June 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
18th June 2010.
Dear Prime Minister,
(A personalised copy of this has been sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Congratulations on becoming first ever Prime Minister of the ‘Big Society’.
Your clarion call to the good people of the UK to ‘come up with ideas to reduce the deficit’ is one that I wholeheartedly welcome. I knew you’d get us off to a good start.
Feeling the keen responsibility of public service upon my shoulders as a proud member of your Big Society, I have been thinking like Aristotle but was on the verge of giving up when suddenly I was struck by a bolt of inspiration. Without further ado, and since I know you’re busy Prime Minister, here is my proposal:
It is common knowledge that our Judicial and Penal systems in the UK are an immense financial burden, costing billions upon billions annually. So, why not do away with most of it? (Because law and order would immediately collapse, comes the collective answer). Not at all. If we look to the example of international law, an alternative system is staring us in the face – one that would cost a fraction of our current one. In this alternative system, known criminals and repeat offenders would not be put through the justice system but instead, would be charged with conducting an investigation into themselves and their wrongdoings. This is not as crazy as it sounds, as I will attempt to explain…
Parameters would need to be set to ensure that these investigations meet acceptable standards of impartiality, credibility and transparency – in the case of international law this is achieved by the friends and family of the perpetrator nominating two ‘observers’ to oversee the investigation. Crucially, no witnesses are required to testify and there is no cross-examination (this is where much of the money is saved). To give a semblance of legitimacy to the proceedings and ensure the public’s faith in the process, an ex-judge chairs the whole affair (retired judge’s come much more cheaply than active judges – another saving). So, we see savings all the way down the line, but the real beauty of this system – and where TRULY MASSIVE SAVINGS will be made – lies in the predictability of the investigations findings wherein the criminal is free to go about their criminal behaviour in a quid pro quo for delivering the requisite self-admonishment. Thus we would do away with custodial sentences completely!
Contrary to our intuition, this works. Foreign Secretary William Hague made this very clear in a recent address to the Commons where there was a heated debate about a country that is said to systematically violate and hold in contempt international law. Here is how he reassured the House:
“commissions and enquiries have on occasion been established …. that have delivered stinging criticism of the Israeli Government and armed forces, although on other occasions such enquiries have not done so when we might have thought they were merited.”
“Israel has previously held inquiries into some of the events in Lebanon in the 1980’s and into the Lebanon War in 2006 that certainly were independent and credible by international standards, and that meted out considerable, and sometimes severe criticism to the authorities in Israel. It is possible for them to do that.”
One must accept Foreign Secretary Hague’s assertions at face value. “Considerable” and “stinging” criticism was delivered, he says, thereby proving those who would seek to discredit such a judicial system, wrong. Because no-one was indicted, costly trials in The Hague were scrupulously avoided, thus saving the European taxpayer a small fortune. We must also note that following the “independent and credible” inquiry into “the events in Lebanon in the 1980’s”, Israel committed a repeat act of aggression against Lebanon in 2006 in which they were able to put into practice the lessons they’d learnt from their punishing self-criticism of earlier, only partially destroying Beirut instead of completely destroying it. Hence we can begin to see the validity of Mr Hague’s, at first glance strange, logic. This is further exemplified by the damning inquiry Israel conducted on itself for that later crime, which precipitated their act of aggression against Gaza in Xmas of 2008, in which no part of Beirut was bombed at all. So, here we have empirical evidence that this sort of stripped-down legal system could work well here in the UK in a domestic sense. At an average cost of £100’000 per prisoner per annum saved, this would help the UK economy enormously. (We already have seen a limited version of this enacted vis a vis the UK banking system and financial institution’s humungous embezzlement of the public purse, to great advantage (to them), so it’s really just a question of rolling it out through the rest of the legal system).
I understand that this type of proposal would usually come under the remit of the Home Secretary, so I will be writing to her hoping that she will find merit in my scheme, but I wanted to share this with you first, Prime Minister, to give you confidence that your call to the Big Society at large hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. By the way, as a public servant in the truest sense, I would prefer to remain anonymous as the architect of this groundbreaking legal overhaul, so I urge you not to put my name about in the corridors of Westminster, and especially not to the Right Hon. William Hague who may think I have ‘nicked his idea’.
I hope both you and Cherie settle well into No.10
March 13, 2008 § Leave a comment
13th March 2008.
Minister of State – Dr Kim Howells MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles St
Dear Dr Kim Howells,
How lovely to hear from you again and for restoring my faith that the little people – like myself – really do have a voice! I am almost ashamed that my faith in this great democracy of ours ever wobbled!
On the subject of the Iraqi Oil Law, you once again make your case with a great mixture of clarity and devilish wit….. “a lot of nonsense is published about the Oil Law” you remarked in your recent email to me. Spot on! I myself have come across reams and reams of this ‘nonsense’ – most of it to be found in the official PR copy circulated by the corporate lobbyists, primary stakeholders and other parties of an enterprising bent (no need to name them here..it’d take me all day!) – those patriots who’ve been working tirelessly for the past 5+ years to get this oil deal done and dusted. How could anyone expect us and our American friends to pull it off without resorting to a little bit of harmless manufacturing of consent? Blimey….if our leaders were afraid to invoke a bit of perception management when it mattered we’d never achieve anything on the international stage, would we? Personally I’m all for a dodgy dossier now and then if it means my shares in BP grow fatter, I’m sure you agree. That a few perceptive folk like you and I correctly perceive what is published as ‘nonsense’ shouldn’t detract from the essential fact that it works wonders on the dim-witted general public at large, going about their business of making money, wearing their Eye-Pods and upgrading their 4 x 4’s. Manufacturing consent comes cheap when you’ve got the virtually whole nation operating on ‘autopilot’ as senseless consumers, so from a cost-benefit point of view it’s a complete no-brainer. Nice work!
Whilst you were busy touring Erbil, Baghdad and Basra I had the chance to meet a very disarming (no pun intended!) gentleman from that part of the world called Hassan Juma’a Awad – you may have heard of him? He represents 26’000 workers in the oil sector affiliated to the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions and says that he wants ..”a new, different law, which will be in the interests of Iraqis.” In fact, in a recent poll, most Iraqis said they wished Iraq’s oil to be developed and produced by Iraqi public sector companies rather than foreign companies. I have to say that hearing Mr Awad recount how he and his oil worker colleagues ingeniously kept the oil industry running through several devastating wars and sanctions, and how – more recently – the actions of Al Shahrastani (arrest warrants issued against union leaders and the sabotaging of oil installations by proxies to undermine their credibility) – have been “similar to those undertaken by Saddam’s regime”, almost brought a tear to my eye. But then… suddenly I remembered my BP shares…and in my mind’s-eye appeared an image of your good-self beavering away at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to keep British share prices up at all cost, and in a flash I realised I had regained my senses!
Anyway… to get to the point, I was wondering if perhaps – in light of all we have discussed – you could answer a pertinent question of mine….
What can we do to ensure that UK interests are not overshadowed by Iraqi interests? (With oil prices now exceeding $100 pb & with us having footed the bill for invading and occupying them, isn’t it our duty as utility maximisers to grab as much oil as we can whilst the fledgling Iraqi constitution still enables us to?) I am anxious to know your thoughts on this matter. I hope you can oblige when you have a moment?
On a different note… thank you for the update on your allotment. Hopefully you’ll find time to remove those weed covers and really get stuck in once ‘The Deal of the Century’s’ done! You’ll be pleased, I’m sure, to hear that my own allotment debacle is now finally sorted, and my antagonists taught a valuable lesson – a homage to Nixon & Kissinger, Indochina style. The other night I sneaked onto the site armed with a tank of barely diluted general- purpose herbicide, and sprayed the lot..that is…everyone’s lot. I’ve now put my name down for an allotment elsewhere. I think you’ll agree, that sometimes force is the only way forward!
Your supporter, always listening and learning…
(Father, ex allotment-keeper, and shareholder in UK PLC!)
PS: Since I’ve always enjoyed your comical asides so much, I thought …why not let me tell you a joke for a change? Actually it’s more of an amusing anecdote doing the rounds in the right-wing think tanks at the moment. It goes like this…
Blair and Bush are enjoying a cozy prayer together in the White House chapel. When Blair begins to levitate Dubya shouts out in his dozy Texan drawl – “Yo Blair….less air!” (I am led to believe that Tony makes a bit of a habit of this, much to the chagrin of Bush….no wonder the quip!)
I hope you enjoyed that – it made me chuckle when I heard it. (Not as good as yours though!)