Cryin’ Lyin’ Zion

I see the Somali woman who has somehow become a US Congresswoman is once again fending off accusations of antisemitism following a series of tweets which suggested American politicians defend Israel because lobbyists pay them to.

This prompted a Twitter thread by a British contributor to The Economist on the practice of disguising antisemitism as anti-Zionism, and the similarities between its adoption by hard-left American politicians and what we’ve seen in the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn. It’s actually not a bad thread, but here’s how it ends:

It seems a lot of Jews in the media are incapable of speaking about antisemitism without an obligatory swipe at Trump and other right wing politicians who hold unapproved views. I’ve written about this before; it’s a common phenomenon. Trump is the most pro-Jewish president America has ever had; he had absolutely no problem with his daughter converting to Judaism and marrying her Jewish boyfriend, who Trump fully embraced. He’s also the most pro-Israeli American president for a long time, motivated by such concerns as security and sovereignty. This ought to have Jews on both sides of the Atlantic turning cartwheels in celebration, but it appears their concerns over antisemitism are outweighed by a desire to remain popular in left wing, liberal circles and keep those dinner party invites flowing.

Trump is racist only by the insane definition of metropolitan newsrooms and western academia. What Orban is supposed to have done that is not part of Israel’s founding policy I don’t know. And I bet this Pfeffer chap took his views on Bolsonaro from an article some know-nothing, idiot journalist wrote from an office in London. Hell, it was probably a colleague at The Economist with a pencil neck and an English degree from Oxford hanging over his desk. Ilhan Omar, on the other hand, really is racist and the same goes for a good portion of those allowed to settle in the UK under successive governments. If the likes of Pfeffer can’t bring himself to differentiate between them and Trump, is the problem as grave as he makes out? Personally I think it is, but if Jewish journalists aren’t going to take it seriously, why should I? He should be looking to recruit allies and build bridges with those (like me) who have no skin in the game. Ordinarily I’d side with British and American Jews over racist Somalis, but if their spokesmen are going to spend time bashing Hungarian and Brazilian politicians and virtue-signalling about how much they despise Trump, maybe I’ll just sit on the sidelines and say nothing. What’s my incentive to get involved?

I’ve written recently about how American Jews are going to have to decide whether they want to join the ranks of white deplorables or continue to stoke the fires of identity politics which enable those who truly detest them. British Jews are similarly going to have to decide whether they want to enlist the help of ordinary, decent people in opposing antisemitism or continue to paint themselves into a corner because maintaining their social status is more important than ensuring their safety.


Fruit of the Loon

This is what happens when you stop marrying your blue-blooded cousins from Europe and get involved with divorced American actresses:

The Duchess of Sussex wrote empowering messages of support on bananas as she joined husband Prince Harry on a visit to a sex worker charity today.

Meghan and Harry were making up food parcels to be handed out to female sex workers when the duchess was struck by the idea to add her own personal touch.

Declaring herself ‘in charge of the banana messaging’, the royal took the time to write individual messages of encouragement and empowerment like ‘you are special’, ‘you are brave’ and ‘you are strong’ on the fruit.

At some point even the most staunch of monarchists are going to start questioning the divine right of rule of this current crop.


Aisle see you in court

I’m sure this will result in unforeseen consequences:

Supermarket giant Asda has lost an appeal in the latest development in a long-running legal dispute with staff over equal pay.

The decision means that lower paid shop staff, who are mostly women, can compare themselves with higher paid warehouse workers, who are mostly men.

The Employment Tribunal first ruled against Asda in October 2016. It said shop workers, who mainly work at check-outs or stacking shelves, could compare themselves with staff who work at warehouses.

It’s not over yet, though:

A ruling over whether the work is of equal value is likely to be in May.

There are three key stages in an equal pay case

– Are the jobs comparable?

– If the jobs are comparable, are they of equal value?

– If they are of equal value, is there a reason why the roles should not be paid equally?

I’ve worked on a shop floor and in a warehouse, and I’ve got to say I preferred the warehouse. Although the work is more physical, colder, and you have to dodge forklifts and reversing lorries, you don’t have to mind your language nor deal with idiotic members of the public. You can also goof off more easily: one of the worst things about working a shop floor is you can’t start loafing in the quiet times. Warehouse work tends to be peaks and troughs.

I expect there are women who work in Asda’s warehouses, just as there are men who work their shop floors. As Asda says:

“Our hourly rates of pay in stores are the same for female and male colleagues and this is equally true in our depots.”

The myth of the gender pay gap has long been debunked, and all but the dimmest of feminists are beginning to realise the differences in pay are down to the choices men and women make. Across the population, men are more likely to do dangerous jobs, work nights, work outside, and do deeply unpleasant jobs which women avoid – all of which attract a wage premium. So what we’re seeing now are campaigns for those jobs women choose being recognised by law as of “equal value” to those men opt for. It is quite easy to determine whether working in a warehouse carries equal value as working on the till – see which role requires the higher salary to attract suitable applicants – but this is producing the wrong result. Enter the ambulance chasers:

Leigh Day represents more 30,000 shop floor staff from the big four supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons – in similar cases.

This is the law firm which leads witch hunts against British soldiers who fought in Iraq. They believe the courts – rather than the market – is the true arbiter of a job’s value, and will be hoping to follow up on the success of this case, which they also brought:

A group of female workers in the West Midlands have won a Court of Appeal decision on equal pay claims.

The case involves 174 former employees of Birmingham City Council.

The women, who worked as cooks, cleaners, caterers and care staff, claimed they were excluded from getting the bonuses handed out to employees in traditionally male-dominated jobs.

Then there’s this:

It took more than six years and a hard-fought court battle for Joan Clulow, 72, and Pamela Saunders, 67, to finally receive compensation for the years they had been underpaid as home care workers.

“The pay was diabolical for what we did,” said Saunders, a carer employed by Birmingham council for 30 years.

When the council finally graded jobs, it put theirs on a par with mainly male road cleaners and refuse collectors whose wages were boosted by bonuses, shift payments and attendance allowances. “We were gutted,” said Clulow, a home carer for 25 years.

“It hurt because we worked that hard. Christmas Day, Boxing Day, night time if they needed us. We never refused,” she added.

Saunders said: “We couldn’t believe it. Don’t get me wrong, the men do work hard, but we did work hard. And I couldn’t see a lot of them doing what we do. Would they empty a commode, wash somebody down covered in mess, go into a house full of maggots and clean it up? But I’ll tell you what, I would have gone and done a dustman’s job for the day.”

Her remarks reminds me of this post, in which I noted some women don’t seem to understand exactly what “male” jobs entail. Does this Saunders really think men who clean streets and run garbage trucks couldn’t go into a house full of maggots and clean it up, or empty a commode? I think this Asda case might stem in part from the fact supermarket warehouses are no longer situated beside the retail outlets, leaving staff with little idea of what sort of work their colleagues are doing.

What will be interesting to see is how Asda and the other supermarkets handle this. If the courts rule that shop floor and warehouse work are comparable and of equal value, is there any reason why employees couldn’t be required to rotate between them? If Mrs Saunders would gladly have done a dustman’s job for a day (but for some reason didn’t switch to this more lucrative line of employment), would Janet from the deli mind humping boxes in the warehouse at 5am when the first lorry-load of vegetables comes in? I’m sure Barry who normally stacks pallets wouldn’t mind a turn on the till when the temperature drops below freezing in the yard.

We’re going to see a lot more of this, as progressives attempt to close the wage gap by equating wholly different jobs, supported by idiot judges and politicians. It will be interesting to see how the market responds, and what the unintended consequences are.


Ranks Defiled

A common response to stories demonstrating the moral corruption infesting the British police forces is that the attitudes of the leadership do not reflect those of the rank and file. While I am sure this is true in many cases, I’ve seen enough large organisations to know that corrupt leaders quickly find willing enablers among the workforce, who take to their new-found duties with enthusiasm. Before long anyone who isn’t on board with management directives is threatened, demoted, or ostracised while the quislings advance their careers in positions of ever-increasing importance.

Supporting this theory are examples of British citizens who have encountered rank and file policemen and discovered they’re less dealing with Dixon of Dock Green than state apparatchiks of middling intelligence burdened with a childlike vanity. Back in March I wrote about this story:

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.

Yesterday I read this one:

Mr Warner was charged with an offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, namely that he used threatening or abusive words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress as a result. This is a summary offence, which can only be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court, and the maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1,000).

The charge arose from an incident that took place outside the school where Mr Warner was picking up his young daughter. There appeared to be some confusion over where his daughter actually was, which understandably caused him to become agitated.

A nearby police officer, who could see Mr Warner’s agitation, approached to enquire what the problem was. During the conversation the police officer said “I can see you’re angry”, to which the concerned father replied “no sh*t I’m angry”. It is important to stress that the comment was a response directed at the police officer. Nobody else expressed any concern about the casual remark at the time.

Mr Warner’s daughter was located and he left the scene thinking nothing more about it.

Three weeks later the 45 year-old received a letter from the same police officer, inviting him to attend the police station to discuss an alleged public order offence.

At the recent trial the police officer recounted events exactly as described above, including the “no sh*t I’m angry” comment. When questioned about whether anyone else had been offended by the comment the officer suggested that members of the public had voiced their concerns, but the prosecution had offered no evidence to that effect.

It is quite clear that in many instances, should certain, non-protected members of the public fail to adopt the correct stance of cowed submission and deference before a police officer, they will have you arrested. Given the process is the punishment, it matters little to them that you may not be found guilty (as this man was) should you choose to contest the charges and it goes to court: you will have a file, your DNA will be on record, and you will have to declare the arrest on job application and visa forms for the rest of your days. While your life is being turned upside down through court appearances and lawyer’s fees, the officers concerned carry on with theirs as normal. They rarely face any penalty, even for lying in court.

That the British police should behave in this way is not surprising; this is how the police behave in much of the world. This is why in most countries you avoid the police at all costs, do not engage them in conversation, and most certainly do not view them as people who are on your side. As I’ve said on many occasions, the quicker the British public realise the police are not their friends and are best avoided, the better off they’ll be.


Straight Flush

Regular readers will know I like to watch games of victimhood poker being played out in the wild. We already established that being homosexual beats being a black man. But what beats being gay? Ah:

Andrew Moffat MBE, assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School in Saltley, has been criticised by parents for piloting No Outsiders – a programme run alongside sex and relationship education (SRE) lessons.

Its ethos promotes LGBT equality and challenges homophobia in primary schools.

Books now being read by pupils at Parkfield Community School include Mommy, Mama and Me and King & King – stories about same-sex relationships and marriages.

But Mr Moffat and the No Outsiders programme have come under fire from some Muslim parents who condemn such teachings, as homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Mr Moffat, who is openly gay, and the school have defended the programme, which they said had been fully explained to parents. They added: “No Outsiders allows us to raise awareness of these differences so that children are able to tolerate and accept differences in our society.”

But outraged mum Fatima Shah, who has taken her 10-year-old daughter out of the school, told BirminghamLive: “It’s inappropriate, totally wrong.

“Children are being told it’s OK to be gay yet 98 per cent of children at this school are Muslim. It’s a Muslim community.

Personally I think the protesters have a point – primary school children should not be indoctrinated with sexual identity politics – but if anyone who wasn’t a member of a top-ranking protected class brought this complaint they’d be hounded from public life and likely facing criminal prosecution for hate crimes. As for Mr Moffat, he should have read the rulebook he himself helped write.


There was once a PC called Munt

Just in case you think the British police couldn’t sink any lower:

A docker from Humberside has been investigated by police over a limerick he posted on Twitter after an officer claimed it constitutes a ‘hate incident’ against transgender people.

Harry Miller, 53, from Lincoln was contacted on Wednesday by a community cohesion officer following a complaint that had been made about the plant and machinery dealer’s social media posts.

Citing 30 potentially offensive tweets, the PC singled out a limerick Mr Miller had retweeted which  questioned whether transgender women are biological women.

Note this chap didn’t write the poem, merely retweeted it.

Even though no crime was committed, sharing the limerick online was recorded as a ‘hate incident’.

Thus giving ammunition to those who want to make such things a crime.

After Mr Miller questioned why the complainant was being described as a “victim” if no crime had been committed, the officer told him: “We need to check your thinking”.

Indeed, it’s a mystery why ordinary members of the public don’t intervene when roving bands of feral youths are kicking eight bells out of a couple of scrawny policemen.

The complainant had managed to identify Mr Miller’s place of work, despite there being no reference to his business or his full identity on his Twitter account. As part of the complaint to police it was alleged the firm was an ‘unsafe environment’ for transgender employees because of Mr Miller’s comments on social media.

I don’t mean to sound pessimistic on this snowy Monday morning, but eventually this will come down to them or us. Historians may well ask what contemporary politicians did to stop it happening.


Corporate Punishment

About 18 months ago, some lonely voices on the dissident right in the US began warning of the worrying antics of large tech and financial organisations with respect to political wrongthinkers. The ZMan was particularly vociferous on this, citing the case of some obscure neo-Nazi website having its domain name yanked without any transparency or due process. Within months of that we saw alt-right figures being denied hosting and other web-based services such as Cloudflare, which prevents DOS attacks. These actions at the time appeared to be the result of Antifa mobs piling pressure on the service providers and finding sympathetic (or scared) managers within who would do their bidding. As usual, the traditional right did nothing except help the enemy by holding aloft their principles; I’ll come onto that in a minute.

Pretty quickly Antifa worked out they could get anyone from the alt-right booted from social media and their contracts with web service companies cancelled, and that’s precisely what they did. As I wrote here, I thought Antifa would overreach and put people in a position where they had little recourse but to violence:

Ordinary people suddenly found a handy source of income has been cut off simply because the tech giants were unable or unwilling to stand up to a gaggle of hard-left thugs. It’s only a matter of time before ordinary Americans find themselves denied access to the website or payment processing platform their livelihoods depend on, without ever knowing the reason why. If that happens, people will start throwing their support behind whichever outfit professes to be on their side and against the people responsible, regardless of how nasty and thuggish they are.

The ZMan took it one step further, and said these tactics were endorsed by the ruling classes, happy to allow Antifa mobs and social media companies to enforce the censorship they are forbidden by law from imposing directly. He was one of the earliest voices to warn that political censorship and punishment was being meted out via compliant social media giants and other corporations, and it appears he was absolutely right. Look how quickly we’ve gone from Antifa mobs getting Nazi websites shut down to this:

Facebook and PayPal accounts used to organise “yellow vest” protests that have seen MPs verbally abused in Westminster have been deleted.

Organiser James Goddard’s Facebook profile disappeared amid calls for police to prevent the group from “harassing” politicians, journalists and pro-EU protesters.

His PayPal account was disabled a short time later on Tuesday afternoon.

The reason this chap’s PayPal account has been deleted is because he upset Anne Soubry, and someone made a call to PayPal to tell them to inflict the standard punishment. If it were you or I being abused, or even knifed on a London street, nobody would be interested. But attack a member of the ruling class and suddenly services on which you depend are cancelled without warning. Where’s the transparency here? Where’s the due process? And where’s the consistency? When Nigel Farage was attacked by a mob in a pub, the media classes thought it highly amusing. Plod didn’t seem much interested either, simply because their masters don’t like Farage very much.

Now the conservative right have thus far defended the actions of the likes of PayPal and Facebook on the grounds private companies should have the right to do business with whomever they please. I have two problems with this: firstly, businesses don’t have a right to do business with whomever they please as whole rafts of anti-discrimination legislation attest. There’s not much point in defending a principle which hasn’t been upheld in these lands since flares were in fashion, unless as part of a philosophical discussion. Secondly, whereas it may be reasonable for a restaurateur to refuse service to someone who can eat next door, how does this work with PayPal? And where does it stop? Credit card providers, banks and insurance companies are already coming under pressure in the US to refuse service to those who own guns or wish to buy one. How long before Mastercard (who’s politics are evident) decides it’s going to cut people off without warning? Well, you just switch to Visa, right?

Not quite: as we saw when three or four social media companies all banned Alex Jones within hours of one another, these actions are coordinated. If one company bans a wrongthinker, it’s almost certain their peers will follow suit. There are many restaurants in town, but only a few credit card companies. If they collectively decide to blacklist you, you’re screwed. Now the dimmer free-market fundamentalists will say “If you don’t like it, start your own service, market forces, innit?” Which again is a great topic for discussion in an Ayn Rand convention down the local pub, but the average person is not in a position to start their own bank. And where does this stop? There used to be a principle that utility companies such as electricity, phone, and water providers had to supply all customers regardless of who they were. Nowadays people are just as dependent on credit card, banking, and insurance services yet they appear to be allowed, thanks to a few lines of font 4 text in 18 pages of terms and conditions, to just immediately halt services without warning and without explanation. “Don’t like it?” say the free marketeers. “Well, start your own insurance company, then!” If the right can’t come up with a better response than this, they deserve the left’s foot on their necks for the foreseeable future.

Note what’s interesting in this latest incident is the ruling classes don’t even need the Antifa mob any more. No, all it took was 50 MPs writing to Plod and PayPal got the message loud and clear. The Antifa mobs were useful in terms of testing the water, seeing if these companies would knuckle under and do as they’re told, but now they’re surplus to requirements. Bear in mind all his has happened in less than two years, and try to imagine where we’ll be in another two. We’re rapidly heading into a situation where the ruling classes can effectively cut you off from services on which you depend as punishment for stepping out of line. People are making lots of noise about China’s social credit system, but at least the CPC is open about it. Our ruling classes are doing the same thing while claiming it’s nothing to do with them because we live in a free society. Free for whom, exactly?


Time to get serious

I’m disappointed but not surprised to wake up this morning to find Theresa May is still leading the Conservative Party, having seen off a vote of no confidence by a 2:1 ratio. In my opinion Theresa May is an appalling prime minister even if you disregard Brexit: she’s a nannying, authoritarian, dimwit with no vision, no principles, and no charisma who sees the British population as little more than a nuisance. Add to that her handling of the Brexit negotiations – which appear to be a mixture of devious cunning where Britain’s interests were concerned, and incompetence and capitulation in front of Barnier et al. – resulting in a deal which nobody is happy with, and she is likely to go down as the worst PM anyone can recall. That nobody among the ruling classes can mount a challenge to her, either within the party or from the opposition benches, almost beggars belief.

But like I said, I’m not surprised. The yawning chasm that’s opened up between the ruling classes and the majority population has been evident for some time, and that 200 Tory MPs have given their blessing to Theresa May and her Brexit deal merely confirms the people’s parliamentary representatives have no intention of representing anyone’s interests but their own. In some ways, last night’s vote is a good thing in that it may ram  home this point to those who for some reason thought differently. How anyone still believed it having watched Blair and Cameron rule Britain for a combined 16 years is anyone’s guess, but here we are. In short, May winning the vote demonstrates how utterly bereft of talent and competence Britain’s ruling classes have become, and it’s interesting to look at why.

Those 16 years I mentioned earlier explains a lot about where we are now. Both Blair and Cameron epitomised prime ministers for whom the big decisions over governance were solved by a combination of a collapsed Soviet Union, unprecedented wealth due to globalisation, and a handing over of major policies to the EU. Neither man had to tackle a single, difficult domestic issue: even the NI peace process was mostly wrapped up by the time Blair took office, allowing him to claim credit for it. From 1997 onwards, Britain was rich, peaceful, and faced no serious threats – except, in hindsight, from its own government. This allowed people like Blair and Cameron, who lacked any principles save for a desire to be in power, to tinker and meddle and make changes on the fly, many of which had devastating consequences down the line. Where previous prime ministers had to deal with the Soviet-backed communism, independence of the colonies, general strikes, deindustrialisation, and the oil embargo Blair and Cameron busied themselves banning foxhunting, creating thousands of new petty crimes, foisting political correctness on critical institutions, and micromanaging people’s lives. And while they did this, the majority of the population didn’t weep with despair and head abroad like I did – they stood and cheered, and said “Ooh, what a nice man!” Until Blair joined in with the wrecking of Iraq, anyway.

The irony is many of those people who voted for Blair and Cameron are now bitterly disappointed at the current situation, both leavers and remainers who think May’s deal is abhorrent, albeit for opposite reasons. Well, what did they expect? The British population allowed the ruling classes to be captured by a bunch of wet, unprincipled, and not especially bright charlatans, and were happy to let them rule provided they were doing all right regardless of the long-term costs. Whenever somebody with even a whiff of intelligence, backbone, or principles showed up on the political scene, the middle classes would clutch their pearls and launch into a frenzy of virtue-signaling (nowadays they just start shrieking about Nazis). And now, finally, the British ruling classes have been given a genuinely difficult, statesman’s task and they are simply not up to it: May has proven hopeless, and her closest rivals can’t even inspire enough colleagues to get rid of her. What does that tell you about the substance of Johnson and Rees-Mogg?

It’s time the British public got serious. Over the next few months the ruling classes will be found wanting once more, unable to make difficult decisions: May’s deal probably won’t pass a parliamentary vote, and a general election will be called where people are given a choice of another loser Tory or Jeremy Corbyn. This will being about a disaster no matter who wins, and this might – might – bring to the fore a different sort of politician, one we haven’t seen for a long time in Britain. How the population reacts will be crucial, and there will be howls of anguish from the metropolitan elites and a subsection of the middle classes who would prefer politicians stick to banning sugary drinks and shutting down hate speech on Twitter than actually governing. These voices will need to be shouted down with full force if Britain is going to change. But I’m not even sure it wants to.

In short, the public are going to have to start making difficult decisions. The trouble is, like Blair and Cameron, they’ve never had to. Can they learn? Time will tell, but if they can’t they might as well stay in the EU and let someone else rule over them. It’s going to be a testing twelve months.


Vacuum filled

Via Whiteboard Technician, this story:

Smith and his colleagues at Shirley Street Watch have become the scourge of low-level criminals in their little corner of Solihull in the West Midlands since they started patrols in January. Police credit them with effectively forcing drug dealers away from parts of the suburb and significantly reducing antisocial behaviour.

While Smith bristles at the term “vigilante”, the volunteers are one of a rising number of groups springing up across Britain as crime surges and police officer numbers hit a record low. Added into the mix is the very low and falling detection rate – 75% of thefts unsolved. Victims of crime are willing to take matters into their own hands.

Regular readers of my blog won’t be tremendously surprised by this. As I’ve said before, the role of the police is to protect suspected criminals from the mob by helping to dispense justice; if the police opt out of that role, the mob will take its place. Now this bunch in yellow jackets in Solihull thankfully don’t look like an African mob who suspect a young woman of being a witch, but we’re heading in that direction. And these groups are sprouting up everywhere:

This week Hartlepool was called the town “where the police don’t come out” in reports about a neighbourhood group formed to try to fill the void left by police. On one recent Saturday not a single officer was on duty in the town of 92,000 as all were called to another job.

Perhaps the police were checking Twitter for racism? Or were they busy putting LGBTQ decals on their patrol cars?

A new Midlands-based group, We Stand Determined, has amassed nearly 3,000 members on Facebook in the past week, with splinter groups already forming in Manchester and elsewhere.

I rather like this development, mainly because it’s focusing minds. Unsurprisingly, Plod doesn’t:

The emergence of these unofficial groups, formed on social media, has led to fears among the police that a new breed of “have-a-go heroes” are putting themselves at risk and jeopardising investigations.

I rather think it’s the lack of investigations which are the problem.

Insp Iftekhar Ahmed, of West Midlands police, told the Guardian he was concerned that well-meaning citizens were “hindering the situation” by taking matters into their own hands.

Ah yes, mustn’t do that now, must we Inspector Iftekhar Ahmed? Far better the British people just meekly tolerate criminals running rampage while the police do nothing. What they’re really afraid of is their own irrelevance.

Ahmed runs the force’s Street Watch scheme of 350 volunteers who patrol neighbourhoods under the supervision of the police, who pay for their insurance and provide a basic training course on safety.

I know nothing about these groups, but if they’re subject to the same SJW doctrines as the regular police, they’ll be useless.

He said: “Citizenship is what they’re doing: look, see, report, don’t have a go – that’s the ethos. They’re a vigilant group, not a vigilante group.”

Spy, snitch, tell…but don’t do anything. Ah, modern policing.

Smith said residents were “majorly disappointed” when Shirley police station shut down two years ago – one of 27 West Midlands police buildings closed as a cost-cutting measure.

“We have had a couple of people say: ‘You’re just policing on the cheap.’ But things aren’t going to change any time soon. If you want to make a difference you’ve got to get boots on the ground, you’ve got to get off your arse and do something for your community.”

The fact these groups are being given a sympathetic hearing in The Guardian of all places is illuminating.


Tasteless but legal

The French might be odd, but they can hold the line when they want to:

A French court has ruled that posters showing a woman tied to train tracks did not promote violence against women.

The posters were put up around the town of Béziers last December to celebrate the arrival of high-speed TGV trains. They carried the caption: “With the TGV, she would have suffered less.”

The ads faced a legal challenge from a number of feminist groups and criticism by France’s equality minister.

But the court said they were legal, despite the questionable humour.

Would a British court have ruled the same way? Maybe, but they’d have found some other way to get the advert removed (as Sadiq Khan did with billboards showing nice looking women on the London Underground).

But the far-right mayor of Béziers, Robert Ménard, defended his campaign, accusing critics of “political correctness” and pointing to a history of such images in old films and cartoons.

After the French court threw out the complaint, Mr Ménard tweeted that the case had been “an inquisition in petticoats”.

Quite right too. Now I don’t know whether M. Ménard is actually far-right given the label is nowadays meaningless, but if so it’s rather illuminating that this is who we now rely on to advocate freedom of speech and push back against corrosive third-wave feminism.

The court in the southern city of Montpellier said the posters had been designed to provoke a reaction, and did not encourage violence against any specific group, including women.

Good. As I said after the Charlie Hebdo attack:

Nothing highlights the cultural gap between France and Britain more than the uncomfortable suspicion that Charlie Hebdo would not have lasted more than a year in the UK before being hounded out of business by the state and its backers in one form or another, as this article makes clear.

I have no confidence this advert would have been displayed in the UK. There’s a good chance anyone posting it would be charged with a hate crime.