Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

14th November 2015

Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Posted by at 11.17pm | In the News | No responses

Eiffel Tower

What to say about the Paris massacre that hasn’t already been said? I’m finding it difficult to find the words to convey the mounting sense of shock and horror that I felt as I watched the evening’s events unfold on television. I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma that those directly affected are feeling.

I try to look at these things unemotionally. Mathematically speaking, the odds are in our favour. If you live in a stable Western democracy, chances are that you will never be caught up in a random attack.

But even the most rational human could not totally rid themselves of the nagging doubt, the fear that you could be one of those people who are later described as “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”. There’s always a slight possibility that a routine shopping trip, a visit to the cinema, or the commute to work can turn tragic in the blink of an eye.

I am comforted by the many acts of kindness that were reported in the immediate aftermath. The Parisians who opened up their homes for stranded people. The taxi drivers who took people home for free. Cities are imperfect places in many ways, but at times like this the anonymous mass of people somehow always seems to coalesce into an impromptu support network.

Paris will recover, and carry on – just as London, New York, Mumbai and countless other places have had to do. The only alternative is for everyone to hide under the bed and never come out – although admittedly, telecommuting and online grocery shopping makes this a very feasible option these days.

But carrying on can wait for a day or two. In the meantime, let us all honour and mourn those whose lives have been cut short so brutally.

15th December 2014

Siege Mentality
Posted by at 10.55pm | In the News | 1 response

Surreal and frightening scenes in Sydney over the past 24 hours, as a tranquil Monday morning turned into for the customers of one cafe. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it would have been for the people caught up in it.

I’m not going to try and round up all the reaction (there’s lots of it) but this piece from the Sydney Morning Herald was quite good, I thought:

A stampede of politicians, State and federal, took to the airwaves to tell us how to feel. The incident was “horrifying” said Bill Shorten. Attempting a Churchillian gravitas, the opposition leader declared that “Australians are shocked, but won’t be shaken.”


Why do political activists turn to terrorism? Australia gave the world a lesson today.

They turn to terrorism to win attention, to cause fear, and to use that fear to produce an overreaction. That overreaction is the measure of their success.


Successful terrorism is so rare in Australia that the overreaction is perhaps understandable. The police response seemed exactly right. But our political and media systems need to get better at measured reaction.

In the aftermath of this dreadful incident, cool heads and a measured response and a are definitely needed. Knee-jerk reactions from politicians keen to get on the telly are not helpful.

22nd February 2010

Because the police have nothing better to do
Posted by at 5.48pm | In the News | 1 response

From The Register:-

A Twitter user who posted a “joke” bomb threat against a UK airport could be jailed after pleading guilty to sending a menacing message.

Paul Chambers, 26, of Balby, Doncaster, admitted posting an ill-considered message onto Twitter about Robin Hood Airport, South Yorkshire, on 6 January after the airport closed as a result of unusually heavy snow.

He’s also been banned from Robin Hood Airport for life, thus forcing him to go elsewhere to catch Ryanair flights to Alicante. But a jail sentence for this? Really? Surely there are there more pressing crimes than this which need the attention of the justice system? Utter madness.

13th June 2008

Life, the Universe, and stuff
Posted by at 9.17am | In the News | No responses

Gordon Brown secured a slender Commons victory tonight when MPs voted to approve highly controversial plans allowing terrorist suspects to be detained without charge for up to 42 days.


Looking at this and other erosions of our civil liberties over the last ten years, I’ve been thinking — maybe it’s just our turn to be a dictatorship. Most European countries have flirted with it at one time or another, so why not us?

We wouldn’t be a powerful country that makes the world tremble in fear, but one of those crappy little states that everyone laughs at, like Turkmenistan. Look out for the month of April to be named after Gordon Brown’s mother soon…

15th November 2007

Always a frown with Gordon Brown

Oh… yay:-

Mr Brown said improved security would be installed at the country’s 250 busiest railway stations, as well as airports, ports and more than 100 other sensitive locations.

“Additional screening” of baggage and passenger searches were planned at some large railway stations and other “sensitive locations”, he said.

Welcome to Police State Britain. Meanwhile, any terrorists who want to blow up trains can get on at Edge Hill instead of Lime Street and avoid the security checks. Still, I suppose this sort of thing will impress the unthinking masses who buy The Sun.