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Sam Chapman
Faith, family, freedom - and fighting crime since graduating in 1992.
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It all depends on what you believe the core of marriage is. Churches used to teach it was about being one flesh - family and reproduction, but this left them open to the possibility of polygamy, as very clearly seen in the Bible. . So, some began to emphasise monogamy as the core of marriage, an idea you won't find in scripture, but that had its own problems. Some ask, what is the difference between monogamy, and state-sanctioned monogamy? Others take the emphasis on monogamy, and question whether the partners really need to be able naturally to produce a family, and so leave out the requirement for partners of a different gender. The churches have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. In trying to avoid polygamy, they have created a world where few wish to be married, and where the form of marriage is being offered by the Government to those whose relationships do not have the substance of marriage. In one sense polygamy, as the form of marriage most common in socities historically, is a very conservative option. Too conservative for some, who prefer a historical experiment like gay marriage.
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Political parties play an important function in signalling to local voters the general philosophy or approach of candidates that voters over large geographical areas will not know personally. They also provide basic vetting of candidates' experience and appropriateness for election, they narrow the field so that a contest can be an effective choice between a few front-runners, rather than a quasi-random selection from unknowns, and they provide funding in regulated way, which helps to guard against corruption while providing a route to prevent the selection artificially being narrowed to those who already have celebrity or deep pockets. The chief downside is not politicisation of policing, which has already happened, and which will now be contained to one office and open to scrutiny, but the fact that local candidates' electoral performance will partly be determined by the national performance of the party of the same colour. All of this applies to local Councils at least as much as it does to police commissioners. It would be odd to get to the ballet box and have a choice of other party candidates and not a Conservative choice. That looks like a strategy you would adopt as a party if you had already decided you were going to lose that election. Whatever happens - an early announcement would be best, so that Conservatively inclined potential candidates can be aware whether they are running for a party nomination first, or just for the job itself as independents. It would be bad if people thought they were running as independents if there turns out to be a party candidate, as that would imply wasted effort and a need to withdraw. Can someone please make a decision?
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Political parties play an important function in signalling to local voters the general philosophy or approach of candidates that voters over large geographical areas will not know personally. They also provide basic vetting of candidates' experience and appropriateness for election, they narrow the field so that a contest can be an effective choice between a few front-runners, rather than a quasi-random selection from unknowns, and they provide funding in regulated way, which helps to guard against corruption while providing a route to prevent the selection artificially being narrowed to those who already have celebrity or deep pockets. The chief downside is not politicisation of policing, which has already happened, and which will now be contained to one office and open to scrutiny, but the fact that local candidates' electoral performance will partly be determined by the national performance of the party of the same colour. All of this applies to local Councils at least as much as it does to police commissioners. It would be odd to get to the ballet box and have a choice of other party candidates and not a Conservative choice. That looks like a strategy you would adopt as a party if you had already decided you weremgoing to lose that election.
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I believe that Paul, the Apostle, in Romans chapter 1, said certain people were worthy of death. That New Testament enough for you?
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Grrr! iOs inspired typo! That should read http://www.polygamypage.info
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The DCLG don't know what they are talking about on this one. Polygamy is not illegal in this country, and never has been, according to the judgement in Hyde v Hyde and Woodmansee, a leading case on the subject involving a Mormon in the 19th Century. Instead, polygamy is not legally recognised, but is not illegal. It is 'bigamy' that is illegal, which isn't cohabiting with a number of partners, or having religious ceremonies, but going through a second official wedding ceremony while the first marriage subsists. It should also be noted that actually polygamous foreign marriages are legally recognised in the UK, and that someone who has them cannot be prosecuted for a new offence of bigamy even if they go through a dozen official wedding ceremonies in the UK, due to their first marriage being incapable of sustaining the charge. You can learn more at http://www.polygamy page.info or by getting a short but detailed book on the subject from Amazon by, er, me at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Polygamy-Bigamy-Human-Rights-ebook/dp/B0055OI03U/ As to the morality of the issue, whatever happened to personal freedom for consenting adults?
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Thanks for that clarification. I have enjoyed our discussion.
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You are right to point out I'm not a member of Lancashire Police Authority, but if you think I'm lacking experience, you might want to go along to www.samchapman.com where you can check out further details of my experience in dealing with crime, but in brief it is, former Police Constable and Police Sergeant, former Case Review Manager investigating miscarriages of justice for the Criminal Cases Review Commission, 12 years of managing crime reduction partnerships, including a Drugs Action Team, 3 years on a Probation Board, and most recently serving as the foreman of a jury in 2 rape trials. Having said that, I think we need to have less of an obsession with so-called experts in criminal justice, and more respect for the views of ordinary people.
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Where have you been lately? Policing has been political for years. Before I joined the police I did some placements with one force before completing my degree in law and politics. Just about every officer I spoke to thought my degree would be very helpful - not because of the law element, but because of the politics. That was 20 years ago, before New Labour really got their teeth into policing, and the main type of PC senior officers were interested in became Political Correctness.
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Elected Commissioners can change the immediate practice of the police and criminal justice agencies in getting more serious cases to court. That in turn creates pressure for the sort of cases that currently make it to court to be recognised as the more severe cases that they are. The election of Police Commissioners and their day-to-day work provides further opportunities for the wider political system to address concerns on sentencing and criminal justice. Of course, it all depends on who stands and gets elected, but in restoring a link directly with the electorate, it is the one development in many years that has the most potential of turning the tide in law and order.
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I'm not blaming the unelected members. My concern is that the current set-up institutionalises a system where at a board level, no-one is really in charge, and policing is then very vulnerable to changes in the political climate which influence the class of senior officers who look to what they have to say to ensure their next promotion, which often means conformity with the liberal elite. Approaches that many ordinary people would see as common sense are dismissed by the liberal elite as tabloid or populist, and therefore marginalised rather than addressed, further alienating ordinary people, and stoking up the potential for extremist parties to do well. Your solution appears to be the status quo where, if power rests anywhere, it rests with an Chief Constable who, regardless of his approach or effectiveness, cannot be turfed out by a discontented populace. Indeed, on your argument, it is very unclear what political institutions would survive, and we would all be living under the decisions of unelected bureaucrats. Incidentally, unelected members are perhaps not the wise, impartial experts you seem to have in your head. They may not have a party label, but can be more partisan than elected individuals.
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The point is not moot. Having an election that is about crime issues is immensely helpful in shifting the concerns of Parliamentarians on things like sentencing. The problem is that crime gets lost with everything else, and largely the state of the economy. The Commissioners themselves will not have a direct ability to impact on sentences, but the elections for the Commissioners can help address some issues, such as the fact that the Coalition and in particular the Justice Secretary are pursuing a criminal justice policy that is in direct opposition to public demand, as evidenced by Lord Ashcroft's research. Of course, the Commissioner's responsibilities could develop with subsequent legislation. Dan Hannan MEP, Douglas Carswell MP, and others in the Direct Democracy group have already proposed that the Commissioners should have the ability to identify what types of offences are in particular need of more severe penalties in any given local area, and this would be a welcome development that gives the people a say, while maintaining the benefits of judicial independence.
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I have raised my concerns directly with the police at ACPO level, and with the Police Authority Chief Executive and individual members of the police authority. The presence of 8 unelected members on the Police Authority makes it difficult for the democratic voice to be heard clearly. Despite historically good local election results the Conservatives do not control Lancashire Police Authority and your information is slightly out of date, as 3 days ago County Cllr Roper was sadly not returned as Vice Chairman owing to a combination of Labour and unelected members voting in their preferred candidate. I don't think a Labour Police Commissioner would be the best for Lancashire, but if that's what people vote for then they are entitled to it. At the minute, the people have no effective vote on how they are policed and the service they receive seems to have little democratic accountability.
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There is no method for a Police Commissioner to directly influence a sentence in a particular case, nor should there be. My point is that with various criminal justice agencies stopping cases from getting to the Court in the first place, possibly due to their own views of how serious the case is, the judges end up with an unrepresentative sample of cases, and then proceed to award the full range of sentences, including sentences at the lower end, to a limited and severe set of cases. Inevitably, some serious cases end up with sentences that do not match. Police Commissioners could change forces policies and practice to stop those offences being dealt with by cautions, and to ensure that young people who commit serious offences have their sentence determined by a court with adequate powers to treat it seriously. There is also the wider point that the Commissioners would give the public their first direct route of accountability for local criminal justice agencies, and so enable public pressure to be expressed, and give the public's views on crime the opportunity to be considered without getting mixed in with all the other topics in our other type of elections.
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I'm not pushing for a Crown Court trial. I'm pushing for a Crown Court sentence. If the offender wants to risk the wrath of the Court and the loss of a sentence discount, then that's up to them. The reporting of this case clearly showed the victim's family were deeply unhappy at the local criminal justice system demoing their daughter justice. This didn't need a resolution. It needed a sentence. I don't think it is too much to expect of a 15-year old youth that he refrain from attempting to rape little girls. He is way past the age of criminal responsibility, and needs to be treated as a criminal, not as if he were the innocent child that his victim was. This dismissive 'we know better than to provide the punishments the people want' attitude is precisely why Clarke is wrong on his policy, and got into trouble for his wording.
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“Clearly all rapes are serious crimes, and the law allows judges to give the longest sentences to the worst offenders,” is probably what Justice Secretary Ken Clarke should have said. But instead, by allowing for the possibility that there were serious rapes and other rapes that were, well, something else, he has shown the weakness of his preferred way of reducing the prison population, by reducing the proportion of their sentence that they have to serve inside a prison. That the government could cut the effective punishment for rapes is far from being the only example of the state viewing rape as less than serious. 2 years ago today, while I was busy campaigning for the County Council elections, only 2 miles away an 11 year-old girl who had been playing in the street was undergoing a horrific sexual assault. In this case the criminal justice system was surprisingly quick, securing a guilty plea to attempted rape and a sentence within 6 months, but the case had gone to the Youth Court, not the Crown Court, and her 15-year old assailant’s punishment was a 12-month referral order, a requirement to have regular talks with someone about his offending behaviour – or somewhere between a slap on the wrist and ‘don’t do it again’. My attempt to refer this unduly lenient sentence to the Attorney General fell at the first hurdle, as the Attorney can refer lenient Crown Court sentences back to the courts, but not those of the Youth Courts. The local Youth Justice System, by not sending the case to the Crown Court, had denied the victim any chance to have the sentence reviewed. Was the crime she suffered not “serious”? Was the impact on her any the less because the person who attacked her was 15, rather than 21? After being elected, I had the opportunity to be involved in the Scrutiny of local attempts to address Crime and Disorder. My questions revealed the local Constabulary knew that its use of ‘non-court disposals’ for many types of crime was high compared to most forces, and that this was not an accident but the desired result. The Force remained untroubled by the fact that it had in less than 2 years given cautions, conditional cautions, reprimands or written warnings to more than 50 sex offenders, including those that had offended against children. So despite the scrutiny, nothing has changed. If we really believe that all rape is serious, then surely we should ensure that they all come before a court which is competent to sentence them appropriately. Depriving the courts of the ability to sentence these offenders not only denies the victims of these offences justice, but it also risks misleading courts into thinking that some of the cases they currently deal with are somehow less serious.
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Why oppose Mike Huckabee because of his religious views? His views on creation seem well-supported by other Americans if annual polls are to be believed. Surely his politics should be more of interest to us than defaming his religious views. And if his belief that life begins at conception means that for consistency he must oppose the destruction of human-embryos, and uphold the sanctity of life, then that consistency and the courage of his convictions may be better qualities in a President than that evinced by Obama's approach on these issues, which was to suggest it was "above his pay grade" as President. I like Mike. He may be the one example in the last 30 years where conservative Evangelicals actually get what they thought they were voting for.
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I think this article is based on the Stonewall website, and that it is out of date, at least with regard to Lancashire County Council. When we took control of the Council from Labour in 2009 we did have membership with Stonewall, but discontinued as part of the savings in the 2010/2011 budget exercise. Our 'fairness for all' strategy does include LGBT but we don't need to be in Stonewall to action our strategy.
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Sounds tempting doesn't it - except that instead of the free-of-charge wisdom of the common people, we will get Politically Correct Parenting - don't-raise-your-voice-to-your-kids/smacking-is-child-abuse/kids-never-do-anything-wrong, and it will cost as absolute fortune to do, like Labour's favoured Incredible Years and Strengthening Families Programmes have done already.
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Forget smoking - why can't we have capital punishment back? I know, Cleggie, what if we can hang people who smoke in public - which way will you go then?
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In my view, Tesco are now selling a Coalition Cushion - http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.207-4134.aspx
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2010 on More coalition memorabilia... at thetorydiary
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Con 370 Lab 199 Lib 83
Toggle Commented May 6, 2010 on Your General Election predictions at thetorydiary
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I don't understand what Mr Lardner has done wrong. If it is only what is recorded in this article then we should be more worried about threats to that most important diversity, that of opinion. Surely it is right for Conservatives to stand up for the rights of Christians to express themselves. I don't see why rights surrounding sexual preference should trump those of sincerely held religious belief.
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Excellent article. We are in danger of only tinkering with this dreadful system. Single-income higher rate taxpayers with a bunch of kids have a marginal deduction rate on tens of thousands of their salary of 70% just on NI, tax and tax credits alone - until they hit the higher rate of tax, when it becomes 80%. This doesn't just affect those with low pay - it turns good pay into low pay for many of those "hard-working families" where one parent gives up work to look after the children, and yet under current Conservative proposals these families will have to pay the new rise in NI, will have any tax credits removed, and won't qualify for the marriage tax allowance. Our manifesto has some great policies, but adding these three things on top of acceptance of Brown's daft tax credits system is a mistake. Tax Credits need to be a form of tax allowance, where you only benefit from them by working and earning more.
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"Dealing with the majority of the structural deficit" and "halving the deficit in five years" are too similar. I'm sure I heard Mr Cameron use the term "debt reduction" recently, but it may have just been a slip. Now that would be "clear blue water". Never mind the deficit, let's cut the debt. Cutting the deficit is just sinking in debt slightly less quickly.
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