Address flaws in 2006 Equalities Act.

This act makes it an makes it an offence to discriminate against a religion on the grounds that it might be a religious philosophy only. This Act could be used by groups such as "The Church of Scientology" to obtain 100% rate relief on all their properties.

The Church of Scientology is campaigning for religious recognition in the UK. It is doing this so that it can then claim discrimination with respect to business rates.

Either repeal this legislation or rewrite it or scrap business rates exemptions for religious places of worship and only allow business rates exemptions for charities which would include most of the main stream religions. The church of scientology is not a charity in the UK and rightly so because charities do altruistic work and the church of scientolugy does not.  

The only groups who should be entitled to subsidies by the rate paying businesses and public of this country are those who provide a charitable benefit to society. This legislation allows those that do not benefit society to claim subsidies simply because they have a "religious philosophy".

Why is this idea important?

This act makes it an makes it an offence to discriminate against a religion on the grounds that it might be a religious philosophy only. This Act could be used by groups such as "The Church of Scientology" to obtain 100% rate relief on all their properties.

The Church of Scientology is campaigning for religious recognition in the UK. It is doing this so that it can then claim discrimination with respect to business rates.

Either repeal this legislation or rewrite it or scrap business rates exemptions for religious places of worship and only allow business rates exemptions for charities which would include most of the main stream religions. The church of scientology is not a charity in the UK and rightly so because charities do altruistic work and the church of scientolugy does not.  

The only groups who should be entitled to subsidies by the rate paying businesses and public of this country are those who provide a charitable benefit to society. This legislation allows those that do not benefit society to claim subsidies simply because they have a "religious philosophy".

Repeal the knee jerk gun law implimented after Dunblane

The Dunblane massacre was a tragid event. A man used his licensed fire arms to kill innocent children. The same is true of the Hungerford massacre.  As a result of these tragic incidents hand gun ownership in the UK was comprehensively banned despite the ract that a 1996 select committee concluded such "panic" legislation would do little to prevent a repeat of these incidents.  

Thanks to the knee jerk legislation of the day many law abiding citizens lost the right to legally own hand guns for target shooting and competition. We can no longer field a pistol shooting team in the olympic games for instance.

After the most recent gun crime involving legally owned weapons, the Cumbria Shootings, although there were a few muted calls for further restrictions on weapons ownership much was made of not resorting to knee jerk legislation suggesting the people have lost the desire for such legislation since it has demonstrably removed rights they later regretted; a survey at the time of the Hungerford massacre suggested that a couple of months after the incident around 70% of people rejected the need for more gun control.

 

Why is this idea important?

The Dunblane massacre was a tragid event. A man used his licensed fire arms to kill innocent children. The same is true of the Hungerford massacre.  As a result of these tragic incidents hand gun ownership in the UK was comprehensively banned despite the ract that a 1996 select committee concluded such "panic" legislation would do little to prevent a repeat of these incidents.  

Thanks to the knee jerk legislation of the day many law abiding citizens lost the right to legally own hand guns for target shooting and competition. We can no longer field a pistol shooting team in the olympic games for instance.

After the most recent gun crime involving legally owned weapons, the Cumbria Shootings, although there were a few muted calls for further restrictions on weapons ownership much was made of not resorting to knee jerk legislation suggesting the people have lost the desire for such legislation since it has demonstrably removed rights they later regretted; a survey at the time of the Hungerford massacre suggested that a couple of months after the incident around 70% of people rejected the need for more gun control.

 

Remove self incrimination for speeding offences.

In the UK the owner of a vehicle is expected to indentify the driver when their vehicle is caught by a speed camera. Failure to do so affords the same penalty as though the speeding offence was committed by the owner.

Although it's a natural assumption that an owner of a vehicle will know who drove it this is not always the case and it is the exceptions and how the owner of the vehicle is treated that demonstrate the need to remove this requirement.

In many instances the photos provided do not clearly identify the driver. The onus is then on the drivers memory. There have however been many cases where the owner is forced in to either giving up a friend or taking the rap when there is significant doubt because he is told that unless he provides an answer within a certain time he will have committed a crime anyway.

There have been a few cases where owners have beaten this but the treatment of them during the process has been dispicable. For instance the cases are dragged on and the court where the trial is to be heard is located away from where the owner lives. They are also denied legal aid meaning only the wealthy can afford to defend themselves properly. 

If a person cannot be identified from the speed camera photo then the case should be thrown out. People should not be hounded in to giving up their friends, family or in to admitting to a crime they perhaps didn't commit.

Why is this idea important?

In the UK the owner of a vehicle is expected to indentify the driver when their vehicle is caught by a speed camera. Failure to do so affords the same penalty as though the speeding offence was committed by the owner.

Although it's a natural assumption that an owner of a vehicle will know who drove it this is not always the case and it is the exceptions and how the owner of the vehicle is treated that demonstrate the need to remove this requirement.

In many instances the photos provided do not clearly identify the driver. The onus is then on the drivers memory. There have however been many cases where the owner is forced in to either giving up a friend or taking the rap when there is significant doubt because he is told that unless he provides an answer within a certain time he will have committed a crime anyway.

There have been a few cases where owners have beaten this but the treatment of them during the process has been dispicable. For instance the cases are dragged on and the court where the trial is to be heard is located away from where the owner lives. They are also denied legal aid meaning only the wealthy can afford to defend themselves properly. 

If a person cannot be identified from the speed camera photo then the case should be thrown out. People should not be hounded in to giving up their friends, family or in to admitting to a crime they perhaps didn't commit.

Right to trial by jury.

Many look up to the justice system in the USA with its chain gangs, hard labour and death sentence but they also have an absolute right to trial by jury which they can evoke for any arrestable offence including public intoxication. This system works perfectly well, mainly because most don't demand a jury trial for minor offenses such as public intoxication.

The point of jury trial is to keep the power to sentence away from the state and with the people, which is a fundimental protection from a police state.

Many people do not know but juries have the right to disregard the law, it's called jury nullification in the USA, if they see fit. Lawyers however are sworn to uphold the law so are not allowed to inform the jury of this even if they believe their client warrants it; this would be where the client is technically guilty of a crime but the public may sympathise sufficiently to actually let him off.

In this country we have no right to trial by jury and so we have such things as fixed penalty notices.

Juries may not be perfect, they may not understand the law, but that is the whole point, they keep the human eliment in the legal system. If a lawer cannot explain in simple terms why a persons' liberty should be removed then it has to be questioned.

 

Why is this idea important?

Many look up to the justice system in the USA with its chain gangs, hard labour and death sentence but they also have an absolute right to trial by jury which they can evoke for any arrestable offence including public intoxication. This system works perfectly well, mainly because most don't demand a jury trial for minor offenses such as public intoxication.

The point of jury trial is to keep the power to sentence away from the state and with the people, which is a fundimental protection from a police state.

Many people do not know but juries have the right to disregard the law, it's called jury nullification in the USA, if they see fit. Lawyers however are sworn to uphold the law so are not allowed to inform the jury of this even if they believe their client warrants it; this would be where the client is technically guilty of a crime but the public may sympathise sufficiently to actually let him off.

In this country we have no right to trial by jury and so we have such things as fixed penalty notices.

Juries may not be perfect, they may not understand the law, but that is the whole point, they keep the human eliment in the legal system. If a lawer cannot explain in simple terms why a persons' liberty should be removed then it has to be questioned.

 

Comprehensive review of public order offences.

There is a need for public order offences however there are some demonstrable inconsistencies in them that need to be cleared up.

Section 5 dealing with offensive language and conduct. Most people would assume this law relates to "swearing" however the way the act is written allows a great deal of latitude because it allows for subjectivity. The most common issues are during protests, for instance the threat of a section 5 arrest has been used to prevent protestors in the UK from using the phrase "dangerous cult" with respect to the cult of scientology because it was deemed as possibly offensive to scientologists, whom I doubt would disagree.

Ironically legislation relating to religious hatred (2006) includes the very specific protection for the freedom of expression, which according to my research in Hansards was in part inserted in light of comments related to the church of scientology which states: 

"Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system."

which means you should be able to say scientology is a dangerous cult.

I can understand the need  to protect people from threats or personal abuse but not the need to protect them from being offended especially since it is down to the police to decide whether or not your offence warrants their time and effort.

Why is this idea important?

There is a need for public order offences however there are some demonstrable inconsistencies in them that need to be cleared up.

Section 5 dealing with offensive language and conduct. Most people would assume this law relates to "swearing" however the way the act is written allows a great deal of latitude because it allows for subjectivity. The most common issues are during protests, for instance the threat of a section 5 arrest has been used to prevent protestors in the UK from using the phrase "dangerous cult" with respect to the cult of scientology because it was deemed as possibly offensive to scientologists, whom I doubt would disagree.

Ironically legislation relating to religious hatred (2006) includes the very specific protection for the freedom of expression, which according to my research in Hansards was in part inserted in light of comments related to the church of scientology which states: 

"Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system."

which means you should be able to say scientology is a dangerous cult.

I can understand the need  to protect people from threats or personal abuse but not the need to protect them from being offended especially since it is down to the police to decide whether or not your offence warrants their time and effort.

Decriminalise most recreational drugs in favour of regulation.

Prohibition demonstrably does not work and the cost to this country is great both in terms of law enforcement and social damage.

Alcohol and tobacco are more damaging to the health and society than many illicit drugs yet they pay for themselves because they are regulated and taxed; tobacco tax generates 10 times the amount it costs the NHS during these hard economic times it is no time to cut one's nose off to spite one's face.

Heroine should be provided to existing registered addicts at cost, which will be substantially cheaper than "street" cost. This will significantly reduce their motivation to commit crime to fuel their habit and will remove the incentive from dealers to create more addicts, what's the point if they just go and get it from the authorities. It will also guarentee proper dosing and purity which will substantially reduce the health issues of this drug.

Ecstacy and cannabis plus a few others should be sold and their supply regulated and taxed just like alcohol. Although I will not argue these drugs are harmless, they most certainly are not I will say they are substantially less harmful than alcohol with cannabis being no more harmful than tobacco mainly because it is smoked. The tax generated will help fund the NHS and if the tobacco and alcohol markets are anything to go by this should fund it to excess. 

Cocaine or similar stimulants should be made available too because there is a demand and most of the damage is again associated with the fact it is prohibited. It must be remembed that the same stimulants were provided to fighter pilots during world war II to help them perform better.

 

 

Why is this idea important?

Prohibition demonstrably does not work and the cost to this country is great both in terms of law enforcement and social damage.

Alcohol and tobacco are more damaging to the health and society than many illicit drugs yet they pay for themselves because they are regulated and taxed; tobacco tax generates 10 times the amount it costs the NHS during these hard economic times it is no time to cut one's nose off to spite one's face.

Heroine should be provided to existing registered addicts at cost, which will be substantially cheaper than "street" cost. This will significantly reduce their motivation to commit crime to fuel their habit and will remove the incentive from dealers to create more addicts, what's the point if they just go and get it from the authorities. It will also guarentee proper dosing and purity which will substantially reduce the health issues of this drug.

Ecstacy and cannabis plus a few others should be sold and their supply regulated and taxed just like alcohol. Although I will not argue these drugs are harmless, they most certainly are not I will say they are substantially less harmful than alcohol with cannabis being no more harmful than tobacco mainly because it is smoked. The tax generated will help fund the NHS and if the tobacco and alcohol markets are anything to go by this should fund it to excess. 

Cocaine or similar stimulants should be made available too because there is a demand and most of the damage is again associated with the fact it is prohibited. It must be remembed that the same stimulants were provided to fighter pilots during world war II to help them perform better.