Author Archive for Blue Eyes


Curve evades Cameron, again

I had such high hopes for Mr Cameron. When he pitted his wits against David Davis to win the party leadership I am ashamed to admit I sent my ballot paper off, strongly believing that it was best to choose the leader who stood the best chance of winning the general election. As much as I try to find things to like about David Cameron, he seems to be doing his best to prove the people who refer to him as CallMeDave, iDave, etc. correct. When the bombs went off in London in July 2005 I found myself eagerly awaiting the statement from the Prime Minister: not because I was a fan of Blair, not at all, but because I knew that he could do the whole statesmanlike reassurance thing. He came up on the radio, said some nice things and I felt a lot happier and I’m sure I am not alone in that. When Cameron started talking about the fires and looting in London this week I just felt my skin crawl.

Cameron seems to be permanently behind the curve. On the Monday night people were asking, with some justification: how did this happen? I may or may not have posted several times airing my views. Today, as things look a lot more settled, Cam is touting his way around the studios criticising the Met. While most people say a big thank you to the police officers up and down the country who came out and rapidly restored calm to our neighbourhoods and as people stand up in their millions against a criminal minority, in comes the PM to say that he has spoken to the elite leaders and now knows what went wrong. Could he not work it out for himself? He has an entire squad of advisers, polling experts and hangers-on. He has hundreds of MPs to call upon. He can phone up anyone he likes in the country to seek advice. And yet he seems totally and utterly out of sync with the mood of the nation.

He seems to have missed the irony of criticising Met officers for taking so long to put themselves on duty on Monday in a speech written on a BA flight from Tuscany. Does he think that bobbies still live in dingy single rooms above police stations, ready to pounce into action at the first sign of difficulty? Does he think that the Met keeps ten thousand riot officers on duty, out of sight, ready to squash totally unexpected, coordinated acts of vandalism and looting? Get real.

In all likelihood the senior officers he has spoken to are as detached from reality as the Prime Minister himself. A PC buddy of mine tells me that as he was just about to leave the nick on Monday he was pulled up by a Superintendent and asked where his tie was. You cannot be serious! Why doesn’t the Prime Minister go outside and take a look around himself? He could walk around Croydon or Elephant and Castle and not a soul would know who he is. In doing so he might smell the mood. He might see people from all walks of life approaching yellow jackets to say thank you. Christ, he might even get a chance to meet some of the other people he thinks he represents: you know, the ones who don’t have gates at the end of their street?

Sorry Dave, but if you think the solution to youth crime is to switch off Twitter and Blackberry Messenger, if you think the way to motivate the very people who go out and solve these problems is to criticise them in public, if you think it’s OK to go on holiday while expecting everyone else to stay at home, then you are even more ridiculous than your critics have so far suggested.

Mr Cameron, you are out of touch and rapidly running out of time. This country needs a leader who is a bit more aware of how it works.


Mark Duggan: what the law says

Via the news media we are beginning to learn some of the facts surrounding the death of Mark Duggan in Tottenham. We cannot draw any conclusions until we know all the facts and we should certainly not react until the investigation is complete and fully analysed.

However, there is one thing which has been concentrated on by the media as if it has a huge bearing on the case: whether or not Duggan’s gun was fired at police before he was shot. The initial reports that Duggan’s gun was fired at police appear to be flawed. The IPCC has stated its belief that the gun was not fired. However, if my understanding is correct, this is not the only relevant factor in any prosecution of the officer who pulled the trigger.

Interestingly, these “powers” are available to anyone and are not broader or narrower for ordinary citizens or officers of the Crown.

Common law: A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of: self-defence; defence of another; defence of property; prevention of crime; or lawful arrest.

In assessing the reasonableness of the force used, prosecutors should ask two questions: was the use of force necessary in the circumstances, i.e. was there a need for any force at all? And; was the force used reasonable in the circumstances?

The courts have indicated that both questions are to answered on the basis of the facts as the accused honestly believed them to be. There is no rule in law to say that a person must wait to be struck first before they may defend themselves.

Criminal Law Act 1967, Section 3(1): A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.

It is rather more subjective than we might imagine given the weight placed on the small number of facts presented so far to the public via the media.

Of course, public perception is incredibly important. That is why a thorough investigation, which is both fair and seen to be fair, is vital. The other side of the coin is, though, that it is important that people understand what the law is before deciding whether the final decision is a stitch-up or not.


“No excuses”

This from the government-in-waiting (also known as the Green Party):

There are no excuses for the violence and the looting.

Apart from:

I believe a commitment to reduce the rising inequality in our society is essential to find a positive way forward from this point. Young people see their prospects hit by the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 and 17-year-olds and the massive tution fee hikes, and they see their parents suffering in low-wage, casualised jobs, or without jobs at all, and they understandably hold little hope for the future.

The answer, obviously [why did nobody think of this before? - Ed] is:

We can only hope to prevent recurrence of such events by rapidly changing direction – delivering a living wage for all workers, providing a massive increase in employment, and re-investing in public services

Ah yes, the solution to people’s envy of richer people is to buy them off with things that they wouldn’t normally be able to afford. I.e. by buying them the things that they would otherwise have to steal. Jesus, quite literally, wept.


#londonriots – a quick message from the front line

Just got home. Injured again. Some scrotes threw breeze blocks at us, managed to shatter my shield and take out my leg. Shit scary last night. We thought we were actually going to die there. Multiple buildings burned down, tens if not a hundred businesses looted, people evacuated from their homes. Police cars attacked and burned, officers hospitalised – just in ****…

No back-up across the whole of London as every single officer in the Met was deployed. We eventually had to withdraw and let them take the town – couldn’t even get the fire brigade in to help until the early hours. I’ve never seen anything remotely like it…

I am totally freaked out. And I’m knackered. It was terrifying.

The hatred was real. They wanted to get us, plain and simple. Throwing concrete slabs through the windscreen of moving police cars is nothing else than pure hatred…

Gutted I’m going to be invalided so won’t be there to help out my colleagues this evening.

I take back what I said about comparisons with other professions. And apologise. In full. This man and his team deserve a medal.


Feral youth

Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with the welfare system, the failure of the education system in the inner city and a youth culture which glorifies ignorance and aggression. These are absolutely not Brown’s children. Anyone who says anything to suggest that the culture of entitlement has anything to do with the looting and burning is quite obviously barking mad. Now please excuse me while I go back to my nice little comfortable fantasy.


Police pensions revisited

Something tells me that cuts in the police budget are now going to be quietly shelved and noisily reversed. If the government has any role whatsoever, it is to maintain public order and to protect people and property.

The model run by every government since 1945, culminating in the Blair/Brown years, was to shift public spending away from core government functions to providing universal services and a massive transfer of wealth from the productive to everyone else.

Tonight is a watershed moment. Politicians will either grasp the nettle or will bottle it. If they bottle it the consequences will be catastrophic.



As a large number of idiots decided to shit on their own doorstep over the weekend, the self-obsessed Twitter commentariat wet themselves* with the excitement of the flames and broken glass being shown on Sky News (the Murdoch boycott having been long forgotten). While open, instant media are obviously great for spreading information I can’t help wonder whether they are potentially dangerous when bullshit is being touted around as fact. Stacks of ignorami compared the theft from high street chain stores to the freedom fighters in what has been patronisingly named the “Arab Spring”.

The differences between the Brixton and Enfield copycat thuggery and the more substantive uprisings in Egypt and Syria highlights the rather different situations in Cairo, Hama and Zone 2.

In Egypt and Syria, the changes are being brought about by an educated middle class who have had enough. In Britain the inner city middle classes are staying safely inside their Victorian conversions, sharing their opinions based on information sourced by other couch vegans.

The intellectual difficulty for the supporters of an inner city uprising in Britain is that there is nobody being oppressed. Sure, the economy is hurting but the welfare system takes the edge off inflation for those at the bottom of the heap. Of course there are fewer jobs around, but for people with a bit of self-motivation there is always something productive to be doing. No, for the supposedly-disaffected youth of Haringey and Lambeth this is very a simple case of “the lights have been turned off, let’s see what we damage we can cause and what free shit we can get our hands on before they come back on”. Shame on the educated hand-wringing “social democrats” for coming up with excuses.

What the champagners cannot seem to grasp is that the people who involve themselves in this kind of thing are not indulging in a fight of principle against oppression but are acting simply and rationally in their own self interest. They know that they could not normally get away with ram-raiding Currys, but while the CCTV cameras are pointing at the kids with bricks and burning stuff they can chance it. If they get caught the courts will only give them a slap on the wrist anyway. What’s another suspended sentence amongst friends?

Of course the statists will be telling us that the way to keep everyone happy is to redistribute yet more money from the productive part of the economy to the unproductive sullen ill-educated scum. It’s like a modern form of Danegeld where the opinion-formers of the local Labour and Co-operative Party and their friends fall over themselves to buy the peace of an ever-growing band of people who know they will always be looked after by the people with the keys to the till. One vox-pop quoted a resident of Broadwater Farm saying that last time we rioted we got a new swimming pool. QED.

No, the only additional public funding which should result from this latest example of Britain’s total lack of institutional organisation should be channelled towards building prisons, beefing up the courts and getting the police out of their offices and onto the streets. Anything else is just a sop to the criminals.

* Thanks for the surge in stats though, you Twits!

UPDATE: great link supplied by @BuenoSam: Insp Winter.


Bullshit excuses from the Left

As the media delights in a stream of haunting photos of burned-out Tottenham, the excuses start to pour in. For the Left this is not a story about hundreds of people deciding that the rule of law is not for them and that violence is the way to vent their frustrations. Who would have thought that Ken Livingstone would be so cynical to take advantage of a major breakdown in law and order to get this election message across?

Via his useful Guardian spokesman @DaveHill, Livingstone is quoted as having said “economic stagnation & cuts imposed by the Tory government create social division [as under Thatcher].”

Ahh yes, economic stagnation. All the fault of Boris Johnson and the Tory party! Let’s forget the root causes of our money struggles (ten years of Labour economic maladministration and running a large public deficit while the economy was growing strongly) and blame Boris and Cameron and Osborne. And as for those “cuts”, well, we haven’t actually seen any of them yet so how can they possibly be a cause?

If Mr Livingstone and his idiot friends wanted to make a real impact they would be making the case for the rule of law over thuggery, the case for raising complaints through the established mechanisms over violent disorder, the case for allowing the legal process to take its course over instant over-reaction and blame allocation.

And this chancer wants to be Mayor of London again? He wants his friends to be in power in Westminster again? If so, he is running a pretty obvious “core vote” strategy here. I’m not sure the owners of the destroyed homes and businesses and the many many law-abiding citizens of London will agree with him.


What the BBC doesn’t tell you

Petrol bombs have been thrown at police and a shop, two patrol cars and a bus set on fire in a disturbance in Tottenham, north London. The incident began after a protest over the fatal shooting of a young man by police on Thursday turned violent. About 300 people have gathered outside the police station on the High Road.

Members of the community had taken to the streets to demand “justice” after the shooting of a 29-year-old father-of-four, named locally as Mark Duggan. The BBC’s Ben Ando, who is at the scene, described the situation as a “stand off”. Two patrol cars were set alight at about 20:20 BST but officers were not inside at the time.

Shops in the area have also been looted with people seen pushing away shopping trolleys full of goods. A double decker bus was set on fire at the junction of High Road and Brook Street while a shop on the High Road has also been set alight.

Sounds awful, doesn’t it? The police have shot an innocent man and the local community are rightly furious and feel the need to resort to violent means to ensure he gets “justice”.

However, this is not apparently the full story:

A police officer blasted in the chest in a gunfight escaped with his life when the bullet struck his police radio. He was following a known offender from London’s notorious Broadwater Farm Estate during a covert operation when the suspect opened fire.

Mark Duggan, 29, shot the officer from Scotland Yard’s elite firearms squad CO19 in the side of his chest with a handgun.

But the bullet lodged in the police radio the undercover officer was carrying in a side pocket. Armed officers shot the gunman dead seconds later.

Why would the BBC miss out apparently important information in its report?



I have the honour of joining our friend “MTG” in having been banned from commenting on the esteemed Inspector’s blog. Apparently I am a “troll” and a “banker” for my sins. I had to “LOL” when my comments stopped going through.

As longer-term readers of this site will know, I am not exactly “anti police” in my thinking. However I do have a particular gripe with some public sector workers’ attitude to their pension entitlement.

Here are the facts: most public sector pensions are not funded. What that means is that the so-called contributions taken from pay packets do not go into an investment fund with a ring around them with that worker’s name on. The commitment to a particular level of pension income for a public sector worker is disconnected from the amount that worker has contributed towards it. It’s the difference between a defined benefit and a defined contribution system.

In my comments at IG’s I foolishly made the comparison with my own pension arrangements which are as follows: I pay a certain amount – decided by me – out of my pay packet into a personal pension (a SIPP for those who care). Nobody else puts a penny in. The income I can draw from that will depend only on how much I have put in when I hit the relevant age and how well the investment has done over the intervening years. If the investments made by the pension managers are crap, I might get very little. And guess who isn’t going to be topping it up so that I can enjoy retirement at a particular level?

My gripe with the public sector moaners is that they do not appreciate what an incredibly good deal they have. If I was sitting on such a good deal I would be keeping incredibly quiet about it. Instead we are deafened by the sound of complaining about a reform which would see the benefits reduced slightly and the contributions increased a little bit. Actuaries can argue about what contribution would be needed to align the inputs with the outputs, but the simple fact is that if there is a shortfall taxpayers will cover it.

Some argue that pension arrangements should not be changed for people who are already paying in. However no pension changes will affect rights already accrued. It is a simple “human right”, for want of a better term, that blocks of final salary already earned cannot be retrospectively taken away. Changes can only ever affect the rate of future accrual. Remember, the schemes are not compulsory and any public sector worker can opt out and put their cash into their own personal pension scheme of the sort that millions of people in my situation have. If those people think they will get a better final pension by opting out, you can be sure they will do exactly that. How luxurious to have that choice!

Unfortunately this whole argument comes back down to the very simple illusion under which many, many public sector workers work: that there is an unlimited supply of money that can be funnelled towards things which they like.

The issue is not that the coalition is being evil, the issue is that governments of all stripes have pretended over the course of the last thirty, forty, fifty years that these things can avoid serious reform. Tony Blair knew he had to reform the public sector and failed because of a lack of spine and Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown and Ed Balls pretended the country could live without its means year after year after year.

It is not troll-like to point out the fundamental truth. You can wish it wasn’t so as much as you like. You can even tell each other that it isn’t so. But it is. You can’t avoid reality for ever. Unfortunately it took the economic policies of 2001-2008 to concentrate the minds of those in power. And anyone claiming it would have been different if Alistair Darling had been at the helm is deluding themselves.

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mail @ behindblueeyes . co . uk


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