Friday, June 30, 2006

I'm glad it's not just me

As I was getting a depressingly early cab into work (following a depressingly late night) this morning, the cabbie was listening to the radio. The subject under discussion was the Portugal manager Mr Scolari. At the mention of his name, the driver started singing "Scolari, o-o-o-o", to the perenially catchy tune of that Europop favourite, "Volare"

For weeks, nay months, I have had the same reaction to this guy's name, thanks to the Reptile rather irritatingly putting the idea into my head, so I'm glad I'm not the only one. And now, if you hadn't already thought of this, you can suffer too!

Anyhoo, back to the grindstone (hence lack of posting this week).

Bye-election blues...

An interesting couple of results them. Disappointing for the Tories obviously to allow the Lib Dems to come so close in Bromley, but I don't think too much should be made of it. They always do well in bye-elections as their tactics of relentless focus on the local, as well as politics of personal destruction on the opposition candidate work much better in bye-elections when there isn't the overall background noise of a General Election.

Bob Neill sounded rather surprised at these tactics, but he shouldn't be: the dirty tricks the Lib Dems play locally are long established and well known. Iain Dale has done a sterling job of high-lighting some of the pick of Ben Abbott's little schemes but the fact is that Lib Dem unpleasantness is, or should be considered, a given in any election. The Tories have to get better at fighting bye-elections, and they could start by employing someone as a specialist.

The real story of the night is the collapse of the Labour Party, no matter what Hazel Blears might say. To drop behind UKIP into fourth place in a London Westminster seat is humiliation. If you listen carefully you can hear the 40 or so London Labour MPs washing their underwear this evening, after seeing their futures. And if Bromley was bad, Blaenau Gwent was awful. Most of this will be seen in the prism of 'When will Blair go?', but the real point is that Labour now seems fatally tarnished, under Blair, Brown or whoever.

It's one thing having a free shot at goal, however, and it's quite another actually hitting the target. Just ask Frank Lampard. Chelsea play in blue after all...

HRA or Bill of Rights

Right, in an attempt to break my ever-lengthening predominantly BT induced silence, I thought I'd have a look at the 'British Bill of Rights' as proposed by Cameron. It's not gone down a treat in the media or the blogosphere to be honest, and there seem to be two or three distinct strands of reasoning as to why it's not a good idea.

1. It's xenophobic. The 'political' argument as purported by the Labour Party, Lib Dems and Ken Clarke, as well as the traditional Guardianista bunch. I don't think this washes to be honest. One of the problems with the HRA is that it is a straight import of a law written (albeit partly by English lawyers) with the European code of law in mind. Thus problems with incompatability are dealt with by judges, not politicians. In Europe this is not controverisal, as the majority have written constitutions which are interpreted by constitutional courts anyway. In Britain this is a fundamental alteration of our constitution and has caused problems for that reason. A rewrite of the Act designed to ameliorate this situation is clearly not xenophobic, any more than redesigning a French car to right-hand drive would be.

2. It's unenforceable. The 'constitutional' argument, as stated by, among others, Tim, the DK and Nosemonkey. This states that since it is impossible to entrench legislation in Parliament, any statute passed would be, effectively, good only for as long as the Government that passed it. This is of course entirely correct. It is also rather irrelevant. No, you can't entrench legislation in the British constitution. This applies as much to the HRA as to any prospective Bill of Rights. Tim Worstall says that you could sign an international treaty to circumvent this problem, but there's already precedent (Mortensen v someone or other if you want to know) to say that any British statute, however minor, trumps any international treaty, however, major. With the HRA, the power of the judges is embarrassment, no more and no less. If a statute passed by Parliament is in contravention of the HRA the judges can say that, but no more. If a British citizen takes a case to the ECHR, all they can do is make a 'precatory' judgment - they have no power to enforce it in this country.

3. It's unnecessary. The 'practical' argument also espoused by Labour and the Lib Dems. This states that, since any new Act would be based on the fundamental human rights espoused in the EDHR it would only be a re-statement of the HRA and thus irrelevant. I don't agree with this either. The law in its current form states rights, such as 'to privacy' and their qualifications, such as 'in the public interest'. It is then the job of the judges to determine if an action of the Government is in conflict. A better system would be one where the rights and qualifications were set out, and the job of balancing these was left to the minister responsible. The judges could then adjudicate on the existing basis of judicial review. To those who would argue that allowing ministers to determine what balance would be struck would emasculate the act, there is an answer. This is a democratic society, built on a 'living constitution'. Accordingly, we are governed by those we elect, and by no other force. We do not have a written constitution to provide a framework, nor yet any way of creating one.

The Human Rights Act is deeply flawed, not in concept but in execution. It takes a continental legal concept, and superimposes it on a Common law system. What Cameron is proposing might be a remedy to this. It might of course be nothing more than a cheap stunt, but the possibility remains that it is instead a workable solution to an identifiable problem.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More on Racial Aggravation

I was leafing through last week's Speccy when I came across this article by Rod Liddle, which very neatly expands upon my last post on this subject. Quelle coincidence!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Be very afraid (a long post)

I quite honestly could not believe what I was reading when I saw this front-page article in today's DT.

In the wake of the inquiry into Victoria Climbie's death, which revealed staggering levels of incompetence and buck-passing by the various organisations who were supposed to be protecting her, the Government, on typical knee-jerking, sledgehammer-to-a-nut form, introduced the Children Act 2004 . Under the Act, each children's services authority in England must make arrangements to promote cooperation between various agencies in order to "improve the well-being of children" in the following areas (see Part 2, clause 10):

(a) physical and metal health and emotional well-being;
(b) protection from harm and neglect;
(c) education, training and recreation;
(d) the contribution made by them to society
(e) social and economic well-being.

Hello? Since when did all of these aspects of a child's life concern the State? Is it really a matter for the State to decide whether little Johnny is giving enough to society, or whether little Jack is happy enough? If the Climbie case proved anything, it merely highlighted just how incompetent the state is in dealing with a genuine case of neglect, resulting in the tragic and unnecessary death of an 8 year old girl. So why on earth is the Government seeking to give these interfering, useless busybodies even more responsibility when they have so manifestly failed to carry out their existing duties?

Even scarier, under Part 2, clause 12 of this Act, social workers have been given power to create a database tracking all children in England and Wales from birth. Not only is it specified that this database should have information recording a child's personal details, school and doctor, but clause 12(4)(g) has the pretty outrageous catch-all enabling " information as to the existence of any cause for concern in relation to him" to be included on the database.

Excuse me, but this terrifies me. This is so widely drafted that it could include anything (including, for example, irate middle class parents voicing their objections to their child being included on the database: sounds suspicious to me, surely they must have something to hide?!).

According to the DT's article, other information which could be included on this database will even include details of parents' mental health, whether their children are getting 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and even ridiculously subjective statements, such as how good a role model a for the child its parents are providing.

2 flags on a child's file will trigger an investigation into that child's welfare. Given the various authorities' stunning performance on the Climbie case, this is reassuring. Where this is really leading is to law-abiding families being victimised for not eating enough fruit and for the real child abusers who are not in the system to carry on with impunity.

The DT Leader today started with the sentence "It ought to go without saying that parents are, in general, the best possible guardians of their children's welfare". Sadly, this is not obvious to our various so-called welfare agencies, many of whom I suspect would rather children were handed over to the State at birth, as parents just cannot be trusted to tow the Government's line on what is best for them.

I am deeply worried about this new development, which is not just a signal that the nanny state is going mad, but that it has well and truly lost the plot. This is yet another example of Labour's ever more psychotic programme of intrusion into our lives and must be nipped in the bud. I hope the Tories take note and give this new database the mauling it deserves.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Return! But for how long?

Well, even though BT have yet to return the joys of the internet to my new place, the kind assistance of a family member (or will be next year anyway) has seen the installation of a wireless connection. This coupled with the marvellous benficence (or possibly incompetence) of one or tow of my neighbours has provided sporadic and low-grade access to other peoples' networks. Naturally I am not going to take too much advantage of this, but I thought I'd share a bit, by way of a blog-stretching exercise following a lengthy lay-off.

In this week's Speccy, sadly behind a registration wall, Rachel Johnson writes about childbirth, and how men should hide in a bush (or something, I wasn't really concentrating) and reminds us all of the inherent dangers of childbirth. This reminded me of a piece of graffiti I saw in Prague in 1990. Communism's corpse was still warm, and instead of the now ubiquitous advertising billboards there were a whole series of informational advertisements from the Government. One of these showed a new born baby, with the words (in Czech and English) 'The first ten minutes of your life are the most dangerous. Underneath this someone had scribbled words that I was reliably informed translated as 'The last ten aren't much fun either'.

With any luck this won't be an isolated meander, but frankly you never know...

Racial Aggravation

It has become an accepted truth in this country that if a criminal chooses to commit a crime based on his victim's race, then the crime is all the more heinous and the criminal's sentence should be increased to reflect this. I have noticed that the most vociferous champions of this policy are the politically-correct, human-rights-loving liberals, who campaign for equal treatment of everybody, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc, etc. However, what strikes me is the irony that in their pursuit of greater equality for all, they are in fact, creating a system in which the lives of citizens are not regarded as being of equal value.

In its explanation of the policy behind its sentencing advice to the Court of Appeal for racially aggravated offences, the Sentencing Advisory Panel, it was stated that the Government "recognises that racist crime does not simply injure the victim or their property, it affects the whole family and it erodes the standards of decency of the wider community. Trust and understanding built up over many years between communities can be eroded by the climate of fear and anxiety which can surround a racist incident".

Whilst I agree with this sentiment, I dislike the impact of these guidelines, which although were designed to address the evil of racist motives, have the unintended consequence of according greater value to some lives than to others, by imposing harsher sentences on some criminals because of their attitude towards their victim. Similarly, I disagree with those people who, in the wake of WPC Sharon Beshenivsky's murder, called for harsher sentences for murderers who killed police officers than for murderers who killed "ordinary" citizens.

After all, surely all life is precious and therefore all criminals who harm others should be severely punished. If we continue further down the road of awarding differential sentences according to the status of the victim, where do we stop?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Reptile's woes continue

A BT employee trying to sort out broadband ---->

Well, it looks like I spoke too soon. The Brainless Turds at BT have screwed up yet again. It would appear that despite having moved a mere 100m down the road, the task of transferring the Reptile's phone line and his broadband proved too much for those Benighted Turnipheads, and they have bumped the Reptile to the bottom of the queue again.

Apparently some guy is going to deal with this personally, so we should all be reassured that unless the Reptile is able to beg, borrow or steal some internet access in the meantime, he will be up and running some time next week...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fingers crossed...

... The Reptile should be back from his BT-enforced time in the broadband wilderness in the next day or so. Watch this space.

UPDATE 21 June:
Good to see the Blundering Tossers are still on form: the Reptile remains incommunicado, despite having spoken to 5 different people, in 2 different continents on 3 different calls. And that's just last night's calls. What an organisation. They must be so proud.

Well duh

So are we meant to be surprised that the Scottish Affairs Committee has announced today that the perennial West Lothian question is pissing off English voters and that this could potentially destroy the 1998 devolution settlement?

Just as the "No taxation without representation" slogan came to symbolise the American Revolutionary War, that well-worn phrase "For fuck's sake, stop using your Scottish MPs to push through unpopular votes in England which will have no impact upon their own constituents and stop making us pay for your populist Scots-only initiatives which we're told we can't afford down here" is echoing through our green and pleasant land...

I'd watch it Gordon et al. It's only a matter of time before the worm turns.

More on Social Workers

It's good to see social workers in the news again. In what looks like an attempt to vamp up the "Social" part of her job description, or merely just to prove that not all social workers are anti-capitalist lefties, I read today that one Yvonne Doyle has been advertising her services as an escort via an online agency. How disappointing that the General Social Care Council didn't approve of her efforts to augment her salary on the free market and has suspended her for two years.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

BasTards! Update on the Reptile's silence...

Relations between the Reptile and BT hit a new low yesterday when the Blithering Twats at BT Broadband phoned to tell him they had accidentally cancelled his order, and that he has been shunted to the bottom of the queue again. Apparently, the Bumbling Tits will have the Reptile's broadband up and running early next week...

Anyway, this explains the Reptile's continuing silence. Expect normal service (complete with scathing post about BT?) to resume next week.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

By the way..

Via Iain, from those mischievous scamps at b3ta, comes this piece of superb political advertising. See, you should always listen to us, it would save a lot of bother in the long run.


Sorry for the sparse posting lately. I've been moving house, and every spare second has been dedicated to lugging vast quantities of boxes about. I will now lose my broadband access until Wednesday so any posting must, perforce, be left to my co-contributors. Sorry about that.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Breaking news....

It looks very much as if Zarqawi is dead, and this has been announced by the Iraqi PM. Bloody good news if true, and it was amazing to hear the cheers and applause from the news conference. But remember - the insurgents represent the true opinion of Iraqis!

UPDATE: Confirmed! He's just a greasy patch in the desert. Result! Incidentally, don't read these comments on the Beeb if you have problems with high blood pressure...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Farewell to the Hildabeast?

Hildabeasts migrating into the 21st century--->

And so ends another era... the last all-female college at Oxford has finally voted to admit men.

I suppose this decision is not all that surprising, given that women are now able to apply to every other Oxford college: it seems only fair that men should be given the same opportunity.

This decision does leave a few burning questions unanswered: Will the incumbents of the newly co-ed college retain their affectionate nickname? Where will apathetic female applicants who decline to nominate a preferred college be sent?

Crisis Distillation: another EU initiative

Crisis Distillation: you would be forgiven for thinking this phrase must be a description of the recent goings on in the Cabinet, however, it is not.

In fact, Crisis Distillation is yet another barmy EU scheme designed to prop up an increasingly uncompetitive and stagnant wine market. The EU has agreed to spend 131 million euros paying France and Italy to distil 560 million litres of wine into fuel or disinfectant, in order to keep EU wine prices "competitive".

Doesn't it make you proud to know how they spend your hard-earned tax pounds?

The innocent bystander

There was much lamentation on the Today programme this morning from the mother of an eight year old girl, who had been hit by a car and left to crawl, unaided, through moving traffic to the pavement with her leg broken in two places.

Why, came the cry, didn't any of the passing motorists stop to help her?

Well, I can give you a suggestion: it's a sad fact that these days, the innocent bystander who is witness to a tragedy has 3 major reasons not to intervene.

1. Potential risk to his own physical integrity (as already touched upon here, here and here);
2. Risk of legal action; and
3. A particular point to be borne in mind in situations involving children: risk of being branded a paedophile.

In this case, I wonder how many of those passing motorists considered point 3 and decided not to intervene when they saw a seriously wounded 8 year old girl dragging herself across the road.

Good show

Reading the news today, it is pretty easy to get depressed about the state of the nation, and to draw unfavourable comparisons with the days of yore. Then you read something like this, and it stirs the blood, stiffens the sinews and makes you proud to be British.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Human Rights Act

Token Bird has some thoughts up on the HRA, based on a talk from Shami Chakrabarti. Chakrabarti's point was that the HRA represents the last bulwark of liberty against an increasingly absolutist executive and that as such it should be protected. I have a few thoughts on this, and on the wider points that the HRA throws up.

The first point is that, as a piece of legislation, the HRA has, in the opinion of almost all lawyers, no greater status than any other statute. Accordingly, if a subsequent Act contradicts the HRA, the new Act will over-rule the HRA. In other words, the only power that the HRA has is that of publicity. It cannot overpower Acts of Parliament, it can only embarass the Government. This is precisely what the ECHR used to do before the HRA was enacted. As it stands, as Token points out, the HRA is less than useless as a 'bulwark against authoritarian politics' as Ms Chakrabarti has it.

But if this is the case, should it be strengthened? If the HRA is to be a bulwark for liberty and freedom, it must be strictly enforceable. At present, if Judges state that a policy is in conflict with the HRA there is no obligation on the Government to do anything at all in mitigation. If the HRA were to be effective, there must be the ability for it to override new statutes in conflict. The decision as to whether the policy or Act was in conflict with the HRA would have to be left to the Judiciary. And the Judiciary would thus be able to over-rule actions of the Executive and declare them against the HRA.

The problem is that all this is a radical change to Britain's constitution. The principles of implied repeal, of Parliamentary sovereignty and, perhaps most importantly, of a non-political Judiciary are all swept aside in order to secure the status of the Human Rights Act. This would be the largest re-shaping of the British political landscape since 1688. And on what mandate? I am extremely chary of radical political revolution, peaceful or not.

It may not be entirely satisfactory, but we do have a system of checks and balances in place. It's called the Houses of Parliament, as well as the independent judiciary. If Chakrabarti's re-jigged constitution were to be in force, there would be an end to a non-political judiciary. If judges have a central political role, as they do in America, it makes no sense for them to be un-accountable themselves. They would have to be elected for the plan to make any sense at all. And that would be another radical alteration to the British constitution.

I believe that Shami Chakrabarti's heart is in the right place, but her solution to an authoritarian Government is to destroy and reconstruct the entire British Governmental system and introduce a judiciary that outranks the elected House. Sledgehammer - nut.

So confusing...

How is it possible that Ken Livingstone can say something with which I agree? The man's an unpleasant, arrogant, violent oaf, whose politics are geriatric and whose morals are highly questionable. On the other hand...

We need Crossrail to keep London's economy ticking over so that we can continue to pay for the Scottish to live the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.

Ken Livingstone in amusing and accurate statement shocker! (Hat tip to Iain Dale)

Gordon Brown and the 80 thieves...

Every blog in the land should list this:
1. Council tax increased by 6.5pc
2. Mortgage tax relief cut
3. Pensions tax
4. Health insurance taxed
5. Health insurance taxed again
6. Fuel tax escalator up
7. Vehicle excise duty up
8. Tobacco duty escalator up
9. Stamp duty up for properties over £250,000
10. Corporation tax changes
11. New windfall tax on utilities
12. Married couples' allowance cut
13. Tax on travel insurance up
14. Tax on casinos and gaming machines up
15. Fuel tax escalator brought forward
16. Tax on company cars up
17. Tax relief for foreign earnings abolished
18. Tax concession for certain professions abolished
19. Capital gains tax imposed on certain non-residents
20. Reinvestment relief restricted
21. Corporation tax payments brought forward
22 Higher stamp duty rates up
23. Some hydrocarbon duties up
24. Additional diesel duties
25. Landfill tax up
26. Council tax up by 8.6pc
27. NIC earnings limit raised
28. NICs for self-employed up
29. Married couples' allowance abolished
30. Mortgage tax relief abolished
31. IR35: Taxation of personal services companies
32. Company car business mileage allowances restricted
33. Tobacco duty escalator brought forward
34. Insurance premium tax up
35. Vocational training relief abolished
36. Employer NICs extended to all benefits in kind
37. VAT on some banking services up
38. Premiums paid to tenants by landlords taxed
39. Duty on minor oils up
40. Vehicle excise duties for lorries up
41. Landfill tax escalator introduced
42. Higher rates of stamp duty up again
43. Council tax up by 6.8pc
44. Tobacco duties up
45. Higher rates of stamp duty up again
46. Extra taxation of life assurance companies
47. Rules on controlled foreign companies extended
48. Council tax up by 6.1pc
49. Council tax up by 6.4pc
50. Personal allowances frozen
51. National Insurance threshold frozen
52. NICs for employers up
53. NICs for employees up
54. NICs for self-employed up
55. North Sea taxation up
56. Tax on some alcoholic drinks up
57. New stamp duty regime
58. New rules on loan relationships
59. Council tax up by 8.2pc
60. VAT on electronically supplied services
61. IR35 applied to domestic workers
62. Betting duty change
63. Tax on red diesel and fuel oil up
64. Controlled foreign companies measures on Ireland
65. Vehicle excise duty up
66. Council tax up by 12.9pc
67. New 19pc tax rate for owner-managed businesses
68. New tax on private use of company vans
69. UK transfer pricing introduced
70. Increase in rate of tax on trusts
71. Increase in tax on red diesel fuel
72. Increase in tax on other road fuels (including LPG)
73. Council tax up by 5.9pc
74. Cancellation of stamp duty land tax relief for disadvantaged areas.
75. North Sea taxation doubled from 10pc to 20pc.
76. Zero per cent rate of corporation tax abolished
77. Council tax up by 4.1pc
78. Clampdown on trusts and insurance policies commonly used to mitigate inheritance tax.
79. Increase in vehicle excise duty for SUVs.
80. Council tax up by 4.5pc
To be continued...

The hills and dales should rebound with wailing, the peasantry should march on Downing Street pitch fork in hand, and the nobles should with solemn purpose force our rulers to a small island in the Thames there, upon the point of a sword, to agree anew the principles underwhich we consent to be ruled.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Out of the mouths...

In an article on the Telegraph today, Andrew Gimson ruefully notes that his wife intesnely dislikes David Cameron. Bad news eh? After all, Telegraph columnists and their kin should (apart from Heffer obviously) be onside in this. Not quite.

She stood as a Labour candidate in the Gospel Oak ward of Camden, north London, which until May 5 was represented by three Labour councillors, but now has three Tories.

I see. Not so bad then, we expect Labour candidates to dislike us. But wait, there's more.

Having been born and raised in Scotland, she dislikes Mr Cameron because "there's something profoundly English, patrician and monied about him, and he's coming up with what appear to be forward-looking ideas, but I think they're truly conservative and all about keeping the status quo and not changing the world much"

I knew that there was something I liked about DC. Thanks go to Mrs Gimson for identifying what it was.

The problem for Gordon Brown

It has been received wisdom ever since about 1994 that Brown would succeed Blair as leader once the most successful electioneer in Labour's history finally left office. Brown has rumbled and grumbled in his impatience, being surly and obstructive in the Treasury, while simultaneously building up a power base that has never been rivalled by a minister in Britain's history. More than a politician, Brown resembles one of the over-mighty subjects of Henry VI, effectively independent of royal control, yet smarting under official subservience.

Yet murmurs are beginning to grow that Brown might miss his chance. Money is being placed on Alan Johnson, or John Reid, or even David Milliband as the next leader. Brown's impregnability looks a thing of the past. Economic forecasts are distinctly gloomier than a few years ago, and much of the problem can be traced directly to decisions made by the Chancellor. Decisions to increase bureaucratic regulation, to increase the tax burden, to increase massively public spending and to extend the writ of government intervention have contributed to the economic stagnation that seems inevitable.

But this is not really why Brown's future looks uncertain. A hard-nosed operator in Brown's position would already have precipitated Blair's removal. Brown has acted as though he expected Blair to leave at a time convenient to Brown, but has never done anything to force such a decision except to snipe and sulk and be obstructive. There appears to be no plan from camp Brown on how to get to no 10 other than wait. But time is not on his side. He is too grumpy, too dour, too unconvincing in his inclusiveness and, ultimately, too Scottish to be popular in the bulk of the country. Even in his own party Brown is missing a trick. It was widely reported that Ken Clarke stymied his last chance of the leadership by refusing to hack in the tea rooms. Brown has largely the same failing: a lack of ability to create supporters.

If Brown is to become Prime Minster, he must move swiftly, for time is running out. Guido has a favourite graphic showing a Tory victory in the next election with a subtitle declaring Milliband's intention to challenge for the leadership. Unless Brown acts with unwonted expedition, that might be closer to the leadership than he ever gets. The man who used to deliver the post to Dorneywood certainly looks a more convincing working class hero than the son of the manse and former Rector of Edinburgh University.

UPDATE: It can be a bit irking to think that one is ahead of the curve and then discover that one is merely re-iterating the current wisdom. Matthew Parris puts my case better than I can, and discussion is hot at Political Betting.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tory tax cuts

Sorry for absence - there is a bit of a flap on.

Just popped into share what I think is absolutely the last word on the Tory Tax challenge. I quote a comment by Graeme Archer on Tim Montgomeries Conservative Home site, from the reaction to Geo Osbourne's Today interview:

As to not offering tax cuts now - I doubt any of us wouldn't collapse with joy at the prospect of paying less tax. But I think that it's tactically vital that no specific tax cuts are offered now, because of the way Labour would react. There would be a letter to every nurse and teacher in your constituency within hours telling them (lying to them) that they would be sacked to pay for the Tory cuts. We *must* keep that debate totally closed down, because our spokespeople end up wasting interview time denying that they would do any such thing. You must have seen these interviews "which services *would* you cut then?". We get 5 minutes PR time on national telly and we used to have to spend it all denying we were going to sack nurses.

That is just so dam' true. And the sooner those more inclined to 'give me purity or give me death' realise this, the better.