December 19, 2005
Clearly and obviously correct here but seeing it in The Guardian is a bit of a shock:
Our TPC-SHEP list is noticeably lacking in anything along the lines of weapons and, as any Wyndham/Christopher reader knows, the first thing you look for when disaster kicks off is a rifle or three. When the water levels start rising and the food runs low, a list of first-aid boxes and portable toilets isn't going to hold back the forces of evil for long. What we'd really need to do would be to requisition the largest house in the village, nail wood over the windows, set up booby traps and get every able-bodied person busy with target practice.
"I reckon you'd last two or three days at most," said a friend who works in the sustainable-energy field and thus knows about these things. "Once the hordes started marauding, you wouldn't stand a chance. The only people who will be all right are the military, because they've got guns." Perhaps they might allocate us the odd rat to gnaw on if we offer to share our emergency battery-powered radios and sticking plasters - if they arrive in time to save us from the ravening population of Shaftesbury.
Mr. Free Market and The Englishman would be OK but what about the rest of us? Hhmm. If this happens while I’m in Bath I might have to make that trek up the Avon valley and then along the canal to throw myself on their mercy...blogger’s honour and all that.
On the subject of Mr. FM he would rather like your help with a little matter:
The League Against Cruel Sports have launched an emergency appeal to raise money for their Hunt Crimewatch programme. They state that they require much need funds to buy video cameras, handheld global positioning systems, walkie talkies etc, etc to monitor hunting activity. However they have made one fatal error ...
Donations can be sent to a FREEPOST address. This means that for each envelope they receive they will have to pick up the charge from Royal Mail. So to make your Christmas a little better would you please send an empty envelope or Christmas Card to:
League Against Cruel Sports,
Freepost SE 5087,
As I type this, the label printers in the office are glowing red hot
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I think that this is quite probably against the law, aside from being a genuinely antisocial thing to do.
Tim adds: Quoting from The Guardian can indeed be an anti-social act but illegal?
Posted by: dsquared | Dec 19, 2005 11:27:26 AM
I suppose if one can show malice, it's illegal, but morally? You're joking, right? Fascist scum like this, who only exist to hate, should be burnt alive, in my opinion.
Posted by: Lester Square | Dec 19, 2005 12:04:41 PM
Well yes; I strongly suspect that abuse of the Freepost facility is going to constitute some kind of mail fraud or something, and organising a campaign to do it might also be illegal, depending on how these things go in the law. In any case, it's a really silly and unpleasant thing to do; it's not really that much different from stealing from a collection box.
Tim adds: First time I heard about this sort of thing was in one of the MASH novels. Before they degenerated into write by the numbers farces. One of the Doctors would, every Sunday afternoon, carefully attach the reply paid coupons to bricks. Apparently one mail order magazine guy should have had enough to build a house.
Posted by: dsquared | Dec 19, 2005 12:15:09 PM
I will send em' at least one empty envelope.
Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge | Dec 19, 2005 12:16:32 PM
Would donating one of my spare Euro cents (before they get even more worthless) be classed as legal by DxD?
Posted by: Rob Read | Dec 19, 2005 12:26:02 PM
I find it hard to imagine what crime could be committed by sending someone an empty envelope, unless it were a harrassment or assault offence. However, as you are merely intending to cause economic loss, it would be hard to make out the offence (But I'm not going to go into the ways in which a prosecutor might try anyway).
In any case, I'm no expert on the law, especially not criminal law, so don't take my advice. Ever.
Also, I believe "mail fraud" is a crime that they have in the US. Thankfully, we remain quite apart from that country, despite the amount of their television that may have been watched by dsquared.
Posted by: Marcin | Dec 19, 2005 2:38:00 PM
[However, as you are merely intending to cause economic loss, it would be hard to make out the offence ]
See this is the thing; intentionally causing someone an economic loss is the sort of thing that the law takes an interest in. Since the proposal is to do so maliciously, and arguably involves dishonesty (sending envelopes that puport to be donations but aren't), I would not at all be surprised if it was some sort of crime or other.
Posted by: dsquared | Dec 19, 2005 4:43:56 PM
Dsquared: Well yes; I strongly suspect that abuse of the Freepost facility is going to constitute some kind of mail fraud or something, and organising a campaign to do it might also be illegal, depending on how these things go in the law.
Abusing a freepost address is a close real-world equivalent to sending spam, and therefore both activities can be regarded as morally equivalent. I don't like recieving spam, so I won't be abusing the freepost facility, regardless of what I think about foxhunting or the League Against Cruel Sports.
Posted by: Phil Hunt | Dec 19, 2005 7:08:58 PM
See this is the thing; intentionally causing someone an economic loss is the sort of thing that the law takes an interest in.
Heh! And occupying the offices of a stock exchange or oil company is perfectly okay in comparison, eh? Not to mention destroying fields of GM crops.
Isn't it amazing how fast these guys cry foul and turn to the law for protection when their own tactics are mildly turned back on them?!
Posted by: Tim Newman | Dec 20, 2005 12:16:13 AM
I agree with Tim N. I wonder how quickly the "animals rights" loonies would start squealing if they were subjected to the same knid of harrasment they dish out to other people?
How would they like to have their neighbours informed that they were living next to a paedophile? Or that just because they had the misfortune to sell milk to an "anti social parasite" they would have their businesses boycotted?
As to the original Graun article, for once they seem to be hinting at common sense which in itself is quite amazing. What is even more amazing is that the editor permitted an article that even hinted that the private ownership of firearms might be a positive thing.
And if, in closing, I may be permitted to add a little advice for the hard pressed parish councillors faced with yet more work: start looking at the voluntary organisations (Red Cross, Women's Institute, churches, Boy Scouts etc). Despite the derision these groups often receive, you'd be amazed at their capacity to organise and the resources they have at their disposal. If there was one lesson from the Katrina disaster it was that relying on any form of state assistance from any level above the immediate locality was pretty pointless, especially in the first few days, while the departmental sub-committees debated who would sit in the swivel chair and who got the budget.
Posted by: The Remittance Man | Dec 20, 2005 7:57:43 AM
A lot of comments on the supposed illegality of the tactic, but I have just one question for anyone who might be put off by that (I think it's a splendid idea, myself - a taste of their own disruptive, antisocial medecine!):
Just how (unless you put a return address on the envelopes) do you think the police are going to track down the perpetrators.....?
Posted by: JuliaM | Dec 20, 2005 8:33:20 AM
Ok, a couple of points. It is illegal to incite illegal activities, which includes 'posting' information that can be used to 'cause financial inconvienence'. Also, well done to those people who take terror activists and official publicly recognised organisations and put them in the same box. Kinda like saying Al Queda and Islam are the same thing, i.e. stupid and in obvious ignorance of the facts. That's why incitement is illegal, since the law recognises that the country is full of stupid people.
Posted by: No-one Important | Dec 22, 2005 2:02:39 PM