Monthly Archives: August 2011
As the first cases make their way through to sentencing, one case has attracted much comment: 23 year old Nicholas Robinson, an Electrical Engineering student, who was sentenced to six months in prison for stealing bottles of water worth £3.50 from a branch of Lidl in Brixton.
I’ve already made clear my views on prison sentences of this length for non-violent offenders involved in the riots, so I want to look instead at whether the sentence was appropriate under the current sentencing framework. Read the rest of this entry
An odd turn of phrase caught my attention in the Commons’ yesterday. Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement, Ed Miliband said:
Of course, as we look at the solutions we need, questions of hope and aspiration are relevant—the provision of opportunities to get on in life that do not involve illegality and wrongdoing. When we talk about responsibility, we must not forget ours, not to the tiny minority who did the violence, but to the vast majority of law-abiding young people. They are a generation—this is not about any one Government—worried about their prospects and we cannot afford to fail them. We cannot afford to have the next generation believe that they are going to do worse than the last. They should be able to do better. That is the promise of Britain that they have a right to expect.
House of Commons Hansard; 11 Aug 2011 at Column 1053
What struck me was the implicit contrast of the “Promise of Britain” with the American Dream. Read the rest of this entry
In aftermath of the SonyDADC fire and the destruction of PIAS’s stock, here’s an opportunity to engage in some legitimate protest. Put your money where your mouth is, and support the independent record labels affected.
Read the rest of this entry
As I write this, 75,263 people have signed this e-petition:
Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed. No tax payer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them.
This e-petition was set up early yesterday. It has been gathering signatures at a rate of more than 3,000 an hour, long since overtaking Paul Staines’ petition to “Restore Capital Punishment” (6 days old; currently 11,387 signatures), Martin Shapland’s opposing “Petition to retain the ban on Capital Punishment” (6 days old; currently 20,027 signatures), and Robert Halfon MP’s “CHEAPER PETROL AND DIESEL” (5 days old; currently 24,189 signatures). These professional politicos have been left standing.
At the current rate (c.5k/hour), more than 100,000 people will have signed by later this evening, triggering consideration of the petition by the House of Commons’ Backbench Business Committee. The first test of Parliament’s commitment to listen to the public will not be capital punishment, but a demand to punish those responsible for the violence and destruction of the past four nights.
If you want to read beyond my guest post for Dale Street Blues (liability for rioting and the Riot Act), here are two posts that explore the legal issues around riot in more depth:
Read the rest of this entry
I’ve written a post for Dale Street Blues, talking about the Riot Act and the rules on liability for riot damage.
Small actions can have big consequences, and unintended ones at that.
It’s doubtful that those who attacked and set fire to a distribution centre in Enfield last night intended to deal a serious blow to independent record labels, but then it’s unlikely they’d much on their minds beyond a spot of social burglary.
Read the rest of this entry
If it felt like there was less coverage of football in your weekend newspaper, that’s because there was.
The Premier League and Football League are currently in negotiations with representatives of the national media and the news and picture agencies. At stake is the ability of journalists to attend and report on football matches.
Notice: ability. This is one of those areas that’s governed by analogues to intellectual property rights, created under contract, and not by copyright or (generally) by some form of performance right. One example I’ve written about before are the terms and conditions of event tickets, which can – in theory – create obligations not to take photographs, and generate contractual rights for venues to confiscate cameras if there’s a breach.
The key issue, according to the Guardian’s reporting, is the proliferation of real-time reporting, especially via Twitter. The existing agreement limits reporters to “update windows”, no doubt because someone within the Leagues assumes this is necessary to protect their lucrative broadcast agreements.
But the football clubs are playing a dangerous game. As Henry Winter noted in the Telegraph:
Rapprochement is required before a great sport suffers lasting damage. Other sports are available. If newspapers fall out of love with football, focusing more on cricket or rugby union, the Leagues will realize to their cost what an own goal this ban has been.
Short-sighted football Leagues are shooting themselves in the foot
About 18 months ago, I wrote about “mainstream views”, and where the death penalty fitted into them. One of my arguments – supported by the available opinion polling – was that reintroduction of the death penalty is a mainstream (and probably majority) view.
Following on from yesterday’s post about Liverpool John Moores University dispute with Robert Halfon, I wrote a guest post for David Bartlett‘s Dale Street Blues blog (over on the Liverpool Daily Post).
In it, I’ve set out some questions I think LJMU should answer – not least about who authorised the threats of legal action.
You can read the post here.