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A survey has revealed that if witness to anti-social behaviour, two thirds of people would walk by rather than intervene. But in the UK’s permissive society, is it really any wonder?

The Home Office describes anti-social behaviour (ASB) as ‘any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life.’ The moniker of ‘ASB’ deflects attention away from what it often actually is: criminal activity. The police offer an extensive list of examples of anti-social behaviour, some of which are flagrantly criminal, if not immediately connected to criminal activity. [1]

Anti-social behaviour is nothing new, it has just become more prominent since successive governments are progressively worse at curtailing it. Their efforts to foster a socially democratic ‘tolerant’ and permissive society have been enacted simply because they have not only lost control of the systems used to regulate it (such as the police), but also because they do not want to pay for such systems to be repaired, let alone maintained. Social democracy is the cheap product of cheap thinking.

It is little wonder then that Mr Cameron – among the country’s leading un-intellectuals – allows others to think for him. His favoured think-tank, ‘Policy Exchange’ has revealed that two-thirds of the public would walk on by if they saw a group of teenagers drinking and issuing verbal abuse [2]. Their suggested solution to this problem is to create ‘Citizen Police Academies’ to empower the public, to make them confident in approaching and performing a citizen’s arrest on such groups if necessary.

Their suggestion is made on the basis that  36% of adults would be interested in attending free classes with police officers and volunteers to learn about combating anti-social behaviour and how to avoid danger when walking home alone. This is not an impressive statistic. The word ‘free’ probably accounts for half of this number – the thrill of getting something for nothing always evokes disproportionate enthusiasm, but such thrills often exhaust themselves in equal measure. So, too, the adoption of a ‘Citizen Police Academy’ would be the governmental equivalent of that same ‘something-for-nothing’ excitement, with the same disappointing returns.

Policy Exchange are quoted as remarking that “Citizen police academies are one way of helping the public feel more confident about their role in preventing criminal activity.” [3] But this wishful thinking ignores the real consequences of people exhausted by inaction on ASB, especially when cases like those of Gary Newlove are etched in the public conscience. Mr Newlove was attacked outside his house in Warrington, Cheshire, on 10 August 2007, having gone outside to confront a gang of youths who were vandalising his car. Having had his head kicked like a football, he died in hospital two days later. Indeed, there are a litany of cases where those who have intervened to prevent ASB have themselves been prosecuted. Such an imbalance in justice is as much a deterrent as the threat of violence.

And all this forgets the simple point: the electorate pays the police to do this job. Unfortunately, because of under-funding, cuts and mismanagement, seeing police on patrol in a preventative capacity is a rare occurrence. More often they are often assigned to come and clear up after a crime has been committed or even in progress. No wonder the scum that intimidate and threaten are emboldened by the lack of visible authority.

Who knows if Mr Cameron will adopt the thinking formulated by his sub-contracted brain, but whether he does or not, he is just as guilty of propagating the problem of ASB as Labour were before him. A citizen’s arrest on characters such as Mr Cameron and his left-wing tribe would be of inestimable and long term value.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

  • 1. Nuisance neighbours; Vandalism; Graffiti; Intimidation; Drinking on the street; Litter and fly-tipping; Off road motorbike nuisance; Abandoned vehicles; Substance misuse such as glue sniffing; Begging; Prostitution related activity; Noise coming from alarms, pubs, clubs, business or industry; Inappropriate use of fireworks; rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour; Hoax calls to the emergency services; Pubs or clubs serving alcohol after hours; Malicious communication; Hate incidents where abuse involves race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability; Firearms incidents such as use of an imitation weapon.
  • 2. ‘Anti-social behaviour: Two-thirds would ‘walk on by”. BBC News. 12 December 2012.
  • 3. Ibid.

The real victories of last night’s by-elections belonged to UKIP. But what might this signal and how will  Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg translate the messages?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

 – ‘The Second Coming,’ W.B. Yeats

After last night’s by-elections, the only party that has cause to celebrate is UKIP. Coming second place in both Rotherham and Middlesbrough, and third in Croydon, is no small achievement for a party that has worked tirelessly along the tributaries of British politics into the mainstream in only a matter of years.

That Labour won in all three seats is no surprise, but as Daniel Hannan has remarked with regards to Rotherham in particuar, ‘I don’t want to hear any Rotherham Labour voters moaning about the arrogance of the political class’, since it was under the governance of that party that Denis MacShane resigned after criminally obtaining public money by deceit, and it was also the party that saw inactivity over child grooming cases and the removal of foster children from UKIP-voting parents [1]. Tribal voting is the stuff of primitive thinking, so of the 9,866 voters in Rotherham who voted Labour, it is probably fair to claim that some did so with only half their wits.

It is also no surprise that the Conservatives should made no progress in these areas. That the Liberal Democrats lost their deposits in Rotherham and Croydon proves beyond doubt that they are the party of insignificance and that they can no longer be used to amplify the voices of discontented voters. Expect them to be annihilated at the next General Election.

What of this? In a previous article, this blog suggested that UKIP’s ascent in Corby was not the result of a mid-term blues protest suggested by the Conservatives, it was the result of long-term disenchantment with useless politicians and their discredited parties. UKIP’s showing in Rotherham and elsewhere would seem to underscore this notion.

Mr Miliband need not break the habit of his leadership; he need do nothing, nor come up with credible policies – the coalition are perfectly adept at blustering incoherence and unravelling without the aid of parliament’s odious Chief Scout. Heaven help the UK when Prime Minister Miliband has to actually make the ‘tough decisions’ he bleats on about. Yet what the Rotherham vote has shown is that UKIP are not just a party of and for the right, they are increasingly a party of and for all political colours. If they can succeed in Labour ‘safe’ seats at the same level as they have in Rotherham, Corby and Middlesbrough, then Mr Miliband may actually have to call an inquiry into thinking about the direction in which he is heading.

And what of Mr Cameron? He is the best publicist of his own stupidity. He continues to alienate the sort of Conservative voters his party has haemorrhaged to UKIP under his leadership, not only because of his dogged determination to make social democrats out of the Tories, but also by refusing to  retract his typically immature remarks that UKIP members are mostly ‘closet racists’. The truth is that ‘centre ground’ politics is not only unpopular, it is inherently damaging to democracy. Yet it is clear that Mr Cameron is just a less uncomfortable looking version of the unhinged Gordon Brown: he is intractably stubborn, to the extent that an easy victory in the 2015 General Election will not be his for the taking. He will sooner listen to the likes of Matthew D’Ancona, who wrote in a wildly inaccurate and faintly bizarre recent article:

…the very worst thing Cameron could do now is to rip up his centre-ground strategy and hurtle off to the Right in search of these voters. Not many of them would come back. And many more centrist waverers would be lost in the process. [2]

Though this is precisely what Mr Cameron would want to hear – and certainly the only advice he is likely to listen to – it is at the cost of his own party and democracy. So Mr Cameron’s likeness to Mr Brown is evidenced once again: when a person (let alone a politician) cannot be seen to fight for their own survival, then it rings as defective. By heading off in the right direction, Mr Cameron could outflank UKIP’s ever growing number and bring under his wing the working class vote that UKIP appeals to: immigration, crime, withdrawal from the EU. Since the moribund Lib Dems have had their life support terminated, what consideration need Mr Cameron give to them? Yet he persists in targeting none of these matters, which appeal to all voters. The consequence is a further disenfranchised electorate and the collapse of his vote. As Yeats wrote:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

UKIP may yet have to win parliamentary seats, but it signals the direction in which any successful party or thinking person should be heading: a politics of consent, of decisiveness, of the nation state. Under their current leaders, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are interested in ideology, not practicality. Ideology is cheap and easy, since it exists in the mind. Practicality and workable policies are much more credible victories, but intellectually beyond the reach of those on parliament’s front benches today.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

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When it comes to the EU, one should trust Mr Cameron as they would adders fang’d…

Does any serious person think that EU reform will see them include ceding powers or the acceptance of a decrease in funding?

In spite of overwhelming historical and contemporary evidence to the contrary, Mr Cameron seems to think so, as do Messrs Miliband and Clegg. Having returned from irresolute discussions in Brussels, Mr Cameron is walking tall after not capitulating to the EU Commission’s unreasonable demands for a substantial increase to their budget. Bravo Mr Cameron – except, that is, for your track record on Europe.

His policy of ‘Practical Euroscepticism’ has time and again proven to be neither practical nor Eurosceptic. His modus operandi observes the following pattern:

  • Express exasperation and concern about EU policy
  • Adopt a ‘no nonsense approach’ to look strong
  • Capitulate and beg for mercy from his EU master

It follows, therefore, that having appeared strong on Europe at these recent talks, that at the next round of negotiations he will not hesitate to genuflect to the Commission, then claim to the British public that a satisfactory deal has been reached on their behalf. But who is he trying to fool?

At no point has Mr Cameron called for cuts to the EU budget, and his ‘real terms freeze’ will still see the UK debited for even more than the £53 million a day it currently pays. Worse still, Mr Cameron and friends are still willing to sign the UK up to a political ideology that has not had its accounts signed off by auditors for some fifteen years. The EU is a one-armed bandit against which the UK will only lose.

The only person aside from Mr Cameron who feels that the Conservatives will win the next election is Conservative Home’s Tim Montgomerie. Both characters have devised elaborate strategies to see the Tories regain power, peppered with newspeak and initiatives to ‘re-connect’ with voters – but they all choose to miss the essential point: that if Mr Cameron were to offer an EU referendum, with a positive vision of how the UK would manage (quite easily) without the EU, he would secure a second term and a majority.

This will not be done, however, because Mr Cameron is no more a Eurosceptic than the recently discredited Labour criminal Denis MacShane. In terms of difference and monetary returns, expect no change.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

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The result of the Corby by-election has wider implications beyond the borders of this disputed constituency…

That the Conservatives lost their Corby seat in today’s by-election came as a surprise to no one, least of all the Conservatives. Their majority was always precarious, but not unmanageable. Their mistake was to ever think that the lobotomized Louise Mensch was ever a credible MP, let alone one strong enough to hold on to such a narrow margin, especially when the potent forces of her own ego would always come before public service.

Whilst the odious Edward Miliband paraded the victory of his candidate, the Liberal Democrats were not only beaten into fourth place by UKIP, they lost their deposit after receiving a woeful 1,770 votes.  The Conservatives only beat UKIP by a mere 4368 votes, a statistic that should have them very afraid, especially in a seat seen as a litmus paper for the views of middle England.

At this point one might suggest that Mr Cameron has some thinking to do – he could lurch to the right and cast off his social democrat colours in favour for radical Tory reform – but as has been implied, this would mean Mr Cameron has to not only think, but think strategically and perform acts of self-evaluation and intellect that he is woefully incapable of commanding.

Instead, what do Mr Cameron and his cronies say? They spin the result as simply the mid-term blues that all incumbent governments undergo as voters register their discontent with the direction of the ruling party.

It is a line that typifies the disconcertingly patronising tone of politicians from all the main parties. It suggests that to them it is almost a badge of honour, a virtuous failure, to be mauled by the electorate halfway through a parliament, as if governing in the interests of the electorate and securing or sustaining a popular mandate are laughable impossibilities. They chose to ignore what is in front of them – whether it is the striking election results by UKIP or by the success of independent candidates as Police Commissioners – this is not a mid-term blues protest: it is the result of long-term disenchantment with the useless politicians and the discredited parties they serve.

By voting Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem, the electorate are merely changing the guard, all of whom protect the same thing: their interests, which are dependent upon their mutual survival as political parties. Today’s results are a victory for independent candidates away from Westminster, and it is a story of success for UKIP, whose ascent is damaging the three party system, and above all, Mr Cameron, who had better watch his back from his own party members before anyone else.

Mid-term blues? Hardly! Things have rarely looked better…

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

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As if proof were needed that the British Government is incapable of looking after its people, the case of  Abu Qatada serves to underline this bitter truth.

Next year a limitation on the number of immigrants allowed from Eastern Europe into the UK will no longer be viable, just in time for immigrants from the new EU nations of Romania and Bulgaria to travel to arrive and claim the benefits and jobs that any rational country would issue to its own populace as a priority. This is on top of the immigrants from across the EU and the world who recognise that the UK is a soft touch, with its skewed cultural values and its prolongation of a damaging permissive society. Among these people will be a serious criminals including the possibility of terrorists who could quite easily exploit the weaknesses of the UK’s borders to their own nefarious ends.

Is anything done about this? Of course not. EU law binds the UK to an open borders policy which means that the most one can hope for is containment of the problem, certainly not resolving it. As was alluded to in the previous post, some 320,000 immigrants are likely to be granted an amnesty to stay in the UK because the Border Agency have (no thanks to political parties of all persuasions) not been provided with the adequate resources to stop this from spiralling out of control. And to emphasise, the Government is not serious about patrolling the UK’s borders because their loyalty is to the EU and its ideology before their own territories.

Not only is the problem coming from without, the problem is also from within. When an alleged Al-Qaeda affiliate like Abu Qatada, the ‘the spiritual leader” of this rat-bag organisation in Europe, who has been connected to several terrorist plots and attacks is kept in the UK on account of his human rights, then it is clear something is fundamentally wrong with the system of justice, which is meant to protect the people of the UK. And, of course, it indicates how seriously defective the government is for having the UK signed up to a charter that allows the ECHR to supersede the decisions made my British courts.

The real threats to the UK do not come from without, they come from the government and their inability and unwillingness to assert the rights of its people and its principles from within. So the government sends troops out to die in the  futile and regressive conflict in Afghanistan under the auspices of keeping the streets of Britain safe, but fails at every turn to address the real threats to jobs, welfare, social cohesion and benefits posed by uncontrolled immigration. Furthermore, it fails to  act decisively against known criminal threats like Abu Qatada because it prizes the sovereignty of the EU as a political project before the rights, liberties, freedoms and democracies of its people every time.

Do not think for a second that the government has yet to decide on its relationship with the EU, that decision has long since been made and so long as it lines the pockets and furthers the careers of the political class, so the people of the UK – soldiers and citizens – will pay for it.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

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Some thoughts on the War in Afghanistan – a country riven by conflict since the time of the ancients – where today an ill-defined and un-winnable war continues to slaughter members of the UK’s armed forces for no discernible cause and with no visible end in sight. 

At the time of writing this article 435 British Soldiers have died as a result of the war in Afghanistan which began in 2001. On average, that is approximately forty lives a year, though more accurately, in 2009, the bloodiest year for the UK’s armed forces in Afghanistan, 108 troops were killed, with 103 deaths in 2010. Among this litany of sobering numbers and statistics, perhaps the most appalling is that the youngest casualties were just eighteen years of age [1].

‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ is the official moniker for this and other campaigns devised by the uninquisitive and illiterate George W. Bush, instead of the less palatable ‘War on Terror’. Tony Blair and his rabble probably helped with the spelling mistakes. The trouble with catch-all titles is that they tend to appear short on detail. So it is with the major operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where with the former the objective was to remove the Taliban and capture or kill Osama Bin Laden; with the latter, it was to neutralise Saddam Hussein’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and overthrow his wicked regime.

These are aims to be applauded in the name of all that is civilised, but the mistake was to suggest that these objectives would ever be an end in themselves. Indeed, the mistakes were far more grave, since soldierly professionalism was time and again undone by not only a shortage of equipment, faulty equipment and disastrous ‘friendly-fire’ incidents, but also the fact that the central aims never accounted for either a) what would happen once these were achieved, and b) what would happen if these conflicts continued for longer than expected. In this (wilful) failure to adequately plan lay the death warrants for the military personal fighting theses wars.

Currently, in 2012, the war in Afghanistan has never looked so pointless. Purpose after purpose has been invented for the UK’s continued involvement in this war-torn country, because the members of the UK’s interchangeable political parties lack exactly what they expect of the soldiery: spine, selflessness and sacrifice. For these reasons, MPs will not speak out against this war since they may lose something they count as more valuable than the lives of military personnel: their job.

The PM and other politicians tell the electorate that this war is keeping Britain’s streets safe from the threat of terrorism. But Britain’s streets are fraught with terror – with anti-social behaviour, intimidation, violent and serious crimes terrorising the populace nightly. The spectre of terrorism from abroad is truly insubstantial compared to the day-to-day miseries faced by those afflicted by the terror of crime. Indeed, it is the enemy within that seems to issue the greatest threat, with home-grown terrorists executing, planning or participating in acts of terror long before their foul brethren from abroad have the chance to carry out their deeds. Peter Hitchens has it exact when he claims that the political parties ‘can’t fix the schools, they can’t fix the hospitals, they can’t ix the roads, they can’t fix crime, so they exaggerate a danger somewhere else and then they pretend they can save you from it.’ [2]

If MPs targeted criminals in the UK with the equivalent relish that they have in targeting terrorist crackpots in backward and uninhabitable regions of the planet, then the streets of Britain could be reclaimed and criminals would have something to fear. But since when have domestic concerns inflated the self regard of politicians in the same way foreign affairs do? To preach the virtues of democracy in other lands and to to be associated with that fight is always an edifying opportunity for posturing MPs.

There are real wars at home with achievable goals that could be battled for – the only casualties would be those engaged on criminal activity at any level. Instead, whilst the rule of law in the UK continues to slide, lives, money and resources are tossed away carelessly in Afghanistan. Politicians send young people out to phoney wars abroad with no purposeful goals  and where the casualties are the soldiers on the battlefield and their shattered families back at home.

Leave Afghanistan, now.

Postscript

Since I published this article about eight hours ago, a report has emerged from the UK’s International Development Committee, where they have claimed a ‘viable Afghanistan may not work’ [3]. Attention has now switched to providing aid and pursuing rights for women – in itself this is a worthy cause – but the bald fact is that UK troops should not continue to perish in order to achieve the emancipation of women in a religious and political culture whose position is all but intractable.

The UK’s politicians find every excuse to ensure troops remain in Afghanistan, but are incapable of presenting any reason for them to leave. Expect the needless deaths of members of the armed forces to continue indefinitely.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes