Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fire extinguishers, dangerous actions and Guido Fawkes

Paul Staines, the portly political blogger who would rather be referred to as Guido Fawkes, has gone out of his way to criticise and condemn the muppet* who threw a fire extinguisher off the roof of the Conservatives Party’s office building during the first big tuition fees demonstration. When said muppet was jailed yesterday, Staines gleefully reported:

A good day for justice it seems. Edward Woollard who was revealed as the infamous thug who threw a fire extinguisher off the roof off CCHQ, narrowly avoiding killing a copper, has been sent down for 2 years and 8 months for violent disorder. Just long enough to do an Open University course. The judge said the heavy sentence against Wollard is warning to other protesters not to ‘cross the line’.

Fair enough. Woollard did something stupid and dangerous. He propelled a heavy lump of metal at great speed and with no control, an act that could have led to severe injury or death if someone had been unfortunate enough to get in the way.

However, is Staines really in a good place to comment on this? In 2008 and he picked up his second conviction for drink driving. After spending the afternoon getting pissed he drove off across central London with a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit. The police stopped him when they saw his car veering across lanes of traffic.

To put it another way, Staines did something stupid and dangerous. He propelled a heavy lump of metal at great speed and with no control, an act that could have led to severe injury or death if someone had been unfortunate enough to get in the way.

Staines generally does nothing to stop some horrendously offensive and downright nasty comments being posted on his blog by his more window-licky readers. However, in the past 24 hours I’ve tried several times to post a message asking if he agrees that first-offence drunk drivers should be given nearly three years behind bars in order to warn other boozehounds not to “cross the line”, but for some reason the Staines massive keep moderating out my question. Last summer Stained announced that he was introducing some auto-moderation to keep out the worst of the lunatics, but apparently this also picks up on any mention of awkward truths about the blog author.

This week’s Private Eye reports that the Daily Telegraph’s letters editor refused to publish any of the hundreds of pieces of correspondence the paper received from readers who were outraged at the tabloid-style sting on Vince Cable and other Lib-Dem ministers. Interesting to see that Staines’ attitude to criticism is so closely in step with the mainstream “dead tree press” he claims to despise.

*possibly Fozzie Bear, judging by the haircut


Acidfairyy said...

It disgusts me how long he was jailed for. He's not a danger to society! A fine and some community service would have been punishment enough.
I like to refer here to that bloke who was banned from driving and killed a child whilst driving; he got four (FOUR) months of prison and then went on to commit other crimes. No wonder people think the legal system in this country is a joke.

Guido Fawkes said...

FYI Guido is no longer Paul Staines.

valdemar said...

Who is Guido, then? Sir Gerald Nabarro? (One for the old folk, there.)

the_voice_of_reason said...


While it almost always pointless to compare two wholly different cases, I imagine you are referring to a well publicised case where a man was convicted of causing death by careless driving. That offence can be, and usually is, the result of momentary inattention.

The offence of deliberately choosing to throw a heavy object off a tall building in the knowledge that there are people below requires both an intention to propel the object into the air and recklessness as to the consequences. As a matter of law, that makes the mens rea in the latter case far more serious than the former, hence its attracting a higher sentence.

oxkev said...

Choosing to drive a car over the speed limit, recklessly or whilst over the drink driver limit are all pretty much the same as what this stupid lad decided to do.

The consequences of momentary innatention are much greater if the car is being driven over the speed limit. Which is one of the reasons why we have speed limits, because we are after all human and not perfect and all of us at one time or another will have had a momentary lapse of concentration. If we are travelling at or below the speed limit other drivers or pedestrians often have time to react or if not the consequences of being in an accident are less.

I've never heard of someone caught for drink driving as a first offence ever being jailed.

B C Cletts said...

If you have a gun licence anf the gun even diuscharges in the wrong place you are in deep trouble, effectively applying the strict liability model which we are debating for motor vehicles - and a lod more people are killed by misuse of motor vehicles than misuse of guns.

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