Notepad on Life

May 14, 2018

Sound of silence an immoral victory for yob culture

Filed under: crime,Kids — - @ 12:30 pm
Tags: ,

A middle-aged diabetic with excitable blood pressure, experts would probably say I did the right thing, but it doesn’t feel like it.

“Hey,  can I have your baseball cap?”

“Yeah, and that bag with your laptop in it….”

They were rhetorical questions, although more mischievous than purposeful.

On my way home from work, walking through the park in broad daylight, I’m conscious of three teenagers to my left; two average height; one a pint-size redhead. I should have been more than just conscious, but I’ve gone into default mode for the law-abiding.

Ignore them. No eye contact. Keep walking.

And I don’t care what the experts might say. I hate myself for it. Not because I’m ruing all the juicy, valid threats that I could have made in response, because there aren’t any. My last fight was in 1975. I lost.

No, I rue the fact that I have just fed the popular belief among today’s goons that they can shout and no-one will shout back. I have aligned myself with another man in glasses.

One thing feeding thuggishness among young people, someone  recently suggested, is precisely the fact that no-one older and wiser bothers engaging with them, and while I’m not so soft as to regard this as excusing them, it does offer food for thought.

Even if the trio had been for real, and a brief, one-sided struggle had seen me wave goodbye to my hat and my bag (my laptop, thankfully, was 20 miles away) I could have landed a few blows of my own. Asked between shoves where their self-respect was. If this was how they proposed to pee their lives up against a wall. If this was their idea of being men.

Yes, that’s right. Just words. In one ear and out the other, probably. Or maybe not. Maybe one blow might have landed, triggering just enough self-loathing in its target to set him on the long road to sorting himself out.

The fact is, words were all I had, yet even in a situation more code orange than red, I chose to not to use them, and so fed the pervading belief among Society’s wrong ‘uns that they rule in a vacuum, in which they shout the odds and no-one shouts back.


April 9, 2018

Organised crime, coming to a street near you

Filed under: crime,Family,Kids,Uncategorized — - @ 1:00 pm

road-man-lights-legs.jpgTwo weeks ago, it was a brick through their front window.

Tonight, it’s someone smashing the side-windows of their car.

There are several candidates as to the source of the grievance, but it’s not the time for us to press the point.

While he’s gone off in a futile bid to catch the culprit and introduce him to rough justice, I’m struck by her resigned calm as she shivers on the doorstep. This grievance has rumbled for a while; their shouts, audible through the wall, suggesting a family under pressure, and its ability to frighten her seems to have diminished through repetition.

More angry now, she detachedly takes us through the drill, as if discussing the cost of food at Tesco.

“He’ll have got someone to do it for him,” she explains, staring at the car. “It’s twenty quid to get someone to smash a window for you. Fifty if you want a kid beaten up…”

This shopping list dismays me almost as much as the sound of breaking glass. I don’t live in Sicily, or New York. I live in an English country town, yet even there the value of life is now apparently so cheap, all it takes to have a price on your head, is to be a child who’s narked someone.

April 1, 2018

Southern ban and the myth of ‘They will never defeat us’

pexels-photo-64057.jpegIt seems draconian to the point of comic. A lifetime ban from British shores for having an ‘unhelpful’ opinion.

Not for extolling violence against people or property, but because the person concerned wasn’t thinking right.

Such was the fate of Canadian activist Lauren Southern, who was inspired by an article suggesting that Jesus was gay, to postulate a similar theory concerning Allah, by way of handing out leaflets to that effect in the English town of Luton, which has a substantial muslim community.

It’s mischief-making, and in one sense I would suggest that Southern might have better things to do with her time. From another angle, however, it is a social experiment that shines an unflattering light on Britain’s claims to both a true democracy and a system of law and order that applies to all, without fear or favour.

There is no call to arms from the Canadian, as she begins to attract an audience. As far as the video evidence shows, no-one in the crowd is put in fear of violence. In a land supposedly all about free speech, Southern simply puts forward a theory. As does Ricky Gervais, seconds into his latest Netflix offering (“[I’m] like Jesus…but better…I’ve actually turned up…”). As did Woolworths with its Woolworths is Christmas ads of 30 years ago. As do the people behind this sartorial insight, happily hosted by Amazon.

While I doubt anyone in those last three examples has lost much sleep over a visit from the police, however, Ms Southern doesn’t get off so lightly, because Ms Southern is asking questions about the ‘wrong’ religion.

The reaction of the police to her Luton adventure is telling. People grow angry at someone’s free speech, and police focus is not on the angry, but on the individual who has made them that way. For all the succour this gives to mob rule, I don’t blame the police here: they are but pawns in a bigger game, and while some of them might also wonder where this supposed bastion of free speech is headed, they have mortgages to pay like the rest of us.

Now Lauren Southern is gone from these shores for good, and if you think that is a good thing, you’re missing the point. What she did was simply designed to highlight a valid question – in a secular society, why does Islamic antipathy towards homosexuality trump the right of gay people to self-expression? The System came after her for her point of view; what if it comes after you for yours?

So much is cack-handed about this episode, from the misplaced focus of the police to the otiose labelling of anyone unimpressed by a popular narrative as ‘far right’ but it is the fear of our elected leaders that shines brightest.

The UK Establishment is terrified of Islam. Any other religion is left to roll with the punches, but Islam must be safeguarded at all costs, because those in power don’t have a stomach for the ruckus that often ensues when it isn’t. Only from the viewpoint of expediency does this resemble a plan.

Viewed any other way, it is at best a sell-out of the very freedoms of which politicians love to boast, at worst a vacuum of dithering inequity that inevitably sucks in genuine far-right factions, to the benefit of no-one.

Either all religions are sacrosanct or all must take their chances in the secular town square, and anyone not happy with that arrangement should Google ’emigrate’. Only when we are all clear on this can politicians and leader-writers alike declare that “They will never defeat us”, whenever jihad strikes the UK.

As things stand, however, the words sound wretchedly hollow. They are defeating us; inch by inch, ban by ban.

March 26, 2018

‘Faces of Evil’– here’s what I regret, Mike Norton…

Filed under: crime,Journalism,Law and order,News — - @ 11:25 am
Tags: ,

pexels-photo-952594.jpegBristol Post editor Mike Norton wants his city to know he’s sorry. So sorry, he splashed his contrition all over the newspaper’s front page earlier this month.

It stems from another Post front page 22 years ago, in which the headline Faces of Evil was accompanied by photographs of 16 men jailed for dealing crack cocaine. All of them happened to be black.

Despite the feeling that I knew what was coming, I studied Mr Norton’s apology in detail, hoping upon hope that I would read about one or more individuals who had been falsely accused, and whose photograph should have been nowhere near that eye-catching headline.

That appears not to be the case. “Now, I’m sure there are many people reading this who will be wondering why I’m saying sorry,” Norton predicts. “Weren’t these men crack dealers? Pedlars of evil? Yes, they were.”

Ah, right. Turns out I did know what was coming.

Mike Norton isn’t sorry that his paper didn’t do its job properly. He’s sorry because it was unhelpful to a narrative. Inclusivity is one of the mantras of our time and that 1996 front page, for all its veracity, got in the way.

Too bad, Mike Norton. Too bad.

Which is not to say that everything in his apology is invalid. The need to bridge community gaps and renew dialogue and his newspaper’s attempts to help drive those processes, are right and proper, but they are points that could have been made without selling out his colleagues or the requirements of his vocation.

Less commendable are his deflection tactics; The pretence of humbly acknowledging opposition, so as to pre-emptively diminish it.

“Of course, I am only too well aware of how this will go down with some of some of the more vociferous contributors to the comments section. I await their inevitable hate. They will probably call me a snowflake – the word adopted by right-wingers when they want to belittle millennial entitlement. Or a bleeding-heart liberal who’s been got at by the politically correct brigade.”

Calculated buzzword emphasis is mine. We see what you did there, Michael.

Thankfully, I can steer clear of such cheap labelling. How this goes down with me, someone in the same line of work, is that we have here a journalist who is, in effect, apologising for telling uncomfortable truths, arguably the very essence of his job.

In attempting to shore up the credibility of his newspaper, Mike Norton has done precisely the opposite. And he shouldn’t be surprised if many discerning BAME Bristolians have come to the same conclusion.

December 21, 2016

Cop this plea – there’s no degree in ‘streetwise’

Filed under: crime,Education,Law and order — - @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , ,

Pic courtesy of Police-Mad-Liam

It’s hard to pick highlights in Peter Hitchens’ latest excellent Mail on Sunday column, but vested family interest leads me to the last item, on the misguided plan to make university degrees mandatory for would-be police officers.

“Graduates spend the first ten years in any job discovering that they don’t, in fact, know everything, while the non-graduates roll their eyes in despair,” writes Hitchens. 

“What police officers need is not a certificate, but the common sense that comes from years of friendly contact with the people they serve.”

I shudder to think how many potentially excellent policemen and women will now never materialise because of the fashionable yet flawed belief that only higher education can unlock a young person’s potential. What a slap in the face for those myriad ‘failures’  who left school with nothing, only to become rip-roaring successes once they were set free to engage a world beyond Academia.

It’s just not everyone’s bag, the life of dissertations and doctorates. There are people whose talents lie in their hands, in hand-eye co-ordination, or in tackling real problems instead of the more abstract variety. If that means three years in the University of Life then they should be allowed to get on with it, not erroneously pigeon-holed just to keep the quota brigade happy.

We don’t need spectacular double-firsts from our police. We need street-savvy, impeccable people skills and an air of mild intimidation that can, when warranted, be fully backed up by the judicious use of brawn. And you don’t learn those qualities over cappuccino in some junior common room.

As for how the whole thing might yet backfire on those who dreamt it up, meanwhile, just Google ‘university’ and ‘snowflakes’, and brace yourself for the day when our boys in blue ask if they can sit this particular riot out because they’ve been ‘triggered’.


December 18, 2016

Corrie McKeague – might you know anything…?

Filed under: crime,News — - @ 11:04 am
Tags: , ,

Doing the rounds on Facebook:


“This photo, if you knew already, would need no words. For those of you who don’t, [the top picture shows] Nicola Urquhart. She’s a police officer from Dunfermline, Scotland. What she was doing today was look for her son. A clue as to where he is, or, more likely, his body. Corrie McKeague is his name. He’s the RAF serviceman I’ve shared posts about. My previous posts probably didn’t evoke much emotion. But, look at this one, please.

“This mum is searching forest undergrowth for her child. Her baby boy. Though an adult, he’s her baby still. He will always be her baby. He’s been gone 11 weeks now. It’s almost Xmas. He disappeared at the end of September. An innocuous night out. He walked into an area behind shops, out of view of CCTV, and has not been seen since. He couldn’t leave on foot without being seen. So, theories racing around, a vehicle was used. Either voluntarily or not, Corrie is no longer in that area he was last seen. His phone last received signal in an area north west of the town. His RAF base a completely different direction.

“This mum is searching…anywhere, everywhere, for her boy. Her beautiful son, who’s been serving our country. This photo, is why I’ve been sharing posts, asking everyone to join, share and donate. There’s a man of 23 out there. Somewhere. He should be at home now in Scotland on service leave for Xmas, but he’s not- he’s missing. His mum is exhausted, cold, desperate. She needs you. Everyone. Join the group, share the posts, and donate a quid if you can. Police resources are limited due to government cuts. SULSAR, the Suffolk area search and rescue, have been looking for Corrie for weeks. They led today.

“Look again, at the photo. Nicola. A mum, police officer, woman. Searching for her baby. Please help. Someone might see a post you share and have the answer to this mystery. Scenario we want is he’s safe and well but been held. Or he’s hurt but okay. Failing that, and, after this time, more realistically, he’s been knocked down and been left somewhere in the Bury St Edmonds area of Suffolk. There are different theories; different degrees of criminality. The worst we can all imagine. It doesn’t need to be said.

“Look at this photo. Corrie is her boy, on a night out who’s disappeared. It could be one of us parents looking for our child instead. You’d want everyone to help in ANY way. A tweet. A share. A pound.

“This photo could be you.”

💙 #FindCorrie

June 9, 2014

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC is now The Enemy Within

Filed under: crime,Old People,Women — - @ 9:00 am
Tags: ,

Another day, another judge in the hall of shame at The Enemy Within, my roll-call of men, women and madness bringing Britain to its knees.

Do make sure you take a look at the face of the poor elderly lady so abysmally served by this institutional do-gooder. You won’t be able to bring yourself to look for long but look you must.

Is this really how you envisaged serving Society during all those long, idealistic days poring over law books at university, your Honour?


June 4, 2014

This just in from the Parallel Universe…

Filed under: animals,crime,sex — - @ 9:00 am

Cow Manure Fetish Man Jailed For Five Years

March 12, 2014

So much more satisfying than ‘Beware of the Dog’

Filed under: crime — - @ 9:00 am

March 5, 2014

War on Terror may be due for re-branding

Filed under: crime,News — - @ 10:06 pm
Tags: , ,
English: Montage of the War on Terror. Svenska...

Montage of the War on Terror. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So this is where we are, as a line is finally ruled beneath the horrific tale of Lee Rigby.

Hiding, cowering in our own country.

“Scotland Yard issued the warning at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, West London, after learning that fanatics in the area supported the horrific killing. Police, who have stepped up patrols of nearby streets, told Army bosses: “We request that military personnel remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to avoid drawing attention to their status as members of the armed forces…

…the Ministry of Defence said it temporarily banned Army uniforms in some public places because of the threat.” – from the Daily Mirror

Which is, of course, music to the ears of the enemy in our midst. Personally, I think a better message would have been to insist that uniforms are mandatory off-base during the working week and will henceforth include a discreetly-placed firearm. Whatever happened to Col. Tim Collins‘ famous words, “The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.”?

The gung-ho approach isn’t my thing but I do believe there comes a point at which the mitherings of caution begin to make a casualty of morale. And when the War on Terror becomes a Retreat from Terror, Lee Rigby and his fallen comrades overseas have died in vain.

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