This Vicious Cabaret

They say that there’s a broken light for every heart on Broadway…
They say that life’s a game, then they take the board away…
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story…
Then leave you all to improvise their Vicious Cabaret…
"The great thing about an election is that you get out and talk to people for week upon week and I have listened and I have learned.

I think I have a very clear idea of what the British people now expect from this government for a third term." Tony Blair, 6 May 2005

In no longer pretty cities there are fingers in the kitties.
there are warrant forms, and chitties and a jackboot on the stair…
Sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime
and at least the trains all run on time but they don’t go anywhere.
In a case that exemplifies the ASBO’s capacity to facilitate the settling of petty disputes and accommodate vindictive behaviour, a judge refused to make an order against a man after a string of complaints from his neighbours. “This has been a sorry four days that the court has had to listen to neighbours who have fallen out. It is a sad sign of the times that it has gone this far.” He also criticised the council for not seeking a statement from Davidson giving his side of the story when applying for an order that could eventually lead to a five year jail term (November 2005)

A 27-year-old woman served an order [ASBO} after her neighbours claimed she was goading them by walking around her home in her underwear. If she is seen “wearing only her undergarments” at her window, her front door or in her garden the mother-of-two faces jail (March 2005) On 30 March she pled not guilty to two charges of breaching the order (March 2005) Update: In May she was convicted of breaching the order and in November was evicted from her council home (November 2005)

A 23-year-old woman who has attempted to commit suicide on four occasions has been banned from any river, watercourse or canal in England and Wales, and from loitering on bridges or going onto railway tracks (February 2005) She has since lost her appeal against the order (April 2005)

Whilst demonstrating outside Caterpillar’s financial offices in Solihull, on the 25th of June, at the bulldozer manufacturer’s continued sale of machinery to the Israeli military, nine people were arrested under the Anti Social Behaviour Act for failing to provide their names and addresses. They were held for 18 hours in a police cell and not allowed to have a private phone conversation with a lawyer. The trial will take place in January where the government hopes to set a precedent for the use of anti-social behaviour legislation in this field (June 2004)
Sample ASBO from Statewatch – http://www.statewatch.org/asbo/ASBOwatch.html

Facing their responsibilities either on their backs or on their knees
there are ladies who just simply freeze and dare not turn away…
And the widows who refuse to cry will be dressed in garter and bow-tie
And be taught to kick their legs up high in this vicious cabaret.
"I hope in my heart that one day the Prime Minister will be able to say sorry to the families bereaved by this war; I hope in my heart that one day he will find himself able to visit in hospital the soldiers who have been wounded by it.

So, as well as to Tom, I would like to dedicate my campaign to all the British servicemen – and I am aware that some people do not know how many it is who have been killed – to all 88 British servicemen who have been killed and given their young lives in this conflict.”
Reg Keys, Parliamentary Candidate, Sedgefield, 6 May 2005

At last the 1998 Show!
The ballet on the burning stage!
The documentary seen upon the fractured screen…
The dreadful poem scrawled upon the crumpled page!
There will be no public inquiry into the 7 July London bombings which killed 52 people, the Home Office has said.

Ministers will instead publish a definitive account of what happened in a written narrative.
BBC News Online, 13 December 2005

There’s a policeman with an honest soul
that has seen whose head is on the pole
and he grunts and fills his briar bowl
with a feeling of unease.


But he briskly frisks the torn remains
for a fingerprint or crimson stains
and endeavours to ignore the chains
that he walks in to his knees.
While his master in the dark nearby
inspects the hands, with a brutal eye,
that have never brushed a lover’s thigh
but have squeezed a nation’s throat…

"TONY Blair yesterday threatened to impose "summary justice" on people accused of offences including terrorism, organised crime and neighbourhood yobbery.

Claiming that the criminal justice system was "passing through a watershed," the Prime Minister suggested a radical and far-reaching shift in legal practice, hinting that many traditional legal protections could be swept away…

…Mr Blair suggested that police could get more powers to impose fines on suspected offenders, or expel people accused of drug crimes from public rented housing. Only after the penalty had been imposed would the accused have the right to mount a legal appeal to prove their innocence." The Scotsman, 12 October 2005

“If you are a police officer patrolling the streets and someone throws a brick through a window or abuses an old lady on the way to the shops .. If you have to take that person all the way through a long court process, you are not going to do it.

By the time you have filled out all the forms, done the statements, got them to court, three hearings, they have defence lawyers, all the rest of it, forget it.

You may say ‘yes, we should do that if we are going to charge someone with an offence’. But if that’s what you do, you don’t get the job done.

The reason I introduced fixed penalties was I said ‘we have had enough of that’. With serious crime, it takes two or three years. Heaven knows the millions they spend putting it together. We then have trials going on forever and half of them get off in the end. It’s ridiculous.” Tony Blair – The Sun, 12 October 2005

And he hungers in his secret dreams
for the harsh embrace of cruel machines.
But his lover is not what she seems
and she will not leave a note.
Up to 13,000 Job Centre staff may have had personal details stolen by criminals making fraudulent claims for tax credits.

HM Revenue & Customs shut its web site for tax credit applicants on 1 December after discovering that false applications had been made.

… It now appears that the criminals have stolen the national insurance (NI) numbers, names and dates of birth of thousands of Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) staff working in job centres in London, Glasgow, Lancashire and Pembrokeshire.
BBC News Online, 13 December 2005

At last the 1998 Show!
The situation tragedy!
Grand opera slick with soap!
Cliff-hangers with no hope!

The water-colour in the flooded gallery.

Lord Falconer says it is “ridiculously overdone” to claim free speech is being undermined after the arrest of a woman for listing the UK’s Iraq war dead.

Maya Evans, 25, recited the 97 names by the Cenotaph memorial to Britain’s war dead in Whitehall, near Downing Street.

She was found guilty of breaking a new law stopping unauthorised protests within half a mile of Parliament.

The lord chancellor said the law was a “sensible” precaution to stop disorder rather than an attack on free speech.
BBC News Online, 13 December 2005

There’s a girl who’ll push but will not shove
and she’s desperate for her father’s love
She believes the hand beneath the glove
may be one she needs to hold.
Though she doubts her host’s moralities
she decides she is more at ease
In the land of doing-as-you-please
than outside in the cold.
"…the use of evidence possibly obtained by torture should be "proportional and not fixed", so that material relating to major crimes, rather than lower level ones, may be considered."
Lord Carlile, Government advisor on Terrorism Legislation, October 2005

"The duty not to countenance the use of torture by admission of evidence in judicial proceedings must be regarded as paramount and to allow its admission would shock the conscience, abuse or degrade the proceedings and involve the state in moral defilement."
Lord Carswell, A (FC) and others (FC) (Appellants) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) (2004), December 2005

But the backdrop’s peel and the sets give way
and the cast gets eaten by the play.
There’s a murderer at the Matinee.

There are dead men in the aisles.
And the patrons and actors too

are uncertain if the show is through.
And with sidelong looks await their cue…

…but the frozen mask just smiles.

During his grilling by the foreign affairs committee, Mr Straw said it was impossible to “prove a negative” but it was “extremely improbable” that any rendition flights had passed through the UK.

No records of requests from the US, or other papers corroborating the claims had been found, and there were the assurances from Dr Rice that suspects were not being taken to torture.

“Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, I’m lying and that behind this there is some kind of secret state in league with some dark forces in the US, and we believe Secretary Rice is lying, there is simply no truth in claims that the UK has been involved in rendition,” he said.
BBC News Online, 13 December 2005

The group of MPs asked James Crawford, Whewell Professor of International Law at Cambridge, for legal advice about the government’s responsibilities on investigating the issue.

Professor Crawford argues that to comply with its legal obligations, the UK government must satisfy itself that secret CIA flights are not leading to torture.

He said: “The question that must be asked is whether torture is likely to take place if a person is transported, irrespective of whether or not the government claims that the answer is no, or what its hopes or beliefs may be.”

He added: “A government is not exonerated from conduct which leads directly to a person being tortured merely by closing its eyes to that prospect.”
Ibid.

At last the 1998 Show!
The torch-song no one ever sings!
The curfew chorus line!
The comedy divine!
Ex-minister Stephen Twigg has been given a £50 fixed penalty notice after being arrested for being drunk.

Mr Twigg was arrested at 1915 GMT on Monday in central London for being drunk and incapable in a public place and taken to Marylebone police station.

He was given a fixed penalty notice and released just before 2330 GMT.

The former schools minister, who lost his seat in May, and was best known for toppling Michael Portillo at the 1997 election, said he “felt like an idiot”.
BBC News Online, 13 December 2005

The bulging eyes of puppets strangled by their strings!
There’s thrills and chills and girls galore.

There’s sing-songs and surprises!
There’s something here for everyone,
reserve your seat today!
There’s mischiefs and malarkies…

but no queers… or Yids… or darkies…
Within this bastard’s carnival –

this Vicious Cabaret
"This Vicious Cabaret" – from ‘V for Vendetta’ by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  • Niels

    “It’s cold and it’s mean spirited and I don’t like it here anymore.

    Goodnight England.”

    “We shouldn’t have to live like this. Should we?”

  • Beyond the Asbo!
    Tim here draws our attention to the Telegraph’s “ Year of the Asbo

  • Chilling. A fantastic juxtaposition. Well done that man.