24 November, 2012
Reporting it on the Today prog, even Naughtie couldn't keep the appalled incredulity out of his voice.
Personally I'm laying in an extra stock of popcorn. I shall also be extra careful to avoid accidental eye-contact with persons of vibrancy when out and about. One doesn't want to have one's collar felt for giving a Black man a funny look in a public place, does one?
Joking apart, it seems to be going that way, innit.
20 November, 2012
From little poppies...
Doing my tour of the news aggregators, I came upon this item reposted by our old friends Hope not Hate.
Luton’s Remembrance Day service was disrupted when PCC candidate Kevin Carroll allegedly objected to Green Party campaigner Marc Scheimann laying a wreath of white peace poppies.Kev Carroll, the reader will recall, is the number two man in the evil English Defence League. He stood in the pointless PCC elections held last week, something which clearly didn't go down too well with the Righteous press.
It’s a tradition Mr Scheimann has carried out for 24 years in memory of his German and British grandfathers who died on opposite sides in World War Two.
The disabled father-of-one was forced to throw himself over the wreath to protect it from a woman demonstrator who attempted to remove it.
He said: “Kevin Carroll waved a clenched fist at me and my four-year-old son and started shouting aggressively.
“He called me a scumbag and said when he was police commissioner he would make sure I went to jail for this.”
A bystander described what happened as “an absolute disgrace. I’ve never experienced anything like it in the 48 years I’ve been going to the Cenotaph.
“It shows no respect for the men who never came back, who gave their lives for our freedom."
So what's afoot? A look at the original Luton Today article tells us little more. Though it has apparently been edited since the above extract in response to reader complaints, which is quite telling in itself. The gist is that Marc Scheimann, a differently-abled member of the Green party and former local councillor, with a small child in tow, attempted to lay a wreath of white poppies at the Cenotaph in Luton. Although Mr Carroll did not intervene physically he is said to have shaken his fist at and verbally abused Mr Scheimann. Separately, a "drunken woman" attempted to remove the wreath of white poppies, prompting a desperate defensive physical intervention from Mr Scheimann.
Not looking good for Ar Kev then, three days before the election. Hmm.
A look below the line proves interesting, if hard work given the irritating threaded multipage layout of the comments. On the whole it's the usual mudslinging between two entrenched groups of regular commenters shouting the same old insults across the no man's land of barbed wire that separates them. But there is also what makes the comment threads of local newspapers surprisingly valuable: local knowledge and eyewitness reports. These contributions, of course, are themselves as subject to bias and selectivity as the general yah-boo-suckery but there is often meat to be prised out of them.
Mr Scheimann, we learn, is not universally welcomed at these annual services. His laying of a wreath of white poppies rather than the more usual red is the source of local resentment. Whatever the official rhetoric of its sponsor the Peace Pledge Union, the white poppy is viewed by many, rightly in my opinion, as a self-righteous political statement rather than a symbol of remembrance.
Mr Scheimann is not what he seems. His activities are not popular with the local public, to the extent that the British Legion and the local council have tried to stop him. He also has wider political axes to grind.
10:53 PM on 12/11/2012
"It's a tradition Mr Scheimann has carried out for 24 years."
So how come he was in Luton on Sunday whining about how Luton Council had banned him from laying a wreath in 2010 at the request of the Royal British Legion?
Seems he likes to make a habit of getting this story in the papers.
Commenter Paul R also digs out some interesting links, for example
(Scheimann misspelt Schiemann if you're searching in the page)
Which leaves us with Mr Carroll. There is no solid suggestion that he did not shake his fist at and expostulate at Mr Scheimann, but it seems clear that Mr Carroll was not the unprovoked source of the disruptive incident. If anything he is guilty of little more than a lack of political nous in the face of provocation.
As to the mysterious "drunken woman" who attempted to take away Mr Scheimann's wreath,
3:46 PM on 13/11/2012
Absolute joke. That gentleman was confronted by many members of the public and asked to remove it. A lady picked it up (I didn't notice her to be drunk) when that chap let go of his boy, snatched the white/green reef back, shouting they are being aggressive and fell to the floor on top of it! Absolute stunt man!! He was there shouting the whole time I was reading the poppy messages. Saying "we can lay what we want" and "I was a councillor which is more than you'll ever be". I do not follow mr Carroll but he did approach the police to ask why this man was allowed to behave in this manner.
Not that any of this stops the meme, once spawned, from escaping intact into the wild. Quite a long way out, in fact.. Why a political comment about Luton has been posted on Yahoo Answers I don't know. But there you go.
In his rather leading Yahoo question Wolfie asks:
And one of his side-kicks attacks a disabled man laying a wreath at the war memorial! Is there no depths to which this vile group of thugs will sink?Sidekick? No connection has been established or even suggested between Kev Carroll and the "drunken woman" who attempted to remove the wreath. Nor is it suggested that she "attacked" Marc Scheimann, rather that Mr Scheimann attempted to stop her removing the wreath.
But this assertion is now established as accepted truth. Below the line Britpilot90 develops the concept
So he attacked a disabled guy ant threatened him with Jail...Strictly speaking, "attacked" here can be taken plausibly to mean "verbally abused", and so it would doubtless be defended, but the easy interpretation of "physical assault" lurks in the context, ready to tempt the inattentive.
So then bruiser Kev Carroll of the fascist (or possibly even facist) EDL beat up an innocent disabled man during a co-ordinated stunt at a remembrance ceremony, did he? Typical lying knuckledragging thugs, eh?
"Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance."
"Cos Jimmy Savile shagged my underage hamster, innit."
The Internet says so, so it must be true.
Getting your priorities right, innit
against customer angered by flight cancellation
The story is that a passenger, frustrated by the cancellation of his flight, had tweeted a foul-mouthed complaint to BA. (Amazing what you can pack into 140 characters if you try.) This prompted a generally hostile response from other twits, including one containing a — shock horror — racial slur. The exchange looks like this:
Original complaint according to the Mail:
The incident started when a message was posted by a disgruntled Twitter user named Jae Jang Ladd who tweeted: '@British_Airways F*** you. F***** cancelling my flight! #bunchofc****'
which being destarred probably reads
@British_Airways Fuck you. Fuckin cancelling my flight! #bunchofcunts
to which another twit called Asian Ronaldo responds, per the Mail:
@jaeladd @British_Airways F*** you. F***** cancelling my flight! #bunchofc****', go back to your f****** country you g***
All of this is dutifully retweeted by an inattentive BA operative who is probably now seeking alternative employment. At least I guess that's what happened. I don't really understand Twitter and I'm not sure I want to.
Given that Jae Jang Ladd sounds like the name of an East Asian or possibly mixed-race person, perhaps of Korean heritage(?), the starrism "g***" possilbly represents "gook".
What makes this interesting is that the Mail, and presumably British Airways as well, is totally unconcerned by the customer's stream of abuse. Perhaps "Fuck you, you bunch of cunts" is an everyday reaction by BA passengers which their customer-facing staff and the Mail's reporters take in their stride. In BA's position I'd be inclined to suggest that Mr Ladd either moderate his language or seek the services of an alternative carrier.
But ears perk up as soon as an ethnic slur comes into play and the mighty news/PR/police/outrage engine lumbers into action. It seems to be a conditioned response requiring no intelligent thought. Even for an ethnic slur from what appears to be an ethnic of the same persuasion. (Important to evaluate the calculus of offence correctly, don't ya know; one man's spade is another man's shovel, innit.) Investigations are launched, grovels are issued, heads roll.
As that nice Mr Terry learned, you can say "Fucking cunt", but don't you dare say "Fucking Black Cunt" or the world will come tumbling down around your ears.
The only saving grace in the present incident seems to be
She [an anonymous BA spokestart] said that police had not been in touch over the post and as yet there had been no official complaints.
As the Irish priest said to the newly-delivered mother, thank heaven for small Murphys.
Interesting set of priorities. The world's gone mad.
07 November, 2012
The end time is nigh
Actually, when you read the article, an anonymous tip-off, one among doubtless many from nutters and obsessives, was made pointing the finger at Savile and was perfunctorily investigated as a matter of routine and dismissed.
This is really becoming quite sinister. Soon the Sunday Spurt will be publishing reports of two-headed lambs being born with the births being attributed to the curse of Savile. (Although, given the nature of the Spurt and its publisher, it could well be a — pardon the expression — toss-up as to whether the teratogenous outcomes are the result of direct impregnation by Savile rather than malign influence.)
Within weeks, howling mobs will be roaming the land wielding ... well, you can't get the pitchforks these days but I'm sure they'll find something, baseball bats probably. People deemed to look "funny" will be convicted by ad hoc people's courts of being closet savilists and will be ritually immolated on filling station forecourts.
I've not felt so nervous since the death of Diana.
Anyway, as we all know, it was Leonard Rossiter who was the eminence grise behind the Yorkshire Ripper murders, masturbating furiously as Peter Sutcliffe killed each carefully-chosen victim.
06 November, 2012
Actually the "witness" in the interview clip we were played referred to them as "young women", while the BBC newsreader referred to "teenage girls". It was the choice of phrase that caused me to stop and think, "Ah, we're really talking about groupies, aren't we?"
Of course the situation gets progressively more confused, as more and more come forward to claim that their lives were ruined by the Great Molester. How much of this activity is true is open to question; Anna Raccoon's post describing her own experiences around the edges of this shenanigans should at least give you pause in your willingness to accept absolutely and without question the tearful "memories" of everyone who claims to have been felt up by Supernonce when they were 6-year old girls (or indeed boys). Of course they should be treated seriously — and discreetly rather than being drooled over on every national news bulletin — but I am increasingly reminded of the scandal about British soldiers "raping" local women in colonial Kenya. No doubt it went on, but after it came out almost every woman of a plausible age in Nairobi seemed suddenly to remember and claim compensation for a historic assault, their claims facilitated by local entrepreneurs for a cut.
And the circle grows wider. Seemingly every celeb who went anywhere near Savile is being implicated. Freddie Starr has been accused of doing a crafty Uncle Ernie with some 14-year-old girl on a Jim'll Fix It programme. And now Leonard Rossiter 'Performed A Sex Act As Three BBC Staff Tried To Rape Man, 18'. Performed a sex act? The coyness of the gutter press when peddling its tatty prurience under a cloak of simulated repugnance is always fascinating to watch. I wonder if Mr Rossiter "made an excuse and left" after he'd finished his wank.
It's all getting out of hand. As Max Clifford put it in an interview the other morning, he had once appeared in a publicity shot alongside Jimmy Savile and a couple of teenage girls who were taking part in a programme. Will he (Max) be the next to be hauled in for questioning, he wondered.
Anyway, before every adult male who's ever appeared on television is banged up, and while the TraumaLawyers4U.com ads are still airing, I want to get my claim in.
In 1960 or possibly '61, I was travelling to school on the bus one morning. I should explain some context here for the benefit of younger readers. In those innocent days it was common for boys in the early years of secondary school to continue wearing short trousers. At my school boys didn't graduate to long trousers until the third form. I was in the second year at the time.
A man wearing the classic brown dirty mac sat down next to me. A hand began to grope my thigh, working its way gradually under the loose fitting shorts and towards ground zero. As it happened, chummy had the sense not to take it too far and after a few minutes of general gropery he got up and got off the bus, leaning in and complimenting me on having "good strong thighs" as his parting shot.
So what did I do next? Scream the bus down? Retreat into a shell, blaming myself for what had happened? Become an abuser myself, searching out small boys to interfere with in pubic places?
Actually, what happened was that I thought something along the lines of "Fucking liberty!" and turned back to my revision.
And you, dear reader, are the first to hear that story, for I have not thought to mention it to anyone in the intervening 50 years.
But I have changed my mind. Although I remember that dirty old man as being rather older than the 35 years that Savile would have been at the time, and he certainly didn't ululate or keep saying "'Ow's about that then?" as his hand slid up my leg, I am now convinced that that man on a bus in south Manchester was Jimmy Savile. Or was it Leonard Rossiter? Or was Rossiter sitting across the aisle tossing himself off as Jim fixed it? And I want an apology and a slice of Mr Savile's estate. And Leonard Rossiter's. And Joan Collins's as well. Not that she has ever groped me on a bus, unfortunately, but she did appear in television ads with that Rossiter scumbag, and that's close enough for me.
03 November, 2012
Oh well that's alright then
So much is common knowledge. What prompts me to write is a news report I have just heard on the steam wireless. Our Denis is reported as complaining that he is "the victim of a right-wing conspiracy". That's a novel excuse, Den boy, innit. Does that mean that your criminality — and it does look as if the police/CPS may actually be pressurized into acting on this one — that your criminality should be discounted because you disapprove of the people who outed you? Well, I don't have a link for the above quote but the following may begin to shed some light:
I am shocked and saddened that the BNP has won its 3 year campaign to destroy my political career as a Labour MP despite a full police investigation which decided not to proceed after investigations and interviews. I am glad the Committee notes that there is no question of personal gain. Clearly I deeply regret that the way I chose to be reimbursed for costs related to my work in Europe and in combating anti-semitism, including being the Prime Minister’s personal envoy, has been judged so harshly.
– Denis MacShane, Rotherham MP
The background is that the BNP have claimed to be prime movers in outing the parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009 as a result of the efforts of their activist Michael Barnbrook, a retired police inspector (and no relation of Richard Barnbrook, the party's (former) London AM, incidentally). The BNP make a lot of overblown claims but there may be some truth in this one. If nothing else, they succeeded in keeping the shit well stirred, though, being pariahs, their contribution cannot be openly acknowledged.
But Denis has acknowledged it, bless him, and he doesn't think it's fair. Presumably he would have preferred to have been exposed by somebody a bit more respectable.
01 November, 2012
The breaking point
We do not see the entire incident of course, only from the point at which the busybody decided it was interesting enough to capture. But let that pass: I don't know the whole story and probably you don't either.
What I can bring to this incident is local knowledge. I know the Woolwich and Abbey Wood areas — their local character and their demographics — very well, having lived in the general area for over 30 years. I am also familiar with the Woolwich line trains, travelling on them most days.
Over the past 10 to 15 years, the Woolwich area, until the late 1990s certainly multiracial but recognizably majority White British, has undergone a massive influx of immigrants, overwhelmingly from West Africa. In the early noughties when I was still commuting to work each morning, it was not unusual to see several Africans alighting from a down train hauling their airport-betagged wheelie suitcases along the platform. That was pretty well every morning, and just in the ten minutes' or so
wait before my own train arrived.
Walking the streets and using public transport in South East London often becomes a genuine "spot the white man" experience. My own Damascene moment, when I made the transition from complacent White Liberal to angry, resentful White man, came in the autumn of 2002, pretty well exactly ten years ago as it happens. I made a bus journey across South East London. Without getting bogged down in detail, I would say that approximately 100 passengers used that bus during my 5-mile journey, most of them making relatively short journeys. I was the only White person on the bus, the remainder being mostly West African with a sprinkling of assorted other Vibrants to lend a little diversity to this monoculture. The streets we passed through were quite busy too, and overwhelmingly Black or Brown.
Since then the enriching vibrancy has extended fully to the trains and it is not unusual to find yourself the only White person in the carriage. And if there are other Whites present, when they answer their phones they are invariably speaking Polish. You know that situation where, while travelling abroad, you chance upon a compatriot in some foreign clime. You feel a bond of solidarity with them, purely out of shared identity in the midst of a sea of alienness. I've experienced that. As a White Brit in London.
It is a genuinely alienating experience. This is my people's tribal homeland and yet I am as a foreigner here. Imagine that if what passes for public transport in Lagos were packed to the gunwales with Han Chinese escaping poverty in Fujian for the relative wealth of Nigeria, and the working language of the street was shifting rapidly from Yoruba to Min Nan. The writers of the Guardian would be brimming over with vicarious outrage on behalf of the poor deracinated colonizees of Africa and CiF would be awash with indignation, most of it ingeniously managing to blame the whole situation on the British. But if I complain about the state of London I am a Racist of the most execrable stripe, piteously whingeing in the face of entirely deserved retribution for the sins of my/our imperial past. Or something.
So, no. I am not shocked or surprised by the behaviour of the woman in the video, and I hope for her sake that she remains unidentified in the forthcoming witchhunt. In fact, I know exactly how she feels and I will not condemn her rude behaviour. The closest I've ever got to an angry train rant was accidental and thankfully contained without consequence. It was a lesson learned. Personally I tend to withdraw and grey the vibrants out and minimize commercial and social interaction with them. It's a lot less dangerous than seething confrontation.
Update (2012-11-01 14:20
Something I'd forgotten. I was watching ITV 's Daybreak this morning — yes, yes, I know, but a bit of occasional cultural slumming is good for the soul; sharpens the critical faculties, so I'm told. Cordelia Kretzschmar was despatched to stand in front of Abbey Wood station and tell us:
"Interesting to think that here at Abbey Wood we're just a couple of miles down the road from Eltham, where, of course, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack all those years ago. And the racist EDL do have a fair amount of support in certain pockets of South East London, so the transport police, the police generally, today, are sending a very clear message to people around here that racism will not be tolerated. Verbal abuse will be punished."
Nice one, girl. You forgot to work in a mention for the BNP or the NF. Shows how far they've declined in importance, I guess. I like the way too that "racist EDL" was spoken as a set phrase, a single lexical item, rather than as an ad hoc adjective+noun phrase. The differing intonation is quite distinctive.
Personally I blame Tommy Robinson. Oh no, maybe not, he's on remand until January for some dubious passport offence, isn't he? Do people get remanded in custody for passport offences? Jus' wondrin', innit.