We work amongst all kinds of restrictions. One of these is the lack of knowledge we have about the world. Another is the knowledge we think we have. A guy calling himself Claustrophobic Inspector blogged something really important a few nights ago, on the subject of global warming. He was pointing out that many positions in argument involve an assumption that many people are lying and that people doing this often lack much knowledge of the subject they are ‘dissing’. There is often a bit more to this. People often assume that other people act in much the same way in argument as they do themselves, and in the way they have regularly found others acting in their own interests.
Most people I meet are not very good at argument, some even confusing it with the rowing they engage in. A very small proportion of people in our world are capable of scientific argument, largely because they have no direct experience of it. My grandson answered the question ‘why does iron rust’ with ‘because of the magnesium’ in some homework a month or so back. I regularly see climate change dismissed by people on the grounds carbon dioxide is present as such small percentage of the Earth’s atmosphere. This is just as bad. I can explain in great detail why iron rusts (actually, in pure form, it doesn’t) and why such as small percentage of gas in our atmosphere causes the ‘greenhouse effect’ (actually nothing like the way greenhouses work).
Many arguments are available ‘ready-to-hand’ and a lot of the time we just pick one that suits our purpose. Some of the ‘ready-to-hand’ stuff is really good, like recipes in a cookbook or chemistry textbook, but even here there are skills we need to have learned as well to produce a decent meal or the drug, explosive or other chemical we want to produce. Many of the so-called IEDs killing our troops require some very good chemistry beyond most of us. In most argument, it isn’t long before you discover you are in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. The creationist will wax on about the lack of transitional fossils as a means to destroy Darwinism. We now actually have many examples of such fossils.
We display our classic ignorance when we say we vote for the people we think will best handle the economy. A few questions quickly reveal we actually know sod all about economics, so why should we do something as important as voting on the basis of ignorance? Most people are ignorant on many matters and all of us are ignorant on some matters.
Inspector Gadget blogs fairly regularly on the state of ‘The Swamp’, where his friendly-neighbourhood underclass live. They are fat, loud, ignorant, benefit-dependant, time-structured around the arrival of the latest clutch of cheap drugs and so on. He and other cops bemoan the way people on such estates won’t stand up and give evidence against the people who ruin the quality of life through benefit-sponsored crime and antisocial behaviour. I worked the barely fictional “Horse’s Arse” division of Charlie Owen’s novels myself, pretty literally as his setting is Greater Manchester. The stories contain a lot of the truth, whether fictional or descriptive. Yet they fall short of proper enquiry; the kind that we enable us to change the quality of life for the better.
There is currently no real outlet for the ethnography that would put the full picture together. The cops are reluctant to admit how bad they actually are. I have found some of them and the social and housing workers at least ostensibly charged with sorting matters out worse than the scrote who cause the problems. This doesn’t extend to many of them, but I have found many victims share this view. Nearly all of them fall short of any reasonable standard though and they cannot bear to view themselves in this light. Everyone else is at fault. Politicians, lawyers, judges and a vast range of overpaid managerialists are to blame, along with swamp scum, false complainants, time wasters, inadequate resources and anything else convenient. I suspect this story is largely true, but only part of a picture of incompetence and cruelty so appalling we dare not look at it, or our roles in it. This is the picture we have to build if we are to get anything done. To try is to spit in the face of the smiling brotherhood of the establishment. Many of the people earning their livings in this system are scared to tell the truth about what is going on. Gadget asks in his blog why he should risk his mortgage by openly telling the truth, rather than through his anonymous writing. Whistle-blowing is about as good for your health as lighting up a fag on a dark night under sniper fire.
I have seen cops, social and housing workers all deny the kinds of problems that are admitted all over public sector blogs, just as they should have been exposing and dealing with them whilst protecting my partner and myself as victims. This was far more cowardly than the blind eye many neighbours turned as we tried to cope with and get something done about violent, abusive, drug-dealing scum. Neighbours have at least apologised, far more than can be said of GMP and Bolton Town Hall agencies. A friend, involved with far more serious and violent offenders in the same police area, promised that evidence against them could be given from behind a screen, heard the names and addresses of such ‘protected witnesses’ being read out as they prepared to give evidence. This is the level of farce and danger that has to be exposed. This case involved a broom handle shoved up a victim’s arse that punctured his lung. The ambulance may have taken two hours to arrive in that incident.
The story that needs to be told is so farcical it beggars belief. The first question that must be asked is why no realistic attempt is being made by any of the authorities involved, across the country as far as I am aware, to collect and collate a database that can be interrogated so as to even begin to establish the real problems. I can say, as a university researcher, that we have the methods, they are not relatively expensive and would cost less than Louise Casey’s bullshit ‘Crimefighters’ operation. Vested interests must be involved in preventing it happening. I can vouch for this on an academic and personal basis. Our own MP actually threatened us at a point when we were desperately and clinically depressed, an action for which he should be sacked and should lead to criminal charges against him.
The first thing necessary in setting up the database the authorities should already have put in place long ago is confidentiality. There is little need for much sophistication, though there is a need to sort the wheat from the chaff and to use modern technology and get matters into public scrutiny respecting confidentiality. The authorities and politicians involved are highly skilled in denial and character assassination and this needs to be recognised from the outset along with power disparities and techniques they use almost as blatantly as neighbourhood-scum use intimidation. If Gadget’s blog and book are to be believed (I hope we would respect each other’s scepticism as we follow the evidence), he is a fairly senior cop who feels he cannot risk telling the truth directly to power and not simply an opportunist seeking to swell his pension-pot through a writing career. What hope for innocent victims befouled by the system supposed to be protecting them? I will return to the hows and whys of the database method later. I want to suggest first that relevant authorities and politicians are letting people die and live in horror. The facts of this are clear, though intentionality less so and currently easily deniable because we have no database. The very people who have denied us the database are the very same as those with interests in denying and responsibility for the deaths and horror.
Of course, I’m making assumptions now that many people are lying about crime, antisocial behaviour and our public services. I’m not alone, and this is some comfort. I don’t even believe our cops, social and housing workers are really charged with sorting out the mess. One or two academics actually seem to believe they are really charged with keeping the mess going and the lid on so our politicians can make claims about improving it all because they are so crap they can’t come up with any real politics.
We have seen any number of utterly dire social working and police work make the headlines over as many years as I care to remember. The headlines come and go, as this is what our inadequate fourth estate does. These serious stories rarely linger as long as those on such dull irrelevancies as which soccer star is shagging away from the trophy wife, celebrity drug taking and other dull ADMASS fashions. The standard performance is of moral sabre-rattling, followed by damage limitation that may include long reports on learning lessons and other managerial junk. Over time, a cycle is established in which the same old problems emerge as though they are ‘new’. Other victims die and are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Victims are rarely news unless they do die.
The key problem in all this is how problems get defined and who is allowed to do the defining. Only a few key figures are allowed or given the resources to investigate. Standard management textbooks will tell you managers as key players in organisations, forming and creating reality for others. Grim stuff if you don’t want others to define your reality in ways you don’t want. Academic criticism of such stuff is legion, but much more difficult to teach than glib slogans that inflate managerial identity. Look at the sorry set of creeps we elect to rule, or have shinned-up the greasy pole. What do you really know about their abilities. I really appreciate good managers and decent people. I fear almost none of them are now in the positions of influence, and that we have a set of professional scum in place as surely as we have developed an underclass of hard-core scroungers, borrowers-from-shops, noise terrorists, money-lending drug pushers, petty thieves and insolent teenagers who may as well be feral. I see little difference between the poor kid so thick he cannot escape his rotten scrote culture and the arse born with a silver spoon in her mouth soaking up her own culture as densely going through the crammer, university and on to be a gutless lawyer. The differences are in clothes and manners appropriate to the culture. The scrote learns to shout violently that you should fuck off. The lawyer not to tell you to fuck off, but mean the same because you have no money. The lawyers have more in common with the scrote in reality. The latter are a source of income for the former, as they are amongst the few who can get legal aid and thus afford ludicrously priced representation. Lawyers are not usually very bright, require only a small knowledge base many could learn by routine, and yet can charge very high prices. Given that we have imported so many doctors with poor English, we might ask why we are not importing or outsourcing legal advice.
wow,a very intelligent and interesting blog!
Ring any bells?
Well I cannot argue with your insight into the system and what has been happening ACO. I think that the way in which “power and rulership” over others has always operated, is one of “keeping up appearances”. A pretence that everything is good and fine within the establishment, when in fact there is rot within the structure of it.
People in high places have ignored a bad situation and corruption within their midst for a very long time, and so the rot has spread far and wide. A powerful storm would see the structure demolished simply because it wasn’t “fit for purpose”. A far better structure would then replace the old one.
But what I will take issue with on, is your assumption that “arses born with silver spoons in their mouths” are all female. We both know that there are probably even more males who fall into that tick box ACO…….
Re adam’s link, countless cops and `has been` cops like me, could have written a pretty accurate profile of that family within minutes of hearing of the case – that is what makes the whole thing as tragic/pathetic as it was hideously criminal.
As for your post, all I can say is that from my perspective there is nothing fanciful contained therein. When faced with overwhelming evidence of a few seriously `bad eggs and liabilities` of senior officers, a force I once knew of did as little as it could to fix the problem, choosing not to tackle it head-on with the perfectly adequate disciplinary system at their disposal, but expended much effort to wriggle, duck and dive away from the unpleasant reality. Several innocents’ suffered in order for these people to be shielded, but the biggest casualty was the truth that remained buried.
I hope I don’t think all silver-spooned-born arses are female Minxy!
I do think Hog that much I want to say is summed-up in your comment more cogently than I’m managing. A number of academics are using the term ‘rotten orchard’ rather than ‘bad apples’ these days. Maurice Punch is a fair example. I dislike any focus on ‘the police’ (too often a vapid and non-operational definition) in this respect, though I’m as sure as I can be that GMP is an example, but Nulabour is an even more apt one. The classic academic consideration here is ‘groupthink’, though one also needs an understanding of public choice theories. The Catch 22 here is that outside those who do understand such conceptual material (which is very practically based), you just can’t start getting the attitudes and openness needed for rational evaluation. We get the performances you outline – performances which include decent people recognising what is going on and being unable to say so openly.