Monday, May 22, 2006

Hutton Report auction: the mind boggles

Via The Vented Spleen, I find this insensitive piece of crap from The Mail On Sunday (Not online and edited—The Spleen has the full report).
"Cherie Blair was last night accused of 'bad taste' and 'insensitivity'after helping the Labour Party to cash in on the suicide of Government scientist Dr David Kelly. Mrs Blair signed a copy of the Hutton Report into the weapons inspector's death, which was then auctioned off to raise money for the party. The document, which was also signed by Alastair Campbell, fetched £400 at an after dinner auction.

The auctioneer was Rhondda MP Chris Bryant who explained to the audience this was not the first time a Hutton Report had been sold for party funds.

To excite interest in the sale he pointed out that even unsigned copies cost £70 from HMSO. He boasted that at the previous event the buyer was able to make a profit by reselling the document signed by Alastair Campbell on Ebay.

The Spleen doesn't know what to say: I do.

Yes, this is an insensitive load of old crap, but what do you expect from that dreadful turd Campbell and the evil, bitch-whore, boot-faced cunt Cherie Blair? I'm just surprised that they didn't auction bits of Kelly's clothing with it, or maybe a few of his desk ornaments, as well.

The real point is: this report is not the Labour Party's to auction. The report was paid for out of our cash: it belongs to the taxpayer. Yes, the report costs £70 from the HMSO; what I want to know is: has the Labour Party has paid £70 to the taxpayer for every report that it has auctioned?

If it has not, it is stealing money from the taxpayers of this country; it is theft. It is also illegal to sell items that you do not own. So, has that money been paid to the HMSO? If not, why not? And if it has not, will those auctioning these reports be arrested and prosecuted for selling stolen goods?

These bunch of fuckers make me absolutely sick: not only have they plumbed the depths of depravity, but they have started digging into the slime of the seabed of corruption under it. Fuck them, fuck them all, the arse-fucking cunt-dribbles.

UPDATE: Woof! disagrees with my assessment (and indulges in a hatchet job on this blog in general). He points out that the Hutton Report can be downloaded for free and thus my argument is meaningless. so? You can download it here for nowt. If anyone were stupid enough to pay cash for it, I see no reason why they shouldn't auction it.

Fair enough, I hadn't checked to see whether the report was available online (for free). However, in the original piece that I quoted, the MP in question claimed that "even unsigned copies cost £70 from HMSO". Now, one assumes that this is a printed copy and—bizarre though Woof! might find this concept—printing (and of course, the design and layout) costs money. Even if a copy is photocopied rather than professionally lithoprinted (and, from experience, it is likely to be the latter), this costs money; this money is supplied by the taxpayer (the government has no money but what it steals from us).
Now you've lost me entirely. The rationale seems to be that if it cost nothing then it's theft. So if a copy had been distributed to those who gave evidence and were referred to in the report, as is normally the case, then they have stolen the report? Eh?

What Woof! seems to have forgotten—along with the fact that printing and design work costs money—is that the Labour Party is not the government: the Labour Party is a private organisation. If they have simply "liberated" a few copies of the report from the HMSO without paying for them, then they have stolen a piece of property from those who paid for it to be produced, i.e. us, and used it to fund-raise for a private organisation, i.e. the Labour Party.

Woof! is correct in implying, of course, that my argument makes no sense if the Labour Party printed off the copies on their own printers from the online resource: however, this is not stated. Furthermore, there will also have been a cost—borne by the taxpayer—for putting the report online, and thus the Labour Party have benefitted from this investment even if they did pay for the physical printing themselves.

There is also the issue of copyright, which is owned by Parliament (again, not the Labour Party). If I burn an album onto CDs and sell those CDs for a profit, I am committing a crime; I have no right to sell them on because I do not own the copyright (even if I bought, legitimately, the original album from which I burned those CDs). The copyright addendum to the report runs as follows:
The Hutton Report is subject to Parliamentary copyright protection. It may be reproduced in whole or in part free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material not being used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context. Where the material is being republished or copied to others, the source of the material must be identified and the copyright status must be acknowledged.

I have emailed them to ask if I am allowed to print off copies and sell them for profit, and eagerly await their reply.

Meanwhile, Woof! is on a roll, bless his little cottons...
The Devil's Kitchen really is a dumb blog and I'd only recommend a visit if you either (a) need a boost of moral lifting "I really can do better than that" or (b) are being held captive in Iraq and only have access to the one web page, and you've exhausted the possibilities of self-harming with the shard of glass left by your captors, and even then I'd think twice if I were you.

Fair enough, but there do seem to be an awful lot people in the situation which you describe: the human race must be in dire straits indeed...

UPDATE 2: I also notice that Woof! is not impressed with Rachel's hatchet job on Clarke and blog in general.
Sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion, but these are opinions concealed within a Trojan horse of other values and views. If it was a pre-conceived method to push an agenda it would be clever, as it is it is merely opportunistic. And crass opportunism at that.

One might even call it lazy and deceitful.

One wonders what it takes to impress this attack dog of the blogosphere...

UPDATE 3: Thanks to my defenders over in Woof!'s comments, including Peter:
But it's a lot more interesting and entertaining than your pieces of drivel.

And, of course, the Pedant General.
That you can download it for free is largely irrelevant: one would hardly be likely to auction off a chunk of A4.

If you want a bound version with the nice graphics on the cover, then you have to pay HMSO £70. DK's comment is entirely valid. Has the Labour party paid HMSO for the copies auctioned? If not, it is indeed theft.

By your logic, one need not pay Waterstone's for a copy of more or less any of the great works of literature that are out of copyright and in the public domain.

The entire text of Mill's "On Liberty" is here for example.

The free availability will necessarily reduce the price of any remaining printed versions, but not to zero. So it with HMSO.

Quite so. However, I am still waiting to hear back from the Parliamentary Copyright office...


Ranting Guttersnipe said...

Good comments DK, I just didn't know where to start

Bag said...

I don't actually agree with you that it is illegal. I'm a bit torn due to my lack of care for copyright in general and anything in government has been paid for by us, and even these labour scum, already.
However, I do think it is highly immoral, shows no taste and just goes to show what they won't do for a few final payments on their headquarters before it is repossessed.

Next thing you know Cherie will be on the corner in Soho looking for some cash. Blind and deaf only need apply.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Sorry, Bag, I have just amended that part (as usual, I hadn't thought to check the link to the Copyright Terms). I am waiting to hear back from the Parliamentary Copyright Team over what the limitations are.


Devil's Kitchen said...

I'm a bit torn due to my lack of care for copyright in general and anything in government has been paid for by us, and even these labour scum, already.

P.S. The point is that it has not been paid for by the private organisation called the Labour Party; I want to know if they are profiting off the back of a report that was commissioned and paid for by the government, i.e. us.


Anonymous said...

One wonders what it takes to impress this attack dog of the blogosphere...

Not sure it's worth losing sleep over. Pretty dire, frankly.

Unknown said...

I've written to the PM about this demanding and apology. I recommend that everyone does the same.

Bloggers built this story up and I think we should bring about some closure.

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