Saturday, August 25, 2007
Gordon Brown's high UK tax ? That's for the little people to pay.
That's not to say the low-tax deal is completely free, though. It helps keep things friendly if you can step up to the rostrum and apply the tongue to the posterior of a national icon - and cold blooded killer.
Letchworth : Police said the shooting was an isolated incident.
Carlisle murder : "Cumbria police would like to reassure people that this is an isolated incident and a full investigation is underway".
Swindon : The police are treating the attempted abduction of a young girl in the Oakhurst area as an isolated incident.
Newcastle stabbing : Det Insp Jim Hetherington offered reassurance to people living in the area. He said: “I would like to reassure people that this appears to be an isolated incident.
Cardiff : Police are investigating an "horrific" sexual assault on a woman walking her dog near school fields. The 25-year-old woman was attacked on Tuesday, 31 July, near St Bernadette Primary School in Pentwyn, Cardiff. South Wales Police said it was "an isolated incident" and they were appealing for witnesses.
Maidenhead murder : Windsor and Maidenhead local police commander Superintendent Mike Ismay reassured residents of the town that it was an isolated incident.
Wycombe shooting : Ch Insp Stuart Craik, of Thames Valley Police, said: "This is an isolated incident which is uncommon to the Wycombe area.
Winchester double murder : "I would like to reassure members of the community that this is an isolated incident".
Or take a look at the 39 pages of isolated incidents at BBC News.
His funeral last September saw scores of shops and businesses on the estate close for the day amid fears that they would be attacked if they failed to show sufficient "respect". Even at St Teresa's, the infants' school next door to the church where the funeral was held, children were prevented from playing outside, according to the local newspaper.
A police helicopter hovered overhead while officers in bullet-proof vests watched, from a distance, as the funeral procession wound its way through the streets of the 1930s-built council estate. Lining the streets were fellow gang members, all wearing ski caps and black T-shirts bearing the slogan "Smigger - Nogzy Soldier". The only shop to remain open posted security guards on the door.
We can all see who controls the streets of Norris Green then - and who doesn't. Some interesting background on the state of our prisons too.
The court heard how Smith had died after visiting a fellow gang member who was being held on drug charges at Altcourse prison, which was opened in the area 10 years ago and now holds large numbers of youths from Croxteth, Norris Green, and other parts of Liverpool and the north-west.
Another inmate, Ryan Lloyd, a member of the Croxteth Crew, spotted Smith in the visiting area and an argument immediately broke out. Lloyd ran back to his cell and grabbed a contraband mobile phone. The jury was told that he was overheard shouting: "Quick, quick, give us the phone, I'll get the boys up here to pop 'em."
By the time Smith emerged from the prison, gang members had arrived from Croxteth and were crouching in bushes next to the car park. One witness said that among the group he saw a 15-year-old boy armed with a shotgun. Smith was shot moments later.
The court was told that a number of Altcourse inmates helped the gang by smashing up Lloyd's mobile telephone and swallowing the Sim card.
Words fail me - almost.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Another everyday story of Brown's Britain. But what's this ?
Acting assistant chief constable of Lancashire Police, Jerry Graham added that care must be taken though not to "demonise" all young people and that there were people of all ages determined to cause trouble.
Why exactly must we take care ? And what's it got to do with him ?
"There is a significant proportion of young people who do not engage in this kind of behaviour and are victims themselves," he said.
Yor point being ? He talks about not demonising the young and the best he can say for them is that a "significant proportion" don't kick girls to death ? Very comforting, that.
"Here in Lancashire, we think it is important not to negatively stereotype all of our young people when this kind of incident occurs."
Your point being ?
Here in the West Country, we think it is important to point out that acting assistant chief constable Jerry Graham is making himself sound like a politically correct wazzock. He'll go far.
"OK, calm down, Dad. What's the problem ?"
"I've seen it already and it upset me. But what really upsets me is that I know nothing will be done about it. Everyone will say how awful it is, and something must be done, and in six months we'll be watching a different set of relatives. I've seen so many of these interviews in the last thirty years, and the crimes get just that little bit worse. It makes me feel angry - and helpless."
Gordon Brown is quoted as saying : "The people responsible will be tracked down, arrested and punished."
I think it's quite likely that the perpetrator will be tracked down, arrested - then given several years of one to one education in a secure unit (complete with PS3, snazzy furniture, computer et al) at vast public expense, before being released, a 'reformed character' after six or seven years. If he's young enough he'll get anonymity too. There'll be a public outcry, and he'll still be released - the usual suspects coming to his defence.
Eleven years ago the murder of Philip Lawrence was the 'something must be done' du jour. Looks like his killer may not only get his freedom, but anonymity too. Words fail me.
All together now :
"Let's go round again
Baby we'll turn back the hands of time
Let's go round again
One more time"
UPDATE - the Croxteth-based murderers of Norris Green gang member Liam Smith (see this post) have been convicted. That poor boy was shot on the anniversary of the killing. It starts to look like an extremely sick 'revenge' attack.
UPDATE2 - "Police said the arrested boy was held on Broadway in nearby Norris Green." This time last year Merseyside police and the local council were worrying about 'the grieving process' for Liam Smith. Looks like that's going just fine.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
She gave the impression the whole place was pretty law-abiding with few gang problems. Not the impression I get.
I await with trepidation the inevitable 'Don't demonise the kids' Guardian piece, as it's wheeled out yet again.
The natural horror felt at (insert appalling crime here) should not blind us to the fact that (crime is actually falling/it is all Thatcher's fault/such crimes have always been with us).
If we surrender to (the tabloid agenda/the Daily Mail hysteria/knee-jerk populism/the politics of the soundbite) and take the easy option of (jailing more of our young people/bringing back the birch/bringing back hanging/walling off the cities then bombing them/demonising our young people) we run the very real risk of (actually achieving something/alienating a generation/an invasion of killer bees).
There is only one answer. An enormous increase in the funding of (Sure Start schemes/outreach workers/emotional intelligence mentors/youth projects/anti-racist 5-a-day smoking cessation co-ordinators).
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
And a vessel homeward bound in sight,
And a raging western gale that blew
Good luck to the Rhossili smuggling crew;
For always up on the farthest height
A pile was laid for the beacon light,
The false red light which seemed to say,
‘Twas safe to harbour in Rhossili bay,
Where the treacherous waters roll and flow
And tell no tale of the rocks below.
The wind is high and the tide is in,
And a merchant ship is a prize to win,
And a cargo washed on our shingly shore
Will bring us riches a six months more;
So who will go to the farthest height
To kindle the false red beacon light?
And a laugh went up from that motley group
Of women and men – a lawless troop
With clamorous tongues and gleaming eyes,
And greedy hands for the coming prize.
But one of them mutely stood and heard,
And never a thrill in her breast was stirred,
She had nothing to hope and nothing to win.
From the smugglers lawless life of sin;
They had picked her out of the sea one night
When a vessel was wrecked by the false red light
And for months and years they kept her there
To do their bidding and take no share;
So they bade her now with one acclaim;
“Go up and kindle the lying flame.”
She went at the word of that lawless band;
She plucked from the hearth a burning brand.
She left the cavern and crossed the creek,
And challenged the night wind rough and bleak.
She scaled the rocks and she climbed the hill,
To kindle the flame at her masters will,
To lure a ship to its certain doom
And a score of lives to a certain tomb!
She felt no pity, no shame, nor dread
Nor trembled to think of the life she led
And the ships went by and the ships came in.
And what did she know, poor child, of the sin?
She was one of the Rhossili smuggling crew,
And the thing they ordered she needs must do
A surging sea and a starless night,
But she carried the brand to the farthest height,
A headland of turf where the pile was laid;
When all of a sudden her hand was stayed
By a voice - a whisper – she knew not what,
That said in her heart, “Nay; do it not.”
Oh, can we tell you the doubt arose
The thing she would do was sin?
If an angel stood at her side, who knows
To whisper the thought within?
It was little she knew of love and truth
And nothing of Christian creeds;
And what had she ever heard of forsooth
To hinder from evil deeds?
The law was against them, she had been taught
And the law could make one swing,
But cunning people need not be caught
And that was the only thing
But once in her life, it chanced she strolled
To a chapel, and paused to hear,
And lingered a while, entranced, controlled,
In wonder and doubt and fear;
For the preacher discoursed of right and wrong
And the deeds which are base or true,
Till she shuddered to think she dare belong
To the Rhossili smuggling crew
And here on this wild and windy night,
With the brand to kindle the false red light;
She paused and trembled, for now she knew
‘Twas a deed of sin she had come to do
Oh, pity her there on the high hillside,
So little to help her, so little to guide,
So feeble a light to make things clear,
So little to have and so much to fear;
For if she returned to the Rhossili men,
And the ship rode safe on the sea, what then?
Her life was nought to that smuggling crew
If the thing they ordered she failed to do
“I dare not kindle the false red light!”
She cried aloud to the starless night;
“But what is this fear that bids me stand,
That makes me shudder and hold my hand
From a deed of death I have dared before?
Nay, where is the evil in one time more?
The vessel will never take heed, maybe,
It will stand on its course to the open sea,
And then if it should, is it matter of mine?
I only am here to deliver a sign.
It is not for me that they launch the boats
And steal in the dark when the wreckage floats;
It is not for me that they drag the net
For deeper treasures there may be yet;
It is not for me that the corpses lie
On the shingle and sand when the rocks are dry.
The gold and silver, the kegs of wine,
The bales of goods, they are theirs not mine!
If to kindle the false red light be a sin,
God knows I have nothing to keep or win.”
“No matter of mine? But how will it be
When the shattered vessel has sunk in the sea,
And over the water and up the creek
There cometh a desolate, drowning shriek?
No matter of mine? But will it be use
To sooth myself with a false excuse,
When the gaze of the dead men meet my own
And I dread lest the gaping lips should moan.
As I touch the lips and the clammy hair
Of the corpses stretched on the shore down there?
And, oh! The horror to hear in dreams
The widow’s wails and the mother’s screams!”
“The night is dark and I cannot see,
Has the vessel passed to the open sea?
Oh, sailors watching! You curse the night,
You cry aloud for a ray of light –
‘A ray of light and our ship would live’
Nay, better none than the light I give.
You’re best in the dark if only you knew:
And, sailors, I’ve given my life for you!
Tomorrow at dark I shall find my grave
Unwept, in the Rhossili smugglers cave.
For they warned me once, but they won’t again,
They keep their word, the Rhossili men.
Well, let them do it! ’Tis better so
Than the corpses stretched on the shore, I know:
‘Tis better I die, if so it be
Than twenty sink in the hungry sea.
And something rings in my head this night
Which says, though I cannot remember quite,
How he who to save his life has sought
Shall reckon his trouble in vain;
But he who has counted his life for nought
Shall find it for ever again.
“A strange new saying! I know not how
It cometh so clear to my memory now.
And I cannot tell what the meaning be,
Yet feel in my heart it was meant for me.
A message that saith to my soul ‘be strong,
The false red light is a deadly wrong’
And the vessel shall weather the storm as it may
But it shall not sink in Rhossili bay.
She gave one sweep of her arm on high,
And the brand flashed out in the midnight sky
Like a falling star or a fleeting spark,
Then dropped as a dead thing in the dark
The sun went up over Rhossili bay
And the wind blew soft
In the sails aloft
Of a ship that was riding safe and free!
The sun went down over Rhossili bay –
And a dying shriek
Was heard in the creek
As a life was thrown to the hungry sea.
Photograph of the Helvetia by Geoffrey Kitt.
This poem, a family favourite, was printed in the South Wales Evening Post some time in the 1950s, and my uncle, who loved the wild end of Gower, copied it by hand, cyclostyled the sheets and had them professionally bound. No idea of its provenance, but it's got Victorian morality tale stamped all over it. It came back to me when I climbed Worms Head last week.
I keep hearing that rap lyrics do not influence bad behaviour, but simply reflect something that's there already. I also hear that behaviour isn't really getting worse, because some Greek guy complained about the young a few thousand years back, so that proves it.
If writing reflects society, might there not be a real difference between the world of "Come Into The Garden Maud" and Nate Dogg's "I need a bitch", or between Oliver Twist, where "with all the cruelties and injustices visited upon the young orphan, all the horrors of the workhouse and Victorian poverty, neither the author, nor any authority figure in the book, suggests that stealing is anything other than a great evil which should be punished severely" and a world where a privileged scion of the upper classes argues that those who run stores are greater criminals than those who steal from them ?
The present league tables inevitably puts schools in leafy suburbs at the top and struggling inner-city ones at the bottom. The challenge is to persuade a cynical media, as well as parents and the general public, that CVA is the real measure of school effectiveness.
CVA was invented to try and pull off precisely the trick Mr Ion is attempting.
"OK, the results are dire, but given the raw material they've done a fantastic job"
In practice I believe that private schools also come top in CVA measurement, but let it pass. Anyway, I was moved by Mr Ion's argument to post the following :
Mike Ion is quite right.
Let's take two schools - say St Cuthberts CoE Secondary in the small Somerset market town of Marston Bigot, and the Learco Chindamo Community College in Maida Vale.
St Cuthberts has a catchment area of mostly well-off middle class Bristol commuters, with a few farmers and agricultural workers, a largish contingent of young Poles who are rapidly replacing the native agricultural workers, and a small number of benefit-dependent natives concentrated on a single 'social housing' estate.
The children reflect this mix (although there are fewer young Poles - they're still in nursery). 71% of year 11s get 5 A-Cs including Maths and English.
At Learco Chindamo Community College, over 950 languages are spoken - remarkable in a school of 800 children. There are large numbers of children from Somalia, Angola, Kurdistan and Afghanistan. There is a fully manned police station in the school. Security guards patrol the corridors. There is a significant gang problem - one Somali pupil was knifed to death outside the gates last year. 31% of Year 11s get 5 A-Cs including Maths and English.
Yet considering that many of the children arrriving in Year 7 have significant language disabilities, learning and conduct disorders, and low levels of educational attainment, this 31% represents a significant achievement by dedicated staff. In CVA terms, the school adds twice as much value between years 7 and 11 as does St Cuthberts.
Well, given the choice, any parent would be crazy not to choose Learco Chindamo Community College over St Cuthberts.
Wouldn't they ?
Mqobile Mavuso, a carer at the home, said that in September, 2006, she saw Nzimande punch an 80-year-old man and slap three elderly women, one of whom was 93. Another carer, Sandra Joseph, said that she witnessed Hill dragging a blind woman of 90 from her chair and “frog-marching” her to the toilet.
We've been here before. As I wrote last year in relation to the treatment of Lucy Neal :
I posted ages ago on the discrepancy between our rulers atttitudes to police and NHS recruitment. It's a Bad Thing for an ethnic minority population to be policed by people of a different race or culture, but a Good Thing, to be celebrated, for the natives to be nursed and doctored by people of a different race or culture.
The elderly population of this country are predominantly natives. I'm not sure why it's any less important to have people of your own culture nurse you when you're frail or dying than it is to have people of your own culture arrest you when you're young and fit.
I know its unlikely that the care homes are NHS-run, but I think the principle still applies. Minorities will be over-represented as carers, as they are as nurses. Six months ago I noted the revelations from the Craegmoor Nursing Home in Islington :
A care home boss whose staff goaded disabled patients into attacking each other was warned she faces jail yesterday. Diane Butler, 47, was in charge of carers who hurled racist and cruel taunts at defenceless residents with physical and mental difficulties.
A year-long reign of terror included one disabled woman being urged to kick and beat a Down’s Syndrome sufferer. Margaret Burdfield, 49, was also called a ‘white bitch’ and ‘ugly bitch’ at Craegmoor Residential Care Home, North London.
The three abusive staff were shopped to police by carer Basil Hanson who secretly filmed their taunts on a mobile phone.
To know whether such attacks are occurring disproportionately you'd have to know the distribution of staff/patient ethnicities in English care homes, as well as the number of such inter-racial assaults compared to intra-racial ones. I somehow doubt that such research will get Home Office funding. But I argued in my previous posts that white self-loathing may be playing a part in fuelling non-white racism.
It's an article of faith on the political Left that saying bad things about asylum-seekers or immigrants will lead to racist attacks and murders. Yet the corollary to this theorem, that saying bad things about the natives will lead to attacks on them, is never put forward, despite the fact that saying bad things about the natives is more common, perfectly socially acceptable and actually state-sponsored.
The killer who knifed headmaster Philip Lawrence to death is expected to win his appeal to stay in Britain because deporting him would breach his human rights, according to a Home Office official. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal will rule this week that Italian-born Learco Chindamo cannot be deported as this would deprive him of his right to family life, the official said.
Chindamo, now 26, stabbed Mr Lawrence in the heart outside the gates of St George's School in Maida Vale, west London, in 1995 when he was just 15. Mr Lawrence, 48, the school's headmaster, had been trying to defend a 13-year-old boy who was being attacked.
I think we can file this one under "Home Office Strategy Overturned By The Courts".
Last year the then home secretary, John Reid, pledged that foreign prisoners convicted of serious offences would be deported automatically, after his predecessor Charles Clarke was found to have presided over a system in which more than 1,000 foreigners were freed when they were meant to be considered for deportation.
However, this has proved difficult to implement. Besides a prisoner's human rights, which have been enshrined in British law since 2000, there is also European Union law to consider.
UPDATE - Ian Dale laments the predictable decision, but a blogger previously unknown to me, one Wrinkled Weasel, posts this in the comments. One for the sidebar I think, when I get it fixed.
Mr Lawrence intervened to "save" a 13 year old (William Njoh), who has since specialised in petty crime, leading to robbery, leading to a firearms offence, for which he was jailed this week. Lawrence was stabbed to death in the original attack.
His widow has succumbed to the dilemma of the liberal middle classes in that she cannot figure out who the bad guys are any more and is reported to have "blown a kiss" to William Njoh as he went down for four and a half years.
As for Chindamo, her moral compass spins wildy as ever:
"Forgiveness is such a complex issue or maybe such a simple one and I don't think I really understand it yet, and I'm not sure what it is that I'm meant to do.
"This is really difficult but I think I've probably always forgiven Chindamo but it's the dealing with it - that's so difficult."
No dear, you don't have to forgive the scumbag and the problem is not yours to deal with. He took away a life that was precious to you, a life you will never have.
He deserves to hang, but we don't do that anymore, but at the very least he should spend the rest of his life either behind bars. Whether here or in Italy is irrelevant.
What makes me angry is that we are having a debate about this. As far as I am concerned, Chindamo gave up his rights to everything but food and water when he joined a violent gang, carried a ten inch knife and stabbed somebody who worked for crap money doing something useful.
While Mrs Lawrence, as a Christian, is enjoined by her faith to attempt forgiveness, I can't say the moral compass of Telegraph crime reporter John Steele is in terribly good order.
Njoh was 13, in 1995, when Mr Lawrence was stabbed outside St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale, west London, trying to protect Njoh, one of his pupils, from a teenage gang.
The incident left Njoh traumatised. He had to give evidence in the murder trial and, after threats were made against him, he went into hiding. His education was disrupted and he drifted into crime, committing several offences, including robbery.
"He drifted into crime". How to describe a dying civilisation in four words.
UPDATE 2 - I Am An Englishman, a blogger who I think can be reasonably described as far right and with whom I'm sure I'd disagree on many topics, has a lot of factual detail on Chindamo's gang.
UPDATE3 - guess who's behind the decision to keep Chindamo here - Mr Margaret Hodge !
The panel which granted Learco Chindamo the right to live freely in the UK is headed by Sir Henry Hodge - a human rights campaigner who is married to Culture Minister Margaret Hodge. Sir Henry's Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has ruled that deporting Chindamo would breach his right to a family life. Sir Henry is the former chairman of the National Council for Civil Liberties - now known as Liberty. He bears public responsibility for the tribunal's decisions, which are taken either by an individual immigration judge or - in controversial cases such as this - a three-person panel. The Chindamo panel was headed by senior immigration judge David Allen, a barrister and product of grammar school and Oxford University. He began working part-time as an immigration adjudicator in 1989 and moved into the field full-time when appointed as a senior immigration judge in 2000. He was backed by Jonathan Lewis, who has worked as a solicitor for 30 years. Mr Lewis is also the author of an official guide to immigration law. Chindamo's panel also contained a lay member, Adrian Smith, who has worked in the field since 1993. The judicial communications service yesterday refused to provide any more information about him.
A flagship Government law and order policy is facing crisis after a judge warned that thousands of potentially dangerous offenders might be freed from prison because of "truly disastrous" planning. When ministers introduced a new open-ended sentence for serious criminals they failed to set up a proper structure for determining a release date.
On Monday, Mr Justice Collins ordered that an offender jailed for a serious assault should be freed because he had not been given a chance to put his case to the Parole Board. The ruling follows a similar decision by the High Court earlier this month to order the release of two other prisoners serving IPPs - indeterminate sentences for public protection.
All the offenders will remain in jail pending an appeal by the Ministry of Justice but if the Government loses thousands of IPP inmates could be freed immediately.
You won't be terribly suprised to learn that Andrew Collins was educated at Eton.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I think I'll start with Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girl". Sean looks much too young to have served time back in 99, as he's only 17 now. I hope he's making it all up. But apparently Mom and Sis have both done time. Tsk tsk.
The music has a wonderfully elderly feel - I was reminded of "Stand By Me". Turns out the backing and bassline is pretty much an exact clone of Ben E King's 1961 classic.
(via my children)
The parents of a Teesside Sikh girl say they will convert her to Catholicism in order to get her into the best school in the area. Maya Kaur, four, has attended a nursery at St Paul's RC School at Wolviston, near Billingham, for two years. But her parents have been told there is no place for her at the school when she starts primary education next month.
Now her father, Bal Singh, says he is prepared to change her religion, if it helps his daughter stay at St Paul's.
I don't think you can just swap little Maya Kaur (all Sikh women are Kaur - princess, just as all Sikh men are Singh - lion) like that.
A diocesan spokesman said it welcomed adults who wanted to become followers of Christ's teachings, but that children were "another matter". He said only parents who are themselves Catholic Christians could make such a commitment for their child.
In 1990, on the eve of the tenth anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence, when the country's outlook was still quite rosy, I drove through Harare's leafy northern suburbs to interview Ian Smith, the leader of the white minority rebels who declared unilateral independence in the 1960s rather than accept black majority rule.
After a few minutes listening to a self-justifying diatribe about the evils of black government by "communist terrorists" I switched off my tape recorder and politely made my excuses, shaking my white liberal head in amazement at his antedeluvian views.
Today I find it extremely painful to read the daily news from Zimbabwe and realise that perhaps "good old Smithy" had a point. Mugabe has managed in those 17 years since my interview to make the case for something utterly inconceivable - that Ian Smith was right all along in saying that black rule would lead to chaos.
John Morrison on the Zimbabwe disasters and the amazing fact that Mugabe is still an African hero. Ex-Zambian president Kaunda thinks it's all our fault.
"Leaders of the surrounding African nations today greeted Robert Mugabe with cheers, applause and laughter as he arrived at a regional summit"
According to Casualty sources, senior BBC drama executives had supported starting the new series with a two-part special in which a young Muslim runs into a bus station and blows himself up.
But the plotline was blocked by guideline staff, who oversee the corporation's editorial and ethical standards. They were said to have been worried that the episode would perpetuate the stereotype of young British Muslims.
You do have to wonder what mental interiors these people have got and whether they're in fact bigger racists/"islamophobes" than the evil Righties. What's in the brain of a person who believes that the stereotypical young British Muslim is a suicide bomber ?
The "Blair generation" will be the best educated in history, the school standards minister, David Miliband, promised yesterday.
UPDATE - the proof from www.inthenews.co.uk
BAA: Protest has not effected operations
British airport operator BAA has insisted that a climate change protest at Heathrow airport has had "no effect" on operations.
Environmental campaigners have been demonstrating outside BAA's headquarters at Heathrow in protest at plans to build a third runway at Britain's largest airport.
In any case, the trend towards declining fertility rates in Europe is unlikely to be reversed in the long run. Pro-natal policies have little impact on European people’s choices or behaviour. In fact, as Heinsohn suggests, such policies will probably benefit immigrant couples who wish to have a large family ...
State-funded academic Frank Furedi in Spiked. His wife Ann is chief exec of BPAS, the state-funded abortion service which makes such a hefty contribution to the annual 200,000-odd UK abortion cull, and which has such extremely dodgy practices.
The chat around the Furedi breakfast bar must be interesting.
(Mr Furedi's state-funded colleague Ellie 'cut the umbilical cord, then kill them' Lee seems a scary woman. I bet she gets on well with her Pro-Choice Forum colleague Dr Stuart 'post-natal termination' Derbyshire.)
Sam Tarran has picked up the story that allegations of Adams' involvement in murder have been removed from Wikipedia by someone using a Vatican computer.
I tried hard to suppress this thought, to ring-fence the global situation, grant it exceptional status and keep it in a separate part of my mind. I had too much vested in my image of myself as a 'liberal'. I had bought into the idea, for instance, that all social ills stemmed from inequality and racism. I knew that crime was solely a function of poverty. That to be British was cause for shame, never pride. And to be white was to bear an unshakable burden of guilt. I held the view, or at least was unprepared to challenge it, that it was wrong to single out any culture for censure, except, of course, Western culture, which should be admonished at every opportunity. I was confident, too, that Israel was the source of most of the troubles in the Middle East. These were non-negotiables for any right-thinking decent person. I couldn't question these received wisdoms without questioning my own identity. And I had grown too comfortable with seeing myself as one of the good guys, the well-meaning people, to want to do anything that upset that image. I viewed myself as understanding, and to maintain that self-perception it was imperative that I didn't try to understand myself.
Guardianista Andrew Anthony follows the path of righteousness which many a good leftie has trod before him - another sinner on the road to redemption. Part 2 and part 3 also.
Predictably, it's controversial.
(the post title is from Joni Mitchell's song Court and Spark.
"All the guilty people," he said
"They've all seen the stain
On their daily bread
On their Christian names
I cleared myself
I sacrificed my blues ...")
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Well that was nice - our house was within a shortish walk of this beach - though the tribe preferred the (biggish) waves at Caswell for bodyboarding. They spotted a wetsuited Ospreys and Wales star James Hook there on Thursday, two days before his fine game against Argentina.
The house had a wonderful library - lots on India and Africa - and I wished I could have stayed longer, only getting through Wilfred Thesiger's The Life Of My Choice and Charles Allen's Tales From The Dark Continent. Quite a few characters - like Angus Gillan and Hugh Boustead - feature in both.
More when the brain's back in gear.