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Saturday, 19 June 2010

Race, crime and sheep

The Justice Department's recent publication of figures breaking down arrests, convictions and the like by race contains few surprises.

One table that caught my eye was the number of arrests per 1,000 population; Northumbia and Cleveland with 45 and 44 were the highest, Wiltshire and Surrey with 15 and 16 the lowest. Must be the sheep.

There is an unfortunate unspoken rebuke hanging over the many tables of figures showing the higher arrest and conviction rates for black persons. Unfortunate because it's wrong. The entire set of tables are missing data on the one, single factor that would make sense of the seeming inconsistencies - whether the offenders grew up with their biological fathers, or not. Some 57% of Afro-Carib kids grow up without their father, a far higher proportion than the white population. We know that this carries a higher risk of contact with crime, either as a victim or as a criminal. We'd therefore expect blacks to be more criminal than whites as a result, and lo, the figures show this to be the case.

The real crime is amongst those who would deceive us that the system is racist, rather than admit that the bastardy rate amongst the blacks is the proximate cause for the anomaly. Being black doesn't predispose you to criminality; not growing up with your real dad does.

Friday, 18 June 2010

MSPs vote for deep fried Mars Bars

Scots taxpayers are today considering the decision by MSPs to keep open a heavily subsidised posh restaurant in the Scottish Parliament which they never use. The MSPs themselves prefer chips, pies and pizza from the staff canteen, leaving the linen napery and polished cutlery gathering dust, the pigeon breast and Borzoi bean salad untouched and the fine wines eschewed for Irn Bru.

Clearly the following addition to the a la carte menu is required;
Desserts -

Prime hand-bought Mars Bar deep fried in tempura batter served dusted with cocaine sugar and a coulis of pan-reduced Buckfast wine
That'll bring them in.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

RIP Michael Wojas

Well, it was Wojas' funeral today. 53. Cancer. And that's really the end of the Colony Room Club.

My Colony time was almost wholly during Michael's era of stewardship, and partly accurate obits have appeared in the Telegraph, Guardian and Times. Which I suppose is sort of good. Things got very confused towards the end; Michael would squat comfort-rocking on Murial's old chair with a tumbler of Port beside him pretending to be unaware of what was going on. The dodgy lads doing crack out by the coat-stand and the sex in the toilet were one thing, but when someone used a mobile in the bar without being flung down the stairs you knew something was seriously awry. Now it's gone I can happily reveal it was one of the very few places not to have implemented the smoking ban. You were supposed to stand by the back window, but the place was so bloody small it made damn all difference. Smoking, fine. Drinking truly industrial quantities of alcohol, fine. Sex in the toilet, fine. Using a mobile phone, crass and unforgivable. That was the Colony.

My favourite time was the arse-end of the afternoon before fivish when the club would be almost empty and Michael would stand gazing out of the window across Dean Street to Piss Alley; he was captured exactly in that pose in one of Alyson Hunter's prints which I have and value greatly.

And now I shall have a drink or two.

And now Horsley's gone too. Sebastian always brightened up any room and was both affable and witty. What more can one say. One moment of farce came in the basement of a pub off Oxford Street when we Colony Room members were voting on a new committee. After Horsley launched an impassioned speech in favour of one option, a small official voice spoke "Sebastian, you're not a member". And neither was he, it turned out, despite having been a fixture in the club. But that was Sebastian all over, never concerned with the trivialities.

Ladies Day

It was an ex of mine who brought it to my attention as she overheard a pair of elegant young women dressed to the nines and off to Ladies Day.

"They're faux" she whispered "listen to the way they say ass-cot. If they belonged at asct they'd know how to pronounce it."

I put it down to sour grapes, but make of it what you will.

Von Rumpy cruising for a slap

He may have all the looks and charisma of a back-street abortionist, but rumpled Herr Von Rumpy is a Federast to his core. He's trying to get a measure through that would oblige the UK government to submit its budget for approval to, er, Von Rumpy, before the Chancellor announces his measures to the House.

As Cameron flies out for the EU summit he might ponder the consequences if Sir John Simon had to submit his budget for Herr Ribbentrop's approval in 1938.

"Er, Herr Von Ribbentrop, I see you've halved our War Department funding"

"Ja. Europe is entering a new age of united peace and prosperity and such spending is not necessary"

"... and you're closing all our Mediterranean bases and withdrawing the Fleet from Gibraltar"

"Ja; a new Euro Navy under the flag of Chermany will take over these responsibilities"

".. and you're reducing the size of our fishing fleet by 80% whilst allowing Generalissimo Franco's trawlers to fish right up to our foreshore"

"Zeze fishes is European fishes! Gott in Himmel, you arrogant Englanders think you own even ze fishes! Chermany will show you! In future you will buy your own fish from Spain in the interests of the New European Order!"

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Who was Widgery and why did he lie?

Widgery, like the unfortunate Hutton, will go down in a footnote of history as bent inquiry chairmen, whitewashers, obedient to the political class rather than to truth and to honour.

He rose from a typical pre-war middle class family and as was more normal then did not go up to university but rather became an articled clerk and then solicitor in 1933. Obtaining his territorial commission just prior to the outbreak of war, he had a 'good war' as a gunner, where his 'administrative' skills were valued. He accumulated 'headquarters' medals including the OBE, Croix de Guerre and some Belgian order but the MC or DSO eluded him. He finished as a Brigadier.

After the war he upgraded to the Bar, and a combination of good luck, being in the right place at the right time and establishment toadishness secured him promotion, eventually to the job of Lord Chief Justice. It has never been suggested that he was particularly clever, or legally gifted. The most that commentators grant is that 'he was good at administration'.

His whitewash findings into Bloody Sunday, overturned by Saville, were no surprise to anyone.

He continued to sit long after dementia had eaten into his 'administrative' mind; wig askew, 'he keeps up a muttered commentary of bad-tempered and irrelevant questions – 'What d'you say?', 'Speak up', 'Don't shout', 'Whipper-snapper', etc.'

His lies and distortions were also responsible for decades of hatred and mistrust, and his whitewash report no doubt fuelled further violence in the Province and cost many lives.

Caroline Spelman is deluded

Caroline Spelman is seriously deluded if she believes that landfill is a bad thing. Clearly, she's gone native already, having abandoned her common sense to the mendacious nonsense whispered to her by her Federast civil servants. And she's even more deluded if she thinks people like me will ever collect food waste in slop buckets. Lewisham council's light touch on waste collection, weekly collection with recycling being voluntary, has made it very popular with the voters, though unpopular with Spelman's civil servants as it has the lowest recycling rate in London.

I hope Spelman realises that it's not compulsory to give your waste to the council. If mine starts any of that slop-bucket nonsense, I'll simply move over to incinerating any waste that will burn, and binning the rest in a single bin hired from one of the commercial firms, to go to landfill. Yes, it will cost a little extra, but worth paying for.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Rumpole is adults only

Well, I've reached the last episode of the DVD boxed set of Rumpole, bought at Easter for under fifteen quids. I notice it's currently classified as '12' but this is about to change - at least in Plymouth, anyway, where Rumpole will be strictly adults only stuff.

If Leo McKern's character merely dismembered his clients with a chainsaw, or enjoyed anal sex with members of the higher judiciary, no doubt all would be well and our children encouraged to watch. But Rumpole does something on screen more perverse by far; he smokes. He smokes in his room in chambers, he smokes in Pomeroy's Wine Bar, he smokes at breakfast in the Easi-Bite cafe, he smokes in the lobby of the Old Bailey, he smokes in prison visiting rooms and when he returns home at night he smokes in his own home too. On top of which, he drinks an 'unhealthy' amount of poor quality claret. And he has little time for the abstemious puritans with faces like day-old pollock who would have him stop eating meat, stop smoking and drink only elderflower cordial.

But it seems the anti smokists have created something that would have that old socialist rogue John Mortimer chuckling. It's termed 'smoking porn' and apparently features persons not necessarily naked but just smoking. It's something of a growing sexual fetish, appealing to those for whom taboo behaviour takes a sexual dimension. Classifying all films featuring smoking as '18' can only accelerate this tendency.

I'm glad I've got my Rumpole boxed set already; in future, shop staff will no doubt bestow that look of knowing complicity on the shifty little Onanists guiltily handing over Rumpole discs at the counter. And God only knows what unknown lubricity I will induce standing outside the station, cigarette in hand. It really doesn't bear thinking about.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Risk and safety are not antonyms

If Cameron, as reported, wants to look at the 'Health and Safety culture' and 'compensation culture' he needs to ensure that he looks in the right places. It could be that more than one area needs reform.

The compensation culture is primarily a product of the deregulation of the legal services market, under which lawyers were permitted to advertise for the first time. From this grew tele-market firms of ambulance chasers flooding the public with a simple message; if you've had an injury of any sort, it must have been someone else's fault, and we can get you compensation. Most claims will be made under the tort of negligence; that the other party had a duty of care, were sufficiently proximate, were negligent in the discharge of their duty and the plaintiff suffered loss and injury as a result. So everyone tripping over an upstanding paving stone sues the council, everyone slipping on a grape on a supermarket floor sues Tesco and so on. The tightening of the balance of liability under the tort is down to the higher courts making new law; they could extend the doctrine of contributory negligence to anyone not looking where they were walking, or extend the defence of volenti non fit injuria to anyone walking out of their own front doors into the big, dangerous world. The latter defence should at least be strong enough to protect the organisers of cheese-rolling events and suchlike from being sued by participating competitors who may break a leg chasing a Cheddar down a hill.

The second issue is the scaremongering around the H&SAWA. The relevant word in this legislation is 'work'. It is designed to protect employees from losing limbs in unguarded machines, being buried in unpropped trenches, falling from heights and so on. It's nothing to do with conkers falling on passing pedestrians. But it has an enforcement body - the H&S Executive - and guilty employers are fined heavily and sometimes jailed, so 'Health and Safety' is often used as a vague bogeyman warning with an implied jail cell at the end of it. The defence to anyone trying to stop anything 'on Health and Safety' is to ask 'Let me see your risk assessment, please', which brings us onto a third point.

You cannot carry out a meaningful risk assessment on any proposed innovation or activity in isolation of the risks we already accept. I have to make this point time after time at work and my greatest allies are canals and gas. You see, even though two to five drunk persons each year drown in canals, no one seriously suggests that all canal tow-paths should be fenced, and they remain, with no protective barrier between path and water, a triumph of common sense. And if you prepare a risk assessment for piping a highly explosive substance into every home in the country the use and control of which is given to completely untrained persons including the very young and very old that says anything other than that this is fine and dandy then you're a fool.

You see, under a risk assessment, the consequences of an event may be extremely 'high' - death, multiple deaths, serious damage and injury - but if the probability of it happening is extremely low than it's fine. The entire population of the West Midlands might all fall into the unfenced canals producing a human catastrophe on a holocaust scale, but because this is extremely unlikely to happen we can leave them unfenced. Too often, the improbable consequence overcomes good judgement and conker trees are cut down, hanging baskets are banned and every puddle in the public realm is encircled with a steel palisade fence.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

15% pay cut for public sector fat cats gets 90% 'yes'

It will probably take a quick piece of primary legislation to achieve, but cutting the wedge of Britain's public sector fat cats by 15% has come tops in a 'Mail' poll of budget measures. And an approval figure of 90% means we can be pretty sure that everyone in the country except the fat cats themselves would support such a measure.

I'll give it ten minutes before the Society of Local Authority Chief Officers or the Association of First Division Civil Servants come out with the bleat that such action will lead to an exodus. Sadly, of course, it won't. It would be nice if it did. Such people for the most part have nowhere to go, like my redundant friend from the BBC whose job title had absolutely no equivalent in the real world. If they do go, they'll end up training as farriers in Wiltshire or roof thatchers in Norfolk or something actually useful to civil life.

Animal cranks more dangerous than urban foxes

The peculiar stench of fox urine is a familiar morning smell for Londoners taking their morning cuppa out to the garden, and fox turds decorate the morning pavements, the creatures not yet having learnt to 'pick up'. Londoners are also finding the toll of general foxish destruction more of a problem than skateboarding teens, but unlike teens they have no fear of middle class householders gesturing 'Shoo!' out of their kitchen windows. And now to cap it all, the poor dears have drawn the lunatic moonbat wrath of the animal nutters down on their heads.

Whilst bristly little polyp Bill Oddie crouches for long hours in the bushes for a single glimpse of foxy on a green-tinged night image camera, our foxes run the streets until well after dawn; a young dog fox regularly trots across the road under my study window at 6.30 or so on his way to lay-up for the day. And they climb - something I'm sure I never saw once in Suffolk - leaping from shed roof to shed roof. As the train to the office runs through an embankment that's home to a warren of earths, entire foxy families lay out taking the sun, the cubs playing unconcerned within feet of the tracks.

With so many foxes in London, it's hardly surprising that the fish-are-people-too crowd of deranged and psychotic loons well known to country folk should pop up, threatening and abusing the mother of the twins 'mauled' by foxy. They'll be daubing her car in red paint next, or pouring petrol through her letter box. That's what they do to people who disagree with them.

So at the risk of driving the lamebrains to apoplexy, here's my solution. Back in the '70s the Ministry of Agriculture paid for each Coypu tail we turned in; I think it was two bob, or even half a crown each. Enough anyway to be a decent incentive to lads with access to a .410 and some ditches. Let them now offer the same incentive to London; a crisp fiver for each fox brush.

Londoners don't need hounds or rifles. Even crafty snares are unnecessary. Our foxes will gladly enter a cage trap trap baited with just a chicken wing from the Colonel's best southern spicy range, or some fragments of chilli-soaked kebab meat. Unemployed Afro teens can put their 9mms and Mac10s to good use. Somalis can re-learn their spearcraft. Lithuanian dypsomaniacs can throw beer cans with force and surprising accuracy. Jihadists can explode themselves amongst the fox earths.

Killing foxes is something I know that modern London will be very good at. And the rights loons may even find modern Londoners more of a challenge than rural housewives.