Orders Given

I can’t seem to get off this topic. Here’s a story from yesterday’s Telegraph:

Companies in the UK must undergo a “genuine culture change” to get rid of alpha males and promote women, government ministers have said.

Ministers John Glen and Victoria Atkins have called for “greater diversity” in the workplace, adding that companies should “call out” non-inclusive behaviour.

They particularly highlighted the “woefully low” number of women in senior jobs the City, which is both “morally wrong” and affects the sector’s productivity.

“We have a problem when it comes to the representation of senior women in the financial services sector,” the ministers said in a letter to MPs.

There is just so many things wrong with these four paragraphs it’s easier to make a list than fisk it:

1. Why is it assumed alpha male traits are bad for business? Are companies filled with beta males more profitable?

2. Why are Conservative MP’s calling for culture changes? What, if anything, are they interested in actually conserving?

3. Why is “greater diversity” assumed to be better for businesses? If this was the case, why are they not doing it already and reaping the rewards?

4. Why is the number of women employed in the financial sector a moral issue? As I’m fond of saying, these people would be better off going to church rather than haranguing the public.

5. What is the basis for the claim that putting more women in senior jobs in the City will increase productivity? And why are firms not doing that already if this is the case?

Responding to the Treasury Committee’s Women in Finance report, the Government accepted MPs’ calls to abolish “alpha male” culture, remove the stigma of flexible working and encourage senior men to lead by example.

Its letter says there is still a “long way to go” for the financial sector to become diverse. “This includes encouraging gender balance at all levels of seniority and focusing on other forms of diversity,” it said.

This story says far less about the role of women in London’s financial sector than the role of women and wet beta males in politics. If politics is downstream of culture, then business is rapidly becoming downstream of politics. And if this is what passes for a Conservative government, there is absolutely no reason to vote for them. None at all.


Women in the Military

One of the strongest objections to allowing women to serve in every branch of the military was not regarding their competence, but of the fact that mixed-sex crews serving in close proximity will inevitably result in liaisons which breach codes of conduct and damage operational effectiveness. Last year we had this story:

A Royal Navy nuclear submarine commander who took part in cruise missile strikes during the Libya campaign has been removed from his vessel amid claims of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.

Cdr Stuart Armstrong was taken off his Vanguard class submarine and relieved of his duties as a precaution while naval chiefs investigate the allegations.

Naval sources said the investigation had been launched amid suspicions Cdr Armstrong’s relationship with an unnamed female officer was “closer than it should have been”.

Just as it is highly inappropriate for a department manager to start shagging members of his or her staff, it is equally the case in the military chain of command, if not more so:

Navy rules forbid any relationships between sailors in the same chain of command for fear it would lead to favouritism and undermine orders.

Relationships outside the chain of command are allowed, but there is a strict “no touching” rule during deployments.

Sources said the rules were considered particularly critical on submarine missions where sailors work in cramped conditions underwater for months at a time.

It seems as thought the Royal Navy put in place robust guidelines which the submarine commander broke, and he got fired for it. This is fair enough, but it is also inevitable: if you put servicemen on ships or submarines with servicewomen then relationships will develop, and often this will involve officers who in theory should know better. The Tailhook Scandal in the US involved numerous allegations of navy and marine officers assaulting and harassing servicewomen. A popular theory is that many of the allegations arose from women who were spoken for fearing their partners were about to find out what they got up to on deployment, so claimed coercion. The Tailhook Scandal rocked the US Navy and brought about sweeping changes in the culture, which mischievous types cite as the reason US Navy ships now seem to be crashing with alarming regularity.

Today, via Kevin Michael Grace on Twitter, I came across this story:

One of the first women to enter the Marine Corps infantry is being discharged from the service after admitting to having an intimate relationship with a subordinate — a fellow Marine she eventually married.

On their own, the legal charges against Cpl. Remedios Cruz, 26, are not uncommon in military investigations of American troops. But they highlight the struggle the Marine Corps has had in integrating women into jobs that were only open to men before 2015.

It is not inevitable that every woman who enters the military will enter into an inappropriate relationship. However, if enough women enter the military it is inevitable that inappropriate relationships will occur. No amount of training, hounding, threatening, and cajoling is going to stop men and women in close proximity from having sex; those who take the issue seriously, such as conservative Muslims, do so by maintaining segregation, because it’s the only thing that works. It’s up to the government to decide whether the drawbacks of having women mixed with men in the military outweigh the benefits, but they ought not to deny that drawbacks exist.

“The biggest mistakes I’ve made in the infantry were from my personal relationships,” Corporal Cruz said in an interview. “I really want to move on.”

As part of a deal to avoid going to trial, Corporal Cruz pleaded guilty to fraternization in July and decided to put the Marine Corps behind her. She is awaiting her final separation from the Marines.

It’s rather difficult to see how admitting Cruz to the US Marines has been a benefit to the organisation, who didn’t want her in that role in the first place:

Corporal Cruz, of Fleischmanns, N.Y., joined the Marines as a supply clerk in 2013 and completed infantry training in 2014. Two years later, she requested to transfer to an infantry unit after then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ordered that women be allowed in all previously restricted combat roles. The Marine Corps vehemently opposed the change.

So it was a political decision foisted on them by an administration more interested in social engineering than governance. This probably doesn’t help, either:

She was accused of three charges — fraternization, adultery and accessory to larceny — in separate investigations that would have been sent to court-martial in June.

I suspect we’re going to see a lot more of this sort of thing, and as the numbers increase there will be calls for the rules to be changed so that such conduct is no longer prohibited. As I’ve said before (1, 2), modern militaries serve a different purpose than that which they claim.


The Shamelessness of South Yorkshire Police

From the BBC:

Ministers do not know the impact funding cuts have had on police forces, the UK’s public spending watchdog says.

According to the National Audit Office, the Home Office does not know whether the police system in England and Wales is “financially sustainable”.

It calls the approach to police funding “ineffective” and “detached” from the changing demands faced by officers.

Changing demands, eh? Such as dealing with reports of non-crimes sent in by the public at the behest of the police themselves?

Now it may be the police are understaffed and underfunded, but one thing is for sure: the allocation of existing money and human resources in British police forces is an absolute disgrace.

But put that aside for a minute and consider what South Yorkshire police are saying here. Not content with prosecuting people under the dangerously vague and arbitrary definition of “hate crimes”, they now see fit to hound the population for expressing unapproved opinions which don’t even fall under that category. In other words, whatever you say is Plod’s business. Lest you think I’m reading it wrong, here’s how they clarified their position in a later Tweet:

This has gone viral and many people are outraged, but the tin ears of the British police and whoever in government they take their orders from are legendary; shame isn’t a word in their vocabulary. Proof of this comes in no better form than the fact that South Yorkshire police, by refusing to take complaints seriously through fear of being called racist (or perhaps out of ethnic solidarity with the perpetrators), were complicit in allowing Pakistani rape gangs to abuse dozens of underage girls in Rotherham for years. And here they are, smug as ever, trying to bully into silence ordinary citizens who they happily admit committed no crime.

The British police are rotten to the very core; scrap the whole lot of them and start again.


At last, some proper information

Now this is more like it:

Two Russian nationals have been named as suspects in the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The men, using the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, are thought to be officers from Russia’s military intelligence service, the PM said.

The Metropolitan Police said the two men arrived at Gatwick Airport from Moscow on 2 March and stayed at the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London.

On 4 March they travelled to Salisbury – having also visited for reconnaissance the previous day – where Mr Skripal’s front door was contaminated with Novichok.

Officers believe a modified perfume bottle was used to spray the door.

The pair flew from Heathrow to Moscow later that night.

See, this is what was missing during the outrage 6 months ago: evidence. Instead, we had the PM telling everyone it was most definitely Russia behind the attack, based on “intelligence information” and the fact the substance was created in the USSR and a Russian lab the most likely source. Now we have two named individuals and their movements, the British government position looks a lot more credible. However, it’s come rather too late. Here’s the explanation why:

The BBC’s security correspondent Gordon Corera said he understood the authorities identified the pair “a while back” and “may also know their real names” and had hoped by not making this information public, they could intercept them should they continue to travel.

I don’t buy this. The Russians might have bungled this hit, but I doubt they let their assassins wander around the world willy-nilly in the immediate aftermath. I suspect it’s more likely they were told to sit tight in Moscow for at least a year. I’m more inclined the reason this is being released now is because they’ve only just worked all this out, and didn’t have half this information back in March. This is interesting though:

Police said Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley were later exposed to Novichok after handling a contaminated container, labelled as Nina Ricci Premier Jour perfume.

Mr Rowley told police he found the box containing the small bottle and an applicator – all found to be counterfeit – in a charity bin.

He tried to put the two parts together and got some of the contents on himself. His partner Ms Sturgess applied some of the contents to her wrists and became unwell.

Again, this sort of information – how, where, and when – is important when establishing credibility. Thus far, this is the first time the public has been told anything other than “trust us”.

Speaking in the Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May said the government had concluded, from intelligence provided by UK agencies, that the men were part of the GRU intelligence service.

The poisoning was “not a rogue operation” and was “almost certainly” approved at a senior level of the Russian state, she said.

Sorry, but Theresa May has no way of knowing this. If anyone claims to know the intricate workings of the Russian state, including the degree with which government bodies wander off the reservation, they’re either lying or they subscribe to the all-seeing all-knowing Putin fallacy. The biggest problem I have with Putin ordering this attack is I don’t see any upside for him; yes, I’ve heard all the reasons multiple times, and I find none of them convincing. I’m also skeptical that when the Russian government gets its top assassins to knock someone off, they bungle it. There’s probably a lot more to this story than anyone outside of Russia knows, but I guess it doesn’t matter now.

He said there was little expectation that the pair would end up in a British court, but releasing the evidence would instead add pressure with the intention of “deterring Russia from doing something similar again”.

Oh yes, because the Russians are big on shame, it features large in their culture. For example:

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters the names of the Russian suspects “do not mean anything to me”.

He seems rattled.

The CPS is not applying to Russia for the extradition of the two men, as Russia does not extradite its own nationals.

Indeed, it’s in the constitution. Funny how Russia occasionally looks after its citizens rather better than free, enlightened nations like the UK.

The UK will meet the UN security council to discuss the case on Thursday.

Mrs May also said Britain would push for the EU to agree new sanctions against Russia.

But BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said many European countries would be “reluctant to tighten the screw on Russia”, fearing a loss of trade and energy.

Well indeed. Germany, for instance, has spent years sucking up to Russia and currently believe it is in their interests to side with Vladimir Putin over Donald Trump. Perhaps the real motivation behind Putin ordering a brazen Novichok attack was to see who would come to Britain’s aid, and who Germany and the EU would back. If so, it worked a charm.


Apartments in Britain and France

I’ve remarked before in the comments on other people’s blogs that one of the factors driving up the costs of British housing (although admittedly not the main one) is the British insistence of living in an independent dwelling, i.e. a house rather than a flat. More often than not, they also insist on having a “garden” which looks less like this:

And more like this:

For some reason, many Brits find the idea of living in high-density housing, i.e. blocks of flats abhorrent and would prefer to pay through the nose for a tiny, damp, decrepit house with half the available footprint rendered useless for living than a warm, comfortable, modern flat. This might be reasonable if you live in the countryside or in a small town, but Brits insist on living in a house even in London. This is why, when you take a train out of any large British city, you pass behind rows and rows of awful terraced housing. Take a train out of any European city and you don’t see individual houses until you’re near the outskirts.

I’ve just spent almost five years living in a suburb of Paris, a five minute walk from the metro station, in a building similar to these, which are typical:

My building was 8 storeys tall, each containing a 1-bed, a 2-bed, and a 3-bed flat. There were 3 buildings in all, so around 75 flats, all sharing communal parking, lifts, entrances, etc. The place I’ve moved to is broadly the same, only 4 buildings and about 150 flats. These are quite new and well built with proper concrete walls and floors; if I lived closer to the centre of Paris, I’d have been in an old building with paper-thin walls, but the communal living concept would have been the same. Some even share a heating and hot water system, but that’s much rarer now with new flats having an individual, fully-electric system (hurrah for cheap nuclear power!). Everyone pays a communal charge based on the surface area of each flat, and that goes towards running costs and maintenance, organised and managed by professional companies who exist for this purpose. I’ve heard of people having problems, but in general it runs quite well. This is how people live in French cities, and many raise families in apartment buildings even if many move further out and buy a house.

If you mention apartment blocks to Brits, though, they think of this:

Unfortunately, these have a terrible reputation because they were primarily used for social housing and stuffed full of people who nobody in their right mind would want as neighbours. And I think that’s the problem: Brits don’t make good neighbours. The British papers are full of stories about neighbours engaged in decade-long feuds, some of which turn violent, over the height of a hedge or the placement of a fence. In all instances the bottom line is, “This  is mine and I’ll do whatever the hell I want!” Whenever I had problems with noisy or anti-social neighbours in Britain, the reaction to any complaint was “It’s my house, I have the right to do whatever I want.” Sealed off in their own small houses, Brits don’t feel the need to consider anyone else. Little wonder moving them en masse to high-density tower blocks didn’t work out, then.

Contrast this with a note I found stuck on the lift in my Paris apartment building last week:

It reads: “Hello everyone, I beg your forgiveness for the noise over the past few days. I was extremely happy to see my friends who no longer live in Paris, and whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. All this is to tell you I am sincerely sorry, and it won’t happen again.”

I am reasonably sure this wasn’t posted after a complaint, too; they put it up having realised they were probably making a racket and in the interests of maintaining good relations with their neighbours (and the body that runs the building). Can you imagine this being posted in the lift of a British apartment block? No, nor me.

Later, someone wrote an addendum:

“Well done, one must enjoy life and especially the good things.”

In many cases, the problem of housing in Britain is not so much the type of accommodation but the mentality and quality of the tenants.


Theresa May’s Dancing

There are quite a few people on Twitter laying the boot into Theresa May because she’s been captured on video dancing like the chief accountant at the office party who’s unwisely joined the pretty intern on the dancefloor just before things wrap up. May is currently touring Africa and Africans like to dance, hence everywhere she goes she’s asked to join in and look silly. This is the equivalent of an African prime minister coming to London, being taken down the pub to meet some traditional British yobbos, and asked to join them in necking a pint of ale to chants of “Get it down, you Zulu warrior!” while the world’s press looks on.

Personally, I think we should lay off May in this instance. She looks as though she’s enjoying herself and I don’t find a willingness to look a bit foolish in the company of foreign hosts to be a bad thing. It’s not like she’s gone the whole hog and acted the complete clown like Justin Trudeau did, or is dancing because she wants to get down wiv da kidz and show how modern she is. In fact, I think the whole thing makes her look a little more human and – dare I say it? – more likeable. And it’s not like us Brits are fantastic dancers, is it? I can perhaps forgive an Argentinian or Brazilian making fun of May’s dancing, but it’s not unusual when Brits dance for furniture to get knocked over. How many of those laying into May’s performance could do any better?

No, May’s awkward dancing at the behest of her African hosts is not something to criticise her for. Instead, let’s hold her feet to the fire over her endorsement of the South African government’s campaign of land appropriation, her betrayal of Brexit, and her overall appalling leadership.


Ineffective policing brings forth vigilante justice

In March 2017 I wrote a post centred around this remark left by commentator Duffy:

Here’s what many people often seem to forget. Police are there to protect us from criminals. But they are also there to protect the criminals from mob justice.

I referenced cases in Nigeria and Argentina where ordinary people, utterly fed up with the police being unwilling or unable to deal with miscreants, took matters into their own hands and I speculated we’re probably not far off such vigilante justice appearing on the streets of Britain. Then yesterday, via Natalie Solent at Samizdata, I discovered this story:

This shocking footage reveals the moment a gang of vigilantes beat a man in street after he tried to attack people with acid.

The suspect is shown being kicked to the ground outside Maryland train station in East London and battered with a plank of wood before having milk poured over him.

A mob claim to have caught him shortly after he had thrown acid inside a shop after someone refused to hand over some change.

Well, if useless fools like Cressida Dick, Sadiq Khan, and their private army of uniformed enforcers won’t protect the public from such things as acid attacks, sooner or later the public will start protecting themselves:

Footage of the latest incident was filmed by a witness, who shared it on Facebook.

It shows the the alleged acid attacker lying face down in the road outside Maryland railway station in Stratford, surrounded by a group of men.

As he stands up a man kicks him back to the tarmac and somebody in the crowd shouts: ‘Kill him, bro.’

Another man attempts to intervene but the first man continues to kick and stomp him while he is down, making him scream out in pain.

The cameraman warns: ‘Yo, if you bring acid ever again.’

A second man then douses the suspect with what appears to be milk and boots him in the back.

The crowd shouts: ‘Kill him, bruv. P****.’ Somebody then strikes him with a plank of wood.

If this happened in Nigeria the man would be dead, either beaten to a pulp or doused in petrol and set alight. But more importantly, and this was the crux of my previous post, if the police had tried to intervene the crowd would likely have murdered him too. Would the same thing ave happened in London? Probably not but, with recent stories of policemen being mocked and pelted with bottles and stones, I suspect it’s a matter of time before a British policeman intervenes in vigilante justice and meets the same fate as the victim.


Wanted: Diverse Criminal Magistrates

I’m not sure what they’re trying to say here:

More people with criminal records should be made magistrates to increase diversity among the judiciary, the chairman of Magistrates Association said last night.

Diversity in what? Criminality?

John Bache insisted a more representative set of magistrates would make criminals feel less alienated by the system.

Giving prisoners keys to the cells would make them feel less confined by the bars, too.

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We all make mistakes, we all do things we shouldn’t have done. But we want to increase diversity.

‘And if we did say anyone who’s done anything wrong ever isn’t going to be appointed, that’s no way at all to increase diversity.’

Again, diversity in what?

Mr Bache, who has sat on the bench since 1989, added: ‘We’re trying very hard to increase diversity, but it isn’t as easy as you’d think.

‘For a start people aren’t applying from ethnic minorities to the same degree as they are from white people – because they’ve got the idea that people from their backgrounds don’t become magistrates. And that is obviously erroneous.’

Ah, now I get it: in order to encourage more ethnic minorities to become magistrates we might need to overlook criminal convictions. That’s a rather refreshingly frank admission from an unlikely source, so much so I doubt he realises what he’s actually saying. After all, he also said this:

He suggested having a character from a popular soap become a magistrate could raise awareness of the issue.

Remember when Britain was a serious country? Ah, those halcyon, bygone days.

(H/T JuliaM)


Circle Jerk

To get things started, this:

Jamie Oliver has said he named his new product “punchy jerk rice” to show where he drew his culinary inspiration from.

Oliver’s rice mixes garlic, ginger and jalapenos “to create a jerk marinade with attitude”.

I know a lot of people like Oliver’s cheeky Essex-boy shtick and lord knows it’s made him rich, but boy I find it irritating. I’ve tried using his recipes before and they’re full of silly descriptions and flippant remarks, often in places where you need some clear direction. The informal, who-cares approach may have worked when he burst onto the scene as a young man with The Naked Chef, but now he’s 43 and so laid back he wants the government to tell everyone what they can and can’t feed their children, he sounds like someone who’s never grown up. And the problem with trying to be popular and down wiv the masses (even though his fan base is exclusively middle class) is he attracts the attention of idiots like Dawn Butler:

In a tweet the Shadow Equalities Minister wrote to Oliver: “I’m just wondering, do you know what Jamaican jerk actually is? It’s not just a word you put before stuff to sell products. Levi Roots should do a masterclass. Your jerk rice is not OK. This appropriation from Jamaica needs to stop.”

If Britain was a serious country and adults were in charge the pressing question on everyone’s minds would be how such a complete imbecile has attained elected office. Instead, everyone is running around contesting the absurdity which is “cultural appropriation”, as if logic and reason are answers to a child flinging shit. Butler should have been ignored or mocked into oblivion, but instead she’s generating headlines.

And this amuses me:

The chef and entrepreneur Levi Roots has described Jamie Oliver’s decision to launch a jerk rice dish as a mistake, as a row over cultural appropriation widened.

From what I remember, Levi Roots turned up on Dragon’s Den with a guitar and some of his grandmother’s homemade sauce. Pasty-white Englishman Peter Jones, who is good mates with the bloke in charge of purchasing for Sainsbury’s, agreed to back Roots for a hefty cut of the business. One phone call to his mate later and kerr-ching! Instant success. Now Roots has gone onto open some successful restaurants which is more than Jamie Oliver managed, and I don’t begrudge him his fame and fortune. But I don’t see how Roots getting Peter Jones to flog his grandma’s sauce into Sainsbury’s makes him an authority on Jamaican cooking, much less one who deems it appropriate to tell another chef what to do. Does he even have a chef’s qualification, as French chefs must in order to be taken seriously? No, he doesn’t.

So in summary, we have a politician telling an unqualified chef/guitarist to teach a former pastry chef, who may have made a pig’s ear of a dish, to give a masterclass on how to do it properly. Little wonder British cuisine is subject to global mockery; the problem is, with stories like this making front page news, the mockery is no longer restricted to the food.


Public Feedback

I’ve written several posts expressing my belief that the British police are not on the side of the public, and they are rapidly losing their support. In particular, this:

I think it’s high time British policemen were shunned from polite society, particularly those in the higher ranks, unless they have unequivocally demonstrated whose side they are on. The default approach to a policeman should be that afforded to a bouncer at a Manchester nightclub, someone to be avoided except when absolutely necessary and even then contact kept to an absolute minimum. The day policeman cannot arrest ordinary citizens on trumped-up terror charges and expect to interact with normal society afterwards is the day they will start to change. But while the middle-classes support this stuff and engage with policemen on supposedly equal terms, rather than demand those responsible are fired on the spot, things will only get worse.

I will not ever call for policemen to be lynched by a mob. I would not ever condone policemen being lynched by a mob. But I suspect there will come a point in future where, if I see a mob lynching policemen, I will walk on by having seen nothing. If the police don’t wise up soon and change course, there is even a chance I’ll stop and watch. I doubt I’ll be alone.

Today I found this story:

A police officer has condemned people who cheered a man escaping police after a confrontation which left two officers requiring hospital treatment.

The incident on Romford Road, Newham, east London, was filmed and shared on social media with laughter and shouts of encouragement clearly audible.

Sorry, but if the police make it abundantly clear, day after day, they are not on the public’s side they can hardly complain when the public treats them with contempt.

But Supt Roy Smith described it as a “sad state of affairs”.

This adequately describes British policing in the modern age, particularly their contemptuous attitude towards ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

Supt Smith tweeted it was “disappointing to see members of the public filming this and laughing at the officers”.

I’d say Supt Smith doesn’t know his public very well, then. Too much time on diversity training and not enough walking the beat, perhaps? Now I’m sure policemen of yore would have found themselves in similar situations, i.e. low-lifes cheering on a criminal. The difference is they’d have expected it, and not gone bleating to the public about how “disappointed” they are. Here’s the tweet in full:

So how did this affairs come about, eh? What changed? And as for the police are the public, spare me. Remember this:

A van driver was arrested by a group of police officers after challenging them because they were parked on a double yellow line. Andy Mayfield, 53, was held in custody for 12 hours and strip searched under anti-terror laws after he started filming the cops, who were parked illegally outside their own police station in Ashton-on-Ribble, Lancashire in January. He was detained under the Terrorism Act and submitted to a rigorous questioning at the Newton Heath terrorism centre in Manchester before eventually being released.

This is more like the behaviour of an occupying army than a police force, and now they’re complaining the public is jeering them when they’re in difficulty. Like their political masters, the British police seem to suffer from a severe lack of self-awareness. I expect we’ll be seeing more incidents like this.