18/08/2012

Pussy Riot Hypocrisy

If a punk rock band performed a blasphemous song using crude and vile expletives criticising the Queen or the British Government in Westminster Abbey, the Daily Mail would be outraged and wold be calling for the stiffest prison sentences, if not the death penalty. The paper would have a front page outraged editorial in response to a lenient two year gaol term for such offenders.

Given the severity of custodial sentences meted out by the English Judiciary to people who stole a 30p bottle of water or made silly comments on Facebook and Twitter last August, could a punk rock band invading the sanctity of St Pauls Cathedral expect less than two years from an English court?

If Pussy Riot had performed illegally in York Minster would William Hague condemn the judge and the legal system that imprisoned them? Not bloody likely!

Of course the members of the group shouldn't have been imprisoned for making a valid political point, but there is something sickening in the British Establishment jumping on the bandwagon of Pussy Riot supporters when there is overwhelming evidence that Pussy Riot couldn't have expected better from a British court of law.

As the Bible says:
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

61 comments:

  1. Good Point Alwyn.

    Some people interrupted a church service attested by Margaret Thatcher when she was in power.

    What was the reaction then.

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    1. No, it is not a good point. There is no crime of blasphemy in this country any longer and it would not happen here. Alwyn has made a category error. It is William Hague's job to protest at human rights abuses throughout the world. - such as in Syria for example. It would really look bad if the British government did not do this.Someone has to do it. Accusing him of hypocrisy is like accusing the gas man of hypocrisy for coming round and reading the meter.

      Alwyn has stated that these women would have ben treated just the same or worse in Britain. This is not true and he has been able to produce no credible evidence to support it. He has just made assertions which are incorrect.

      Trying to convince him of this is like arguing with a conspiacy theorist.Later in this blog Jac o' th North says he would like to live in a Welsh state based on Putin's Russia. Alwyn thinks he is already living in it.Alwyn is in fact living in a fantasy world. Britain, with all its faults, is a liberal democracy.Russia is a dictatorship.

      These women's reltives have been threatened with death and the state will not protect them Their lawyers' bank accounts have been frozen. Complaining about this is not hypocrisy.

      These days, it might be necessary to define what you mean by hypocrisy. It used to mean somene who pretended to virtue they did not possess.

      These days people use it to mean inconsistency. So someone might say ''Dr Jones is a hypocrite.He advised me to stop drinking but I saw him drinking whiskey in the pub!'' We're all inconsistent. It's the contradictions in our personalities that make us so interesting. Going by the modern usage, we're all hypocrites. It wouldn't seem such a bad thing to be.

      A case in point is our old friend Jesus whom Alwyn quoted above.I think Jesus was a mythical character so I'm not concerned with whether he was 'really' a hypocrite but whoever wrote his script makes him say ''judge not lest ye be judged.'' But as Ludovic Kennedy said, he himself wsa always judging as in the triade apparently delivered to complete strangers,''Ye hypocrites! Ye brood of vipers! Who warned ye to flee from the wrath to come!''

      I think this contradiction has really been carried over into Christianity.I couldn't help being hurt, for instance, when Alwyn accused me very unjustly of 'disingenuousness' and 'stinking of xenophobia' later on in this blog.
      Even I can't help expecting Christians to be consistently kind and meek.

      People are unduly hurt when they get angry and censorious because they're not making allowances for the inconsistency at the very core of the faith. We just have to accept that they're no better than anyone else.That being the case, it seems absurd to give their buildings special privileges.And they should stop bragging about their elusive meekness.

      Marianne




      Throughout this blog Alwyn claims that

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  2. I think their point was the Orthodox Church had given Putin their full support, which meant the church had become politicised. Under those conditions, they thought it was right and proper to protest politically within a church.

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  3. Jaxxlanders make a similar point http://insideoutswansea.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/in-glass-house.html

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  4. It doesn't matter what the relationship is between Putin and the Orthodox church a cathedral was the wrong place to stage the protest. Pussy Riot's target should have been the patriarch, the bishops, or whoever they feel is giving unquestioning support to Putin. Because that support comes from people, not a building venerated and used by ordinary people.

    They want to bring about change, they say; but this stunt will probably result in yet more support for Putin. There are other, less glamorous, ways of working against an authoritarian system . . . but of course that would deny these sad egocentrics their publicity, and their 'popularity' in the West.

    Two years was about right. Good for you, Vladimir Vladimirovich.

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    1. You crazy callous bastard!

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    2. um, that was my comment too, Marianne

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    3. How did you know it was me?

      Marianne

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    4. I wonder if this character is still saying "Well done, Vladimir Vladimirovich", now we've heard one of these harmless and fragile looking young mothers has been disappeared, and is feared murdered by the Russian state?

      Marianne

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  5. Disappointing to read so much reactionary claptrap here. Was Peter Tatchell jailed for protesting during the Easter Sermon of the Archbishop of Canterbury? No he bloody well was not, and that's the difference between a functioning democracy, however flawed, and a rancid, corrupt fascist dungheap like Putin's Russia.

    And Jac, if you lived in Russia and whined as much as you do here you'd probably open the door one morning and find yourself staring down the barrel of the 9mm automatic of a "mystery assailant". Well done Vladimir Vladimirovich my arse, you old hypocrite.

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    1. It may mean we are too soft. It's always been OK to attack Christians, just do not attempt to use democracy to complain about Islam or Shia law. Tatchell wants to bring the church down that is why he was locked up. In the USA 'disability' area there is concerted effort to limit gay membership, because of covert attempts to hijack access campaigns for deaf in favour of Gay rights. Perhaps the Gays have met their match here. Disability versus gender rights ? who is your money on ?

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  6. Obviously, being Welsh, I do not live in Russia, nor do I have any plans to live there. But, Lyndon, if I were a Russian, of my political outlook, then I would be living in a country regaining its national pride, becoming richer and more powerful, and led by a man who loves his country and stands up for it. What would a Russian Jac have to complain about? I'd be a Putin supporter, blogging that those Western-influenced scrubbers should be given a nice long break in Siberia.

    Blame yourself, Lyndon, for putting the idea in my head, but tonight I shall dream of an independent Wales ruled by a macho nationalist who don't take no shit from nobody. Ah! sweet dreams!

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    1. You pride yourself on you lack of care for other people's rights but you're always obsessing about inconsequential things eg what language is inscribed on a grave in Llanelli or becoming paranoid about the alleged dangers of wind farms which shows total scientific illiteracy. I don't mind yur recording what you ha for breakfast in your private diary - Pepys did that - but why do you think the internet should be deluged with this solipsistic stuff whic, when it is not offensive, is pedestrian and uninteresting?

      I hate to comw down to your level. No doubt you're in better shape than I am physically but you come across like a person with borderline personality disorder. I know you can't help it but keep it to yourself. You have nothing useful to contribute to public debate whatsoever.

      Mariane Y Fenni

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    2. Than you very much for having the tolerance to publish this ill spelled piece, Alwyn,

      Marianne

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  7. Quite frankly Jac I'd rather be ruled over by the English for the next thousand years than put up with ten minutes of being a slave to a murdering, thieving, little fascist bastard like Putin, but that's just me.

    I think I speak on behalf of most of my fellow countrymen though.

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  8. I don't understand why you think that comparing draconian punishments in Russia with equally draconian punishments in Britain is "reactionary"; by denying that draconian punishments are used in Britain YOU are being reactionary!

    The attitude of the powers that be towards Peter Tatchell's protest in Canterbury Cathedral in 1998 was not particularly enlightened. Mr Tatchell was arrested charged and found guilty under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act of 1860. The fact that he was fined a jocular £18.60 was due to the magistrate wishing to give a message that the law was an ass, but before different judges with less enlightened attitudes he may well have been given a custodial sentence, and many of the types who are condemning the Pussy Riot judgement were outraged (sorry for the pun) by the magistrate's leniency in the Tatchell case

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  9. Unfortunately Alwyn most of the examples of terrible Draconian punishments you presented were entirely hypothetical, you might have had a point otherwise.

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    1. No Lyndon the examples that I gave were of actual sentences

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  10. Not sure about Lyndon on this although i'd usually agree with the criticisms of jac that have been made.

    A vast majority of Russians support jailing these women. It is wrong and I don't agree with it. But Russia decides its own affairs. We have every right to criticise Russia for this, but seeing western governments doing it, is a joke.

    Would westerners rather the Communist Party regains power? They are the most popular alternative to Putin!

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  11. Westerners' just want a stable Russia. And if that means Putin and cohorts running a tolerably corrupt regime, then so be it.

    Scotland and Wales be warned. Independence might not prove to be the utopia so many imagine.

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  12. Their music is terrible. No talent.

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    1. But that's beside the point.

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  13. Sometimes I really wonder about people in Wales, the UK and similar countries and their attitude towards foreign states. The Levada opinion poll (Levada is an independent NGO used by western media and partly funded by the EU) quoted by the BBC showed that only 6% of Russians were against these sentences. Russia is a deeply conservative country with a small 'c' and has become more religious since communism collapsed.

    What kind of Russian government would it be that ignored public opinion of its own people?

    The UK and Wales are different societies to Russia and its various constituent countries.

    I think Putin is a chancer and agree with the international verdict that there was ballot-stuffing at the last election (though no foreign government disputed that the result was still more or less accurate), but he isn't a fascist. I'm uneasy with using the word fascist to describe anything other than the real thing. Especially when there is an actual fascist movement in Russia that is highly dangerous.

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    1. 'What kind of Russian governmet would it be that ignored public opinion of its own people?',the opinion being that light hearted protest in a church which harmed no one should be treated with uncalled for severity

      Answer: a courageous and principled one

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  14. I have friends who live in "Putin's Russia" under what Lyndon would no doubt call "fascist rule", and they're pretty excited about the country's prospects. They are basically getting richer, can travel to the west whenever they like, and see their country becoming more technologically advanced. There is pretty much free expression if you are a normal citizen (in a very Russian context), at least compared to the old days. The story isn't so good in rural areas where this economic growth is leaving vast amounts of people behind and there is huge poverty. A bit like China, Brazil and any other fast-growing economy. All the young people are leaving the countryside for the cities or for the rest of Europe.

    There is a huge scale of ignorance about Putin and Russia in the rest of Europe and why he is seen as the only credible leader. Life in Russia simply does not resemble life under fascism in any way whatsoever.

    I have no interest in Putin by the way but I know from my friends what life is like there (at least for lower middle-class people). It doesn't really matter what opinions we have.

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  15. Fourteen defining characteristics of fascism and their relevance to Putin's Russia:

    1.Powerful and continuing nationalism: obviously yes.
    2. Disdain for the recognition of human rights: yes
    3. Identification of scapegoats as a unifying cause: Chechens, gays, liberals
    4. Supremacy of the military: maybe
    5. Rampant sexism: obviously yes
    6. Controlled mass media: oh yes
    7. Religion and government are intertwined: what do you think?
    8. Corporate power is protected: as long as you are a pro-Putin oligarch, yes
    9. Obsession with national security: yes
    10. Labour power is suppressed: maybe
    11. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts: yes
    12. Obsession with crime and punishment: yes
    13. Rampant cronyism and corruption: surely not in Putin's Russia!
    14. Fraudulent elections: oh yes!

    So that's a definite 12 out of 14 then for Putin, maybe not Full Fat Fascism yet, but certainly Fascism Lite.


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  16. Not really. You can identify those characteristics in a whole host of flawed countries, probably most of the
    world. But most of the world isn't fascist! Putin is authoritarian, but he isn't a fascist ruler like Hitler, Franco or Mussolini. We basically end up having a crap debate about Russia that bears no relation to how Russians feel or what they think about their own
    country.

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  17. Fascism is a political movement, not a list of characteristics you can easily apply to most corrupt countries. Better to call a spade a spade.

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  18. What was that quote "first they came for the communists etc."

    Well I live in the UK so I'm not going to get too exercised about Pussy Riot. They looked pretty relaxed and pleased with themselves after the sentence and I doubt that would have been the case if they lived in a real fascist state.

    I'm more concerned about the likes of Emma West in this country. Arrested for mouthing off about immigration in a tram and remanded in custody for a month and now facing trial in September. The authorities keep postponing the trial, no doubt to pile on the psychological pressure.

    Before that smug Lyndon comes back with some accusations of fascism for mentioning this I'd just add "first they came for the foul-mouthed xenophobes and I did not speak out because I wasn't a foul-mouthed xenophobe."

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Emma West was not "mouhting about immigration," she was indulging in a very lengthy, foul-mouthed, drunken tirade of racist abuse against innocent passengers who happened to have the misfortune of being stuck on public transport with her.

    Alwyn, it is unfortunate that your blog is receiving so much attention from ignorant racist vermin, perhaps you need to adjust the comments moderation here?

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  21. They courted publicity as media junky's not activists. Tatchell did worse and got away with it.

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  22. Lyndon;
    "Alwyn, it is unfortunate that your blog is receiving so much attention from ignorant racist vermin, perhaps you need to adjust the comments moderation here?"

    You're starting to sound like Putin or maybe that well known fascist called Hitler.

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  23. Putin is a crank. And a bit of an idiot. But he isn't a fascist or a dictator. You can go on holiday to Russia or speak to Russians and they quite clearly don't live under a fascist regime.

    Russian governments have done some terrible things over the years but that doesn't equate to being fascist.

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  24. Now we got the Copy cats in Germany. If they really want to create headlines why not try parading in the Mosque ? I can GUARANTEE national outrage (And a fair amount of applause frankly at real courage). Any idiot can poke fun at Christians.

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  25. Hang on a minute. There is a huge anti-Putin punk protest movement in Russia. Pussy Riot has protested many times, including on the Red Square. They only got arrested for doing it in the church. The band Leningrad has done really dissenting stuff against Putin, but no arrests. It's a violation of Russian law to break into the church and do that. Perhaps an unfair Russian law?

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  26. The same law that is practised arbitrarily here in the UK. We can protest in any Christian church, but we cannot protest in a Sikh Temple or a mosque, pots & kettles ? So long as Putin is upholding this ban in ALL religious establishments it is their business. At least it is being consistent. The UK has no moral grounds to get angry about.

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  27. I was once 'guilty' of loud and facetious behaviour in a church. All that happned was that my boyfriend dragged me ot in embarrassment. If I was ever sroppy again, he said ''You're not in church now!' I don't think it's a crime in Wales as the church was disestablished in 1920.In England Peter Tatchell was given a small fine.It's just not true that this county is as bad as Russia.

    Jac o' the North, I don't know where you're coming from.Who wants an 'independent' country which is corrupt and oppressive?

    Chistians in some Asian and African countries are really being persecuted.They deserve our support.The Church in Russia and the West is miffed because it can't call all the shots anymore.

    It's quite true that it would be riskier to protest in a mosque. What's your point? Do you think Christians should be as scary as Muslims? Are you nostalgic for the days when a seventeen year old boy was hanged in Edinburgh for making audacious and extremely funny comments on the Bible?

    If you believe in an all powerful God, why does this entity need protection from frolicsome girls in balaclavas? Can't it look after itself?

    Why is it that church leaders preach meekness, forgiveness and humility to the plebs but forment hatred and division themselves? Organised religion is a force for oppression and conflict all over the world. Don't give it any power! Free Pussy Riot!

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  28. Why should it be riskier to protest in a Mosque ? Are they exempt from religious protest/freedoms and others aren't ? If you cannot see the absolute wrong of that. Homosexuals take on Christians (who actually don't kill them and persecute and stone them as Islamics do), seems to me they take the easy options when it suits. Not just fearful of Islamic backlash, but a UK 'equality' law that puts Islamic rights above theirs. Islam is like what the Spanish Inquisition was, we got rid of that, now it is legal.

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  29. I absolutely agree with you. I didn't mean that it should be riskier to protest in a mosque, just that it is. Islamic society doesn't seem to have gone through an enlightenment. It's now much worse than Christianity. But at the time of the Crusades and Inquisition, arguably even Islam came nowhere near Christiaity for scariness.

    People whine that Christianity is not as sacrosanct as Islam. They should be glad.When the Church had the power to torture and kill its critics, it took full advantage of it.Of course I think Islam should be denuded of its power too.

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  30. Sorry but MM makes no sense. The reason it is wrong to equate protesting in a church to protesting in a mosque (in the UK state) is that Christianity is the state religion, and Islam is a minority religion. I don't really see the need to protest in a church or a Mosque by the way. I think both should be respected. But that isn't the point i'm making. They are two different contexts, and the sub-tone of what MM is saying is that he believes Islam is getting superior treatment.

    The point I would make is that it would be unwise, counter-productive and pointless to protest in a Mosque. There is a context of Islamophobia in this country which must be vigorously opposed, as well as anti-semitism.

    The issue of Islam and Christianity is separate to the furore around Pussy Riot, whose protest was aimed at the government and suggested the church was linked to the government and that church officials were involved with Putin. Going into a mosque, in Russia or the UK, would not have enabled that point to be made.

    It only makes sense to use the argument about the Mosque if you are saying 'we DON'T want people protesting in mosques'. It doesn't make sense to use the comparison, as MM does, on the grounds of claiming that Islamic rights are "above" anyone elses.

    MM is also ignorant of Islam. There are well documented crimes towards homosexuals committed by some Islamic authorities. But there are also instances of co-existence. We have to accept co-existence can happen and can be achieved, and also that things can change with time. Crimes were committed against LGBT people by other religions as well and also by atheist or non-religious doctrines too, but things improved.

    If we refuse to accept co-existence is possible we fall into a 'war of civilisations' trap in which Islam becomes an enemy and nobody really wins. Islam is a massive religion amongst human beings and we have to work with it rather than against it. The alternative is to cultivate a pointless animosity towards a huge number of our fellow humans. I would feel the same way towards Catholics by the way. I disagree with so much of what their church has done, but they exist and we have to tolerate them as people and work with them to try and find some mutual common ground as humans.

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  31. I agree that MM makes no sense. It's ridiculous and paranoid to say that Peter Tatchell wants to bring down the Church.He has supported Christians who are persecuted by Muslims and Hindus.Archbishop Carey deserved to be shown up for his unpleasant views. It's unfortunate if others were embarrassed.

    Tatchell has helped to expose the Vatican's global cover up of sex abuse. The Vatican was guilty as charged. Is it wrong to tell the truth?

    Tatchell is definitely not a moral coward or a physical one either. He's been beaten up by Mugabe's bodyguards and by homophobic thugs in Russia and it has not put him off his stride.

    The Orthodox Church does sometimes look less odious than Catholicism. I fear this may be deceptive. The descriptions of Russian pogroms early last century are sickening. Russian Orthodox peasants treated Jews like American GIs treated the Vietnamese. Did their priests tell them to do it?

    Orthodox Christians would be nauseated by rioting pussies in church. Menstruating women are not permitted to enter the holiest parts of the church and no female bodies at all are allowed behind the rood screen.This primitive revulsion for squelchy parts should not be upheld by the power of the state.

    MM thinks it's ok to cruelly repress protest in places of worship as long as all religions are treated equally. So he or she presuably thinks that Jesus should have had two years for running amok in the temple in Jerusalem.And he didn't just dance the cancan.He overturned tables and assaulted the faithful with knotted cords.

    It sounds like hooliganism to me. But pious Christians call it 'the cleansing of the temple.'Maybe the cathedral needed to be cleansed as well. It's definitely a den of thieves. Russia is a kleptocracy.

    MM thinks I approve of Muslims stoning people to death. This is a strange interpretation of my remark that organised religion is oppressive and should not be given any power.I was thrown into a deep depression after hearing the awful news about the thirteen year old girl who was stoned to death in Somalia for the crime of being gang raped. I am extremely worried about the rise of Islamic extremism. We don't want Sharia law in this country any more than we want Nazism.

    But as Mohammed was militant, militant Muslims are at least being consistent.MM is apparently a Christian or a great fan of Christianity.Christians are always bragging about how humble they are and how forgiving. In reality they are usually cold and remorseless. Why doesn't MM do what Christians are supposed to do and turn the other cheek?

    Why can't he or she have compassion for these articulate and harmless girls, some of whom have children? Free the world from religious oppression! Free Pussy Riot!

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    1. You misrepresented what I wrote. I don't approve of repressions. What I said was the protesters (Whether after notoriety or genuine belief),pick and choose which religion or church they protest in, then THAT is false and unacceptable. It raises serious issues in the in the UK you can do what you want in a Christian church and you run scared of campaigning against other religions who are just as bad if not worse. I am not really interested in the Gay thing, they get far too much publicity as it is, and in part threaten others rights, but we have to my knowledge not seen Tatchell and co enter a mosque or Hindu/Sikh temple to make their point, so it is just exploiting the one weak religion they can, hardly brave or ground-breaking to attack the weakest link. If you want to make a point about non-Christian religious dogma then go abroad and try your luck, I'm betting principles and earnest lobbying stops at UK borders. But for the ridiculous human rights law foisted on us by equally ridiculous Europeans common-sense would have prevailed.

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    2. Hi,MM. Perhaps I partly misunderstood you. I thought that when you said we were too soft, you approved of the treatment of Pussy Riot. Maybe you meant something else. Good for you.

      I think we do need a human rights act. On the other hand, if it was ironically manipulated by Islamo-fascits to introduce Sharia law to thiss country, and then in twenty years time, Britain was an Islamic state, - well what worse thing could possibly happen? We might as well have surrendered to the Nazis in 1940.

      It is certainly worrying that left wing peole are sometimes the very ones who support a right wing Islamic agenda because they think it would be racist not to do so. If well meant legislation,intended to support human rights can be abused to bring in Islamo-fascism by the back door, that is the pits. What can be done about it? I've no idea. Have you? I hope we won't have to sacrifice the Human Rights Act.That would be a defeat in itself.

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    3. We need an EQUAL rights Act that works, I rather fear the 'Human' rights act is a licence to abuse and undermine democracy. I want common-sense as a root basis not political sound bites and over-empowered minority bullies doing whatever they want to impose on us, and to put and to rights lawyers making a killing at our expense (Preferably by repatriating half of them, and locking up the other half)...

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  32. It was not a polite objection to the Orthodox Church's position on Putin or his policies; it was not like Luther at the Diet of Worms or even Tatchel in Canterbury protesting for debate and openness. Pussy Riot's songs were not Joan Baez type protest songs, they were full of foul mouthed ratings that would result in prosecution if repeated on a bus in Cardiff!

    For example– Shit, Shit God is Shit; Putin Fucked the Virgin Mary

    Emotion aside, not because it's Russia not because it is church, if Pussy Riot had performed their stunt on a London Bendy Bus and were tried in The Old Baillie they would have got two years minimum under our judicial system for the same foul mouthed breach of the peace!

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  33. I hadn't heard before that Pussy Riot's songs were full of obscenities. I will have to take it on trust.But with respect, Alwyn,they would definitely not have received two years in Britain.Swearing in a public place is a public order offence in the UK. So they might have been arrested.But they would have been released shortly afterwards.

    I have noted your point which is that it is hypocritical of British politicians to complain about the treatment of Pussy Riot because Britain is just as bad. I don't agree with the premise. The UK may be an oppressive atate which is getting worse all the time. But it is not yet as bad as Russia.

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  34. Perhaps I should amplify the above remarks which were too meek with some facts.In Britain, a puiblic order offence is held to be trivial. No one would go to prison for two years for it.

    The Church Act under which Peter Tatchell was tried could probably not have been used in Scotland or Wales as the Anglican church is not the state church.Yes, he was lucky to find a smpathetic magistrate. But even if the magistrate had hated him, he could not have had two years.A magistrate can't impose more than six months for any one offence.

    The crime of blasphemy was abolished just after 'Jerry Springer the Opera' came out, so one could be done for that either.It's not a matter of opinion, Alwyn. You are factually incorrect and Lyndon is right.

    That being the case,there is no hypocrisy in our politicians supporting Pussy Riot. They may incidentally be hypocrites but this is not an example of it. It would have been better if you had checked your facts before making this site.

    I wonder why you feel that what you - mistakenly -perceive as hypocrisy in Brtish politicians needs to be challenged more than oppression in Russia does. You have implied that I am more emotional than factual, but if you are the same Alwyn ap Huw who trained as a Methodist minister at Bangor, perhaps you have been misled by your emotions.

    If you feel hurt by people treating religion disrespectfully, you can't help that.But if you can't be supportive of these unladylike minxes, you could just say nothing. It would be better than attacking them obliquely with unfactual remarks.

    Obscene lyrics don't sound very witty to me. But Martin Luther and Thomas More were foul mouthed too.It shoud be said in fairness that the closing statements by the young women show that they are capable of gravitas and deep thought, even if they don't put them in their songs.

    Marianne Hancock, Abergavenny

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    1. Perhaps it is you who should check the facts before commenting Marrianne. Sentences of up to five years imprisonment are included in the Public Order Act 1986, so public order offences are not always considered trivial under the Law of England and Wales.

      Peter Tatchel was prosecuted under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860, which although primarily an act about the Church of England includes sections that cover the disruption of religious worship in or around places of worship of all denominations and faiths so he could have been prosecuted under the same act for disrupting a service in a Welsh chapel or a northern Irish Kingdom Hall.

      I have not attacked these ladies obliquely or otherwise in the post or in any subsequent comments made in the thread; on the contrary I stated quite clearly that the members of the group shouldn't have been imprisoned for making a valid political point. The only people who I have attacked are the Daily Mail and Tory politicians who are happy to support such protest in faraway places but who, undoubtedly, would be calling for the harshest penalties should such an act be committed in an Anglican Cathedral.

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  35. I don't believe a case like this would be covered by the Public Order Act 1986. That seems to be exclusively concerned with the police and demonstrations. Who has ever been imprisoned for five years in this country for swearing in public since 1986?

    When I was studying law, no denomination was protected anywhere in the UK except the Anglican Church.Admittedly, this was over a decade ago.But Peter Tatchell was prosecuted under an 1860 act so I don't think you can be right that Welsh or Irish chapels would be covered. Nor do I care if they are.

    This sort of behaviour would get a slap on the wrist in this country.British politicians have really behaved decently. It's not fair to say that they are hypocrites. If the Daily Mail supports tolerance, that is astonishing, considering that they supported the Nazis in the thirties.On the face of it, it could be seen as hypocritical. Another possible view is they've got it right for once. Good for them.

    Your stance throughout this long blog has not been entirely clear. At one point you admitted the Russian authorities were wrong but were only upset that William Hague disagreed with them.In your last but one comment you indicated, did you not, that it was not a legitimate protest about Putin's relationship with the church but a foul mouthed rant for the sake of it?

    If it had happened in this country, the Daily Mail might well have called for the perpetrators to be hanged, drawn and quartered. So what? It wouldn't have happened.And we've always known it's a vile paper. That's not an important issue.

    You have not convinced me that there is any legislation in this country under which anyone could be imprisoned for two years for the same actions. Even if there was, it would not be implemented. This counrty has many faults but over the last century, democracy has taken hold. This is not true in Russia.

    I am beginning to regret the harsh tone of my last comment.I realy feel quite guilty about it. But, objectively, the evidence is that you're quite wrong. Russia is a terrible country. We're not that bad yet.

    Hywl Fawr, Marianne

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  36. The name of the group is "Pussy Riot"; their name and their actions imply that they wish to support / encourage riot against the Head of State of the Russian Federation. If a group with similar intentions behaved in the same way in an iconic building in England and Wales in order to promote riot against Her Majesty the Queen (our Head of State) they could be prosecuted under Section 1:2 of the Public Order Act:

    1:2 Violent disorder.
    (1)Where 3 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety, each of the persons using or threatening unlawful violence is guilty of violent disorder.
    (2)It is immaterial whether or not the 3 or more use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously.
    (3)No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.
    (4)Violent disorder may be committed in private as well as in public places.
    (5)A person guilty of violent disorder is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or a fine or both,

    (At a push they could be prosecuted under Section 1:1, which has a maximum of 10 years gaol time)

    Whether you think that a prosecution under this section is likely is immaterial. The legal fact is that such a prosecution COULD be brought in England and Wales, and those who I criticised would seek such a prosecution – that is a FACT not a biased opinion!

    But Peter Tatchell was prosecuted under an 1860 act so I don't think you can be right that Welsh or Irish chapels would be covered. Nor do I care if they are."

    It is disingenuous of you to suggest that I have got my facts wrong, and then to declare that even if I am correct you don't care! Sec 2 of the 1860 Act is still part of the law of England and Wales, it was not amended by the Welsh Church Act 1914 or either of the Government of Wales Acts and one can still be prosecuted for breach of the said Act. For the sake of clarity the act states:

    Any person who shall be guilty of riotous, violent, or indecent behaviour in England or Ireland in any cathedral church, parish or district church or chapel of the Church of England , or in any chapel of any religious denomination, or in England(and Wales) in any places of religious worship duly certified under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855

    As I noted in the original post draconian sentences have been passed down by courts in England and Wales for such things as stealing a 30p bottle of water and making stupid comments on Twitter – so the idea that the law won't come down on you like a ton of bricks for a trivial offence in these fair isles is unfounded.

    Putin's government of the Russian Federation may well be terrible, but your comment that Russia is a terrible country stinks of xenophobia!

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  37. Alwyn, darling, there is not a racist iota in my text.I don't dislike Russian indiviuals. I refer only to the oppresive regime. If I said Somalia was an awful place, it would not mean I hate Somalis.I could just as well accuse you of xenophobia against Britain.

    I only said Peter Tatchell would 'probably' not have been tried in Scotland or Wales.You will have to take up the privileges of the Anglican Church with my law lecturer Clare Anderson who may have misled me. I was not being at all dishonest in not caring about the subject, only a bit frivolous. I did not say you were disingenuous in saying Pussy Riot would have been given a 'minimum' of two years in this country which is definitely not true or in calling Lyndon reactionary when he wasn't. I just charitably assumed you were honestly mistaken. I like to think the best of everyone.

    I see you've found a real piece of legislation.I can't be bothered to read it so I don't know if it proves me wrong insofar as it could theoretically be used in a case like this. But I'm comfortably sure it wouldn't be. If there's a copycat incident in Britain,we'll see who's right.Emotion aside, Wiliam Hague is probably not personally responsible for the act. I don't think he is a hypocrite. Very few people are in my experience.

    Let's admit that awful things have come to light that have happened in this country.Before 1959 peole with nothing wrong with them were often detained in mental hospitals for life. Children from Barnardos homes were shipped to the colonies as cheap labour;soldiers shot down peaceful strikers in Liverpool and Llanelli before the First World War.

    Closed systems like prisons, care homes and boarding schools can be run like police states with impunity.ASBOs and CTTV cameras can be used to oppress people.People in positions of authority are always abusing them. Even if the law doesn't oppress you it can fail to protect you. But when all's said and done, this country is not as bad as Russia.

    Of course if we later find out that William Haggue is running a private prison for cursers, mockers, those wth Tourette's Syndrome and people with bad table manners, I will have to concede reluctantly that he is a hypocrite. But even if he is, I think it must be an extra judicial prison.

    It's not uncommon for people who express concern for those who are oppressed in a particular country or ethnic group to be accused of racism. This is not a legitimate accusation.Countries and enclaves are not monolithic.Powerful people in them do not speak for everyone. It's ok to criticise other countries as long as you do it fairly. It's called communication. At first blush, it is a rather sweeping statement to say Russia is an awful country but quite a lot of evidence could be adduced to support it.

    I think that's everything then,

    Cariad Fawr a Hywl Fawr - am byth dw'in gobeithio,

    Marianne, Y Fenni

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  38. I'm so sorry Alwyn but it's not goodbye forever yet after all. I'll admit it was not really contemptuous indifference that prevented me reading the act you quoted! No, I'm afraid it was fear that you might be right!

    But luckily, my partner has now read it and he says it would only apply to people who were threatening or violent and could not be used in the case of Pussy Riot!So that's ok then!

    Switching emotion back on, I can't help thinking it was extremely unkind of you to accuse William Hague of hypocrisy for his noble and gentlemanly deed.You've made him sound despicable which is the opposite of the truth in this instance.

    I suppose you only accused me of racism because you misunderstood what I said. But as your whole blog is based on a misundestanding of the facts, I trust you will now be big enough to withdraw it from the internet so that it can't cause any more confusion.

    Thank you for yur assistance

    Marianne


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  39. Could and would sound so similar, but they have different meanings. If Pussy Riot made a similar protest in an Anglican Cathedral could they be prosecuted under the current laws of England and Wales? Yes they could! And despite what you and your boyfriend think they could be sentenced to more than two years in England and Wales for a similar protest. I have quoted enough law to prove, beyond doubt that they could fall foul of the Law in these shores in similar circumstances.

    Your beef isn't could they be prosecuted? But would they be prosecuted? A different question! My honest answer to that question is I don't know! My hope is that the answer would be a resounding no! But the answer to that question is irrelevant to the original post.

    The original post asks whether those who have supported Pussy Riot's protest in Saint Basils would be as supportive had the protest been held in Saint Pauls – you know the answer to that question, as well as I do, Marianne! Which is why I can't understand why you dispute my charge of hypocrisy against the Mail and the lore and order Tories

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  40. Well, I think we're right. It has just occurred to me though that in this country
    Pussy Riot might have been given a restraining order or ASBOs,in which case, had they done it a second time, they might have been imprisoned but not for very long.

    It seems to be part of William Hague's job to comment on human rights issues throughout the world -in Syria for instance- and he would have had no choice but to comment on this too.I would not vote Conservative and I never before had a particuarly high opinion of William Hague. But you're giving me the impression that he's a verray parfitt gentil knyght.

    The Daily Mail is predicated on creating hate figures.In the thirties it sneered at refugees from Nazism as 'refuge-Jews'. It was childish and pathetic and it often still is. But it has supported Stephen Lawrence's parents and Gerry Mckinnon who's in danger of being extradicted to America quite unnecessarily. According to you, they've now come out in support of Pussy Riot.

    This is surprising. But why call it hypocrisy? Do you think it should be compulsory for them to be consistently evil? If they do something useful for once, why not be glad? Even if their motives are not pure,does it matter? Are anyone's motives ever entirely pure?

    I'm much more exercised about the hypocrisy of the Russian Orthodox Church who pressed charges and then said they had forgiven Pussy Riot. No doubt their motto is 'forgive your enemies but hang them first.' This really is contemptible.

    What is your definition of hypocrisy anyway? I used to think it meant pretending to a virtue you did not possess.Now we hear people say things like ''Dr Jones is such a hypocrite! He advised me to stop drinking, but I saw him drinking whiskey in the pub last night!"

    At this rate, we'll soon hear "John is such a hypocrite. He says he hates purple but I've seen him wearing a purple jumper. He said his mother had given it to him and he didn't want to offend her." It seems that by the current definition of 'hypocrite', we're all hypocrites. We're all inconsistent. But then a hypocrite would not be such a bad thing to be. It's our contradictions that make us so interesting.

    Marianne

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  41. Well, Alwyn, I think my boyfriend and I are right. It has just occurred to me though that, in this country, Pussy Riot might have been given a restraining order or an ASBO so, if they did it a second time, they might have been imprisoned but not for very long.

    It's just occurred to me that it's probably William Hague's job to comment on human rights issues - in Syria for instance - and he couldn't really avoid commenting on this. I would never vote Conservative and I never had a particularly hgih opinion of William Hague before, but you have now given me the impression that he is a verray parfit gentil knyght. I really think we should support the oppressed regardless of their age or sex but when I think of William Hague standing up for these wronged damsels, he does seem like a 'chevalier sans peur et sans reproche'. I am thinking of making a shrine to him.

    he Daily Mail has an awful past.

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  42. Oh no! I'd though I'd eliminated and/or reworded some of my own stuff on this blog but it's all gone up and it's therefore very repetitious.I wince slightly, looking at it as some of it looks a bit harsh, almost vituperative.It's very big of Alwyn to put it all up when he could just have deleted it. What a saint.

    Marianne

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  43. Today the Pussy Riot appeal will be heard. I hope for the best but don't expect it. One thing Alwyn said about British justice I never addressed, was the possibility of going to prison for 'making stupid remarks on Twitter'. If that was applied stringently, we'd all be in jail.

    I suppose he was alluding to the Welsh student imprisoned for horrible racist death wish remarks about Fabrice Muamba. I was sorry this guy was actually imprisoned but not that he was convicted. I suppose one problem is that it is n. Loads of people have made cruel and even evil remarks on the internet and this was the only one we had then heard of who had been imprisoned.

    He was only in prison for a short time. I've no problem with people behaving outrageously in a place of worship as I don't believe in God and if I did, I'd think the omnipotent one could sort it out himself.

    It's a bit different when real people are being abused not for anything they have done but for some accident of birth such as ethnicity. It's not entirely inappropriate to hate people who hate people for no reason.

    Some people have said it was wrong and stupid that Matthew Wood was jailed for disablist death wish remarks on cute kid April Jones. I must reluctantly disagree.I hate to be harsh but figures show that disablist hate crime including physical attacks and perhaps murder are on the inrease while those for all other hate crimes are down. Perhaps at a time like this, we need to send a message that could save lives in future.

    What is unfair, though, is that Facebook and other sites encourage people to believe they can make offensive remarks with impunity. A recent article highlighted a 'dead baby' site on Facebook where people were encouraged to post cruel comments about named babies with terminal illnesses, kids who had died in horrific ways, Madeleine McCann and those who had endured stilbirths or other reproductive tragedies.

    A certain Stacey put up a comment to the effect that her baby had a brain tumour, and she found the site upsetting and ofensive. She expected an emollient response. Instead she had replies like 'Ha Ha. Whose baby's dying? Stacey's.' Facebook refused to take the site down, citing freedom of speech.

    Is this sort of behaviour a crime or not? There's not much clarity. Even if Facebook doesn't care about the feelings of people in general, doesn't it have a duty of care to its users? Doesn't it have a responsibility to keep them out of jail?

    Marianne

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  44. I meant to say 'invidious' not 'n'.

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    Replies
    1. I heard today that one of these young women has conveniently disappeared inside the Russian prison system and is feared murdered by the state. I must admit that even I didn't foresee this. Perhaps she was shot in a corridor as was standard practice in Stalin's time. Maybe, we should have suspected it would happen. Putin is suspected to be behind the assassination of a journalist in Russia, and a Russian dissident in the UK. Even his theft of a foreign athlete's ring suggests sociopathic tendencies.

      How long is it since something similar has happened in Britain? Perhaps, we must go back to the time of the Princes in the Tower or their uncle, George 'Butt of malmsey' Clarence. I don't have much further doubt that Russia is a rogue state. It's too upsetting to research the details. We really shouldbreak off diplomatic relations if the worst fears here are confirmed,

      All the best, Alwyn,

      Marianne

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  45. Well, thank goodness, this story, which I heard from Justin de Villeneuve's eldest daughter, proved to be incorrect. I had thought that Russia was a dictatorship posing as a democracy while Britain was a real if somewhat flawed democracy. I still want to believe this. To the best of my knowledge, no general election has been rigged in the UK since the khaki election of 1918.

    According to Jonathan Haidt, right wing people are more suspicious, fearful and paranoid than others. But recently, I've heard paranoia from the left.

    Two lefties stated flatly that the UK 'establishment' would never let Scotland go independent. If the refeendum goes for independence, the election would be rigged to prevent it happening. I dismissed this as ill founded nonsense. I still cling to the hope that it is. But now Simon Danczuk tells us that Cyril Smith was able to monitor illegally the postal votes in Rochdale, and if they were not for him, he put them in the fire. How was he able to do this?

    Truth is the daughter of time. Perhaps, in future, evidence will come to light that shows that this country at the present time really is little better than Putin's Russia. But I hope not.

    Marianne

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