The closest I came to despair during the long dark political night I hope is now ending was during the affair of Jean Charles de Menezes. It wasn't so bad that panicked policemen made a tragic error in the wake of the 7/7 bombings. That was both understandable and forgivable. Had I been a juror in a murder trial of the officers who blew that poor young innocent's head from his shoulders with soft nosed bullets proscribed by the laws of war, I would have voted to acquit.
I am sure they did not kill him for the hell of it. They believed (or believed their commander believed) that he posed a genuine threat to them and the Londoners around him. Their legal defence would have been self defence under a misapprehension and I would have believed it. They were negligent at worst. They were negligently led. The family of the young Brazilian should have had civil compensation, the Metropolitan Police should have apologised for a tragic error and the officers concerned should have been disciplined and retrained.
My despair was rather driven by the Establishment's response to the incident. It closed ranks on the rest of us and on Justice herself. It lied. It destroyed evidence. It committed crimes. Had you or I killed Jean Charles under the mistaken apprehension that he was a suicide bomber we would have faced trial. His killers were state agents and didn't; making a mockery of equality before the law. They were sent away on holiday at taxpayers expense as a reward. Their identities are still unknown. The government drummed up a stupid "health and safety" case to make the matter sub judice and give ministers an excuse not to comment until the fuss had died down. That was the nadir of Alistair Campbell-style political cynicism — manipulating the law, the press, and the public's limited attention span to mask a terrible injustice and an embarrassing failure of state power.
Justice was not done and was seen NOT to be done. An innocent died with consequences neither to his immediate killers nor to those, police and politicians, who issued the fatal orders. That Labour Government proved once and for all that the Labour Party is nothing more than the political wing of the public sector unions. The rest of us are of little concern — even if we lose our lives — compared to the privileged brothers and sisters under the leftist state's partisan protection. Even Jean Charles's usually-privileged ethnicity didn't count when the state's loyal servants needed protection. I wish I could believe it was different under a "Conservative" government but the sneer quotes say all you need to know of my view on that
This is why I am so saddened to learn that the commander of the unit responsible for this tragedy now heads the Metropolitan Police. She commands the force I rely on to keep me safe in my home town. Her loyalty to the political élites (not to her officers, by the way, as she was cynical in shifting blame down the chain of command) trumps the safety of the public her force exists to serve and protect. Neither ordinary Londoners nor the officers under her politically-correct command should feel safe this morning .
She's the Metropolitan Police Commissioner not on her merits as a police officer but because she fits a Politically-Correct narrative. I would love to celebrate the appointment of the first woman to command this important force - the mother force of world policing. I can't because (for reasons unrelated to her sex) she is unworthy of the rôle. I shall sleep less easy in my bed in London tonight.
In my last post I made a rash promise to address the abuse of language by the Left; the way in which they weaponise it to undermine opposition to their ideas. Most friends of Liberty are naggingly aware that it's going on and routinely irritated by it but when I started to research it, I realised it was a big, difficult subject to sum up in a blog post. If there were enough liberty-minded academics to fill a faculty, it could be that faculty's sole field of research.
...the purpose ... was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever...
This decision was taken following contact from the Department For Education’s counter extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public and our overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community.We note that within 24 hours of advertising the event, more than 220 Langton sixth formers had, with parental consent, signed up for the event and that objection to our hosting Mr Yiannopoulus came almost entirely from people with no direct connection to the Langton.
What as opposed to one of those I-really-really-like-you sort of murders?
"... if you're voting for Trump, it's time for the urn"
Bill C-16 writes social constructionism into the fabric of the law. Social constructionism is the doctrine that all human roles are socially constructed. They’re detached from the underlying biology and from the underlying objective world. So Bill C-16 contains an assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of objective reality. It’s also blatant in the Ontario Human Rights Commission policies and the Ontario Human Rights Act. It says identity is nothing but subjective. So a person can be male one day and female the next, or male one hour and female the next.
Some ideas are so stupid than only intellectuals believe them
So with the hate speech issue – say someone’s a Holocaust denier, because that’s the standard routine – we want those people out there in the public so you can tell them why they’re historically ignorant, and why their views are unfounded and dangerous. If you drive them underground, it’s not like they stop talking to each other, they just don’t talk to anyone who disagrees with them. That’s a really bad idea and that’s what’s happening in the United States right now. Half of the country doesn’t talk to the other half. Do you know what you call people you don’t talk to? Enemies. If you stop talking to people, you either submit to them, or you go to war with them. Those are your options and those aren’t good options. It’s better to have a talk.
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.
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.
The Orlando massacre tells us nothing about the killer save that he was insane, but it's telling us a lot about ourselves.
Just look at the politicians warning of islamophobia. The people virtue-signalling on Facebook. The triggered leftist storming off British TV because he thought the discussion was focussing on the terrorism angle rather than the hatred of gays. Donald Trump turning the horror to predictable political advantage. Give it a day and the gun control advocates will be complaining about the ease of buying weapons in America and the NRA will be calling for more heavily-armed homosexuals. Plus ça change...
We need to learn lessons but for that we need to open our minds. Every comment I have read so far is someone seizing on a new event as proof of the correctness of old ideas and the continuing wickedness of old adversaries.
If facts don't change our minds what is the point of having them? We might as well all curl up in a corner and live in our deranged imaginations whatever life we fancy. Or to take my ambiguous question the other way, why have minds if facts don't change them?
Discussions of "sexting" in the media and on websites advising young people and their parents, focus on the risks to teenagers of being coerced, blackmailed or subjected to "revenge porn".
There is another, perhaps worse, risk from the criminal justice system.
Firstly, the law on this subject is very badly drawn, having been enacted in the course of a moral panic about child pornography. Secondly, Britain has the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Europe: just ten years old. It is a criminal offence to create, publish or possess pornographic images of a minor. There is no carve-out, as in wiser jurisdictions, for images exchanged between minors. They are just as guilty, ludicrously, as an adult pornographer making an image of them. Or an adult pervert sending them pictures of his or her genitals.
Surely the law should protect children against sexual exploitation by adults, not from their playing the digital version of "doctors and nurses"? Even your august and respectable blogger has memories of a game of strip poker backstage during a school play that could have had legal consequences had the smartphone been invented (and this law been in place) in the 1970s.
I would not encourage a child to commit their genitalia to digital immortality. Of course I wouldn't - for all the good reasons mentioned above. But if he or she made the common mistake of doing so (I have seen estimates as high as 40% of British teenage girls having published sexual images) I do not think a criminal conviction or worse - a lifetime on the sex offenders register - should be the consequence.
Given how common this crime is, why are more children not convicted? Most offences go undetected or are detected only by sensible parents who quietly deal with it themselves. Where complaints are made, the police and Crown Prosecution Service mostly choose not to enforce a terrible law that would trash young lives without in any way serving the public interest. God bless them for that. Practically, irate parents complaining about an erect member on their daughter's smartphone are usually less keen for the boy to be prosecuted when they realise daughter dearest is just as guilty. And vice versa.
Prosecutorial discretion however is not justice. Far from it. It is the very opposite of the rule of law because it subjects us to the whims and prejudices of the men and women concerned. We need only good laws, which is to say necessary laws that protect citizens from genuine harm, and we need them consistently enforced.
Even if a case is not pursued, vulnerable young people at a point in their lives where their sexuality is often as alarming and worrisome as it is fascinating and compelling are having their studies disrupted and their lives turned to horror. Imagine the police telling your mum or your headmaster about your sexual indiscretions and showing them your bits. All for being just as horny, stupid and normal as your forefathers and foremothers, but in a more technological age.
When the politicians come calling in election mode and ask what they can do for you, please consider mentioning this injustice they have wrought and asking them to fix it. Give them a copy of this post and ask them to email email@example.com. I will be happy to help them draft an amendment to the law, entirely free of charge.
Is this what our law has come to?
A Muslim extremist linked to Woolwich killer Michael Adebowale was jailed for five years and four months today (Weds) for glorifying the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in a series of YouTube videos. Royal Barnes, 23, was filmed by his veiled wife Rebekah Dawson, 22, laughing hysterically as he drove past the scene of the attack. Dawson, who has caused nationwide controversy by refusing to remove her niqab in court, was jailed for one year and eight months. The couple ridiculed the memorial flowers left by friends, family and members of the public for Drummer Rigby and Barnes described the murder as 'absolutely brilliant'. Dawson also boasted in a text to a friend: 'Did you watch it? It was really inciting and almost glorifying lol.'
Two young idiots upload stupid films to YouTube. They express primitive, ignorant, violent opinions. Opinions rather like those expressed by revolutionary socialists every single day (but with far less chance of influencing anyone).
Did their childish, ignorant words represent a threat? If so, then we are a feeble society too decadent to deserve survival. This is using the sledgehammer of the criminal law to crack something that merited the toffee hammer of an Anglo-Saxon imprecation at best.
These idiots are pathetic, yes. But so are we for having nothing better to do with the hard-earned money taken by force from decent people than to pay policemen, lawyers, judges and prison officers to deal with them. And for not understanding that it's better to hear dangerous opinions and know where threats may come from than to drive them underground.
In the pre-Human Rights Act days, a civil liberties approach and the common law (sic) struggled to achieve this.
Were Britons in any way at a disadvantage to those citizens of civil law countries whose "positive rights" were in the gift of their rulers? I think not. I don't think our grandfathers thought so. They would have regarded such a notion as both stupid and unpatriotic. I agree with them, unfashionable as patriotism now is. Stupidity, of course, is always in fashion.
Historically speaking, all political communities of the modern type owe their existence to successful warfare.
Even more insulting is his stupid observation that
Around the world, citizens have fought for years for basic rights from their governments. In the UK, having now got them, some want to hand them back.
We can't hand back what was never theirs. They have no rights to give us. They exist at our sufferance.
All we want (from a state so small and weak as to present no threat in itself) is a clear set of laws with broad agreement from all. Not laws that tell us who to be or how to think, but laws that leave us free men and women with full rights of thought, speech and self-defence. We don't want them by the thousand so that even a lawyer can't know them all. We want only necessary, obvious laws that derive from clear moral principle. If we can't find a nexus between a new law and the non-aggression principle then to hell with it and to hell with the deceivers who propose it.
Mr Starmer's vision of us as children in the arms of Mother State is insulting, demeaning and - most of all - immoral. The state's imagined "duty" to protect us has already transformed, predictably, into a raft of laws designed to shape us to its aims. Such a state will attract to the ranks of its thugs, cronies and - most of all - leaders, the lowest, most exploitative type of bully.