Friday, 12 June 2015

The Caution Dance

Recent performance at the Warwickshire Justice Centre when I got lippy over seeking legal advice before signing a Caution for saying "Pikey" on Facebook in this post.

Cop Dealing With It: "My Sergeant wants to speak to you."

(We go into a private room where a Sergeant is sat at a desk. He looks at me with a sneer he's blatantly practiced in the mirror, that suggests I am ungrateful, unworthy and above all, a git).

Sergeant: "Well Mr Manley, I don't think you're actually eligible for a Caution. You don't seem very sorry, you need to show some contrition."

(He either doesn't know or is too arrogant to care that I am ex police and have played this game several times from his side of the table).

Me: "Well...let's put it this way. Retrospectively had I known it was offensive I wouldn't have used it and in future I won't be using it again."

Sergeant (still sneering but also nodding approvingly): "Well done. I now think you're eligible for Caution again. I'd just like to say that I can report you to court myself right now."

Me: " does that work? CPS not involved in any way?"

Sergeant (smirking): "No. I can prosecute you myself. And we don't have to let you see a lawyer as you're here voluntarily."

Me: "I'm not entitled to legal advice?"

Sergeant: "Oh you're entitled to legal advice."

Me: "Err...right!"

(I briefly wonder if he moonlights as a super villain with question marks on his costume in Gotham city).

Sergeant: "And we would also argue if this went to court that your line about 'thieving bullying cunts' was racist."

Me: "That refers to the people in the specific examples that I gave of criminal behaviour, we established that in the interview!"

(I nod to the Cop Dealing With It who looks embarrassed but stays quiet).

Sergeant: "Nevertheless we would argue that it was racist in court."

Me: "So why is the Caution for Communications Act and not Racially Aggravated s.4(a) of the Public Order Act then? It would go to court for the same offence!"

Sergeant (too up his own bum to realise his tactics aren't working): "We would argue that in court Mr Manley."

Me: "From what I was told by the interviewing officer it was ONLY the word "pikey" that got me here. All the foul language apparently didn't make a dent in anything."

Sergeant: "We would still have spoken with you but no, you wouldn't be here. That word's offensive. We object to having it slapped on our Facebook page."

Me: "Yes, as I said in interview I didn't realise that tagging Warwickshire police would result in that happening. Don't you have moderation on your security settings?!!"

I go back to the foyer. After another hour a paralegal turns up who takes a brief look at the "evidence" and then says "You haven't broken the law. They've just got the hump that you criticised them. Refuse the Caution."

We go back and the Sergeant's smirk turns to a look of discomfort and confusion.

Sergeant: "Oh, well...I don't wish to try and railroad you into taking a Caution you don't want."

This was later dropped by the CPS who weren't initially consulted, even though they had to be as it was a Social Media case. What I said wasn't "grossly offensive" and therefore hadn't violated s.127 of the Communications Act.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Cell

Once upon a time there were two sisters. Their family was rich and had land and fine horses and lovely clothes and a beautiful big house in the country. The two sisters grew up with everything they could want, except that their father was a very cold man and cared mainly for himself. While he did not usually mistreat his daughters and gave them things, he was not a loving father.

Both sisters were spoiled with material things. They both went to a fine school that only the richest girls could go to. They both owned ponies. They had cars as soon as they were old enough to drive. They went to expensive parties with their friends and their garments were of the finest cloth. They ate fine food, they never went hungry and they had a gardener, a cook and a cleaner to look after their house.

One day their father found that someone had stolen a bottle of whisky from his drinks cabinet. He was very angry and he confronted his daughters, who he believed had taken it.

Both denied the accusation and their father became angrier with them. Eventually, when neither would admit the theft, their father took them to the cellar of their big house, and put each into a small, dirty room down there. The space was small, the smell was bad and their was dirt and grime on the floor and walls. The girls wailed and wept and begged not to be locked up but their father locked the doors and put the keys in his pocket and walked away.

For two weeks they stayed down there. They wept and cried and begged for release but their father said they could only come out if one or both admitted stealing. The girls insisted they were innocent and their father called them liars.

After 14 days the father discovered that the bottle had been taken by the gardener. He immediately told his wife to release the girls from their cells but he was too arrogant to say he was sorry. When the girls emerged they were dirty and shivering. Their hair was messy and they looked nothing like the rich girls they really were. Their father made excuses for what he'd done, saying things like "What was I supposed to think?" and "It wasn't my fault, how was I supposed to know?"

He never apologised for his actions and both girls were forever hurt by what he had done and the fact that he never said sorry for the pain he had caused them.

Years later both girls had grown up and had families of their own. The older sister had three children and one day she took them to see the cell that their grandfather (now dead) had put her in. She showed them how small and dirty the room was. They saw how uncomfortable and cold it was. They saw the rats and the one small window in the ceiling. After they had looked for a short time, their mother turned to them and said:

"You must always be fair with people. I will punish you if you break my rules and if you are naughty or misbehave but I will NEVER put you in this cell or one like it. Always treat others as you would wish to be treated. If you make a mistake, admit it and say sorry."

She never took her children to see the cell again and they lived by what she had said and grew up to be fair minded and confident in themselves. They knew what was just and right and they knew that they should admit it if they were wrong.

The other sister had two children of her own. She took them to see the cell at least once a week and told them how unfair it was that her father had made her stay in it. She kept taking them to see the cell and while she told them how much she had hated being in it, and how unfair it was that she had been there, she made her children go into the cell just so they would know how she'd felt. They had to clean the cell and stay in there occasionally if they were naughty. She never locked the door but told them they had to stay in the cell. When her children cried and asked why she would say "I had to do it so why shouldn't you?"

For years she would tell her children just how horrible it had been for her to be locked in the cell, and how unfair it was that their grandfather had made her stay in there. However, she would also ensure that at every opportunity her children would be reminded that this had happened to her.

Her children grew up to be full of rage and sadness. Unable to fight back against what their mother was doing and believing that they deserved bad things to happen to them. They also thought, on a very fundamental level, that they were undeserving of their mother's love unless they suffered like she had.

Both grew up to become scared, lacking in confidence and believing they were not worthy of nice things happening to them. Overall they believed that the cell was something they should go to in order to prove they loved their mother.

Years later and the children grew up. The older sister's children had good jobs, a lot of money and children of their own. They were close to their mother and the family loved and respected each other. The sister's experience in the cell had taught her that she should never treat her family the same way. They had grown up to love her and think the world of her.

The other sister's children never married and neither had children of their own. Their self esteem had been torn asunder by their mother's insistence on reminding them of the existence of the cell. Neither child wanted to bring children into the world, for fear that they would be hurt the way they had been. They stopped speaking to their mother and she ended up lonely and isolated. However, she blamed only other people for this, saying, like her father had, that it wasn't her fault and she was not to blame for her own actions.

The moral of this tale is:

If you hurt others so they can empathise with your own pain, you will simply drive them away. Learn from your pain and move on but NEVER inflict it on others.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

How to Close Your Ebay Account Like a Boss

This is a chat I had  with a couple of dipsticks on Ebay's Live Chat.
My user ID is now "closing_my_account_as_this_service_sucks" but they still don't seem to take the hint.

I feel SO much better now.
  • You have been connected with Ebay Customer Support.
  • The next available Chat agent will be able to assist you.
  • Thank you for your patience.
 (After 10 minutes)
Mike Hunt
Welcome to eBay Live Help, my name is Mike. Please give me a moment while I check your account details.

Mike Hunt
I've verified your account Lance. How May I help you today?

I have expressed my utter disgust with your service (short version: buyer in Germany wanted refund. Complaint only in German...which I can't read. Advice from your colleagues "use Babelfish". I want my account closed NOW.

Mike Hunt
I know how this affects you. Before we proceed with your query about closure of your account, do you have any other issues need to be addressed?

How do you "know"? Are you psychic?

Or is this the "sympathy" you are trained to give?

I have many issues with Ebay, but let's stick with this one now eh?

Mike Hunt
Thanks for confirming. I cna see that your account is already for closure Lance.

Yes, I know THAT. Point is it's June 10th. I am so upset that I want it closed now. Suggestions?

Mike Hunt
I know how this affects you. In this case, I will transfer you to our specialised team that';s handling the closure of your account. Would that be fine for you?

That would be utterly splendid.

Mike Hunt
Has transferred you to: Connie Lingers

Connie Lingers
Welcome to eBay Live Chat, my name is Connie. Please give me a moment to review what you have discussed with the previous representative.

(After 5 minutes)
Did you fall asleep?

Connie Lingers
No, I'm here.

Connie Lingers
As I understand, you want to know the status of your account closure. Am I correct?

Nope, I want to close it now. I know the current status. I am totally narked off with Ebay and having to explain everything at least twice, handle refund issues in languages I can't speak and getting answers to questions I didn't ask.

But congratulations, you are about the 14th live chat agent I've talked to who didn't understand what I wanted

Connie Lingers
I'm sorry to hear about this. Please bear with me for a few moments while I investigate this for you.

are you a real person? I only ask as that last reply was totally innapropriate to my original statement. What are you sorry for? That you work for Ebay maybe?

Connie Lingers
I'm a real person and I was just being courteous.

Connie Lingers
Lance, your user ID is labelled 'no longer a registered user'. You can still sign in and view your account but you can't place bids or list items.


That is NOT the purpose of this chat

Connie Lingers
Your account will be closed on 3rd May 2011.
I want it closed now

anything I can do to speed it up?

Connie Lingers
That is the best I can do for you as the system will not allow it.

how about if I type fuck bollocks wank and bugger?

Chat Session Ended, Goodbye. (5010)