I know it’s old news Gadget is gone. I didn’t like the blog, if often in agreement with some of the better contributions. Gadget’s books reminded me of ‘all in a day’s work’ from more than 30 years ago. The problems he partly identified are as old as the hills and like the blood-sucking economics of the last three hundred years, still with us. We see this across our society from Hillsborough through Baby P, MPs’ expenses and on to dismal performances in care, hospitals and banks.
One sees this on the micro scale of cops (even the good ones) unable to protect victims from crass repeat offenders, ludicrous miscarriages of justice like Nico Bento (innocent guy convicted of a murder that didn’t even happen) and right up to the grim global scale in which a tiny few corner nearly all usable resources (and hence politics) and let others die in squalor on a massive scale.
Currently, I can point to our local bobby and CPSO (along with other agencies) trying to do a good job with a local scumbag – only 15 but committing blackmail – and finding very little in our legal system that allows proper action. I’ve known the kid since he was in nappies wandering down our street. Our economic system is broadly about looting, the crooks hiding behind ‘too big to prosecute’ and threats the sky will fall if we do anything about them.
In all this mess we have no sensible politics – except, perhaps Beppe Grillo. Some claim what we need is to replace management with leadership – but this is an old claim with no substance. “Leadership” is the problem – it’s much more important to be able to control leadership than who actually does it. The pressing problem is to make our democracies real. I doubt that would be on my mind in circumstances like the one in which I was told to hand over the bullets for my gun and then walk into a line of potential fire – we need to keep idiots like that out of harm’s way. I ignored that order and lied later – as one does.
I suspect there were as many problems when I was a cop as now. I’d like to believe blogging could help expose the issues but don’t. We need the right information in public scrutiny, but the problem is we lack the institutions of public scrutiny. What we have are institutions embedded in past privilege. These seem to have borne down on the good Inspector (Sgt. – telephone operator whatever he/she was) and shame on them. I’ll raise a glass to him tonight.
If blogging worked (other than as another chattering device) we would have seen changes to all kinds of corrupt and skilled incompetence. Any of thousands of bank workers could have told us they were being forced to sell dud insurance never expected to pay out and interest rate swaps that were a shifting of risk from banks to customers and so on. We might have a higher education system that doesn’t force massive debts on graduates in circumstances of more or less no job market through which they can repay. Nurses would have been able to stop massive scale ignominy in the NHS. We might have been able to stop a great deal of the child abuse in the news now.
I’m ‘attending’ (it’s on line) an economics conference discussing such matters as an ethical code of conduct for economists and haven’t noticed anyone clued up on the fact that all the bodies regularly in the news for corruption already have these and investigatory bodies complicit with the problems (IPCC, FSA etc.) – blogging has almost no chance because anything real gets buried in misinformation. The situation reminds me of tht generally pertaining on making a complaint about criminal neighbours, sexual abuse and dismal employers – one complains in a pool of malevolent complaints and risks not being protected (and worse), having a grudge or axe to grind and being palmed-off as a false complainant. The shame of Gadget’s blog is he reinforced these problems – though even in this one has to say the problem of malevolent ‘suit’ needs more understanding and exposure (Ambush Predator regularly reveals the issue).
The big problem facing us concerns setting our society straight and making it much more difficult for repeat offending – this means keeping proper records – something we fail to do across the board, partly for correct reasons concerning the misuse of such records. This is true from the generational crime families all cops know about through to complex and unreadable financial recording through which a few loot the many. the vast majority of my police work ended in NFA (no further action – some lodged in collator reports) and this included dealings with Jimmy Saville and some related creeps (two recently nicked). These days I write up what took 2 minutes in assessment in reports that take a couple of hours and I truly hate databases that consume vast input time and produce little on interrogation. Investment bank and hedge fund accounting are classics – all I want to follow is the money and this is precisely what they are designed to prevent. Our current chief constable (who comes over as a nice chap) is still complaining about lacks in a national database many years after we could have had one working (recent television). Gadget always complained to the paper-work snow and he was right. The question is why we end up with so much unnecessary dross, useless ‘training’ and at the same time need more focus on what matters and recording that so a case can be progressed. In one personal example, I ripped up a thick file on 26 Duke Street after discovering it had been bombed in WW2. In another, the flat door I unhinged with my size nines having been told it had been under 24/7 observation for 6 months, did not have the heavily observed career criminal behind it. He hadn’t lived there for more than a year. The career abusers had no career because we didn’t record it – but we were not advised evidence we did collect that would not be enough to convict could be used in future trials (as in current CPS analysis). Some of us took matters into our own hands – others more literally so than I – and I can’t in all honesty condemn.
One possible alternative to ‘Gadget’ would be open, on line discussion of our problems and the ability to blog on them free of employer sanction by law. In the meantime, I think of a fish (a perch) that can render itself invisible (and unsmellable) to prey. I like the idea of Gadget hiding in plain sight. I rather suspect those lurking in the shadows will be from force PSD. In a real democracy it would be a criminal offence to shut Gadget down. It’s later than you think.