26 November, 2008
A phrase for our times
Now the Balkans, that cradle of creative nastiness that brought the term ethnic cleansing into our everyday language, introduces us to organ harvesting, the industrialization, or perhaps more accurately, agriculturalization of organlegging. Serbian soldiers taken prisoner by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo were kept as livestock by their captors until they could be killed to order for their vital organs, which were then transplanted into paying patients.
The cynical commercial efficiency revealed by the following quote is particularly chilling:
"Victims deprived of only their first kidney were sewn up and confined again inside the shack until they were killed for their vital organs."
25 November, 2008
Headline of the week
At the Torygraph and not the Sunday Sport, one of those "You couldn't make it up" headlines:
A London life
Such places are ten-a-penny in this part of London. (If that's the appropriate term: I expect the - in all probability Kosovar - proprietors are probably anticipating a rather higher rate of return.) What made this particular place memorable was the presence of a large statutory No Smoking sign on the wall. The incongruity jarred. I have visions of Westminster's Smoking Enforcement Co-ordinator paying a visit to ensure that the young ladies' health is not damaged by passive smoking, politely averting his eyes from the goings-on and raising his hat apologetically to the punters.
Opportunity for gratuitous inclusion of very, very old joke.
Prostitute #1: Do you smoke after sex?
Prostitute #2: I don't know, I've never looked.
While I'm on the subject, I recall one day standing sipping a pint of what passed for lager in what was then a branch of the peculiarly themed All Bar One pub chain at Cambridge Circus, idly watching the punters entering and leaving the brothel across the street. I began to time them. The average stay, from entering to leaving the building, was 7 minutes! Now that's a fair old turnover. Time to switch my share portfolio out of BT and into brothels, perhaps?
16 November, 2008
I made an excuse and left
But occasionally The Daily Social Worker still manages to surprise, as when it published this comment piece by Max Mosley on Paul Dacre's disgraceful speech to the Society of Editors.
Mr Dacre may have a valid point about the dangers of judge-made law and the baleful and unanticipated malign impact of the execrable European Convention on Human Rights, but both in his speech (as reported) and in an interview on the Today programme (as I heard myself), Dacre's explicitly stated argument -- that personal privacy should not be protected or respected because salacious and scandalous copy sells tabloid newspapers to the prurient mob -- is quite despicable. It's the sort of statement you can't imagine any moral person making with a straight face.
For what it's worth, neither Mr Mosley nor the FIA excite strong feelings of empathy in me, but what Mr Mosley gets up to in private, with or without leather whips and faux German accents, is, provided it doesn't involve criminality or impact on matters of genuine public interest, entirely his own damned business.
Perhaps somebody ought to obtain the services of a co-operative tart, some rohypnol and a News of the Screws photographer, and see if Mr Dacre likes a taste of his own medicine. Now that would make for an interesting Daily Mail editorial.
Press the moral panic button now
It transpires that one Jason Jeal has been acquitted of raping one Jane McKenna on the defence, according to the Mail, that he was "sleepwalking". This is perceived by Ross as a gross miscarriage of justice, for which he blames the stupidity of the jury. The readers of the Mail take, on the whole, a similar view, and a quick sampling of the bloggertariat suggests a widespread hostility to and incredulity at the verdict. MPs are queueing up to change the law to plug this "loophole".
Not so fast. For a start I think Ross is being a little harsh on juries. Like most decent people, my experience of the courts in general and juries in particular is limited. I have done terms of jury service twice, trying a total of five cases. Hardly a huge sample, but it's as big a one as most of us get. On each occasion I was stuck by how well the system worked. My instinct was to be cynical of the effectiveness of bringing together 12 random people of hugely varying educational achievement, social status and life experience, but in practice it works very well. I found that collectively the jurors took the matter at hand very seriously, were scrupulously fair, and applied considerable collective wisdom and "common sense". Other people's mileage may, as they say, vary, and I have heard less positive reports of friends' experience of jury service.
But of what of this particular case? The accused actually disavows the defence of "sleepwalking", implying that the term was dreamed up by his barrister. It would probably be fairer to say that he was "on autopilot". Before you start guffawing at that terminological distinction, consider this: have you never been drunk or just very, very tired, and suddenly found yourself part way through some quite complicated action without realizing you had started it and with no recall of the intervening period?
According to the Mail's report, Mr Jeal and his wife had been invited to the home of Mrs McKenna and her husband for a gathering described as a "barbecue". Mr Jeal and his wife had a row and his wife returned home early and alone. Mr Jeal, apparently by the end of the evening comprehensively pissed, ended up sleeping on the McKennas' sofa. Mrs McKenna ended up sleeping in her daughter's bedroom. Although it is not explicitly stated in the Mail piece, I would infer that she was (a) fully or substantially clothed and (b) drunk. Having gone into her daughter's room to check on her, Mrs McKenna then effectively crashed out, pissed and face down, on her daughter's bed. Mrs McKenna's daughter woke her mother when she herself woke to see Mr Jeal "hovering over" her mother. It seems unlikely that there was anything approaching penetration or that Mr Jeal's amorous advances had progressed very far. Mrs McKenna, by now awake, startled and aggrieved, "threw Mr Jeal off her". There is no suggestion that he attempted to further prosecute his "attack".
I put it to you -- I seem to have lapsed unconsciously (sleepwalked?) into some sort of mock lawyerspeak so I may as well continue in that vein -- I put to you the possibility that Mr Jeal, still drunk and groggy from his brief sleep, woke in the darkened living room and made his way up to bed thinking he was in his own home, entering the bedroom and was about to cuddle up to what he blearily and disorientedly presumed to be his own wife, hoping vaguely to reconcile their previous argument.
And I suspect that's what the jury thought, too.
That's just an alternative interpretation. I don't necessarily believe it either, but without having been in that courtroom and heard the detail of the case, I don't know, do I? The jury, God bless 'em, had to sit through and pay attention to it all.
Rape is a complex business covering a very broad spectrum of actions and behaviours, perhaps too broad.
Just let's be a bit careful about setting off lynch mobs, and above all of hasty, reactive, populist legislation.
14 November, 2008
Why you pickin' on me?
(One thing puzzles me. What happens to the staff displaced by the new immigrants? Do they return to Bangladesh with their accumulated savings, or do they disappear into the "Bangladeshi community" in the UK, in preparation for chain-migrating the rest of their clan hither? Hmm.)
Local MP Martin Salter accuses Mr Ahmed of, to paraphrase slightly, race-card shit-stirring. Mr Ahmed denies this, but his Curry Life editorial, as quoted in the linked article, tends to support Mr Salter's interpretation:
...Mr Ahmed said of the home affairs select committee’s trip to India and Bangladesh – before it set off – “The select committee is the creation of the Home Office, the very institution that is behind the reckless, thuggish raids on Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants in many parts of Britain.I wonder why the UKBA might be making these reckless, thuggish raids. Could it be because the Indian restaurant trade, and indeed the ethnic eatery trade in general, is riddled with illegal migrants? The way to put a stop to these reckless, thuggish raids, Mr Syed, is, I suggest, for your readers to stop employing dodgy illegal slave labour. The Reading Evening Post article continues:
"It’s lily-white hands are steeped in racist mischief".
“Keith Vaz, the chair of the select committee, has failed to get any response from the Home Secretary to his enquiries about these police raids and the demoralising effects they have on the owners and staff of these restaurants.”Keith Vaz? Are we talking about this Keith Vaz perchance? The Dishonorable Member for Leicester East and All-round Oleaginous Sleazebag of this parish? I cannot trust myself to comment further but, following the lead of one of the commenters to the Reading Evening Post piece, refer the reader to Eyes passim.
However, he described Mr Vaz as honourable, incorruptible and outspoken and wished him and his committee – of which Martin Salter is a member – well, hoping its report would “allay anxieties of the ethnic minorities”.
Over in the snake pit (GUTalk) the Righteous Left are beside themselves with self-satisfied glee, entertaining themselves by taunting their seemingly captive little herd of dim Rightwing Trolls. Reader comments on newspaper sites (such as the two linked above) are rather more evenly split between pro, anti and who-cares tendencies, but strong feelings are certainly in evidence: at the last count, the Bristol Evening Post article had attracted 557 reader comments.
What do I think? I'm not sure. I don't know the woman. I have no particularly strong feelings on her daughter's reported preference to ride with a White and preferably female driver. Perhaps she's had bad experiences, who knows? As one of the newspaper readers points out, Muslim customers often specifically ask for Muslim drivers to taxi their women about, and nobody bats the proverbial eyelid, even though this insistence carries the plausible subtext that Kaffir drivers are not only haram but in all probability dangerous rapist monsters as well. On the other hand, as a public figure, she does need to know when to show a little discretion and it does seem a rather odd stipulation to make.
What is certain, to my mind, is that the BBC's response will do no good. Its reaction, probably influenced by the Ross/Brand affair and a perceived need to be seen to be decisive, was to sack the woman in a show of outrage. All this will achieve will be to further entrench the resentment of many if not most of the White population: the pervasive view that in the eyes of the BBC and the rest of the Liberal Establishment, the White man can do no right and must be perpetually punished.
Recall that the phone call was off-air and a private transaction. What the BBC should have done was to defend Sam Mason's privacy and tell the Sun to fuck off, while having a quiet word with her and suggesting a little more discretion in future, given her public visibility and visible association with the BBC.
No good will come of this.
Just found this post on a GUTalk thread:
britincanada - 04:17pm Nov 13, 2008 GMT (#280 of 422)
She should have called up and asked for a cab for her daughter and her daughters pet pig, wouldn't guarantee the driver would be white but would up the odds considerably.
I like it. I don't know what the poster's actual intention was but it definitely infuses a sense of proportion into this nonsense.
11 November, 2008
Few poppies blow
Partly, I suppose, it's a function of ignorance, with children no longer being taught history apart from that Hitler was a nasty bastard who didn't like Jews and that the world was single-handedly saved from the scourge of slavery by Olaudah Equiano. But, round here, it is as likely to be reflection of the fact that London is no longer a British city.
08 November, 2008
Phrase of the day
Here we go again
What Ecclestone should have done, when asked to comment, is to respond, "Yes, it was indeed racist barracking and was rather unpleasant. So what? Fans are partisan; this sort of heavy-handed stuff is all part of the sport."
As indeed it is. I know little about Formula One. No doubt the sport has its subtleties, but as someone who doesn't even drive an ordinary car, they are beyond me. To me, watching a Formula One race is only marginally more exciting that watching Geoff Boycott spend the last two days of a Test Match batting for a draw.
But clearly the fans get part of their enjoyment, as they do in football, by adopting fiercely partisan positions and taking the piss, often very cruelly, out of opposing teams and individual players, or in this case, drivers.
If the fans took against Mr Ecclestone himself for some reason, I'm sure there's plenty of scope for creative abuse of a ludicrous little short-arse with an oversized ego and implausible hair. And we would all tut-tut dutifully about such unpleasant and boorish behaviour, while secretly sniggering behind our hands.
And then we would move on.
But if a Black man is involved, the outrage machine goes into overdrive. Initiatives are launched. Grovelling apologies and oaths of fealty to Anti-Racism are extracted – from the innocent as well as the guilty, for is it not written that the White man is universally and unconditionally guilty? Examples are made. Draconian collective punishments are exacted.
And resentment builds up. It really is about time people got a grip and a sense of proportion. I've had to wear spectacles since I was two years old. When I was a kid, and occasionally in later life, I've been the target of bullies, arseholes and others who have taken a dislike to me for some totally unfathomable reason, for verily I am the acme of niceness. If I had a pound, as they say, for every time I've been called a four-eyed git, or some creative variant thereof... And yet I don't go running to the authorities all the time whingeing about abuse of "the disabled", for fuck's sake.
The irony in all this is that the hysteria about Lewis Hamilton's blackness (or semi-blackness) is entirely media-driven. Mr Hamilton is a racing driver, and apparently a damned good one. Yet the media can never mention the man without cooing ecstatically about him being the first "Black" professional F1 driver.
Leave the poor bugger alone to get on with his career.