the ECHR's affirmations of equality and non-discrimination.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Australia wants to destroy the world

Australia's response to the IPCC's dire climate warning yesterday? Full denial:

The Australian government has rejected the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report’s call to phase out coal power by 2050, claiming renewable energy cannot replace baseload coal power.

The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said Australia should “absolutely” continue to use and exploit its coal reserves, despite the IPCC’s dire warnings the world has just 12 years to avoid climate change catastrophe.

He said the government would not change policy “just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do”.

In other words, they plan to destroy the world. They're as immoral as the oil companies. On the plus side, we'll all be able to say they deserve it when their continent dries up and blows away and they're left without drinking water - but by then it'll probably be too late for the rest of us as well.

Don't let OMV destroy the planet

Last month, we learned that Labour's "commitment" to end offshore oil drilling wasn't. In an act of bad faith with their coalition parner, and total, two-faced dishonesty, they were quietly planning to extend existing offshore drilling permits, giving polluters more time to drill. And now, thanks to Greenpeace, we know who they plan to help out this way: Australian polluter OMV:

Greenpeace has today revealed that Austrian oil giant OMV has requested an extension to its upcoming drill commitment in the Great South Basin.

Greenpeace Climate Campaigner, Kate Simcock, says an Official Information Act (OIA) request has uncovered OMV’s application for the permit extension, which otherwise required it to drill an exploration well before July 2019.

“Six months ago the Coalition Government announced it would not grant any new oil exploration permits because of climate change. Today we learn that Austrian oil giant OMV is going to test the Government’s commitment to action on climate change by demanding more time to drill for oil,” Simcock says.

“Any extension of an existing permit is essentially granting a new permit. In banning new oil exploration permits, the Government responded to a clear desire by New Zealanders for climate action. Now they must to stand strong on that principle – extending permits is not consistent with that.”

Looking at the documents, OMV wants to extend their drilling deadlines for two years each. Supposedly, this is about geophysics (though all the details are redacted as "commercially sensitive", of course). But realisticly, its about playing for time and gambling on a change of government to reverse the exploration ban. Because the cost-benefit analysis of whether drill in any particular spot looks very different if its the last one you're ever going to get.

Meanwhile, as yesterday's IPCC report shows, even if there is oil in the Great South Basin, we can't ever burn it, which means there is no point even looking anymore. Obviously that's not something the oil industry is ever going to accept: they profit by destroying the planet, and their "response" to climate change is to buy lobbyists to deny it. Meanwhile, in the real world, the planet is melting, and the course of action is clear: if we are to live, the oil industry has to die.

As for what to do about it, the government is currently seeking submissions on its legislation to implement the offshore drilling ban. As part of this, they're proposing a minor tweak to the law on changes to permits, to prevent them from being extend to land outside Taranaki. A second tweak forbidding any change to any permit to explore for petroleum on any land outside of onshore Taranaki seems to be required. And if the government doesn't introduce such a change, we'll know that they are two-faced liars, and can vote accordingly.

Unnecessary intrusion

One of the aims of the Privacy Act was to regulate government use of information matching. The Act prevents unauthorised disclosure, so any government use for (for example) seeing if people on the electoral roll are citizens or residents and so qualified to vote requires specific statutory authorisation. There's a lot of statutory authorisations littering the books, and the Privacy Commissioner is required to review them every five years to see if they're still necessary. And it turns out that a pile of them aren't just unnecessary, but have never been used:

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards is recommending the repeal of 22 government information matching provisions, after a report showed many of them were never used.

Mr Edwards says information matching provisions are enacted by Parliament to allow the sharing of information in ways that would otherwise breach the Privacy Act’s information privacy principles.

“I am concerned these exceptional powers have been sought by officials, agreed to by Ministers, enacted by Parliament, and then never used. It shows up a weakness in the system and demonstrates the importance of having robust policy development procedures in advance of enacting such provisions.”

Mr Edwards says the unused information matching provisions did not deliver their intended benefits to society and continuing Parliamentary authorisation of these privacy intrusive measures was unjustified.

It seems that government agencies have a bad habit of demanding statutory authorisation for intrusive database trawls, making big claims about how vital it is and how the sky will fall if they don't get these powers, and then never using them. Which undermines not just privacy, but also trust in government. The Commissioner is right: these intrusive and entirely unnecessary provisions need to be repealed. But beyond that, Parliament needs to provide much greater scrutiny of such demands in future, and only grant them where there is a clear and urgent requirement for information sharing. MP's giving agencies intrusive powers "just in case" is not fulfilling their basic duty to protect the privacy and human rights of New Zealanders.

The Commissioner's full report can be read here.

Cruel and barbaric

Over the weekend, Nauru threw out NGO Médecins Sans Frontières, which had been providing mental health services to the suicidal inmates of australia's concentration camp there. So what is the Nauruan regime going to do about suicidal refugees now that it has removed their only source of support? Arrest them:

Refugee advocates say police in Nauru have arrested a 36-year-old Iranian refugee for attempting suicide.

The Refugee Action Coaltion said the refugee swallowed washing powder at the Anibare camp on Monday afternoon.

The Coalition's Ian Rintoul said although the man was in obvious distress, police arrested him rather than calling an ambulance.

It follows a government edict made last week that any refugee who threatens or attempts suicide be arrested.

And its unclear whether they even gave him medical treatment.

This is simply cruel and barbaric. There's a reason civilised countries don't criminalise attempted suicide: because it doesn't work. Mental health issues are exactly that - health issues - and need to be dealt with by appropriate treatment, not the criminal justice system. Of course, the best way of dealing with these issues would be to remove the underlying cause: being detained for years without hope in an Australian concentration camp. But with Nauru being paid tens of thousands of dollars per refugee to torture them, why would they want to do that?

Monday, October 08, 2018

We should be trying to raise petrol prices, not lower them

Today the IPCC released a devastating report showing that we have only a decade or less to deal with climate change, and that we need to cut emissions to zero by 2050 if we want to avoid catastrophe. Meanwhile, at the PM's post-cabinet press conference this afternoon, the focus was firmly on... petrol prices. Apparently they're too high, so our political establishment wants to lower them. Labour wants to take it out of the petrol companies' end, by cutting their margins. National meanwhile wants to take it out on us, by cutting fuel taxes (which means less money to pay for roads and crash victims. So National wants us either to not have those things, or they believe there is a magic money tree they can use to pay for them). But by focusing on cutting prices, both are effectively saying they want to increase the use of petrol, increase emissions, and increase global temperatures. Or to put it another way: both parties want to destroy the world.

From a climate change perspective, high petrol prices are good, insofar as they discourage inefficient transport use, push people to alternatives, and reduce emissions (and past evidence is that they do). So rather than trying to lower petrol prices, a government which actually cared about climate change would be welcome this - and be planning to make them higher. Obviously, this has social impacts, so they'd need policies to deal with that: cheaper and more efficient public transport, low-cost loans to get people into more efficient cars, subsidies for certain users utterly reliant on vehicles. Obviously, it would be better if they had planned to put those policies in place beforehand, rather than being hit by a sudden market shift. But in general, they should treat high prices as what they are: a market signal to burn less petrol, and stop destroying the world.

Climate change: A line in the sand for our species

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its special report on limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, and argued strongly that the current two degree target is too dangerous:

At 1.5C the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50% lower than at 2C, it notes. Food scarcity would be less of a problem and hundreds of millions fewer people, particularly in poor countries, would be at risk of climate-related poverty.

At 2C extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere this summer, would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires.

But the greatest difference would be to nature. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with 1.5C. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached.

Sea-level rise would affect 10 million more people by 2100 if the half-degree extra warming brought a forecast 10cm additional pressure on coastlines. The number affected would increase substantially in the following centuries due to locked-in ice melt.

Oceans are already suffering from elevated acidity and lower levels of oxygen as a result of climate change. One model shows marine fisheries would lose 3m tonnes at 2C, twice the decline at 1.5C.

Or, to put this in very small words so politicians can understand it: a lot of people are going to die or have their lives made miserable unless you sort this out. The insect result is the worst, and they're basicly saying that two degrees commits us to global famine, and all the instability that brings. Sea-level rise means involuntary migration, and more instability. This is not a pretty future the Olds are building for us, and we need to fight for a better one.

How do we stop it? The report is clear: we need a 45% cut in emissions by 2030, and a reduction to zero by 2050. Which puts James Shaw's wibbling about everyone being "equally unhappy" with his climate change targets on Saturday in perspective: we can't afford his bullshit. Anything other than a target of net zero across all gases is committing to burning the planet. And if a Green climate minister commits to that, he and his party can kiss their jobs goodbye at the next election. I will not vote for any party which promises to destroy the world, and I strongly suspect that feeling will be shared by a significant number of Green supporters.

Debra Roberts, one of the IPCC working group co-chairs, called the report a line in the sand for our species. It needs to be a line in the sand for our politicians as well. They need to decide whose side they are on: humanity's, or that of the polluters. And if its the latter, we need to vote them out as quickly as possible.

The exception that proves the rule

On Friday, the police announced they were charging the secretary of the People's Party with failing to declare donations on time. Great! Parliament has made it clear that they regard this as a crime, and its good to see the police finally enforcing electoral law for once. At the same time, you have to ask: why only the People's Party?

In case anyone has forgotten, the secretary of ACT, Garry Mallett, committed exactly the same offence in 2014, and was duly referred to the police over it. Who then did... nothing. Its as if they have one standard for cimes by people who are in power, and one for people who aren't.

(In case anyone was wondering, its too late to prosecute Mallett now, because politicians wrote themselves a self-serving little time-limit. if the normal rules applied, then it would be a category 2 offence with a 5 year limit for filing charges. its almost as if politicians don't want to be subject to the law like the rest of us dirty peasants...)