Tag Archives: review

Living the best day ever

This is a cross-post of an article that I wrote for the Africa edition of ehospice news reflecting on the lessons learnt from Hendri Coetzee’s book ‘Living the best day ever’. 

Palliative care, by definition, is both a science and an art form that involves accepting the reality of death. What you have left when you accept this is what the profession calls ‘preserving or improving the quality of life’.

Never before though, have I been challenged to re-examine the concept of ‘quality of life’ than when reading Hendri Coetzee’s book: ‘Living the best day ever’.

Hendri Coetzee was a South African living in Uganda perpetually searching for the best day ever. This search led him to become a legend throughout the extreme sports and exploration world.

In 2004 Hendri led the first ever complete descent of River Nile from source (Lake Victoria) to sea (the Mediterranean). The 4,160 mile trip took four and a half months and crossed two war zones.

Coetzee was also the first person to run the rapids above the Nile’s Murchison Falls, a section of river filled with some of the biggest white water in the world, and holding one of the highest concentrations of crocodiles and hippos.

He would go on to complete this section of river a further seven times and he remains the only person ever to run the section by himself. He also ran large sections of the upper and lower Congo River, walked 1000 miles along the Tanzanian coast and was the first person ever to snowboard the glaciers in the Ruwenzori Mountains.

In short, his résumé was one of the most impressive in the business.

It was not, however, his outlandish adventures that makes Coetzee’s book such a challenge for anyone to read, but his burning passion for life. Deep within all of his adventures was an intertwined journey to accept the fullness of life – to be able to appreciate it to its full. Only by understanding and ultimately accepting one’s death, Coetzee believed, can we truly experience a ‘quality of life’.

Speaking to some, and by no means all, palliative care patients I have come across a stillness – a deeper happiness – that I have rarely seen elsewhere. It is a happiness that comes fundamentally from within, a spiritual or psychological wellbeing.

Does this come from an acceptance of one’s own death?

Early on in the book, when undertaking the Murchison Falls section of white water, Coetzee writes: “In our society we avoid the thought of death as if recognition alone could trigger the event. Thinking about your own death is seen as a sign that mentally, all is not well. Some people live their entire lives with the sole purpose of minimising the chances of it occurring to them, instead of preparing for the inevitable. After avoiding the issue for so long, it is almost soothing to invite death on my terms.”

Reflecting on this, I wonder how many palliative care practitioners spend their professional hours encouraging patients to think about their deaths, to make preparations and to become comfortable with the idea whilst then perpetuating the myth in their own lives that life is infinite?

I only speak for myself when I write that I am too often guilty of this self-delusion.

To live a truly high ‘quality of life’ do we have to be comfortable with the idea of our death? I don’t know.

For Coetzee though, this acceptance was clearly linked to the life he chose to lead. Writing about his desire to keep going on clearly dangerous expeditions he wrote: “Psychoanalysts may diagnose a death wish, but missions like these enhance the appreciation of life. It is no coincidence that death and rebirth are related in all forms of religion and spirituality. When you accept that you are going to die, and it will be sooner than you think, it becomes impossible to merely go through the motions.”

Even the acceptance of my own inevitable death cannot push me to actions that so invite the prospect of death earlier than it otherwise would arrive. There is too much to live for to put my life on the line in search of living just that one day to the extreme – in the search for the best day ever.

That said, it is imperative for the palliative care community to understand the full spectrum of thought that exists out there. Just as there are people who are terrified of the concept of their own passing so there are people like Coetzee that can write the following words:

“Death is coming for us all…the day we will have to face the crossing will come sooner than we think. I hope my day is many many years away, but… I don’t want to make the greatest leap in life in a vague dream. I want to have the chance to look it in the eye, to say: ‘You have had me in your sights all your life, but it’s on my terms that I come.’ Tibetans believe that one can find enlightenment at the moment of your death, as long as you prepared yourself for it during life…I have had the best day ever more times than I remember. So yes, I believe I am ready to die if that is what is needed to live as I want to.”

Hendri Coetzee was pulled from his kayak by a crocodile deep inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo and his body was never recovered.

At the end of his last ever blog entry though, after completing a section of river that many assumed impossible to kayak, he wrote: “We stood precariously on a unknown slope deep in the heart of Africa, for once my mind and heart agreed, I would never live a better day.”

I have no idea if – when it came – Hendri Coetzee was prepared for his death. It is clear though, that he lived life to the full and died in way he had to have expected.

Not many of us can say that and for that alone ‘Living the best day ever’ is worth reading. I think we can all learn something from Hendri Coetzee approach to both life and death.


Filed under Health, Social comment, Travel, Uganda

Samsung try to hide their sexist [and comically bad] promo video

Samsung have released their promo video for the ‘840 EVO Series Solid State Drive’. The video is riddled with sexist stereotypes. The video is both horribly sexist but also comically bad – It begs the question, who was the script writer/editor and do they still have jobs?

The video opens with opens with a women dressed in pink and stood (where else?) in a kitchen explaining that she uses her computer to look at pictures or videos of her family or helping her children with their homework. Comically she then adds, “and that’s about it.”

Then the video introduces cliché number 2 – the nerdy gaming guy, “I play games, share files with my friends”.  Before long we meet cliché number 3 – the solid white business man, “I mainly manage files for work.”

Back to cliché number 1 – our house bound, children loving lady. She reappears to explain that the main thing that upsets her about her computer is that it takes a long time to boot up. This means she has to leave it on while she finishes her…not university assignment, preparation for work but of course…chores.

The whole video is beyond parody.

But then comes the climax. The three clichés are then handed their solution, the ‘840 EVO Series Solid State Drive’.  Cliché number 1’s reaction is priceless. She literally says, ”What?” and just looks confused (how else would a woman respond to technology after all?)

The two guys (cliché numbers 2 and 3) make banal comments about how good it is, before we cut back to our lady friend whose only contribution is, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to.”

When finally the new drives are all installed, the men make mediocre comments on the speed difference and our lady – I am not making this up – says… “Aw I did it, did you see that.”

Samsung it would appear have spotted what a PR fuck up this is and have started removing the video from across the web (mission impossible I am afraid).

The fact that this sort of thing is still being made in 2013 by a company like Samsung just goes to show how far we have got to go in our fight against every day sexism.

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Beers of Israel and Palestine…

During my time in Israel/Palestine I got to taste some wonderful beers. Israel especially has a impressive and growing craft-beer scene.

You can read some of my comments on two of the widely produced (and consumed) beers in Israel/Palestine – Goldstar and Taybeh – in this CNN article by Orlando Crowcroft.

You can also have a read of my visit to Taybeh Brewery in the West Bank – here.



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Filed under Beer, Food and Drink, Middle East

WATCH: Thrill Collins on tour – “It is not a holiday”

Thrill Collins… what can I say?

They are all round nice guys. They bring endless joy into people’s lives through the medium of skiffle covers of 80’s and 90’s pop. They are arguably the biggest news story to come out of the West Country since this. I reviewed the first night of their summer 2012 European tour – which you can read here. They have also released a full length documentary of their summer 2012 European Tour AND…

You can watch it…right now, right here:

I take no legal responsibility if you are blown away by this video.

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Mark Thomas ‘Bravo Figaro!’ – Review

Verdict: 4/5 “I left the theatre feeling privileged to have witnessed a small snapshot of Mark’s relationship with his father”.

As if too tired to stand, Mark Thomas walks to the edge of the stage and sits. He is side on to the audience and a spot light casts a shadow down towards the edge of the stage. With a clarity that allows for no confusion he forces the words out…“My Dad was a cunt”.

There was no comic twist to these words, there was no smirk or smile. Just the word ‘cunt‘ to describe his own father.

I was sat at the Tricycle theatre watching Mark Thomas’ show ‘Bravo Figaro‘. The show is centred around Colin Alec Todd Thomas (Mark’s Dad), a working-class Tory and self-employed builder with an unexpected passion for Opera.

Throughout the show, Mark offers a potted history of his relationship with his father. To begin, he focuses on heart warming moments such as how his Dad would watch TV with his work trousers round his ankles to not get the sofa dirty.

Mark goes onto to describe the embarrassment of being a fifteen year old punk rocker and having his builder father blast opera out over the roof tops whilst attempting to sing along. The audience is taken along and titters their way through the show’s opening.

After a few seconds silence though, Mark makes his way to the edge of the stage and carefully lets the word cunt reverberate around the small theatre. He repeats it twice more to ensure no one can dismiss it is as a throw away comment.

He goes on to tell us that Colin was a man that was quick to resort to violence. He talks in detail about pub brawls. This leads him to talk, in much less detail, about domestic violence. With a couple of poignant, carefully chosen sentences, he leaves little doubt in the audiences mind. “We would have an annual family reunion at the A and E”. A half smile appears on Mark’s face before his eyes drop to the floor.

Bravo Figaro‘ offers an insight into the muddled life of a south London family. It illustrates how it is possible to unconditionally love a Dad who is bigoted, violent and in the words of Mark, ‘a cunt’. It shows the devastating effect that the cocktail of dementia and progressive supranuclear palsy (a degenerative and incurable condition) can have on a man and his family.

Mostly however, ‘Bravo Figaro‘ is the story of how Mark Thomas used opera to reach out to his father before he vanished permanently. One final gift.

I feel privileged to have witnessed a small snapshot of Mark’s relationship with his father. I left the theatre feeling moved by the show, but also unsure how comfortable Mark felt telling the story.

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Thrill Collins – European Tour Review

I met up with Cheltenham based skiffle pop trio ‘Thrill Collins‘ in the Brixton Windmill on the first night of their European Tour. They assured me, repeatedly, that they were not on holiday and they were working really hard.

Between songs, Peter the cajun drum box player smirked, “We’re serious musicians you know”. Robbie the lead singer glances over and visually stops himself from laughing before breaking out into a cover of Spice Girl’s ‘Say you’ll be there’. The crowd lets out a small cheer in recognition of a part of their childhood they thought they had forgotten.

In collective horror it dawns on everyone in the crowd that they know the words to not only ‘Say you’ll be there’ but also the host of other 80s and 90s pop classics that sit on Thrill Collins’ playlist.

I am stood in Brixton Windmill, one of London’s worst kept secrets. An underground music venue which has been described by the Independent as one of the ‘top ten music venues’ in the UK. It has posters both old and new plastered over the walls advertising bands who at some point will grace their stage. It’s the sort of place with band’s stickers plastered over the toilets – you know the sort of place.

The chances are there are not many in Brixton that would have previously heard of the Cheltenham based trio – Thrill Collins. The band has developed a small cult following but this is disproportionately formed of people with thick west country accents and an unhealthy relationship to cloudy cider. Not those who frequent underground music venues in Brixton.

For the Windmill though this is no problem. They sums up their musical ethos by saying, “most important of all is the quality of music – it’s no good telling us that you’ll ran the place with your mates; if your music sucks we aren’t interested”.

On this evening there is no more than 20 people watching but significantly everyone is smiling.

In fact it is hard not to have a good time when you watch Thrill Collins. The band’s enthusiasm, excitement and exuberance on stage spills over into the audience, whatever its size. With wit and ease the front man Robbie Pert leads the audience through their set. Not only is he genuinely entertaining he is also exceptionally funny.

There is no doubt that Thrill Collins do what they do very well – they entertain. Perhaps most importantly though, they do not take themselves too seriously – they are called “Thrill Collins” for fuck sake!

For the length of the set it allows the crowd to let their metaphorical hair down and to stop taking themselves too seriously. Can you really be worrying about that report that’s due at work as you are singing along to a skiffle band playing a cover of the Back Street Boys ‘Everybody‘?

A personal highlight for me was their ten minuet long “History of gangster rap” which had a strong Will Smith emphasis. It was a clever combination of incongruous songs blurred together in a skiffle melody. The continuous referencing of Will Smith suggests that it was just a little tongue in cheek.

The Windmill marked the first night of their European tour which will see them grace Chamonix, Barcelona and Malaga among others. After their set I asked the band if there was one message they wanted to give about their up-coming tour what it would be. Their response was telling. Almost in unison they responded, “This is not a holiday” (their emphasis) before once again bursting out laughing.

Whether you want to or not you leave a Thrill Collins gig feeling good. Their intoxicating blend of 80s and 90s pop brings out that deep rooted human instinct, the instinct to shout along to pop songs.

You can see all of Thrill Collins upcoming tour dates here.

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2000 Trees 2012 – bringing you the best new and underground music, despite the weather

‘Happy Campers’ – Photo by James Popel

Stood with my hood up, rocking the full waterproof image and ankle deep in mud I met Claire, a happy camper at Gloucestershire’s 2000 Trees festival. From under her waterproof cape she wipes off the water running down her face and comments, “to the untrained eye, this mud might look as bad as Glastonbury in 2007, but it really isn’t you know. You can glide through this mud without worrying about losing your wellies”.  Looking around, it was clear that the mud and rain wasn’t dampening spirits. I asked Claire if she was having a good time and she responds with a wink and a smile, “the best”.

I spent the last weekend at Upcote Farm, the home of 2000 Trees, trying to pin down exactly what makes this festival not just good, but bloody epic – despite the weather.

2000 Trees has become an integral part of the alternative festival scene and has consistently attracted me back. Founded in 2007 and selling just over 1,000 tickets it has grown in the last six years to four stages and attracting just under 5,000 festival goers.

At the heart of the festival is an ethos to do it differently, to not succumb to the same old festival formula. In their own words, “as cheesy as it may sound 2000trees genuinely started with six mates sat around a campfire complaining about the state of UK Festivals…and their ever spiralling ticket prices, poor facilities and pursuit of profit at all costs”.

This ethos of ‘doing it differently’ transcends the baseless words of small festival rhetoric into an exciting reality that can be seen penetrating every corner of the festival.

The food is varied but it is nearly all local, sustainably sourced or organic. This commitment to great local food and drink permeates right through to the bars who stock Cotswold Lager. Their policies on using bio-fuels and their great recycling record have meant that they have won “A Greener Festival” award for their on-going commitment to environmental sustainability. Last but certainly not least is their commitment to booking the best new and underground music Britain has to offer.

2012 alone boasted a diverse line up varying from Lucy Rose to Pulled Apart by Horses. In addition, there was a continued emphasis placed on the local music scene in and around Gloucestershire. Local independent labels such as ‘I Started The Fire Records’ were strongly represented throughout the weekend and enjoy a close working relationship with festival.

These artists join the likes of Frank Turner, Bombay Bicycle Club, King Blues and many more that have graced the small stages in the festival’s short six year history.  Personally however the highlight of the whole weekend came in the form of a band that was completely new to me, the Bristol based trio ‘The Cadbury Sisters’. The three sisters blend a three part harmony with ease to create a melancholic but beautiful mix of contemporary folk.

The festival’s commitment to bringing the best of new and underground British music, all of which has been personally scouted by the event organisers, has resulted in the festival becoming a firm favourite with the artists as well as the punters.

As Chris T-T (Xtra Mile) commented to me, “The best bit was the family feeling that Xtra Mile artists had through the weekend; especially with Lockey and Marwood playing almost every year, Trees feels like the label’s home festival”.

Pushed for a ‘worst part of 2000 Trees’ Chris T-T commented, “The worst bit was the plastic hexagons they laid down to help people get across the site; they had tiny holes in, so as you squelched on them jets of mud spunked up through the holes, right up your legs”.

I think most festival organisers would take that if that was the worst criticism thrown at them.

Late on Saturday night, by chance, I bumped into Claire as we were both walking down the hill back to the main arena and we talked some more about the festival and what we thought made a good festival epic. It was one of those pleasant festival conversations you have with complete strangers. As I walked away I wished her a good weekend.  As an afterthought she shouted after me and said, “Isn’t everyone having fun though”. I responded honestly, “yeah, they are”. She then did my job for me summarising perhaps all that you need to know about 2000 Trees and said, “perhaps that’s what makes 2000 Trees epic?”.


Filed under Beer, Food and Drink, Gloucestershire, Music

2000 Trees 2011 – literally awsome

2000trees is without a shadow of doubt my favourite music festival. 2011 was no exception. It was a small, friendly festival that booked some of the best British music out there. Previous years they have hit dizzying heights of success with bands /artists such Imperial Leisure, Frank Turner and Johnny Flynn all gracing their main stage. This year was no exception. On their website they state, “we are obsessed with the breathtaking world that is the British music scene, and our aim is to provide you with the opportunity to discover your new favourite band. Bands that you’ll be telling your mates about for months and years to come”. Well they succeeded. Here are just a few of the bands/artists I saw (both familiar faces and new ones). Generally the music was of an incredible quality, although I do have a few gripes (mentioning no names…Los Campesinos).

Crazy Arm (acoustic) 5/5

Everyone has their own way of describing Crazy Arm, they don’t fit comfortably into any one genre. For me, I think of them as operatic punk (bare with me). Their album, ‘Born to Ruin’ opener ‘Asphalt’ sets the scene. It opens with a heavy base that’s broken by sharp guitar melodies before being built on with overlapping vocals. The song is cleverly drawn out to just over 5 minutes and instantly makes you realise that this band is not just another run of the mill punk band. You feel as though there is real sense of performance within the depths of their music.

With this in mind, you will understand why when looking at the line up for 2000trees I was very excited to see an acoustic set slotted in mid-afternoon for Crazy Arm. Take my earlier definition of ‘operatic punk’ and add ‘acoustic’ onto it and you have the basis for a very interesting performance. They didn’t disappoint. A real highlight of the festival for me, they balanced their usual intensity with a genuinely personal performance. The folk roots of this particular punk band shone through with incredible quality.

Ben Marwood 2/5 (but don’t be put off)

I think Ben Marwood is great – his lyrics (on which his music rests) are funny, political and unique. He engages the crowd in a way few other singer songwriters can and I would recommend anyone to go and see him. I recently caught him in Bath supporting the mighty Frank Turner and he was epic.

So why 2/5? Firstly, he was let down by the poor sound on the Greenhouse stage. You struggled to make out his lyrics let alone appreciate the depth, humour and quality of them. I am still glad I watched Ben, but felt bad for all those who were seeing him for the first time. It remains a mystery to me why he was on the small Greenhouse Stage and not the Leaf lounge.

The King Blues 4/5 (if you are a teenage girl)

I loved it, but I feel embarrassed to admit I loved it. King Blues released and incredible album ‘Under the Frog’ back in 2006 which genuinely excited me. It felt raw, it felt personal and it felt political. In 2008 they followed this up with ‘Save the World, get the girl’ which lead many people to accuse them of going pop. It was this transformation that left one of my friends (naming no names but he has dreadlocks and strong opinions about punk) to comment, “fucking hate King Blues”). He is not alone either. I though, still keep them as a guilty pleasure. Bouncing along in possibly the most accessible mosh pit in the world while shouting along to annoyingly self righteous lyrics is a lot of fun. Still though, is punk meant to be fun?

Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip 4/5

It wouldn’t be fair to suggest I have a perfect memory of this, but from what I do remember it was awesome. Scroobius Pip led the crowd through his lyrics with masterful skill. He had the charisma to keep the crowd bouncing throughout, completely engaged. You lost some the subtleties of his lyrics but this is inevitable when stood next to a massive speaker after a few pints of the cider. For pure enjoyment levels he gets full marks. At the time you could have been forgiven for thinking everyone had bought their ticket just for him, it felt like everyone knew the words to every song. This is a real credit to a man who is not a ‘natural’ festival headliner.

Chewing on Tin Foil 4/5

This was the first time I had seen Chewing on Tin Foil despite a lot of my friends chatting excitedly about them. They reminded me (and I mean this in a completely positive sense) of the 1990’s. They were fun to watch. They reminded of the days when I used to listen to Symposium. They had a real charm about them. Their music was simple but accessible. Perhaps most importantly they looked like they were having real fun. As they put it, “We’re five guys from Dublin that have a really nice time playing punk rock music together. We mostly play to ourselves at band practise but occasionally we play to an audience at gigs. We’re trying to get as much stuff done as we possibly can until one of us has a kid or dies or whatever”. Ace to see live, and surprisingly good on the 7” split I purchased.

Boat to Row 4/5 (I know there is a lot of 4/5 going on but stick with me I am about to get harsh)

I only caught the last few songs of this band and I hadn’t seen them before but my initial reaction was of some young very talented musicians playing some interesting folk. It was soft and I could imagine my girlfriend loving it. Well actually she did love it and then complained that we had just sat through Chewing on Tin foil instead of watching the whole set. One of the problems of 2000 trees, awesome bands overlap. I bought their vinyl and was really impressed.

Joe Summers 5/5

If you don’t know what to buy for mother’s day – buy Joe. I can guarantee your mother will love him. I mean, they will quite like his floating poetic lyrics. They will enjoy the way it reminds them of 60’s protest singers. But most of all, they will just love him.

If, like me, you have yet to give birth then have a listen as well. With notes of Springsteen and Dylan going on in his very naturally relaxed style you will be doing well not to be won over. Combine this with a sunny hillside in the Cotswolds and a pint of cider and you’ve got yourself a top quality gig.

Los Campesinos 1/5

If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is a live performer who looks like he/she doesn’t want to be there. This was average music played with no energy, commitment or enthusiasm. Probably the low point of the whole festival for me. I had fun in the crowd but you could sense a feeling of disappointment.

Frightened Rabbit 2/5

Same as above with a little more energy and a little more enthusiasm. Maybe the music just wasn’t my cup of tea (the rest of crowd seemed like they were having a great time). Had a good time in the crowd but I suspect that was more to do with my friends and the crowd than what was on stage.

Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun 5/5

OK – I admit that I didn’t actually see them this year. Sorry Jim. But I have seen them more times than probably any other band still out there and cannot recommend them enough. They play soulful punk folk with an edge of angst that keeps you gripped. Their music has a really impressive depth and the lyrics are wonderfully poetic. They are a band that is in it for all the right reasons. If you haven’t already watch these guys – they are truly awesome.

2000Trees this year was epic. The headliners on Friday blew me away and the quality and variety of the other bands was truly impressive. A lot of the bands rely on you going out to buy records and see them at venues. I really hope you do. I love the music scene you find in towns up and down this country but it needs people like you to go out and make this happen.

A big thanks to the crew at 2000 trees who makes it happen. I know I speak for many when I say it has a special place in my heart.


Filed under Gloucestershire, Music

Counter terrorism measures – balancing freedom with security

Britain has a long history of liberty that we should all be proud of.  Liberty is ingrained into Britain’s fabric and is a hallmark of a civilised society. There is no doubt that New Labour got the balance between security and liberty wrong.  Policies introduced under their watch systematically eroded liberty, all in the name of our collective “security”.  Ed Miliband has admitted that, when it comes to civil liberties, Labour got it wrong. He has conceded that his Government seemed too “casual” about people’s freedom. This is something the coalition promised to rectify. Well today, the home secretary made an announcement on a series of counter terrorism measures that act, to some extent, as a point in which we can judge this government on these issues.

The announcements has been met with some positive reaction. Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation has welcomed these measures saying “Today’s review of the government’s counter-terrorism powers is a welcome and positive development. The system of control orders established by the previous government was seen to be an imperfect but necessary evil and it is therefore right that it has been reviewed. It is good news that the Coalition has recognised the problems of the old control orders system while also recognising that, in the absence of any alternatives, scrapping the system altogether is not feasible and may increase the risk of terrorist attacks.

‘At the same, we should remember that there is no substitute for giving people a fair and open trial. The government, the police and the security services need to make sure that wherever possible suspected terrorists receive fair trials in which they and their lawyers are able to view and challenge all the evidence against them before a jury. British traditions of justice should be upheld and defended wherever possible. Control orders – or whatever system replaces them – should remain only a last resort.’

He seems to suggest, that in some cases a de facto control order is useful and indeed necessary to protect the country from potential terrorist attacks.

 This is all fine and good, and indeed I agree that today’s announcements are “welcome”, but they have not got to the heart of the problem.  Crucially, the “new control orders” (electronic tagging, overnight residence requirements, restrictions on communication and movement will all remain possible) will remain a matter for the Home Secretary rather than police or prosecutors and the scheme will continue to run outside the criminal justice system of investigation, arrest, charge and conviction.  It is this that is at the heart of what is wrong with counter terror legislation, the belief that somehow suspected terrorists cannot, and should not be incorporated into our criminal justice system.

Equally, on a pragmatic note, keeping these measures in politician’s hands (opposed to the criminal justice systems) does not make sense because, as the review points out, it is ineffective. Firstly, no “controlee” has ever been prosecuted for a terrorist offence.  Secondly, 15% of all “controlees” have gone missing, highlighting how ineffective community based punishment is. Therefore, I would argue that the administrative task facing the de facto control orders puts our safety at risk as much as it does our liberty. 

We do however; need to also congratulate the coalition. Due to action they have chosen to take (as a relative priority) we have lost 28 day detention without trial, we have lost arbitrary stop and search, we have restricted councils use of counter terrorism measures and we have got rid of some of the most draconian aspects of the control orders that New Labour rushed in. 

It appears however, that they are hesitant to and not appearing to tip the balance too far towards liberty and risk our security. My message then can be simplified down to this, the de facto control orders we are left with are not good for either our liberty or our security.  Scrap them once and for all!

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