Monday, October 06, 2008

Boris n' Blair - and "minority officers"

I don't know. Wouldn't it have been better to leave Ian Blair twisting in the wind, while the people he spent half his career appeasing queued up to kick him ?

Boris is moving to try to defuse concern and prevent the usual 'racist Tories' meme re-establishing itself. But surely the lesson of history is that such attempts are doomed to failure. If the most PC PC (I reckon Ken Jones of ACPO now succeeds to the title) in history ends up being called a racist, what chance does anyone else have, particularly under a Tory Mayor ? Some people, just like the late Keith Hudson, won't be satisfied.

Some soft-spoken 'black' activist from the Met was on the Today programme, saying that minority officers were particularly overrepresented in disciplinary cases.

I'd imagine he's right. That's certainly the case for minority doctors, nurses and lawyers. If you see a BBC story 'doctor struck off for sexual assault', say, the guy's (and it will be a guy) unlikely to be called Dave Smith. They are indeed over-represented. The question is - why ?

One of my hobby-horses is the question of culture. For some reason UK liberals believe (or claim to) that, no matter whence you hail, the moment you set foot on UK soil the mystic properties of Old Albion (or Cymru or Alba or Erin) flow up through your shoes and make you just like the natives - in terms of your propensity to evil. But in the case of your propensity to good, all the good bits of your culture magically stay, enriching the poor natives by the power of diversity.

Call me an idiot who doesn't understand how that works. I suggest that if you recruit, say, 500 police officers from a country - say Country X - famous for the corruption of its police, that the level of corruption in that group will be higher than in the police as a whole. It probably won't be as high as back in the old country (such magical-soil features as the likelihood of getting caught and of punishment will probably reduce the levels) but it'll still be higher than the statistical average. At which point someone will be able to point to the higher-than average level of disciplinaries and cry "racist !"

None of the above would apply in the presence of a strong host culture into which the newcomers chose to integrate. But that's just what we haven't got. I imagine "we're British - we don't do that" is probably the kind of phrase that gets you chucked out of the Met.

Take a look at Transparency International's Corruption Index.

The UK is 16, having been knocked down because of the arms-to-Saudi affair.

India 85
Sri Lanka 92
Jamaica 96
Nigeria 121
Pakistan 134
Bangladesh 147

(It's not as if liberal lefties aren't aware. When Mirza Tahir Hussain was due to be executed in Pakistan, everyone from the Muslim Council of Britain to the Guardian told us how corrupt and dodgy the Pakistani courts were. To its credit, the Pickled Politics site often covers corruption in India.)

These are the countries with probably the highest number of non-EU immigrants into the UK. Absent the kind of melting-pot integration characteristic of say the US 1900-1970 (and even then there remained distinctive cultural groupings, in say, New York), you'd expect those kind of corruption index figures to, at least to some extent, migrate with them.

That's not to say that there won't be some cases of real racism directed at black officers. We are flawed beings. But if natives fearful of the 'racist' tag retreat from enforcing what I would call "British standards", it's likely that we'll become less like Denmark and Sweden, and more like India or Bangladesh.

UPDATE - Steve has a slightly different (but not wildly divergent) view at the Pub Philosopher.