Category Archives: news

The thought process of one undecided voter

It’s voting day tomorrow and I’m still not sure who I’m going to vote for. I’ve watched the debates, I’ve read the manifestos,  I’ve tweeted. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not voting for the Tories or for any of the single-issue parties.

In the Tory manifesto, they mention freezing public sector pay and capping public sector pensions. They’re also in favour of cutting government contributions to Universities. Basically, voting Conservative would be voting for my own redundancy. I’ve already been made redundant once recently, it’s not fun. Plus, David Cameron’s face is all waxy and he hates gays.

The Greens, UKIP, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the BNP et al all preach about having a robust platform, but seriously, how much do the Greens really care about fixing the economy? Broke people make great environmentalists because they can’t afford to be wasteful; The better off people are, the more likely they are to drive V12 Jags and turn their thermostats up to 100. A good economy means I don’t get made redundant again, see above paragraph.

UKIP want out of Europe, I don’t, The SNP and Plaid Cymru want out of Britain and I don’t want to let them go and the BNP want to kick out all the brown people. I have no desire to kick out the brown people; however, if the BNP offered that £50,000 to WHITE Britons to go back to their “countries of origin” that they say they’d offer to non-white Brits, I’d at least go “hmmm” for a second before slapping myself in the face. Fifty large will buy a lot of Kraft Dinner, and watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday again might be ni… *SLAP* *SLAP*. Whoa, that’s better, thanks slapping hand.

So that leaves Labour and the Lib Dems.

The environment

The Lib Dems are big on tackling climate change, but they don’t want to build nuclear power plants. This sounds great in theory, but I think we’ve already discovered how keen the British public are to make sacrifices in order to save the planet. The gas shortages Britain experienced last winter have proved that the days of “putting another sweater on” are well and truly dead. Also, you need look no further than the rooftops in your neighbourhood to see how committed we are to solar panels. Until they make Sky satellite dishes out of solar panel glass,  like it or not, nuclear power plants are the only way to quickly cut carbon emissions. Labour are (bravely) pro-nuclear and have made Britain the biggest user of offshore wind generated energy in Europe. They are also committed in their manifesto to making Britain carbon-neutral by 2020. That’s good enough for me.

Labour 1 – Lib Dems 0.

Family values and Community service

Both Labour and the Lib Dems parp on incessantly about more support for “the family” and encouraging people to get more involved in their communities. I am the lazy, male half of a DINK relationship who has no intention of helping the public with anything. Unless battering littering chavs with the cans of Tennants Super they toss on the ground counts as community service, the community can (in the words of Bart Simpson) get bent.

Labour 1 – Lib Dems 0


Nick Clegg owned Cameron’s and Brown’s asses in the debates, Brown has that creepy smile and that weird eye. Clegg is prettier, however, he has that really unpleasant voice like he’s speaking through a trumpet mute and his hand gestures are annoying. Brown bitched out that horrible woman in Rochdale which was a major plus, but then he went snivelling back to her. And smiled again.

Labour 1 – Lib Dems 1


Labour are rubbish at fighting crime. House break-ins are rampant, The Asbo program is a joke, and ID cards? Fuck. Right. Off. The Lib Dems say almost nothing in their manifesto about fighting crime, but they would have to give out free hand grenades to Abu Hamsa supporters and the IRA to do a worse job at fighting crime than Labour.

Labour 1 – Lib Dems 2

The Economy

This is a toughie. Everyone loves Vince Cable, and the Lib Dems are the only party who have published where they’ll make cuts and I agree with many of them, including ditching the Trident system. Brown’s bank-love definitely contributed to the recession, but take yourself back 5 years; remember when you got that dodgy mortgage by putting no money down? I do. There are many horror stories out there, but most of us still have those houses; had it not been so easy to get a mortgage, I’d probably have been renting this whole time and would now have nothing to show for it.

Gordon Brown got me on the property ladder, and really, has the recession been that bad? Yes, I do go on a bit about being made redundant, but to be perfectly honest, I got another job fairly soon after. In fact, my life has changed very little as a result of this recession and that is because of Brown’s bailouts. Fact.

Labour 2 – Lib Dems 2


Nick Clegg’s wife is really hot and she wants nothing to do with politics.

Labour 2 – Lib Dems 3


I hate Yellow.

Labour 3 – Lib Dems 3

The Lib Dems are exciting and new, but Labour have experience, Nick Clegg is youthful and energetic, Brown is thoughtful and pragmatic, Clegg has better hair, Brown has better suits. I could go on and on, but I cannot decide between the two. Do I plump for old faithful, or do I go for radical change?

Frankly, I wish they’d just hurry up and form that coalition, it’d be one less thing to worry myself with.

Why Omari Roberts should never have seen the inside of a courtroom.

omari roberts drawing Copyright 2010 Robert Cutforth

Yesterday, the charges against  Omari Roberts, the man who stabbed two teenagers who were burglarising his mother’s home, have finally been dropped.

The charges were dropped not because the Crown had taken a second look at the case and decided that Omari had in fact acted lawfully; no, they were dropped because their entire case hinged on the lies of a teenaged burglar.

According to reports on the BBC news site and others,  the second burglar changed his testimony by telling social workers three things that differed from his original statement:

  1. He was, in fact, carrying a knife at the time of the burglary. He originally said he wasn’t carrying a weapon.
  2. He “would have killed” Omari if he had the chance
  3. Omari did not chase him down the street as he had originally stated.

However, if you read the CPS’s own definition of “reasonable force”, Omari should not have been charged with murder, even if this boy’s original statement was in fact true.

According to the CPS’s joint public statement on reasonable force:

“Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. You are not expected to make fine judgements over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in self-defence. This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon.

[You do] not [have to wait to be attacked] if you are in your own home and in fear for yourself or others. In those circumstances the law does not require you to wait to be attacked before using defensive force yourself.

If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies you will still have acted lawfully.”

So even if the boy was telling the truth, and he wasn’t carrying a knife, Omari could still lawfully use a weapon to defend his mother’s home. But what if he had chased the boy out of the home?

“[Chasing a burglar] is different as you are no longer acting in self-defence and so the same degree of force may not be reasonable. However, you are still allowed to use reasonable force to recover your property and make a citizen’s arrest. You should consider your own safety and, for example, whether the police have been called. A rugby tackle or a single blow would probably be reasonable. Acting out of malice and revenge with the intent of inflicting punishment through injury or death would not.”

This is the bit the CPS used to bring a charge of murder on Omari. The boy’s original statement said that Omari chased him down the street; The Crown’s argument is that the time spent chasing the boy could’ve been used to call the police. But hang on, the boy he allegedly chased and attacked lived. The boy Omari killed never left the house, so how can the chasing of the second boy result in a murder charge? If the chasing of the second boy is the part the CPS used to bring charges, then surely the only charge that could be laid is GBH, is it not?

But this is not the biggest problem with this case. The biggest problem is that the prosecution’s entire argument revolved around a teenaged burglar’s testimony; a teenaged burglar with an Asbo and a number of previous convictions. Why is a burglar’s testimony given more consideration by the prosecution than the victim’s statement? With whom does the burden of proof lie?

It’s just another case that illustrates what a grey area “reasonable force” is under UK law. This law needs to be strengthened so when a situation arises where it’s one’s word against another’s, the victim’s statement is considered to be at least on par with the attacker’s statement. The word of a teenaged delinquent should  simply not be  enough to bring charges.

Life would be easier if all burglars told the truth and had the good sense to run away when confronted by a homeowner, but it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes the bad guys lie and sometimes they have no intention of leaving without a fight. Sometimes they’re just kids.

However, Burglary is not a petty crime even if it is perpetrated by kids. It’s a very serious crime; one in which split-second decisions are required by the homeowner if he’s going to get out of it alive. Omari Roberts made remarkable split-second decisions. He protected his home and his family by attacking two burglars, he ignored the urge to chase a burglar down the street and he even had the mental wherewithal to refrain from stabbing the boys in obviously lethal areas.  He stabbed the boy twice in the knee and Juett once in the shoulder; if he really wanted to kill them, he could’ve gone for their necks or chests. Then, once both boys were incapacitated, he stopped attacking them and called the police. In short, he did absolutely nothing wrong.

The death of Tyler Juett is an unfortunate and a very sad thing, but if Omari Roberts had received a life sentence for murder, that would’ve been the real tragedy in this case. Frankly, it should never have seen the inside of a courtroom.

The CPS now need to step up and do the honourable thing. They need to compensate Omari for his court costs, apologise to him and his family for all the hurt and distress they’ve caused and above all, change the law so another innocent man does not get charged with murder for simply defending himself and his home.