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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Post-1964 Policing in ruins

The condemnation on Radio 4's 'PM' by Lord MacDonald, a former DPP, of the Commissioner's TV statement was coruscating. Hogan-Howe was 'complacent', public faith in the police had been completely eroded and they no longer commended the respect and consent necessary to function; as a body they had lied, cheated, deceived and wriggled away from proper blame so often that they could no longer continue to function without fundamental change - a Royal Commission was needed.

And indeed the Lawrence abuse has capped Plebgate, the beating to death of a drunk paper seller and the centuries of unjust jail time served by the victims of 'fitting-up'. The police can only work with public consent, and they've lost it. Even the experience of middle-class middle-England over the past years has turned it to consider Plod to be just another crim but in uniform; for the past year, millions of rail passengers headed for London Bridge have passed the abbreviation ACAB in four-foot letters painted on a gable wall. The rail people are in no hurry to remove it.

Hogan-Howe's weasel words can't hide the reality that the 1964 Police Act sent UK policing in a completely wrong direction by increasing the size of police forces, reducing local public accountability and substituting greater control by the Home Office. There is a place for nationally or regionally organised police specialisms - terrorism, financial crime, arts and antiques, but the police cannot use this as an excuse for large merged forces. More than 99% of all police work is local plod-level call outs to disturbances, drunkeness, petty thefts and motoring offences for which there are no economies of scale and which need no specialist equipment or unique expertise to manage. Many consider the shadowy ACPO organisation itself to be inherently criminal, and indeed when that organisation challenged the powers of the Home Secretary it had its wings clipped. But not, unfortunately, its neck wrung. 

Once the police have lost public confidence they have lost their place in our society. If that point has not quite been reached, it's not far from it. Hogan-Howe's banal sticking-plaster words are not what's needed - only an admission by the Home Office that it can no longer effectively police Britain will secure the change needed.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Bent Coppers

One of the unalterable truths of life is that some coppers are bent. Another is that bureaucracies will tend towards secrecy, hiding things, anti-democracy and unlawful behaviour. The larger and more complex the organisation, and the less the organisation is subject to public oversight and control, the greater the chances of both bent coppers and bent commanders. 

Conversely, small police forces subject to a high degree of local oversight and scrutiny will have few places for bent coppers and police bosses nowhere to hide their maladministration. 

Which is why it's hard to explain why ACPO are pushing so hard for mergers to create ever larger, more complex and remote police forces in which low level corruption will flourish and commanders are able to hide, deceive and obfuscate unlawful and improper behaviour unless they are actually trying to promote such things. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

May 2014 - Cameron Tweets photo

22nd May 2014 - Cameron tweets a selfie as the Chairman of the Conservative Party tells him on the phone just how few Tory MEPs have been elected ...

Ukraine needs elections

Sergei Lavrov must be tempted, when faced with the 'acting Prime Minister' and 'acting President' of the Ukrainian revolutionaries hand in hand with a trio of EU commissioners  to ask them all 'Who chose you?'. Lenin's question to Kerensky could not be more apt than for the self-selected representatives of the Maidan and those unelected EU officials.

What Ukraine needs more than anything is democracy. It's not a process recognised as desirable by Brussels, which views voters and elections as an inconvenient irrelevance on its zealous march to European Federalism. Far better to leave things to the unelected experts from Belgium and Luxembourg. And Cathy Ashton. If there really is a real groundswell of opinion in the Crimea in favour of secession, which I doubt, then of ourse they should have a referendum; they could use the Scots question as a model. And all of Ukraine should have the chance now to vote for a new President and new representatives in Parliament as a matter of great urgency.

However, what the EU and the US are trying to do is to secure deals with the temporary revolutionaries in Kiev that will bind any legitimate government that follows; Von Rompuy's sparse cowlick thatch is blowing all-ways as he runs about on his little legs with an EU Association agreement, a biro and €10bn in Euroslave loans looking for someone to sign.

For the West to steamroller over Ukrainian democratic outcomes in order to secure whet they see as a territorial victory will only postpone any settlement of the contentious issues dividing the country. Ukraine's future lies as a non-aligned bridge between east and west, democratic and inclusive, her territorial integrity supported by both NATO and the Russian Federation.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

PPI - This could run and run

Not Ukraine, but PPI compensation. The companies behind that plague of cold-calls and automated messages demanding that we contact them to claim our PPI compensation are turning out to have done rather well for their efforts - they've netted £5bn of the totals so far paid out in fees and charges.

Now if only their fees and charges were ruled excessive, opening the way for further compensation to PPI-payout recipients, those call centre staff could stay in work with a new script; in fact, the PPI claim handling companies could act against each-other to recover excessive charges ...

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Ukraine - Russia doesn't need to invade

The Ukranian soldiers bravely holding out in their Crimean bases may soon face additional pressures - from their wives. Ukraine's coffers are empty, with not enough left in the accounts to meet the armed forces paybill. The country's vanity flag-carrier UIA will soon have to ground its jets as it won't be able to pay for avgas or landing charges. And though Ukraine may be able to pay for 5.45 x 39 cartridges for the army's AK74s with dollar cash, spares for its MiG-29s, missiles and more sophisticated military hardware will be more difficult to come by. The make-believe new government, with the speaker of parliament also pretending to be the President, will have no money to pay the civil servants to promulgate its lunatic decrees. It's unlikely that eastern Ukranians, who run the country's significant industries, and with their loyalties to Russia, will be eager to pay taxes to Kiev and western Ukranians, wary of political corruption, and whose exports seem to consist largely of smuggled cigarettes and prostitutes, will not make up the difference.

The IMF have made clear that the earliest its first loan could come on stream is mid-April, and stress the word loan. It will be coupled to savage spending cuts. Any hopes of a decent revenue from Black Sea tourism will be dented as German and UK lads and lasses after cheap booze and dodgy sex pick somewhere without camouflaged APCs overlooking the beaches. And though Ukraine may produce a record 60m tonne grain harvest this Autumn, it's probably already been mortgaged to the hilt by the outgoing regime. 

Commentators who believe that after a brief period of hardship Ukraine can emerge like a butterfly as a prosperous western component of a Federal Europe are either naive or cruelly deluding the people of the Ukraine; Andrej Nikolaides writes in the Guardian of Bosnia's experience. If it's indicative, the best the Ukranian people can hope for is poverty, debt servitude to European banks and eye watering levels of IMF-induced unemployment. 

One feels sympathy for the Ukranians who believed the siren seduction of the EU's unelected officials; they will now be approaching the EU stressing their urgent need of a few billions to get them through March and pay the wages. They may be offended or even rendered hostile by the EU's refusal to fund them. 

All the while, Putin doesn't have to fire a shot. Russian roubles are more important to London's banks, warship orders to French shipyards and Russian investment more critical to a recovering Europe than the Ukraine. And Russian gas doesn't only heat Europe's homes but drives the furnaces and smelters of Europe's heavy industry and the turbines of its power plants. Russia's biggest trading partner is Germany, and Merkel won't risk that relationship to back the ultra-nationalists of the Maidan.

From all the news interviews I've seen, what the majority of Ukranians seem to want is a return to the status quo ante - with a slow, steady and democratically backed evolution that balances Russian interests and western aspirations. The situation, in fact, destroyed by the insane hubris of the EU's unelected officials and its Ruritanian 'External Action Service'. If Kiev wants to put anyone on trial, Van Rompuy, Ashton and Reding are surely prime suspects.

Me, Nigel and Dan on the 18.03 from Charing X

It turns out I take the same train as both Nigel Farage and the Telegraph's lefty columnist Dan Hodges. Dan and I both get off at Lewisham, less than ten minutes out from London Bridge, so I can't vouch for the truth of Nigel's experiences at Grove Park or Elmstead Woods out in the 'burbs. Dan takes exception to Nigel's anecdote about English speakers on the route, but I don't think he's right. Neither is Nigel strictly correct about the passenger composition of a rush-hour formation. 

The non-English native speakers tend to use the very early trains up to town and the pre-rush hour (15.30 - 17.00) trains down. The rush hour down trains in the evening, from say five to seven, are made up of English, and increasingly French, speaking office workers, with only the odd pair of Polish roofers who have lingered in town for a voddy or two. Anyway, the point is that everyone on the train, at whatever time and talking whatever language, is working; office cleaners, burger flippers, nurses, dry liners, HVAC fitters and tube staff. Even at British benefits levels, trains are too expensive to be used by the unemployed. Dan, being a Socialist, should enjoy the way we are all jammed in together classlessly; Nigel and I, being Old Skool, will both be able to do that constricted reading thing, turning the pages of a Standard folded vertically in half, that baffles the young and the foreign. Still, Dan is probably doing things on his iPad that are quite alien to us, too. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Ukraine - EU culpability emerges from smoke

Even the BBC are catching up with the EU's role in formenting the rebellion in Ukraine;
"They (the protest leaders) are urging states "who guaranteed Ukraine's integrity to fulfil their obligations" - in particular they are looking to the EU. To a remarkable degree EU officials championed their cause. They stood shoulder to shoulder with the protesters. They chose to ignore the fact that - tolerate or loathe him - Viktor Yanukovych was an elected leader. They glossed over the significant role played by nationalist groups in the defence of Independence Square. And they were clear with their intentions - "the future of Ukraine belongs with the EU," said EU President Herman Van Rompuy."
Let's not forget that however vile and corrupt Yanukovych is, he was elected in 2010 in a poll monitored by hundreds of OSCE observers; the OSCE report on the election concludes "The presidential election met most OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections and consolidated progress achieved since 2004. The process was transparent and offered voters a genuine choice between candidates representing diverse political views"

And lets not forget that Yanukovych enjoys a status that neither Van Rompuy, Ashton nor Reding have - he was elected, they are unelected EU officials. In terms of democracy, the President deposed by extreme Nazi and nationalist groups allied to the EU has more legitimacy than the Federasts who infest the Berlaymont.  

Harman innocent, Nye Bevan guilty

This morning's post is about paedophilia, Ukraine and two people who will never be future leaders of the Labour party - Harriet Harman and Nye Bevan. First Harman. The 1970s were very different times, as much a foreign country as the 1840s. I've always unequivocally opposed apologies of Blairite insincerity and meretriciousness for events in the past such as slavery that at worst were seen as morally ambivalent in their day, and shouldn't alter that principle. The unofficial left in the 1970s was a rainbow alliance of everything  anti-establishment, including anti- the official left, which was a misogynist dinosaur with its heart in Transport House and its soul in the TUC. I recall Oz, Vietnam, pot, brown rice and 33rpm albums. Oh, and plenty of experimental sex. If anyone had asked me in 1976 what a paedophile was I would have hazarded a guess about a foot-lover. However, using Harman's history to destroy her political future was fair game; she knew what it was and was part of a group of a dozen who ran NCCL and by association supported it.

In the 1930s however we knew - even before Hitler's genocidal reign - that killing millions of people was wrong. There was no moral ambivalence about the issue. And Nye Bevan, he who called the Conservatives 'vermin' and in 2010 was proven to have sold British secrets to the Soviet Union, was treasonous scum whose remains should be dug up, burned to ashes and flung in the common sewer. I wrote back in 2009, before his treason was exposed, of his support for Stalin's mass murder of the Ukranian people;
As debates in the Commons demonstrate, Nye Bevan was perfectly well aware that the Russian timber trade he was defending was based on the slave labour of the gulags; there is no possible excuse of ignorance here. The Anti Slavery Committee and other international enquiries had established beyond doubt the scale of Stalin's terror. Member after member of the Commons repeated the damning evidence in the chamber.

Anyone who can not only tolerate but actively praise and support a regime that operated gulags, summary execution, imprisonment without trial, torture and the foulest degradation of men at any stage in their lives is forever beyond redemption. If any man has it in him to support such things at any time he is damned. It's like saying 'I used to support paedophilia, but lately I've had a change of mind'. You can't do it. You are betrayed by the fact that you once supported something utterly foul. And so Bevan stands condemned still.

In the post below, Bevan defended the horrors of Stalin's Russia and defended the desirability of dictatorships until 'class enemies' were destroyed. In the quote below from Hansard, he does so again.

One quote may be out of context; two constitute evidence, and three or more make a convincing case.
BEVAN: I am prepared to accept the Noble Lady's admission that prison labour is not sweated labour, and that people outside prison have to sweat more than those who are in prison. But we are getting rather tired—I think the whole House is—of these diatribes about the awful labour conditions in Russia. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I dare say it is agreeable to Tory ears continually to hear these horrible stories about a country against whose commercial success they are now going to legislate. We used to be told in former years that the Bolshevists would never succeed, and that all we had to do was to sit down and wait till they collapsed. Now the House of Commons is proceeding to arm the Government with a most formidable power of discrimination against the exports of that country.... The goods are cheap because the Russians have thrown off the parasites who were on their backs.
So Conservatives are 'vermin' and the millions of innocents slaughtered by Stalin are 'parasites'. You can tell a lot about a man by his use of language.
Harman will never now lead the Labour Party, and neither will Patricia Hewitt or Jack Dromey. Destroying them was fair political game; for continuing to pretend that Nye Bevan was some sort of saint rather than the poisonous shit he was if for nothing else. 

And Putin may be illiberal and brutal, but Russia is no more undemocratic than the European Union and unlike the EU Commissioners who condemn him he was actually elected. Neither does he murder millions of people.