Saturday, 29 December 2012

How dare these Euverts pervert our police

Cameron is quite rightly under pressure to reject 135 Euro crime and policing laws in a British opt-out from Europolicing. The key term is jurisdiction; we're being asked to surrender our own jurisdiction over our own police to Brussels. For just as our criminal and civil law is founded on principles quite different from European Roman Law so are our police supposed to be. The plotting and fiddling by successive Home Secretaries since the 1960s, together with the perfidious and antidemocratic ACPOs malign influence, has sought to not only wrest control of the police from local to national level, but turn our police forces into a single, national force. The Police Act of 1964 started a process that we are only now beginning to reverse. 

The British people can only ever effectively be policed by a Peelean force; local, accountable and civilian in character. I'd guess some 95% of police activity is dealing with theft, burglary, vehicle offences, public order, minor drugs and public disturbances. The need for any kind of European 'intervention' or 'co-ordination' in any of this policing activity is precisely nil; it's small scale local stuff that's utterly routine to police. Neither, let's be honest, are we particularly anxious to have the power to extradite back here a Czech flasher or a Polish shoplifter who have gone back home. And our sense of fair play conditioned with a few centuries of buccaneering in our blood means that should a Brit make a successful 'home run' without arrest after flashing in the Algarve or shoplifting in Marseilles we consider it an injustice to extradite them. The Euros have never understood the psychology behind 'British Bulldog'.

For the tiny but potentially significant volume of serious crime and terrorism that we need to investigate and enforce at a national level, we already do. As we already co-operate with other police and intelligence services from around the world - not just Europe. So what is this European integration of policing all about? Even its most fervent supporters won't claim it will improve clear-up rates, reduce crime or make our streets safer, and it's a matter of record that anything with a Euro dimension automatically becomes less efficient, so it's certainly not about efficiency. Nope. There is one reason and one reason only behind this integration of Euro-policing - as a support to Euro Federalism. It is wholly political and has nothing to do with policing. 

So when Viviane Reding, an unelected Euro Commissioner who used to be a Luxembourg journalist, hammers Cameron for considering an opt-out from EU jurisdiction over UK policing you can be pretty sure we're doing the right thing.

And one final thing. Our police bosses are in desperate need of corrective training and discipline; they have forgotten who they work for, and have been deluded enough to believe they have a remit themselves to open a dialogue with the EU independent of their local democratic control. Ms Reding quotes UK police bosses as being 'horrified' at the prospect of an opt-out. Their view is not relevant - they must do as they are instructed by the British people. Any Chief Police Officer who doesn't understand this can get out now.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Botwulf

Back to Middle Earth and the Shire for the Christmas feast, to a feasting-hall well provendered by the sister-in-law. Few of the company were eaten by trolls. Which was nice. And so to the Boxing-day hunt moot and the largest attendance by supporters I've seen so far. A short talk from the Master, frustrated but restrained and loaded with social responsibility - a decent and honourable man who resisted any temptation at rabble-rousing or divisive rhetoric. Still, from the many comments and mini-conversations amongst the contagiously friendly crowd it was clear that Nigel Farage was the only politician who could have shown their face here with impunity. It was only a couple of hours and 1000 or so people but I think there were two results; one a recognition that loathing for the established parties was more common than not, and secondly the process of a collective recognition, as of a man joining his regiment, looking about him and thinking "well, these are the people who will be beside me in battle".

Botwulf or Botulph founded a monastery at Iken-ho in the age when Anglia was slowly turning from pagan to Christian, and when the land was periodically disputed between Angles, Saxons and Danes all with strong links of kinship across the North Sea a day and a part-day's sail away. I could write a paragraph here about the misguided ignorance of historians still seeking to identify the location of geographically fixed cathedra from this age, when the bishop would travel with the king and his court in his progress around the three or four royal burghs and the See would be wherever the bishop was. Anyway, when Botwulf died around 680 his body was moved to Burgh, a place much troubled by a water-troll. Botwulf's success when alive in taming such creatures at Iken-ho perhaps gave belief that the ability survived his death. And indeed he was at Burgh for fifty years before being dug-up and moved again, this time to the Abbey at Bury, and one hears no more of the water-troll, so it may have worked.

The sole surviving Beowulf manuscript dates from around the eighth century when the tale was set-down by a scribe at Rendlesham in Suffolk. The version he wrote down features Dane names, but in the oral original the place names and person names would have altered with the audience, only the mythical-poetic elements remaining constant. A hero from across the water comes to the aid of a king troubled by a monster, or two monsters, or a monster and a dragon. Magic swords are usually involved, as are marshes, feasting halls, warriors and princesses. And exactly like pantomime, these epic tales incorporate issues of current concern, so the 'snapshot' taken by the Rendlesham scribe incorporates references to both Christianity and paganism. 

Anyway, to Burgh in the pouring rain, safe in the brother's Disco, where we sat contemplating that fallow field to the north of the church all within an ancient Roman fort later used by the Anglo-Saxons, looking down to the valley and the flooded marshland to Grundisburgh, or Grendlesburgh. For here was indeed one of the Heorots and one of the Hrothgars of one of the versions of Beowulf, with a supporting cast of water-trolls and their mothers, gold sword hilts, buried treasure and miracles. And just a little bit of that old magic sparkled and into mind came a clear vision of the hunt and the supporters translocated here to this great fort; just for a few moments was this ancient place populated with spearmen and thanes, the clatter of harness and the thud of great horses. There is still a little magic here in Suffolk. 

The site of a Heorot; St Botwulf's church in the centre

Listen to us. We DO know best.

The jaw-jaw politics game is going right to the wire in 2012. With signs that the EU may still implode as a result of its own single-minded federastry, unelected 'dishrag' Herr Von Rumpy this week sought to start re-writing this potential historical outcome by blaming British Euphobia for any collapse. At the time of writing, 1102 furious comments from Telegraph readers say everything worth saying about the contempt in which this silly little man is held by the British public.

On 13th December I reported that Spain's bad-bank was set to launch to market some 89,000 homes and 13m square meters of building land, but that this represented just those holdings worth more than €250,000 that had been transferred from the good-but-bankrupt banks. Ambrose writes today of efforts by the bust banks to offload their residual property holdings before the bad-bank's portfolio hits the market; with a fall in value of 75% from 2008 levels expected, and a potential free-fall that could see some developments worth just 5% of their peak value, offering an attractive investment opportunity for any Germans brave enough to acquire holiday homes at the bottom of the market and proving that everything will sell if the price is low enough.

Meanwhile nearer home Bruce Anderson confirms what we all know already, thereby upholding the great tradition of hindsight exhibited by the MSM;
A generation ago, the populists warned that the abolition of the death penalty would lead to a sharp increase in the murder rate plus the proliferation of gun crime. They feared that if schools abandoned traditional disciplinary methods, many classrooms would become ungovernable. They were also afraid that in practice, comprehensive schools for everyone would mean secondary moderns all round. They were convinced that uncontrolled immigration would undermine the quality of life in our inner cities. They were equally certain that welfare payments which merely subsidised idleness would turn the welfare state into an ill-fare state and condemn its clients to demoralisation. They were perennially suspicious of the EU. To put it mildly, there seems no reason for those who held such views to prostrate themselves in repentance. Not that they are inclined to do so, which helps to explain the Tory party’s poor performance in recent elections: its failure to achieve its demographic potential in an increasingly middle-class society. A lot of potential Tory voters see little point in turning out for a party that persistently ignores their opinions, especially when they believe that they have been proved right.
In the days when the Tory Party formulated policy on the basis of a bottom-up information flow from hundreds upon hundreds of local Conservative Associations to Central Office they wouldn't have missed this. Now there's a new name for this old process - 'crowdsourcing' - which will no doubt be miraculously discovered by the party as a hip, modern replacement to policy wonk tanks and metropolitan gurus - but perhaps discovered too late to do the party any good.

And so as we drift towards a 2013 that few are anticipating with much pleasure we must ask again where are the politicians who will do justice to the wisdom of the people?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Whose family am I aiming at?

The army in Flanders in 1914 was still the regular professional army, serving soldiers and reservists who had seen service in India and the Empire, men whose training and fire-discipline at Mons had convinced the Germans they were facing machine guns rather than SMLEs. It is not surprising therefore that this was the cohort that co-operated in the Christmas truce, rather than the later Kitchener armies, for no one hates war more than a professional soldier. The Germans (as is usual) started it; they lit candles and sung carols in the front line trenches, their artillery refrained from firing. We responded in kind.

For a thousand years families in England have gazed into the flames of a Christmas fire with their thoughts reaching to their men gone to war; on Crusade in the Holy Land, somewhere in France, at sea, in Central Europe, the scented Empire, the Middle East. Afghanistan. And as those men's thoughts turn to their own families and firesides as they watch over their rifle sights, as John McCutcheon sings, they wonder whose families they are aiming at.

As my eyes scan the pixellated effect formed by hundreds of passport photographs of the fallen of the recent wars, with far too many boys amongst them, my heart finds it impossible to find the forgiveness for 'Bloody' Blair and his war-stained coterie that my head requires, and I must still swallow hard my anger and think instead of the Prince of Peace. Too many homes this Christmas will be missing a son, a father or a sister.

May we all have a peaceful and charitable Christmas.

   

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Andrew Mitchell is no angel

Chief Whips are not chosen for their sunny and helpful dispositions, humility, gentleness or Christian passivity. Neither are they renowned for their gentility of manner or general air of human forgiveness. The qualities a party leader generally looks for in his Chief Whip are not distant from those displayed by the fictional Malcolm Tucker; he must be an outgoing bastard not afraid to threaten, seize by the testicles, blackmail, bully, hound, plague and torment the party's backbenchers. Whips know which MPs are shagging persons other than their spouses, which are closet inverts, and which have their Dolphin Square apartments rigged with rubber, leather and the paraphernalia of deviant sexual habits. 

Mitchell's efforts at self-rehabilitation this week are therefore becoming a little risible; he's over-egged the wronged innocent to the extent that he's actually lost credibility. That sick-making kiss inflicted upon a young WPC was followed by leaked accounts from 'friends' at his disappointment that Cameron did not fully back him, and now a lachrymose and self-indulgent account in the ST today detailing his martyrdom at the hands of Plod. It's all just too much. 

The likely story is that Mitchell is a foul-mouthed little haemorrhoid with a short fuse who swore and cavilled when refused the use of Downing Street's main gate; this may not have included the words 'pleb' or 'moron', but was undoubtedly sufficiently offensive to upset Plod's own inflated self-importance.

The whole incident could have been dealt with by a Willy calling them both in for a bollocking in the Cabinet Office and that would have been the end of it. Unlike Thatcher, Cameron doesn't have a Willy and a bollocking from Cameron would have all the force of a severe reprimand from Sergeant Wilson, beside it being inappropriate for a PM to do himself. 

The way this thing is going has all the elements of mutually assured destruction.