Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Land Fit For Criminals - David Fraser

The heart of darkness in the Criminal Justice system, described by a senior probation officer.

Buy it at Amazon for £11.87.

Blair Gibbs review at the Social Affairs Unit blog.

"A Land Fit for Criminals shows that we run great risks if we think, despite all the evidence, that we can have a low prison population, while we still have a high crime rate, and not expect public safety to be jeopardised. Fraser argues that the only imperative in criminal justice policy is public safety, and that only prison can guarantee this. Much evidence suggests that when it is allowed to, prison works, and with expansion and more investment in Britain it can be made to work better. What doesn't work, is a criminal justice system that attempts to replace prison with other forms of community punishment, solely on the back of ideological motives or misplaced sentimentalism."

David Fraser in the Telegraph.

"When I read that four of the six men who raped, tortured and then murdered the schoolgirl Maryann Leneghan were on probation, I felt angry and desperately sad. But I was not in the least surprised: I realised long ago that probation is a gigantic con trick played on the public."

BBC staffer William Crawley gives his copy away. Unread ?

By glorious chance, his copy was given to Raw Carrot, who wrote a lengthy review, illustrated with scanned statistical diagrams from the book.

"Mr Fraser conducts a thorough analysis of statistics, he examines social and cultural changes, while keeping it all focused on the underlying aim: demonstrating the need to seriously rebalance the criminal justice system so as to deter, and not reward, criminals. I would actually say that David Fraser has done for the criminal justice system what James Bartholomew has done for the welfare state."

Short John Cooper review in the Times.

Offenders on probation commit 10,000 crimes a month, according to Home Office figures.

Mr Fraser, who analysed probation reoffending in his book, A Land Fit For Criminals, said the decision to calculate the figures, even though they were only intended for internal circulation, reflected a "sea change" after years in which the service refused to admit the number of people who reoffended under its supervision. "For years they have been in denial," he said. "Finally they are realising that they have got to drag themselves into the real world."

The Policeman's Blog.

"For anyone who wants to understand how we got to this position and what we can do to get out of it, read this book."

The great Welsh blogger and MP David Davies on the campaign to Stop All Further Early Releases, supported by Mr Fraser, the husband of murdered jeweller Marian Bates, and the father of Luke Rees-Pulley. More on the campaign here.

A wonderfully pithy review at Grumpy Old Sod, full of the sort of statements-of-the-bleeding-obvious which causes the Guardianista to roll his/her eyes at the simplistic nostrums of the hanging and flogging brigade. Because, of course, it's much, much more complicated than that. Unless you're dealing with racists or foxhunters.

"If a burglar is in prison for five years, that's five years when he isn't burgling our houses. If that's not a result, what is ?"

"One law for them, one law for us" - the Sunday Times.

"A wildly accusatory document" says Peter J M Wayne in the Speccie, calling Mr Fraser a 'dinosaur on the rampage'. Alas I can never remember my Speccie password so rarely read it nowadays, but if Peter J M Wayne is this Guardian writer, smackhead, scumbag and 'a thief out of necessity', I'm glad I don't buy the Speccie any more. A Speccie reader wasn't too happy with the review either.

"‘These are children ...for goodness sake,’ wrote Wayne in his review of David Fraser’s A Land Fit for Criminals (Books, 17 June). So that makes their vile insults, burglary and aggression to the community acceptable ? When a 14-year-old boy next throws a brick at my windows, and smashes glass in the nearby park so that my grandchildren cut their feet, or when next I am confronted, taunted, spat at or abused, I’ll just remember their age, shall I ? Is that supposed to console me ?"

"For goodness sake" ? What's Peter Wayne to do with goodness ? But I digress. More tomorrow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

More Pessimism

"One of Britain’s most senior military strategists has warned that western civilisation faces a threat on a par with the barbarian invasions that destroyed the Roman empire.

In an apocalyptic vision of security dangers, Rear Admiral Chris Parry said future migrations would be comparable to the Goths and Vandals while north African "barbary" pirates could be attacking yachts and beaches in the Mediterranean within 10 years.

Europe, including Britain, could be undermined by large immigrant groups with little allegiance to their host countries — a "reverse colonisation" as Parry described it. These groups would stay connected to their homelands by the internet and cheap flights. The idea of assimilation was becoming redundant, he said."

Reverse colonisation, eh ? Like in Bradford ?

From colonist to immigrant is the dominant pattern historically, however, this process seems to be thrown into reverse in Bradford. The Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities now expect to recreate the environment of their country of origin."

I digress. Where was I ?

"Parry estimated at the conference there were already more than 70 diasporas in Britain. In the future, he believes, large groups that become established in Britain and Europe after mass migration may develop "communities of interest" with unstable or anti-western regions."

Large immigrant groups with little allegiance ? It couldn't happen here.

A Good Day To Bury Bad News ...

The number of East Europeans coming to work in Britain since 2004 may be 50% higher than previously thought, a BBC Two Newsnight survey suggests.

The survey of 500 Poles in the UK found 64% had signed the workers' register.

Official figures show 375,000 workers have registered since the EU expanded in May 2004 but the survey suggests 187,000 more may have come to the UK.

The Tories said it showed ministers had "dramatically" underestimated the scale of immigration from new EU countries.

And here's the killer bit. The spin a couple of years back was not only that very small numbers would be involved, but that they'd be bright young things who'd stay for a while, make some money and go home.

"The government originally estimated just 15,000 people a year would migrate to the UK from Eastern Europe when it agreed to admit workers from the new accession countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Latvia.

But among the Polish workers questioned, 30% said they had not signed the workers' register and the remaining 6% had never heard of it.

The survey, by the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism at the Universities of Surrey and Roehampton, also indicated many more Polish people were intending to stay in Britain long-term or even permanently than previously thought.

More than 40% said they wanted to stay at least two years, and 15% - more than one in seven - had already decided to move here permanently.

Only one in three definitely intended to go home within two years. Nearly a third were planning to bring their families to Britain or had already done so."

I've said it before - I'll say it again.

"The fact that these new Brits are polite and hard-working, do not do crack or firearms, nor are they likely to blow up Tube trains, is a function of the culture they have arrived with. It tells us nothing about what their first and second generation descendents will be like after twenty years exposure to the cultural vacuum of the UK."

British Imam Barred From Canada

I wouldn't normally bother with a story like this, but the name rang a small bell.

"Sheik Riyadh ul-Haq, formerly the imam at a Birmingham, England, mosque, who has been accused of vilifying Jews, Hindus, and moderate Muslims, was set to speak at the Youth Tarbiyah conference on June 30, organized by the Islamic Foundation of Toronto.

Canadian Jewish Congress national president Ed Morgan said he heard last week through media reports that Solberg had informed immigration officials that ul-Haq should be barred from entering the country because his views could incite terror and hatred."

I posted a couple of years back about the bizarre goings on at Birmingham Central Mosque, which culminated in two murders.

"The court heard that Sheik Abu Yusuf Riyadhul-Haq, 34, an imam at the Birmingham Central Mosque, had secretly married a woman who became his second wife. But a scandal broke when Shockat Lal, a mosque secretary, had an affair with the woman and she became pregnant, the court was told. As a result Mr Lal was "demonised" by followers of the imam. He and those who supported him were either expelled from the mosque or ostracised."

The imam at the centre of the shenanigans, whose wife was unfaithful, and who was arrested, causing hundreds to demonstrate on the streets of Leicester, appears to be the imam in question.

"19-03-2003 BY NIC RIDLEY Leicester Mercury:

Religious leaders called for calm after an armed raid at the home of a prominent Muslim brought hundreds of people on to the streets.

Armed officers raided a house in Hartington Road, Highfields, yesterday and arrested six men in connection with an attempted murder. Among the men were four sons of respected religious leader Muhammad Gora Pirbhai. One of the sons is understood to be Riyadh Ul Haq, imam of the Central Mosque in Birmingham.

Four of the six arrested men were transferred to West Midlands police for questioning. Two have since been released on police bail.

Officers in Birmingham are questioning two other men in connection with an attempted murder in Small Heath, Birmingham."

I don't know what his speeches are like, but I wouldn't expect him to be soft on adulterers.

The good news is that you can hear him at the (taxpayer-funded) London Islam Expo, along with a galaxy of Respect/SWP/fellow traveller types like Yvonne Ridley, Andrew Murray, Frank 'I'm A Muslim' Gardner, Our Maddy of the Sorrows, Seamus 'Mad Dog' Milne, Jonathan Freedland (does he really look like that ?), Norman Kember and Lindsay German. Tastefully timed to concide with the 7/7 anniversary.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Critically Injured Musician - Green Party Candidate Arrested

Via Tim Blair.

"Billy Leeson, 19, lead singer with rock band Les Incompetents who have supported Pete Doherty's group Babyshambles, is fighting for his life after falling into a coma when his head hit the ground after the punch was thrown.

A man who handed himself in to police appeared in court this morning and was released on bail.

New Zealander Christian Briggs, 30, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court today charged with causing grievous bodily harm after he allegedly attacked Billy Leeson in Islington last month.

Dressed in a pale green shirt and grey trousers, a gaunt-looking Briggs spoke only to confirm his name and personal details in the 10-minute hearing.

Briggs, of Haringey, north London, was ordered to stand £10,000 bail, surrender his passport and observe a curfew at his sister's home in Kingston-on-Thames. "

Mr Briggs is a Green Party candidate.

An Iraq "Human Shield".

A man who considers the 7/7 bombings to be 'the chickens coming home to roost'. Unless MI5 did it.

"... you can enjoy your pint of beer in the sun and ignore the murderous actions of your so-called democratic government in faraway lands, but don't go complaining when someone comes looking for some justice in the form of a bomb under your ass."

"Whether this was the act of MI6/MI5 operatives or the so-called 'Al-Qaeda' ..."

A blogger who scorns those who defend accidental killers, but who quotes approvingly Emma Goldman : "Crime is naught but misdirected energy".

7/7 Remembered

From the Ilford Recorder :

"POLICE are investigating the source behind dozens of controversial stickers put up around Ilford Town Centre, just days before the first anniversary of the London bombings.

Bright yellow stickers that read: "Islamic Values Vs British Values" contrasting honesty and charity for Muslims to gambling and homosexuality in Britain have appeared on lampposts, bus stops, phone boxes and road signs in the past week.

Redbridge Racial Equality Council alerted police, amid fears they could provoke tensions in the run-up to the July 7 anniversary tomorrow (Friday).

Extremist Islamic group Al-Ghurabaa produced the stickers, but a spokesman claimed he did not know who put them up."

Their website has the tasteful heading : "Are we ready for another 7/7 ?". Who's we, paleface ?

That 'are we ready' reminds me of something.

"Are you ready, Shahib ?" "Ah-hah"

"Shehzad ?" "Yeah"

"Germaine ?" "Mmm-mm"

"Alright fellas - let's go !"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What Planet Am I On Again ?

Zoe Williams in the Grauniad :

"I would love nothing more than to put such a letter together: I would be particularly interested in getting MPs as signatories, for three reasons: first, they represent the summit of respectability ..."

Is she from the Planet Zog, or am I ?

Would The Last Industrial Worker In The UK Please Turn Out The Lights ?

A Wearside tyre factory, where 585 people worked, is closing its doors for the final time. In April, Goodyear Dunlop announced it was ending production at its Washington factory, a site where tyres had been produced since 1968.The company said it could no longer compete effectively with competitors in Eastern Europe and the Far East.Unions said there had been hopes that the jobs could be saved and they were disappointed at the closure.

Plans to cut 800 jobs in Devon and Cornwall as part of a china clay firm's reorganisation will hit the entire South West economy, MPs and unions say. Imerys said the changes were necessary to protect the future of its business. It is blaming high energy prices, a weak dollar and strong overseas competition for significant losses. More than 700 jobs will go in Cornwall as Imerys consolidates its operations. Up to 85 jobs will go in Devon as the company closes its pit at Lee Moor.

Broad And Pleasant Road News

Syphilis up. Abortions up.

Sexual infection diagnoses have been almost continually rising since the 1990s, with the highest increases in recent years being seen in the 16 to 24 age group.

We obviously need more and earlier sex education.

Another One Breaks Ranks

First the great Frank Field. Now Tony Wright has noticed what's in front of his nose.

Mr Wright said the UK's population had topped 60 million for the first time last year and was expected to rise 12% in the next generation. The rises were equivalent to having a new Oxford, a new Middlesbrough and a new Ipswich every year, he said.

And migration was the main driver, he told the prime minister.

Mr Wright urged Mr Blair to set up a commission to give a cost and benefits analysis about different levels of population, which was being driven up mainly by migrants.

Asked if the government had a population policy, Mr Blair replied: "No, but .."

Tomorrow's "Independent" Editorial Today

Yesterday we reported on the shocking institutional abuse of disabled patients in NHS care homes throughout Cornwall. Once again, a supposedly caring and civilised society turns out to hide shameful treatment of its most vulnerable members.

Take David, for example (not his real name). He suffers from cerebral palsy and was cared for in the Tintagel ward of the newly-built (and award-winning) Ley Line Hospital. What should have been a caring, supportive environment was in fact a waking nightmare of emotional and physical abuse, for which no staff have yet been called to account.

There is action the Government could take which would eliminate such abuses. Compulsory scanning and tests for all expectant mothers would detect the vast majority of the infirmities with which people like David are afflicted. These could then be treated in the womb by compulsory termination. In an age when millions of so-called 'healthy' foetuses are, quite properly, discarded, surely it is an anachronism to allow parents freely to give birth to those who would really be better off dead.

Tomorrow - Our Shame - Why Britain Is Still Discriminating Against The Disabled

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Moorhen chicks on the Curate's Pond

Ah, the cycle of nature ! Score for the last fortnight :

2 cockerels and a hen taken by the fox - all pinched off the back lawn around six in the evening. The cheek of it. Obviously feeding cubs. Poor hens are being kept in their runs and I'm cutting down some of the garden greenery to give a clear field of fire from the house.

Six moorhen chicks on the pond - of which two weeks later three or four still remain, despite cat, crows, magpies. Ahhhh ! They get into the hen-run to pinch food, then can't get out, so we've handled most of them.

More ambivalent Muslim opinion.

"The Populus survey for The Times and ITV News has found that more than one in ten thinks that the men who carried out the London bombings of 7/7 should be regarded as “martyrs”. Sixteen per cent of British Muslims, equivalent to more than 150,000 adults, believe that while the attacks were wrong, the cause was right."

Bob Rowthorn speaks the obvious.

"If you repeat something often enough, you can perhaps make people believe it. What you cannot do is turn it from being false into being true. And the Government's claim about the economic benefits of immigration is false. As an academic economist, I have examined many serious studies that have analysed the economic effects of immigration. There is no evidence from any of them that large-scale immigration generates large-scale economic benefits for the existing population as a whole. On the contrary, all the research suggests that the benefits are either close to zero, or negative.

Immigration can't solve the pensions crisis, nor solve the problem of an ageing population, as its advocates so often claim. It can, at most, delay the day of reckoning, because, of course, immigrants themselves grow old, and they need pensions.

The injection of large numbers of unskilled workers into the economy does not benefit the bulk of the population to any great extent. It benefits the nanny-and housecleaner-using classes; it benefits employers who want to pay low wages; but it does not benefit indigenous, unskilled Britons, who have to compete with immigrants willing to work hard for very low wages in unpleasant working conditions.

For low-skilled Britons, the result is that there are only two options: very low pay or unemployment. The economy becomes dependent on a constant influx of immigrants who are willing to accept low pay and poor working conditions. That is what Labour ministers mean when they insist that "public services would collapse without immigrants".

"He very often tells us how glad he is to be alive"

Man recovers after 19-year coma.

"When Terry Wallis’s pick-up truck crashed through a barrier on a mountain road, plunging into a dry river bed, doctors gave the teenager little chance of survival. The accident, which killed one of his companions, left him with severe head injuries, in a coma and paralysed from the neck down.

That was in 1984. Mr Wallis, a farmer’s son from Arkansas, remained in a minimally conscious state (MCS) and outwardly unresponsive for years, until doctors witnessed what they have described as a medical miracle. In 2003, after 19 years, Mr Wallis called out to his mother and asked for a can of Pepsi.

Scientists from Cornell University, New York, believe that a slow process of brain repair and neural reconnection prompted Mr Wallis’s recovery.

A study of the structure of his brain has revealed that neuronal cells in relatively undamaged areas have grown important connections over a period of years."

Hillsborough victim Tony Bland was deliberately starved to death by doctors. Four years later, another Hillsborough 'PVS' victim, Andrew Devine, had recovered enough to be able to communicate.

I'm sure there's a good reason why the people who support starving people like Tony Bland and Andrew Devine to death are the same people who consider that executing murderers is an affront to a civilised society. Just can't quite see what it is.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Aiee !

My daughter set up her blog today. Just a test post. She loves writing, so we shall see.

Two Good Things

Firefox. Why didn't I switch years ago ?

And Windows updates - an increasingly dangerous option for those of us who occasionally do a re-install and need to get the updates all over again.

If you have Netscape or Firefox, update via WindizUpdate. Most impressed.


The game - same as last time.

It's a little incident before kick-off that caught my attention. As Beckham stepped up to the microphone and started telling us about the evils of racism, my daughter said 'what about people who are racist to us ?' then told me a story.

The day before, Susan took our two youngest up to Ragley Hall near Stratford-on Avon, which has a giant kids adventure playground. Daughter and son were playing when they were approached by two older boys whom she described as 'brown'.

To my son : "What's your name, white chocolate ?"

To my daughter : "What's your name, white pussy ?"

She is nine years old. She didn't get the sexual reference but she knew they weren't trying to be nice. "I ignored them", she said. Probably a good thing I wasn't there.

She, like primary school children all over England, has been taught that racism is something bad that white people do to brown people. The people who teach her grew up in a world where that was just about a feasible approach, but they're educating children who will grow up in a world where they will be the minority in increasingly large areas. By teaching such things they're betraying those kids.