Dirty Hands

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

H. L. Mencken

Indeed, and such tempting times are coming around rather too often these days.

A couple of weeks ago The ZMan put up a post on the subject of Venezuela, in which he observed:

The other thing worth mentioning is Venezuelans are not campus snowflakes. The murder rate is twice that of our worst cities. It’s hard to know the exact figures. The government is so corrupt, no one can trust their numbers. Even so, it is one of the most dangerous countries on earth. It is safe to assume that the people are willing to employ rough justice, but somehow they are unable to do anything about their government. There are protests and minor street rebellions, but not at a level high enough to destabilize the government.

I thought about this for a few days and eventually took it up with a Venezuelan colleague, who reckoned the middle classes are the ones protesting and the violent underclasses have yet to be completely hacked off with the government. This makes as much sense as any other explanation. Of course, even the violent underclasses are not suicidal and won’t attack the government head-on. Trying to climb the palace gates or charge a tank is stupid, and will get you killed. But perhaps they may not have to.

In looking at the footage of the protests in Venezuela, I wondered how the police were staying loyal and firing on the protesters. Presumably they are being paid, and the pay is worth it. Thus far, nobody has made them rethink this position. It appears that the police (and judges, and other agents of the government) can do their job and then go home at night without being too worried that their house has been burned down with their wife and kids inside. But if you look at Colombia in the 1980s or swathes of present-day Mexico, you can see that forcing people to rethink their day-jobs is quite possible.

However, in both Colombia and Mexico it took the opposition moving beyond mere protests and criminality into forming paramilitaries. Moving things closer to home, this is exactly what the IRA (or more accurately, the PIRA) did in Northern Ireland: formed a paramilitary and started picking off soldiers, policemen, judges, lawyers, and others who they believed were representatives of the government. They even attacked their families, thus raising the stakes even higher.

Unlike the Venezuelans, the IRA weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and resort to murder and intimidation. Perhaps we’re dealing with different cultures or a different situation, or perhaps – as my Venezuelan mate suggested – a different class of people. I didn’t know any IRA paramilitaries, but I can’t imagine they were middle class. One of the more minor reasons they lost their grip on the place was that the province got wealthier and the middle class grew: it’s easier for paramilitaries to recruit hordes of young men with no prospects, less so if they’re going off to university and into engineering jobs immediately after.

Clearly a lot of people are upset by the terrorist atrocity in Manchester, just as they were by the other dozen or so massacres that Islamists have carried out in Europe in the last few years. Nobody expects anything to change, and they won’t until the population has had enough. The government isn’t going to change anything, and – as Brendon O’Neill’s piece implied – their chief concern is the masses getting so angry that they start demanding something be done. So far the government has managed to keep a lid on things, but as these terrorist attacks keep mounting up and the same meaningless platitudes are mumbled by police and politicians after each atrocity, the harder this will be.

At this point, the British government will be hoping that the outrage over Islamic terrorism doesn’t get taken up by those who are willing to get their hands dirty and are competent. So far it is a section of the middle classes and a handful of rather dense skinheads who are the most upset, and neither poses much threat to a policeman smashing in somebody’s door for posting something nasty about Muslims on Twitter.

I noticed this morning that the army is being deployed around the country at “sensitive sites”, which I expect means places where politicians hang out. When the British first sent the army into Northern Ireland it was ostensibly to protect Catholics from Protestant violence, and they were welcomed by the Catholic communities. This didn’t last long, and soon British soldiers were seen as very much the enemy. The Royal Ulster Constabulary was ostensibly neutral but the IRA – perhaps with some justification – believed they were firmly on the side of the Protestants, who enjoyed the backing of the mainland government. This meant that The Troubles were as much about the maiming and murder of policemen and soldiers as unionist Protestants. It will be interesting to see what the army’s mission is, and whether this will evolve in a worrying manner, e.g. British soldiers being asked to “protect” hotbeds of Islamic extremism.

I think we’re about to enter into what will prove to be a rather interesting period of British history, in which two questions will be answered:

1) Are there enough people in Britain willing to get their hands dirty, as the IRA were?

2) Will they make policemen, politicians, and possibly even soldiers pay a heavy price for doing their jobs?

I am unsure about 1), but I suspect the answer is no. The middle classes are too large, their lives too comfortable, and they have little experience of violence. The criminal classes are happy to dish out the violence, but as in Venezuela they are not much interested in politics and aren’t going to take up the cudgels on behalf of anyone else.

But if the answer to 1) is yes, then I suspect the answer to 2) will also be yes. The first sign of things going badly wrong in Britain might not be a mob firebombing a mosque but a policeman or judge winding up in a ditch, throat cut, with a note stuffed in his pocket.

Either way, this isn’t going to end well.

Share

31 thoughts on “Dirty Hands

  1. The PIRA particularly specialised in picking off Roman Catholic policemen, until most of the others resigned and the PIRA could point to an oppressive Protestant force.

    By the way, was it the PIRA or the Officials that Corbyn supported, or did he simply support whichever was killing most Britons at the time?

  2. “I noticed this morning that the army is being deployed around the country at “sensitive sites”, which I expect means places where politicians hang out. “

    Got it in one.

  3. One key difference between Venezuela and the U.K. Is that the Venezuelan govt has proved to be capable of ruthless behavior against its own people to achieve its goals. Chavism after all was born in a failed coup in which dozens of innocents lost their lives.

    Right now the government has the National Guard supplemented by armed groups of bikers from the lower classes. It is forbidden for the civilian population to carry weapons, so the protesters are unarmed. The kingmakers aka the armed forces have been on the sidelines being courted by both sides. The generals are all corrupt, but there is discontent in the lower ranks.

    The question is what would it take for the protesters to take it to the next level.

    There have been 50 victims in 50 days of protests.

  4. “This meant that The Troubles were as much about the maiming and murder of policemen and soldiers as unionist Protestants.”

    I think that history shows that the murder squads ran high on both sides of the conflict. But at the end of the day the Brits won and the six counties remained firmly under British rule. Overall I cant see any political similarities between the Provos and ISIS as the Provos were arguing about taking full control of the first British colony back and I dont think that this is the ISIS motivation in the case of Europe or the UK.

  5. “I think that history shows that the murder squads ran high on both sides of the conflict. But at the end of the day the Brits won and the six counties remained firmly under British rule.”

    Actually on all sides, crown forces included, and I wonder if the more tangerine flavoured bigots in NI would agree with the ‘6 counties remaining firmly under British rule’…most of what I hear from that corner suggests the ‘rule’ is increasingly seen as illusory and crumbling (in favour of a NI catholic centric rule proxied from Eire) and so the bonfires are built ever higher and the drums hit harder.
    Did anyone ‘win’ the Troubles? I mean beyond the wives and mothers of soldiers on all sides who aren’t having to keen the loss of their sons and husbands. I like to think it was a mix of criminal self interest and Common Sense that ended the Troubles or even more simply ‘money’. Far as I can see my childhood heroes such as Adams have , by and large, done rather nicely out of peace..one might even talk of ’30 peaces of silver’….on all sides.

  6. “Did anyone ‘win’ the Troubles?”

    Without opening a Pandora’s box, yes, the British State won.

    And yes, Adams and the whole lot of the Provo top men were British assets or at least compromised in my opinion.

    And back on the main topic I think that Tim is suggesting that something like an MRF kind of military support patrolling the streets of South Manchester under the circumstances would be more appropriate and far more effective than supplying additional guarding to already fortified state palaces, not that I am knocking it either. This method would probably be even more effective these days given that all the current perpetrators seem to be already known to the state. So this way they are last seen getting into a Ford Cortina and end up being mice meat in a halal pie shop.

    “The MRF had both a “defensive” surveillance role and an “offensive” role.[4][1] MRF operatives dressed like civilians and were given fake identities and unmarked cars equipped with two-way radios.[8] They patrolled the streets in these cars in teams of two to four, tracking down and arresting or killing suspected IRA members.[8][7] They were armed with Browning pistols and Sterling sub-machine guns. Former MRF members admitted that the unit shot unarmed people without warning, both IRA members and civilians,[7] knowingly breaking the British Army’s Rules of Engagement.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Reaction_Force

  7. Looking at the bigger picture, Islam is a threat to the entire world and requires a global response. While no doubt there are people in the Russian and Chinese governments amused at Europe’s predicament, the modern global economy requires large numbers of affluent onsumers to function. The destruction of Europe would mean no more customers for Russian gas and Chinese geegaws. An agreement is needed between the non Muslim nations to contain this menace.

  8. “Looking at the bigger picture, Islam is a threat to the entire world and requires a global response.”

    Yep I think that the forthcoming Holy War is now locked in. Despite some obvious complications I still think that the christian Russians will be on our side and also that the Chinese can sit this one out and keep their South China Sea crisis bubbling along for later on. Maybe a Judeo/Christian crusade then.

    Not quite sure about the Turk and Russians relationship though and who will betray who first as the Holy War is sure to be centered on Damascus and the Kalipha end times as prophesied. Trump and/or Pence and Putin could surprise him by building up troops on the ground then align together and crush him. The Trump/US strong alignment with Sunni nations, further solidified last week, is another problem as this upsets the Russian non Sunni Arab pacts. And what if they reveal that Trumps Russian connection is via Putin’s rabbi then that would definitely suggest that it will be a Judaeo/Christian crusade, with Islam being the common enemy.

  9. And back on the main topic I think that Tim is suggesting that something like an MRF kind of military support patrolling the streets of South Manchester under the circumstances would be more appropriate and far more effective than supplying additional guarding to already fortified state palaces

    No, I think it’s more a case of:

    1) Islamic terrorism is hurting British people.
    2) The British government often does not appear to be on the side of the British people in this matter. In many instances, they act in ways which embolden or assist the Islamists.
    3) At some point the British government – and those who work for it – are going to be seen as either part of the same problem, or an obstacle in the way of tackling Islamic terrorism.
    4) If people with the same mindset as the PIRA still exist in Britain, policemen, judges, NGOs, etc. could find themselves targetted in the same way they were during The Troubles.

    It’s all part of my thread that it is far from clear whose side the police are on.

  10. The security forces will “Keep the peace.” The problem is that the conflict is asymmetric. Soldiers patroling the streets have little effect on a group of men in a back room ploting to blow up children, but will act against a group of fathers looking for some payback. So even if they try to be neutral, the aggressors are invisible but the defenders are in plain sight. who will they act against?

  11. As a coda to that, I agree with Tim that the police do seem to defend Muslims with an unhealthy enthusiasm.

  12. “It’s all part of my thread that it is far from clear whose side the police are on.”

    The police are and always will be on the side of their clients, the state.

  13. Am I the only one being reminded of spinal tap and the volume goes up to 11 scene when one hears about the level of alert being upped to critical?

    As if that made any difference.

  14. “One key difference between Venezuela and the U.K. Is that the Venezuelan govt has proved to be capable of ruthless behavior against its own people to achieve its goals.”

    Indeed. In my ammo cupboard, there’s a box of Venezuelan military issue .32ACP.

    .32ACP has no conceivable military use, you say? Sure, but it’s ideal for shooting your own unarmed civilians in the back of the head.

  15. 1). Yes. There’s more than enough of them. Although given the levels of police, and for that matter, troops, the absolute number required might be embarrassingly small.
    2). Yes.The people I’m thinking of aren’t too fussed about the police, politicians simply don’t get thought about, but troops.. these guys identify with our boys. A chunk of them will have served themselves, another chunk will know friends or family who have. If troops get perceived as defending the enemy, the sense of betrayal will pretty much override anything else.

  16. Roué le Jour: “I agree with Tim that the police do seem to defend Muslims with an unhealthy enthusiasm.

    Agreed. But I regard it as valuable practice for the State in controlling its peasants. The advantage is that the arrested ones are fairly docile and restrict themselves to social media outbursts to warrant being hauled into line, and the real problem (the elephant, or perhaps the camel, in the room) is neatly side-stepped to avoid any terrible accusations of the cops being “rayciss!”

  17. A chunk of them will have served themselves, another chunk will know friends or family who have. If troops get perceived as defending the enemy, the sense of betrayal will pretty much override anything else.

    Indeed, which is why we should be on the lookout for mission creep. If in twelve months time troops are being used to protect Islamist marches and kick down doors of people suspected of Islamophobia, then a sense of betrayal will be fully justified.

  18. Isn’t this parallel a little far-fetched? The (P)IRA saw British police officers and soldiers as agents of an occupying power, and the native Irish among these servicemen, as traitors to their nation. Would that ever be conceivable in Britain?
    Irish nationalist mythology is rich and powerful, drawing from the cult of martyrdom that used to be part of traditional Irish Catholicism. Where would this new rising draw its energy from?

    Also, wouldn’t it be a road straight to hell? To put it cynically, violence without at least a theoretical path to victory is bad politics. In theory, the IRA could have provoked an exodus of Protestants from NI, changing the electoral balance in favor of unification. Ignoring the ends vs. means issue, it was not an impossible outcome. What would be the desirable outcome in Britain?

  19. Isn’t this parallel a little far-fetched?

    A little, yes. But British citizens did take up arms and started shooting policemen and politicians, so it’s not inconceivable that it could never happen again.

    The (P)IRA saw British police officers and soldiers as agents of an occupying power, and the native Irish among these servicemen, as traitors to their nation.

    A lot of people are already talking about politicians, in allowing mass immigration, as being traitors to their nation. And I have written plenty recently about how the politicians – and increasingly the police – appear to be more interested in controlling what passes for a native population than they do in protecting them from Islamist terror. Already I think a lot of people are unsure about whether the police are on their side, that part is done. If they keep this up, the police will be seen as traitors within a generation. The only question left open is what the public will do about them.

    What would be the desirable outcome in Britain?

    I don’t know about what is desirable for Britain, but there is already considerable appetite an end to arresting people for Islamophobic Facebook posts, an end to migration from Muslim countries, deportation of radical preachers (human rights be damned), an end to Halal slaughterhouses, no special treatment for Muslims, etc. Both Twitter and blog comments after this Manchester attack have been most illuminating in that they show how out of whack the authorities and government are with a large section of the population. In fact, a lot of people wish Islam was treated less as a religion and more of a political movement.

  20. I feel guilty every time we have one of these events as I wonder ‘is this the time when the dam breaks? ‘ But no the British people are by and large both civilized and cowed.To my great sadness much more innocent blood will be shed before perhaps a radical approach to our safety is finally brought about.

  21. Alex K: “Isn’t this parallel a little far-fetched? The (P)IRA saw British police officers and soldiers as agents of an occupying power, and the native Irish among these servicemen, as traitors to their nation. Would that ever be conceivable in Britain?”

    Look at how quickly the police lost the respect of the middle classes. When I was growing up, respect for the police was paramount; you did what they said, you did what you could to assist them in that, and you scorned and despised the lower classes who regarded cops as ‘pigs’.

    Not now. Now, when you think of them at all, you wonder if they didn’t have a point after all.

  22. And anyone wondering if I’m being too harsh on them, do take a gander at the latest BBC ‘The Met: Policing London’ series, that premiered this week.

    Marvel at the senior female cop who, in a telephone conference to debrief after a VERY serious mini riot in Hyde Park, offers only criticism of the name chosen for the operation – San Marino – because ‘it’s an area of LA where Rodney King was beaten up’.

    Wonder at the cops waiting for their next deployment, playing games in the courtyard, with one policewoman the approximate size of a police horse, but far less fit.

    Ponder the attitude of the community support officer who can barely conceal her contempt of the residents asking that she do something about the rampant prostitution in Romford Road (because the girls are ‘victims’ and ‘vulnerable’).

  23. “As if that made any difference.”

    It has though, more security, more surveillance and troops now deployed.

    Supposedly you are now safer due to this heightened risk.

  24. And anyone wondering if I’m being too harsh on them, do take a gander at the latest BBC ‘The Met: Policing London’ series, that premiered this week.

    I once caught half an episode of a reality TV show featuring the modern British police. Rather than showing them catching criminals it instead showed them hassling ordinary members of the public for minor infringements of which they were wholly unaware, and congratulating themselves on being compassionate by only “letting them off with a warning” instead of arresting them. It was fucking shameful, yet they allowed this to go out on TV presumably believing it made them look good.

  25. Tim, there was a similar show about customs oficers hassling old folk for exceeding booze limits. The booze in question being the partially consumed contents of a drinks cupboard, which, if you added it all up… As you say, cunts, the lot of them

  26. I’m assuming the cops are so thick and out of touch that they did indeed think that would be good PR.

    The alternative is worse, that they put that out with the intention of showing the public their contempt.

  27. JuliaM the police used to be the middle classes’ coppers protecting them from the oiks and the middle class supported them. Then they decided they were everyone and no one’s coppers and the middle class were easy game and that was the end of that.

    When I was in the neighbourhood watch I tried to get the cops the do something about a band of pikeys pushing over old folks garden walls and then offering to repair them for outrageous sums. No chance.

  28. Tim, there was a similar show about customs oficers hassling old folk for exceeding booze limits. The booze in question being the partially consumed contents of a drinks cupboard, which, if you added it all up

    I can well believe it. As Cynic says, British authorities are so far out of touch they probably have no idea how detested they are.

  29. I remember an old copper telling me once that there were two sentences required in training a new police officer;
    Be nice to the nice people.
    Be nasty to the nasty people.

    I don’t think he is around anymore.

  30. @JuliaM: I understand this change in attitude but, as Tom Wolfe remarked in The Bonfire of the Vanities, “In well-reared girls and boys, guilt and the instinct to obey the rules are reflexes, ineradicable ghosts in the machine.” You really have to push people against the wall to break this instinct within.

  31. So this is how it pans out. Following the Manchester bombing, some middle class white law abiding nice guys from Trafford post hateful things about Moslems on Facebook and get banged up by the (thought) Police for hate crimes under the new draconian restrictions imposed by Operation Temperer. They are rounded up, arrested and detained in Strangeways without trial.

    Outraged members of the English Nationalist Party manage to organise a mass huge humans right protest that marches towards St Peters Square in Manchester despite the Manchester Police forbidding the march and warning that any mass gathering at St Peters Square would be considered a treasonous act. The marchers persist and swell in numbers, the Police command deploy a Paratrooper Regiment to form an armed cordon defending the square, draw arms and point at the marchers in the front who stop but are pushed forward by the inertia of the 17,000 strong crowd, the trigger happy Paras open fire and shoot indiscriminately into the crowd killing 17 and wounding countless others.

    Over the next few months The English National Party recruitment drive and funding swells on the back of this miscarriage of justice. Nicola Sturgeon is murdered in her residence; the Tory Party convention is bombed although May survives and the cycle of violence and retribution intensifies with Moslem families brazenly brutalizing white people in the name of defence.

    Then a clandestine squad of disillusioned ex-military elite defectors take control of the nuclear storage site as Aldermaston………….

Comments are closed.