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Friday, 8 July 2016

Dallas reminds us that we must reclaim the police from the State

The canyon growing between police and public in both the USA and the UK is a one way ratchet. And so far, today, that's about as far as the similarity goes.

On Radio 4 recently I listened with pained surprise to the matter of fact accounts by black American mothers of teenage sons. As the boys were going out to see their mates, 'hang out' or court girls, the mothers treated each goodbye as if it were the last. The chilling warning given by the mothers to their children - that if they were stopped by the police not to answer back, to keep their hands on the wheel and don't move a muscle - spoke of the very real fear of quick-to-shoot cops. And if we find that hard to credit on this side of the pond (despite Duggan and de Menezes) cameraphones are bringing incontrovertible video evidence to every news screen around the globe. 

American cops are not the nation's high achievers. Many have never mastered cursive script handwriting, and the sight of a cop slowly writing out a ticket in painful BLOCK CAPS, with their tongue clamped between their teeth in concentration, doesn't inspire confidence that they should be in charge of a lethal weapon. And today in reaction, I guess (unless it turns out to be some very clever Islamist terrorist act) to recent live-filmed killings by such cops, I am now hearing recordings of the semi-auto rifle fire that at this time has killed four cops and wounded six others in Dallas.

What will happen now is predictable. Cops will don even more body armour before venturing out; excessive H&S will keep them from saving 'civilian' lives, they will be no less trigger-happy than they are now but the psychological effect of some black kid being shot to death by a masked Robocop will be far more alienating than the shooter being a plump little cop in a too-tight uniform with bitten nails and dandruf who can't do joined-up writing.   

My deepest sympathies to the families of both the dead Dallas officers and of the random black cop-shot dead. And a reminder that we must wrest control of our own police back from the State and the Home Secretary and affirm their Peelean constitution if we are not to go the same way.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

New let's watch the bastard wriggle

Just finished watching Chilcot deliver his summary and it doesn't look good for Blair. Whether the evidence is enough to mount either a civil action  or a private or public criminal prosecution for malfeasance / misconduct in public office is now a question for the lawyers. As we will now probably see the Blair millions draining away to legal costs, I suppose there is some satisfaction.

However, when I joined a million others in London in February 2003 on a wonderfully warm and sunny day to walk to Hyde Park (and I must admit, unlike a million others, then to enjoy a full afternoon's lunch, a real 8-bottler, in a fine restaurant in Shepherd's Market) I knew the WMD claim was tosh, knew that Blair was manipulating the truth and knew without question that the invasion was wrong.  I see the Telegraph carries a story by James Kirkup "Blair did not bewitch us into backing war in Iraq. We let him do it". You did, chum, not me. I did absolutely everything I could within my power to prevent it; I wrote real letters by the score to MPs and peers, I marched, I protested. 

Even when I started this blog in 2007 opinion was divided; many still supported the war on the grounds that regime change was positive. After the UK's humiliating withdrawal from Basra - not the fault of the troops, not even slightly - the voices were fewer. After the most recent 200 dead from a car bomb I'll be surprised to hear anyone defend Blair's actions on the grounds of regime change. And now, today, no-one even need ask to whom the title of this piece refers. And that's some consolation. 

Justice of course would be the transfer of all of Blair's wealth to the families of the 200 Brits for whose deaths he is responsible. That's not going to happen. So we must just revile and loathe him the best we can.

Monday, 4 July 2016


Apols for slow blogging  - massively busy here and everything is going so fast there. I'll catch up, but for now can I leave you with Rod Liddle's words from the Speccie?
Nigel Farage is the most important British politician of the last decade and the most successful. His resignation leaves a hole in our political system. With enormous intelligence and chutzpah and a refreshingly unorthodox approach, he built Ukip up from nothing to become established as our third largest party and succeeded in his overriding ambition – to see the UK vote to leave the European Union. He is also extremely good company and likeable – unless you are one of those infants who screams ‘fascist!’ whenever his name is raised.
Amen to that. Let's hope there's some concrete appreciation of his worth.