The Metropolitan Police crime map makes for interesting viewing, particularly when you drill down to the more specific data. My own manor shows as "Low or no crime" for burglary and violence (hurrah!) but "High" for thefts from vehicles. I am puzzled why that should be, but happy that Speranza has her own secure parking space away from brick-wielding opportunists.
Overall I live (as do most Londoners) in an area with "average" levels of crime. In fact it's striking just how "average" most of London is. Only one borough – Westminster – suffers "high" levels of crime. Hammersmith & Fulham and Camden are "above average". Only three outer boroughs are "below average".
The white spot in the middle of the map is the City of London, where the Met's writ does not run. The specialist force there is reputed to be the best in the world at solving complex frauds, but rubbish (as hardly anyone actually lives in the City) at solving burglaries.
The City of London's crime map is here.
the “Remain” side often sounded like accountants. The bloodless bean counters didn’t stand a chance
Differences over strategy and tactics between the key members of the currency union, especially Germany and France, and between the eurozone’s northern and southern members, simply run too deep. Everyone is aware of what needs to be done: find a new compromise within the currency union between the stubborn German-led focus on austerity and the Mediterranean countries’ need for increased spending to restore growth and boost competitiveness. But Europe’s political leaders seem to lack the courage to pursue this.
Every little girl and boy, that's born into the world alive,Is either a little Liberal or else a little Conservative
Milo Yiannopolous is anathema to the authoritarian, control freak Left*. He is the man their "Free speech, but ..." line was made for. A flamboyant homosexual who wages war on political correctness by "triggering" leftist snowflakes, he is hard for them to handle because he belongs to one of their "protected species" and has a predilection for sexual intimacy with another. Call him a "racist" and he will smile and ask what kind of racist is intimate with black men. Except he will express it more saltily than that.
His "dangerous faggot" tour of America's college campuses has yielded some hilarious YouTube footage as he systematically provokes the inevitable protesters screaming that "Black Lives Matter" and calling for him to be banned. Inevitably they end up looking ridiculous and — as he gleefully pointed out in one video I watched — he enjoys them behaving this way because he hopes their parents will see them in action and stop wasting money on college courses that make them more stupid.
Twitter banned him permanently (his account has been suspended before but reinstated after lobbying) just twenty minutes before the start of the "Gays for Trump" rally he was scheduled to address yesterday. The pretext was his part in a stupid twitterstorm against a black actress in the new Ghostbusters movie. He had reviewed it negatively at Breitbart and she received abusive tweets. Twitter seems to be blaming him for that, even though his own tweets were not racist. He merely commented that she shouldn't be acting badly in blockbuster movies if she couldn't handle abuse and that "everyone" received abusive tweets. By which I guess he meant "everyone famous".
Milo, Trump, Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit are all straws in the wind of a new popular revolt against the theology of the Liberal (in the American sense) Establishment. This seems to have wrong footed Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets set up, consciously or otherwise, to serve it. I am an absolutist when it comes to (a) government having no right to restrict free speech and (b) the right of private individuals and companies to operate whatever censorship regime they like at their own sites and publications. I just marvel at the hypocrisy of companies that permit what would otherwise be called "hate speech" by Leftist protected species (such as militant Muslims or Black Power activists calling for cops to be killed) while jumping on mere teasing by their political opponents.
If there's one thing the Left (and its social media allies) hates more than a "privileged" opponent, it's a member of a protected species who is, as Milo says of himself "off the reservation". @Nero is no more on Twitter, but he's to be found at Breitbart.com and YouTube. I commend him to you. He's funny, clever and enormous value for money. It's suggested that he could be President Trump's press secretary, which would make Theresa May's appointment of Boris as Foreign Secretary seem like a diplomatic coup.
We live in dangerous, interesting times, but at least there is now a chance, as the tectonic plates of political division shift, of freer, more genuinely "liberal" societies emerging.
* I know this seems tautological but there may be remaining members of the John Mortimer school of libertarian Labourites somewhere and I don't want to tar such delightful creatures with the same brush.
Dealing with violent crime constitutes only a small minority of what police deal with on a daily basis. For example, in 2014, out of 11,205,833 arrests made nationwide (in the US), 498,666 arrests were for violent crimes and 1,553,980 arrests were for property crime. That means 82 percent of arrests were made for something other than violent crime or property crime [my emphasis]I wonder what those numbers are in the UK? Most of us think of "real crime" as involving violence, theft, fraud or at least property damage. On reflection however, perhaps it's not surprising that 82% of police activity in the US relates to other matters. For all the fairy dust it blows in our eyes, the state is just another organisation shaped from the crooked timber of mankind. The people working for it – including police officers – have their own agenda, just like the rest of us. Unlike us however they face no competitive pressures to subordinate it to that of their customers.
Contrary to un-serious and absurd claims that the police "enforce all laws," police use their discretion all the time as to what laws to enforce and which to not enforce. Those laws that are enforced are often laws that can lead to profit for the police department — such as drug laws which lead to asset forfeiture — or laws that can make for easy arrests — such as loitering and other small time laws — which improve a police officers' arrest record.
If we want to be serious about scaling back the degree to which police interactions with the public can lead to violent escalations, we must first scale back the number of offenses that can lead to serious fines and imprisonment for members of the public, while shifting the concentration of police efforts to violent crime and property crime. The emphasis must return to crimes that have actual victims and which are reported by citizens looking for stolen property and violent criminals. Not only will this increase the value of policing, but will also improve relations with most of the public while reducing the footprint of the state in the lives of ordinary people.
Freedom of speech is only an issue as against a government, which in a free society must always be prevented from using its monopoly on initiating lawful violence to suppress dissent. Facebook is a private company and has as much right to censor its content as I have to censor the comments here. Not that I do, unless it's spam or might expose me to legal liability, but I could. My gaff my rules. Mr Zuckerberg's gaff, his rules.
It does seem quite extraordinary however that the conference agenda and papers for a conference on "Men's issues" should be closed down for breach of "community standards" while celebrations of, or even incitement to, the killing of police officers are apparently fine.
Just to be clear, I am fine with both kinds of content. As I have written here before, I think incitement is a misguided concept that undermines personal responsibility. If you want to tell me in the comments that you are happy for people to kill white US police officers I will find that useful data about you and will not call the police. In general I want to know if people have vicious opinions; the better to counter or at least avoid them. I have been assaulted by a drunken gentleman calling me "an English bastard" and found only the assault troublesome. The insult was actually useful as it gave warning of the imminent violence and permitted evasive action. I have been called "a son of a bitch" in a professional context when I was a transaction lawyer and – detecting no physical threat – smiled, remarking "I am obviously doing my job".
So I am grateful to Facebook for making it so obvious that it is systematically biased to the Left and its zoo of protected identity groups in their ideological cages. It's useful data. I enjoy using Mr Zuckerberg's platform for social purposes and don't much care what passes for ideology in his mind. Just as I do when watching the BBC, I shall now apply a credibility discount of about 85% to everything I encounter there that is not actually originated by a trusted "friend". Given that Mr Zuckerberg's business model depends on his "customers" trusting him (unlike the BBC which extorts its licence fee by state violence) that's probably more of a problem for him than it is for Auntie.
I thought some of you might like to watch in full the talk at the IEA's "Think" conference last year that was referenced in my previous post. Dr Stephen Davis, the IEA's Director of Education, talks about driverless cars, 800 year life-spans and (which I forgot to mention, but is fascinating in its own right) "vertical farming".
Apparently, and here's a fact to confuse a libertarian, the war on drugs has led to advances in horticulture. Driven underground, those cultivating illegal drugs have developed techniques that could lead, if more widely applied, to mankind feeding itself using 10% of the land currently being farmed. Great areas of the planet could be returned to prairie, steppe or forest. Of course it's also possible that we will simply feed ten times the number of humans from the same land and/or (I suppose, deviating imaginatively from Dr Davis's script) use these techniques to colonise other planets.
Libertarians foxed by the idea that suppressing an activity can enhance its efficiency will take cheer from the fact that these advances have only become available because several US states have legalised cannabis – at least as "medical marijuana". As the marijuana farms become public, other growers can both marvel at and copy the innovations the former criminals made in secret.
It has been an astonishing few weeks in British politics and – while I believe our events are specific to our circumstances – there does seem to be a pattern emerging in the affairs of Mankind as a whole. So let's take pause and summarise where we stand. I will state matters as best I can and ask you, gentle readers, to tell me where I am at fault.
However it is organised, I believe that democracy is a better way of selecting a government than any other, but it is no guarantee of success. Bad governments are often elected by free peoples because we are no wiser than the unfree. In some ways we may be more naive than them. I am willing to bet that if North Korea became free, it would take a couple of generations before any of its citizens were prepared to believe a more powerful state was the answer to their problems.
In my ideal world the ship of state would be so small that it would not make much difference who was at its helm. We would not be electing bosses, but trustees; people whose job is was to keep our few laws up to date to reflect changing circumstances and ensure that the modest taxes raised to fund the state were honestly and appropriately spent on such practical, boring things as public infrastructure, law enforcement and an independent judiciary. We are very far from that and even if things go reasonably well from this moment (which I have no particular reason to assume) most of us will be dead (except for young readers with 800 year life expectancies) by the time such a state could be achieved.
This may be why I fear the trend to division less than others. I would rather see lots of micro-states experimenting with different approaches. Terrible though it may be for the citizens concerned, we probably need many more Venezuelas before the scales finally fall from the eyes of such idiots as Owen Jones – a young man whose very existence made me weep even before I knew he might live 800 years. More positively we need some micro states to practise Austrian economics and strike envy into the hearts of the citizens of the failing states around them. Sentimentally attached as I am to Scotland and hard though it would be to abandon my good Scottish friends to the horrors of a cold, wet Venezuela, I would pay that price to set England on the path to true freedom.
Given that many of us hunger for the soft option of socialism to such an extent that we are blind to its oft-proved hard consequences, any progress towards my ideal is likely to be two steps forward and one back. Democracy is a weary business because so many contradictory things are so blindingly obvious (despite being demonstrably wrong) to so many. I fear that those in control of what is taught in our schools and colleges will continue to have a disproportionate and negative effect on our political future. For so long as those institutions are state funded and controlled teachers and lecturers are almost bound to be statists and leftists. Honest classical liberals would find it hard to face such a parasitical existence. I told a retired Permanent Secretary at dinner a couple of years ago that I didn't know how he could sleep at night knowing that every penny he had ever "earned" was taken by state violence from his fellow men. Even as I said it (and enjoyed his slapped-in-the-face-with-a-wet-fish reaction) I realised that there was the problem. If people with my views won't go into government service how can it ever be shaped by our views?
Life being as complex as it is, you can find evidence to support pretty much any point of view you want to advance. Especially if, like most people engaged in political debate, you systematically select the data that supports your case. So, select away gentles and let me know how wrong I am. Is the above a fair assessment of where the world stands today?