Posts Tagged ‘Theft’

Putin’s Driving Ban for Pervs and Crims: Would This Man Be Allowed to Drive?

January 12, 2015

Desmond pic

Richard Desmond, porn baron, owner of Express newspapers and Hello!, and former owner of Channel 5. From the cover of Private Eye for 30th April – 13 May 2004, when he switched allegiance from Blair to the Tories.

There was a mixture of outrage, incredulity and ridicule last week, when Putin announced his new laws designed to cut down on dangerous driving in Russia. These made it illegal for transgendered people, along with ‘fetishists, voyeurs and exhibitionists’, and ‘compulsive gamblers and thieves’ to drive. Much of this outrage was directed at Putin’s bigoted view that somehow transgender people cannot drive safely. It’s in line with his regime’s continuing clampdown on homosexuality in Russia. The ban on driving for perverts and compulsive gamblers probably comes from a moral crusade to clean up Russia, intended to appeal to Russian Orthodox voters and other people of faith. The ban on thieves also probably stems from a desire to create a further disincentive to crime. The Russian psychiatric association criticised the new laws, pointing out the obvious: that few of these conditions actually affected anyone’s ability to drive. Amidst all the furore over the laws themselves, there is an interesting question: how will it affect great media moguls like Richard Desmond.

Desmond is the owner of a range of porno magazines and the Fantasy X Channel. By definition, the porn industry is full of, and consumed by,’fetishists, voyeurs and exhibitionists’. As for compulsive gamblers, the commercial TV channels after 9 pm or thereabouts are full of adverts for on-line gambling, as well as various forms of Bingo. Desmond also opened his own ‘Health Lottery’, a proportion of the profits of which would go into the NHS. As for thieves, in the past Desmond dealt with one of America’s more notorious mafia clans. They beat and tortured one of his directors after Desmond refused to refund their money after they found out that he had inflated his magazines’ circulation figures. They finally got it after they threatened to put a price on his head.

So Desmond runs a business by and for perverts of all types, as well as promoting gambling and had business dealings with organised crime. Under Putin’s new laws, it seems to me that there is absolutely no chance that he’ll be able to drive anywhere in Russia himself. If he ever goes to the land of Tchaikovsky, Stalin and Ivan the Terrible, it looks like he’s going to spending much of his time walking or getting taxis.

The Punishment of Starving Thieves: The Barbarism of Modern Britain

March 1, 2014

Medieval Law Court

A 15th century law court

One of the commenter’s to Mike’s blog, Vox Political, R. Jim Edge, reported an appalling miscarriage of British justice. The comment is on Mike’s post, reblogged from Pride’s Purge, about the death of a mentally ill man, Mark Wood, from starvation. Wood had been sanctioned by Atos, and this exacerbated his mental illness. He developed an eating disorder, and refused money his family gave to spend on food. He died weighing just over 5 stone, with a body mass index of 11.5. The full details are on Pride’s Purge and the Void. R. Jim Edge commented

Its going to get worse, just this week in Chester a woman who stole some groceries from TESCO because she had had her benefits stopped was (and this is the good bit) fined £30 and ordered to pay £80 compensation to tesco.

This is actually a more unjust legal decision than the notoriously harsh punishments associated with medieval law. The popular image of the medieval punishment for theft was that thieves had their hands amputated. In England the punishment depended on the amount stolen. If it was over a certain number of shillings, then the thief was fined. If it was over the amount, he was hanged. However, theologians argued that if someone stole bread because they were starving, then that person had done so out of necessity, not wickedness. In their opinion, they should not be punished.

The woman in Chester was clearly motivated from hunger, if she had had her benefit stopped. By the standards of medieval law, therefore, she should not have been fined, nor had to give compensation to Tesco. By this standard, the law now is worse than that of the Middle Ages. IDS and the Coalition really are leading us back to barbarism.