Saturday, May 28, 2005

Tomorrow's 'Independent' Today


Lemba is just six years old, and lives in the poverty-stricken Bunia region of the war-torn Congo.

She has the hideous deformity of a cleft palate.

Because of this, she is shunned by her neighbours as bewitched. She will never marry. Uniquely among her thirteen brothers and sisters, she has not been raped by the UN peacekeeping troops stationed in the area. Even notoriously unfussy aid workers have not offered her money or food to sleep with them.

In prosperous Britain, Lemba's story would have had a happier ending. A scan would have picked up the cleft palate. Then Lemba would have been ethically terminated. And the government would have kept the reason for termination secret, in case any prejudiced interest group or God-botherer complained.

Twenty years ago, there was a scanner in the local hospital. There were more than 400 nurses and doctors with termination skills in the Congo. But the East German factory that produced the scanners is now a Volkswagen plant, and no spares are available. The scanner is rusting and unused. There are now only three practising abortionists in the whole country. The others have taken their marketable skills abroad, to the West. More than 150 Congolese nurses now staff UK termination clinics.

So poor Lemba is condemned to live on, sustained only by the love of her family and teachers at the local mission school. Her story could - and should - have been very different.

Of the 180,000 unwanted British foetuses terminated last year, nearly 70,000 were terminated by doctors and nurses from overseas. But behind this cheerful statistic lies the hidden suffering of millions like Lemba.

And it's all our fault.

Once Upon A Time ...

Back in the 1960s, there was a State grammar school called Bromsgrove County High School. It took around one third of the children of the area.

It was run on traditional lines by E.J.S. "Ernie" Kyte, a tall, patrician disciplinarian (and ex-Bomber Command Squadron Leader - a fact of which we children were totally unaware) who wore a gown and mortarboard in Assembly. All the teachers wore academic gowns. So did the prefects. It was an offence for a boy to be seen in the street without his school cap on - until the dizzy heights of the Sixth, when a different tie, college-style scarf and lack of cap proclaimed maturity. Blazers, an overcoat (school mac) for winter. Straw boaters in summer for girls.

All this flummery was, as we all know, meaningless. Why should a uniform make the teaching any better ? Isn't it just a strange coincidence that you can pretty much exactly correlate a school's results inversely with the number of boys wearing their shirts outside their trousers ?

The education was good. After two years pupils were split into Science and Arts forms. Latin was taught to every pupil for the first two years. Latin and Greek were mainstream subjects for Arts students, the big three of Physics, Chemistry and Biology for Science. Most of the Sixth would head for University, some to teacher training, two or three to Oxbridge.

The school had a swimming pool and a huge acreage of playing field - ten or more pitches.

Discipline problems were rare - nearly always related to individual teachers. Even nice kids can sense weakness and children are merciless. (So are other teachers. I can still remember my maths master, the late lamented 'Phil' Davis, rolling his eyes as the hysterical shouting of another teacher at her class came through the wall. She retired soon after on health grounds.) The ultimate sanction of the cane still existed but was rarely applied. The thought of the letter home and the long, dreaded wait outside the Head's study were deterrent enough.

The school went comprehensive in 1970, while I was still there, but my cohort had come up under the old regime and weren't affected. It changed name to North Bromsgrove High School.

Even thirty-plus years back you'd get a few rebels - the kids whose shirts were deliberately not tucked in, tie cut off short or left off - kids who either made an effort to subvert the uniform or who just didn't give a flying one.

If you watch the kids coming out now, the percentage wearing the uniform correctly is about the same as the number of rebels thirty years ago - a few per cent.

More than half of the playing fields were sold off for executive-detached style homes as the native Brummies moved south. The swimming pool was derelict last time I looked.

The school was put into special measures as failing last year and the governors sacked. The headmaster, would you believe it, has been given a job at the local education authority - to share worst practice among other schools ?

By what I'm sure is another strange coincidence, the local public school now takes twice as many pupils as it did back then.

I write all this because my old school, like hundreds of others in special measures, didn't become the main headline on Radio Four news last night.

This school did. I wonder why ? At least, following my mail, they've removed most of the mails claiming incorrectly that Unity Academy is controlled by Peter Vardy.

Of course the reason the BBC, like the rest of the left, loves this story is that the Academies are outside the control of the education establishment. Can't have that, can we. Any number of LEA-controlled comprehensives can fail and the BBC/Guardian won't give a monkeys. But let's make this one headline news, shall we ?

I have little time for the public school educated Charles Clarke, who as Education Secretary worked hard to deny working-class kids the sort of education he got.

But anyone interested in the Academy debate should thank the anonymous adviser who wrote this for him.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Equality Under The Law ...

In 1976 a chap called Robert Relf (you can find his story via Google) was imprisoned under race relations legislation for offering his house for sale 'to an English family only'. I remember this well because the National Front demonstrated in his support outside Stafford Jail, and I counter-demonstrated against them.

I wrote to the Commission For Racial Equality a week ago about this. No word yet other than a formal acknowledgement.

Sign outside illegal traveller encampment at Gotherington, Glos

The estate agents handling the sale are Engall Castle and Millichap.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Richard Littlejohn Leaves The Sun ....

... for the Daily Mail. Amd a nation mourns.

Who can possibly replace this anti-establishment rebel at the Sun ?

There can surely be only one candidate. How many other journalists make the mighty Littlejohn look like the voice of moderation ?

His underground cult is growing apace. Surely it's time for nationwide exposure.

Step forward, Barry Beelzebub.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Give Prisoners The Internet"

You've got to admire the nerve of the pro-criminal lobby.

Prisoners should have internet access to help with education, resettlement and recreation, a report argues.
The report Internet Inside, published by the Forum on Prisoner Education charity, said this was essential to prepare inmates for life after release.

It also calls for them to have access to e-mail.

The government is planning to try giving prisoners the internet but only in an open prison, which the charity says is unduly cautious.

Forum director Steve Taylor said: "There really is something wrong with our prisons when countries such as Hungary, Greece and Russia provide internet access to prisoners but we do not.

The charity is funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Trust, a leading sponsor of anti-prison intiatives in the UK. I don't imagine many of its trustees live on sink estates.

It's not the first time I've come across Steve Taylor. Around 2000 he was a frequent commenter on the Tony Martin forums, berating the punitive, draconian prison system. I presume he's the Steve Taylor who in 2001 got 11,000 votes in Loughborough as a Liberal Democrat candidate.

His website has been drastically pruned. But thanks to the magic of the Internet Archive you can still read his views on the Bulger killers (he'd be happy to let his daughter marry one - a scenario which seems unlikely), an account of his own imprisonment, his relationship with his father and a whole lot more. His site speaks (or spoke) for itself. I don't think he's a bad person, although he does seem to think the Daily Mail is a bigger problem than 10 million crimes a year. Just another navvy laying down the good intentions on the road to hell.

When Steve stopped posting to the TM Forum I posted this valediction, which I've quoted bits from before. Here's the whole thing.

So. Farewell then
Steve Taylor.
Howard League Council member
Home Office Adviser
Victim both of burglars
And the racist, sexist, homophobic criminal justice system.

So Mr Steve Taylor says farewell - and an eerie calm settles over the TM forum. However, his visits have not been in vain. For Mr Taylor illustrates perfectly what pro-victim and anti-criminal campaigners are up against - so much so that pretty much every facet of the pro-criminal mindset which dominates our ruling elite can be detected in his utterances. Let us take a short tour around them ....

1. The 'right-on rebel'.

Perhaps the salient feature and characteristic hypocrisy of most pro-criminal campaigners is their possession (in their own minds) of the moral high ground, and their view of themselves as gallant strivers against the 'racist, sexist and homophobic' monolith of the British criminal justice system (CJS), while in fact being total establishment conformists. Despite the fact that "In the last twelve months I have participated in countless Home Office and statutory reviews, which often lead to new policy" he can still see himself as the outsider, the rebel - as long, of course as he stays well outside the evil CJS, preferring to reduce its effectiveness rather than actually getting his hands dirty. Although he is but one of tens of thousands of intelligent, literate (although if you're going to describe yourself as a member of the 'intelligentsia' you shouldn't spell it with a 'c' - sorry, couldn't resist that) people belonging to hundreds of well-funded pro-criminal organisations, he can see nothing strange in the incredible imbalance (which historians will surely mark) between the respective powers of the pro-criminal and pro-victim lobbies. The total media dominance (particularly in the BBC - where Guardian Man reigns supreme) of the pro-criminal view (with the exception of the Daily Mail, hence the undisguised, visceral hatred in pro-criminal culture of that paper and its readers) and the almost non-existent media presence of the pro-victim view, do not in the slightest affect his view of himself as fighting for the powerless against the powerful. So the victims, who urge greater punishment for the thieves and thugs who make their lives a daily torment, are somehow the powerful, and the criminals and their middle class allies, whose views are sought by a goverment which ignores victims, are somehow the powerless in his topsy-turvy moral world.

2. The abuse of language.

This is a general, though often unconscious, characteristic of the pro-criminal lobby - and following their cue, of many criminals. An example is the Sunday Times correspondent who wrote of the TM case "In an unbalanced and unfair society, the dispossessed will inevitably attempt to appropriate goods from the better-off". So, the criminal is one of the 'dispossessed', is he (i.e. - they once had something, but someone's taken it away) - who then dispossessed Fred Barras ? And the verb 'appropriate' - so much less judgemental than 'steal'. In Mr Taylor's Guardian article about his imprisonment, he tells that paper's readers he was sent to prison 'through a mixture of naivety and stupidity' (naivety and stupidity qualifying him well for a Home Office adviser under Jack Straw). That's the standard attitude - 'I made a mistake'. One longs, when reading a Guardian or Independent interview with a convicted criminal, for the interviewer to ask 'Oh yes - what was that mistake ? Was it not wearing a mask or gloves ?'. But give Mr Taylor his due - when posting to the TM forum he said 'what I did WAS wrong'. Maybe he's tailoring his remarks to his audience, but I like to think he means it. There IS some hope !

3. "Those who disagree with me are not merely mistaken, but morally at fault".

Those who urge that criminals should be punished are subject to personal abuse, often of a sexual nature ('you must be sick people who get a kick out of ....' is the standard approach here). For a mild (such abuse is often obscene ) example, when I questioned Mr Taylor's use of the phrase 'viciously punitive punishments' to describe the current criminal justice regime, and remarked that I hadn't noticed any, his response was 'You want to be notified so you can come and watch?' Hence the hatred of the Daily Mail and its readers - Mr Taylor and his ilk do not merely believe that the Mail is wrong about crime, but that it expresses evil ideas and encourages others to hold such ideas. And obviously people who hold evil ideas are themselves evil. Mr Taylor has said that 'The Howard League exists to encourage frank debate on penal policy, and put forward policy and ideas for the creation of criminal justice practice that will be more successful at reducing crime by offenders both first-time and new'. But in reality the League attempts to restrict debate and to make certain ideas unsayable and unthinkable - a policy in which demonising opponents plays its part. And there HAS been a criminal justice practice which both here and in the USA has reduced crime - sending more offenders to prison. But somehow I can't see the Howard League putting forward such a policy.

4. "I feel your pain - but my pain is worth more than yours."

The concept of 'hate crime' as a political weapon - where some categories of victim are more valuable than others - has in recent years crossed the Atlantic. Mr Taylor says that 'In the last twelve months I have participated in countless Home Office and statutory reviews, which often lead to new policy'. I would put good money that much of this work lies in the area of 'hate crime', as in recent months we have seen many pronouncements from the Home Office on these subjects, as well as well-publicised Metropolitan police offences against the 'problem'. The idea behind hate crime is a simple one - some victims are worth more than others, and therefore offences against such victims should be considered more serious (and, in an interesting contradiction with the usual pro-criminal line, should attract greater punishment). These more valuable victims currently consist of ethnic minorities, victims of 'domestic violence' and homosexuals. At this point I can almost feel Mr Taylor's blood pressure rising and the cry of 'See ? He doesn't care about domestic violence, racial attacks, attacks on homosexuals !' I think all of these offences are wrong and should be punished. But if I go out with Robin Cook on a Friday night for a tikka masala, and the yob in the queue calls me a 'four-eyed b******' then breaks my nose, before calling Mr Cook a 'Scots b******' and breaking his nose - I think the offences should be punished equally. In law the yob has committed a more serious attack on Mr Cook than he has on me - his offence is 'racially aggravated'. This category of offences is at present the only 'hate crime' recognised in law - but I'm sure Mr Taylor is pushing for more to be added. Previously British law had never been based on the motives of an assailant. Motivation might affect a sentence, but other than to ask the question 'did the accused know what he was doing ?' it had not considered that the assailant's THOUGHTS could affect the charge. With this legislation Orwellian 'thought-crime' is enshrined in law. Of course the above example merely shows that a violent thug will use whatever difference between himself and his victim first comes to hand to justify his assault, as violent thugs have done since time began (being 'different' has been dangerous for your health in many societies). The largest category of organised, planned serious UK crime in which hatred for the victims is a prime factor is probably that carried out by animal rights 'campaigners' against hunters and research workers. I call someone smashing a hammer into the face of a pensioner (as happened in Surrey a year or two back) a real hate crime, but it is unlikely that Mr Taylor will be pushing for animal rights activists to join the 'racists, sexists and homophobes' who people his mental Rogues Gallery. Similarly the 'hate crime' lobby made great play of the sad story of Matthew Shepherd, a young US homosexual attracted to rough men casually met in bars, two of whom turned out a bit too rough, beat him half to death and left him hanging on a fence to die slowly. An appalling crime - but many considered it worse because Shepherd was a homosexual killed by men who didn't like homosexuals. Yet when two US homosexuals recently kidnapped, raped and killed a young boy those who had condemned the Shepherd killing remained silent. Obviously that wasn't a 'hate crime'. The journalist Andrew Sullivan has commented on this silence at (link no longer functions).

5. Stay in Denial - the way to keep your idealism.

The pro-criminal lobby have reacted to the enormous growth in crime over the last 50 years with three distinct and successive strategies, the Three Stages of Denial. First, they denied that crime had increased at all - society was merely in the grip of periodic 'moral panic' on the part of the old or ill-informed, aided and abetted by those sinister forces in society (the Daily Mail again ?) who wanted more power for the police. The old had always criticised the morality of the young throughout history - therefore concerns about crime were not justified and were a cultural phenomenon - the result of the old failing to accept the new-found freedoms of the young. This argument was common in the 1970's - Stanley Cohen's book 'Folk Devils and Moral Panics' is a typical and influential example. But as the 1970s rolled on the inexorable increase in crime figures could not be ignored - a new explanation was necessary. So secondly, it was conceded that reported crime had increased, but that this was not due to changes in the actual crime rate, but due to changes in society. 'More people have phones, so it's easier to report'. 'More people have insurance, and so must report offences which they previously wouldn't have reported'. 'People report crimes now which they would have accepted in past times'. 'The police are inflating the figures to justify demanding increased resources'. The riots of the 1980s and 1990s and the flood of reports from the inner-city terraced streets and edge of town estates provided the evidence which finally killed this 'theory'. To quote Norman Dennis, 'by the mid-1990s ... the pernicious consensus was crumbling under the sheer weight of the facts that contradicted it'. It had only taken 25 years, years of unremitting rises in crime, for the fact of increased crime to sink in. But hang on, it couldn't be the criminals' fault. Whose fault was it, then ? Suddenly there was an avalanche of theories designed to explain the rise in crime that had previously been denied. Bad housing, unemployment, the design of estates - all manner of physical, mechanistic explanations for crime. And the greatest of these was poverty. From the Church of England's 'Faith in the City' report in the 1980s to the many reports of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Child Poverty Action Group, the message, put simply, was 'they thieve because they're poor'. And there was great political utility in this view during the Thatcher years. The same people on the 'left' who in the 1970s had characterised paid employment as soulless capitalist wage-slavery, the cause of alienation, suddenly decided that paid employment was a basic human right the ABSENCE of which caused alienation, of which crime was one symptom. Again put simply, the answer to the question 'whose fault was it, then ?' was 'THATCHER !'. So we have the third stage of denial - that yes, there is a lot of crime, but a) it's caused by poverty and our unjust society b) nothing can be done about it without relieving poverty/creating social justice. There is only one problem with this view - it's contradicted by all the evidence. The evidence in favour of the view is basically - 'many criminals are poor, therefore poverty causes crime'. Unfortunately our great-grandparents (or grandparents if you're decrepit as I am) lived in conditions of much greater poverty and committed practically no crime whatsoever. Ah, say the pro-criminals, but it's RELATIVE poverty that counts. Again, alas, relative poverty was greater in the 20's and 30's - and it was rapidly decreasing during the 60s and 70s when crime was rising fast. For a comprehensive demolition of the crime/poverty equation Norman Dennis' book 'The Invention of Permanent Poverty' available from is a rattling good read. But for Mr Taylor and his many, many political allies it is is almost impossible to conceive of crime as being the result of rational decisions taken by rational if unpleasant people. It must always be someone else's fault. Personal responsibility isn't a concept they're terribly keen on.

6. Private Violence Good - State Violence Bad.

One point here. A trawl through Mr Taylor's website and the contents of his many newgroup postings lead me to conclude that there is no evidence at all to suggest that this particular pro-criminal characteristic is shared by Mr Taylor. But the concept is so culturally entrenched, that it needs mentioning. Of course Mr Taylor is against state violence - given that he objects to imprisonment it's unlikely that hanging or flogging would make much appeal to him. But Western society glorifies private, criminal violence while deploring the violence of the state. Look at the iconography of 60's criminal London and its reworking by Guy Ritchie and others, the status of film-makers like Stone and Tarantino, the profitable market for books like Lenny McLean's 'The Guv'nor' or Kate Kray's 'Hard B******s', at the beatification of murdered rappers such as Tupac Shakur and the continuing glorification in rap and hip-hop music of values which Beowulf, Tamurlane and Attila would recognise. The sounds of South Central Los Angeles have as much appeal on the estates of County Durham and the Rhondda as in Harlesden or Chelmsley Wood.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"Less Serious Murders"

The average 'life' tariff for murder is around eleven years. Murder victims remain dead indefinitely.

But these derisory sentences are too much for our new DPP, a defence lawyer who was convicted while a student of sending drugs through the post to a friend.

Ken MacDonald wants to introduce an American style system of 'degrees of murder' - without of course American style punishments.

A day or two back we reported on the 20,000 offences committed by people on bail in one Scottish police region.

Now we find that half of Scots prisoners are back inside within two years of release. When you consider how hard you have to try to be sent down these days (unless of course you're a teacher with an unloaded air pistol) the level of reoffending must be massive.

You can take two views of this figure. One is that prison doesn't work, so let them all all out. Or you can argue that with such high levels of reoffending, they shouldn't be let out early. While they're inside, they're not committing crime.

Alternatively, you can come from the Planet Zog.

SPS chief executive Tony Cameron said he was encouraged by the fact that 50% of criminals did not return to custody.

"This is something that SPS is committed to build upon by closer working with partner agencies in the public and voluntary sectors," he said.

I wonder how much we're paying that guy ?

Monday, May 23, 2005

And More Respect ...

Katie Grant in the Scotsman points out that not all yob culture is nurtured in underclass families. Like this family (who actually have a higher net income than my family of six do. It's moral poverty, not physical, that makes an underclass).

Elsewhere Mary Kenny bemoans the fact that people are no longer prepared to reprimand people who misbehave (because we read in the papers about what happens to them), and Rachel Sylvester (where's Tweety-Pie ?) gets the Toynbee end of the stick in the Telegraph.

"If any government initiative is likely to increase respect, it is the Sure Start scheme, which provides free playgroups, fruit and parenting classes to new mothers and fathers."

Nurse ! Nurse !

The unnamed Labour minister she quotes seems to have more idea than Rachel does :

"All that stuff about uniforms and hoodies just made me cringe," one minister told me. "It's superficial, gimmicky and won't do anything to deal with the real problem, that we have a serious underclass."

And if you really want the hippy-dippy solution, try Madeleine in the Guardian.

Hey, man - like - if you get tough with the thugs - then you're just as bad as they are. Why can't we all love each other and get along ?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Even More Respect ...

I read Francis Gilbert's "I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here !" a few months back.

The author is a decent, idealistic liberal type - I remember his dislike of the Kenyan Asian teacher who hated his unruly class because he could do little about their insolence. On one occasion, Gilbert noted disapprovingly, he snapped and struck a child. But Gilbert is a fair writer - he noted without comment that in Kenya he would have had no discipline problems - because he waould have been able to beat any child who stepped out of line.

When even someone like Gilbert disses the Government's ideas on discipline, you know they're in trouble.

Also in the Telegraph, David Selbourne wields the bludgeon with tremendous style, although I'm going to have to look up 'meretricious'. I think the basic argument is "we once had a culture. Now we haven't". I agree.

The Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have all squandered their moral inheritances as their policies have converged. In the take-over of Labour by meretriciousness, its nonconformist traditions, rooted in the world of work, in mutual aid and self-improvement have largely gone.

Conservatism's national and civic philosophy, which rested upon a different but equally powerful sense of the common good, has similarly been sacrificed to the thinnest notions of private interest. The mantra of "low taxes and a smaller state" shames the Conservative patrimony, while the nature of Liberal Democrat beliefs escapes identification. That the moral capital of all three parties has been dissipated is not lost on the public, whose contempt for the political process has grown.

On balance, the greatest damage to the body politic has been done under "New" Labour's rule. It has some excuse. The worldwide defeat of the "socialist project" left it without overarching purpose. The search for a replacement cause brought with it shallow opportunism, the honing of public relations skills and a ragbag of nostrums, some of them purloined from its political opponents. Even old Trotskyites restyled themselves - with rimless spectacles and fashionable haircuts - as cabinet ministers and Downing Street advisers in the new amoral dispensation.

Labour's traditional espousal of the virtues of public service, shared by old Conservatism, has given way to market demands. Its commitment to the virtues of self-elevation through education has been undermined by a retreat from fundamental pedagogical disciplines. Its old sense of the need for a social ethic has disappeared in its acceptance of a free-for-all in which each individual is his or her own legislator in matters of conduct. Meanwhile, an uncritical pluralism has devalued the concept of citizenship itself.

The dismantling of much of the public domain, a process started under "Thatcherism", has exacted a heavy toll on the fabric of civil society. Above all, "New" Labour has corrupted and debased most of what it has touched. It is a regime - rather than a government - which has profited and profiteered from office, practised nepotism on an extensive scale, sold peerages, packed the Lords with placemen, and shown a contempt for parliamentary democratic practice.

But the Sunday Times reports on an idea so good it would never be implemented under Labour - or, probably, the Tories. I think we'll have to wait for either a BNP or Sharia administration for this one :

Amitai Etzioni, a German-born American professor who advised Bill Clinton, has argued for humiliating offenders by putting them in a modern form of the medieval stocks.

The professor of sociology at George Washington University advocates making criminals wear signs confessing to their crimes and publishing newspaper advertisements “naming and shaming” drink drivers.

He believes it is more effective and cheaper than putting them in jail where they may become more skilled criminals.

Downing Street sources have cited Etzioni and another academic, Richard Sennett at the London School of Economics, as the inspiration for Labour’s respect agenda.

Sennett, as I noted the other day, doesn't seem to have a clue.

But Mr Etzioni sounds the business. Imagine young Kyle outside Tescos main entrance all Saturday, bearing a sign that said 'I stole money from my gran to buy drugs'.

This One's A Cracker

Via Majority Rights, the wonderful Luminarium, a treasure-trove of ancient English literature.

As a native of Worcestershire, I'm drawn to William Langland's ploughman, who falls asleep on the Malvern Hills and dreams a dream of social justice in the days when those words didn't mean "a heavily subsidised underclass".

In a somer seson, whan softe was the sonne,
I shoop me into shroudes as I a sheep were,
In habite as an heremite unholy of werkes,
Wente wide in this world wondres to here.
Ac on a May morwenynge on Malverne hilles
Me bifel a ferly, of Fairye me thoghte.
I was wery forwandred and wente me to reste
Under a brood bank by a bourne syde;
And as I lay and lenede and loked on the watres,
I slombred into a slepyng, it sweyed so murye.
Thanne gan I meten a merveillous swevene,
That I was in a wildernesse, wiste I nevere where.

In modern translation :

IN a summer season · when soft was the sun,
I clothed myself in a cloak as I shepherd were,
Habit like a hermit's · unholy in works,
And went wide in the world · wonders to hear.
But on a May morning · on Malvern hills,
A marvel befell me · of fairy, methought.
I was weary with wandering · and went me to rest
Under a broad bank · by a brook's side,
And as I lay and leaned over · and looked into the waters
I fell into a sleep · for it sounded so merry.
Then began I to dream · a marvellous dream,
That I was in a wilderness · wist I not where.

Lawyers don't seem to have changed much since the fourteenth century :

Yet hoved ther an hundred in howves of selk --
Sergeants, it semed, that serveden at the Barre,
Pleteden for penyes and pounded the lawe,
And noght for love of Oure Lord unlose hire lippes ones.
Thow myghtest bettre meete myst on Malverne Hilles
Than get a "mom' of hire mouth til moneie be shewed!

There hovered an hundred · in caps of silk,
Serjeants they seemed · who practised at Bar,
Pleading the law · for pennies and pounds,
And never for love of our Lord unloosing their lips.
You might better measure the mist on the Malvern hills,
Than get a sound out of their mouth · unless money were showed.

Shuggy On Galloway

Despite intellectually holding him in contempt, I felt a very strange primordial sense of national pride. Say what you like - and I have said it - the man's got balls, and they were made in Scotland.

Squire Trelawney on Captain Flint. Written by a Scotsman :

"Heard of him!" cried the squire. "Heard of him, you say! He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed. Blackbeard was a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so prodigiously afraid of him that, I tell you, sir, I was sometimes proud he was an Englishman."

Don't Be Nasty To Criminals - You'll Only Make Them Worse

Youth Justice Board Chairman Rod Morgan, all over the Indie and Observer.

Mr Morgan said the Youth Justice Board found there was no evidence that antisocial behaviour among young people was growing. He cautioned against increasingly draconian punishments that would lead to an increase in children in custody and create new "career criminals".

For the last thirty years Mr Morgan has been working as an academic, magistrate, and in the probation service. By strange chance his career also covers the period over which recorded crime has risen by around eight times.

He thinks Youth Offending Teams are 'successful'. He can write managerese with the best of them.

We should not, of course, judge by appearances :

Rod Morgan


The Master