Notepad on Life

May 22, 2018

Two hard truths about going soft on dope

Filed under: drugs,Law and order — - @ 12:30 pm
Tags:
shallow focus photography of cannabis plant

Photo by Michael Fischer on Pexels.com

Given that the ‘War on Drugs’ seems to be drifting as aimlessly as ‘Austerity‘, I’m happy to cock an ear and an open mind to any argument for an alternative approach. I have two quibbles, however, with Ben Ramanauskas’ suggestion that It’s high time the Tories backed legalising cannabis.

Starting with this:

“For a start there is the sheer injustice of it all, with a disproportionately high number of young people and people from ethnic minority backgrounds who are convicted of cannabis-related offences.”

Unless Ramanauskas has evidence that a significant number of those convictions arrived as the result of evidence-tampering or frame-ups, then this is a horrible misuse of the word ‘injustice’. If someone’s caught bang-to-rights, then his youth, gender and ethnicity are mere details. They mightn’t help an idealist narrative but that doesn’t make their owner’s conviction unjust.

Secondly, for all the author’s advocacy on behalf of “Freedom of choice and autonomy over one’s own body” as “fundamental principles of a liberal society”, the smoking of cannabis isn’t a self-contained exercise. Whether we like it or not, it embraces those of use who have to walk through bus stations and other public areas where cannabis users, no doubt emboldened by the legal flux that currently ‘governs’ their narcotic of choice, have already been lighting up for some time. It extends to those of us who find ourselves living next door to them, separated from their fug by brick walls that are more porous than we might wish.

For those of you still to be exposed to the aroma involved, imagine a 10ft-high pile of used underpants, left to fester for an hour beneath the midday sun, before someone tosses a lit match onto them. How desperate for solace a person has to be to immerse himself voluntarily in that dense, sour stench, I don’t know, but it’s for this reason that I hope its devotees have to look nervously over their shoulder for some time to come.

Contrary to what Ben Ramanauskas thinks,  it’s not just about them.

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April 7, 2018

Showing police choir the door, opens one to extremists

Filed under: gender,Law and order — - @ 12:57 pm
Tags: , ,

pexels-photo-532001.jpegWe already know that political correctness kills. This week it was also found guilty of wasting police time.

No doubt there are parts of Derbyshire going down the Swanee where law and order is concerned, as there are in most counties, yet give Chief Constable Peter Goodman the merest whiff of a right-on ‘crime’ taking place and all the boring conventional felonies can wait.

Goodman found time to inform Derbyshire Constabulary Male Voice Choir that the police were severing all ties with it because of a word in its title. You can probably guess which one.

“[choir] Members say they have been left ‘heartbroken’ after claiming Chief Constable Peter Goodman told the choir that he wanted them to become a mixed voice group.” reported the Derby Telegraph.

“…Mr Goodman said the 62-year-old choir could not keep Derbyshire Constabulary in its name.”

Now, had he severed ties because the choir’s only link with the fuzz was to use a police station for rehearsals and because none of its members are serving police officers, I’d be more inclined to congratulate the Chief Constable for sensible housekeeping. I’m not at ease with the fact that choir members were allowed to wear police uniform while performing. People die in police uniforms: they have no place being used as stage props.

Nothing so sensible, it seems. In return for a grand title and good salary, Peter Goodman has signed up to a liberal Establishment, and as the clichés tumbled forth while he explained his decision, you could hear his pound of flesh being duly handed over.

“We are an equal opportunities employer and we are committed to having an organisation where there are no enclaves where people from different backgrounds cannot go.

“We need to represent our communities in every aspect of our public presence. Having a male voice choir representing the organisation is incompatible with this…”

Even now, I might have gritted my teeth and stood with him, had he produced evidence of numerous complaints being made by women wanting to be part of the choir and being told where to go. Proof that this was a real problem, in other words, and not merely a manufactured one.

How many people have actually been upset by the choir’s demographic seems the million-dollar question, yet no-one appears to have asked it. The closest I can get is a quote from choir chairman Kevin Griffiths, saying that no women have asked to become members of the choir in its history.

If that’s so, then this is where a rolling of the eyes gives way to outright exasperation. While law and order crumble in this country, senior police officers are fixing problems that may not even exist, in order to buff up their ‘gender’ credentials. In this case, in a Force which reportedly has the highest gender pay-gap in the country. I doubt that’s something you can lay at the Chief Constable’s door, but even so, there’s talking the talk and then there’s walking the walk…

Sadly, none of this stopped Peter Goodman doubling-down with the nonsense as he strove to defend his decision. I can be scathing of my country, but when you start piling on with the breast-beating as he did, you enter the realms of pathetic self-loathing.

“Speaking quite frankly, Derbyshire Constabulary does not want to be represented by a group made of exclusively men, almost exclusively older men like myself, and exclusively white males because that’s not what kind of organisation we are,” he said.

We all know what he’s trying to say, of course, but implying that your country’s primary population demographic should hate itself for being so is not the way you go about it. More than that, it is dangerous.

There are far-right elements in our land who will outwardly rage at Goodman’s comments, while inwardly feeding off them. They live for the siege mentality – ‘strangers in our own land’, persecuted, marginalised.  His foolish comments feed their foolish thoughts, at a time when we could do without both.

For that, Peter Goodman takes his place in The Enemy Within.

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 bristolpost.co.uk 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: , ,
4304406602_8b9bcb35de_z

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’.

 

August 27, 2014

Rotherham child abuse scandal – we’ll never tame the culprits until we crucify their accomplice

Filed under: Kids,Law and order — - @ 11:09 pm
Tags:

If you believe that the measure of a country is how it tends for its most vulnerable members, then you may consider yourself tragically spoilt for choice when trying to identify the money quote in yesterday’s appalling revelations concerning Rotherham’s betrayal of its children.

  • “Around 1,400 children were sexually exploited in one town over a 16-year period”
  • “…in more than a third of these cases the youngsters were already known to agencies”
  • “…children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone”
  • “They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated”
  • “…girls as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.”
  • “…no council officers will face disciplinary action”

Allow me, however, to suggest this as the successful candidate:

 ‘The report said: “By far the majority of perpetrators were described as ‘Asian’ by victims.”

But, she said, councillors seemed to think is [sic] was a one-off problem which they hoped would go away and “several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist”.

She said: “Others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”‘

I don’t know where the authorities are when it comes to bringing the perpetrators of these wicked deeds to justice but I do know that we have their chief accomplice in custody for questioning.

Almost one and a half thousand children violated and with heaven knows how many of them, there is a case to answer that political correctness ran interference for the culprit, with harsh reality playing second fiddle to a party line that decrees not even child-rape trumps racism on a scale of improper conduct.

If this is true, how many Britons would honestly be surprised? This kind of rigid, terrified group-think has begun to typify our nation the way that cricket once did.

At the risk of going all Thomas Jefferson, I think it is high time we declared some truths of our own to be self-evident.

That telling the truth is not hate speech.

That reality is not to be tucked away in the shadows for fear of upsetting someone’s la-la land narrative, but is to be brought out into the brightest light and assessed and acted upon in a way that is right, objective, and grown-up.

That when a child is in imminent danger of being sexually traumatised, leftist niceties rank some way below the price of eggs on a list of related priorities.

And that if you really want to further racial cohesion, you might like to placate a whole lot of British Sikhs and Hindus by spelling out precisely what you mean by ‘Asian’. I understand it’s something of a bugbear.

It’s a long road back for Rotherham but if yesterday’s events finally see the cult of PC take its first tentative steps in a long walk off a short plank, some good may yet come of this wretched tale.

Last week, I read how a compatriot of mine may have sawn the head off an American journalist, and I thought it would be a long time before I felt so embarrassed to be British.

Turns out it was seven days.

September 6, 2013

The Maldives – another crappy day in paradise

If this Amnesty International text I received wasn’t so serious, you’d be tempted to laugh at the lunacy of it all:

“MALDIVES – After action from people like you, 15-year-old rape survivor will not be flogged for ‘fornication'”

Enjoy your holiday.

July 2, 2013

We don’t like to talk about it – an open letter to the British Home Secretary

Dear Home Secretary,

I write to add my voice to those of the many people angered by your decision to ban American anti-jihad campaigners, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from these shores.

That people who trade in words and ideas can be kept out of the same land that takes forever to expel Islamists who openly campaign for the destruction of our way of life would be baffling enough but on top of this, I believe the rationale behind your action is flawed.

For if expressing views that “foment…terrorist violence” or “foster hatred” is enough on its own to justify exclusion (the question of how valid such views might be does not even warrant consideration, I notice) then the gameplan is clear for anyone who objects to inconvenient truths being told or too bright a light being shone upon his ideology.

Slaughter a soldier on the streets of London. Blow up a tube train. And watch the British Government do your all your media management for you: suppressing anything likely to provoke you in future and allowing you to continue moving silently in the shadows.

If someone chooses to react violently because of discussion, you go after the violent. You don’t close down the debate.

A free society is never easy, I know. Voices get raised in the marketplace of ideas and making sure everyone stays peaceful takes time and effort. That is the price we have to pay, however, because the alternative – a land where debate is silenced – is unthinkable.

Sadly, I believe you took the ‘anything for a quiet life’ approach in making your decision. Rent-a-mob grumbled loudly in the corner and you blinked. In doing so, you revealed the most tenuous of grips on what democracy entails and made this country look gutless and shallow.

……………………………………………………………………………..

[Petition protesting the decision now 6,000-strong at time of writing]

May 27, 2013

Cavalry arrives to counter Woolwich fall-out’s most ludicrous quote

Boris-johnson

Boris Johnson (Photo: Wikipedia)

It should be the soundbite that ensures Boris Johnson is allowed nowhere near high office ever again.

‘One obvious point, it is…also wrong to draw a link between this murder and British foreign policy’

If Johnson isn’t being the canny politician and saying something he knows isn’t true here, then he is even less bright than I thought he was. Thankfully, two correspondents have now put him in his place.

“Yet anyone who dares to use the words “western foreign policy” in this context is bound to be speedily shut up by the likes of Paxman and co. This isn’t because they have never heard of drones and Guantánamo. They are surely aware of the countless thousands of innocent civilians dispatched to their graves by western operations in the Arab world, for whom there are no floral tributes piled on the London pavements. It is rather because they imagine, in their muddled way, that to explain an event is to excuse it. Those who point to the dead of Iraq and Afghanistan are surely doing so as a devious way of justifying the slaughter of a young soldier outside his barracks.” – Terry Eagleton, The Guardian

 

“Last but not least, let us not forget the broader context of this mess and the responsibility of one particular war crimes suspect who is still free and roaming the world, making loads of money: Tony Blair.

We do not normally quote from newspapers in China, the world’s most active imperialist power, but the Chinese press hit the nail on the head by reminding us that the UK had turned itself into a target of revenge by actively supporting US-led military actions abroad. In the words of Guangming Ribao: “The UK has been actively involved in the US-led regional conflicts and acted as a vanguard to become the second target of revenge after the US for Islamic extremists.”

Now everyone, except the chief culprit, is reaping the harvest.” – Redress

We would have still faced terrorist threats even without the Charge of the WMD Brigade but I doubt it would have been anything like the pronounced menace is it is today. You wanted a ‘legacy’, Blair? Here it is.

November 28, 2012

When penal systems go soft, the criminal heart grows harder

Filed under: crime,Law and order — - @ 10:51 pm
Português: Uma cela moderna em Brecksville Pol...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Considering the uninvited guests she was inadvertently entertaining, she may be relieved that she was in a hurry when she interrupted a night on the town to dash home and collect her mobile phone.

In and out without switching on  a light, she made her way into her lounge, grabbed the phone from the table where she remembered leaving it and left. In the darkness behind her, the sound of exhalation was probably audible.

When she came home for good later that night and flicked the switch, she was met by chaos. They had turned the place over good and proper. And because going where you aren’t invited and stealing what isn’t yours wasn’t enough for these moral bankrupts, they had paused to twist the knife on the way out.

‘Good job you didn’t turn the lights on earlier…’ said the note on the table.

Next time you’re being invited to accept that giving prisoners voting rights and most of the comforts of home improves us as a nation, you might remember this story. Today’s criminals do not take such compassion as a prod to their conscience but as their cue to take a yard rather than an inch and to spit on whatever they deign to leave us with.

Today’s criminal has upped or lowered his game, depending on whether you stand with him or against him. Where once he dished out a good hiding, now he kills. Where he was once content just to rob, now he mocks his victim into the bargain.

And no-one eggs him on more than those who would appease him.

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