Saturday, June 25, 2005

More Criminal Justice ...

Via Not Proud of Britain.

A man jailed for shooting and crippling a policeman who later died of a drugs overdose has been awarded £7,000 after his prison status review was delayed.
The European Court found the 22-month wait for a decision on his prisoner category caused "anxiety" to former Hell's Angel Stuart Blackstock, 50.

He shot Pc Philip Olds, paralysing him, during a raid on an off-licence in Hayes, west London, in 1980.

What was it Peter Hitchens said ? The criminal justice system now enforces 'the letter of a bureaucratic law rather then the spirit of an agreed and respected moral code'.

Nick Davies ...

Has one of his series of "Special Reports" over at the Grauniad - on the criminal justice system.

Mr Davies is a brilliant, observant journalist who sees and documents everything - then gets the analysis hopelessly wrong. His 'Dark Heart' looked at aspects of the British cultural collapse and blamed them on Thatcher and capitalism.

His Special Report on education a few years ago looked at two Sheffield schools (one failing - a grammar school turned comprehensive, one successful) and blamed 'a uniquely English combination of snobbery and racism' for the failure. Nothing to do with the abolition of grammar schools.

I haven't had time to look at all the articles, but the one on Exeter prison tells us two things.

a) the prison governors have taken on the ideology and culture of the social worker.

"The prison service is in the process of huge change - from punishment towards rehabilitation ... the leadership of the prison service at the centre started to insist on decency ... a new governor came in and forced change ... influx of civilians and women officers has changed the tone of staff ...provision of televisions in the cells"

b) it doesn't seem to be working very well. Guess what the problems are ?

Obviously a shortage of funding - well, this is the Guardian.

The other ? The evil Great British Public, salivating over punishment and dancing to the tabloid tunes while cowardly politicos won't tell them the truth ... "so they carry on talking tough and cranking up the prison numbers in the cause of punishment, while within the walls something very different is going on ... listen to the governor grades and none of them tells the politicians' tale of punishment .. you listen to the prison officers, and they're reading from the same script ... political populism and sheer cack-handed mismanagement from parts of Whitehall"

Sheer cack-handed mismanagement from Whitehall, eh ? Aren't these people the 'public servants' who we're all supposed to be grateful for ? The people who spend 42% of British GDP ? Who know how to spend our money better then we do ?

Just a thought. I think that prisons, and the CJS generally, should be run by the State rather than by private enterprise. When you give a capitalist entity power over the liberty of citizens, or power to use force against them, you get a little nearer to breaking one of P.J. O'Rourke's rules for good governance - a rule which is broken on every sink estate in Britain.

"Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people"

Hey Man ...

Let's like ... all join hands to relieve world poverty. It's a beautiful thing. Together we can change the world .. you know what I'm saying ?

Things Fall Apart ..

Even twenty years ago, one of the things I noticed living in London was that strangers never spoke to each other. I remember a friend ('but why would you want to speak to a stranger') saying that he never intervened if he saw someone being attacked or harassed.

Every few months the Guardian publishes an article, usually by a young, white, middle-class London mother, about the street culture inhabited by their children.

Here's a Jenni Russell with another one.

"That kind of thing happens all the time," she said. It was only a few months since another friend of hers, a girl, had been beaten up by a group of teenagers on a bus while the adults on board stared studiously out the windows.

"For this generation, growing up in London, the assumption that there is safety in numbers no longer holds true. That assumption only works if you can trust that the people around you are ready to help if you are threatened. But people appear increasingly reluctant to intervene in public places. They are scared, or indifferent, or embarrassed, or afraid of being accused of assault themselves. Nor does anyone have any confidence that, if they do intervene, they will be backed up by others."

She puts her finger on the problem here. And being a Guardianista fails to draw the relevant conclusion.

In all the discussion of antisocial behaviour, we seem to be missing an essential element. The police cannot prevent crime, intimidation or harassment. All they can hope to do is occasionally catch a perpetrator. They are meant to be the enforcers of the rules that we as a society have decided to live by - not the only upholders.

The point is - what does "upholding" the law mean in practice ? If it means anything, it has to mean "enforcement". When an assault is actually happening, the only way to stop it is by force or intimidation.

But this is 'taking the law into your own hands' - exactly whhere it ought to be, of course, but verboten for a Guardianista, and an option which is is hated by the criminal justice system far more than any crime. Let's say you tackle the villains on the bus and you don't get stabbed. You have just carried out what a lawyer would call 'an assault on a child'. The underclass are well supplied with 'their' tax-funded lawyers and social workers. You could well be the one facing charges - and if one of the villains is from an ethnic minority (other than English) then heaven help you. Racist assault on a child - it doesn't get much worse than that, does it ?

If we see people being mistreated, then surely we cannot just turn away and thank God that we are not the targets. If that is what we are doing, then we are starting, literally, to become less civilised.

Got it in one.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Religious Hatred ?

Norm reports disapprovingly on "right-wing Christian organizations in the US who are boycotting companies that advertise in gay magazines and on gay websites".

He has every right to disapprove - just as Christians have the right to organise boycotts. This is IMHO the best, most democratic kind of activism - where the decisions of large numbers of ordinary individuals are what's important. It certainly beats threatening children - a favourite tactic of "animal rights" activists.

In the UK, boycotting is organised at an institutional level.

"The Co-operative Bank has asked an evangelical Christian group to close its account because of its anti-homosexual views.
The bank said the opinions of Christian Voice were incompatible with its support for diversity."

This is an interesting departure from traditional business practice. I'm trying to think of previous occasions when a business has demanded that its customers conform to its corporate stance on a given issue.

"First they came for the Christians ..."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fight The Power

At last, the Much Respect Coalition is organising. Meaders reports :

RESPECT for Youth – Stop Criminalising Young People
RESPECT for Hoodies and against ASBOs!
RESPECT call for young people, youth workers, trade unionists, and pensioners to unite to stop criminalising our young people


Meanwhile the evil Evening Standard is demonising those same young people.

Teenage gunmen are responsible for a huge surge in shootings across London.

Police say they are arresting teenagers with loaded guns as young as 16, while one community leader told the Standard there were now 14-year-olds carrying guns.

The teenage gunmen are suspected of being behind a rise of as much as 146 per cent in gun crime in some London boroughs in the months since April, during which Met Police figures show a 10 per cent rise capital-wide.

Boroughs recording the worst rises include Haringey, up 146 per cent since April to 69 incidents, compared with 28 in the same period last year. In Lambeth, the number of offences rose by 70 per cent from 36 to 61; in Islington, offences were up 93 per cent, from 16 to 31; in Wandsworth, they rose 88 per cent from 17 to 32.

Senior police officers point to a "chaotic" spate of shootings in April. In Lambeth there were 48, compared with 14 in April last year.

Scotland Yard claims the numbers of incidents are now falling following a blitz against the gunmen, with covert armed operations and raids on suspects.

In a Brixton initiative police seized 11 guns in seven days last week.

Chief Superintendent Martin Bridger, Lambeth's borough commander, has asked people to call him direct with gun crime intelligence. He has already received more than 60 such calls this year.

Mr Bridger said: "The average age of young people in gun crime is around 16,17 or
18. They are getting younger - it is a worrying trend."

They must be making their stories up. Everyone knows that making handguns illegal has cut gun crime. Hasn't it ?

Good News For Ken Livingstone

It's officially OK to call your opponents Nazis.

"Councillor Stollar expressed his view on a rival political party within the normal and acceptable limits of political debate."

Shocking News

The decline of Britain is nowhere better illustrated than in this report.

"One in five women in the Navy suffered sexual harassment last year, new government figures reveal."

One in five. A truly appalling figure - one to make every Englishman hang his head in shame.

More Traveller's Tales

Once again, as so often in her history, Britain offers a home for those fleeing oppression. The home in question being Cheltenham racecourse.

One said: “We used to travel in France but the authorities were strict and always moved us on, often using force.

“We moved to England because the laws are much fairer for travellers and we have no desire to move back to France now. We will stay here until we decide to move.”

Double Standards ...

Yazza was worrying in Monday's Indie that no-one, either in the West or the Muslim world, seems to give a hoot about mass murder in Darfur, or for that matter in the Congo.

The answer is obvious. To a Muslim, Darfur is unmentionable because Muslims are doing the killing (and never mind who's being killed - I don't remember protests against Saddam's victims, or the million dead in the First Gulf War (Iraq/Iran)).

And the Congo ? Just one lot of infidels slaughtering another lot.

To Western liberals, the trouble with Darfur and the Congo is pretty much the opposite problem that Muslims have. No Westerners or white people are involved in the killing, so there's not a lot of breast-beating to be done. Were 8,000 US or British troops in Sudan while Western companies had oil contracts there (as China has troops and contracts in Sudan), it would never be off the Guardian's front page or the Today programme. I could write the headlines myself.

"As British troops guard oil installations, thousands are being killed"

"Blood For Oil"

Yazza is right to detect a sort of racism in the blind eyes being turned, but she doesn't seem to have grasped that it's all about us, not them. There's a reason why the Lancet looks at deaths in Iraq, not the Congo.

This tendency for white liberals to bemoan the oppressions of their fellow-Caucasian while ignoring those of Johnny foreigner extends to even the most decent of people. I'm reading Denis Healey's autobiography 'The Time Of My Life' at the moment. As Shadow Foreign Secretary, he tours South Africa (Steve Biko takes him round Zululand) and notes the injustices of the apartheid state. All well and good.

But earlier in the book, Healey is in Abu Dhabi.

"When I visited Prince Sultan in his palace, I sat on a low cushion and was served with fragrant tea by a negro slave. Then the Prince leaned forward and asked for the latest news of Nye Bevan's illness."

At that time, slavery had been unlawful in the UK and her colonies for some 130 years. Healey makes no comment at all on the fact of slavery existing in the Gulf in 1960. It's different for "them".

Blimpish ...

has an excellent post on crime and prisons. To which this City Journal piece is relevant.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Happy Slapping Hints

Apparently octogenarians make easier targets for our young people.

Don't think that the authorities aren't taking action against anti-social behaviour, though. In Salisbury, where the above attack took place, they're committed to ridding their car-parks of the Union Flag Menace.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Give Thanks And Praise II

Broadband has been fixed. Let blogging recommence ... if only I can think of something to write about.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Right But Wrong II

So Blair and Chirac are at loggerheads and the Guardian reported the EU talks as a failure - on the grounds that we disagreed with the French and that they were really cross about it.

I must confess that sounds like a roaring success to me. We keep the £3bn rebate and upset the French ? High fives all round !

What's entertaining is that

a) in inviting Chirac to shaft the French farmers and adopt the Anglo-Saxon economic model, Blair's asking France to acompany him down the road we have taken, where unlimited immigration keeps wages down and the countryside of Southern England is rapidly becoming built up as natives leave the cities . Chirac doesn't seem quite as keen on cultural suicide as Blair and is politely declining.

b) Chirac's nationalism and the French 'Non' to the EU constitution are being hailed by some on the Left as a great victory against global capitalism. And so they may be. But if Meaders thinks the revolution is just au coin de la rue he should think again. What Chirac (and a large portion of the French Left) are calling for is a form of welfare state capitalism that is distinctively French. They are happy to prop up strategic industries, bribe the right people to keep the arms orders coming in, preserve la France profonde and all those family farms with the EU subsidies.

France, despite Sartre, despite '68, is a country which still has a culture and pride in itself. I'm always impressed with the way the tricolor flies from everything owned by the State or the municipality. Contrast that with England.

There's another way in which France differs from England. Over here the Native Brit population is falling, as the need for a joint income to buy a house and a tax system that discriminates against full time mothers drives down the birthrate, and emigration remains at levels not seen for a hundred years. Our population, as David Nicholson Lord of the Optimum Population Trust pointed out in the Indie today, is only rising because of record levels of immigration and the high birthrate of those immigrants already here.

In France it's different. The population has been bothering them for a hundred years, since the unfortunate events of 1870. By the 1920s French actuaries and military men were looking grimly at the number of children born in postwar France and Germany - the German figure being some 50% higher. The French worked out the number of divisions this would mean eighteen years hence - and built a Maginot Line to economise on troops. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So they wanted lots of French babies - and still do. In this country single-earner families are penalised. I support six people and pay tax as if I were single.

In France a stay-at-home mother gets an extra £350 a month on top of child allowances. So more of them stay at home. They have more babies - the French population is projected to overtake Germany's in the next 50 years. Chirac's ghost may yet one day look across the channel at built-over, ethnically divided England and reflect on Blair's legacy.

Assuming, that is, he can avoid the kind of scenes that this blogger ran into in Perpignan last month.

Light Blogging ...

Due to BT Broadband being bent.