Friday, June 13, 2008

Croydon II

Remember the good old days (last year I think it was) when gangs of African and Jamaican heritage like DSN and SMN were the ruffest kids in Croydon and points north.

Things seem to have got more diverse since then :

Gangs of violent men from Sri Lanka are "constantly tooled up" and "ready to go", according to police.There have been a number of violent clashes involving groups of Tamil men in Croydon and other parts of south London in recent years. They culminated in the murder of 28-year-old Prabaskaran Kannan in Tooting last year. He was chased by a group of four men from Croydon who stabbed and slashed their terrified victim 31 times outside a fried chicken takeaway shop.

The chief investigator in the case which became known as the "Chicken Cottage murder" said Croydon's Tamil gangs were causing concern among officers. Detective Sergeant Mick Snowdon spoke out about the problems surrounding Tamil gangs after five men were convicted of Mr Kannan's murder at the Old Bailey. The court was told Mr Kannan was heard shouting "It wasn't me, it wasn't me" shortly before he was brutally set upon and killed. On Monday this week homeless Vabeesan Sivarajah, 22, Aziz Miah, 20, of Sumner Road, Croydon, Asif Kumbay, 20, of Grasmere Road, Purley, and Kirush Nathankumar, 18, of Purley Way, Croydon, were all convicted of murder by an Old Bailey jury. They all denied the charges. The four were also convicted of causing grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm to two gang members who were with Mr Kannan that night. Another defendant, Mayuran Srivinayagam of Greyhound Terrace, Streatham, was cleared of murder and manslaughter but found guilty of assault. Earlier in the trial a sixth gang member, Mahitharn Ratnasingham, of Lesley Grove, Croydon, was cleared of murder and manslaughter. He admitted assault. The men are due to be sentenced on July 7.

After the men were convicted Det Sgt Snowdon told the Croydon Guardian: "They the gangs are very violent. They are constantly tooled up and ready to go. It is almost like the level of violence is ad hoc. Whatever happens for them happens, and it depends on what weapons they have around." A businessman who runs a shop in Croydon said Sri Lankan Tamil gangs controlled most of the crime and had the town centre on "lockdown." Police have always in the past denied there was a problem with the gangs in Croydon, but have now admitted there was a specialist officer dealing with Tamil gang activity in the borough.

The comments are fascinating. It sounds as if a lot of Tamil gang activity is devoted to funding the LTTE, the Ceylonese terrorist group who are the pioneers and chief exponents of suicide bombing. We don't just get some decent (nay, excellent) tea and some interesting food - we get the quarrels, hatreds and crimes of the subcontinent too.

Irish Republic 1, United States of Europe 0

Reminds me of 27th March, 1941 (pdf file). As Churchill put it :

Here at this moment I have great news for you and the whole country. Early this morning the Yugoslav nation found its soul. A revolution has taken place in Belgrade, and the Ministers who but yesterday signed away the honour and freedom of the country are reported to be under arrest. This patriotic movement arises from the wrath of a valiant and warlike race at the betrayal of their country by the weakest of their rulers and the foul intriguers of the Axis Powers.

Now that's being a little unfair to the Irish Government - although I see absolutely nothing to suggest that they'd have acted any differently to the other governments were it not for the existence of the Irish Constitution.

The Supreme Court has ruled that any EU treaty that substantially alters the character of the Union must be approved by a constitutional amendment.


Any part of the constitution may be amended but only by referendum.

The EU constitution was turned down by the French and the Dutch - so it was renamed a treaty and pushed through their legislatures. Blair promised a referendum on the treaty, saw what had happened across the Channel and broke his word - a decision upheld by his successor.

"we must be far clearer in speaking up for the common ground upon which we stand - the shared British values of liberty, civic duty and fairness to all"

Where's the liberty ? Just about to be banged up without charge for six weeks, that's where. Where's Gordon Brown's civic duty? Where's the fairness ?

While I'm terribly pleased, proud of the Irish and ashamed for my own Government's cowardly refusal to consult the British people, I think we should remember what followed the Yugoslav revolution. Still, let us take what comfort we may. There's a drop of Paddy left in the kitchen cupboard. Sláinte!

"And we drank a health to old Ireland, and Paddy's green shamrock shore"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A wee post ...

At Biased BBC.

Apologies for the light blogging. Quite apart from the long hours and a weekend spent laying concrete, Laban's been spending his time on the computer investigating his family tree - the most efficient way to waste time on a computer since Microsoft put Solitaire on Windows 3.0.

Four or five years back, when the 1901 Census was released, I'd paid to download the relevant pages showing my Welsh grandparents as small children (my father being a foreigner, I haven't attempted his side). When the Welsh aunts were up a week or two back, we looked at them and spent a few hours going through family history and legends, trying to remember the maiden names of various grandmothers and aunts - and I found myself using what spare time I had consulting Carmarthenshire marriage records and searching census indexes.

Unaided I got my mother's father's side back to around 1790 - then a reply to a posting to a website took it back to the 1740s. Beyond that it's time to start writing to local historians and visiting churches and the County Record Office. Doing my maternal grandmothers line now - only back to 1850 or thereabouts so plenty of work left. And a nice chap with a subscription to a genealogy site has mailed me my grandfathers WWI medal cards.

This evening I determined to post when I got home. If blogging is left too late the mental energy is lacking. And if you're too tired to blog, then why not spend another hour trying to determine if the James Roberts on the 1881 census in Lampeter is the same as David James Roberts who appears as a child in Loughor in 1861 ? The ages and birthplaces match - or did David James die, and James was somewhere else in 1861 ?

I tell you, the hours just fly by.

Laban recommends :

- loads of links once you've found a particular area to search in. Depending on the area, you may find links to searchable census indexes from 1841 to 1901. Mostly free.

FreeBMD - Free, searchable indexes to UK births, marriages and deaths. A great site.

Familysearch - the Mormons site. For religious reasons, they need to know the names of everyone who's ever lived if they are to be saved on the Day of Judgement. Hence they have an awful lot of data. Free 1881 census search and family tree software, too - although I'm using GeneWeb.

Ancestry - the commercial big daddy. For £80 a year, access to a lot - including all UK census info - the full info, not indexes. But useful free stuff, too.

Moron Shall Speak Unto Moron

The BBC gets more educational by the day :

"The scheme follows the psychological principle of rewarding good behaviour" announced the newsreader on Radio Four's 6 pm news last night. She was explaining to the poor ignorant masses the sound science behind the new scheme to pay smackheads not to take drugs.

Drug users are to be offered vouchers for things such as gym membership and to pay utility bills to encourage them to comply with treatment programmes.

The National Treatment Agency in England is piloting the incentive scheme at 15 sites starting this week.

It will be the first time incentives have been used in such a way.
The first time, eh ? That's not what Mark Easton was reporting last year (when the incentives - wait for it - were vouchers or drugs), but no matter. Nor does it matter that the anonymous BBC editor seems to be rehashing the NTA press release.

The point is that the BBC's message just doesn't seem to be getting through. Let's take the reactions of a typical household - the Tall family of Weatherbury in Dorset, gathered round the tea table.

"The scheme follows the psychological principle of rewarding good behaviour"

All : "No it doesn't ! It rewards STOPPING bad behaviour !"

Middle : "Where's the reward for OUR good behaviour ?"

Youngest : "Dad ! Why don't you do heroin for a while, then stop ?"

Alas, despite the BBC's best efforts to share the insights granted to our betters, the Great British Public remain mired in ignorance.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Light Blogging ...

... alas. When there's so much to blog about. I'll just mention in passing that anyone looking to use the latest idiocy by the assorted bleeding hearts who make up Britain's four Children's Commissioners against Nu Lab should think again. For once I agree with Tony McNumpty about something when he describes the ideas of the English one as 'nonsense'.

The same applies to the last UN report on British children, used foolishly by some Tories as a stick to beat the Government with.

It serves the Government right, though. They appoint anti-prison pointy-heads like Anne Owers to inspect prisons then wonder why her reports are a litany of complaints. They do the same with the idiotic (or sinister) concept of the 'Children's Commissioner' then wonder why they get slapped around.

We're failing the kids alright. We could improve things by trying to create more two-parent families for starters - and stop subsidising bastardy. There are so many things. But we're not failing by banging too many bad boys up. We almost certainly don't lock enough up.