Saturday, April 08, 2006

Humour blogs.

Well, in my view, IMAO is for nice balanced people (unfair, unbalanced, unmedicated), Scrappleface for nice right wing people, and Blamebush, well, that's the real deal. Latest post cracks me up from moment 1:

'Planning on getting hitched in the sewers of Tehran this spring? You might want to reconsider.'

The rest, as far as I see it, including an incredibly stupid blog called Jesus' General which won some blog award by some miracle, are for lefties.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Batty puts a Cork in shit.

Jailed for six months. I know that my imagination concerning prison has only been fed by the most unignorably lurid drivel from the distraction industry, but I can't help but pity a man incarcerated in one of HMG's prisons for saying he was proud to be British, and that people attending a mosque should go back where they came from.

The BBC's meagre details include the name of the judge (Batty), and the criminal (Cork).

It strikes me the really foolish thing Mr Cork has done is plea guilty.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Walked into an empty lift today accompanied by a guy in banking. He started talking to me in English (yes, this was in the Czech Republic- I really should find a way of putting my blogger profile into this template. I've always been nervous talking about myself). Anyway, he asks me pretty quickly whether I'm from Britain or America. He says he finds American English hard to understand. In fact, as soon as I say I'm British, he says 'I hate America er, Americans, er...'. Now 'hate', in my experience, is not a word that trips easily from the tongues of most Czech English speakers, yet here it was. Very classy.

Which brings me to Mark Steyn, and 'anti-Europeanism in the United States' ?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

So excited they can't even punctuate.

Almost as much as I dislike the imposition of more state-sponsored authoritarian bureaucracy, I dislike the naif enthusiasm of those who are charged with operating it. Oh, it's good for their careers no doubt, whatever happens, but it's the pretense that they are engaged in anything more than the importation of generally malign layers of authority from largely failed socialist models that irritates me.

Or perhaps it's not pretense, and they're actually blissfully ignorant of the antecedents to what they are participating in. Either way deeply irritating.

You may be surprised (or not- and you may have already found out about it) to hear about one of Britain's newest ground breaking anti-crime initiatives: the secret police. Now we wait for the BBC drama where the cockney villain cries "Scram! 'SOCCER' (SOCA) are on the way".

Of course UK Leftists and any fellow drivellers on the Right like to bring up the FBI in all of this, as though this was just our version. However Britain, being smaller than California, scarcely can be said to need one.

SOCA are the plods that have this exciting new opportunity to imprint a new chapter in British policing. They have lots of new and exciting 'methods' to try out. The one I found most prominent on their website was snitching, or grassing, or informing- words that could be used to describe it, depending on context.

But actually they call it a Sar, and the plural they call Sar's- repeatedly (this is a clear act of language abuse and should be reportable to someone with the authority to discipline, maybe fine the abuser on the spot (joke). Here are some more examples). This pathetic lack of attention to detail, this carelessness, is precisely what I would expect of a flash new Government agency- well, responsible to the Home Office. The Sars homepage could get it right, but not the plod- or plod appointee- writing the website info. No organisation which pays that little attention to detail should be allowed within a mile of legal matters.

Anyway, one can argue about the need for some group to deal with money laundering and the like (looking at the info it seems that had been accounted for previously), but the problem with creating a brand new force working outside the system is the problem we always have with our law enforcers once they are freed from specific duties and made an 'operational force'. They go for the soft targets, the cheap and the easy targets within their new domain. They will probably eventually be used to track down those operating without ID cards, and the like. They will ostensibly be there to enforce immigration and monitor international transactions, but in the end they will find it much easier to target petty non-rule-obeyers, and that will probably mean Joe Bloggs who feels he ought to be able to travel without his ID card.

Via Samizdata

It reminds me of a feeling I've had in the Czech Republic for a while: I watch policemen travelling aimlessly round in vehicles, not sure what to do, what their role is. I think it must be one of the key challenges of policing, to define what you're for. For the most part this aimlessness in a former police state is benign, faintly positive. I notice that the new SOCA team will not pledge any oath; they'll just join up. But for what, to what end?

If you tie it in with this story it becomes scarier still: the news that the discretion of calling a crime a crime, or not, is being handed out more widely than ever to the police. It's scary when getting a caution means having a criminal record, and the police get to decide what's cautionable and what's not, working within a framework where burglary, shop lifting, arson, and underage sex, among others, may be viewed as cautionable and thus comparable to a parking offence.

The chaos and confusion in deciding what is a crime seems to be rampant today- I expect many more stories like this one... although actually in a sense I don't. The time for picking up anomalies may be passing. The Govt. want to increase rather than decrease them; they basically want to bring the police a greater degree of authority; not by ensuring a rational system which all respect, but by making randomness a weapon. Thus real criminals will accommodate to the irrationality of the individual officers and groups of officers (in other words, outwit them one way or antoher), and the law-abiding will fear the irrational police/state. Crime figures become manipulable, and order in any case can be simulated.

It's really happening. How stupid.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

WMD and media bias captured in the same two minutes, as noticed by Tim Blair.

Advice to Opposition: Oppose. That has to be right about 90 percent of the time. Helen Szamuely has some good advice for the boy-prince.

The anti-war fallacy

Time to attempt something more comprehensive as a follow up to my post on the latest revelations concerning the Iraq war, terrorism, and the London bombings.

I'd start by saying that I've become immune to the drip feed of titillating 'revelation' concerning intelligence reports about Iraq- whether about warnings that intelligence concerning WMD was patchy, or leaks revealing that the decision to go to war was predetermined, or that the war would increase the risk of terrorism to the UK.

Why? Am I just unable to entertain that I can be wrong about something? In denial?

Well, I'm not going to introspect just yet.

... read on here, should you wish to...

Monday, April 03, 2006

'Perhaps the problem is big crusading journalism.'

Cut n' paste onto any current issue requiring public understanding for a rational public debate, but especially, as George Will argues, to global warming.

Follow the money

Says Riverbend, 'I was shocked to find out the BOOK “Baghdad Burning” had made the short list for the Samuel Johnson Prize- a prestigious, British award for non-fiction!!'

Shocked? Well, I don't know, but looking at the blurb from her book publishers one can see that she earnt 20,000 Euros only last year from the Lettres Ulysses Award (yes, new to me too). 20,000 Euros surely goes a long way in Baghdad. Still, I suppose a girl has to take encouragement where she can under 'occupation'.

Good Journalists get to talk to their subjects, even when their intent is investigative.

I think Claudia Rossett fits the bill.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A fascinating read about events in France, with reference especially to the Jewish community there. Anecdote upon anecdote, almost bang up to date.

And on to the Next War (well, bombing raid anyway). I can't say I'm sanguine about it. It's not taking on Iran with bombers that worries me, it's the fact that this seems to fall within the mullahs' gameplan. Though I'm a peaceful man, I wish that they had been taking on Iran at a time less of the mullahs' choosing (ie. earlier).

So predictable from the anti-war people that they should jump on the latest 'top secret' memo from MI5 claiming that the war in Iraq has made us a target for terrorism (and here comes the new bit) for many years to come.

Wow, I'm impressed. The hamster guy says

'Blair puts great store in always believing what the security services tell him. Presumably then, we'll now see him publically accept what's been glaringly obvious to most people for some considerable time. Oh wait - Blair saw this memo before the attacks in London last year. How strange that he, of all people, should misrepresent the judgement of the intelligence services to the British people...'

Rachel from North London says

'Finally, they cannot deny it any longer: this war has led to hatred and terror and suicide bombings in the U.K. Blair knew this risk, and he denied it, and he went ahead with the war, and he lied about the reasons for the war and the risks and consequences of the war - and people were murdered because of this.'

Both of them are wrong, but let's start with the obvious point:

One memo doth not a scandal make. Memos, rather surprisingly, are ten a penny, and say all sorts of things. Anyone who read the Hutton report will know something about the potential for contradictory noise at the highest level. What the anti-war types don't seem to realise is that these memos are only released for trite politicised reasons, to stir up the rabble. Well, at any rate they barely realise it, and that's really undermining to their credibility, and sanity. I don't accuse Blair of misrepresenting the evidence because I don't know the full range of evidence he was faced with and, on balance, formed a judgement. With that judgement were pros and cons and I don't think that was ever denied.

Secondly, I'd say I'm no fan of the endless alternative histories we find put forward, but nonetheless I'd like to see these people come up with a 2006 scenario where the threat of terrorism hadn't grown, given the trendlines of the previous 30 years.

And that's enough really. I'd add I'm not happy with our supercillious pols, but I think a bigger problem is the fashionable ignorance of the pampered chatterers who throw round accusations of lies like confetti at a wedding. (and yes, I acknowledge RfNL's trauma in July, without considering it a free logic pass)

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