Friday, 29 February 2008

Shocked, shocked!

One of my favourite scenes in one of my favourite movies, Casablanca, sees Captain Renault closing down Rick's Cafe at the Gestapo's behest, using the premise that, as he explains to Rick, "I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

Describing it can't do it justice, roll the clip:

I immediately thought of Captain Renault when I read that Danny Buchanan was surmising that Kern Spencer, in his report on the light bulb issue, may have been less than forthcoming with the truth.

Gee Danny, ya think?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Dirty Laundry

The fact that among the charges facing former State Minister Kern Spencer arising from the light bulb scandal are three counts of breaching the Money Laundering Act is both satisfying and worrying.

It's satisfying because the Money Laundering Act, and it's successor, the Proceeds of Crime Act, too liberally allow abuse of state power. Offences under those laws are basically the equivalent of 'Unlawful Possession' offences for rich people. So it is good to see one of the first victims of the legislation being a politician who helped to pass the bills.

It's worrying because it's use, especially if it results in a successful prosecution of Spencer, brings us closer to the inevitable - when its use
as a tool of oppression, or political advantage, becomes commonplace.