24 March 2010

"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me..."

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.
Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans
Show minutes, times, and hours.
~ William Shakespeare, Richard II.

That is the pretentious way of saying that I'm now paying for time I've wasted with the impending vengeance of a deadline that ought to be observed. Hence, anticipate a quietish week of blogging from yours truly.

There have been interesting things going on in Holyrood's Justice Commitee, however, which I'll just essay in brief for now. Yesterday, knife campaigner John Muir and Chief Constable David Strang, both of whom I've mentioned before, gave evidence as part of the Committee's Stage 2 work on the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill. Predictably enough, the primary issue discussed was the respective Labour and Tory schemes to impose mandatory(ish- but discretionary, the mind boggles) prison sentences on those convicted of carrying offensive weapons. Little time was spent on the distinct merits or dis-merits of the proposals as distinct from one another - 6 months minimums, or 24 month minimums. Instead, the discourse largely broke down along the lines of those who supported any mandatory(ish) legislative provision, and those who didn't. The very real monetary implications of the proposals were also left, largely unexplored. That said, John Muir's evidence had a sociological interest quite separable from his concrete submissions on knife crime, to which I'll return later in the week when I've a minute or two to spare, to write up my argument. As a taster, it has to do with Muir's presence as a sign of contradiction contrasting with the more usual characteristics of Holyrood's policy engagement through its Committees, and how class and professional capital is implicated in the sections of the Scottish population with which the institution chooses to entertain discussion.

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