The Arrest of Tommy Robinson

Yesterday the right-wing provocateur Tommy Robinson was arrested for livestreaming the comings and goings outside a British court building where a rape trial involving Muslims was ongoing. Within hours the British government had placed a gagging order on the press, so as usual it fell to Twitter to tell everyone what went on.

The chattering classes are this morning stroking their chins and sternly reminding us that filming outside a courtroom is illegal and Robinson is currently serving a suspended sentence for the same offence. Reporting on ongoing court matters is strictly controlled in the UK in order not to prejudice a trial, and people make a valid point when they say Robinson’s actions could result in a mistrial. At best, he’s been very naive and probably ought to find himself a reliable legal adviser if he’s going to keep doing stuff like this.

However, there is a lot more going on here and the chattering classes are either deliberately overlooking it or, more likely, utterly unaware of it. Robinson has not been arrested for filming outside a court building, he’s been arrested because he embarrasses the ruling classes. He has been constantly followed, monitored, and harassed by Plod wherever he goes solely because he draws attention to the failings of the ruling classes. In this particular instance, he is making the point that the mainstream media is silent on the issue of Muslims raping vulnerable, underage British girls in northern, working-class towns, leaving it to people like him with iPhones to keep everyone informed. While he’s probably mistaken the lack of media coverage of this ongoing case for self-censorship rather than mere compliance with the law, the wider point is that the media does self-censor and particularly so in cases such as these. The modern British media is merely a mouthpiece for the ruling classes, which is why so many journalists have taken to Twitter to pompously besmirch Robinson and justify his arrest and incarceration. The last thing mainstream journalists want is some pleb without the proper credentials, much less a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, reporting on things they’d prefer went unmentioned.

While it is true that Robinson has committed some sort of offence here, Britain is fast becoming like many authoritarian states in that everyone is committing an offence merely by going about their daily business, and it’s therefore just a matter of who the police choose to arrest. And even if you haven’t committed a crime, the police can arrest whoever they like for wholly imaginary reasons and face no consequences. With the process being the punishment, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve committed an offence or not: if the ruling classes and their minions in uniforms decide you’re a problem, they’ll make your life hell and convince themselves they’ve acted lawfully. We should remind ourselves at this point that nobody rotted away in a Soviet gulag for no reason: there was always a charge attached to their incarceration. The fact Robinson was originally arrested for breach of the peace and later that changed to prejudicing a trial shows the authorities aren’t really interested in what they charge him with provided he ends up behind bars.

Somebody asked on Twitter yesterday why the government is terrified of upsetting Muslims to the point they’re prepared to jail the likes of Robinson. I responded by saying they’re not: the government and their bag carriers are not in the least afraid or Muslims because they pose no threat to their way of life, and are often quite useful in cementing them into positions of power and privilege. What they are genuinely terrified of is the ignorant, white masses rising up and hanging them from lampposts, and the event which triggers this could well be widespread revulsion at what the ruling classes have seemingly allowed Muslims to get away with in towns like Rotherham and Telford. The nightmare scenario for the likes of Theresa May and tossers writing in The Times and The Guardian is not a crazed jihadist bombing a concert or knifing someone on Westminster Bridge but an angry mob of people who look and sound much like them.

Tommy Robinson to some degree represents that angry mob, and even those who don’t like his methods or opinions are forced to admit he has a point: the government is failing massively on many levels, and eventually things will boil over with ugly results. The idiots in government think by chucking him in jail the problem will go away, just as Twitter and Facebook think they can eradicate alt-right opinions by banning users who hold them, as if covering their ears is the answer. History is littered with national leaders who spent time in prison for criticising the previous regime; not that I think Robinson will become Prime Minister, but it demonstrates that rulers who jail those who are inconvenient often don’t remain in charge very long. It’s a sign of extreme weakness rather than strength, and it’s no coincidence that Robinson is being arrested at a time when Britain has one of the weakest yet childishly authoritarian Prime Ministers in living memory.

The next week or so will probably test May’s government more than she realises. The public are already incensed over Count Dankula’s Nazi pug prosecution, and if Robinson is harmed in custody in any way, the ruling classes might find he has a lot more supporters than they thought, and some are ready to step up and take things a little further. The IRA in their successful campaign to bomb their way to the bargaining table were able to rely on an enormous number of people putting money into hats passed around in pubs. Similarly, jihadists are supported in large part by thousands of hands placing notes into bowls passed through the crowd during Friday prayers.

Let’s leave the who, what, and how to one side for a minute, mainly because they’re questions I can’t answer. Instead, let’s try a thought experiment: if hats were passed through the British population asking for money to tackle the problems Tommy Robinson is highlighting, how many people would cough up, and how much money would be raised? I expect if the ruling classes knew the answer, they’d turn white.

Share

Children at Play

I see the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry has got off to a good start:

Families of those killed in the Grenfell Tower fire left an inquiry in tears after a video of the blaze was shown without a warning.

One woman was said to have collapsed outside the hearing after seeing the video, which included footage filmed from inside the burning building.

An inquiry official apologised, saying a warning system had failed.

People attending an inquiry into the causes of a tower block blaze collapse after unexpectedly seeing footage of the tower block blaze. What did they expect, The Sound of Music?

Karim Mussily, whose uncle Hesham Rahman lived on the 23rd floor, earned a standing ovation from other relatives in the room when he told the inquiry: “We’ve been censored enough, it’s our time; whether you like it or not, you have to listen.”

Never mind what actually happened, then. And relatives of Grenfell Tower fire victims claiming they’ve been censored is like Noam Chomsky and John Pilger writing columns in national newspapers complaining they’ve been silenced. The Guardian has more:

There was anger at the way participants were silenced by inquiry lawyers. One person, Nabil Choucair, who lost six loved ones, was told that a part of the statement he wanted to make had been rejected by the inquiry.

Choucair wanted to make clear that he had taken no part in the production of a tribute presented by his brother, Hisham, on Tuesday that caused 20 people to walk out and one woman to collapse in distress because of the footage showing the burning tower. A broadcaster had wrongly captioned film of the incident with his name.

So rather than try to find out how the fire started, why it spread so rapidly, and what went wrong with evacuating the residents the inquiry is reduced to bickering over who made a video. And we’re only on Day Two.

“This is another example of the public inquiry running it the way they want to do and picking and choosing who they want,” Choucair said. “It gives me great concern over who this inquiry is about.”

You and me both mate, but I suspect for different reasons.

Others were angry at plans to move proceedings from the Millennium Gloucester hotel, in South Kensington, a convenient location for members of the community, to offices in Holborn, once the tributes to the dead are completed.

In other words, people are angry that the actual inquiry will begin and the grief-mongering cease.

Chris Imafidon, who said he had tutored children who lost parents in the fire, said: “They say … it’s better in Holborn for all the lawyers and all the judges that are there, they said they can’t find a convenient place here. Everything that’s perceived to be the needs of the survivors, the first thing they say is no. That insensitivity, that arrogance! That they know everything and we know nothing because we’re poor.”

I wonder if those who conducted the inquiry into the Herald of Free Enterprise or the King’s Cross fire heeded the views of those whose sole connection with events was the tutoring of victims’ children?

Yvette Williams said she was concerned about who would be chosen as “additional panel members” to the inquiry board, additions that the community had fought for. In a recent blogpost on the Justice4Grenfell website, she wrote: “It is vital that the PM and inquiry team does not select panel members who look like us but ‘act’ like them.”

So being non-white is not enough, panel members must also act non-white. Whatever that means.

The audience wept as the voice of Fethia Hassan, four, was played at the end of an emotional video tribute to the child, to her sister Hania Hassan, three, and their mother Rania Ibrahim, 31. Speaking in Arabic in the recording, made during a trip to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the girl blew kisses to her cousins and told them she loved them.

Let nobody doubt the value a four year old speaking in Arabic from Jeddah brings to an inquiry as to how a fire started in a London tower block.

There isn’t going to be an inquiry, is there?

Share

An Inquiry in Name Only

In June last year, after the Grenfell Tower fire, I wrote:

I was just a kid in the 1980s when we had that seemingly endless series of disasters: Piper Alpha, the Herald of Free Enterprise, the King’s Cross fire, the Marchioness, the Clapham Junction rail crash. These were catastrophes of enormous consequence with all the emotional and human aspects of the Grenfell Tower fire, yet we did not see third-world style mobs whipping up anger and making ludicrous demands, nor perpetual adolescents demanding the government be replaced by one headed by a bunch who’d just lost an election. Sensible heads prevailed, inquests were held, genuine lessons were learned, and the rules changed so they didn’t happen again. In those days the adults were in charge.

Yesterday I read this:

Relatives of all 72 victims will be given the chance to commemorate loved ones during the [Grenfell Tower fire] inquiry.

The inquiry will look into all the deaths – including one victim who died in January, having been in hospital since the blaze.

Five others were remembered on the inquiry’s first day, which began with a 72-second silence in memory of those who died.

They include artist Khadija Saye and her mother Mary Mendy, Denis Murphy, Joseph Daniels and Mohamed Neda.

I don’t see anything wrong with taking a few minutes to reflect on the dead at the opening of an inquiry into a disaster such as this. But once those few minutes have passed, the cold, impersonal business of finding out what happened, how it happened, and why should commence free of emotions and political posturing. Is that occurring now? No it’s not, and it looks as though it’s more soap opera than inquiry:

Families are being given as long as they want to tell the inquiry about their loved ones through a mixture of words, pictures and videos.

Survivor accounts are important as they can provide key details such as how fast the fire spread, and what difficulties they faced in evacuating. Also, the correspondence between the residents and housing association will be vital to the inquiry. But talking about loved ones with pictures and videos without limit? Is this an inquiry interested in discerning facts, or a memorial service?

What’s happened is obvious: an entire industry has sprung up around the Grenfell Tower fire with the dual purpose of securing public monies for key individuals and furthering their political aims. They have managed to gatecrash what should be a sober, professional inquiry and turn it into a grieving session after which no doubt they’ll put considerable pressure on investigators to point the finger at their opponents, i.e. the Tories and any company with deep pockets. They’ve been allowed to do this because the political classes no longer have the personal courage to face down a baying mob of chancers and insist on due process being followed.

Given that Sadiq Khan is in charge of London and Theresa May in charge of the whole country, it’s hardly surprising we’re no longer capable of holding an inquiry into a disaster without the whole thing turning into a circus. We really are missing some adults, aren’t we?

Share

Scottish Stupidity

This amused me:

The Scottish Parliament has become the latest building to introduce free sanitary products for all staff and visitors.

The move follows concern over the accessibility and affordability of tampons and towels.

The decision from the all-party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body means free sanitary products will be available in all 42 women’s toilets.

It was hailed as a “win for gender equality” by MSP Kezia Dugdale.

The cost of providing the free sanitary products is expected to be between £2,000 and £3,000 a year.

Ms Dugdale, who is a member of the corporate body, said women often found it difficult to access sanitary products during the working day.

Basically, the taxpayer is subsidising the grocery shopping of those who work in the Scottish Parliament, most of whom will be rather handsomely paid in comparison with said taxpayer. For instance, the annual salary of an MSP such as Kezia Dugdale is over £62k per year (.pdf); the median wage in Scotland is just over £23k.

This isn’t the first time a government policy has been aimed at subsidising the lifestyles of the wealthy middle classes (which coincidentally includes those making the policy) at the expense of the poor. In fact, it pretty much defines most policies these days.

Despite half of the population experiencing menstruation at some point, very few workplaces have taken steps to become period-friendly and that’s why I’m pleased the Scottish Parliament is leading by example.

Many of those women experiencing menstruation will be poor, single mothers who don’t work at or visit the Scottish parliament, and who no doubt struggle to purchase groceries thanks to their taxes being frittered away by grifters in Holyrood.

Her Labour colleague, Monica Lennon, is bringing forward a member’s bill to create a statutory duty for free provision of sanitary products.

Ms Lennon also welcomed the move and called on other parliaments, buildings and employers to take similar action.

It’s not just the economics that are stupid here. I can guarantee that within a very short period (ahem), these free sanitary products will be snaffled in bulk, leaving none available or costing a fortune to replace. You cannot leave boxes of sanitary pads and tampons lying around in a staff toilet any more than you can install a machine on the street which dispenses cans of Coke for free. Perhaps this would work in Japan, maybe in a select few other countries, but the UK isn’t among them. And what’s amusing is you can be damned sure the sort of women who will fill their handbags with these items for use at home, thus wrecking the system, will be the right-on lefties who dreamed it up in the first place. Modern lefties always strike me as the sort who’d steal the sugar sachets from Little Chef while lecturing the rest of us on how selfish we are.

Share

Meghan Markle’s Future

I didn’t watch the Royal Wedding yesterday simply because there was rugby on, and it would take more than a grand pageant to stop me watching the Canterbury Crusaders in top form.

That said, it was impossible to avoid the coverage in one form or another – even the French guys I play bluegrass with on Saturday afternoons asked me about it – and it looked as though it went well. At least the weather was good, which is always a bonus in Britain. What I found particularly annoying is the degree to which certain commentators elevated the importance of Meghan Markle’s race. If the media hadn’t told me, and then not shut up about it for months, I would never have guessed she was the daughter of a black mother and white father:

To me, she looks as much Spanish, or Italian, or Lebanese as mixed-race American. Her mother simply looks like someone you’d see shopping in Marks & Spencers in Croydon, so why anyone should think her race is even worth mentioning I don’t know. Actually, I do: it’s because some people think race is the be-all and end-all (e.g. David Lammy, Katie Hopkins), and others simply took the opportunity to virtue-signal, rubbing people’s nose in the subject of immigration:

A British royal marrying an American divorcee? Why, how very post-war! The fact so many high-profile people attempted to make political hay out of Prince Harry marrying a mixed-race woman is an indicator we’re not in the post-race Britain the marriage itself suggests.

I do think Markle’s going to be trouble though, and not because of her ethnicity. It’s not even so much that she’s American, an actress, and divorced either. The biggest problem is that she’s not from royalty. Farmers’ sons tend to marry farmers’ daughters because farming is a unique way of life which beings with it many obligations on the part of the farmer’s wife. For instance, a farmer’s wife would usually be required to assist heavily with the lambing, among other things. If you haven’t grown up in this environment it can be too much for an outsider to bear, and it’s the same thing with the royals. They didn’t intermarry just to keep the peace between warring houses or to preserve ancient bloodlines, they married their own kind because they understood the rules of the peculiar life they lead. Princess Diana struggled with the obligations of being a prominent member of the royal family, and she was hardly from peasant stock. Sarah Ferguson failed at it miserably. Kate Middleton seems to be doing a good job, but all that shows is it’s not impossible. It is very difficult, though.

As one of my correspondents said this morning:

My guess is that she isn’t going to be happy just opening libraries in Lewisham all day.

I suspect she’s going to use her position to get involved with “good causes” which inevitably will be highly political in nature. Something a lot of do-gooders don’t realise is that almost all good causes are political because they involve either legislation or taxpayer funds to achieve a particular outcome, and there are trade-offs. The royal family has generally managed to avoid drifting into the political sphere by selecting activities which are low-key, e.g. the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, which teaches kids how to erect a tent and stay dry when camping in Britain. However, Prince Charles, with his blathering about GM food and population control, is straying dangerously off the reservation. His ex-wife’s campaign to ban landmines was in my opinion disastrous for the image of the royal family, as was all her campaigning. We have enough campaigns for muddle-headed progressive causes funded by taxpayer cash as it is; indeed it seems nowadays every root and branch of government does little other than campaign from a position of complete ignorance. Add to that the number of millionaire celebrities who enjoy telling us oiks how to live, and we must ask if really need a woke princess joining in the chorus. As many people have pointed out, the continuation of the monarchy depends not on them getting down wiv da masses to show us how normal they are, but the exact opposite: retaining a lofty, detached, and somewhat abstract existence which sets them apart from us. William and Harry have already dented their symbolic status through clumsy attempts to connect with ordinary people, and a Duchess of Sussex who sounds like she’s reading from The Huffington Post might tip things over the edge.

People will think I’m awfully misogynistic and probably racist for saying this, but Mehgan Markle’s success in both her marriage and role as a royal will depend heavily on her keeping her trap shut. Does she look like the sort of person to do so? Not really. So here’s my prediction. Within a short time she’s going to get herself neck-deep in controversy following an ill-judged remark which she thought was helpful, but in fact rubbed salt into wounds she didn’t know existed. Faced with a social media backlash, she’ll adopt a sassy fuck-you-I’ll-say-what-I-want attitude which will have tattooed, purple haired feminists cheering her in The Guardian and everyone else wishing she’d been turned back at Heathrow in May 2018. A huge rift will open up within the palace, and the royal family will be fortunate if the only casualty is Harry and Meghan’s marriage.

In the spirit of Britishness I shall wish them luck, but it will take a lot more than that.

Share

Hidden Purposes

Yesterday two stories were brought to my attention, which share a connection. Here’s the first:

All new police officers in England and Wales will have to be educated to degree level from 2020, the College of Policing has announced.

It said the training would help address changes in crime-fighting.

Prospective officers can either complete a three-year “degree apprenticeship”, a postgraduate conversion course or a degree.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said the changes would “help modernise the service”.

Many people are unhappy with this, saying it will remove yet another formerly respected career path for the working classes. They are probably right, but this is a feature not a bug. As I wrote here, New Labour and their successors made it central policy to get more women into the professional workforce, and for more people to go to university. Well, a generation later we now have lots of middle class graduates, but what are we supposed to do with them? A sizeable chunk will have graduated with liberal arts or other degrees which are near-worthless to an employer, yet these people have been sold the lie they can expect professional employment anyway. One answer is to stuff them into state institutions and provide them with what passes for a career, sitting in pointless meetings, dreaming up rules, and shoving paper around, and that’s what’s happened. Eventually the institution in question will become little more than an employment scheme providing what is effectively welfare to the dim but entitled middle classes, its core function forgotten. I’ve provided plenty of examples in support of my opinion that the British police long ago stopped being police in the commonly-understood meaning of the word, and this latest announcement is fully consistent with that. Consider this statement:

The college’s Chief Constable Alex Marshall said the feeling was the nature of police work has changed significantly and officers were just as likely to be “patrolling online” as on the street.

“Cyber-enabled crime has increased,” he said, “So has the need for officers and staff to investigate and gather intelligence online and via information technology.”

He also said protecting vulnerable people has become a “high priority”, with officers now spending more of their time working to prevent domestic abuse, monitor high-risk sex offenders and protect at-risk children.

Even investigating a pub fight – which used to mean interviewing the victim, perpetrator and the bar staff – now also extends to researching videos, pictures and comments published online.

You don’t need a degree to be able to research videos, pictures, and comments online. Nor do you need one to work with vulnerable people. What this is about is shifting police work from the wet, windy streets to comfortable chairs in front of computers in air-conditioned offices – the type of job the government promised graduates with worthless degrees from mediocre universities. Also, I am sure it is no coincidence that this shift is occurring a few years after the police made considerable efforts to recruit more women, and made policing an attractive career choice for young mothers. It is a lot easier to comprehend this latest move if you understand what the British police is actually for.

Here’s the second story, provided by Phil B in the comments:

Germany’s armed forces are suffering from severe shortages of weapons and equipment that put the country’s ability to meet its Nato commitments in doubt, a parliamentary watchdog warned yesterday.

The German military is “not equipped to meet the tasks before it”, Hans-Peter Bartels, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces said as he presented his annual report.

Operational readiness is “dangerously low” and the country’s ability to take over a frontline Nato taskforce next year must now be “in question”, he warned.

The current purpose of the German army is not to defend Germany from outside attack or to fight anywhere. It could be argued that until 2011 it was a way of deferring university or employment for young men by making them do national service, but nowadays it doesn’t even do that. Its true purpose can be divined from these two paragraphs, though:

The hard-hitting report was seen as a direct attack on the current defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, who is said to be unpopular with troops.

Ms von der Leyen has presided over a series of shortage scandals during her time at the defence ministry, at the same time as introducing initiatives such as creches and flexible working hours for soldiers.

So it’s basically an employment scheme for the progressive middle classes, much like the British police. Last November I wrote this about the US army:

In part, the purpose of the military is to serve as a vehicle (one of many) for progressives to enact their deranged fantasies as part of an overall aim of undermining society and the institutions on which it depends as far as possible.

I don’t know if this applies to the Germany army – is it even possible to make German institutions more progressive so they can undermine the country further? – but it certainly applies to the British police. So there’s it’s other purpose.

Does the BBC story make a little more sense now?

Share

Europe’s choices over Iran

A response from Germany following Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Europe can no longer count on the United States to protect it, urging the continent to “take destiny into its own hands.”

“It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands. That’s the task of the future,” she said during a speech honoring French President Emmanuel Macron, according to Agence France-Presse.

This will be music to the ears of many Americans, who are wondering why the US remains committed to defending Germany from…well, who? Russia? Germans have made it quite clear they prefer Putin’s Russia to Trump’s America, and who else is there? Oh, but wait:

German defense spending will fall far short of levels demanded by President Donald Trump’s administration for years to come, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s defense minister said.

Those levels are actually NATO commitments; Trump’s demand is merely that Germany meets them. The problem Germany has is that it is dependent on the US for security (assuming it is actually required) and hates it, but they don’t hate it enough to reach in their pockets and pay for it themselves. Like a spoiled teenager who hates the rules in their parent’s house, they don’t want to move out either because that would involve hardship.

What will be interesting is the response of Germany, France, and the UK to this:

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif was in Moscow on Monday, as Russia tries to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive in the wake of Washington’s pullout, pushing it into rare cooperation with Europe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was scheduled to discuss how to try to save the nuclear deal with Zarif, the Interfax news agency reported.

Zarif’s tour also took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the international backers of the 2015 accord scrabble to save it.

“The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended,” Zarif said at a news conference with Lavrov.

Lavrov, meanwhile, said Russia and Europe had a duty to “jointly defend their legal interests” in terms of the deal.

A few months ago, Russia was accused – perhaps fairly – of conducting a chemical weapons attack on British soil, and there were expulsions of diplomats and lots of tough talk from European leaders about solidarity with Britain. Then a few weeks ago Russia’s client in Syria allegedly used poison gas against civilians and everyone went mental, with Britain and France joining the US in launching missile strikes against targets in Syria. Russia was a pariah nation run by a gangster regime, we were told, so it’s going to be very interesting whether the commercial interests of European businesses consign all this rhetoric to the dustbin. It’s going to be particularly interesting to see what Britain does, given Boris Johnson and Theresa May’s recent criticism of Russia. At least nobody is pretending it’s about nuclear security any more.

Something the media has failed to mention is the difficulty of doing business in Iran even without US sanctions in place. I can’t find the link now (Google search results are swamped by recent developments) but a few years ago one of the big Chinese companies effectively walked away from an Iranian oil and gas project having utterly failed to make any progress, citing the intransigence of the locals as the primary reason. Anyone who has read the history of Iran, particularly the bit concerning Britain’s dealings with Mohammad Mosaddegh over BP, will get a clear idea that doing business there is fraught with difficulties, not least because the Iranians are severely tough negotiators. There has been nothing preventing Chinese, Russian, or Turkish firms making hay in Iran in the absence of American and European countries for decades, but they haven’t, and for good reasons.

One of the main problems facing western companies concerns the ownership of Iranian companies. As is to be expected under such a regime, pretty much every major company is in some way owned by the government or powerful individuals connected to it. In many instances it is the The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which controls the company. From Wiki:

IRGC first expanded into commercial activity through informal social networking of veterans and former officials. IRGC officials confiscated assets of many refugees who had fled Iran after the fall of Abolhassan Banisadr’sgovernment. It is now a vast conglomerate, controlling Iran’s missile batteries and nuclear program but also a multibillion-dollar business empire reaching almost all economic sectors. Estimates have it controlling between a tenth and around a third of Iran’s economy through a series of subsidiaries and trusts.

The Los Angeles Times estimates that IRGC has ties to over one hundred companies, with its annual revenue exceeding $12 billion in business and construction. IRGC has been awarded billions of dollars in contracts in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, as well as major infrastructure projects.

Last October Donald Trump sanctioned the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, independently of the nuclear deal. Leaving aside the difficulty of executing major projects in Iran without falling foul of US sanctions on the IRGC, can you imagine having an IRGC-owned company as a partner or contractor? Would they carry out the work as per the contract? To whom would you turn if they didn’t? It’s hard enough doing business in Russia with companies run by well-connected gangsters; now imagine what it’s like contracting with the private army of the Ayatollahs.

Major European nations risk creating an enormous political and security rift with the US over this Iranian nuclear deal, all for the benefit of a handful of companies who reckon they can make money in Iran. The way they’re talking, and the way it’s being reported, you’d think the money was already in the bank. It’s not, and probably never will be. Politicians should heed this point.

Share

Incentives Matter

This is probably a good thing:

Women are backing out of divorce cases because settlements are becoming less generous, experts have said.

Fewer wives are being awarded income for life and they are increasingly having their divorce settlement limited to a few years.

This is making some of them back off from going through with a split, law firms say.

In a landmark case in 2014, the High Court ruled that judges should prioritise a “transition to independence”, even if this involved “a degree of (not undue) hardship”.

Back around the time of the global financial crisis, I heard somewhere that the divorce rate had dropped in London as women found their husband’s asset pile, and by extension their expected payout, was suddenly worth a lot less. As Tim Worstall is fond of pointing out, incentives matter and it has been obvious for a long time that many women initiate a divorce in the hope of securing a hefty settlement rather than working to save the relationship. The law now recognises this, hence the divorce rate at the margins has fallen.

Share

Prodnose Priests

Last October I said:

A couple of years back I realised that middle-class snobbery is what drives so much social and political campaigning these days. Probably the best example is the campaign to reduce sugar in people’s diets – for their own good, of course. It is always fizzy drinks and sugary snacks that get cited, never fancy desserts.

Who is trending on Twitter this week, leading the charge in campaigning for the government to introduce new laws aimed at restricting certain foodstuffs in the name of tackling obesity?

I’m sure the lower classes, who are forever blamed for putting a burden on the NHS with their delinquent lifestyles, are delighted to have former Etonian and Oxford graduate Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall telling them how to live. Naturally, multi-millionaire Jamie Oliver is four-square behind him:

Albeit looking rather porky himself. Maybe he should do a little less meddling in other people’s lives and hit the gym? And speaking of Jamie Oliver:

Mr Oliver told BBC Breakfast that he does not ban junk food in his home, but that it is only eaten by his children as a “treat”.

Ah, so he’s free to feed his own fucking brats whatever shit they demand, but the choices of other parents ought to be reigned in by the government.

I’ve said this before, these dickheads would be a lot better off going to church. There they can do all the moral posturing they like, and receive assurances of their virtue from someone who is paid to deliver them. People are fond of saying that religion has declined in Britain, but I disagree: all it’s done is take other forms. The prodnosery, meddling, hand-wringing, and moral sneering at those considered less virtuous is alive and well, it’s just the clothes worn by the high priests are different.

Share

Outcome of Equality

There’s an awful lot wrong in this story:

A police officer is suing the Metropolitan Police after watching hours of child rape videos as part of an investigation left her with post traumatic stress disorder. Cara Creaby is seeking more than £200,000 in damages for the ‘psychiatric injury’ she says she suffered while investigating the rape of three young girls, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Okay.

The 29-year-old, from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, joined the Met in 2009 and three years later became part of the ‘Sapphire Unit’ handling child abuse cases. In December 2014 she was made the main contact for three young girls suspected of being victims of grooming and serious sexual offences by disabled paedophile Michael D’Costa – who would later be jailed for 16 years. As Sexual Offence Investigative Technique officer, Mrs Creaby had to search the paedophile’s home and seized a diary detailing his crimes, more than 100 videos of him abusing the girls, and children’s clothing and school bags. High Court papers say Mrs Creaby formed an ‘emotional bond’ with the girls, whom she had to support and interview, which was ‘especially harrowing’ as she also had to view footage of them being ‘sexually abused and degraded’.

I’m obviously speaking as a layman here, but this looks like a case where a separation of roles might have been a good idea. Is it really sensible that the person who “supports” the victims of paedophiles also has to review the most gruesome bits of evidence? I’d have thought police psychologists would have set up the roles and assigned the tasks such that “emotional bonds” didn’t form where they might hamper the investigating officer or leave them traumatised.

For example, I had a friend who was a Royal Marine officer and, as part of his duties, was once called upon to inform a woman on the base that her husband had been badly wounded in Afghanistan and was now a triple amputee. How it works is two officers who don’t personally know the family are selected to walk up to the door, ring the bell, and immediately tell the woman what has happened. I’m not sure how long they spend with her, but they quickly hand over to a support team who takes things from there. The idea is this poor woman will form a more constructive psychological attachment to the support team members than if they’d been the ones to break the initial news. According to the plan, the woman will never see the two officers again in her life, thus sparing her flashbacks and ruined relations. Whoever came up with this system thought about it and worked out the psychological impact of each step, and how to separate the roles. My friend said it was one of the worst things he’s ever had to do in his life.

So my question is, why hasn’t a similar procedure been applied to police investigating harrowing crimes against children?

She would spend ‘at least eight hours at a time’ watching the videos to work out what happened in them, the documents say.

Couldn’t this task have been assigned to somebody who has never met the children, with the lead investigator only seeing those parts essential for securing a conviction?

It is claimed Mrs Creaby told her superiors ‘multiple times’ about the volume of her work and the effect it was having on her, but she was just told to ‘carry on as best she could’. According to her lawyer, David Mies at Slater & Gordon, there was no risk assessment, offers of help or consideration of how to share the workload.

Is this true, or is she just looking for a payout? I’m inclined towards the former.

By March 2015, Mrs Creaby was said to be ‘visibly struggling’ and became ‘more tired, unkempt, short with colleagues and emotional in the workplace’ but again was allegedly not given any support.

If this can be proved, and I suspect it can, she’s likely to win this case.

She also began to ‘experience intrusive flashbacks and nightmares of the child rape she had been required to watch’ and also ‘noticed that when she was with her partner, any act of intimacy caused her to panic and become tearful’.

Frankly, this sort of thing would affect the stoutest of people. Presumably this is why, until recently, only certain types of people would be considered for severely stressful and difficult jobs, but we’ve since moved into a world where anybody can do any job, and indeed have a right to. There was a time when the job of sifting through a paedophile’s home movie collection would have been handed to a man with a strong constitution, not a woman who was clearly not up to it.

She was diagnosed with PTSD as a result and according to the legal documents, the officer asked for help but was told by bosses at Scotland Yard to ‘stick to the job at hand’.

Well, yeah. We’ve been told for some time now that women can do the same jobs as men regardless, and this theory is now being severely tested. Telling a highly traumatised and obviously suffering woman to “stick to the job at hand” is perfectly consistent with telling women they are equally suited to all aspects of policing (and every other profession) as men. Both are heinously irresponsible; this woman should never have been given such a task in the first place. We’re going to see a lot more lawsuits like this.

(I’ve written before about people in the wrong job.)

Share