Rule of Law (as opposed to the Right wing version) Wednesday, Nov 9 2016 


Media Whore Nigel Farage (Grandson of immigrants, married an immigrant) has said he will lead a march of 100,000 on the Supreme Court.
The reason to lead a march is to try and change opinion. Thats fine – when leading a march on Parliament- MPs should listen. They don’t have to accept, but they should listen..
BUT
These aren’t MPs he is trying to influence. These are judges. They have one rule – apply the law. The law isn’t hostage to public opinion. It can only be what it is.
Farage is literally trying to subvert the law.
Imagine if you are playing a game of Monopoly. You land on Mayfair and say “I will buy that for £400, as printed on the board.”
The other 4 players say “We’ve decided that it has to be £1,000.”
“Hold on,” you say, “the rules state £400.”
“We’ve held a vote – and the majority have decided.”
You wouldn’t accept it in a board game. Why the hell should we accept it as the Law of the Land?

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Strong Action, Daesh, Cameron and Corbyn Friday, Nov 27 2015 


So here we are again, clamouring for bombing.  Exactly who are we bombing?  This isn’t Gulf 1, with formations of tanks to be destroyed.  This is a terrorist militia, intermingled with women and children.  But not bombing them is weakness.

Really?  The Paris attackers came from Paris and Brussels.  Maybe we should bomb Belgium.  Because when the civilians die, and they will – the bombs may be smart, but the shrapnel isn’t – you might as well print a big poster of Cameron in pointing Kitchener pose with the caption “Wants You – to join the fight against the Kufir”

Corbyn has made it clear we should be looking to cut off the support that Daesh receive, stop them selling oil, stop them receiving money, stop them receiving weapons. And that has hardly been reported on. Of course, this would mean upsetting their biggest supporters – Saudi Arabia, the country that executes people for wanting free speech, even as Cameron sucks up to them.

Meanwhile the Tory press present him as a sympathiser, and allow Cameron to claim he is defending Britain. And, oh what a surprise, the Tory press completely fail to mention the Tories have made Britain more vulnerable. Hidden away is the fact that in 2018 they will cut fleet flagship, HMS Ocean, our only helicopter carrier. Not did they mention that due to the Cuts earlier this month that we had to ask the French to lend us Sub hunting aircraft to help find a Russian sub off Scotland because the Tories had cut all ours, and we no longer have that capability.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité Saturday, Nov 14 2015 


Liberty.  Equality. Brotherhood.

The French national motto.

In the wake of Friday perhaps we should make a concerted effort to make it mankinds.

You’ll notice those three words contain no mention of any higher power.  Nothing not achievable by man.

What you want to believe in private is up to you.  But don’t expect others to believe it.  And certainly don’t bring it into the public arena.  Stop justifying your actions because of some mysterious invisible force.

Not just hurting people, but rejecting truths because they don’t fit in with your Big Book of Stories.  that isn’t just killing people because they said something rude about people who may, or may not, have lived hundreds of years ago.

It’s about punishing those who have broken the rules laid down by a supernatural being.

It’s about ignoring science that doesn’t fit in with those Stories.

It’s about insisting your beliefs have some sort of special place in society, that some rules don’t have to apply to you.

I don’t care if you believe in Gods, Goddesses, Tree Spirits or mice in a teapot orbiting on the other side of the sun.

If you can’t do the right thing without being told to by something supernatural, you may want to take a good long hard look at yourself.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

We don’t need anything else.

General Election 2015 – The worst possible result. Friday, May 8 2015 


The UK 2015 General Election has produced the worst possible result for anyone who isn’t Sir Bufton Tufton, MP for Much Frothing in the Marsh.

Don’t be poor.
Don’t be sick.
Don’t be vulnerable.

The Tories have a majority.  This will be taken as a sign they can do what they like, much like Thatcher at the peak of her powers in the ’80s or even Blair. There are no brakes.  The fact that a majority of people don’t want the NHS to be privatised, believe that the Big Businesses who call the shots to be reigned in and pay their tax, fora rebalancing of Britain towards fairness, won’t matter.

We can now expect ‘Cutting Red Tape’ (code for removing workers protections), ‘Freeing business’ (code for reducing regulation on the very companies that crashed the economy in 2008) and ‘Rewarding hard work’ (Tory code for tax cuts to the rich, with attacks on the bottom of society to pay for it). All with the Right Wing press cheering them on. (I’m going to miss the BBC when they gut it).

Don’t be poor.
Don’t be sick.
Don’t be vulnerable.

This is the Party who brought in a £1,200 fee for workers to go to employment tribunals.  That’s about 3 weeks of the AVERAGE take home wake, let alone what it is for those in the low paid jobs who are more likely to need protection.  Then they crowed how businesses had been helped by the fall in the number being sued.  That’s like closing Police Stations then saying how reported crime has gone down.

This is the party who are stopping green energy and subsidising fracking and oil.  We could make a push, we could have a vibrant tech sector selling renewables to the rest of the world. But no. Throw money at the Oilmen.  No matter what your thoughts on Global Warming, even if you put your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, the idea of subsidising a hugely profitable yet polluting industry is madness.

Expect more money and public services thrown at ‘Service Industry’ giants, with a proven track record. Of screwing up. Who rake in huge profits while their employees qualify for Government Benefits.

And yet Cameron is facing his own nightmare. He already knows this, and so do all those around him.  They realised it even as they popped the corks in their constituencies last night.  The majority is wafer thin.  It is smaller than John Major’s in 92, and look at the trouble he had.  The loonies will crawl off the back benches.  They are no longer lobby fodder, they have power.  All the kind of people who thought about joining UKIP because no one at Tory HQ would listen to them.

Don’t be poor.
Don’t be sick.
Don’t be vulnerable.

Good luck, because we may all be on our own.

Devrions-nous être Charlie? Tuesday, Jan 20 2015 


George Galloway has described Charlie Hebdo as “a racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag.  Typical of Gorgeous George he ignores everything that he can’t get angry about, that doesn’t prove or argue with what he believes.  He ignores the magazine’s continued and long standing criticism of the Catholic Church, for instance.  Like the Pope he blames the victim.

To stand with Charlie Hebdo isn’t flowers on a celebrity’s grave, an act of condolence of a stranger.  It is to make a stand against those who say “You may not say anything about my religion, because I will be offended.”  That attitude would be unacceptable with any other notion: caricatures of politicians aren’t stopped because those who believe in their policies profoundly are upset.    Criticising someone’s home town may be downright rude, but isn’t something that can never be said.  Yet religeon demands this pass – despite not only the followers of Abraham splinting into three sects that not only disagree vehemently with each other, they can’t even agree among themselves what they believe, yet attack anyone who questions their world view as intolerant.  Einstein may not have liked Niels Bohr’s sub-atomic theories, but he did admit their correctness when proof was shown.  He didn’t feel the need to set off a bomb.

This is the response I put on HuffPo UK

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Ebola and context Saturday, Oct 11 2014 


As of October, there have been approximately 4,000 worldwide Ebola deaths. Im not saying we should ignore this, but…

In the UK alone flu kills 2,500 people per year. Road accidents 2013 killed 1700.

A third of British adults are obese, and as far back as 2001, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) ‘Tackling obesity in Britain’ estimated that approximately 6% of all deaths in England in 1998 were caused by obesity – a total of 30,000 excess deaths in that year, but when the Government looks at ways to help people reduce calorie intake there are screams of “Nanny State”, even though modern food processing, if left unregulated, makes it difficult to control your diet.

 

Just a thought.

Oh Captain, My Captain. Wednesday, Aug 13 2014 


I have  a low tolerance for “celebrity” news. I found the outpouring of grief about Princess Diana just a bit nauseating, the mass flower layings at the homes of the famous annoys me.  I was sad when Rik Mayall died, but it wasn’t a matter of grief, just sadness at the early death of another human, one whose work I enjoyed.

So why am I affected so much by Robin Williams?

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Gay Marriage, Atheist Marriage and the Church. Sunday, Mar 4 2012 


Once again a celebate man in a dress tries to tell the world we have to believe his mythology

From the BBC today

The government’s plans for gay marriage have been criticised by the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Britain.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said the plans were a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

He said the idea of redefining marriage, which David Cameron has said he supports, would “shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world”.

Full article here

Dr John Sentamu, Arch-Bishop of York said similar on the 1st Feb.  They are, of course, both wrong.

Oddly they both say they agree with Civil Partnerships for the gay community.  Do they know the legal difference between a Civil Marriage and a Civil Partnership? It is Absolutely Nothing (apart from the second word).  Both partners have EXACTLY the same rights as people in a marriage. Legally they can’t be called ‘marriages’, but everyone does – ‘civil partnershipped’ is such an awkward phrase.

At this point I’d like to give a belated ‘Congratulations’ to Suzie, a friend of mine, who proposed to her girlfriend on Christmas day- two years to go and I’m already looking for a new suit!  Here’s the thing.  They haven’t been going to civil partnership fairs, they haven’t been looking at civil partnership dresses, nor trying to find an affordable civil partnership photographer.  Guess which word is used instead?  It turns out they are the same events as straight people go to.

I asked the LGBT rep at work how the gay community felt about the legality of the word ‘Marriage’.  She said while they would prefer the word ‘Marriage’, it is the only difference, and the Gay community have better things to try spend their time on.

So what the clergy are arguing about is a word.  They want it to keep it associated with religeon.  Orwell pointed out in ‘1984’ if you control language you control the way people think.  They seem to want to redefine the history of marriage.

Modern marriage in the UK is a reletively recent phenomenon – the law was tightened up in 1753, mainly to stop disputes about who was actually married to who. Before then it wasn’t uncommon for a couple to just live as married, often after a short informal ceremony along the lines of ‘Oh well, if you really must’, though with no legal rights, and every one in the village knew they were ‘married’. (Today’s fact, many of these informal marriages were ‘solemnised ‘ by the couple jumping over a broom, hence the phrase ‘living over the broom’ for an unmarried couple living together.)  Sometimes a ‘wandering priest’ would give a blessing, though this still had no legal validity. Basically the law of 1753 said “You have to tell everyone in advance what you are going to do, where you intend to do it (in case of objection) and sign a legal document to say you have done it.”  It was less about religion, and more about record keeping.  Every village had a church, so the bureaucracy was already in place.

Which brings me on to Civil Marriage.  In the UK a civil marriage ceremony may make NO reference to religeon (one couple were told they couldn’t have ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams playing at the ceremony).  If two atheists who can’t have children get married it is still ‘a marriage’, not a ‘civil partnership’.  The Church knows that the boat sailed long ago on that one, and don’t object.

So exactly what ‘values’ is calling it Civil Marriage, rather than a Civil Partnership undermining?  It can’t be religeon – there is no religeous test for marriage.  It can’t be parenthood, there is no requirement married couples have children.

So, Cardinal, how is gay marriage a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.  Exactly how are you being subverted?  If it is a “universally accepted human right”, then how is denying it to gays making it a “universally accepted human right”?

Or is the clue in the word “grotesque”?  Could it be that O’Brien (who was against civil partnerships) and Sentamu find the whole ‘gay thing’ just a bit icky?

Remember those who keep you safe at Christmas. Saturday, Dec 24 2011 


HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

May your children not wake up too early!

And while you are finishing off the turkey/goose/duck/nut cutlet, spare a thought for those who have to work. Not just the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq (the Taliban understandably not being so big on Christmas), but those who provide direct services to you, who still have to be there to provide public service.

I am speaking of the police, medical staff, firefighters, even social services, who are on call. A special mention to those Prison Officers I work with who are rota’d in to supervise the ‘guests’, rather than spending time with their families.

The Cause of the rioting isn’t why they are rioting. Wednesday, Aug 10 2011 


Currently in Britain there is attempted ‘Crash’ revisionism. You’ll see and hear people state ‘Its the profligate Labour government’s fault, not the banks. The Tories are just trying to fix it.”

WRONG.

We’ve had 30 years of Thatcherite politics: Blair gave up the left to get elected, continued privatisation of public services, and tried to continue a ‘thin air’ economy – who does manufacturing anymore? (Er.. Germany)

Like the US we lost large lumps of production overseas. It turns out that 50% of the population will always be below average academically (who’d have guessed eh?) There are no longer the non-academic industry jobs for people to go into, and they can’t all stack shelves. Both Tory and Labour governments for the last 30 years have allowed foreign businesses to buy up our companies, then are surprised when production is take out of the UK.

It turns out that thin air economy was stuffed full of gamblers and people trying to make as much money as quickly as possible, and hang the risks.

The claim that Brown was profligate is twisting the truth, as Richard Murphy shows here:

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/05/14/labour-repaid-much-more-debt-than-thatcher/

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/05/27/new-labour-taxed-and-spent-much-less-than-thatcher/

Note that Major spent more in 1990-97 than Labour 1997-2007. Look where the Labour spending falls off the cliff – at the point the banks needed to be propped up. £500 bn of money and guarentees has been pumped into the banks. For comparison the amount collected by HM Revenue and Customs in 2006-07 was £426bn

So now the Tories are making deep cuts against normal economic logic. Debt is 55% of GDP (it was 46% before the bail out), less than under Major. There were no howls back then. The way recessions have been beaten in the past is to spend on infrastructure – making sure businesses want to locate, and ensuring those here can compete. Why isn’t Cameron making the UK a world leader in sustainable energy production, rather than rely on the foreign companies that Thatcher sold our infrastructure too?

The Right are quick to scream about Benefit cheats. Tax evasion, avoidance and fraud costs the treasury SEVENTEEN times what benefit fraud does. Literally tens of millions of pounds go uncollected and uninvestigated every year. Why? Between 2004 and 2010 Labour cut 25,000 jobs at HM Revenue and Customs, down to 75,000. Cameron is committed to further ‘Efficiency savings’ taking it down to 60,000.

In Tottenham there are 50 unemployed for every job vacancy. We have a generation that has no investment in society. House prices are pushed out of sight of first time buyers, inflation is at 5%, while wages are flat, the government gives money to the rich, while making cuts to services for the general population. The rioters have no social contract with the wider populance.

Now I don’t believe that the kids have turned around and said “We must show our displeasure at the failure to tackle tax havens”. But when they see people looting, they do not see a reason not to join in – its ‘a bit of a laugh’, and they might get a £100 pair of trainers out of it. They don’t see a down side- why does a 17 year old care if florist loses her business when he has no future himself: teenagers are incredibly short sighted at times.

The failure to provide a future has broken the link between individual and society.

Right Wing newspaper lies – Shock! Friday, Jul 22 2011 


Some of you may have seen stories about “We’re not celebrating Waterloo in 2015 because we might upset the French”.

Guess what. it was a load of right wing press bollocks.

I actually bothered to email the Dept of Culture Media and Sport, and asking, and this is the reply.

Dear Mr Hopping

Thank you for your recent e-mail, about the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, in 2015, not being celebrated.

I’m happy to confirm that what you have read in the press is incorrect, and that discussions are taking place within Government to determine how best to formally commemorate this anniversary.

Planning is already being carried out by Waterloo 200, an umbrella organisation which is overseeing the anniversary, and more information can be found on its website www.waterloo200.org

I hope you are reassured by this information.

Regards,

Chris Green

Ministerial Support Team

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

The Daily Mail ran the original story.  I won’t dignify them with a link.  Remember, in the ’30s they supported Hitler.

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God!
the British journalist.

 But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there’s
no occasion to.

 ‘The Uncelestial City’, Humbert Wolfe, 1930

Where was MY wedding invite. Saturday, Apr 30 2011 


Both William and Catherine (The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – that Wills and Kate) are descended from notorious parliamentary commander ‘Black’ Tom Fairfax, and I have a line of descent from his grandfather. (Edited for spelling)

Carnival of The Elitist Bastards Sails Again Friday, Jan 8 2010 


“Arrrrgh, you be late.”  The Admiral had obviously had a good Christmas, waving a brand new cutlass in one hand, and a half empty bottle of rum in the other. “We should have been set sail these 8 days hence, you scurvy dog”.

“A number of points there, Admiral”  Hussar said. “One- I had to get a new uniform made.  I refuse to captain the ship looking anything other than absolutely spiffing. Two- there are other battles to be fought, by land as well as sea.  I have just been part of a lengthy campaign as part of a multi-national force giving unreason a good kicking”

And Three- you decided to sail just before Christmas.  Like many other northern Europeans I was engaged in rituals to remind the sun to stop going to bed early.  That, and I had some fine wines in.”

“Ye cur, that bain’t be no way to talk to an Admiral.”

“And that’s another thing.  For this voyage at least we are not going to be having with all this pirate nonsense.” The admiral spat a mouthful of rum out. “Instead I have a letter of Marque signed by a servant of the Crown, instructing us to fight ignorance and pigheadishness where ever we find it.”

“And this Servant of the Crown, would he be standin’ before me in a brand new, and rather foppish, uniform?”

“Might be”

“And could we infer that neither Her Majesty, nor her government know anything about said letter?”

“Ah, but at least it’s officially unofficial!”

At that point the discussion was interrupted by Decrepit Old Fool waving from the gangplank.  “Have I missed the sailing?”

“Well as you seem to be standing on the gangplank, it is safe to assume we are still moored.  You seem anxious to get aboard.”

“Save me from Liberals.”

“We are Liberals.”

“But you don’t put ideology ahead of rational thought like this lot

Ropes were hauled, cutlasses were placed in scabbards with satisfying ‘snick’ noises, and meaningful looks were exchanged as the wind filled the sails, and “HMS Elitist Bastard” pulled away from the quay. Winter clouds scudded across the sky as the ship pushed its way through leaden seas.

“Make a signal Bo’sun – ‘England Expects Every Man Shall Stand His Round.'”

Suddenly from the Crows Nest the lookout ***Dave gave a cry.  He passed a link down, how the Global Warming deniers had accused a childrens website of politicising the debate

“Run out the Carronades, I intend to give them a shot across the bows ” barked Captain Hussar

“I think the The International Conspiracy of Mad Scientists are going to want more that that Captain.”

 The Captain looked at ICMS. “What you got in mind?”  ICMS indicated the fully loaded cannons.  The Captain smiled “Make Ready for Action. Drummer-boy; Beat To Quarters.  Run out the cannons.  Mr ICMS, fire your broadside.”

 “Oh Huzzar!”

 “Cap’n.  They’re making a signal”.

 “Pass me your spy-glass, let me read it – ‘Ha. Ha. Did. Not. Hurt. Us. In. Fact. You. Like. Us. More. Now. Than. You. Used. To.’  What in the name of all that is provable under reasonable controlled conditions are they talking about?  Every one can see the anti-science stand of the American Right is in tatters!”

“Sir, If may have a word” said the maths-geek standing by the ship’s biggest gun, nicknamed ‘Correct Methodology’.

 “Speak up Mr Ecstathy.”

 “I believe they are using an old ploy known as ‘selective statistics’.  Permission to blow a hole in it sir?”

Fire away“.

“Mr Cujo, do you have some shot and shell to add to this little fracas?”

“No Captain, but I know a man who has some tactics worth listening to

Suddenly Captain Hussar fell to the deck, grasping his chest.  “Kiss me Hunter” He gasped.

“Nice try sunshine.  That one isn’t going to sail.  Faking your death isn’t going to get me to kiss you, or disguise the fact you’ve written yourself into a corner.  Do you know how we are going to end this?”

Hussar stood up.  “We could offer them Tim Minchin’s wife.” 

“Don’t seem to be able to rise to that challenge Captain” confirmed a lookout.  “They are retreating while they argue about it”

“The problem is they are like zombie ships. No matter how often you fill them full of holes, and sink the arguments, they keep coming back, having learnt nothing.  What we need is some entertainment.  Lud In The Mist- see if you can get together some kind of Guitar Group.  Something that pisses off the “War, War” crowd.  Tonight we party!”

UK Government apologises for its treatment of Alan Turing Friday, Sep 11 2009 


For those who don’t know, and frankly you should, Alan Turing was one of mankinds greatest brains, jointly responsible for the first electronic computers, using it to break the Wehrmacht’s Enigma ‘unbreakable’ codes. Station X was one of the most important parts of the Allied war machine in World War 2. The Battle of the Atlantic was won because of ‘Station X’ at Bletchley. German troop movements throughout the campaign in North West Europe following D-Day were known in advance, sometimes Churchill was reading Hitler’s messages before Hitler was.

Not just that, but the fact that you are reading this is due in no small part to Turing. He was a also a major factor in how we see AI today.

He was also criminalised because he was gay, eventually commiting suicide.

However Her Majesty’s Government have now made an official apology, in the wake of a petition signed by many thousands of us, gay and straight.
Full text below the fold
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Dear Ireland Monday, Jul 13 2009 


From Ireland’s new ‘blasphemy law’

Section 36

(1) A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000. [Amended to €25,000]

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

As Les notes at StupidEvilBastard.com, this part of the bill makes it illegal to criticize any religion either verbally or in writing.

SO. Here goes.

There is no evidence of any god, Abrahmic or otherwise.

There is no evidence that anything in Genesis is true.

There is no evidence, indeed no reference outside of the Bible, of Jesus Son of god.  There may have well been a wandering rabbi/heretic called Jesus, but the Romans never mention him.  Don’t quote Pliny and Josephus, they talk about ChristIANS- it’s like says seeing Tom Cruise in a movie proves Scientology is correct.

You may be interested to know I have seen it argued that ‘Jesus’ was a name of a number of Jews, and had no special connotation- this is why Pilate is so careful with asking the crowd who to release, maybe Barabbas’ name was also Jesus (Bar Abbas=son of Abbas).

Whatever the truth of 2000 years ago, that cracker and wine certainly doesn’t turn into his flesh and blood.

Denying contraception on the basis of religious texts from thousands of years ago is evil,  using them isn’t.

Ditto “Teh gays”.

While I’m about it.

There almost certainly is no god (see above re lack of evidence), not even Allah.  Ergo Muhammed was not his prophet. (Cos there is no prophet Atheism; boom-boom. I’m here all week).

And Wiccans- No, you are not a Witch of any sort, black, white or spangly (A “Do what?” possibly, but not a witch). There is no Earth spirit.

MOST IMPORTANTLY.

It is wrong to hate someone because of a belief in something that isn’t your belief. 

Now as an atheist I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home or place of worship.  However

  1. Don’t expect me to fund it through taxation.
  2. Don’t expect me to agree with you, and if I spot a flaw in your religeous arguement dont expect me to gloss over it if you rely on that flaw.
  3. Don’t assume that you get extra rights because of your belief. (well ok- in Ireland you do, but don’t expect me to agree with that).
  4. Don’t expect me to be quiet if you want it taught as ‘Scientific Fact’ in schools.
  5. or indeed want your private beliefs to be considered more protected than my private beliefs

See, depite what you may think there is no such thing as a Militant Atheist- Not even Richard Dawkins.  We don’t go around pushing newspapers through doors asking “Have you heard the Good News about Science?”.  We don’t stand in town squares reading bits out of ‘Origin of Species’, or complaining when science shows that something we believe in isn’t true.

I’ll admit I was put out when Pluto was declared ‘not a planet’, but that is emotional attachment to a world view that proved to be wrong.  Einstein felt the same way when Nils Bohr showed some of Einstein’s theories to be wrong. But it is just that- emotional attachment to a childhood. I’m never going to go there, and classification is an artificial Human construct. I am certainly not going to support a crusade or jihad demanding it be re-instated as a planet.

Now Ireland; I’ll admit the fact the Irish Sea is between you and me has made me a bit braver in posting this: I’m assuming you won’t go for the whole extradited thing via the EU (though I must say that is actually worrying me a little).  But what are you going to do if the University of Dublin comes up with a bit of research that proves something that offends your Catholic mindset?  Declare Science blasphemous and demand your fine?

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