Mismatch

From the BBC:

Britain’s armed forces risk falling behind Russia without more investment, the head of the Army will say.

General Sir Nick Carter will say the British Army’s ability to respond to threats “will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries”.

When I first read this story about an hour ago, they used words to the effect of the British Army not being able to match the Russian Army in battle. Since then the BBC have updated it to the above, perhaps realising they were making stuff up.

But leaving that aside, when have the British armed forces ever been able to match Russia’s? Sure, a platoon from 2 Para or a troop from 42 Cdo would likely make short work of a Russian infantry platoon, but the military as a whole? There may have been a period around 1992 when Russia’s military officers hadn’t seen any pay in over a year leaving half of them flogging weapons out the back of the camp and the rest passed out under a missile silo having drunk a litre of distilled shoe polish, but otherwise the British Army hasn’t been a match for the Russians probably since the Crimean War – and especially not on their turf.

For a start the Russian forces have an overwhelming numerical advantage in terms of men and kit, and even if we allow for the fact that their organisation and logistics is likely shambolic and spectacular SNAFUs will be the norm, they still know how to deploy highly effective artillery and air defence systems when they have to. In addition, even though the average recruit in the Russian Army might be uneducated, undertrained, underfed, and ill-disciplined he will probably have the stomach for a decent fight. By contrast, the British Army is fast turning into a social welfare programme where recruits fret over battlefield prayer facilities and a unit’s success is measured not on how many battles it’s won, but on how much diversity it has in its ranks.

Any role Britain has in opposing Russia will consist in its entirety of supporting the Americans as best they can, assuming our Yank friends are interested in getting involved. Otherwise, if Russia is a genuine threat, we’re probably better off learning a few words of Russian and learning how to drink vodka neat from tumblers than increasing the Army’s budget.

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Fighting Men Obsolete

I don’t really have a problem with this:

Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment could merge as part of plans to cut the Armed Forces by more than 14,000
Whitehall sources have dubbed the plan ‘ugly’ as top brass face pressures of plugging a £20bn shortfall in the MoD budget

I mean, on the one hand it’s an absolute travesty: these two units represent the epitome of Britain’s long tradition of being able to field a small but capable body of soldiers. But it’s been quite clear for some time that the purpose of Britain’s armed forces and MoD is not to go around fighting and winning but to provide social welfare to various favoured groups and cushy jobs for the upper-middle classes and establishment types. We therefore don’t need units of tough, aggressive fighting men. Rather than merge the two units, we should get rid of them along with the rest of the MoD. True, it would mean we can’t patrol open sewers in disaster zones or get involved in pointless wars in the Middle East, but I can live with that.

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Chelsea Manning and the British Army

I’ve written before about Chelsea Manning, and more recently I wrote about how the US military is now the a vehicle for progressives to enact their deranged fantasies.

Via Twitter I came across this article written by someone who went through basic training with Bradley Manning, as she was then called. It’s worth reading in full, but the following excerpts give a flavour of what sort of character she was:

Every recruit had the same packing list with the same items in that green duffel bag. They all weighed the same amount. Whether you were 6’4” or 5’4”, male or female, all recruits had to carry their own weight. Understand, that no one breezes through this exercise – everybody hurts, everyone drops their bag at least once, and everyone pays the price for it, including myself. During this exercise, Manning’s problem wasn’t that she was too small or not strong enough. The problem was, she quit. As the rest of the platoon faced one way, gritting their teeth and baring it, whispering words of encouragement to each other, she stood at an about-face the opposite direction, and said she simply could not pick up her own bag.

For the trainees of Charlie 82d, the sound of Chelsea Manning’s voice may forever elicit the two words so commonly overheard from her during her six weeks: “I can’t.” In our comparison of memories over the years, fellow recruits in C Co. have confirmed for me: when the going got tough, Chelsea said, “I can’t.”

At the end of the field exercise, that holdover was walking up to groups of us, offering to sell us candy for $20 a package. We all knew to keep our distance from him – he was untrustworthy, he was in trouble, and he was only going to get you in trouble too if you associated with him. And yet, Chelsea Manning bought a package of M&Ms from him for $20. I remember that scene, because Manning was not quiet about it. She was practically bragging out loud that she had contraband candy. At six weeks into basic training, it just wasn’t worth it, and yet that scene has stayed with me all these years, because for Manning, it somehow was worth it. Maybe by then, she thought she had nothing else to lose.

So why wasn’t she weeded out? The article explains:

In 2007, the U.S. Army was habitually failing to meet its monthly recruiting goals; the application standards relaxed and a great cross-section of humanity ended up reporting for duty that warm October at Fort Leonard Wood. In the company, there was a 17-year-old who had enlisted with a waiver, and there was: a 42-year-old mother of three who was terrified of needles; a new grandmother to a brand-new infant granddaughter; and a former coffee distributor in South America in his mid-thirties who everyone still called “Grandpa.” One recruit ironically named “Goesforth” went AWOL within 48 hours of arrival, deserted the military, and was never seen again. One recruit in fourth platoon had been homeless before he joined, and another had blown his entire first university semester’s tuition on OxyContin before he dropped out and enlisted. One recruit was a Mexican citizen who was willing to go to Iraq and fight for the United States in exchange for expedited citizenship. Another was a female with dual German/American citizenship who was so short, the German Army wouldn’t take her, so she joined up with the Americans instead. Charlie 82d had dads in their mid-thirties, and it had dads not yet old enough to buy beer. My platoon had a single mom who had been working as a an exotic dancer before she raised her right hand and took the oath; another had married young, got divorced and wanted to get as far away from her Ex as possible.

Does this sound like an army which intends to win battles any time soon? Alas, it seems we’re no better in the UK:

The Army is launching a £1.6m advertising campaign to demonstrate it can “emotionally and physically” support recruits from all backgrounds.

The radio, TV and online adverts seek to address concerns potential soldiers might have about issues, including religion or sexuality.

They ask: “What if I get emotional?”, “Can I be gay in the Army?” and “Do I have to be a superhero?”

This sounds less like an army than a social welfare programme to accommodate the most fragile of Britain’s population.

In one, a Muslim soldier explains how the army has allowed him to practice his faith.

Was there ever a time when it didn’t?

These are not the kind of recruitment adverts most people would probably expect from the Army.

The emphasis is on the emotional rather than the physical, a sense of excitement, and the usual images of military hardware.

Some will see them as a sign the Army has gone soft by focussing on people’s worries. They will question whether it’s another sign of pandering to political correctness.

Well, yes. They will also, like me, ask how this army intends to fight anyone in future.

But like most large organisations, the Army wants to be seen as modern and a reflection of the society it represents.

What was I saying about the purpose of modern militaries? It’s nice to see my views confirmed by a national broadcaster.

That means an emphasis on being open to all – regardless of gender, race, religion or class.

And ability, I’ll wager.

It fits in with the head of the Army General Sir Nick Carter’s mantra of “maximising people’s talent” regardless of background.

But he also insists that combat ethos and fighting power remain the Army’s priority. These adverts just might not give that impression.

Who to believe, eh? Then there’s this:

Last month, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson blocked an attempt to drop its longstanding “be the best” recruitment logo and its crest logo.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the the Army was considering changing the phrase after criticism it was “dated, elitist and non-inclusive”.

The British military is a bit like the Church of England: in order to arrest collapsing numbers in recruitment and attendance respectively, they have abandoned all pretence to discipline, standards, and seriousness – the very things which attracted people in the first place – in favour of progressive identity politics. It’s good to see the new Defence Secretary, himself a former soldier, is pushing back a little and so are others:

Colonel Richard Kemp – the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who served in the in the Army until 2006 – said while the adverts were aimed at a number of minority groups, they missed out the Army’s core recruitment pool.

“I think what the army needs to do in order to deal with its recruiting problem is not to specifically appeal to minorities – of course, the more people from all parts of society who join the better.

“But it’s even more important than that to fill the army up with people who want to fight and want to be soldiers. And this, I don’t think, will do that.”

Instead, he called for the Army to focus on retention problems and deal with its “impenetrable” application process and the “horrific bureaucracy” surrounding it.

Major General Timothy Cross, who retired in 2007, said the Army was “really struggling” with recruitment and should not be trying to be “jolly nice to people”.

I suspect it’s too late, though. Like every other western institution, the British military has been captured by a cabal of its worst enemies who are well on the way to destroying it from within.

Army research also found its crest – depicting crossed swords, a crown and a lion – to be “non-inclusive” and recommended replacing both with a union jack with the word “army” in bold underneath.

Why people spend time worrying about Vladimir Putin and the Russian army is beyond me. They’ll win without even getting out of bed.

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The Abolition of Arrestable Offences

I’ll start this post with a short conversation between Ben Sixsmith and me which took place yesterday:

One of the worst pieces of domestic legislation passed under Blair was the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which abolished the concept of an arrestable offence. Up until then, there were categories of offence for which specific powers of arrest existed (or not): arrestable, non‐arrestable, and serious arrestable offences. These categories were introduced by the Criminal Law Act 1967 to replace the ancient term felony. They were then updated by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which defined an arrestable offence as:

1. An offence for which the sentence is fixed by law; i.e. murder.
2. Offences for which a person 18 years old or older, who had not previously been convicted, could be sentenced to a term of 5 years or more. This constituted the vast majority of offences, including [rape][theft]], serious assault, burglary and criminal damage.
3. Offences that were listed in Schedule 1A of the Act, which contained a long list of offences that do not attract a 5-year sentence but were considered to require the powers an ‘Arrestable Offence’ designation confers. Examples included possession of an offensive weapon, ticket touting and driving whilst disqualified.

It is worth noting that with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 police powers of arrest increased significantly from the Criminal Law Act 1967, and the 1984 act was itself amended several times to increase these further. Nevertheless, the idea that only certain offences could result in an arrest remained on the statute books. This is probably why for years many visa forms have asked this question (the one below is from a Russian visa application):

The question supposes that people aren’t arrested willy-nilly for trivial matters, but following New Labour’s aboliton of the term “arrestable offence” with the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, it’s an assumption that is no longer valid. Consider this tweet from whom I assume is a lawyer:

Can you imagine the person concerned having to explain on a visa application form why he was arrested? He will also have had his fingerprints and DNA taken, which (I think) will remain on record for life (even if only at the local police station). He will also face the choice of either lying on application forms or risking being automatically rejected for telling the truth, all because Plod is drunk on their powers of arrest.

Of course, this is a feature, not a bug. The police know that anyone arrested will have to spend a lot of money, exert a lot of time and effort, suffer a loss of reputation, and face a lifetime of administrative difficulties even if they are wholly innocent. What’s more, Plod can make arrests with impunity (the two who arrested the person for liking a Facebook post should be fired immediately, along with their superiors). Nowadays securing a conviction is unnecessary: the process is the punishment, just as it was in the Soviet Union.

The creeping powers of police arrest may have started before Blair, and things weren’t looking good before the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (a student was arrested before it came into force for calling a police horse “gay”), but it was under New Labour that it was cemented into law and encouraged. I have not been able to find statistics on the increase in number of arrestable offences during Blair’s time in office, but I would be surprised if it were less than tenfold. Now the British police take a positive delight in arresting ordinary citizens for minor “offences”.

What makes it more depressing is that this appalling rise in authoritarianism happened in full view of the public, many of whom were cheering at the time. I’ve been arguing for some time that the sooner the British people wake up to the nature of their police forces and start treating them accordingly, the better.

UPDATE

See also this from my friends at Samizdata.

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The Prince and the Paupers

I heard this story being discussed by two idiots on the BBC this morning:

A council leader has called for action to tackle “aggressive begging” in Windsor, ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Simon Dudley, of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, has called on the Berkshire police and crime commissioner (PCC) to address the issue “urgently”.

Mr Dudley said street begging created a “hostile atmosphere” for both residents and tourists.

The BBC talking heads declared that Harry and Meghan would be very unhappy about this, particularly her because she is committed to tackling humanitarian issues. They’re not even married yet, and already the media are buttering her up as a spokesperson for right-on progressive causes. Joy oh fucking joy.

Windsor Homeless Project described the comments as “abhorrent”.

Well they would, especially if they’re only going off what the BBC is reporting. The full letter is here:

In the Royal Borough we believe homelessness is completely unacceptable in a caring, compassionate community such as ours. We are working to create the necessary housing for our residents. We are in the process of finalising our emerging Borough Local Plan (BLP) that will provide the necessary housing for our whole community, including social housing. The BLP will be submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government in late January 2018.

Our work on the SWEP has provided us with the evidence that a large number of adults that are begging in Windsor are not in fact homeless, and if they are homeless they are choosing to reject all support services to beg on the streets of Windsor. In the case of homelessness amongst this group, it is therefore a voluntary choice. Recently, council officers secured emergency accommodation for every individual begging and rough sleeping in Windsor, through making contact with each one.  A significant number of the adults chose not to turn up and use the accommodation that we had purchased for them, instead choosing to remain on the street begging. This is creating a concerning and hostile atmosphere for our residents and the seven million tourists who come to Windsor each year.

The BBC does tell us this, however:

He went on to describe how “vagrancy and begging” meant people were “marching tourists to cash points to withdraw cash” – although Thames Valley Police said it had received no such reports.

Is this proof that it’s not happening, or that the people affected know that reporting anything to the police is a complete waste of time?

Windsor Homeless Project manager Murphy James said it was “sickening” that Mr Dudley had cited the royal wedding as a reason for his concerns.

Dudley should have known better than to try to talk sense around morons like this. He should withdraw his letter and issue another suggesting Windsor’s homeless be invited to the royal wedding and permitted to live in the castle afterwards. It’s what Meghan would want, isn’t it?

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Who benefits from cheap labour?

One of the points Tim Harford makes in his excellent book The Undercover Economist is that the person who benefits the most from a busy cafe is the landlord of the premises in the form of rent. I think he used a coffee shop in one of the London railway stations as an example, but he made the point that if the outlet is in a very busy place full of wealthy customers, the business itself isn’t the goldmine you’d think it is. Sure, the business owner will put the prices up to reflect market rates but the increased revenue will be passed straight to the landlord in higher rent. This is why coffee shops everywhere run on slim but broadly similar margins, even if some are located in busier and more prosperous spots than others. No matter what the business owner does, the bulk of any additional monies will end up in the landlord’s pocket one way or another.

I was reminded of this when I turned on some news channel this morning and caught a man grumbling about how it was becoming difficult to recruit staff in London’s cafes, bars, and restaurants with Brexit looming. He ran some sort of posh cafe in a building I’m sure he doesn’t own, and was saying 85% of his staff come from overseas and applications for new positions are already down. He wailed that there wouldn’t be time to train up an entire new army of baristas and waiters within 5 years. He was also complaining that businesses aren’t having expensive breakfast meetings in his cafe any more, because Brexit is raising prices everywhere. The chap in question had a Scandinavian name and an accent, and if I’d been holding the microphone I’d have asked him why he’s not busy running overpriced cafes in his own country.

Okay, firstly he’s talking nonsense and is simply rent-seeking: if people aren’t applying for advertised jobs then he needs to improve the terms and conditions until they do. Secondly, businesses being unable to have trendy, overpriced breakfast meetings while being waited on by foreign hipsters is hardly a hill on which to fight Brexit. But more importantly, who is benefiting from these low-wage foreign employees? It’s not the customers: they will be charged what the market can bear. And Tim Harford’s case would suggest it’s not the business owner, but the landlord. Now I suspect in the short term business owners will have to take the hit of higher costs – which is why one of them is on TV complaining – but eventually the rents on the premises will have to come down if the businesses cannot maintain their minimum acceptable margin. In other words, the people who will suffer the impact of waiting staff becoming more expensive as a result of Brexit are landlords renting commercial property in London. I’ve just checked my heart and it isn’t bleeding.

There’s another point I want to make here, too. I’m no communist and I believe property owners should be free to do whatever they like with their property and charge what they like for people to use it, but there is something seriously out of whack in modern Britain (and in many other places, I suspect). If the way to make serious money – indeed, the only way – is to simply own property and rent it to those who are actually producing something, and those doing the producing see the fruits of their efforts siphoned off to the property-owning classes, things will eventually get ugly. For a start, the incentive to actually produce something will be severely diminished: why bother trying to run a business providing a service if the landlord will take the lion’s share of the proceeds? Better just to do something else – like work for the government. Another effect is that everyone pours money into property, causing inflation, which is exactly what’s happened in Britain’s housing market. If property is the only realistic investment option, what are people supposed to do? Thirdly, the situation will eventually become politically unacceptable and people will vote against the property-owners.

Now I know that the owners of city centre commercial properties are most probably large public corporations with shareholders, many of whom will hold stock in their pensions, but in politics perceptions matter. One of the issues on which I agree with Corbyn’s supporters is that the older generation have inflated and captured the wealth inherent in property for themselves and ring-fenced it to ensure its value will never fall. The younger generations have been priced out of owning property indefinitely, and with the massive levels of public spending and debt their meagre salaries are now paying for, it’s not surprising they’re quoting Marx and voting for Corbyn. Not that Marx didn’t write drivel and Corbyn won’t be a disaster – he’s not a solution to anything – but that doesn’t really matter in politics. What does matter is that a lot of people have a genuine grievance, and they will vote for whoever listens and pretends to do something about it. It’s easy to dismiss Corbynistas as batshit insane, mainly because most of them are, but deep within their grievances there are a few nuggets of truth, and they are important ones that highlight colossal failings of Cameron, Brown, and Blair.

I don’t know what the overall solution is, but if British youngsters now have an opportunity to work in London’s bars and cafes without being undercut by cheap labour imported for the benefit of wealthy landlords, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

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A Code of Silence

Via Ben Sixsmith on Twitter I came across this story:

Paul Kelly was stabbed on New Year’s Eve in front of 25 witnesses. No one will admit having seen the murder, but a poem naming the knifeman has been pasted up all over Bath, writes Mark Townsend.

The police believe they know he did it. So do his neighbours. His name is whispered by local people who lower their gaze when he approaches; eye contact is not recommended with the 17-year-old everyone claims has murdered and, so far, got away with it.

Police have confirmed that about 25 people watched as Kelly, 32, was repeatedly knifed in a dank alleyway outside the Longacre Tavern shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve. Rarely are murders witnessed by so many. Detectives working on the case believed that a conviction was inevitable – two witness statements would be enough.

Yet no one has come forward. Eleven people have been arrested, including a number who are thought to have watched the frenzied attack. Not one is prepared to tell police what they saw.

The behaviour described here is typical of the criminal fraternity. It is well known that criminal gangs, pikeys, and other anit-social types will never complain to the police even when they have suffered some quite serious wrongdoing at the hands of a rival. Their cast-iron rule is to never talk to the police under any circumstances whatsoever. The reason for this is simple: the police are not on their side and never will be, so no good will come of their involvement. By contrast, they stand a good chance of being fitted up for something else on the flimsiest of pretexts. Interestingly, this mindset extends to the rest of society around these people, even those who are law-abiding and frequent victims of criminals. These people are normally lower class and poor, unable to move away from the anti-social elements that plague them, but they have also learned not to trust the police. Like all organisations captured by the middle classes in government, the police look down on the lower classes living in squalid tower blocks or grim terraces with almost as much contempt, possibly even more, than they do actual criminals. They care little for their well-being and are certainly not on their side, and the people know it. So when something bad happens in their neighbourhood and the police come looking for answers, the whole community remains tight-lipped. Talking to the police won’t improve things for them, and there could well be repercussions from criminals who don’t like grasses.

What makes the above story interesting is that this is happening in the middle of Bath, which as far as I know is as middle class as it comes (although Tim Worstall may be along shortly begging to differ, with a list of streets and their respective class associations). Perhaps this was a fight between pikeys witnessed by more pikeys which might explain the wall of silence, but if the witnesses were ordinary people this is an interesting situation indeed. What it shows is they don’t trust the police, either to act in a way which isn’t detrimental to their interests or to protect them from a knife-wielding murderer who might seek revenge on anyone who speaks to the police. If the perpetrator is from one of Britain’s protected classes, they would be wise indeed to keep quiet and say nothing: the police would rather jail an innocent witness for a decade than prosecute someone the government has deemed worthy of special consideration.

I would be fascinated to see if this is a one-off or whether this refusal to speak to the police is becoming more widespread among ordinary citizens. If it’s the latter I couldn’t say I’d be surprised: it’s been coming for a long time, and the behaviour and attitude of the police towards the law-abiding public is mostly to blame.

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Still Keeping Britain Safe

I see the Royal Navy is talking tough about Russians again:

A British frigate shadowed a Russian warship through the North Sea near UK waters on Christmas Day, the Royal Navy has revealed.

“Near” UK waters. If this chart is accurate, that could be well out into the Atlantic or up towards the Arctic circle.

HMS St Albans monitored the Admiral Gorshkov’s “activity in areas of national interest”, it said.

Uh-huh. Shame stopping boatloads of illegal immigrants reaching Europe isn’t considered in the national interest, isn’t it?

The Admiral Gorshkov, a new guided-missile frigate, is still undergoing trials, Russian media report.

Is there any reason to believe this isn’t true? What else could it be doing? Looking to launch a guided missile at Rockall?

The Royal Navy says there has been a recent “upsurge in Russian units transiting UK waters”.

Numbers please. Russia has been active in Syria for quite some time, and the quickest way from one to the other by sea is via the English Channel – an international waterway Russia has every right to use. Short of details, this statement looks like a weak attempt to justify the continued existence of the Royal Navy.

HMS St Albans was sent on Saturday to “keep watch on the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passed close to UK territorial waters”, the Royal Navy said.

In case of what?

“I will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression,” Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said.

“Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests.”

Oh please! We heard all this tough-sounding crap from Michael Fallon last year when a handful of Russian ships went through the Channel. Do these idiots think we’ve forgotten the Royal Navy’s capitulation to the Iranians in 2007? Or that we haven’t noticed the absolute last thing our political class is interested in is “protecting our country, our people, and our national interests”?

The Admiral Gorshkov, the first of a new class of multi-role frigates, has still to complete missile tests before entering service with the Russian navy next year, Russian media report.

It has reportedly been sailing regularly between the White Sea off Russia’s northern coast and the Baltic.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, a former Royal Navy Officer and former Nato commander, describes the deployment of the war ship as “normal”.

He told the BBC: “She’s perfectly entitled to do that under international law. It’s demonstrating the right of innocent passage.”

So why all headlines and mouthing off? Here’s why. The British political classes, having given up completely on protecting Britain’s national interests, believe by jumping on the bandwagon of Russia-bashing they will convince the public otherwise. Nice try.

I half wish the Russians had opened fire, just to see what HMS St Albans would have done in response.

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Immigration and the TV Licence

From The Sun:

OVER the past four years, almost 3.5million British citizens have decided not to pay a penny more to the BBC – the world’s oldest broadcasting organisation.

Until not so long ago, the Beeb was unquestionably a national treasure. So why have they stopped paying for it?

There are several reasons I expect, but the article overlooks the most obvious one – immigration. It’s pretty much an open secret now that payment of the TV licence fee is unenforceable. Despite all the bullying from the TV licence people – a private company that pretends it has police powers – it is quite easy to just tell them to sod off when they show up on your doorstep. Detector vans, even taking the charitable assumption that there is such a thing and they work, number around a dozen at most. The TV licence authority has no powers of entry and the best they can do is trick you into inviting them in or confessing to watching a TV with no licence. This is why the vast majority of those actually prosecuted for non-payment are women, many of them poor, single mothers, i.e those who are easily bullied by a couple of men on the front doorstep. Oddly, you don’t hear feminists complaining about this deployment of Patriarchal muscle.

What the BBC have relied upon up to now is the average Brit being law-abiding, not wanting to be a freeloader, and feeling some sort of connection between their citizenship and national institutions. Most Brits like the BBC and many love it, believing it a national treasure offering superb value for money. Britain was, until recently, a high-trust society requiring little active policing because the population could, by and large, be relied upon to cooperate. So strong was the TV licence in the national psyche that I think even the professional welfare-bludgers used to buy one: it’s simply what everyone did, almost without thinking. I’ve rubbed shoulders with some dodgy bastards in my time, and of all the things they used to boast about when bucking the system – including driving without a licence – I never heard anyone say they’d ducked the TV licence. The TV licencing laws weren’t ever properly enforced simply because they didn’t need to be.

But times have changed. A greater percentage of the population now comes from low-trust societies where freeloading is a duty and nothing to be ashamed of (indeed, if you’re paying for something you don’t have to it marks you out as stupid). These people have no affection for British institutions and the BBC is just two or three TV channels out of thousands, and they don’t fear the law in the same way native Brits do. Hell, even Americans think our TV licencing laws are scandalous, and they’re more civilised than most who show up on our shores. Besides, are the TV licencing people really going to be banging on doors in terraces and tower blocks filled with immigrants demanding to know if there’s a TV in the place? I doubt it. Easier to go and intimidate the single mother or little old lady with bad eyesight who’s late husband used to take care of all that.

There is of course the other elephant in the room, which is the BBC’s completely outdated funding model which is no longer justifiable in the age of subscription TV and the internet. With there now being dozens of websites and forums discussing how to easily avoid paying for a TV licence, even otherwise law-abiding Brits are deciding they’re not going to do so on principle alone. It’s perhaps unsurprising that the immigrant issue never gets brought up in relation to people not paying the TV licence, though. After all, the BBC has been a staunch supporter of mass immigration and the New Labour government that opened the floodgates. How ironic, eh?

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Britain’s Secular Youth

A common lament among old religious folk is that youngsters don’t subscribe to the faith with the same level of enthusiasm as previous generations. For instance:

Up to one in five patients are regularly missing GP appointments in Scotland, with younger people the worst offenders, new research has found.

A study of more than 500,000 people in the country, published in the journal The Lancet Public Health, shows young males are most likely to not attend.

Younger, male patients aged 16 to 30 were found to be the worst offenders.

Here’s what a local priest has to say:

Stockport GP Ranjit Gill believes there has been a shift in how the health service is seen by a younger “I want it now” generation.

“The NHS is now, for our younger population, seen as a consumer service, a bit like John Lewis and so perhaps valued differently to the way our older population see the NHS.

“I can’t think of the last time one of my older patients ever missed an appointment.”

Time for some fire and brimstone:

GP practices across the country are already implementing some successful schemes to reduce missed appointments, from text messaging reminders to better patient education and awareness posters detailing the unintended consequences of a patient not attending.

And appeals to the faithful to fill the coffers once again:

But ultimately, we need NHS England’s GP Forward View – promising £2.4bn extra a year for general practice and 5,000 more GPs – to be delivered in full and as a matter of urgency.

“And we need equivalent promises made and delivered in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so that we can deliver the care our patients need, whatever their circumstances, and wherever in the country they live.

The answer to this ought to be simple: charge people a nominal fee when they book a doctor’s appointment. However, we might have better luck asking the Catholic Church to promote abortions.

(Note also that the article begins with the problem of patients missing appointments in Scotland, and ends with English GPs demanding the immediate delivery of an additional £2.4bn per year.)

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