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Friday, 22 January 2016

Europe's police are starting to lose control

In a concern that European governments are desperate to keep secret, evidence is growing that Europe's existing police forces are unable to cope with the consequences of the tsunami of migrants and Islamist threats. Vests, armour and equipment is geared at protection against 9mm pistol rounds, not heavy 7.62 or high velocity 5.45 from military assault weapons. It's one of the reasons that soldiers are so quickly deployed, as we saw recently in France and Belgium; the police are outgunned. And police effectiveness depends on the public respecting their office; as Spiegel reports
In Germany, a 66-year-old democracy, the police have positioned themselves as "friends and helpers," but it is a promise that young men from North Africa don't immediately understand. It is the clash of two cultures: A constitutional state that emphasises de-escalation, integration and the empathetic re-socialization of young offenders; and immigrants from authoritarian societies who misunderstand the approach and take advantage of the fact that they, even if they break the law, are neither deported nor toughly punished.The consequence is that, in some places, law and order is restricted, or doesn't exist at all.
Not only falling police numbers across Europe as finance ministries seek to cut budgets, but overstretch as existing police forces are being asked to take on the duties of long-forgotten border police units in controlling and monitoring the movement of  hundreds of thousands of migrants; police overtime has reached its limit, and governments across Europe are hiding the lack of police cover to their own people as they are increasingly focused on either containing migrant criminality or seeking to find Isalamist killers.  

The greatest low-level risk is from North Africans - Moroccans, Tunisians, Algerians, almost impossible to deport as their own countries don't want them back, and Kosovans, Serbians and Albanians. Roma and Sinti gypsies have already spread across Europe and have established a base layer of street crime from which the new arrivals learn rapidly. And they all hold the police and law in contempt. Syrians, Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis form the Islamist terrorist threat, killers hiding amongst economic migrants and a lower number of genuine refugees.

Swedes are currently outraged at an incident in Stockholm in which a young mum was savagely beaten by a street robber as she thwarted his attempt to steal an elderly woman's purse; everyone is avoiding calling the perpetrator a migrant, but everyone is thinking it.  

UK politicians have previously scorned the notion of establishing a militia - properly armed and commanded - in England. Perhaps it will only take one more Islamist massacre, a few score more lives cut short needlessly, before they rethink. 


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Little doubt that the Russian state murdered Litvinenko

Russia is less of a mafia State than it was in the giddy years immediately after the fall of the Wall; today, the institutions of the Russian state have clawed back much of the wealth looted by the opportunistic and independent bandits and brigands, making senior officers, officials and assorted Nomenklatura the new millionaires. Many of the original bandits and brigands remain; they saw which way the wind was blowing, and made a pact with the key state players and in return were allowed to buy their UK newspapers, football clubs and yachts without fear of death. So Russia has gone from a wild west mafia state to one of ordered institutionalised corruption. And today there is little doubt that these powerful state actors are responsible for Litvinenko's murder. 

So should we bristle with righteous outrage at this most wounding of insults, the poisoning of a man as he took tea in London? Well, not, I suggest, unless we also bristle at the barbarian head-choppers of the KSA de-heading their political opponents on trumped up charges by the score. Or our NATO ally in Turkey working in league with ISIS through an open border. We don't, you understand, take positions on moral grounds - the criteria is the harm or utility to the cohort of Cameron's cronies. The savage native barbarians of the Saudi kingdom are useful cash-cows, so they are never openly criticised, however heinous their savagery.

So any criticism of Russia you hear today from Cameron or his chums will have little to do with Litvinenko and much more to do with their frustration at their failure to elbow Putin out of the middle east for commercial reasons. It's all just a game they play, in which money is infinitely more important than human life.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The most common name in UK prisons?

A small piece in last night's Standard about the jailing of five thugs prompted the question - what is the most commonly occurring name in UK prisons? Do you think we should be told?

(The five convicted are Hanad Mohammed, Zakariya Ibrahim, Saad Sharif, Mohammed Mohammed and Abdi Wahab Mohammed)

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Opinion poll fiasco

The reports in the press this morning ascribing the failure of the polls to predict the last election result to failing to connect with older or busy people don't quite, I think, capture the problems faced by opinion pollsters. 

Primarily, the true reason for the failure of the polls must be cost. The cheapest way of carrying out a poll quickly is by telephone, using low paid call-centre staff. The most expensive is to send out 1,000 enumerators to door-knock across the land to get 1,200 opinions. Secondly, time of contact is critical; Labour voters may be expected to be less likely to respond during 'Emmerdale' and Tory voters during the 8pm to 9pm middle class dinner hour. Now often including the 7pm to 8pm Aperitif hour.  To those persecuted by PPI calls, a pollster on the phone may simply be an opportunity to vent anger and frustration against a real person by telling them to 'bugger off'. In London, with over 30% single occupancy, and high employment rates, 7pm is the mean time that people open their front door. Answering a ringing phone before you've taken your coat off only to find that it's an opinion pollster also induces rage. Calling after 9pm is a no-no. So with our precious evenings out of reach of the telephone pollsters, one presumes their samples are restricted to the unemployed and bored housewives (if such things exist any more) before 6pm. 

I don't think the opinion poll is dead - but probably that the phone poll to house-phones has reached its Dodo stage. Alternatives cost a great deal more. Clients should be prepared to pay if they want more accurate polls.