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Saturday, 23 October 2010

East End murder gangs and Italian Republics

The two young gang members shot yesterday in East London, one fatally, are just two more casualties of the gang culture in London and even now will be remembered on 'Facebook' by fellow gun-toting gang members as 'soljers' whilst their single mothers (and I'll bet you a fiver they are) go on the TV news to declare them quiet, gentle kids who wanted to be landscape architects. 

The truly excellent London Street Gangs website maps with considerable accuracy gang territories, and describes gang histories, alliances and enemies; of the E13 gangs it says:
Stratford gang members have historically been concentrated mainly around Maryland (home of current gang Maryland Bloods) and around Stratford town centre. Stratford and Plaistow cliques have been allies for a number of years and often come together in conflicts against rivals from Hackney. One of the most infamous members is Carl Dobson, aka Crazy Titch, who headed music crew “Boys in da Hood”. He was given a 30-year jail term following the murder of Piff City member Richard Holmes in 2005 on the Chingford Hall estate. There has been an alliance between Stratford Mandem and Plaistow Mandem for some time now although gang names and cliques were less common until the mid to late 2000s. The main Stratford bactches currently are located around Broadway (including Focus) and Redbrick with the Plaistow batches located mainly around the Chadd Green estate (Portway). Other estates south of Stratford centre have their own batches of Stratford Mandem. Independent cliques linked to the Stratford & Plaistow Boys as allies are Thatched House Thugs. Whilst the older generation once had an alliance with Leytonstone, the current generation are in conflict with Leytonstone's Cathall and Acacia Block gangs and the current Maryland generation are no longer aligned to Stratford. 
The murder site, below, is surrounded by gang territories centred around Council estates. 

You know, in these descriptions I can't help but be reminded of Sismondi's 'History of the Italian Republics', that wonderful chronicle of shifting alliances, small battles and the strategies for power of very, very small statelets, some no more than an area of a mediaeval city with a couple of fortified towers. Nor are the manners of the Italian petty nobles much different from those of the East London murder gangs;
All that Gian Maria Visconti preserved of sovereign power was an unbounded indulgence in every vice. His libertinism would hardly have been remarked; he was chiefly signalized by the frightful pleasure which he sought in the practice of cruelty. He was passionately devoted to the chase; but such sports soon failed to quench his thirst for cruelty. The tortures inflicted on mute animals, not finding expression by speech, did not come up to his ferocious ideas of enjoyment He therefore resolved to substitute men for brute animals; and caused all the criminals condemned by the tribunals to be given up to him as objects of this inhuman sport He had his hounds fed with human flesh, in order to render them more ferocious in tearing the victims; and, when ordinary convicts were scarce, he denounced to the tribunals even the crimes in which he had participated, to obtain the condemnation of his accomplices: after which he delivered them to his huntsman, Squarcia Giramo, charged with providing for the ducal chase. He was at last, on the 16th of May, 1412, assassinated by some Milanese nobles.
The idea that the rivalries of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines resemble those of the Bloods and the Crips (yes, these are two of the major London gang factions these days) is not a new one, of course. But its setting in London rather than in New York is novel. Time for Andrew Lloyd-Webber, perhaps? 

Fake Charities; sorting the wheat from the chaff

Labour's corrupt and peculative grant support for fake charities whose only role in life was to, er, support Labour's political message has to end. Some of them realise this and are using all the crooked and distorted reasoning of the zealot to make their case, ably supported by the BBC. Alcohol Concern is a case in point. 

For as long as man has known the secrets of C2H5OH (I think I've got it right this time) and left various jars, jugs, goatskins, hollowed logs, buckets or bottles of the stuff around the cave / tree / hut / house, man's children have been unable to resist a secret try at the stuff. At the age of eight, the brother and I would from time to time, when the parents were absent, treat ourselves to a sherry and orange squash. At Christmas the glutinous level of the Bols Advocat in the bottle would drop inexplicably. And like Prince Charles, at ten I was fond of a drop of Kuyper's Cherry Brandy. None of which made me either an alcoholic or a case for health concern. From time to time, some children (and I never did) will illicitly drink enough to make them noticeably drunk. In the old days they'd be sent to bed to sleep it off and learn a lesson; today, they're likely to be delivered to the casualty department and put on the child protection register. 

And this is a serious point. Given the changing nature of society's response to intoxicated children, you can't rely on reported incidents and anecdotal evidence to prove diddly squit; to be academically honest, you need to look at the incidence of child mortality from alcohol poisoning over time. Better medical care over time doesn't make much of a difference to the stats; there's not much you can do once the alcohol is in the bloodstream, and by the time anyone administers an emetic to empty unabsorbed alcohol from the stomach, the child will probably have puked most of it out already. So the fact that no one is waving the stats at us makes me believe that such deaths are rare and certainly far lower then in the past. 

None of which prevents the fundamentally dishonest fake charity Alcohol Concern from presenting anecdotal evidence that ' a child as young as ten' has been treated by A&E, that those aged from 14 -18 are being taken to hospital for being drunk more frequently than before or that the explosive growth in drug and alcohol workers employed by the State during the Labour years has unsurprisingly led to an increase in the reported numbers of young people with drink problems over the same period, in the same way that recorded parking offences increase in proportion to the number of traffic wardens employed. Yet not one single mention about the only figure that matters or means anything - mortality from alcohol poisoning. 

And the point of this spurious and fatuous garbage from Alcohol Concern? They recommend increased State funding for, er, organisations such as Alcohol Concern. Below is an extract from the Department of Health's grant giving for 09/10; for some reason, I can't find their 10/11 grant table anywhere, but if it emerges that Cameron's government is continuing to fund this fakest of fake charities at my and your expense there should be shouts of outrage from every voter in the country. 

Friday, 22 October 2010

The BBC. It's what we should do.

A ray of hope rises in my heart that the licence fee freeze will prompt the BBC to do what it should be doing instead of wasting millions making programmes about lesbian bikers in Bristol - that is, show vintage British films. There are hardly any on TV these days, yet 1964 alone brought us Zulu, 633 Squadron, Guns at Batasi, Murder Ahoy! (Margaret Rutherford), Of Human Bondage, Night Must Fall, The Yellow Rolls-Royce and A Hard Day's Night. And many others. 

My BBC2 Austerity Dream Schedule would also include a Tom Sharpe season and at least fifty hours of documentary of blokes restoring stuff. Plus a daily half hour of Raksha Dave from Time Team visiting each one of Suffolk's 679 churches. 

What would you schedule?

Grapefruit knife crime

This is a grapefruit knife. It's made of thin, flexible steel and if you tried to stab someone, it would just bend. You could, if you're a Jihadist, use it to slowly saw a kufir's head off, but it would take about a day. It is, in short, about as dangerous an object as a teddy bear. Yet under 18s are banned from purchasing one, and if you're caught in public with one in your pocket you face at least 12 weeks in prison

A Judge has decided that it falls within the dictionary definition of a 'knife' as "a cutting instrument, consisting of a blade with a sharpened longitudinal edge fixed in a handle". This is the law at its asinine worst. No excuse. 

Labour's campaign to keep the poor poor

Freeing Labour's five million Welfare slaves from the heavy chains of their captivity was never going to be either painless or easy. That something like a tenth of our people have been condemned to a hopeless prison of hand to mouth subsistence, grinding disregard, short lives and poor health is a matter of shame for this nation, yet all Labour's bombastic rhetoric is nowt but the bawling of the Slavemaster eager to herd the hopeless flock. Labour want to keep the poor poor; Cameron wants to free them from poverty. That's the honest and fundamental difference between the parties. 

Idleness breeds a terrible dependence on the Almsgiver, and when the hand that feeds is the central State, idleness on a massive scale creates a population cohort who will surrender freedom, pride, liberty and aspiration to maintain their direct dependent link with the State. Like that black dog Rousseau, Labour strives for a direct vertical link between the overweening State and every individual citizen, and with five million Welfare slaves they achieved it, at enormous personal, social and economic cost. 

This is why I think IDS' Welfare reforms can't succeed unless he takes on Frank Field's ideas of localising Welfare, and that rather than some grand national scheme run from the DWP true salvation will come from the State devolving Welfare altogether to the level of the Parish and the Ward. Not only will the poor be better done by, they will become visible, freed from the blanketing darkness of State anonymity, and with that visibility will return pride and self respect. Localised Welfare will also break for ever Labour's slave chains that bind the poor to the State. Resources will be better targeted, the poor will be assessed as individual people, fellow citizens, not the classifications of a Soviet bureaucracy. Idleness, squalor, ignorance and disease will be hunted and rooted out. 

Now is our chance to effect the greatest democratic change in Britain since universal suffrage, to bring back millions of lost souls, fellow citizens, to the participatory fold, to foster aspiration, regain pride and self respect and play a full part in the economic recovery. Don't let's blow it.   

Thursday, 21 October 2010

UK: 19% spending cut, EU: 6% spending rise

As the coalition austerity budget laid out how 19% was to be trimmed from public expenditure, the EU announced a 6% increase in its own budget. Our 'contribution' - and this is clearly the wrong term, for this is not an office whip-round but rather a brutal extortion racket run by a crooked cabal of untouchables - is set to rise from £8.3bn to £9.2bn. If our 'contribution' had instead been cut by 19%, what would it have paid for?

A cut of £1.6bn would pay for 64,000 extra squaddies, or alternatively two or three additional infantry battalions plus retaining Harrier jets for the carriers. It would have stopped the closure of magistrates courts that will leave just two courts to serve the whole of Suffolk. 

But no. All this and more will pay for more Eurocrats on fat packages, more luxury travel and champagne receptions for the nomenclatura, for deeper troughs no doubt of exquisite Italian design in which Brussels can thrust its collective snout. It's inequitable. It's insufferable. It stinks like rotten Mackerel.  

The Gestapo used to establish themselves in the most iconic buildings in their conquered territory, buildings that were once adorned with national flags. Just so has the EU now completed an expensive refit of the old Tory party HQ in Smith Square and the EU rag now hangs like a Nazi banner where once flew in the breeze our own proud flag. If some munificent Act of God were to raze the building to a flaming pyre and its hateful rag with it both Smith Square and London would gain. 

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

This is choice

No commentary, just an invitation to recall in the two images below the freedom we've so foolishly lost;

The curse of Can't Do

I'll comment on the cuts later today, but they won't be enough. They won't be nearly enough. We need to cut about 10% of GDP, which, together with a rise in GDP as the economy recovers of say 5% will reduce Labour's criminal tax burden from 48% of GDP to 33%. And a great part of the difficulty in scaling back tax-funded services is the Socialist legacy of 'Can't do' that now pervades every aspect of our society. I alluded to this in the post below, but it has a serious point. You see these people, the Guardianistas, honestly believe that only 'trained' people can read Dryden, and recoil in horror at the idea that people like Elby should just pick a book up from a shelf and make up his own mind about what it 'means' without the benefit of State orthodoxy and sanctioned analysis. Both Henry VIII (in later years) and Bloody Mary had the same feelings about the Bible in English; to possess one was to buy a ticket to the faggot pile. The Guardianistas are the natural inheritors of the Inquisition and the Henrican terror networks, who would preserve such things to their own priestly caste lest heterodox opinion challenge their power. 

A century ago Britain's working class were doing it for themselves. They had strong local networks based on kinship and communitarianism, they organised their own welfare with insurance and friendly and provident societies, they employed doctors and teachers. Books were expensive, and advanced learning rationed to the better off, but the publishers Dent launched a series of books called the 'Everyman Library', cloth bound, cheaply printed in DuoDecimo, that brought learning to the shelves of every cottage. For me, my old 'Everyman' books symbolise the brief flowering of endogenous British working class culture before the threat was challenged, and the flowering cut-off by the 1911 National Insurance Act and everything that followed that emasculated this class and pushed them into Welfare slavery. It was compulsory, top-down, 'Can't do' on a national scale. 

We won't get down to 33% of GDP by allowing a few middle class housewives to run the village hall. We need to rediscover fundamentally the strength and self-sufficiency still buried deep in British men and women of all classes, and cultivate it as we have never grown anything before. Give us real tax breaks if we do it ourselves; if we employ our own policemen, cut our council tax. If we employ our own GPs and run the surgery, cut our income tax. If we run the primary school, cut our national Insurance. Not nationally, by a minute fraction of a percent, but locally, by tens of percent. The State will wither on the vine.   

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Dryden will survive the cuts

I once had a temp who could have become a permanent staff member had she possessed just the minimum of gumption; when invited to get to know a simple software application she hadn't used before she pleaded she 'hadn't been trained' and was utterly unwilling to move outside her comfort zone. The idea that you can't use an application without formal training came to mind this morning as I read Pri Gopal's pleading piece in the Grauniad. Without arts courses at Uni, she says, we will as a culture forget all about Dryden. 

By education most have been misled; So they believe, because they were bred. The priest continues where the nurse began, And thus the child imposes on the man. Beware the fury of a patient man, either be wholly slaves or wholly free, for they conquer who believe they can. 

Monday, 18 October 2010

Holloway? No way!

Insert here the usual condemnation of cheating scum, benefits scroungers, welfare crooks; for judgement is in on 'Baroness' Uddin, the leader of a Labour crime gang who fleeced Britain's taxpayers of millions in fraudulent claims. Convicted of personally stealing over £125k, Uddin was today sentenced to, er, stand in the corner for a bit while she pays the stolen money back.  

Screws at Holloway Prison are said to be disappointed at missing the chance to keep the thieving scum locked on the 'Muppet' wing for five years, but hey, this is the Political Class here. 

Multiculturalism nothing but Apartheid

As I have said many times before, Multiculturalism is nothing but Apartheid in a pretty frock. There is no room for 'separate development' in Britain, and full integration with our historic and Christian based culture is the only sure way to avoid problems. Now, it seems, Chancellor Merkel agrees: 
Multikulti, the concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it has utterly failed. We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity, that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here.
The Jews have got it absolutely right. I mean, when was the last time you saw a synagogue? They exist of course, but discreetly tucked away, not in your face. And most successful Jews are as English as English can be. Jews have learned that integration is the way out of the shtetl. In return, our culture has absorbed and adopted as its own many facets of Jewish culture, becoming enriched in the process.

The Islamic challenge to our western belief system may even be prompting the development of a third Enlightenment here in Europe, in which Christianity becomes less a religion than a cultural reference point, not a matter of faith but a matter of identity. The young can already wear the cross of Christ as costume jewellery without a hint of self-consciousness, and in the anecdote about a shop assistant's question - "Do you want a plain one or one with a little man on it?" - may lay the future. 

Commercial property not a good place to be

The Cuts are set to hit property investors at all levels, both north and south. Those who have ventured into the buy-to-let market to make a killing from excessively inflated Housing Benefit rent levels are going to catch a cold as the coalition brings down the rental ceiling and the benefits cap will tend to force families from big houses in London and the south-east. At the same time, the abolition of quangos and public sector downsizing is going to free up large chunks of commercial office space across the country. 

Whilst the HB changes will hit hardest in the south, the vacant office space is set to depress commercial markets in the north; government offices in London take only 5% of  office floorspace, but this rises to 40% in Manchester. Or to look at it another way, Labour's creation of a Stalinist central command State in the north and north east has also distorted all the markets that matter - labour and property - and their adjustment back to equilibrium levels is going to hurt. 

As this will all impact on construction output, which earlier this year was the key driver of GDP recovery, Cameron may need to consider upping investment in infrastructure schemes if the recovery is not to falter.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Cameron's Fake Charities dilemma

Labour abused the charitable sector as it abused every other aspect of public life - corruptly, cynically and for pure party political ends. It poured millions upon millions of tax money into fake charities whose sole aim was to support Party policy. Whenever a Labour minister wanted to do something both pointless and unpopular - say reducing town centre speed limits to 15mph - he would first arrange for a tame fake charity to hit the press and airwaves with the appropriate scare stories, demanding government action. The minister would ensure they had sufficient resources to make the media impact required. And so under Labour a whole raft flourished of fake charities advocating central State intervention, control and regulation, nannying, redistributionism and promoting the unequal preferment of Labour's client voter groups, and all paid for by the taxpayer. Take a look at the accounts of some of them; 95% funding from government departments and the lottery is hardly unusual, with another 4% from 'commercial activities' and scarce a single pound from donations, subscriptions and legacies. As fake as fake can be.

Easy, you say. Just effect a blanket ban on a single penny of our taxes being paid to charities by the entire public sector. They must live or die by public subscriptions, legacies and donations alone. Except that this would also destroy the increasing importance of the 'third sector' in designing and delivering public services in a very tax efficient way and with little long term liability to the taxpayer; and no payroll liabilities at all. 

And this is Cameron's dilemma; how to cut-off the truly fake charities at the knees whilst ensuring that, say, a neighbourhood not-for-profit group that takes over some of the local council's functions, and needs some part of that council's budget to do so, can function. To be frank, I don't think any politician can be trusted with funding quasi-autonomous 'voices' - the temptation is just too great to push money at friendly voices and withhold it from those critical. And these bodies are not democratic, not elected; they are self-selecting. They have no legal or democratic legitimacy. But such arrangements are currently at the heart of Tory policy, which makes me uneasy. We can't just stand by and permit Labour corruption and tax theft to be replaced by Tory corruption and tax theft. 

There is, of course, a 'third way' for the 'third sector' to steal the ghastly political jargon. And that is to allow new democratic, elected, legitimate and tax-levying bodies at the level of the ville and commune to develop, within strict financial limits, with a reduction of say £3 in council tax for every £2 taken by the new bodies for all those resident in their area. They will be run by the same people whom Cameron has identified for the transfer of functions, but be beyond Party control or whim. And this will truly be the big bang Localism we need to do more with less.