The BBM Bruni handgun found at the scene of Mark Duggan’s shooting is probably one of the starting pistols that could be legally held until June 2010. It was classified as a prohibited weapon because it could be easily machined to fire live rounds. There was a police amnesty on these weapons and many were handed in. Some converted weapons turned up in criminal activity.
A week after the shooting we know very little except that two shots were fired by police, both hitting Mr.Duggan, one killing him and one probably the one that lodged in an officer’s radio. The IPCC are out appealing for witnesses and have presumably, belatedly, interviewed the minicab driver. There seems some suggestion police initially gave the IPCC the impression there was an exchange of fire. A bullet was ‘up the spout’ in the Bruni.
In the meantime Mr. Duggan has been described as a ganster, the impression given that police were involved in an ‘exchange of fire’ and officers not culpable. The issue isn’t really whether the officers involved acted appropriately – though this is obviously important to Mr. Duggan’s family.
The wider problem concerns press reporting, the nature of investigations into police and investigations generally and what and when we should be told about the enquiries, particularly as our courts take a view on this and a case may be influenced (should it in modern times?)
We have seen riots over English cities, ‘sparked’ in some unknown extent by the people who marched on Tottenham police station, feeling close family had not been told enough, treated properly and through feelings of injustice. I can remember similar in Manchester 30 years ago – though although there was a disorder, there was no looting. The accused in this instance did not deserve the ‘support’ and was a cheap hood. A Test against Australia was also cancelled by people supporting George Davis spoiling the pitch – he was later caught on camera in a bank raid.
Britain is supposed to be a free society and we should protest injustice where official channels fail us. I don’t know what our rioters were ‘inspired’ by and suspect they don’t know. Most of them were obviously too thick for much considered decision making. My own contention is that economics has failed and the social contract is broken. I doubt this can be addressed by ‘new systems’, other than on press reporting and a change in law on contempt and what is thought to influence a fair trial. There is a clear need for better notions of openness here and to drop the idea that courtroom space needs protecting from ‘undue influence’ as though people must only be influenced by what they witness in it. That is psychological and practical fairyland these days. We need scrutiny of police and IPCC investigations and CPS decision-making. There is a lot unhealthy in this area and no sign the organisations themselves remotely understand. British notions of authority are still medieval and those of objectivity based on Victorian notions of journalism. We have Supreme Court judges who confuse objectivity with outward control of emotion.
The fix for me in terms of general society (Not possible without reframing economics) is the establishment of a 2 million strong modern National Service (not necessarily military but certainly using skills in our armed forces) combined with school-leaving at 14 for half our kids into disciplined work and training. Later, I would halve university places and change 16 plus education to work and training. Politically, we need to understand the rich have stolen the money to do this, even if this is a form of ‘institutionalized stealing’. This is obvious from GDP figures since 1979. Governments are in of this racket because of the role of banks they privilege in raising government borrowing. There is no need for any ludicrous ‘Soviet’ – indeed the rich have now accumulated more wealth and power than any centralised government dreamed.
What links the Duggan shooting and the state of our nopolitics society is the mass lack of willingness to insist on truth as an automatic feature of our world. The crowd that gathered in Tottenham were not satisfied by the police-IPCC response, and it’s clear now that claims we are increasing education standards hapless lies. “Democracy” no longer relies on argument, but reaction at unconscious levels that actors dig into in audiences. No one has ‘facts’ and this is not because of any intellectual relativism. It’s programmed in through useless education that is never about the real world.
On Duggan it should be automatic to explain what the investigation will be and what is being found. in reasonable time. The law should be changed and clarified to encourage this – to make it second-nature instead of the current disdain of the public and that one somehow should keep them in the dark. Disclosure and data protection should be straight-forward parts of ordinary jobs and not involve anyone with the words in a job title.
We always get the inappropriate disclosure as in the ‘blue-rinse fairy’ story or Duggan the gangster. This is world-wide in police cases. Some of it comes from police, the majority is just hapless reporting to our own indolence and voyeurism. After the Tomlinson case we have reasons to worry about police investigations or matter involving themselves and CPS decision making. The IPCC did a good job later, after their idiot then leader proved himself so out of touch he didn’t expect CCTV coverage in the middle of London. Quite why the Duggan family could not be assured we don’t know, but we do know most victims who complain to the IPCC feel angry. One ‘trick’ all the authorities use is to make anyone complaining into a malevolent complainer. This, as the police action lawyers group found, is in their very language.
But if we have police figures getting what truth can be told wrong, our politicians no longer speak anything except ‘Orwell’. They can get away with this because our education system doesn’t even teach anyone to listen. In the Duggan case forensics have already demonstrated two police bullets were fired and that the other gun found probably wasn’t. They will be looking for fingerprints and DNA to link the gun to someone, Duggan or not. Witness statements will be taken. The job will be done. I’m concerned on the treatment of non-police evidence and that police will be allowed to collude of theirs. This matter could be fixed with modern notions of evidence and should be. Even forensic evidence needs to be on a better footing. We are not good at responding to basic problems like this.
The Government is insisting police numbers can be cut whilst focusing more officers on the street. They don’t talk to us about the full picture. The riots are plain criminality – yet really this isn’t the case, sickening as they were. Millibore is saying we need a culture of responsibility across our society, which is right – but how? We shouldn’t be canning 16,000 police officers – right – but how do we afford not doing it? The ‘Orwell’ is appalling – no consideration of the problem and fixes for it is made clear. Animal language is turning out to be more complex than we realised – but these people may as well be grunting or seducing. Whist we have problems at levels like police investigation and through the justice system, they are small beer in comparison with public dialogue.
While we blame parents, schools, police, vile bureaucrats or evil poor the very talk takes place in an economic system that is barking mad and colours everything we say. We can suggest role models, child care, more police – whatever and none of this gets to grips with the tragedy or the bullshit means politicians and media have been using to hide it. We have been so feeble we haven’t been able to stop people running about in hoodies and masked faces. We will hear over and over that the financial position is this and there is nothing we can do about it. Cameron re-writes the Riot Act – clearly only a ‘solution’ in terms of hiding the problem and making people victimised like me think the real offense these rioters committed was to bring their estate routines to view.
We could clearly invest in a modern National Service by asking our rich to fund it for 5 years. They have enough money. But we don’t like direct language like this. We speak ‘Orwell’ which contains indefinable terms like ‘responsibility’, probably thought to be something the right kind of individual has as a virtue. Political language is always escapable, much as Popper said of pseudo-sciences like Marxism and Freudian terminology. Our “responsible” rich have put it about that they will leave with all “their” money if we ask them for anything. In ‘Orwell’ this position is already defended by wider language – that we all work hard for our wealth, ‘self-made men’ and the rest. Through this kind of guff one emerges to the economic model of ‘trickle down’, itself guarded by the lexicon of entrepreneurial innovation – indeed one oceanic language-game after another which one cannot prove. One can make arguments against it all – but this flies in the face of something we’ve known about argument since the Greeks – one can argue well for all kinds of positions equally well.
We need a new National Language. I once thought science was it, but teaching made me realise very few can understand what counts as evidence., let alone the maths and logic and all this relates to creative speculation. What we get in ‘Orwell’ is blather by people being paid to blather, as though hearing this somehow allows balance. I don’t believe any of this is any more than a cover to prevent the real accounts being seen. None of us could ‘read’ the RBS balance sheet before it collapsed, but then most of wouldn’t know governments do false accounting on a regular basis either. The ‘noble cause’ was once not to let gold leave the country. False accounting is a long story – the mistake we always make is believing integrity ever works at all other than to stop us seeing the real books.
Our people should be revolting rather than the strange crew looting. The message seems to get through to the least educated. Education has taught us not to look for what is wrong. I suspect technology and engineering are the main reasons for our current productive abilities, not economics. And that thieving banksters have the real responsibility for the riots. We will pretend otherwise with harsh sentences and the imposition of yet more secret policing. We are as thick as mud.