Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all conspiracy theory loony on you. The video in question will only really be of interest to a small number of people, but the information in it will be very important to them and reassuring at a time when they’ll need to know that not all of the system is against them.
The Ministry of Justice put the video online in March. Then took it down a week later. According to Liberal Conspiracy–
Independent benefits expert Neil Bateman discovered that the video was taken down after employment minister Chris Grayling emailed the ministry complaining about, amongst other things, the fact that it told claimants:
-that they are twice as likely to win their appeal if they appear in person rather than having a paper hearing;
-that the DWP doesn’t normally send a representative to the hearing;
-to send additional evidence to the tribunal, when Grayling wants it sent to the DWP.
The video went up again earlier this week, and started receiving hits out of proportion to other MoJ productions. So it was taken down again.
It’s such a shame that people can copy videos and upload them themselves, isn’t it.
If you find this information useful don’t forget to send a little thank you note to the Ministry of Justice for producing it.
The Cologne district court has ruled that non-medical circumcision is a “serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body”. Thus religious circumcision is illegal and German Jews and Muslims are up in arms about it.
Well done to Germany, and the Cologne court in particular, for making a decision based upon child welfare despite the inevitable chorus of claims that it’s anti-semitic. Commenters were straight in with the other obvious non-argument- bringing abortion into the mix despite the two issues being unrelated. British blogger Cranmer waffled around the subject but basically said that laws made up in the desert thousands of years ago should be more important than the ones passed in a modern courtroom, and suggested some sort of circumcision tourism.
Let’s leave decisions about the integrity of the prepuce to its owner and let them choose at the age of eighteen plus whether it stays or goes.
A new use for an old fireplace, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
Both the fireplaces in the house’s downstairs rooms have been blocked off. I resisted the temptation to open them and decided to use paint instead.
The living room fire is now a blackboard for the girls to art on. The middle room one, once I clear away the blockade of Mills and Boon, will be decorated with hot rod style pinstriped flames.
I probably shouldn’t link to this. It’s liable to become the new hobby at Casa Spinneyhead.
The Manchester Evening News had one of their commuter races and, as usual, the bike won.
The car wasn’t far behind, but even if it had won it wouldn’t be as good a commuting vehicle as the bike. Add up the costs of commuting by car for a year and you’d have to be buying a carbon fibre or titanium framed cycle brand new every January before two wheels were more expensive than four.
(The cyclist’s name is Wayne Ankers. Must….. Resist…….)
Cafepress do laptop skins, so you can dress your computer up in funky designs and pictures. I’m uploading a few images for well dressed portables, starting with the Ghost street skin.
Note- The Girl on the Bridge is the other Garth Owen story I’m working on at the moment, first in a series called Adam and the Ghost. I wrote some time ago about how it was inspired by a manga called Itoshi No Kana. Other sources of inspiration include Buffy, of course, and I’m going to be investigating British beasties for some of the tales. Here’s the opening of the first tale-
The sky was still and blue and a heat haze distorted the tarmac of the bike path, but Adam had just walked through Arctic cold air. He had come to a stunned halt then taken a swift step back before the chill froze his joints. Now the hot, heavy air of a record heatwave raised a quick sweat and made it hard to breathe.
Adam reached out to touch the shaft of frigid air. His fingers tingled with freezer burn, but it only went print deep. He pushed, and imagined he felt a little give, like material, or even skin. The ends of his fingers were going numb from the cold, or whatever he was pressing was warming to his touch. He shoved the resisting air until he felt it give and move. He imagined he heard the scuffling of something moving along the ground.
The tips of Adam’s fingers stung now. He stared at them, as if that would give him an answer, then something stroked his forearm.
It wasn’t as cold as the invisible obstruction had been, but it still felt wrong. It was like being caressed by an insistent and very localised wind. The wind asked, very quietly, “Can you see me?” Then it grasped his right wrist. It was a light hold, and not as cold as previously. As what felt like the fingers and thumbs of two small hands held him they warmed up to almost skin temperature. Adam reached down with his left hand and drew his phone from his jeans pocket. With barely a glance at it and practised moves he opened the camera, held the phone in front of him and took a picture.
As soon as the phone made its fake shutter closing noise the grip on Adam’s wrist was released. He almost staggered back at this new shock, then reached out with his now free right hand to feel for the cold air. Which was no longer there.
Adam was on an old cast iron footbridge over a long abandoned, and recently re-purposed, railway cutting. He had set off on a wander to get a little lost on the South-east edge of Manchester. It hadn’t happened yet, he still knew this bit of Levenshulme, and now he was suffering from hallucinations because of heat stroke. He leant against the parapet, a tetanus nightmare of green paint held in place by rust, and looked around.
Below the bridge the cutting was overgrown, with one meandering hard packed path weaving between the would-be copses of willow. For this section of the path the tarmacked cycle path had risen to meet the end of the bridge and allow access to a mini wilderness beyond it.
Adam looked back at the street, running along the end of numerous terraces, he’d come from then at the trees and scrub on the far side of the bridge. He reached out and swung his hand back and forth. Nothing. He took a step forward and tried again. Still nothing. If anyone was watching he must look like the world’s worst mime. He gave up and headed back the way he had come.
It was only when he was off the bridge that Adam remembered his phone. He hadn’t known why taking a photo had suddenly become so important, and he didn’t expect it to reveal anything. He held the phone up and looked at it. And felt a chill deeper and more horrifying than any he had just experienced.
Dedicated to our glorious Prime Minister, who has an uncanny ability to turn off and remain blissfully ignorant of the troubles and woes of the rest of us. Play some more tennis Dave, try out another iPad game, take your daughter down the pub. Your policies aren’t hurting anyone, there’s no need to worry about the state you’ll leave the nation in.