Saturday, March 05, 2011

Told You So

Ten days ago it seemed so easy. "Gaddafi’s end seems to be nearing, at last" said the FT blog - and that was the general assumption, save only for one blogger (he said modestly).

"surely the decision in Libya's going to come down to 'who's got the tanks and aircraft?'. If Gaddafi's troops and mercenaries have a unified command and the hardware, won't they win even if 90% of the country's against them?"
I hope he loses. But the rest of the world didn't seem to realise that the success of the Tunisian and Egyption revolutions (such as it is - both have yet to play out) depended on the army's unwillingness to fire on civilians. That was always going to be a tricky one in a country ruled by an eccentric dictator who'd shown only a year or two back that he didn't do 'rule of law'.

UPDATE - while it's amusing to see the great and the good suddenly discovering, to their complete surprise, that Gaddafi is a bad man, what's really entertaining (especially after the leftish nagombi over the Tories and their European alliance partners) is that the Labour Party was allied, via the Socialist International, with the ruling parties of Egypt and Tunisia - until January 2011, when the SI suddenly discovered that the Constitutional Democratic Assembly (RCD) of Tunisia and the National Democratic Party of Egypt were unsuited to membership - a decision taken by the President (the current Greek Prime Minister, third generation of the Papandreou family to hold that office) and Secretary General in defiance of SI rules, which mandate a two-thirds vote of member parties for expulsion.

I wonder how the Labour Party feel about their fraternal comrades of the Ivorian Popular Front?

Youth supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, Cote d'Ivoire's embattled leader, rampaged through the business district of the capital Abidjan, pillaging shops owned by foreigners. Tuesday's violence followed a call on Friday by Ble Goude, the head of Gbagbo's youth wing, to resist what he called an insurgency seeking to depose Gbabgo and install rival Alassane Ouattara. Ouattara is widely regarded as the winner of a November 28 poll, according to UN-certified results and the international community.

Gbagbo's Young Patriots have long been accused of xenophobic violence, including attacks against the country's French community in 2004, on its large Burkinabe and Malian communities, as well as northern Ivorians with cultural ties to them. Anti-foreigner sentiment is at the core of the troubles that have troubled Cote d'Ivoire for years and has worsened as most nations recognise Ouattara's win. Ouattara himself was twice barred from running in previous polls because his father is from Burkina Faso.

How very different from the home life of our own dear Labour Party (apart from the vote-rigging). Imagine if Blair had barred the Blessed Michael Howard from running because of his foreign father, or Gordon's Young Patriots had blocked Ed'n'Dave (caveat - I've got a foreign father myself). Ed Miliband really should get on the phone and explain to Laurent Gbagbo that in a properly run country, it's the incomers who should be looting the shops.

UPDATE 2 - save for one other blogger - who went way beyond me and forecast two weeks ago that Gaddafi would survive. Let's hope he's wrong.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Victims Of No Appearance - Perps Of No Motive

There’s a trial ongoing of one Delroy Grant, allegedly the ‘Night Stalker’, accused of 18 break-ins and assorted sexual and other assaults on elderly people in South London / Surrey between 1992 and 2009. Police have been looking for the attacker for years - as I recall they'd narrowed down suspects to one area of the Caribbean.

The prosecution admit to being completely puzzled about the attacker's motives - a puzzlement shared by the entire media.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC said the defendant attacked both men and women living across south London. All were vulnerable, single pensioners, mostly in their 80s and living on their own. “What it was that motivated him to carry out sexual offences on the very elderly and what sort of gratification he could possibly have achieved is obviously difficult, if not impossible, to understand”

Now I’m not asking anyone to comment on the actual case or break the sub judice rules, but I am interested in what’s recorded as having actually happened.

Apart from being “men and women living across south London, vulnerable, single pensioners, mostly in their 80s and living on their own”, does anyone know if the victims shared any other characteristics ?

I can’t help thinking that

a) if the victims had been of all races it would have been mentioned in the media coverage. The fact that it isn't may be significant - we may be seeing what Professor Sarah Annes Brown describes as "the initial urge to cover the story up in order to protect sensitivities".

b) that if they were all white it might provide part of the explanation as to motivation, gratification etc of the attacker – irrespective of the outcome of this particular trial.

Any info, anyone ? Were any of the victims non-white ? It may be I'm barking up the wrong tree here, and that Mr Night Stalker stalked and raped in a manner inclusive of all ethnicities, sexualities and degrees of disability. But I've just got a funny feeling we'd have been told, were that the case.

Another case with a Victim Of No (Relevant) Appearance and Perps Of No Motivation was reported in March 2009 - the stabbing of Oliver Hemsley in August 2008, which left the 20 year old permanently paralysed.

Mail - "A student tipped as a star fashion designer of the future has been left paralysed after being stabbed in a random street attack. Oliver Hemsley, then 20, was set upon by a gang of youths as he innocently walked with a flatmate on a summer evening last year. "

Mirror - "Budding fashion designer Oliver Hemsley, 21, was picked at random and stabbed repeatedly by a schoolboy thug as he walked with a girl pal."

Indie - "A brush with death: Why Britain's coolest art and fashion names have rallied around a victim of random knife crime"

There you go. Just one of those random, tragic things. Could have happened to anyone, anywhere.

Johann Hari - for it is he - tells it a bit differently :

"In September 2008, a young gay man called Oliver Hemsley, is walking home from the gay pub the George and Dragon when a gang of young Muslims stabs him eight times, in the back, in the lungs, and in his spinal column. In January 2010, when the thug who did it is convicted, a gang of thirty Muslims storms the George and Dragon in revenge and violently attacks everybody there. "

Well, there's no doubt that the G&D is 'gay-friendly' (this Pink Paper report on the stabbing seems to have been ignored by the MSM), or that one of his attackers was 15 year old Nazrul Islam. Apparently he got 10 years - I presume that means he'll be out in three (the judge called the attack 'motiveless' - and what of the other attackers ?). My only concerns with his tale are that Islam was sentenced in April 2009 and a/c/t Johann the attack on the pub was 9 months later - and even with our media, would an attack like that not be reported at all (can't find it on the Web)? I guess it's just possible, but only just. In the Bradford, Burnley and Oldham riots dozens of pubs were trashed or burned out (oh, my Upper Globe and my Bavaria long ago !) by Muslim youths, and it got zero press coverage - but they were only pubs for working class types, after all. A gay pub in London is quite a different thing. It may well be that Important People, or Friends of Important People, drink there.

I digress. The point, alas, is that for some crimes, either in some areas or by some people, the MSM reports seem to be as much about concealing as revealing what's going on. Were this limited to the local press, I'd suspect the hand of the local Community Cohesion Partnership - but what keeps the nationals - especially the Mail and Telegraph - in line ?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

That Unity Coalition

Cameron :
"I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality. It says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things."
Cleggeron :
"Liberal societies do not expect everyone to live in the same way, or believe in the same things..."

(Clegg is a sack of sopping wet poo, though. He follows this entirely correct definition with :
".. conformity can crush liberty. But in liberal societies, all of us must defend the freedoms of others, in exchange for freedom for ourselves. In an open society, values compete but do not conflict."
What kind of mythical society that never existed is this 'open society' exactly, where values 'compete' but don't 'conflict' ? Competition implies conflict. As I've said, we had a perfectly good British culture once, half a century back and before, which covered three-and-a-half nationalities - but as the half (Ireland) could witness, it was not a perfect relationship even when all components were Christian and all looked pretty much the same. And, imperfect as it was (although it was functionally pretty effective), it was forged over centuries of dispute and struggle. What's the struggle going to be like between totally different peoples ?)

Silverlight Woes

Anyone else had trouble with the wizzy new Microsoft web add-on ? A largeish number of people are using it to present media content, and you need to download a client/environment/whatever.

Sky subscribers can watch Sky Sports online when away from home, and my son installed Silverlight on a Win2K box running Firefox 3.6 last time he came back in order to view the footy. Wrecked it. Every other website accessed via Firefox caused Firefox to close, and Silverlight uninstall failed, as did my attempted manual delete/registry hacks. Susan got very ratty 'cos it was 'her' box, ended up having to reinstall the whole C drive.

Is it just my ancient Windows release, or is Silverlight the spawn of the devil ?