Wednesday, June 22, 2005
By way of linking to the inaugural kiwi blog carnival (do take a look)...
I don't know if they're talking in shorthand, but Phil Etc and Big News both seem to think that repealing section 59 is to disallow a defense of reasonable force against child assault charges. This isn't really right.
What people are complaining about is the defense of reasonable force in the "correction" of your child. If we did nothing but repeal section 59 (which I understood was the deal), the reasonableness tests that apply to normal assaults would still apply.
Think of it with respect to an adult. If someone you know were derterminedly trying to stick a fork into a power socket, you would be utterly justified in pulling them away. If they were being that stupid, you could also give them a really good slap. But if you broke their arm, that would likely be considered too much.
Of course, adults are generally more sensible than that and have a tendency to hit back.
For all that opponents of section 59 forget this, juries would still get to decide what was reasonable. Not the police or, as Mr Maxim's staggering initial suggestion had it, judges.
Whether this option is better than clarifying in law what is reasonable or adding instructions for the jury (perhaps emphasising that just because it's discipine doesn't make it reasonable) is of course a matter for debate.
But something patently needs to be done. The law as it stands reads okay but it doesn't work. My jury experience would indicate that juries really are sincere about doing the job that they are supposed to but maybe when you throw in kids and reasonableness they need a bit more help.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Cathy, commenting on DPF makes the assertion more or less explicitly. Hamish's opinion should not be judged on the merits of his argument or on his expertise in the issue (which appears to be greater than that of most if not all of the commenters*). It should be judged on whether he earns more than $38,000 a year.
As in, if he earns less he should "fuck off".
And that without the use of a self-depreciating emoticon or anything.
I suppose I had realised that lots of people behave as if this is true. I just hadn't realised that people explicitly thought like that.
Anyhow, my wife is in the top tax bracket, and she says my opinion is worth listening to, so here goes:
The cream of society - or that which, as Terry Pratchett put it, is found floating on the top and is therefore most safely called "the cream" - no doubt has its share of sensible, clever and/or talented individuals. But if people rise by these qualities it is a tendency rather than a rule.
And even these admirable traits don't make people right all of the time.
Much as I would like to go on, I don't know that anything would make the Philip Morgans and Cathys of this world get the point.
For what it's worhth, this may explain they way it worked in at least one case. Jean-Louis Barrault was an influential French actor type in the middle of the twentieth century. In his book Reflections on the Theatre, he tells this story:
One evening I dined with a big industrialist who built ships and who spent the whole meal pitying me because of my profession. A profession which, he said, consisted in smearing one's face like a girl, putting on fancy-dress as it if was carnival, and repeating the same words every evening . . . "and not your own words at that." I said: "You, sir, build ships. Very well. If you lost several million francs per ship built, granting that it wouldn't break you financially, would you go on building ships ?" "No, if I lost millions in building ships I would stop." "Very well, sir, then you don't really love building ships. As for me, if I lost my life acting I would still go on acting. Which proves that I love my craft more than you love yours." I should add that this little exchange bound us together and we went along full sail for the rest of the evening.
*The issue of defamation, that is. Not the issue of child molestation.
And now, one for the fans:
New Hood: Jackson Innocent - Hope For Benson-Pope?
Friday, June 03, 2005
What with the poorly-mocked up pre-publicity from Bhatnagar via Farrar, and jamming suggestions coming thick and/or fast, looks like it's open season on annoying, simplistic, disingenuous billboards.
First thing I wanted to say was, if those letters are vinyl (I don't know if they are), they'll pull right off...
... and you could probably re-arrange them too. But I've got a computer and no ladder, so I though I'd do things this way. As a special bonus, they're not all entirely partisan.
And much as people have already got to this territory...
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
No Right Turn points out that they're basically stopping things getting any worse. Guess he's right. Good on them.
I want to be all like, Grr, politics. But I think I really mean, Grr, social and political climate.
And I don't think it's a climate that's actually conducive to work on victim's issues (as distinct from just punishing prisoners) or rehabilitation. These somehow don't seem compatible with the hang-em-high approach.
So I can't see much progress being made before the Green's sunset clause kicks in.