Saturday, September 18, 2004

"Tyranny is tyranny"

Peter Tatchell in the Weekly Worker. While I disagreee with him on many issues, he utters some uncomfortable truths.

"I chanted outside South Africa House with 25,000 others eighteen years ago. Where are the mobs waiting to sack the Zimbabwe Embassy ? " - this blog, December 2003.

"We can see very clearly that the people of Zimbabwe are crying out for solidarity. They are pleading with the world: ‘Support our struggle for democracy, human rights and social justice.’ Mugabe has betrayed all those values, all those ideals. Where is the left’s solidarity with the people’s struggle in Zimbabwe?

Those of us who protest in solidarity with the Zimbabwean struggle for social justice, human rights and democracy are denounced by some on the left as the agents of imperialism, as ‘white racists’. Did they say that about white people who supported the ANC’s struggle against apartheid? Of course not - the ANC implored white people to get involved and to show solidarity with black South Africans. But when it comes to Zimbabwe, all those internationalist principles are ditched by much of the left. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have not heard voices of protest from Respect or the SWP. They seem to take the view that black Zimbabweans, trade unionist Zimbabweans and socialist Zimbabweans who are being tortured and murdered should be left to their miserable fate. Apparently it is not our responsibility.

I am sorry, but I do not buy this leftwing ‘hands off’ mentality. Tyranny is tyranny, whether it is perpetrated by a person who is white, black, brown or yellow. Mugabe is Ian Smith with a black face - only worse. Ian Smith never massacred half the number of black Zimbabweans as Robert Mugabe has done. He was a monster for sure, but only half the monster - no, less than half the monster - that Mugabe has become."

But Peter, what you need to grasp is that the Left in the Western world is no longer driven by concern for the poor and oppressed. It's driven by self-hatred and the secular version of Original Sin. So it doesn't matter how many heads Mugabe breaks, how many women are hung, burned or beaten in Iran, Saudi, Nigeria, Pakistan, how many dead in Darfur (unless you can slag off the west for not doing enough), Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, Indonesia. We're not doing it, so it doesn't count. What use is it to AL Kennedy, Pilger or Fisk to write a piece on slaughter or cruelty that doesn't contain the word 'WE' ?

"If socialist leaders turn despotic, if they abuse human rights, if they tear up democracy, if they attack trade unions, then they are no longer worthy of our support. In fact they are just as much deserving of our opposition as anyone else. The fact that Zimbabwe is a poor, ‘third world’ country, and is suffering from the legacy of colonialism, cannot justify or excuse gross abuses of human rights. The full responsibility for the massacres, the murders, the tortures and the rapes lies with Robert Mugabe and the leadership of the of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. They are the ones who are responsible; they are the perpetrators."

You're micturating into a force ten, old boy.

A Couple More links ...

To the General Theory of Rubbish, which does exactly what it says on the tin, and to Fisky's group blog Gene Expression, a blog about genetics, ethnicity, culture, evolutionary psychology and all those things that PC people veer away from. The particular bunch of white male racists involved here - well, read their biographies yourself.

It's a fascinating subject but not one I'm obsessive about. In the nature/nurture debate there's room for both to have their influence.

I'm more of a culture man myself - for example the Brits aren't criminal because of their genes but because of their degenerate culture.

I'm bored rigid by the types (people who read Peter's comment threads will know who I mean) who witter on about IQ differences between races - interesting but so what ? Makes little difference at the individual level.

But I despise the people (alas, mostly on the cultural left and the usual suspects) who switch between total denial of genetic influence ('there is no such thing as race') and total subservience ('people are gay because of their genes') - depending on whether or not it fits with the line they're pushing.

Finally a wee smidgeon of racial stereotyping. Yesterday Radio 4 carried an item about Culloden which contained a fascinating interview (RealAudio).

Susanna Pommerening moved from Germany to Scotland after researching her ancestry (Scots grandmother). She is a postmistress. She also wears - full time - the dress of a Jacobite warrior - complete with sword or (sometimes) axe. If only there was a photo.

She may have Scots blood, but it takes a German girl to roam the glens fully armed ...

British Justice Part 512

Five people were murdered in London on Thursday, including an elderly couple and a schoolboy who died trying to protect a friend.

The same day, BBC radio news announced that "A boy who stabbed a jogger in a north London park has been jailed for life."

There's a portrait of the youth (his victim survived thanks to a passing doctor) here.

Detective Chief Inspector Ron Scott described Cecchetti, who has more than 20 previous convictions, including stabbing a 12-year-old when he was 12 himself, as the most dangerous juvenile in the UK.

The boy whispered, "Hello, jogging princess, I'll get you on your next lap", moments before plunging a six-inch knife into the teacher's stomach and then trying to kick her wound. She managed to run off, but he pursued her, shouting abuse.

Six weeks earlier, Cecchetti was released from Feltham young offenders centre in Middlesex after serving a sentence for robbery. Considered a threat to women and known for using knives - his mother called the police when he left home with a kitchen knife aged 11 - he was ordered to have sessions with probation staff during the day and to wear an electronic tag to ensure he stayed at home from 7pm to 8am.

Cecchetti yawned and smirked yesterday as he was given a life sentence at Maidstone crown court for the Clissold Park stabbing and unlawfully wounding 17-year-old Curtis Byfield in Finsbury Park last year. Byfield said his former friend had laughed as he stabbed him in the chest, half an inch from his heart.

Detectives initially thought the person who stabbed American artist Margaret Muller to death in nearby Victoria Park in February last year was also responsible for the Clissold Park attack. But Cecchetti had been in a secure unit in Peterborough that day, where he attacked two members of staff. Ms Muller's killer has not yet been caught.

Earlier this year, at the Old Bailey, Cecchetti also admitted possession of heroin with intent to supply while on remand at Feltham.

His primary school teachers decided he was uncontrollable at the age of nine, when he produced a knife in class.

What BBC radio news didn't announce is that "Judge Warwick McKinnon said Cecchetti would not be considered for parole until he has served "at least four years in custody"."

Four years. He'll be 20. That'll teach him.

Friday, September 17, 2004

If you think the Guardian boards are bad ...

Read this story ...

Then look at this post.

Hat-tip ... (gulp) ... Modern Crusader (Parental Advisory).

Alright, it is funny ...

Johnny Billericay joins the great debate. Let's hope Mrs B cuts them off ... (his posts of course).

"... some protesters were having a go at so-called ‘Police Brutality’. Whilst I live in a rural area, I have to say that this is just typical of the way some countryside dwellers are completely out of touch with the needs and traditions of the Metropolitan Police.

The Metropolitan Police have been hitting people on the heads with truncheons for hundreds of years. It is not just a sport – it is a whole way of life.

In fact, it has been shown that the only really efficient way of keeping the number of protesters down is by hitting them on the head with truncheons. Other ways – laying traps, shooting them etc – are far crueler and lead to unnecessary suffering ...

By stopping the police hitting protesters on the head with truncheons, the ‘do-gooders’ will be condemning a whole economy to ruin. Thousands of people depend on this activity for their livelihood – bandage-makers, paramedics – lawyers, etc."

Hat-tip - the Policeman.

All is gloom at Beelzebub Mansions.

"I wander down to the Lower Meadow where my man Whittaker is supposed to be exercising the remaining hounds, most of whom have been sold off to a Korean restaurant owner who displayed a remarkable interest in their well-muscled forms.

Sadly Whittaker, loosely clutching a near-empty flagon of Buckfast and Vimto in his hand, is slumped against the newly-erected mobile phone mast.

His despair is obvious. A man who has survived three assassination attempts, 37 industrial tribunals, the Brighton bombing and a particularly cruel form of erectile dysfunction has been brought to his knees by a malicious and ideologically-motivated government."

"But given this nation's current problems - rampant crime, a failing health service, a pitiful education system, non existent public transport and widespread moral bankruptcy - to have a Prime Minister so desperate to cling on to power that he'll provide a sop and valuable Parliamentary time to the rabid class warriors who underpin him is quite, quite obscene. "

Strangely, Polly Toynbee and Harry seem to agree.

Brownie begs to differ, while at urban75 the squatterati are wetting themselves with glee.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


Guardian leader :

In its own way, yesterday's 21st-century assault on parliament by pro-hunting militants was an attack on the liberty of the British people and its elected representatives as serious in principle as anything attempted by Guy Fawkes, Charles I or Hermann Goering's pilots.

Guardian news item :

There was no identification on the bodies, although two had old tattoos in Roman letters and one had a tattoo in Arabic script. Each was clothed and had been placed in a nylon bag, with their heads strapped to their backs.

Dozens of Jordanian, Egyptian, Kuwaiti and Turkish truck drivers have been kidnapped on roads north of the capital in recent months, often by Islamist militant groups operating from the insurgent town of Falluja.

and :

The French reporters, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, were kidnapped last month by a militant group demanding that France rescind a ban on wearing headscarves in school.

Hat tip : Blognor Regis.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Time Has Come For Action ...

Well, I never. So Blair's Britain will shortly be arriving in a lane near my poor hovel. We already have the high rates of burglary, thanks to the twin phenomena of the local smackheads and certain families in the travelling community, we have the ethnic diversity (I gave a lift last week to a charming Polish chap who lives in a caravan on a nearby farm - along with twenty others (not all in the same van), from Romanians to Kurds, working for £5 an hour picking veg. Locals used to do it, but no-one on £5 an hour can afford to live in the sticks any more and the council houses were sold off fifteen year ago) - now we're going to get the CCTV cameras and the police driving too fast. All because of Bold Reynard.

Thank heavens my home-town newspaper's hunting columnist passed on a few years back. He'd turn in his grave if he were alive today.

Well, Tony Banks, Mike Foster and all. You've started something now. You've criminalised the most law-abiding community in the country. Enjoy.

Feudal overlord (© George Monbiot) gets his just deserts.

George Bush - recovering alcoholic ?

James Hamilton with an excellent post on using psychoanalysis as a political weapon.

" ... another example of a psychotherapist thinking that the 'insights' of the trade have a prevailing overview on politics; the idea that politicians and political views can be sorted into those that are psychologically healthy and those that are not, on the basis of diagnosis from a distance. "

I'd dispute that it's valid even from close range. Most of our great men and women (from Boadicea (mass slaughter) through Drake (religious mania) to Churchill (alcohol dependency)) would probably be regarded as psychologically disturbed in one way or other.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

And Another One ...

(An occasional series about good liberals getting out of the city).

I could never live in suburbia.

Daily Mail-type bigotry is more commonplace in "the provinces".

I don't think there's much difference with other cities.

I've done small towns and they hold no appeal.

Yet "London no longer holds the appeal it did. There is too much human excrement swilling around in the cesspool." (the kind of thing a 'right-winger" could never say).

But we are certain that neither of us can go on as we are.

"Enough misery and loathing to destabilise the planet"

AL Kennedy is back - and madder than ever. I hope Mr Rochester's got some Jeyes Fluid - that attic room's a health hazard. Get that stuff off the walls for starters.

Read the whole thing - then call an ambulance.

BBC Bias Part 391

This morning I listened to 'The Long View' - Radio Four's programme in which the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland takes a historical subject and examines it from the standpoint of a 21st century liberal. Each week guests and experts are brought in. And who better to talk about the Jacobites, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 'Forty-Five' than IRA/Sinn Fein's own Danny Morrison ?

Next week - the work of nineteenth century children's campaigners Barnardo and Shaftesbury - with special guest Marc Dutroux.

How To Grow An Underclass

A wonderful Today report (RealAudio link) on the failure of the latest 'alternative to prison' scheme. Apparently the results are worse then with 'standard' community sentences (which themselves are useless). Listen and marvel.

Just a few highlights.

The remark that 'Youth Justice workers' don't see eye to eye with 'the community' (aka the victims) over non-custodial sentences.

And an interview with an inarticulate chavette which you couldn't make up.

How an old assault charge 'caught up with her'. Those pesky assault charges, chasing people about the streets.

How the presssure of having to keep three appointments a day drove her back to her anti-social ways - and how she was given another chance.

And the happy ending - she's 'getting a flat' and she's four months pregnant. She's sixteen years old.

Conspicuous by their absence - mentions of her victims, of the people who'll pay for her flat and child support or of the idea that she's in any way responsible for her own life decisions.

A wonderful piece because it illustrates both the current dire state of the Criminal Justice system, and the reflex pro-criminal liberalism of the BBC.

UPDATE - this old Polly Toynbee interview sheds a little inadvertant light on the liberal view of crime.

Journalistically, she says, her experiences also highlighted how little interest the modern media has in poverty. "Just look what happens if television ever makes a documentary about the poor - they invariably choose grotesque cases, people with real social or criminal problems, because that makes good telly. The reality is that the biggest single group of poor people are actually in work."

Here Polly makes the distinction between 'people in work' and people with 'criminal problems' in a way that makes it plain that by people with 'criminal problems' she actually means the people who commit crime.

I would suggest that in any poor area the people with the real 'criminal problems' are likely to be the law-abiding, including those who go out to work for a (poorly-paid) living and who Polly claims to care so much about.

Another little sidelight here.

"I've been incredibly lucky," she says of a career that has taken her from there to the Guardian, then the BBC, Independent and back to the Guardian again. "I've never had to work for anyone I haven't liked.

Monday, September 13, 2004

A Few More Links ...

To the Social Affairs Unit blog, where among others the great Dalrymple wields the pen, and to David Warren's essays.

Dalrymple needs no introduction, while David Warren appears to have done it all - schooled in Lahore, Bangkok and Canada, youth spent wandering the East, acquiring 'non-leftist politics and religious beliefs' - doubtless among other things. We do however have in common the experience of squatting in Vauxhall - though he spent his days studying Aristotle while a few years later I studied Assembler.

To this august duo add Adrian Harris' visual art blog, because he's got some nice art links, he's from just up the M5 in Worcestershire, and he links for some reason to me.

He also has a link to this powerful and scary New Scientist story - from one of the few survivors of the Chernobyl control room.

"To get a clearer idea of what had happened we walked outside. What we saw was terrifying. Everything that could be destroyed had been. The entire water coolant system was gone. The right-hand side of the reactor hall had been completely destroyed, and on the left the pipes were just hanging. That was when I realised that Khodemchuk was definitely dead. The place where I was told he'd been standing was in ruins. The huge turbines were still standing, but everything around them was rubble. He must have been buried under that. From where I stood I could see a huge beam of projected light flooding up into infinity from the reactor. It was like a laser light, caused by the ionisation of the air. It was light-bluish, and it was very beautiful. I watched it for several seconds. If I'd stood there for just a few minutes I would probably have died on the spot because of gamma rays ..."

Robert Fisk ...

.. really is - well, let's say I find much to disagree with. I've just read his description of how on the morning of Sept. 11, flying to the States, he "told the captain, and how the crew and I prowled the plane to look for possible suicide pilots. I think I found about 13; alas, of course, they were all Arabs and completely innocent. But it told me of the new world in which I was supposed to live. "Them’’ and "Us’’. ".

Who told you ? You found 13 potential hijackers. How ? What criteria did you use ? Was it just coincidence they were all (alas) Arabs ? Or is that (as I assume) what you were looking for ?

If so, that was your choice, your decision (and in the circumstances a wise one). Don't tell me someone told you 'of the world you were supposed to live' in. You were perfectly at liberty to check for crucifixes or yarmulkas if you thought that was a more likely indicator of a potential hijacker. Don't try to blame someone else for your decisions.

But this - at his mother's funeral - is - well, I could find words for it.

"But I also remember, at the service in the chancel of the little stone Kentish church, that I angrily suggested that if President Bill Clinton had spent as much money on research into Parkinson’s disease as he had just spent in firing cruise missiles into Afghanistan at Osama bin Laden (and it must have been the first time Bin Laden’s name was uttered in the precincts of the Church of England) then my mother would not have been in the wooden box beside me."

That little anecdote says more about Robert Fisk than all of his Indie pieces put together.

UPDATE - Harry (we can't go on linking like this - people will talk) and Natalie (at samizdata) both give Fisk the wet-fish treatment. So does Norm.

Racist Teachers Part 798

We're here again.

Jamie Whyte in the Times on the 'London Schools And The Black Child' conference, and the pre-conference report, which inspired headlines like "Black boys betrayed by racist school system". Can you guess the newspaper ?

These results suggest that teachers do not have lower expectations of black students than white, that they do not show lower levels of care. When this was the only serious data available, how could anyone draw the opposite conclusion? It requires a scandalous degree of either stupidity or mendacity.

The victims of this fraud are not only the teachers falsely accused of racism, or the ratepayers of London, whose money has been wasted on this bogus research. It is anyone who genuinely wants to know why black boys are failing at school.

There was at least one dissenting voice at the conference.

BBC sports presenter and former Tottenham Hotspur striker Garth Crooks said there was a direct link between films and rap music glorifying violence and the drift of black boys away from education and into crime and violence.

'There is an epidemic out there, and it is killing some of our children. Do you think there could be a correlation between this and the growing dissipation of our cultural values?' he said.

Crooks joins Tony Sewell and Guardian journalist Joseph Harker in the awkward squad who think there may be factors other than the obvious racism of the average London teacher at work.

Sewell - The gospel I preach is a simple one. It asks black young men to look beyond the street and beyond immediate gratification. It asks some hard questions about their own responsibilities: homework, bedtime, respect for peers and adults, good manners, self-control and how to succeed in the system. Nobody is asking our boys these questions. We just get more politicians telling them they're victims of racism.

Harker - At the top of the list must surely be the breakdown of the black family: 50% of Caribbean mothers under 35 have never been married - five times the white figure - and the number is increasing.

The conference recommended that teachers should be paid differently according to their skin colour, and that black children should not be excluded for a first offence unless the offence involved a knife or a gun.

The latter recommendation soon flushed out the [irony]closet racists[/irony].

Behaviour management and discipline are a huge issue and the idea that a pupil should only be permanantly excluded on the first offence if he or she is carrying a gun or a knife is frankly terrifying. Words fail me at what teachers are expected to put up with in the name of inclusion.

God, that is just so blatant !

UPDATE - the Bunny isn't too impressed either. And let's hope this isolated incident didn't involve a knife or a gun. (No, Judge Hathorne, I wasn't implying anything about the ethnicity of the boy - just a comment on the exclusion rule ... what's that bonfire and stake for ?)

The iGeneration ?

The Times produces yet another survey about yoof, provoking a remarkably idiotic comment by Paul Whitely of Essex University.

He 'said that the interviewees’ opposition to taking up arms for their country reflected the emergence of a new post-materialist value system, in which quality of life assumed a greater value than material goods.'

What ? Has he listened to the chat in any playground, where brand names - cars, clothes, phones, trainers, soccer boots - are obsessively compared ? Has he walked the streets of Essex towns, and noticed that the chances of having your head kicked in a given area is inversely proportional to the number of Sky dishes and £100 trainers ? Obviously not. I'm reminded of Joan Didion, in 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem', commenting on a newspaper report (the year is 1967) which says 'Hippies despise money - they call it 'bread''. This observation, she said, was proof that the wires between the generations were completely down.

I think what Whitely hasn't grasped is that for many young people the quality of your life is defined and determined by the brands in it.

The Guardian has a different report - surprise surprise, our children aren't happy bunnies. Madeleine is worried.

"Put this research into the hands of the Daily Mail and it would be ample grist for those peddling tales of Britain's moral decline: kids don't know right from wrong; they lie, they steal, they're disobedient. Or another favourite: the breakdown of the family is making our teenagers miserable, and working mums should bear the most blame as the rise in maternal employment virtually parallels the increases in emotional and behavioural problems. "

What a brilliant caricature of the Mail. Whereas as Madeleine reports, the reality is very different.

"The chances that 15-year-olds will have behavioural problems such as lying, stealing and being disobedient, have more than doubled."

See ? The Mail babble about right and wrong - but it's a behavioural problem, not a moral one.

Don't worry - I'm sure it's got nothing to do with the fact that (as the Times reports) 74% of children now have working mothers. Moral panic ! Moral panic !

I think what we're seeing here is parenting by people with no 'cultural narrative'. The kids in the 74 study were born in 59 - to parents who were themselves brought up in the old culture. By 1999 we're talking about kids born in 84 - to parents brought up in the changing 1960s and 70s. But we're only just starting to experience a generation brought up by parents with no memory of antediluvian Britain.

Just you wait until the 84 generation start having kids.