Saturday, May 21, 2005

20,000 Offences

In one year.

In one police area.

Committed by people on bail.

Strange ...

When minister Dennis MacShane called for British Muslim leaders to use "clearer, stronger language" that there is no future for any Muslim cause anywhere in the world that supports the use of political violence, he was criticised by Muslims in his constituency, who wrote to Labour's NEC. The complaint was reported on national BBC news.

I can't find this report anywhere on BBC news.

Muslim protesters today called for the bombing of New York in a demonstration outside the US embassy in London.

There were threats of "another 9/11" from militants angry at reports of the desecration of the Koran by US troops in Iraq.

Some among the crowd burned an effigy of Tony Blair on a crucifix and then set fire to a Union flag and a Stars and Stripes.

Led by a man on a megaphone, they chanted, "USA watch your back, Osama is coming back" and "Kill, kill USA, kill, kill George Bush". A small detail of police watched as they shouted: "Bomb, bomb New York" and "George Bush, you will pay, with your blood, with your head."

But this is the really scary bit.

The protest was organised by groups including the Muslim Council for Britain and the Muslim Parliamentary Association of the UK.

Blimey - these are the moderates !!

The Mirabilis Of Today's World

The Williams Inference Center.

Alas only some archive samples are free, so Mirabilis it ain't quite, but look at the samples on crime, demographics, children.

Note their emphasis on anecdote.

Hoodie Hoodie Yum Yum ...

Wasn't this amusing ?

May 13 :

A children's charity has hit back at a controversial ban on hooded tops by urging young people to boycott the shopping centre which imposed it.
Bluewater in Kent announced the ban in an attempt to clamp down on what it sees as intimidating behaviour.

The Children's Society has called it "blatant discrimination based on stereotypes and prejudices".

The charity also called it a "kneejerk reaction"

May 19 :

Bluewater shopping centre enjoyed a sharp rise in visitor numbers on the first weekend since it banned youths wearing hooded tops and baseball caps.
Some 23% more people visited the Kent mall last weekend than during the same weekend in 2004, the centre claims.

Only In Scallyland ...

Four council workers from Merseyside who allegedly used CCTV cameras as a "peeping tom" tool have been charged with voyeurism.

It is claimed the men, who worked for Sefton Council, pointed a street safety camera into a woman's flat.

As we know, banning hoodies is a ridiculous knee-jerk reaction to a perceived rise in anti-social behaviour, driven by a Daily Mail agenda and a longing for a lost golden age of low crime, which never of course existed.

Whereas wearing a fez is an affront to Turkish democracy which no sensitive and civilised traveller should consider.

I'm not sure how many sensitive and civilised people are travelling to Istanbul. A better way to discourage the fez might be to say "remember what happened to those Leeds fans".

Talking of which ....

"A Turkish court has ordered the release of the main suspect in the fatal stabbings of two Leeds United fans in Istanbul five years ago.
The court agreed to release Ali Umit Demir pending his retrial because of recent changes in Turkish law passed as part of Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Demir was due to have left the prison on Monday, his lawyer Ozkan Ozmen said.

His conviction for stabbing Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight in April 2000 was overturned on appeal in 2003."

His conviction was overturned because it could only be proved that the blood of one of the deceased, not two, was on his knife.

Good to see that Turkish justice is fast becoming as effective as our own.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Honeysuckle Blossoms From The Curate's Garden

"Women almost never die from abortion here" - Ann Furedi of the British Promotion of Abortion Service.

Apart from the over two and a half million female infants killed since 1967, that is.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas in the Guardian :

"Over the past couple of years, our area has become the fastest-growing and the fastest-changing community in London. The key driver has been the private housing market - we have the lowest-cost housing in London. Until a couple of years ago, it would have been described as white working class."

"Migrant labour is the axis of our whole domestic agenda"

"The cornerstone of New Labour has been the fundamental assumption that people in communities like Dagenham have nowhere else to go. Yet the white working class is beginning to develop an allegiance with the far right; the Labour party has, in their eyes, deserted them."

And this one's a classic :

"The government is setting up an expert group to advise it on how to "deliver a culture of respect" in all schools."

They haven't got a clue, have they ?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

More Respect ...

Richard Sennett in a garbled Guardian piece which I've read several times without being able to make head nor tail of. Apparently the government "often battered its opponents into verbal submission" over Iraq. Uh ? Were they forced to recant their views like Galileo ?

I was going to write that he'd got the wrong end of the stick, but that implies some kind of theory and plan, however poorly executed. What I read is more the equivalent of pushing the stick about randomly with his nose, accompanied by incoherent sounds and gestures.

"In society the "culture of respect" names a greater difficulty: how can mutual respect be fostered in an age of inequality, an age as class-ridden as that of our grandmothers' grandmothers, without its glue of manners. Politicians might restore their authority by learning better the manners of modesty. If the theme for this new parliament is really serious, however, they would have to embark on a sweeping transformation of the institutions of everyday life."

Que ?

I think if the good professor opens a history book he'll find that there was a fair bit of inequality in Victorian times, actually. And would he care to give an example of the kind of transformations he has in mind ?

I think what he's trying to tell us is : "Respect will only return to society when the Government listens to LSE professors of sociology". Battered as I am, I refuse to submit even verbally to that idea.

Moving on from the man witb the dustpan and brush to the head of the Lord Mayor's Show, we find the great Dalrymple in his element :

One word is conspicuously missing in all the talk of a culture of respect: and that is respectability. No doubt the reason is that the word has bad connotations of mean-mindedness and twitching net curtains at best, and of bigotry and gross cruelty at worst. And there is no denying that horrible things have been said and done in the name of respectability.

On the other hand, the desire to be respectable in the eyes of one’s neighbours is a strong incentive to good behaviour, provided that the social code that constitutes respectability is itself reasonably humane and flexible. Not everyone can be a moral philosopher who decides on his own conduct by the application of first principles to the situation in which he finds himself; and without the notion of respectability, things (by which I mean social conduct) soon fall apart. And this is precisely what has happened in Britain.

And north of the Border, Professor John Haldane hits the nail on the head :

"... there is a failure of confidence in the idea that anything can be said to reclaim the cultural environment for a better way of life.

It is not just that we lack the courage to take a stand, it's that we lack conviction that there is anything to take a stand on behalf of."

How gratifying it would be, to be able to say, as great civilisations have done: "Look around you and see what we have created, how it expresses our common values and achievements and how it can help our children grow to the point where they will add to this, for their sakes and for future generations."

In fact, much of what surrounds us is a brutalising wasteland. It is worth considering, therefore, as we observe a new parliament, whether the measures promised by government are likely to make any serious contribution to the cultural revival of Britain.

Thomas Sowell

On race, culture and rednecks.

I Warn You Not To Grow Old ...

The Left has always understood the importance of culture and language. That's how the right to kill became the 'right to choose'. That's why new words like 'homophobia' and 'Islamophobia' were invented and promoted, and new concepts like 'hate crime' created.

In the Luke Winston Jones case we saw the genesis of a new concept - 'aggressive treatment' - i.e. treatment that hurts but saves your life. But aggression's bad, isn't it ?

Now we've got another new concept - ANH, which sounds like some expensive new drug. It means 'artificial nutrition and hydration' - otherwise known as feeding through a tube, or hydrating through a drip in the arm. The cheerful Mengeles at the General Medical Council, supported by the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, are arguing in the Court of Appeal that feeding someone is 'medical treatment', and that if patients have the right to that, then they'll have the right to specify other medical treatments.

The Times reports :

Philip Sales, representing Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, told the court today that if a right to ANH was established, patients would be able to demand other life-prolonging treatments.

He told the panel of three judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Phillips: "A general right, as identified by the judge [in the High Court], for an individual patient to require life-prolonging medical treatment has very serious implications for the functioning of the NHS.

"It may be interpreted as giving patients the right to demand certain treatments, contrary to the considered judgment of their medical team, that would lead to patients obtaining access to treatment that is not appropriate for them, and to inefficient use of resources within the NHS."

Mr Sales said that under current GMC guidelines to doctors, a competent patient was entitled to decide between the treatment options offered to him by his doctor.

"But the patient cannot require his doctor to offer him any treatment option which, in the doctor’s view, is not clinically appropriate or which cannot be offered for other reasons - having regard to the efficient allocation of resources within the NHS."

Or, to put it bluntly, doctors should have the right to starve patients to death to save money.

What did Neil Kinnock say in 1983 ?

"If this government is returned, I warn you not to grow old, I warn you not to fall ill ..."

(Stealth-edited to date the Kinnock quote and remove typo. Thanks to those who told me.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Salford City Council - Tough On Crime

The theory :

"Achieving a real reduction in crime and disorder is one of the biggest challenges facing Salford. We recognise that crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime have a significant and damaging impact on our city and its various communities. The Salford Crime and Disorder Partnership is committed to working with communities to ensure that we act effectively to reduce incidents of crime and disorder and tackle the causes of crime."

The practice :

"A teacher who was jailed for firing an air pistol during a confrontation with a teenage gang was sacked last night for bringing the special needs school where she worked into disrepute.

Linda Walker was suspended on full pay from her job at New Park high school in Eccles, Salford, following the incident last August."

The panel who sacked Mrs Walker were Almut Bever-Warren, Paul Greenway, and Samantha Betts.

The day of the hearing, also in Salford :

"The father of four left critically ill after confronting yobs who threw a stone at his car had resisted repeated pleas from his family to move because he was proud of living in Salford.

Phil Carroll, 48, who was punched to the ground during an argument with three hooded youths, suffering serious head injuries, has undergone a second emergency operation to relieve pressure on his brain."

Good to see the council getting their priorities right, isn't it ?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


More coverage of Blair's doomed initiative -

at Albion Blogger's :

"It’s interesting that, unwittingly, Blair is admitting that the old deferences and prejudices were part and parcel of the old system of law, order, respect and decency. It’s exactly those deferences and prejudices that created the sense of community and relatively low crime society that Blair now complains we’ve lost."

at Civitas :

"Having so identified what he considered the principal cause of their unruly behaviour, Blair was quick to disclaim any power to improve it. ‘I cannot solve all these problems… I cannot … raise someone children’s for them.’

Well said, Mr Blair: you certainly can’t. Indeed, as I recall, you too seem to have experienced the same difficulty many parents have in raising their children to behave with proper decorum in the case of some of your own off-spring.

But, frankly, if the Prime Minister cannot be expected to raise successfully other people’s children, then neither can the army of public-sector workers whom his Government has so busily recruited these last eight years for the purpose: teachers, social workers, race advisors, mentors, drug counsellors etc, etc.

Neither alone nor together can they make up for one vital ingredient needed to ensure children grow up well-adjusted that is all too-often missing today: the chance to grow up alongside and under the loving care of a father as well as of a mother."

Irshad Manji

Via the Pub Philosopher, news that Leicester University have cancelled a talk by Irshad Manji, Canadian author of 'The Trouble With Islam', feminist and lesbian. I'm not sure what Islam has to say on her sexuality, but I'd imagine as 'people of the book' most Muslims would be against it.

So are most orthodox Catholics and Protestants. And Sikhs. I'm just trying to remember the last time a British university cancelled a lecture by a lesbian for fear of outraged Christians.

The Alliance For Workers Liberty site reports :

"According to Irshad Manji, Leicester University gave two reasons for cancelling.

First, that they feared hostile reactions from some local Muslims so severe that they could not guarantee the security of a lecture by Irshad Manji.

Secondly, the scheduled date of the lecture being soon after the General Election, they feared pressure during the election campaign on local politicians to come out against Manji speaking."

The Philosopher he say : "I don't know what I am more angry about, that Muslim extremists in this country can now censor their critics at will, or that the incident went unreported in the media and so the bigots were effectively unopposed. "

Neets (not in education, employment or training)

Via Peter Cuthbertson, Charles Murray on the uber-chavs.

"“When I was looking at Britain in the 1980s, the offspring of the first big generation of single mothers were small children,” said Murray, speaking from his home in America. “Now they are teenagers and young adults and the problems are exactly those that I was warning they would be — high crime rates and low participation in the labour force.
“These people have never been socialised and they simply don’t know how to behave, from sitting still in classrooms to knowing you don’t hit people if you have a problem. It is very difficult, almost impossible, to take these people now and provide basic conditioning."

In Britain Murray found that since records began during the time of Henry VIII, the number of children born to unmarried mothers remained stable for centuries at between 4% and 5%. After the second world war, the numbers began to rise slowly to about 9% in 1976 before rocketing in the 1980s. When Murray arrived in 1989, he was shocked to find the figure stood at 23% and it has now risen to more than 35%.

At the time, evidence of Murray’s British underclass was only just emerging and he was warning of problems in the future. For his efforts he was given a drubbing by the left who said his work lacked “scientific evidence” and was “misleading”, perhaps “wilfully so”. He found few friends in the Labour party who were keen not to upset their core voters — many of whom were under Murray’s microscope.

A decade on, the mood has changed, though the causes of the Neet phenomenon propounded by Murray remain contentious. An unlikely supporter of Murray’s thesis, the former Labour minister Frank Field now describes Britain’s Neets as a “lost generation” and is calling for firm action to be taken.

“I regard this as the first nonviolent loss of a generation,” he said last week. “Just as happened in the first world war, we have wiped out a generation. Surely we can say that the traditional family unit is the best way to nurture children without making it a campaign to beat up single mums.”

The government, wary of being so outspoken, is nevertheless hurling brains and billions at the problem.

Which is why they'll fail. Because they can't be judgemental about anything but smoking and racism. Governments have been throwing money (ours) at 'problem estates' for thirty years.

This seems relevant here.

"It must be said that both Labour and the Tories have taken this view of crime - that 'they only thieve because they're poor'. In an attempt to correct this, they have thrown billions into urban regeneration, social exclusion units, outreach projects and all the other useless initiatives which keep large numbers of middle-class people (all right - be fair, a lot of builders also do well, rebuilding the vandalised community centres, libraries and youth clubs) employed at the expense of other people's taxes."

Charles Murray

'Underclass' here.'Underclass +10' here.

Our Caring Nation

Can anyone remember all that nagombi after Diana's death about how we were now a gentler, more caring nation ?

Read this.

And As If By Magic ...

"And what next ? Women in burkas ?"

Yazza in yesterday's Indie.

"The old class and gender order needed to be shaken up, but with careless disregard, important restraints and obligations were also swept away".

Yes, you can chuck away that water and keep the baby in the bathtub.

"Self-gratification was made into the central human imperative, the driver of all success, the meaning of life"

Hey, lighten up, babe. Chill. If it feels good, do it. You need to talk to Alison Broom.

Yazza spent the weekend at the delightful home of "BBC TV journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts". In Majorca. As you do. But no moral panic merchant she. At least she acknowledges a problem. Convert to Evangelical Christianity, Yasmin, or at least take Islam seriously. Have you read Sayyid Qutb ? Then join the Mail. Don't fight it.

"We met several expats at the party. One reason they gave for moving away from Britain was the erosion of kindliness and good manners in the old country. People were rough, rude, violent and incapable of social grace. Respect was gone, for people and property, they said ... the basics of civilised behaviour seem to drain away ... travelling on a bus or walking in a park too often feels like being caught in a scene from Mad Max"

Who to blame ?

"The Bluewater shopping centre and others like it, which have killed the human spirit in this country"

Oh dear. I don't like the temples of the consumer god any more than you do, Yazza. But its a symptom, not a cause. You really ought to read Peter Hitchens. I think you'd enjoy it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Doomed Again

Well, if Mr Blair is going to make the tackling of "disrespect and yobbish behaviour" the key theme of this third term, he may as well pack up now. He doesn't stand a hope.

Two reasons. To see one - that an awful lot of liberals in positions key to tackling yob culture either don't think there's a problem, or think more social workers are the answer - you only need to look at the response to the ban on hoodies by the Bluewater Centre. As one, Guardianistas have risen to either denounce or take the mick - mostly the latter.

There are some serious criticisms to be made of the idea - chief of which is that you're dealing with symptoms not causes. True enough. But the Bluewater Mall is a private complex with a problem - that shoppers are put off by the gangs, and that those hoodie-wearers who do commit criminal or anti-social acts can't be identified. They're dealing with the problems they face. If the hoodie gangs go elsewhere and act up, that's not their problem - indeed, if Bluewater becomes safer than the average High street, it might even make them more money. I've noted before how street crime is good for out of town centres.

It hardly bears credence, but the organisation formerly known as the Church of England Children's Society, now in the hands of the most extreme Seventies throwbacks (they belive among other things that no young person should ever be locked up - including murderers like the Bulger killers) have actually called for people to boycott the centre. 'Youngsters are being unfairly blamed' whines the Observer (it's interesting how the archaic 'youngsters', a word from a gentler England, with its residual overtones of scuffed shoes, grazed knees and school caps, is routinely used by liberals to describe streetwise, knife-carrying chav types). And 'demonisation' has been wheeled out all over the place.

The mick-takers are more from the 'what problem ?' school. The News Quiz on Radio 4 had great fun with the idea. John O'Farrell in the Guardian. Any Answers was full of clever-clogs asking - what about monks ? what about burquas ? or Senior Lecturers from the School of Moral Panic reminding us of Clacton in 1964 or that some Greek in 300 BC thought the young were disrespectful, therefore concerns about the young are never justified in any age.

These people - the social workers, the media, charities, liberal Middle England - are the people on whom Blair will rely to implement his schemes. There's an iron law here - if the policies are any good, liberals will complain about them. If they're useless but keep large numbers of outreach workers in gainful employment - they'll love them, call for more, and work assiduously at propagating a myth of 'success'.

Remember that many of these people don't even acknowledge a problem at all. For them the problem is moral panic, an irrational fear of crime and young people, whipped up by tabloids to sell papers or further a "Daily Mail agenda". There never was a golden age. For Blair to rely on such people is 'the acme of gullibility'.

They killed Blair's big idea of his first term - thinking the unthinkable on welfare - and they will kill this one.

In evidence ? How about "your 314 search results for 'crime crackdown'" ? Yet after 8 years of Labour government we still seem to have a problem. And we're starting the same way, with Hazel Blear's great soundbite on uniforms for offenders. Dumb Jon has a great quote on this tactic which I'll dig up later. No - can't find it, but the idea is - come out with outrageous soundbite which gets amplified by the BBC until it's picked up subliminally by Joe Public. Of course it'll never be implemented and will be quietly dropped, a fact picked up by political obsessives (me and thee) but missed by Joe, who's left with the vague notion that 'they're doing something'.

The second reason ? Blair still hasn't really grasped what's happened in Britain over the last thirty-forty years. He, like so many well-meaning people in all major parties, thinks you can turn the cultural bath upside down but that somehow the baby will still be there. Christianity ? Intensive care. Marriage ? Gravely ill. Shared culture ? You what ?

"Mr Blair said the end of deference and preference did not mean society did not have any rules."

Mr Blair can say it as much as he likes. Of course there is still one rule - what you can get away with. Turns out to be rather a lot.

"I want to send a very clear signal from Parliament, not just the government, that this type of disrespect and yobbish behaviour will not be tolerated any more"

And how exactly will you do that ? The prisons are full. Your client groups don't think people should be sent there for stealing, or indeed anything apart from racism, hunting and domestic violence.

I know. You'll send a guy with a stud in his tongue and a bag of skunk in his back pocket to talk to them. And when that doesn't work ? He'll talk to their parents. And when that doesn't work ? He'll talk to his peers, agree that the Smith family are 'very difficult', and blame globalisation or the Daily Mail.

"Mr Blair denied moves to allow 24-hour drinking sent the wrong signal". And smoking doesn't cause cancer.

"What I cannot do is raise someone's children for them." Someone had better tell Polly Toynbee.

The deep seated causes of anti-social behaviour are apparently "to do with family life in the way that parents regard their responsibility to their children, in the way that some kids grow up generation to generation without proper parenting, without a proper sense of discipline within the family."

Well, yes. Responsibility to your children - like staying with them to bring them up. I've noticed the Government campaigns against fathers who leave their kids, and mothers who want the kids but not their fathers. And the tax system that leaves a single parent with two children better off than a two-parent family. They really mean it, don't they ?

"... generation to generation without proper parenting ...". Does he mean the Land of Bastards ?

A proper sense of discipline for kids. Ah yes. Up to five years jail for parents if they smack their child and leave a red mark on their skin. Introduced January 2005. I do love joined up government, don't you ?

UPDATE - more at Blognor Regis. Note the apparent time travel - I've moved this post up front.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Oh Ye Of Little Faith

I must confess to being less than chuffed when Gary Megson left the Baggies and was replaced by Bryan Robson, who'd been the star of Big Ron's wonderful late-Seventies Albion side. I'd loved Megson's passion for the game. You knew his teams would always give 110%, win or lose. He'd got us promotion twice with hardly any cash to spend.

Alright, we'd go down - but Gary would get us back up.

"Robson ? Have the board flipped ? This is the guy who almost bankrupted Middlesborough - and we haven't got any money. And Middlesborough ended up needing Terry Venables to keep them up ! Fantastic player - but a manager ? We've had it"

The first few games confirmed my worst fears. Collapse at St Andrews. At home to Liverpool we were taken apart - it was like a kids game of 'shots in' for them. Under Megson the team would have been too frightened to leave the pitch at full time - they'd have had to stay out there. Eight points adrift at the bottom.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, things started to change. The classy Kevin Campbell was signed on a free from Everton. They started picking up points away from home. Three priceless wins in March. The real shock was the football - they were starting to play some neat passing stuff. Teams above them were dropping points. For a game or two they were actually off the bottom, but this morning they were still there, needing to win the last game and for their three relegation rivals not to win theirs.

And it came to pass. And a middle-aged man stood in a garage, listening to the radio with tears in his eyes.

UPDATE - via the Pooter of Geek - one man's story of the match.


Labour have a great idea to tackle voting fraud. They'll make it illegal !

Give Thanks And Praise

Today is the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles 50 days after Jesus crucifixion - the event which founded the Christian Church.

It was also at Pentecost that King Arthur and his knights were wont to sit and wait for some unusual or miraculous ocurrence before they sat to feast.

The BBC's Sunday Worship (in Realaudio when the BBC get round to putting it up) came from the Winson Green branch of the Church of God of Prophecy. I liked the bass player and the lady who preached last.

I wonder if this is the church near Winson Green prison of which Theodore Dalrymple wrote in this wonderful piece - one of the best things he's done. Read the whole thing.