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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Probity and Stewardship

The cancer of management consulting and scabrous growth of something called 'HR' has corrupted and distorted  the essential tenet that no one should go into public service expecting to get rich. A pretence that private and public are equivalent has seen greed and self-interest justify the most egregious misuse of public resources. We have seen police bosses struggling to justify officers' credit card bills in the millions of pounds for lingerie, flowers, booze, lavish meals in top restaurants, gifts, electronics, trainers, bling and all the expensive rubbish of conspicuous consumption at the taxpayers' expense. Senior police bosses are resigning in the dozens as gifts, hospitality and inducements from the sleazy and dodgy are revealed. That Paul Stephenson can even have considered a £15,000 gift of spa time as anything but improper and compromising his integrity speaks volumes about the way in which the requirement for personal probity and stewardship of the common weal has been eroded at the most senior levels. 

And it's not only the top ranks of the police. Council and quango bosses such as the vile Andrea Hill formerly of Suffolk or the previous head of the Audit Commission typify the perverted sense of entitlement, narcissism, selfishness and avarice that seem to have become essential 'person requirements' for the top jobs in the public sector. And Parliament, the voice of the nation, has become emasculated, an object of derision and ridicule, and unable to comment and be heard, because our MPs have joined the troughing, abuse and abnegation of probity that characterises all the rest. The filth of unalloyed corruption from the exposure of Parliamentary 'expenses' will linger in the nostrils for many years to come. 

And so today we have the spectacle of the soiled and befouled police bosses and the filthily corrupt political class flinging ordure at each other in a scatalogical dogfight. The poor domestic burglary victim must be wondering this morning how 1,600 looters can be arrested within 48 hours and some 800 brought to court within 72 hours when all he has to show for his ransacked and violated home is a crime number and the vague promise that someone from victim support will phone. Clearly, the police can solve crime when they put their minds to it. But then to be told that those who pay for the police can have no say in operational priorities adds insult to injury; it leaves the message that both the police and political class will deploy full resources to meet a challenge to the central State, but will not do so to better serve those who pay their wedge. And this, too, betokens a failure of stewardship. Despite Hugh Orde's distorted and perverse world view, the police are not the guardians of the monstrous State but the servants of the poor and law-abiding.

Those who come out well from all this, the inspectors, sergeants and police officers who have spent the past week on the streets, exhausted, bruised, and with aching feet and calves, have every right to feel aggrieved that their achievements are claimed by both sides in the scatalogical dogfight. No doubt as their silver-braided capos return to fine-dining and playing politics in the better Victoria restaurants at the taxpayer's expense ordinary plods will join the ordinary public in wondering how on earth we're going to sort this mess out.  

Friday, 12 August 2011

A new style of Parliamentary reporting

Following the post below, I propose a new version of 'Hansard' to report on MPs' debates on the looting and criminality of the lower orders. It would go something like this; 
Gerald Kaufman (£43,564 expenses including 4 grapefruit bowls at £540) I condemn the naked greed of these criminals and their taking advantage of their pampered and privileged opportunities ..
David Wilshire (£160,532 expenses including £100k on a flat 15 miles from main home) My honourable friend has hit the nail on the head. This is not about ideology, it's sheer naked greed
John Healey (£84,562 expenses including £6,194 for renovating his kitchen) We should understand a little less and condemn a little more, Mr Speaker; only tough action against these feral youths will ...
Speaker (£146,780 expenses) Order! Order! Members must set an example to young people!
Somehow I don't think they'll go for it. 

Repulsive Hazel Blears dribbles ignorance

The repulsive expenses thief Hazel Blears - you may recall she made £80,000 through tax avoidance in 'flipping' homes, charged the taxpayer for an £850 television, a £650 mattress, a second television within a year for £913,  £200 for bath towels, £668 on bed linen, £439 on crockery and thousands upon thousands in mortgage payments, and who also charged us a full £400 a month for her food - has dribbled her ignorance in asking on Sky news why the rioting kids were not in school. 

Blears is still clearly too busy carrying out her own looting of the public purse for her foul and deeply stupid person to stand upon the same earth as the rest of us. 

More common sense on local policing

More common sense on local policing, this time from David Ruffley in the Telegraph;
Next, we need to create a new Police Reserve similar to the retained firefighters or Territorial Army. This would include the existing 18,421 special constables, and other public-spirited individuals, who would be paid for serving a minimum number of days per month. This reward – in cash or as a council tax rebate – could mirror that of retained firefighters, most of whom receive up to £2,821 a year, and an additional call-out fee of up to £12.88 per hour. Last year, the country employed 29,735 full-time firefighters and 11,899 auxiliaries – yet the auxiliaries cost only £130 million, out of a total cost of £1.64 billion.
One of the main attractions of a Police Reserve is that it would attract those with specialised skills: accountants could go into fraud squads, as special constables have in the City of London; telephone engineers and IT consultants in to cyber-crime units. Reservists could bolster neighbourhood policing teams, and provide the boots on the ground that will be needed in the event of more riots, and for the London Olympics. Crucially, this would make the police more representative of the public, giving new meaning to Peel’s dictum that “the police are the public and the public are the police”.
This is the sensible way not only to 'dilute' a growing cop-culture that is dividing the police from the rest of us - and costing them vital public support - but ensure that police remain local and not the State's private army. 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Petition reaches 91,000

The top-scoring petition on the government's e-Petition site calls for all welfare benefits for convicted rioters to be withdrawn; just 9,000 signatures away from the magic trigger point, it's raced past Paul Staines' hanging petition, which is languishing and static with just 20,000 signatures. 

On the face of it, it's pointless. Those convicted and sent to prison will lose benefits anyway, and those fined for minor offences either pay the fines out of benefit, or, erm, commit further offences to raise the money. But if it provokes a Parliamentary debate on special retributive measures against those who don't obey the law - or at least a particular law - it will be interesting. A Labour council has already threatened to evict any council house tenants convicted of riot offences, but presumably those convicted of white-collar fraud or sex offences are secure. And given that the 12 to 16 year-olds who were most apparent on the streets are neither benefit recipients nor tenants it seems that few will be touched by special retributive sanctions. 

It's clear there's no public mood to pour cash into the Afro-Carib estates this time. Harman may whine and pout, but Labour's asinine MultiKulti and moral relativism are recognised by much of the population as being directly responsible for the state we're in. If what emerges from the riots is not retribution against individuals but a new moral certainty, an admission that not all 'lifestyle choices' are either good or acceptable, a strengthening of support for the traditional family and a reaffirmation of the Anglo-Saxon work ethic, all the pain and loss may just have been worth it. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Cameron chooses State over Local. Again.

Cameron was no doubt briefed this morning on reasons why, out of 32,000 officers on the payroll, the Met police could only deploy 6,000 on Monday night. Even scaping up every traffic warden, PCSO and 1,500 men from outside forces the Met could only manage 16,000 on Tuesday. Not all of the remainder can have been on taxpayer funded factfinding missions to the Caribbean, lavishly spending on their Public credit cards. So there are answers here yet to find. But we can surmise that the PM was told that the police are at breaking point, that current numbers could only be sustained for a further 72 hours, that the attrition of minor injuries was taking 10% more police off-duty with every confrontation, and that law and order is on a knife-edge. He will have been offered three solutions;

1. Bring the armed forces in
2. Toughen the police response with baton rounds and water cannon - but at the risk of deaths amongst rioters
3. Empower local, civilian, policing - as BE says, magistrates can swear in as many special constables as they like. 

No prize for guessing that Cameron has embraced the State solution - water cannon - as first preference. At 24 hours notice. No doubt flown in from NI in the belly of a Hercules. 

The Turks who have organised themselves in North London, together with the white middle class in South London, are probably the most suited as the first of a wave of 'specials' to be sworn as both groups are predominantly formed of those without criminal convictions (yes, anyone with records would be excluded - I'd no more want a Millwall thug with GBH convictions in the line beside me than an Asian who'd been done for violent disorder in Bradford or Oldham. And this is why legal sanction and recognition for volunteer local policing is important.) 

But instead of advancing the Localism agenda in a giant bound, instead of returning power to communities, and instead of setting the direction for the reform of policing in England, Cameron has shirked and shied at the fence. No surprise there, really. But another wasted opportunity. 

Riot winners and losers

After a calm, quiet night with hardly any traffic to speak of on the street, and the feral scum at home wondering when the police knock on the door will come, the acres of print of excuse and opinion are rolling off the presses. But already the winners and losers are identifiable;

The Police - losers. Despite the undoubted bravery and commitment of most individual officers who were on the streets, a failure of command and of intelligence, of preparation and tactics is apparent. The behaviour of trigger-happy gun cops is again under question (I've always said that no officer who volunteers to carry a firearm should be permitted to do so). And Londoners may be forgiven for asking when we have 32,000 officers on the payroll why only 6,000 could be mustered for duty.  

The government - losers. Clegg was booed off and forced to escape in his armoured limo to jeers from the crowds; Cameron's minders didn't let him near the public for fear of similar scenes. Theresa May is an anodyne noise, utterly ineffective. Cameron has displayed his 'hysteria' again by recalling Parliament. No one has much confidence that the government is any use at all.

The law-abiding poor - losers. It's their neighbourhoods that have been trashed, their convenience stores that have been burned out. In the current economic climate, they'll stay burned out, shuttered and empty. These areas will be shunned by the few business investors still investing. They'll have to go further and pay more for their basic food and clothing. Shuttered and closed parades of shops will blight their areas as even the bookies, the fried chicken shop and the offie shut-up and leave.

Internet retailers - winners. Compared to a vulnerable, high-risk High Street shop, already with high levels of theft, 'steaming' and potential claims from traumatised staff, and therefore high-cost, the attraction of running an internet retail operation with a warehouse in rural Scotland will grow. The net-savvy population will reap the rewards; the webless will pay high prices for a limited range of goods from local shops. 

Council tax payers - losers. Under the 1886 Riot Damages Act it's local police forces - and local council tax payers - who pick up the tab for riot damage. (NB 'riot' and 'civil disorder' are not the same. If your store is torched by ten youths acting together, it's a civil disturbance. If there are thirteen of them, it's a riot). 

The Corporations - winners. Crapita, G4, Serco and the rest will do well out of the riots. Police bosses will retreat into 'managerial' responses, riot kit will be bought, prison and custody downsizing halted, new intelligence and command systems introduced. All ultimately futile - see next.

Local democracy - ????? As Simon Jenkins points out in the Guardian this morning, the long term answer is real power at local levels, but the temptation is for our wartime Whitehall to retrench with Statist solutions. Hard to predict which way this will go - the groudswell of local reaction, of the decent majority wanting to take control, wanting to have authority over their own policing may prove stronger than one may initially think. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

An atmosphere of quiet threat

On police advice, we closed two sites at lunchtime and sent the lads home. There is the acrid throat-stinging insult of major fires in the nostrils and the throat; two buildings have collapsed in the street and I'll bet these either side will need demolition. The forensic teams are out, and large areas are still cordoned off with tape, and PCSOs set to prevent entry. As I passed, a 6'6" African immigrant was trying to pick a quarrel, trying to provoke the 5'6" PCSO in front of him; the thought came unwanted to my mind "you don't even f-----g belong here, c--t,"  and I was amazed at my own racism. 

There is a line of plods in normal kit walking up and down the High Street between the (intact) Wetherspoons and the (trashed) Paddy Power. Just beyond their beat lean little clumps of feral blacks, hoods up, waiting. They trickle in, yapping on their mobiles, woolen scarves pulled around their heads. I feel violent. I make direct eye contact with a loping caramel youth and glare; he returns my glare with hate and hostility in his face. "C'mon then! C'mon then!" goes the thought in my mind, but he doesn't. I'm a big lad and I've got my steel toecap site boots on today. 

Another black on a bike is doing a recce, in shorts and tee but head in a balaclava. He spins about, clocking the plods, nods to his feral fellow-creatures, on a mission. The last late shoppers are waiting for the few buses that trickle through; the market stalls have all gone by 3pm, intact shops are closed and shuttered. The illegal mobile unlocking stall and it's square-shoed Albanian proprietor is still trading; no doubt he'll do good business. 

We're in lockdown and waiting quietly. The threat is palpable. At home I check my two 6kg extinguishers and two 1kg dry powder ones; puny and ineffective against petrol bombs. When they looted the pub they threw burning crates in, and then a 20l can of petrol on top. Tonight we'll be waiting - there's a feeling that the way it goes later tonight will be critical.    

How they used to end riots in London ....

"The army was called out on 7 June and given orders to fire upon groups of four or more who refused to disperse. About 285 people were shot dead, with another 200 wounded. Around 450 of the rioters were arrested."


Today is the day London's citizens must regain control of their city from the lawless scum - the police can't cope, and tonight promises further anarchy and lawlessness unless we act. If we had a PM with an ounce of leadership, he would ask us to register today at our local police stations, open the MOD depots and issue overalls, shields and batons. We don't need handcuffs; heavy duty electrical ties are very effective restraints. With sections of eight or ten citizens each under the command of a police officer with a radio link, we could be deployed in our home boroughs to defend lives and property from the feral scum. 

The time for Mr Nice Guy has gone. These thugs understand only brutality and coercion - so let them have it. Councils should be constructing barbed-wire fenced holding centres in the parks as we'll run out of police cells before long. No more rewards. No more left-wing fatuous nonsense about 'deprivation'. It's greed and criminality, pure and simple. And if it needs beating out of their woolly skulls with hickory batons, let's get to it. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

London ratepayers, not insurers, will pay for damage

I've posted this before yet asinine MSM reporters continue to make statements on air such as 'leaving businesses with a big bill'. So any journalists reading please pay close attention. Look at your insurance policy; go the exclusions and find the word that occurs between 'radioactivity' and 'terrorism'. Yep. Riot. All that damage - if caused by 12 or more persons in a group acting in common purpose - is riot damage and excluded from all insurance policies. So who pays? The taxpayer does. Under the Riot and Damages Act of 1886, claims (in London) are met in the first instance by the Met police - and are then reclaimed from council tax payers by an increase in the police precept. Except Council taxes have been pegged - so now something will have to close to pay for it, like a leisure centre or a community youth project - with the site probably sold to a commercial developer. And these monkeys think they're smart. 

Boris, FFS take their free Oyster cards away

The best analysis of all the gumph I've heard over the past couple of days comes from Demos' Mark Wind-Cowie, speaking on PM earlier today (abt 20 in):

"What lies behind the violence is a small minority of people from certain communities in London who have been brought up in a culture of criminality and anti-social behaviour; have been brought up and encouraged not to respect persons in authority, and these young people who are rioting across London are not rioting because of politics, are not rioting about economics - these are excuses we are giving them because we want some deeper meaning from it - they are rioting because they dislike the idea that they are subject to the same rules and same laws as everyone else and they resent the fact that they're being policed"

Those outside London may not realise that these young scofflaws are travelling from riot scene to riot scene courtesy of the London Council Tax payer; the bloody Mayor's given them all 'free' Oyster cards so they can travel easily from Tottenham to Enfield, Enfield to Lewisham and Peckham to Brixton. Without them they'd have to walk or pay fares - not nearly so much fun. And these 'impoverished youths, struggling against the bonds of poverty' have all seemingly got Blackberry phones, and are messaging eachother the latest TK Maxx or JD Sports to have been opened up to looters. 

Two immediate measures. (1) Boris, suspend all under 18s free Oystercards in the affected boroughs forthwith (2) Theresa, get Blackberry to suspend BBM services in the relevant postcodes for the time being. Let's bring the young scum under control. 

Ken, sod off and shrivel up

Ken Livingstone, the slurring drunk has-been who welcomed Jihadists and Islamic extremists to London, friend of terrorists, lunatics and nut-jobs, a man unable to ride a bicycle but who loved beyond reason long boozy lunches and chauffeured limos, has emitted a discordant whine in his efforts for someone to notice him as a potential Labour candidate for Mayor next year. On the LabourList blog, Livingstone blames 'Tory cuts' for the riots - no mention of that gurning idiot Brown's gross fiscal mismanagement that will take twenty years to correct, no mention that public spending levels and government debt are simply unsustainable. Like that other fool, Tuscan Polly, he imagines the nations' tax-take to be some sort of bottomless purse. If ever there was a man less fitted, less suitable, to lead London during a period of unprecedented turmoil, it's this irritating away-with-the-fairies haemorrhoid.

Ken, get back to your coffin, pull the lid back down and shrivel up. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Enfield: Twitter the tool of insurrection?

It's fascinating at the moment (around 8.20) watching the number of Tweets with the word Enfield in them suddenly accelerating to one a second or so when just a few minutes ago similar posts 8 hours old and 8 minutes old could be viewed on the same screen. Locals are posting pictures as they happen - as below. One only presumes that either the rioters don't smoke or have forgotten to bring their lighters with them. With a bit of luck the police will swamp the area and kill any further damage. 

The dawning of a new age

There are two cogent opinion pieces, both in the Telegraph, this morning that usefully summarise where we are. Peter Oborne catalogues the reasons for our dilemma and the failure of an adequate political response whilst Janet Daley reasons that State (or Super State) engineered redistribution of wealth has virtually killed the goose and that the initial inequality of outcome that is a product of true meritocracy is actually the only way to universal betterment. Neither pretend that the changes to come won't be arduous, painful, traumatic and turn the UK and Europe on its head, but both also offer a tantalising glimpse of a post-watershed world, the dawning of a new age. And it's as exciting as hell. 

And a note on the banks. UK banks are still holding, or hiding, some $10 trillion of truly worthless derivatives. The problem remains that not only do the banks not know who is holding what but neither do the markets. To base a recovery on a mutual self-delusion that the banks are solvent is insanity - certainly unsustainable. Confidence won't return to the banking sector until the banks crash, taking their junk with them, and are replaced by unencumbered institutions. An excellent analysis from the 92 year old Anna Schwartz published in the WSJ some time ago is really required reading. Governments are reacting as though this were a replay of the 30s, a liquidity crisis. It isn't. It's a credibility crisis. 

All governments are essentially reactive. Cameron was said recently to be furious (hard to imagine) at an analysis that recently demonstrated that Whitehall spent just 40% of its time on the government's agenda, with 40% spent on Brussels-determined matters and 20% on the mandarins' own agenda. But whereas Whitehall is either insulated from or impervious to the zeitgeist, politics isn't. The almost universal dissatisfaction  with the central State, its institutions and agencies coupled with a growing antipathy for the large corporations is enhanced by a growing yearning to redefine ourselves as a nation and a people, a yearning reflected throughout Europe and that manifests itself as nationalism, anti-immigration and cultural awareness. If parties want votes, they need to reflect the mood. 

And whether Christian or Humanist, our civilisation requires that during the coming turmoil we don't forget the corporal works of mercy; the sick must be cared for, the hungry fed, the naked clothed, prisoners comforted, the dead buried, the thirstful given quench, captives ransomed and the harbourless given safe port. But we're talking soup-kitchens and cast-off clothing depots here rather than a Welfare State that guarantees a new 42" plasma TV and Easyboy recliner for the indolent because the bloody Joseph Rowntree Trust defines these as 'basic human essentials'. 

Policing, too, must change. Those who have enjoyed an easy ride for so long will riot, burn cars on the streets, loot and thieve and we must prevail against them. Last night's events in Tottenham are just an amuse-bouche for the events to come. Men may even need to form themselves into local bands to share the burden of community defence; on a rota day we'll finish work, snatch a bite of supper and don our kevlar vest and helmet and grab our baton for a night on duty. This will change utterly the role of the full-time police. We'll all be 'specials'. 

But beyond all of this is the prospect of a new Britain, a nation reborn. To start with we'll be poorer. We'll be leaner. We'll make do with less. Human relationships rather than the latest consumer fads will prevail. But we'll have reaffirmed our control of our lives and of our national destiny - and this will bring riches to eclipse all the pain, all the endurance and all the loss. A new age.