That Soccer Handshake – who cares?

I left my cricket club as a young man because they convened a committee meeting to discuss whether we could allow a Pakistani member.  I didn’t want any part of an outfit dumb enough to need to discuss such matters.  The only fair question was whether he could play the game – and given the lack of such ability through the club even this would have been dubious.  I returned when sense prevailed and the banter we exchanged in encouragement included me calling him an idle Indian when his bowling slacked and him questioning the width of my waist-line to the nearest yard and muttering ‘Englishman’ under his breath (a sure insult to a Scot).

Racism is rubbish, but sticks and stones break bones, words (allegedly) never hurting us.  In the natch, Evra clearly went to kick Soares out of the ground with a tackle so inept it almost put his own player, Ferdinand, into hospital.  Against this, the words and gestures should pale to insignificance.

Racism remains in politically correct people in scientific tests.  This doesn’t make it right, but does indicate that properly mannered speech isn’t the ‘cure’.  Nor is a situation in which our own people find themselves without work at decent rates of pay AND increasing net migration.  The scandal is an economics and governance that gives people reason to blame immigrants for their poverty, crime, lack of housing and the rest.  This is where the resolving debate should lie.  Not around the increasingly vapid ‘beautiful game’.

Today’s overdue Disaei convictions are a more significant anti-racist move than anything political correctness has achieved.


Self-help for police officers (self-published book review)

Let me paint a bit of the real picture of work as I’ve found it around several industry sectors and around the world.  My experience tends me towards belief that human organisation is more likely incompetent than good at what it’s supposed to do. I’ve lived (a couple of times only just) through too many cock-ups to believe otherwise and one only has to look at the mammoth looting pool for the rich that masquerades as economics to know,when promised a piss up in a brewery that the organisers will send you to the wrong one.  Teaching tends to confirm this view – remember we get to see the work you put in and know how bad it is.  We forget, of course, that we were just as bad before we got to do the marking.  A judge is only a law student who can mark his own work.   One set of horrifyingly stupid students of mine submitted the same handwritten work in photocopied form at the same time in the same class.  You could just make out the mark of 38% given by a previous tutor.  What sort of wuckfit submits a cheat paper that has already failed?  Their cunning excuse (they were Pakinstani) involved them not being able to read English. And to make matters worse they had been passed through HND at another university.

When you’er doing a job like policing the incompetence can get at you from all directions and you’re thrown into the mess wet behind the ears and with minimal, and in my memory more or less useless training (though I did play a lot of cricket at Bruche).  I actually found loneliness, boredom and the shifts the hardest to deal with, along with freezing and wet streets (we still plodded then) and dire supervision (though most was good).  Some probationers left when they realised they had to do nights – wish I had as I might not been diabetic now.

Jobs are rarely interesting, well-paid and with a good crack.  I’ve generally found most worse than policing, with more dishonesty required.  The vast majority of my colleagues haven’t worked really hard and were never to be seen at any voluntary events like those teachers who turned up so we could play sport at school.  Image management was 80% of everything everywhere.  Modern cops tell me they work much harder and are so so busy in comparison with the job when I did it – strange when there are so many more of them and crime has been dropping for over a decade?  I’ve had a close look of late and my feeling is the pressure of work has increased, though I can’t detect and real increase underlying this – and efficiency is always claimed to have been increased.  So more cops with much higher levels of investment and new efficiencies and less crime are under more strain?  I’d need to do a lot more work to explain this, but believe it true – and that gaming rather than truth underlies the drop in crime.

It would be interesting to know about the health of police officers leaving the job.  I still find myself angry with much of my treatment (in retrospect) and others around me.  I’d recommend a book by Neville Evans (a serving officer) as a read if this is troubling you in service.  It’s self published and his email is available if you contact me if you can’t reach him – I’m averse to publishing it here for fear of spam and nutters.  The book’s called ‘Morale Matters’.  It’s professionally written – as opposed to what I trot out here – and I found it rather touching.  It’s simple in the right kind of way – something I find very difficult – where I might get into issues like the paranoid-schizoid position advanced by Melanie Klein, Neville kind of talks you through with examples.  It would be good if the ACPOs could take his stance on – but sadly pigs might fly (I guess – though I know some really good senior cops- but they are of the working model).  It might well be a good read as self-help and thinking on the cops and ex-cops I’ve taught, more must be of a philosophical bent than admitted.  All such ‘students’ were in the top half of my university classes once they shed something of an inferiority complex (this means you if you’d like to give uni a throw).

Books similar to Neville Evan’s slim volume had good effect on me when I needed it.  I’ve sort of outgrown them and you’re more likely to find me poncing on about Freud or social epistemology at some conference abroad where the food is good.  It’s almost a pre-requisite in my game not to be intelligible.  Neville gets the point across pretty directly and I stuck with his book much longer than most,and a lot longer than Gadget, Bloggsie or Copperfield (though he’s right).  Knowing your plight is shared can help more than you might think.  Charlie Owen even seems to bring my former ‘H’ Division colleagues back to life.  Gene Hunt wasn’t half the man of any of them!  Neville’s book, on last reflection would also do some good if read by supervising officers looking not to be a cause of misery to their staff.  The trouble is the ones who do cause the misery are witless incompetents without even a glimmer  of self-insight.  The worst of these prats seem to get cosy jobs doing nothing about corruption in my favourite sport!  Who will catch the cheats now the News of the Screws is dead?

The Secret Life Of The Evil Poor (part deux)

The story really starts 35 years ago.  I was working Old Trafford and got a call to another beat.  It was a favour from Panda control  The complainant was apparently very tasty.  I found a couple with a young baby driven out of there wits.  The problem was an old woman next door (terraced housing).  There was nothing I could do at the time, other than establish the old dear was barking.  I said I’d be back to help and it was clear the young couple didn’t believe me.  They’d been let down by at least ten other cops, including one I was going out with.

I went back three times to collect evidence from other neighbours over the week. Rumours my interests were only in the guy’s wife abounded, as they do.  The evidence amounted to discipline charges against fellow officers – they had had plenty of scope to act and had not.  It was enough to satisfy me something had to be done.  Putting together 40 pages of documentation that would make a case and drop my colleagues in the proverbial wasn’t much of an option.  I tried social services and got the usual fob-off.

The easiest route was to lock the mad woman up for something solid.  I didn’t regard her as criminal, but she was doing stuff like hurling roof-slates at kids,playing blaring music and banging on doors, walls and ranting.  I took a few statements that left the other officers out and went to tell her a few things, knowing she would get irate.  It worked and she hit me – totally ‘unprovoked’.  She I nicked her for police assault.  This was around tea-time on a day I’d started at 6 a.m.  She was squabbling along with her husband and clearly giving me a hard time.  Another young couple stopped and asked if they could help.  They parked their car (they were just passing) and stayed with me until the van came – for moral support.  My mate the van driver rewarded them by running into the back of their car – just a light lens broken.  The charge office sergeant wasn’t happy with a police assault charge, but we did a breach of the peace thing and I had thus to go to court the following morning. Another job kept me up all night.

The court appearance saw the old dear get the social services’ help she needed and I have to say after this all parties, including her and her husband got the peace they needed.  People involved were decent enough to thank me, including the now none mad old dear.

‘My case’ starts in this series of incidents because the response of GMP more than 30 years later was as piss poor as in the old case until I arrived on the scene.  Much worse when one considers the perpetrators were vile, thieving, child-abusing drunken recidivist scum.  The very idea that police and other authorities have learned lessons is bunkum – they were worse more than 30 years on, with all kinds of new legislation and alleged partnotship notworking.

Like other cops I went to many domestics and neighbour disputes and often did not much because not much needed or could be done.  Some complainants were just ‘complainers’, and I saw women egging their partners on to hit them so I’d arrest them and they could then demonstrate their love by refusing to give evidence.  Squalid crap mostly, though the clear problem was our lack of power to do anything in clearly dangerous or severe nuisance situations.  A lot of cops share my view that we were trained in nothing that mattered other than by more experienced cops and a sense of morality.  One night, with twenty rioting yobs advancing on us my mate asking if I was any good at fighting.  He wasn’t, he said after I’d mentioning playing rugby..  One other officer had run away and my mate Ken was bruising away in the distance.  We charged through the mob to join him. The three of us and two more from Traffic arrested 15 or so, back-to-back at one point.

That night we were supposed to do observations on a house a woman with an injunction against her husband was living in.  None of the section were on patrol,everyone dealing with prisoners.  I did the charge sheets because I was the only one who could type at any speed.  The house was on my beat, so when a 999 call came in, I dropped everything and raced off to my Panda car.  My old mate Bill followed, as fine a human being one was likely to meet.  We got there in time and arrested the vile husband under the injunction.  I near thing, you might think – but think on – the injunction turned out to have no power of arrest and he was released later in the morning and nearly killed her in the afternoon.  Bill and I knew there was no power of arrest.  We acted illegally and knew.  So did the bastard.  We ‘Rag and Flocked’ him for drunk and disorderly (£10 fine).  One got used to the law being an ass.  Of course, it still is.  He was released without any power of arrest being added to the injunction.  One might wonder what barking use one is without one.

More than 30 years later it is reasonable to think no lessons get learned by our authorities gone mad when they still issue injunctions without powers of arrest, and they do.  You will also discover victims have no support from any ‘Victims’ Code’ until they are dead.  The woman with the injunction was supposed to be visited regularly on the afternoon her violent husband was released, but I know she wasn’t and that the relevant log was altered. Two off duty cops attended the house meaning to suggest one of them stayed the night there. Otherwise she’d be dead.

The evil couple I came to know much better than I wanted to were in a more or less constant state of domestic violence or feuds with other families.  This was the case over the twenty years before I was fated to meet them.  They still are.  They do the same things they did when they were teenagers in trouble, relying on the same lies and posturing to keep themselves ‘out of trouble’ – which means always in it.  The question, as we explore their lives in part three, is why no one is really interested and prepared to prevent the injustices done in the lives they blight or admit the problem as everyone is affected by it.  I met plenty similar in the 1970’s and believe more help was available all round then.  I won’t be considering the economics, but I’m sure the leaching of cash and wage decimation is a key background cause.

Wandering through our town centre with an old mate over from the States, we laughed between ourselves watching some of our white urban poor.  We might have been crying, but we ain’t men that cry.  Many of the problems are obvious, so obvious you can see them on a trip from one pub to another.  We needed none of the sociology we teach (mine is ‘post-industrial’).  The old white working class isn’t working and no one gives a damn. We were once of it and able to leave.  The supply of tickets is long used up.  Part of the problem is that we left.


Ryan Giggs

Who cares?  The only issue here involves the use of our legal system for matters irrelevant.  18 months ago, 6 witnesses against very violent druggies (explosives and a very violent murder involved) were guaranteed anonymity in court.  They had taken a lot of encouragement.  The first gave her evidence from behind a screen and then the clerk to the court read out her name and address.  The murder involved a brush stale being rammed up where the sun don’t shine into a lung.  Ryan Giggs!

Surely there are more important issues for our votaries to get themselves involved with!  Anonymous complaints about local scum published in social media might very well be a good thing if we designed it properly.  It may be that all the fuss we can make on privacy is outdated and only arises out of vested interests.  As usual, the situation is really regulated by fears of what scum might do – false allegations, blackmail and so on.

One possibility is to allow anything on the Internet to be published by an ‘institution of record’ that chooses to and let any legal action be decided on the truth of that.  We might then assume all as gossip until such publication.

When the MP named Giggsy under Parliamentary privilege, he mentioned it was impractical to jail over one hundred thousand people who had done so on twitter.  Did he understand potential power to the people this would involve?  Or remember that one amorous lad has been dragged before the courts for a comment many of us might have made delayed by snow at Robin Hood Airport (also more important to our freedom than Giggsygate).

Giggs is presumably now just a pawn in the hands of his lawyers.  The arrogance of suing Twitter beggars belief, involving the threat to jail.

Of course, the real establishment fear is that we might find some genuine way to express and govern ourselves and stop the leeching of wealth to a few.  Giggs must know what a level playing field is.  Pity we have none in our legal system.

Grim side taking on policing demonstrations

The recent riots in London with cops using batons, cracked heads on both sides and so on, and various takes on police and mob brutality leave me largely moved only to tears for anyone involved.  It all had the level of farce of the cop body searching my Dad at a rugby league match at Old Trafford.  He was more or less TT and had Altzheimer’s.  Dad was actually wearing my old police mac.  What trouble there was happened on the pitch and Widnes sorted out the malevolent Australians.  If only soccer fans had been so peaceful, my left side wouldn’t feel like Marvin the Paranoid Android’s.  If only, perhaps, we’d left the Irish shooting at each other.

Various counter-measures to the mob raised their inevitable heads.  Water cannon and tear-gas – what for – so we can have real riots like in Rome?  Should we go further and turn the whole country into Northern Ireland?  The cops, of course, claim they are protecting the peace and property, even the “right” to peaceful demonstration.  All true of course, yet so is the fact they are also protecting our bent politicians and “bankers”, what is wrong in our system as well as what we hold dear.  It was “cops” (and squaddies) who protected vile fascist and communist regimes and who opened fire on anti-war protesters in the USA.  And who “protected us” from the militant Suffragettes.  We might wonder what causes a policing army to turn round and face the same ‘enemy’ as protesters.

Nearly all questions about democracy are fraught by simplistic thinking on “perfection” .  Plato wanted the system run by Guardians who developed virtue and transmitted this through generations, but even he realised even this system would develop inevitable corruption and go sour.  In ‘Animal Farm’ it is the pig who controls the ‘attack dogs’ who ‘triumphs’, though perhaps Snowball escaped through a hole in the hedge and might return to bring back peaceful democracy.  To some, our police are run by ‘Napoleon’.  I don’t share the view, but it is the view I would have wanted to share at the time of the Peterloo massacre, and I do think police in Northern Ireland in the late 60’s contributed to ‘the troubles’ in a scurrilous manner.  I’ve done my share of peace-keeping, but this hasn’t skewed my view of the bent politics and suppression that made it necessary – or that it would never have been necessary had we been able to be sensible politically.

The questions we should be asking concern whether our own society is once again radically unfair and likely to face increasing turbulence and the misery of ‘interesting times’ (as in the Russian proverb).  I’d contend we are now as divorced from believing our politics fair as the people of Derry with a Unionist Council “elected” in a 90% Catholic town.  The properly grounded civil rights protests in NI developed into something like war.  Do we now face something similar, or is it just about some exploitative “anarchists”?  Many of the problems in NI concerned the unfair distribution of housing and jobs.  Do we have something similar here, hidden under pretences of meritocracy?  I suspect we do and it is class-based, with “education” a phoney cure.  There is much talk too, of ‘fraud as the business model’.  The “bankers” still want not only their bonuses, but to tell us they deserve them and our lives would collapse if they leave en masse.  This is Jabberwock.

None of this helps protect cops trying to police protests, or children in protests from police batons or mounted charges.  Police are using technology to make arrests, yet it does not seem to turn up evidence for the arrest of their own – maybe there is none, but how would we know?  Whatever is going on, the spectacle is disgusting.  If I felt my vote was worth anything, I’d be very much against the protesters.  I don’t, and I’m not.  I’m inclining to the view that our scurrilous politicians are turning our cops into their own protection force.  If this is true, we have a duty to stop it.  The current protests are more or less over nothing; if we start protesting over the lack of jobs, fair education for the non-academic and real injustice and immigration issues, I’ll be glad to be blogging from a small village in Portugal.  Politicians don’t care about cracked police heads.  I do.  And police unnecessarily cracking heads.  There is no side to be on here, only fairness and justice.  Vile stereotyping by some cops, propaganda posturing by ACPOs, is as vile as clown sloganing at the war memorial.

We always say there is no excuse for violence.  One side blames another.  If you aren’t with us, you’re against us.  Then the killing starts.  In the meantime some sell wrist bangles to either side’s supporters.