Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Problem With Being A Democrat...

is that the need to be tolerant facilitates the dissemination of ever more wildly intolerant views.
Thus, when that hard faced old pike Francis Maude states that the new bosses are even more radical than Thatcher, our conditioned response is to say 'Really, Francis, is that so?', rather than adopting what I believe is actually the more appropriate and democratic posture of elevating our middle digits to Francis Maude, and to all his works, and to all his historic directorships, while at the same time eructating in his direction and also blowing him the kind of Bronx cheer that would grace an Alpine yodelling contest. This kind of behaviour might possibly annoy him, to which one can only say 'Good. To be challenged is good for the soul'.
Thus it is that when John Swinney seeks a fig leaf for slashing the provision of public services, the conditioned response is to say ''Really, John, is that so?' - or given the soi-disant, ersatz 'Scottish Government's appalling self importance, they would probably prefer 'Really, Finance Secretary, is that so?' For what my opinion's worth, the correct response would be to point out to him my opinion that he is a nonentity with no significant record and a very limited political future, of whom the scholars of the future will write 'John who? Was he the bald one who worked for the fat one?'
I sometimes get confused by the difference between what is civil and what is civic. British Radicals of all hues depend on our civility to be able to get what they want, and those of the right are the most radical of all - they know that if an uncivic and intemperate policy is expressed in a temperate and reasonable manner, it must then be discussed temperately and reasonably. To my mind this utter contempt for the people is just rank bad manners.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Random Thoughts Of No Particular Consequence

One of the very many factors which precipitated the French Revolution was the return to France of soldiers who had participated in the American War of Independence, their minds animated by notions of liberty and justice. Can someone please tell me the actual difference between that situation and the return of Osama bin Laden and the mujahideen to the Middle East after the Soviets left Afghanistan? While the nature of the beliefs held by each party were and are radically different, some parallels between the two seem striking. Both were abroad in pursuit of high purposes of state, the French in America to execute the Bourbon desire to frustrate and tie up the British, the Arabs in Afghanistan to execute the Western desire to frustrate and tie up the Soviets. Both groups were subjected to intense propaganda, and it should have come as no surprise that many in both groups should have succumbed to its message. It has taken a great deal of time and the loss of oceans of blood to ensure that the French returners' vision came to pass. We can only hope that their message is ultimately more attractive than that of the jihadists.
The moral is perhaps that we should be careful about enlisting groups of young men to fight foreign wars - and exceptionally careful about the nature of the propaganda we subject them to.
And given that human beings are what they read as much as what they eat, you should always be careful just what you put into your head. If you fill your head with ideological rubbish designed to appeal to foreigners, don't be surprised if you start spouting ideological rubbish designed to appeal to foreigners.
I've recently finished reading Norman Cohn's excellent, if thoroughly depressing, book 'Warrant for Genocide', his history of the 'Protocols of The Elders of Zion' and the myth of the international Jewish conspiracy (note to readers - please note how this sentence has been constructed and punctuated, and be aware that any comments suggesting that such a conspiracy exists will be moderated with extreme prejudice). The insight that I found most striking might not have been one that Cohn intended, writing in the mid-1960's as he was, but it's one of exceptional relevance today. The capacity of groups to organise in their own interest should never be underestimated. Cohn notes that after the granting of the first Duma in 1905, the Russian far right wasted no time in conducting collective action to exploit the political situation for their own ends. There is a striking parallel between the sense of urgency displayed by the social and aristocratic far right of 1905 using turmoil in Russia to try to maintain an ultraconservative status quo, and the sense of urgency displayed by the economic far right of the 1990's using the collapse of the Soviet Union to establish the era of 'globalisation', whatever that might be. As I wrote some years ago,
"Since the Cold War's end, the West's elites have shown themselves to be as dangerous as the Soviet Communists ever were. We did not realise that we had above us an enemy as potent as the one in front of us. They have certainly inflicted more practical and lasting damage upon us than the Soviets ever managed. They have damaged our economy in pursuit of their own gain. They have damaged our culture for their own entertainment and gratification."
Still holds good.
In my opinion, the world's most dangerous people are the 22 year olds who get trouped out on TV as security experts at Washington think tanks. Observing how they hold themselves and what they say, I am afraid - genuinely afraid - of any of these people ever getting near any position of actual authority. For them, state violence always seems to be the course of first and not last resort. There are too many of them, and they would blow us all to smithereens for littering.
Perhaps that's how they view those who are not with their program, so much human litter to be disposed of, entities that are somehow 'in the way'. One can only imagine just where such arrogance comes from, or indeed how fragile its foundations must be.
Although I'm sure he's a perfectly nice chap in private, I don't much like the look of Philip Hollobone MP - he has the air of a hard-faced Tory pike about him. Yet should he feel aggrieved about being 'written to' by Liberty about his proposal to ban the burqa, he might perhaps gain some consolation from Kelly's Law Of Professional Civil Libertarians - 'your freedoms are not those she chooses to defend, but those she has the privilege to define'. In other words, we're not interested in those liberties you actually have, but those we think you should have.
If Mr. Hollobone should consider replying, he might care to raise the question of the disappearing act performed by Liberty's over-exposed public face when a vulnerable and unpopular prisoner recently had his rights trampled on by a media desperate to increase sales by any means necessary; the sort of situation one thought Liberty exists to combat.
I'm pretty neutral as far as burqas go. While they don't excite me to the same degree of irritation as Mr. William Baikie (whose conviction is presumably founded upon the fact of his victim's race rather than her religion, meaning that a similar prosecution in which the victim was a Bosnian or a British convert to Islam would be unlikely to succeed), by the same token I really can't see how they get round the whole business of having to show your face in banks, how they relate to rules about having to take off crash helmets and so on. My wife is an avid fan of 'Living TV'; and while I can't say I'm much engaged by 'Britain's Next Top Model', 'Canada's Next Top Model' or 'America's Next Top Model', I have to say that as things stand they might be a better bet than 'Saudi Arabia's Next Top Model'.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ian Tomlinson

So that's that then, and the UK's increasingly paramilitary police services have been shown that they will suffer no official sanction for changing their ethos from 'Evenin' All' to 'Make My Day'.
Just another symptom of that most British of British diseases; the love of doing violence to the weak.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

God Help Mexico

Proposals Regarding The Reform Of The Law Society Of Scotland...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Short Thought On National Citizen Service

Anyone wanting to turn my boy into a coolie will get my stick shoved down their throat horizontally.
And anyone wanting to put a gun in his hand, this sort of shite's inevitable next step, will have to put one to my head first. Don't like being direct about these things, but that's the way it is.
Thank you, Prime Minister. You might just have given me that perfect excuse I've been looking for - to emigrate to Donegal.
Doesn't he look like a bloody Dalek in that picture?

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The Letter I Would Have Written To The US Senate

With apologies to loyal American readers, but this got up my nose-
'This is Scotland, not the USA, and the administration of Scottish penal policy is a matter for the Scottish authorities. Given that the CIA's black prisons are still doing a brisk trade, a well-known aphorism relating to stones and glass houses springs to mind. Letting a convicted Arab go rather than detaining an innocent Arab indefinitely might be considered bad form in some quarters, but that's just the way it is. Lectures on the injustice of releasing a prisoner from custody from the panjandrums of the only industralised Western nation still to employ the death penalty, one which could list incarcerating the black man as a national pastime, stretch the definition of irony to breaking point. We are not (yet) a bantustan, so go away and enjoy the historic pastimes of the US Senate - peculation, nepotism, ephebophilia, adultery, alcoholism and, worst of all, golf. If you can't quite get the stench of the pork barrel out of your nostrils while you're about it, so much the better. Oh, and don't even think of using this as an excuse to go for Gary McKinnon. To deploy a well known expression from the language in which you'll all be conducting your business in 20 years time, Vaya con Dios'.

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Diplomacy As Salesmanship

"Speaking in New York on the last day of his trip to the US, the prime minister said he wanted diplomats to use every opportunity to win orders for UK firms.

He announced that he was appointing a civil servant with expertise in business to head the Foreign Office."
There is, of course, no such thing as the private sector; unless you're a poor person. This is fascism, red in tooth and claw.

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'Junior Partner'

Woof, Dave. Clanger.

I think an apology to the House is in order when you get back.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ultimate Nihilism

While I have every sympathy for Tony Nicklinson in his infirmity, I really have to say that as an expression of pure nihilism, it's hard to beat a comment made by his wife -
"He just wants the same rights as everyone else. I mean, you or I can go out and commit suicide. He can't. That right was taken away from him the day he had his stroke."
Mr. Nicklinson would presumably have no wish to end his life were he not in his present situation. He has apparently been diagnosed as not feeling depressed; as if non-depressed people would ever contemplate their suicide. Well, they would, I suppose, if they were raging nihilists.
It's very true that hard cases make bad laws, and it's also true that very hard cases make worse ones. What is noticeable about all of this 'assisted dying' and 'right to die' stuff is that it all seems to revolve around the absolution of persons other than the potential deceased from all possible legal consequences of their actions. Under the current law, Mrs. Nicklinson could be charged with murder if she gives her husband a lethal injection. In Debby Purdy's case, one consequence her husband might have to face under the current law would be deportation. In Margo MacDonald's case, we couldn't possibly have Big Jim Sillars, Hero of Scottish Civic Nationalism and Lion of Govan, having to face the possibility of a night behind bars should he ever be involved in helping his wife end her life.
The diehards who really want to top themselves, with a snifter in one hand and a fag in the other while playing 'My Way' on the iPod, will take the midnight express to Zurich come hell or high water. It's the other ones, who ones who want it here, who worry me. Perhaps I'm just suspicious, but I do sometimes wonder just how much advocates of the right to die actually mean it; for their own motives, not anyone else's.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

One From The South African Playbook?

While Gary Younge is quite correct to point out that the UK's plan for deficit reduction is entirely ideological both in its nature and its scale, in the sense that there is no crisis in the public finances other than one involving rich people who don't like paying taxes, I saw something a couple of days ago that really made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.
A couple of days ago, Chris Mounsey linked to a 'Guardian' report entitled 'Ministers consider scheme to hand out food vouchers to unemployed'. While the putative plan it narrates seems essentially philanthropic, if implemented it would alsmost certainly lead to the reduction of financial benefits - food vouchers instead of Jobseekers Allowance, with the country being turned not into an open prison, but a giant open poorhouse instead.
The reason the report gave me the willies was that that very morning, I had read the following passage on Page 280 of John Pilger's book 'Freedom Next Time', in the context of the rape of South Africa caused by the ANC's inheritance of apartheid's debts and Washington Consensus meddling from outside -
"In...1999, a World Bank consultant to the South African government declared that wages of the poorest workers in the public sector were too high and recommended that they not be paid at all and instead given 'food for work'".
It was a bit too close for comfort. The echoes between the two suggestions are too loud.
According to Naomi Klein, South Africa is 'the most unequal society on Earth'. One can only wonder how many British taxpayer pounds have gone towards making it that way. It was disturbing to read this on Page 327 of 'Freedom Next Time' -
"Through its Department for International Development, a euphemism, Britain has shown the ANC government how to deal with its poor. 'DfID' is required by British law not to spend money other than for the purpose of poverty reduction. It breaks this law constantly, for it is, in reality, a privatising agency. In 2004, the minister, Hilary Benn, admitted giving £6.3 million to the Adam Smith Institute, an extreme right-wing lobby group, for proposals to 'reform' the 'public sector' in South Africa."
That those who preach the gospel of small government should be hanging on the taxpayer teat is not surprising. One would like to see them talk their way out of that one. But it does make you wonder just why DfID is one of only two government departments not facing budget cuts. Perhaps our government really does consider the task of privatising the Third World to be more important than keeping police on the streets.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Slashing Legal Aid

One cannot help but wonder whether that was said with concern or relish. I suspect it was the latter.
There are numerous ways in which spending on Legal Aid could be curtailed without feelling the need to stamp your Hush Puppies on to the faces of the poor, the sick and the weak, but I would think it unlikely that such creativity will be on the agenda. Better to make a poor person feel sore than engage what's left of your brain.
The ongoing crisis of rich people who don't like paying tax being talked into a non-crisis in the public finances is starting to get serious. I look forward to people like Lords Heseltine and Forsyth being told that there isn't enough money in the kitty to pay their pensions.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Zac

Good to see one of our new MP's getting to know what scrutiny feels like; to be asked the tough questions to which straight answers are expected for a change, rather than exercising what they might believe to be their right to ask them.
Given their apparently universal commitment to the environment, one has sometimes wondered just how deeply some members of the Goldsmith family have been steeped in misanthropy, environmentalism's bedfellow. I look forward to Zac Goldsmith MP proving me wrong.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cameron And Facebook

As someone who has no truck with the actions of the late Raoul Moat and who possesses the greatest sympathy for his victims, in one sense I can understand where David Cameron was coming from when he criticised public displays of sympathy for the gunman.
But in another sense I can't. It is his job to provide the nation with leadership, for sure, but by the same token it's not his job to tell people who they should express any sympathy for. Like so many other spree gunmen, Mr. Moat seems to have been a chronic narcissist. His last reported words were a particularly sickening cocktail of sentimentality and self-pity, but what he said and what he did made him no less a member of the human race than you or me.
That being the case, if there are those who wish to express sympathy for him, they should be permitted to do so. While it's a very disturbing phenomenon indicative of perhaps just how fragmented we British have become from each other, it is no more disturbing than protojihadists holding demonstrations at parades intended to welcome home British soldiers from Afghanistan. Indeed, it's precisely the same phenomenon, the identification of a group with a perceived underdog in turn leading to an ersatz sense of group identity, with the only differences being in location and couture. And while Cameron may have felt himself to be within his rights to lodge a complaint with Facebook, an organisation in which I have no interest and which I do not believe to be as powerful or influential as its critics suggest, it is gratifying to see that Facebook have told him where to get off. It's their website, and they'll police it as they best see fit.
Every government must tread a fine line between the promotion of good public policy and telling people what to think. Today, David Cameron crossed it, and showed himself to be as liable to authoritarianism as the leaders of the last government. It is not his function to dictate who some of the people might feel sympathy for. He would better serve the nation by finding out why they do, and tackling that instead. I sincerely hope that his response to Facebook's rebuff is not to suggest its censorship. That really would make him the heir to Blair.

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The War On Comfort Eating

That many British people are obese is considered by some to be a national scandal. Yet when so many poor are fat, isn't it perhaps the case that many of them are that way because they comfort eat, a widely known phenomenon? And that instead of berating and hectoring the poor for being fat, and expecting unemployed single mothers living in damp houses on crap council estates to have the self-discipline of Olympic athletes, wouldn't trying to identify why so many of them might comfort eat, that perhaps many of them lead depressing lives so bereft of hope that the only methods of relief they have from them are intercourse, intoxication and snacking, be a more productive policy?
Or would that involve having to face up to the failure of too many previous policies, and the atrocious harm they've caused?

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Libraries

I agree with Ian Clark's views on libraries; and it is gratifying to see that thus far, no public choice moron has labelled him a 'rent seeker'.
However, having libraries is one thing, while their accessibility is quite another. Earlier this year, my local library was refurbished. It has gone from being a place of clear, straight lines with rows of books piled against the walls to one with lower shelving and funky curved bookcases. The overall impression is that there are fewer books on display than there were before, and using it is now a far less enjoyable experience.
Neither libraries nor schools should be considered 'community hubs' in the same way that a fishtank is not a rabbit hutch; the idea that they are is of the same calibre as much else behind social policy for the past 40 years - we wouldn't need 'community hubs' if we didn't have so many broken homes. A library is a library is a library, preferably a place for learning; and not a vehicle for ensuring that you don't underspend your construction budget.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Roman Polanski

While his supporters might fell like cheering 'For he's a jolly good fellow', the rest of us can quite legitimately cry 'You're still a dirty wee bastard'.

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A Suggestion For George Monbiot's Next Article

Young, a NETA (Never Elected To Anything) Thatcher-era Tory hack appointed to government directly from a quango (the Manpower Services Commission), will no doubt seek to pursue the line that it's all about attacking the guff like making sure the lid of your coffee cup is properly secured. However, when a creature of the second most ferally reactionary government of our time is placed, by the most ferally reactionary government of our time, in charge of an area of policy which impacts directly on piddling matters like ensuring that flesh does not become separated from bone, then I, for one, am afraid that the really serious aspects of workplace Health and Safety, perhaps even the Health and Safety at Work, etc, Act 1974 itself, might be at risk. The people at the top of our current government have never worked machinery for a living and appear to harbour an elemental hatred of thoe type of people who do. Other people exist only to serve them and to do what they want. If helping 'the economy' means facilitating the separation of fingers from hands, so be it.
These are the brightest and best of Thatcher's children.
And once HSAW has gone on the bonfire, you will be able to put on the stopwatch for the predictable assault on disability discrimination. We will hear endless stories about how much the duty to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act costs industry, and how this constitutes an unacceptable drag on growth. It will be feral and backward, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Liberal Democrats were complicit in helping pauperise the disabled by absolving employers of their duties of care to those of their disabled employees only able to work under the aegis of DDA.
We are so incredibly backward nowadays. We now appear to have electoral corruption of the type of which a pocket borough could have been proud, while the unmandated restriction of civil liberties forms a new 'Bloody Code'. This is what inevitably happens when money is allowed to triumph over principle, and the triumph of money over principle has been the only principle held by every British government since 1979. Commercial deregulation proceeds on the absurd assumption that businesses, entities which exist only for legal purposes, should be free to do as theItalicy wish while the private flesh and blood citizen must have no right to protest against it and be hemmed in by law after law after law. This an inversion of normality worthy of Chesterton. I once thought that British neoliberalism was merely hostile to the post war welfare state. Now, we see that it is hostile to the Factories Acts. The value of the franchise has been assaulted and diminished by the granting of citizenship too liberally. The inevitable next step will be its outright removal. Chesterton, God rest his soul, would have been appalled.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

The Abolition Of The Food Standards Agency

"The chicken nugget is capitalism's injunction to the people to 'Eat Shit And Die' - quite literally. It is not a foodstuff. It is a weapon of class war" -
The blogger, 19th August 2009, quoted 11th July 2010.
"The Food Standards Agency is to be abolished by Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, it emerged last night, after the watchdog fought a running battle with industry over the introduction of colour-coded "traffic light" warnings for groceries, TV dinners and snacks.

The move has sparked accusations that the government has "caved in to big business".

As part of the changes Lansley will reassign the FSA's regulatory aspects – including safety and hygiene – to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Its responsibilities for nutrition, diet and public health will be incorporated into the Department of Health.

"The functions of the FSA will be subsumed into the Department of Health and Defra," a source told Reuters.

Andrew Burnham, Labour's health spokesman, said: "Getting rid of the FSA is the latest in a number of worrying steps that show Andrew Lansley caving in to the food industry. It does raise the question whether the health secretary wants to protect the public health or promote food companies" -
'The Guardian', 12th July 2010.
"A detailed examination of the speeches, pamphlets and articles of the (Manchester) School, like a detailed examination of those of the (Anti Corn Law) League, shows that its different spokesmen spoke with different voices in support of somewhat different conclusions. Some supported trade-union organisation; others...bitterly resented it, preferring to live 'under a Dey of Algiers than a Trades Committee'. Some opposed all factory legislation; others temporized or changed ther minds. Some thought that 'adulteration of food was only a form of competition': others wanted inspection and control" -
Asa Briggs, 'Victorian Cities', Page 127. Plus ca change, and all that; or as we might say in Glasgow, 'Same chicken nugget, different day'.

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The Use Of Tasers On Raoul Moat

"There will, no doubt, be the usual round of public breastbeating in 'The Guardian', followed by the usual round of sterile, baboon-like chestbeating both by the police and our politicians" -
The blogger, two days ago.
"The hunt for Raoul Moat utterly dominated the national news for a week. In spite of Moat's death on Saturday morning, it is not done yet. Moat's body had scarcely been removed from the Northumbrian river bank where he took his own life before the questions began. Why had the police hunt taken so long? Why did the Tasers not do their job? How was the danger from Moat not acted upon sooner? The questions are fair" -
'The Guardian', this morning.
The question of whether the Tasers did 'their job' is an interesting one - as is the question of whether these contraptions can, or should, be used in the pouring rain on any suspect, let alone one who's lying on a riverbank and who's been hiding out in a storm drain.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Andrew Lansley

"The chicken nugget is capitalism's injunction to the people to 'Eat Shit And Die' - quite literally. It is not a foodstuff. It is a weapon of class war" -
The blogger, 19th August 2009.
"Jamie Oliver’s highly publicised campaign to get school children eating health food has lost its government backing. Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has said that the celebrity chef’s insistence on serving healthy food in school dining rooms had had the perverse effect of sending school children out to the shops during the lunch break to buy junk food.

The implication that schools are to be allowed to try to get children eating school meals by offering them what they like rather than what is good for them follows the scrapping of a plan to offer free meals to 500,000 children from low income families.

At present, children of parents who are out of work qualify for free meals. The Labour government was planning to extend that right to all primary school children from families living below the poverty line, but that plan has fallen victim to the new government’s budget cuts.
Addressing doctors at the summer conference of the British Medical Association, Mr Lansley said: “If we are constantly lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do, we will actually find that we undermine and are counterproductive in the results that we achieve' -
'The Independent', 30 June 2010.
One must assume that Mr. Lansley is well-intentioned, probably more out of mere good manners than for any more substantial reason. Yet the track of our history is such that just as it usually those who have had nannies who complain of 'the nanny state', it is usually those who have no compunction in bellowng orders to others who complain of the effects of 'lecturing people and trying to tell them what to do'.
The need to eat is strictly non-ideological. To impose your own ideology upon those towards whom you have a duty of care to ensure they eat well, in respect of whom you are 'in loco parentis', is an intellectually disgusting exercise in reaction.

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Barbara Ellen On Raoul Moat

"There will, no doubt, be the usual round of public breastbeating in 'The Guardian', followed by the usual round of sterile, baboon-like chestbeating both by the police and our politicians" -
The blogger, yesterday.
"Whatever else was happening on Friday evening, we have to accept that, for a time, Moat's sickness met our sickness and we were locked together in a deathly embrace, broken only by adverts. A true "monsters' ball" -
Barbara Ellen, in today's 'Observer'.
House!
It was perhaps in bad taste for news organisations to broadcast the sound of Mr. Moat blowing his brains out at 1 o' clock on Saturday morning. However, their presence in force in Rothbury could have been a good thing; as far as the police were concerned, the knowledge that you've got every news camera from John o' Groats to Lands End pointed at you could have acted as a useful brake on whatever desire some might have felt to execute summary justice.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Raoul Moat

Mr. Moat has ended his own life, a sadly inevitable outcome. He has gone to judgement, and one only hopes God shows him the same mercy I hope one day to receive.
There will, no doubt, be the usual round of public breastbeating in 'The Guardian', followed by the usual round of sterile, baboon-like chestbeating both by the police and our politicians. Somebody throw them a banana, for goodness' sake. We will hear the usual stale paeans to the courage of our police, when serving in Britain's police services remains vastly less dangerous than working on a British building site. However, there are a few broader cultural questions not just about this situation but about the way we do things in general that are germane to the past few days' events and that I would like to see answered.
In no particular order, I think the whole 'nightclub bouncer' and 'bodybuilding' scenes need to be examined very closely. If so many lawless people are engaged in this kind of work, we need to ask ourselves whether it is properly regulated.
If one believes what one reads in the newspapers, then the trigger that activated Mr. Moat's spree, or one of them at least, was being told by his ex-girlfriend, while he was imprisoned, that she had taken up with a policeman. In his case, that was not true, but one does wonder whether there are any policemen engaged in relationships with prisoners' wives and girlfriends, and if so, how many. One only asks because of what seems to be the shocking level of criminality, both proven and alleged, amongst members of Britain's police services. In May, PC Craig Flowers was imprisoned for drug dealing. Just last week, a policeman was remanded in custody at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on suspicion of drug dealing and - mehercule! - breaching the Official Secrets Act. Just yesterday, PC's Maurice Allen and Damien Cobain received suspended prison sentences for selling on guns which had been handed in for disposal.
When one sees such stories, one must ask just what the sergeants and the inspectors are doing. There is an awful lot of blah written and spoken about the police being shackled by bureaucracy and form-filling. When one sees what they are capable of when not chained to their desks, we should perhaps be grateful that they have to spend so much time ticking boxes.

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It's Tedious And Depressing...

to see stories like this in the 21st Century - and desperately, desperately sad. There ain't much love in the world sometimes.

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It's Equally Tedious And Depressing...

to see a church abused in this way. Hopefully the victim recovers from her ordeal.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Regulation

In a commentary for the 'Daily Telegraph', Niall Ferguson, the Bilderberging Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and sometime self-described 'fully paid-up member of the neo-imperialist gang' has castigated the morality of the bankers who have brought us all to ruin.
All stirring stuff, until one reads his view that,
"The real lesson of history is that regulation alone is not the key to financial stability. Indeed, over-complicated regulation can be the disease it purports to cure, by encouraging a culture of box-ticking "compliance" rather than individual moral judgment. The question that gets asked in highly regulated markets is not: "Are we doing the right thing?" but "Can we get away with this?"
The polite word for this statement is 'balderdash'. It is vastly preferable for a banker to be held back by a jobsworth bureaucrat than for them to be enabled to wreak havoc by the people who are supposed to be regulating them. This is what happened before, and it cannot be allowed ever to happen again. In the United Kingdom, we often forget that the people are the landlords, and that we set the rent; and with the time for criminal discipline being effected on delinquent bankers having long passed, no measure of discipline, however severe, that is imposed upon them will constitute sufficient punishment for their crimes.
What the British public wants is sore arses in high places, something the bunch of arrogant, aggressive, reactionary wallies who now govern us will not deliver. A generation of people have learned too much of the dangers of light touch regulation to listen to what is, in my opinion, posturing pablum about the need for morality in banking; if we have learned nothing else over the last three years, it's that we need laws and prisons to protect us from the rich criminals as surely as we need them to protect us from the poor ones.

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