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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

An issue now faces the European Parliament, which might, in essence, define it's purpose..
What actually defines the drink..?
There has been a deliniation formulated.. with the Vodka belt to the north, the Beer belt in the middle, and the Wine belt to the south.. an exceedingly important definition..
And Poland has gone so far, as to set up tables in the foyer of the European Parliamentary Building, laden with this particular alcohol, along with Polish sausages and black bread to help soak up the booze, to demonstrate that their product is superior to that produced by those manufacturers who call their product 'Vodka'..
Now Polish Vodka is made from potatos or grains only.. the Poles would like that definition to apply to everything sold as vodka across the EU. They are open to persuasion on sugar beet, but nothing else.
And they are not alone.
The Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania...along with Finland, Denmark and Sweden are also backing efforts to tighten the legal definition in the EU's spirits regulation, being voted on in the European Parliament today.
"The vodka belt countries produce 70% of the EU's vodka.." says Finnish MEP Alexander Stubb, "..and we consume 70%, so we know what we are talking about."
That being the case.. one would think.. the Finns should be given the right to define their own tipple..
But.. that's politics..

Perhaps more pressing, is a debate going on in Britain today, concerning the state of the prison population.
Not that long ago, it was reported that there were fewer than 80 cells empty throughout the British Isles for new prisoners..
Ahh, the furore which ensued was quite something to watch, as the Government blamed the Judiciary, the Opposition blamed the Government, and the Judiciary blandly ignored the entire issue, and began housing new prisoners in Police holding cells while it waited for some political decision..
Now, it must be pointed out, that quite some time ago the Judiciary was given two directives from both the last Conservative government, and the present Labour regeme.. those being to sentence hard-core violent criminals with more vigour, and to ease off on those charged with lesser offences, the likes of soft-drug dealers and give these 'lesser criminals' more community based sentences..
The first directive the Judiciary took to with a passion.. but the second, seems to have been ignored.. Thus, the call has now be made, to build more prisons.
One cannot imagine a greater waste of public money and resources.
What is obviously a predeliction of those on the Bench to impose inappropriate sentences on those who break archaic laws or commit minor offences, must be brought to task.. A definition of that which defines 'dangerous and violent' offenders, as opposed to those who merely sell substances to what apears to be a willing clientel, or pinch what can admittedly be quite a quantity of goods from stores, must be formulated, and put stringently into effect..
We must define whether 'foreign' prisoners should be sent back to their countries of origin to serve their sentences..
And, we should rethink the Justice System itself, which has introduced some three thousand new offences over the past ten years.. ASBO's.. trespassing.. the list goes on and on and on..
There is a real danger, in any society, whether it be secular or religious, to control the population, ostensibly to protect those who do not break the Law. But when it becomes a reality that there are no innocents among us, simply because of the number of Laws we must obey, it follows that any one of us is a potential victim of the Justice System.
And that word 'victim', is becoming a reality.

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