Category Archives: psychology

Liberals in a multicultural denialfest

Robert Henderson

Nine Muslim men living in Rochdale Lancashire – eight from Pakistan and one from Afghanistan – have been convicted of  various offences arising from what  is coyly  described as “street grooming” , but whose honest description would be at best the forced prostitution of girls under the age of consent  and at worst  repeated gang-rape often accomplished when the girls were too drunk to know what was happening. . (The girls were all under the age of  16 -the British age of consent for intercourse – and abuse began when some were as young as 13).

Strikingly,  every one of the  47 girls identified as being the subject of abuse by the gang were white. Cue for liberals to dash into a  frenzy of terrified make-believe as they desperately tried  to convince themselves and the public that vicious and sustained abuse of  exclusively white girls by Asian men  had no racial motivation.   Thankfully there have been some  honourable exceptions in the mainstream media to this wilful self-delusion,  for example, Allison Pearson of the Telegraph  pointed out the absurdity and  dishonesty of  the denial of racism in pithy fashion:

“Nine white men are found guilty of grooming young Asian girls, aged between 13 and 15, whom they picked up on the streets of London. The girls were lured with free fish and chips before being raped or pimped as prostitutes. One Asian girl from a children’s home was used for sex by 20 white men in one night. Police insist the crimes were not “racially motivated”.

Imagine if that story were true. Would you really believe that race was not a factor in those hateful crimes? Do you think that, despite conclusive DNA evidence from a girl raped by two men, the police would have hesitated to press charges because the suspects were white and it could make things a bit sensitive in the white community? Would the Crown Prosecution Service have refused to prosecute, allowing the child-sex ring to flourish for three more anguished years?’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/allison-pearson/9254651/Asian-sex-gang-young-girls-betrayed-by-our-fear-of-racism.html)

The tactics of liberal denial

Any normal human being would have no problem in seeing  the very obvious racial element  in the case,   but white liberals have found no difficulty in calling black white.  Some, such as the ineffable Asian MP Keith Vaz , opted for simple denial: “ Right at the start of this trial the BNP were outside demonstrating saying that this was a race issue. I do not believe it is a race issue.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9253978/Keith-Vaz-says-child-sex-ring-case-not-race-issue.html).

A real gem came from the lips of the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester whose force investigated the case:

‘…following the trial at Liverpool Crown Court, Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, said: “It just happens that in this particular area and time, the demographics were that these were Asian men.

“However, in large parts of the country we are seeing on-street grooming, child sexual exploitation happening in each of our towns and it isn’t about a race issue.”’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9263050/Claiming-Rochdale-grooming-not-about-race-is-fatuous-Trevor-Phillips.html).

A more exquisite example of the religiously pc state senior police officers in Britain have reached would be difficult to find.  I urge  anyone who believes that  there is nationwide “street grooming”  proportionately undertaken by whites to try to find evidence for this. I should be very surprised if they can come up with such evidence. If it did occur one may be sure that it would be given massive prominence by the media and produce hordes of examples when the subject is Googled.   When I tried Googling the subject I drew a blank.

The more sophisticated  amongst the liberal deniers have turned to the well tried and tested liberal left ploys of claiming  that the perpetrators  were not true Muslims and  putting up a smokescreen through the creation of a false equivalence between white and non-white sex offenders.  Here is Aljazeera playing the “not true Muslims” card:

These men convicted in Rochdale may have been nominally Muslim, but they were clearly not practising the true essence of their faith. Many so-called “Muslim criminals” (as identified by the media) are in fact people who might drink, take drugs or engage in other practices considered haram [“forbidden”]. Individuals who commit abuse are abusers, full stop.” (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/05/201251371618264468.html).

Compare the Rochdale offences with the sex offences committed by Roman Catholic priests. Would anyone want to argue the priests  were only nominally Catholic? I rather doubt it.  It is also true that  Islam, as with any ideology,  sacred or profane, has no “true” version, merely different versions. .

Not to be outdone the Guardian sternly advised that “The defendants in question are at most nominally Muslim. Practising Muslims certainly aren’t supposed to have sex with children.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/08/asian-sex-gangs-on-street-grooming?newsfeed=true)

The Guardian managed to be both dishonest in its refusal to address the fact that not only the Rochdale case,  but the large majority of this type of group abuse in Britain is conducted by Muslims, and  profoundly wrong when it claims “Practising Muslims certainly aren’t supposed to have sex with children.” Girls of the age used by the Rochdale groups and younger are taken as wives – not merely betrothed – in the Muslim world  and Mohammed himself  took wives of a very young age,  the latter being especially important because Mohammed is the model of the Muslim man.

The false equivalence ploy consists of comparing apples with oranges  and ignoring the widely differing numbers of whites – and Asians – especially in this context  Muslims Asians – in Britain.   Here is an example:

“Martin Narey, former chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, said there was “troubling evidence” that Asians were “overwhelmingly represented” in prosecutions for street grooming and trafficking of girls in towns such as Derby, Leeds, Blackpool, Blackburn, Oldham and Rochdale.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “That is not to condemn a whole community, most Asians would absolutely abhor what we have seen in the last few days in the Rochdale trial, and I don’t think this is about white girls.

“It’s sadly because vulnerable girls on the street at night are generally white rather than more strictly-parented Asian girls, but there is a real problem here.”

Mr Narey, who is [also]  a former head of the prison service, added however that sex offenders were “overwhelmingly white” and that there was evidence that those guilty of online grooming were “disproportionately white”. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9253978/Keith-Vaz-says-child-sex-ring-case-not-race-issue.html).

Narey  begins by comparing  the apples of  the girls repeatedly gang-raped  by the Rochdale group  with the oranges of  sex offenders in  general, an utterly meaningless comparison because sex offences  in Britain can be anything from someone downloading anything deemed to be sexual images of a 17 year old girl  to the rape and murder of a toddler. He goes on to state  ‘that there was evidence that those guilty of online grooming were “disproportionately white”’.    This is a claim made by quite a few  people commenting on the case in the media, for example, by Jane Martinson in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/may/09/rochdale-grooming-trial-race). She  cites her source as the  CPS’ Violence against Women and Girls 2010/11 report (http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/CPS_VAW_report_2011.pdf). What the report actually says is this:

“Ethnicity

In 2010-11, 75% of VAWG  [Violence against Women and Girls] crime defendants  were identified as belonging to the  White British category and 79% were categorised as White (as in the previous year). 6% of defendants were identified as Asian, and a further 6% were identified as Black, similar figures to the previous year . Over half of victim ethnicity was not recorded, so is not reported on within this report. “

As  the population of the UK is around 90% white,   the representation of whites is certainly disproportionate,  disproportionately small that is.   It is also interesting to note that the ethnicity of the victims was not routinely recorded and  consequently no figures  are given in the report  for this aspect of the crimes. Could it be that the percentage of white victims is disproportionately large because blacks and Asians  concentrate on white women and girls and statistics are not kept because of this?

Apart from the misrepresentation of the statistics,   there is the ignoring of  the degree of  the offence.  It is one thing to be sexually abused by a single person , quite another to be gang-raped regularly.   The Rochdale abusers were engaged in the most serious category of sex offences.  Try as I might, I cannot find a case of white men acting in a conspiracy to persistently abuse under-age girls in that fashion.  Nor, perhaps most tellingly, can I find any example of white men gang-raping non-white under-age girls or of individual white men abusing non-white under-age girls.   I can also vouch for the fact that, at least as it is reported in the mainstream media,  sexual abuse of non-whites by whites in Britain  is extremely rare.  For nearly two years I wrote a column entitled The joy of diversity for the  magazine  Right Now! now sadly defunct.  The column dealt with the ever growing ethnic minority criminal mayhem being wreaked on Britain.  To do this I kept a cuttings file  which included  all the serious sexual crimes committed by blacks and Asians.  I also kept a  cuttings file of all the similar  crimes committed by whites.  There was a steady stream of sexual offences by blacks (particularly) and Asians , many of them committed against whites. I  only  once came across a  case involving a white attacker  and a non-white victim.

In the days  following  the claims that there was no racial element to the crimes was increasingly challenged, although  what people thought constituted the racial element was almost invariably a cultural explanation rather than a true racial one.  Trevor Phillips, the black chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission,  eventually joined this new bandwagon  after remaining silent for a week:

“Anybody who says that the fact that most of the men are Asian and most of the children are white is not relevant – that’s just fatuous.

‘“These are closed communities essentially and I worry that in these communities there are people who knew what was going on and didn’t say anything, either because they’re frightened or because they’re so separated from the rest of the communities they think ‘Oh, that’s just how white people let their children carry on, we don’t need to do anything’.”

He said it was important also that the role played by the authorities in the area was properly investigated.

“If anybody in any of the agencies that are supposed to be caring for these children – schools, social services and so on – took the view that being aggressively interventionalist to save these children would lead to the demonisation of some group because of the ethnicity … then it is a national scandal and something that would need to be dealt with urgently,” he said. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9263050/Claiming-Rochdale-grooming-not-about-race-is-fatuous-Trevor-Phillips.html).

Phillips’ intervention is especially interesting because he has a habit of playing what might be described as the liberal’s controlling non-pc card when the absurdities of political correctness become dangerously glaring.  He never becomes honestly non-pc,  just non-pc enough to distract from whatever pc fantasy  is threatening to become a focus for serious dissent amongst native Britons.  Had Phillips been unambiguously honest in this case he would not have waffled on about “closed communities”  or  attributed their general silence on the subject to a contemptuous “Oh, that’s just how white people let their children carry on”.  Instead he would have asked why  the “communities” were closed or questioned exactly how those in these “communities” could have honestly  believed that the sexual exploitation of under-age girls, some as young as 13, was acceptable. He would have asked why all the girls were white rather than being drawn from vulnerable girls of all races.  If Phillips had been really daring he would have raised the  most difficult question of all, namely, in what sense are ethnic minority groups meaningfully  British if they see themselves as so culturally separate from the British mainstream that they will happily accept the abuse of young girls drawn from the native white population?

The crimes were objectively racist

The objective facts of the case say the  Rochdale  crimes were racially motivated.  It was white girls who were exclusively chosen.  If the choice  of  girls  had not  been  decided by race, ethnicity or religion, a mixture of races and ethnicities  amongst the victims would be expected.  The culprits could have chosen Asian girls, including Muslims from their own ethnic group .  If they  had decided they would not use Muslims – although making  that choice would have fallen within the definition of racism that is presently used – but everyone else was fair game,  they could have gone after non-Muslim  Asians from the Subcontinent  such as Sikhs and Hindus, Asians of far Eastern ancestry and  black  as well as white girls.

The claim commonly made by  Asians  that Muslim girls or Asian girls generally  are strictly controlled by their families  whereas white girls  are not and, consequently, white girls are targeted for abuse  simply because they are available and Asian girls are not on offer  will not stand up to scrutiny. Most, possibly all, of the white girls abused in the Rochdale case were in local authority care or from seriously troubled homes .  These were girls who had effectively been left without any adult  guidance or supervision. There are substantial numbers  of black and Asian  girls in the same position.  Moreover, because  ethnic minorities  in Britain are overwhelmingly  concentrated in the large urban areas  rather than distributed  throughout the country as is the case with whites,  the likelihood of vulnerable black or Asian girls being available in or close to the areas where Asian abusers live is high. This is the case with the Rochdale  abusers, Rochdale being part of Greater Manchester which has a large and variegated non-white population.

There is also the contemptuous  attitude Muslim men often have  towards white women to bring into the equation. Here is Allison Pearson again:

“I spoke to Mr Danczuk [the local MP]  yesterday, and he strenuously disputes claims that this is a one-off case, or even a recent phenomenon. The grooming of white girls by a small sub-section of the Pakistani community was being discussed in Blackburn council 15 years ago. Recently, the MP was outraged when male relatives of the accused in a similar child-sex case came to his constituency surgery to ask for support. “They spoke about white women in an exceptionally derogatory way. I nearly threw them out.”

Danczuk’s reported comments also demonstrate  the most shameful  aspect of this affair: the persistent refusal of the authorities – everyone from the local politicians and  the council care workers to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)  – to  honestly address the complaints of sexual abuse because of a fear of being thought racist and most probably a fear , at least at the political level,  of having such an incendiary topic – immigrants targeting white British girls  for forced sex – brought before a  public who are already deeply concerned with the effects of mass post-war immigration. Tellingly, the CPS prosecutor who  overturned the original CPS decision not to prosecute was a Muslim, Nazir Afzal, whose race and ethnicity protected him from charges of racism.

Complaints have been heard from non-Muslim Asians  whose origins lie in the Indian subcontinent – primarily Sikhs and Hindus –  that  the routine media description of the Rochdale gang as Asian  is misleading because it  tars all Asians with the same brush when it is only Muslims who  were involved and are  rumoured to be involved in other similar instances of abuse. They may have a point. Despite assiduous use of search engines I cannot find any instances of Sikh or Hindu gang grooming of  girls. Interestingly, in my searches  I  came across Hindu and Sikh complaints from 2011 that Sikh and Hindu girls are being targeted by Muslims:

“January 11, 2011

Poush Shukla Saptami, Kaliyug Varsha 5112

Amritsar (Punjab): A day after UKs’ former home secretary Jack Straw blamed some Pakistani Muslim men for targeting “vulnerable” White girls sexually, UK’s Hindu and Sikh organizations also publicly accused Muslim groups of the same offence.

Straw, in an interview to the BBC recently, had said, “…there is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men…who target vulnerable young white girls…they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care … who they think are easy meat.”

Feeling emboldened by Straw’s statement, UK’s Hindu and Sikh organizations have also come in open and accused some Pakistani men of specifically targeting Hindu and Sikh girls. “This has been a serious concern for the last decade,” said Hardeep Singh of Network of Sikh Organizations (NSO) while talking to TOI on Monday.

Sikhs and Hindus are annoyed that Straw had shown concern for White girls and not the Hindu and the Sikh teenage girls who have been coaxed by some Pakistani men for sex and religious conversion.

“Straw does other communities a disservice by suggesting that only white girls were targets of this predatory behaviour. We raised the issue of our girls with the previous government and the police on several occasions over the last decade. This phenomenon has been there because a minority of Islamic extremists view all ‘non believers’ as legitimate targets,” said director NSO Inderjit Singh.

Targeted sexual offences and forced conversions of Hindu and Sikh girls was not a new phenomenon in the UK, said Ashish Joshio from Media Monitoring group. 

“This has been going on for decades in the UK . Young Muslim men have been boasting about seducing the Kaffir (unbeliever) women. The Hindu and the Sikh communities must be commended for showing both restraint and maturity under such provocation,” he added.

Hardeep said that in 2007, The Hindu Forum of Britain claimed that hundreds of Hindu and Sikh girls had been first romantically coaxed and later intimidated and converted by Muslim men. (http://www.hindujagruti.org/news/11088.html).

This strikes me as  differing in type from the abuse of white girls described in the Rochdale trial, because the Sikh and Hindu girls seem to have been recruited for conversion  with sex used a  tool to achieve this rather than simply being used as  sexual vessels.  Nonetheless, if the report is true –I say if because of the considerable animosity between Muslims and Sikhs and Hindus and the general appetite amongst ethnic minorities for parading their victimhood means  it is best to be cautious about the veracity of the claims – the reported behaviour does display the same contemptuous mentality towards women shown in the abuse of  the white victims in the Rochdale case.

The attitude  of  one of the Rochdale defendants, a 59-year-old man who was not named for legal reasons during the court hearing (most probably because naming him would have identified a minor involved in the case)   gives  a flavour of the mentality which both drove them to commit the crimes and to excuse themselves:

“The man seen as the ringleader, a 59-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for a total of 19 years for conspiracy, two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, sexual assault and a count of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

The defendant was previously banned from court because of his threatening behaviour and for calling the judge a “racist bastard”.

Simon Nichol, defending, earlier said his client did not wish to attend the sentencing hearing and had ordered the barrister not to put any mitigation before the judge on his behalf.

“He has objected from the start for being tried by an all white jury and subsequent events have confirmed his fears,” Mr Nichol said.

“He does not take back any of the comments he has made to your honour, to the jury, or to anyone else in the court during the course of the trial.

“He believes his convictions have nothing to do with justice but result from the faith and the race of the defendants.

“He further believes that society failed the girls in this case before the girls even met them and now that failure is being blamed on a weak minority group.” (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/crime/arrogant-to-the-end-as-rochdale-child-sex-ring-leader-snubs-sentencing-of-racist-court-7727757.html).

So there you have it, in his mind it was not him but society which is  to blame – and by implication white society and nothing to do with his part of the UK population –  and the only reason he was being tried and convicted was racism on the part of ol’ whitey.

The nature of Islam

The predominance of sub continental Muslims in this type of crime raises a question, what is it that makes them and not non-Muslims  from the same region  commit this type of crime?   (It could be that this type of crime is committed by, for example,  Sikhs and Hindus, but there does not appear to be any evidence for it). If that is the true situation it could be that Islam itself encourages the mentality  displayed by the Rochdale offenders  to develop.

The Koran makes no bones about the subordinate position of women by

1.  Sanctioning polygamy – up to four wives  for any Muslim man, although  Mohammed was given a special dispensation to have an unlimited number  and had a reported nine wives plus slave-girls :

“Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom Allah has given you as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and the other women who gave themselves to you and whom you wished to take in marriage. This privilege is yours alone, being granted to no other believer. (Sura (chapter):  The Confederate Tribes).

2.  Explicitly saying women are subordinate to men:

“’Men  have authority over women because  Allah  has  made  the  one superior to the other,  and  because   they  spend  their wealth to  maintain  them. “(Sura   ‘Women’). 

3. Sanctioning the corporal punishment of wives by husbands:

“Good  women are obedient.  They guard their unseen  parts  because Allah guarded them.  As for those from whom  you fear disobedience,  admonish them and send them  to  beds  apart and beat them.”  (Sura   ‘Women’). 

4. Allotting a lesser portion of any inheritance to women than is allotted to their male relatives:

“A male shall inherit twice as much as a female…”  (Sura   ‘Women’). 

5. Enforcing  Islam onto non-Muslim women if they wish to marry a Muslim:

“’You shall not wed pagan women, unless they embrace    the faith. A believing slave-girl is better than an  idolatress…’ (Sura ‘The Cow’).

6.  The idea of slave-girls as sexual toys  given by Allah as rewards to the faithful as in the passage cited in 1 above:  “the slave girls whom Allah has given you as booty…”

The general attitude  towards women in the Koran is epitomised by the scorn poured on Arab  pagans who worshipped female deities  and Angels who were the daughters of Allah : “Would Allah choose daughters for himself and sons for you?”  (Sura Ornaments of Gold).

It might be objected that quotes are translations and the original meaning or nuances may be lost or distorted.  Well, the quotes are all taken from the Penguin English translation by N J Dawood, a native Arabic speaker.  In addition, while it is true that any translation presents difficulties,  it is a fact that most Muslims cannot read Arabic and consequently have to rely on translations or word of mouth from Imams  and are  consequently equally subject to translational deficiencies or debates as any non-Muslim reading a translation.  Indeed, many will take their knowledge of the Koran from translations such as that of Dawood.   I have also  looked at another couple of translations and they do not differ greatly on the most contentious passages and clearly  give sanction to behaviour to the idea that women are subordinate to men by Allah’s word and women may be used as men want within the limits decreed in the Koran.

It is easy to see how  any Muslim, even a white western convert, would have difficulty in subscribing to the idea of sexual equality if they were sincere in their faith.  There is not for the Muslim the luxury of re-interpreting the Koran  at will as modern Christians do with the Bible,  because it is the literal word of God  transmitted to Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel.  There are disputes within Islam about how the Koran and supporting texts such as the Hadith should  be interpreted,  but this is generally interpretation  of what  a particular passage or practice means in literal terms  – a good example would be the punishment for adultery which is given at different points  in the Koran  as stoning to death and flogging: the interpreter of the Koran has to decide which is the correct punishment not whether there should be a physical or indeed any punishment for adultery.  Consequently, unlike  mainstream Christianity in Britain, there can be no convenient shrugging off of passages in the Koran  incompatible with modern Western society because they are deemed to be either  unimportant expressions of the social state of former times rather than the core beliefs of the religion  or, more fancifully,  by claiming that they  were not meant as  literal instructions to the faithful.  It is also a  fact that the Koran gives much less scope for plausible “fudging”  of  inconvenient passages (for liberals)  than the Bible,   because it is  both much shorter with fewer contradictions and is, for  Muslims, a  transmission from God  through a single man rather than being a collection of writings -drawn  from many sources, times , places  and people  – working out a religious destiny, as is the case with the Bible.

Any Muslim man would be faced with a dilemma if he wished to adhere strictly to the Koran whilst living in a Western society  because the Koran instructs him to behave in ways which run strictly counter to the values of Western society, including the position of  women.  It is true that  there is  Islamic tradition which require Muslims in countries which are not Islamic to abide by the laws of the society in which  they live, but there is no central Islamic authority which gives such traditions the force of universal  application such as exists with the Catholic church.  Alternative interpretations are handed down by different Islamic authorities.  A Muslim could quite  reasonably  choose an interpretation which suited strict Islamic observance in a non-Islamic country , arguing that it was what the Koran  required and to do any other would be the act of a poorly observant  Muslim.

That would the case of a sincere devout Muslim. But the fact that the Koran gives specific authority to behave in ways, including the  physical chastisement of women ,  which are incompatible with a secular society  such as modern Britain  means it  also gives a green light to less honest  or sincere Muslim men to do what they will with women  simply because it suits their purposes and carnal desires.

It might be objected that men who are not Muslims in many societies have similar ideas on the condition of women.   Most dramatically, the existence of “honour killings”  of women who do not conform to  patriarchal customs  is widespread amongst Sikhs and Hindus and the casual treatment of women by black men is legendary.  But what these non-Muslim men do not have is a religious sanction for such behaviour.  There is a good deal of difference between custom, powerful as that can be, and explicit permission from God, which is the most potent of emotional intoxicants and sanctions.   There is also a qualitative difference between “honour killings” where a female member of the family  goes against  the cultural norms of the ethnic group by , for example,  forming a relationship with someone who is not a member of the group or refusing to accept an arranged marriage,  and taking young girls who are outside the group for sexual abuse.  In the case of the “honour killing”, the act is directed against someone within the group and is intended to preserve the cultural norms of the group. The taking of girls from outside the group is simply the satisfying of sexual desire.

The  age of the girls abused may also have something to do with Islam.  As mentioned previously, girls of the age of those abused by the Rochdale defendants are frequently married in the Muslim world.  In addition, the Koran’s sanctioning of slavegirls  as sexual toys  given by Allah “as booty” to deserving Muslim men may also come into play. It would not be that massive an emotional  stretch for a Muslim man to see white girls as a modern version of slavegirl booty.

There is something else in Islam which may have contributed to the crimes.  The Koran is extremely aggressive towards non-Muslims and makes no bones about the fact that Muslims are the chosen people of Allah. Here are a few example quotes:

‘As  for the unbelievers,  the fire of Hell  awaits  them.  Death shall not deliver them,  nor shall its               torment be ever lightened for them.  Thus shall the  thankless  be  rewarded.’  (Sura ‘The  Creator’).

‘Prophet,  make  war  on the  unbelievers  and  the  hypocrites and deal vigorously with them.  Hell  is their home.  (Sura ‘Repentance’).

‘When the sacred months are over slay the idolators  wherever you find them. Arrest them,  besiege them, and  lie in ambush  everywhere for them.’  (Sura ‘’Repentance’).

 ‘Because of their iniquity, we forbade the Jews the  good  things  which  were  formerly  allowed  them;  because  time after time they debarred others  from  the  path of Allah;  because they practice usury  –  although they were forbidden it – and cheat  others  of their possessions.’ (Sura ‘Women’).

The final quote is especially telling because the Jews are one of the peoples of the book who are supposedly given special protection under Islam.

As with the subordination of women, the fact that the Koran – which is the literal word of God for Muslims –  explicitly and repeatedly  states that Islam  and its adherents are above the rest of humanity will feed the idea that Muslims in non-Islamic countries should both remain separate from the majority population and have the right to use members of the population who are not Muslim in a manner which they would not countenance for their fellow Muslims.

How ideologies fail   

The reason why this type of racist abuse  has been allowed to grow is the ever more paralysing effect   political correctness  and its component  multiculturalism has on British society.  Whites, especially white Britons,  have become at best deeply afraid and paranoid about doing something which could get them held up as a racist and at worst have succumbed to the incessant politically correct propaganda so that they believe ethnic minorities are in some curious way granted dispensation from the dictates of both traditional Western morality  and, ironically,   the supposedly essential  maxims of political correctness.  The most grotesque example of the mentality I can think of is the case of a young white girl Rhea Page who was attacked by four Somali  girls whilst walking with her boyfriend. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2070562/Muslim-girl-gang-kicked-Rhea-Page-head-yelling-kill-white-slag-FREED.html#ixzz1flw8TY6p).   The attack was vicious and sustained – it can be viewed at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgIN4kBsNRg –  and the Somalis were  screaming “white bitch” and “white slag yet the judge ruled there was no racist motive and  also refused to jail the Somalis on the grounds that they had taken alcohol which was not part of their culture.

What will happen now? There will be  further action by the police and the CPS on the type of offences exposed in Rochdale – further arrests have already been made (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9261748/Arrests-made-in-second-Rochdale-sex-grooming-scandal.html), but  the question is not whether one or two more trials will be held as tokens  but whether the grip of political correctness  can be loosened.  It is just possible that this is happening already without any conscious decision being made to do so by those with power.

Secular ideologies never  stand the  test  of time if they become the elite ideology.  Marxism is the classic example,  both because of the scope of its ostensible implementation and the length of time it existed, or  arguably still exists in the case of China and North Korea. Such ideologies  fail because they never accord with reality. They may have some truths but  all seriously clash with what is.  This means that those dependent on the ideology have to revise either the reality to accord better with reality or tell lies to cover the gap between the ideology and reality.

Ideologies are also revised to fit the ambitions of individuals and the circumstances of particular societies.  These often further remove the ideology from reality. The first great Marxist revision was the denial by Lenin  that  the proletarian revolution could only take place when a large  degree of industrialisation had created an industrial proletariat. The second great revision was Stalin’s acceptance that “socialism in one country”  had to replace the  internationalist  credo of Marx  for at least a period of time.   To those breaches in Marx’s  system was added the ever growing corruption of the Soviet elite and the demoralisation of the people.  The upshot was that Soviet propaganda became ever more absurd as the reality of Soviet life jarred ever more with fictitious official reports of soaring harvests and industrial production.  This growing discord between what Soviet citizens experienced and what they were told was happening was an important  agent  in the fall of the Soviet Union.

Political correctness is divorced from reality more emphatically than any other dominant secular ideology of the past century.   Marxism, even in its revised Leninist and Stalinist  forms,  at least appealed to a widespread  human desire for equality of material condition and social status, or at least a desire for no great inequality.   Even  at its most pure political correctness asks human beings to deny vitally  important natural human behaviours  by pretending that no distinction can be meaningfully or morally be  made between races, ethnicities, cultures,  religions, sexes or sexual  behaviours.  It seeks to treat all members of homo sapiens as interchangeable, sees  the continuing idea of nations as pernicious and insists that no element of the universal and natural human trait of tribalism be countenanced.

The pure version of political correctness would be very damaging and seriously divorced  from reality. But the version of political correctness that actually exists is not pure and is a political recipe for widespread political unrest. It applies double standards when dealing with different racial and ethnic groups and has been reduced to no more than a means of privileging some groups over others. As those who are privileged are invariably the minorities and those disadvantaged  invariably the majority native populations,  the lies needed to produce  an official narrative in  accord with political correctness become ever more implausible  – the Rhea Page case and the attitude towards the Rochdale  defendants  are stark  examples – and the anger within the majority native populations grows.  There is a growing possibility that at least the multicultural part of political correctness may come tumbling down under the weight of its own fantastic absurdity.

Politically incorrect film reviews – Coriolanus

Main Cast

Ralph Fiennes as Coriolanus

Gerard Butler as Tullus Aufidius

Vanessa Redgrave as Volumnia

Brian Cox as Menenius

Jessica Chastain as Virgilia

John Kani as General Cominius

James Nesbitt as Sicinius

Paul Jesson as Brutus

Jon Snow as TV Anchorman

Coriolanus  competes  with Roman Chainsaw Massacre aka Titus Andronicus  as the least accessible Shakespeare play  today.   Its estrangement from the   modern Western audience  lies in its treatment  of subjects –  patriotism, treason, the warrior spirit  and revenge – which that peculiar creature the latterday  liberal has been remarkably  successful in suppressing from public view, although not from the privacy of the individual mind.   It is this expression of these unfashionable sentiments and emotions which make it so valuable a play for our times because they are fundamental to the way in which human societies organise themselves.  That is why it should be seen, even though it is not  one of Shakespeare’s great plays.

The play is set in the period following the fall of the Tarquins as kings of Rome, an event traditionally dated to 508 BC,  when the Republic is being established.  Rome is at war with the Volsci.  The Roman general Caius Martius is victorious over the Volscian city of Corioli and is granted the additional name of Coriolanus in recognition of the feat and seeks to become a consul, the most powerful and prestigious magistrate in the Roman Republic.  He is thwarted in this by an aristocratic pride which knows no restraint and drives  him into exile after  he refuses to sweet-talk the plebians.

In exile Coriolanus joins with  Volsci and leads an attack on Rome  to revenge himself. But before he attacks he is persuaded by his mother Volumina to spare Rome the sack and instead concludes a treaty between Rome and the Volsci.   By this time Aufidius has become jealous of  his one-time enemy’s charisma and power over the Volsian troops and has him murdered.

The character of Coriolanus is a common enough one, the great general who turns his hand to politics and finds it a very different business.  Wellington is a good example .On becoming prime minister he could not understand why his fellow cabinet members would not simply receive his orders and execute them, but instead argued and engaged in the dark political arts to subvert those policies they disliked.

Wellington is also an exemplar of the post-French Revolution  aristocratic reactionary, having an absolute belief in the right and need of his class to rule and the dire consequences of allowing  not only the masses but also the rising middle classes to  have any hand in government.  (Looking  mournfully at the first Parliament elected after the Great Reform Act  which placed a sprinkling of men of the middling sort  in House of Commons  he dolefully remarked  that he had “never seen so many bad hats in his life”. )

The patrician contempt for the masses  may seem to be merely self-serving, a justification for maintaining the status quo which privileges the patrician class.  There is an element of that,  but it is not simply self-serving  propaganda.  Elites commonly  have  a genuine fear of the masses and in societies without any history of representative government based on a broad franchise  those fears would seem reasonable.  Nor, in undemocratic but settled  societies ,  is the idea of noblesse oblige altogether a sham, for those  born into families which have long had social power in a particular area will often have a relationship with  the population about them  which is based on the duty of privilege as well as its power.

Coriolanus, like Wellington, has a  patrician cast of mind, but unlike Wellington  who had the manners of a gentleman and a strong sense of noblesse oblige,    Coriolanus has only his  insane pride which leads him to baulk at offering  the plebs even civil  words let alone flattering ones and is contemptuous of pleas to  remind them of his service to Rome on the battlefield by showing them his many  scars.

Wellington saw war as a bloody business to be avoided where possible,  although never shirked when necessary;  Coriolanus is in love with it “ Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as day does night; it’s spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy: mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more bastard children than war’s a destroyer of men. “ (4.5.238)

The idea that war is a desirable occupation in itself  is a strange one to those brought up in modern Western  societies which ostensibly promote peace at all cost and shudder at the very thought of war, unless of course it is war which suits their liberal internationalist purposes.   But the idea would have seemed perfectly natural, indeed praiseworthy, in most times and places throughout history, for  the warrior has commonly had an integral role in society.

The basic organising  template of homo sapiens has almost certainly not changed from the time when he wandered  in small bands. The anthropology of extant hunter-gathers  today  tells the same  story: men are  valued for  their courage and ability to hunt and fight;  the women do the gathering and child rearing.  It is not an unreasonable assumption to think that this is the way humans have behaved  throughout their history.

To the evidence of present day anthropology  can be added the fact that  such a division of labour between males and females makes perfect sense in tribal societies ,  both in terms of the obvious efficiency  of allotting different roles to men and women  where the women have the task of carrying and then weaning children and in the difference in size,  power and body shape of men and women. There is the further evidence of overt male dominance in societies generally throughout history and in most places today.   It is also worth noting that primates (and mammals generally) normally have  males which are larger and more powerful than the females and it would be very odd if homo sapiens did not display the same sexual dimorphism because we are descended from beings which had this quality.

War not peace has been the normal state for human beings throughout history.  There is a very good reason for that.  Because homo sapiens is a social animal we have to set limits to the group for  without such limits a hierarchy cannot evolve as there is no beginning and end to tie the hierarchy to.   Without a hierarchy no social animal can exist because there would be no means of the animal establishing the sorts of behaviours which make  social animals work,  most notably submission not through violence but by an acceptance of a place in the pecking order.  However, such submission has to be earned through violence for the hierarchy is established through physical dominance.

Homo sapiens being  self-conscious beings with  high intelligence and  possessed of language can, even at the level of hunter gatherers or more settled tribal peoples ,do better than simply establish a hierarchy through violence or even physical size.  Nonetheless, violence plays a part with high rates of mortality from fighting within tribes being widely reported in studies of tribal peoples. Not only that but conflict between tribes  is commonplace. This is unsurprising because each group which sees itself as a separate unit is doing what any other organism does which is fight  for resources,  whether that be territory, women or  food.  Fighting between tribes will reinforce the high status of the warrior within the band or tribe.

When societies get larger and more sophisticated they  find different ways of developing  and maintaining hierarchies such as inherited land and status, but violence  still plays a part as the countless  violent struggles for political power throughout history show.  In addition, the larger the  size of  a society  the greater the potential  threat it poses to its neighbours . That alone will make war likely. But the more sophisticated a society is the greater its ability to intellectualise threats from those outside the tribe, clan or nation and to create reasons which justify war and exalt the position of the warrior.  This also makes war more likely because it not only plays on fears but creates a social structure, as happened for example  in mediaeval Europe, whereby the  primary  purpose of the warrior class (in Europe’s case the knights) was to  wage war.

Even where there is no explicit warrior class in the sense of the knightly class, the martial values still endure.  As  Europe gradually moved into what we call modernity,  armed conflict between  societies  did not diminish. Bravery in arms was still much admired. Moreover, masculinity generally was  admired.  When the First World War broke out Britons were at first very gung-ho about joining the fight and as the reality of modern war became apparent and enthusiasm for enlisting waned,  British men who did not volunteer were called cowards, not least by women.   The idea that it was natural for men to fight in defence of the tribe was still strong.

If this is, broadly speaking,  a true description of human society throughout time it is scarcely surprising that something of the warrior spirit remains even in those societies which are supposedly most removed from the primitive. Natural selection has worked to produce fighters and hunters, selected  males to protect their women and children,  to defend their territory and preserve their tribe.   To be a man is to feel  that it is natural to want to protect with force that which he cares about and to know that is what women and his fellow men expect him to feel. Dr Johnson’s remark “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea” has a great deal of sense in it.

Even in today’s  western world where the idea of violence is officially treated as a primitive aberration,  few men find it  comfortable to be thought a  physical coward, even though physical bravery is often far easier  to summon than moral courage. Nor is there a disgust at the idea of violence as such,  especially amongst men.  A  large part of the staple fare of the mass media has always been  violence, whether of war or gangsters in fiction or ever increasing reporting of  real violence.  Sports, especially contact sports, also cater to the interest, they being surrogates for war.  (If anyone doubts the potency of sports to substitute, on the emotional level, for war they should go to an evening’s  professional boxing and observe the behaviour of the crowd, both male and female. The atmosphere is  raw, with the men on the verge of violence themselves and the women palpably sexually excited.

Even in a country such as Britain which is tightly constrained by political correctness  physical courage is still applauded, not only by the public at large, but by the liberal elite when it suits them.  The likes of Cameron and Blair have been  ready enough to fight wars  to further their political objectives; more than happy to use the police to silence dissent and every willing to employ personal bodyguards. In their heart of hearts they have no doubt about the value of men with a talent for violence.

As for the population at large, they still genuinely celebrate personal bravery because as  Johnson saw  “the profession of soldiers and sailors has the dignity of danger. Mankind reverence those who have got over fear, which is so general a weakness.”

Treason is an concept which liberals  have largely extinguished as a conscious  idea in Britain.  But it still lurks in natural emotional baggage of  the overwhelming majority of people, perhaps even everyone. No one is really comfortable, no, not even liberals, when they see, for example,  Britain unable to defend her own trade and industry or control her borders because of  sovereignty given away.  White, mainly middleclass flight, from areas of high immigration tells its own story of the true feelings of white liberals.  The idea of treason is simply the intellectualisation of natural human instincts.

When it comes to treason, the position of Coriolanus is unusual. He has been exiled from Rome despite his great service  to her as a soldier.  It could be argued that he is not committing treason at all because his countrymen have cast him out. And yet and yet… patriotism is not a simply matter of individual rights and wrongs, something which is taken up or put down by on rational or petty grounds. It is visceral. For all his harshness and desire for personal retribution, his egotism and individualism,   Coriolanus is swayed to spare Rome the worst.

That leaves us with revenge. The idea of revenge  is portrayed as a primitive emotion by latterday liberals, yet what is recourse to the criminal law but revenge? If a person did not wish to revenge themselves why report a crime? In the vast majority of cases a criminal conviction will bring the victim no material compensation from  the criminal. All it will result in is the punishment of the criminal. We may try to justify our reporting of crime by the such ploys as saying “We did it to protect others”, but that does not really work because most people who are convicted of a crime either do not go to prison or  receive only a short sentence. Moreover, a criminal conviction may well make the criminal more likely to offend because a criminal record shuts of job opportunities and if he or she goes to prison they may become more enmeshed in the criminal fraternity.  The reality is we want revenge. The purpose of a justice system is to substitute law for personal revenge.

What of the film? There are problem with it . The main  plus point is that  the major characters are well cast. Fiennes is exactly right in the role of Coriolanus, his sharp features accented by a closely shaven head  being as flint-like as his  character’s disdain; Brian Cox brings his natural authority to the placatory and honest patrician Menenius and Vanessa Redgrave as Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia shows remarkable moral and physical energy for a woman well into her seventies.  Of the rest Gerrard Butler as the Volscian leader  Tullus Aufidius  projects the necessary  toughness and  the Tribunes, James Nesbitt as Sicinius and Paul Jesson as Brutus,  both display the moral shabbiness of the populist politician – Jesson in particular is satisfyingly slimey.

There is also the compensation of  the language. Even in his lesser  plays  Shakespeare manages to produce a stream of  wonderful encapsulations : “Many-headed multitude”, “Nature teaches beasts to know their friends”;  “These eyes are not the same I wore in Rome”.

But there are significant problems with the film. The director has decided (sigh) to set the action in the Balkans during the 1990s and panders further to the cult of “relevance” by using a well known British TV face, the newsreader Jon Snow, to pass comments and conduct interviews. Would that a modern director  would do something really radical and produce Shakespeare in settings appropriate to  each play.

The film also suffers from what might be called “Troy discordance”, after Brad Pitt’s heroic refusal in the role of Achilles in the 2004 film Troy   to abandon his American accent while the rest of the cast, whether English or otherwise, spoke  with various English accents. There is the same problem here. Most of the major parts are taken by actors speaking forms of received pronunciation  but  the others and all the minor characters offer a mishmash of  Scottish, Northern Irish, American and  Mittel European voices.  I have nothing against any of these accents as such, but it is their mixture which creates a disobliging cacophony.  Give me an all-American, all Slav  or all Scottish cast in the film and I would have no problem. It would  also have been reasonable to had one side in the conflict speaking in one accent and the other side speaking in another.

This discordance is added to by the inability of the minor actors generally  and Jessica Chastain , especially, to master the syntactical complexities of  Shakespeare’s words.

There was one utterly gratuitous piece of political correctness, the casting of the black actor John Kani as General Cominius, a man who seems to believe that speaking in a monotone heavy timbre rumbling equates to fine Shakespearean diction.

But the pluses outweigh the minuses and  the importance  and relevance of the play to our own time make it worth  viewing,  not least because the vast majority of people will not have an opportunity to see a good stage version.

Can a Libertarian also be a Conservative?

Robert Henderson

If there was ever an essay title  which begged questions it is this one. What is a libertarian and what  a conservative? What is liberty? What is  Left, what is Right?  The problems of definition run so deep that they efficiently sabotage the question “Can a Libertarian also be a Conservative?”

Take libertarianism. The range of views which huddle under the libertarian banner range from the absolutists who want no government  at all  with everything decided by  voluntary agreement, to those who accept varying degrees of state intervention from a minimal state comprised of justice, police, defence and the tax raising powers needed to fund such a  state, to those like Hayek who accept that the state should provide a bare level of subsistence for those unable to work.

But the confusion does not stop there. Question any libertarian closely and  you will invariably find that they are inconsistent in their beliefs. For example, a libertarian will often claim to be  absolutely opposed to censorship  in the abstract but then start making exceptions for the difficult cases such as child pornography or racism.

Or take the central tenet of libertarian thought , the primacy of property, a concept which  for libertarians stretches beyond the common use meaning of the word to such things as the property a man has in his labour or his right to have a say in any government which taxes him. At the level of common usage – goods and services which a man owns – property  is underpinned for the libertarian  by a commitment to laissez faire economics , both within the domestic market and for international trade. Yet many, probably most,  libertarians  accept without question such gross interferences with a free market as anti-monopoly laws, limited liability and copyright.

Nonetheless there is a general thrust to libertarian thought; that   individuals should live lives largely untrammelled by government  and  society should be primarily arranged on the basis of agreement between  individuals. Institutions, culture  and  history are not a necessary part of a libertarian’s  life although they may contingently form part of it.

With conservatism the immediate problem of definition is the pedantic fact that a  a conservative is one who wishes to maintain the status quo. If a libertarian lived in a society which was already thoroughly libertarian, they would presumably wish to maintain the status quo and hence be  a conservative in that context.

But of course conservative has a particular political connotation and that is infinitely  more problematical. We have a party called Conservative in Britain but it is not  a party which would have been recognised as conservative two centuries ago. Semantic drift over the past two centuries

while libertarianism and the natural tendency of human beings to find ideologies imperfect  and to consequently wish to amend them.  However, although no objective certainty is possible, an examination of  the terms will reveal what they share and if there is any absolute bar to their mixing.

The Duke of  Wellington epitomises the mentality of the Ancien Regime.  He objected to the practice of   private soldiers cheering their officers because it came close to the expression of  an opinion. He believed that his private soldiers were the scum of the earth but admired them. He was resolutely opposed to any extension of the franchise – he described the first post-Great Reform Act House of Commons as containing “more bad hats than he had ever seen”.

In 1809 when the party we today call conservative or Tory  was known only as Tory, a thorough going conservative (if the term had existed as a political denomination)  would have been someone who supported the landed interest against the Whig commercial interest,  was for the Old Colonial System and against the idea of free trade, both in the domestic market and with the rest of the world,  looked with a jaundiced eye at  British foreign adventures  and  thought the British Constitution  a model of perfection,  which perfection nullified the need for any  reform of rotten boroughs or expansion of the franchise.

But if that was the feeling of the natural Tory in 1809 there were ideological rats gnawing away at the innards of the of the Party.  Pitt the Younger had been in sympathy with the idea of free trade but his plans were thwarted by the French Revolution.

Once lodged within some supposedly Tory hearts the idea lay there like  a dormant disease for the better part of 40 years, every now and then flaring up but never seriously challenging the existing Tory order.  Then came the Great Reform Act of 1832 and  a newly bourgeois House of Commons changed the balance of political power. With that came the opportunity of laissez faire.   Surprisingly the man who gave it practical effect was a supposedly Tory Prime Minister  Sir Robert Peel . He for the second time in his career  (1) broke a solemn promise to his party and began a series of reforms – of which the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 is the most famous – which gradually  emasculated the Old Colonial System until it was finally died at the  beginning of the 1860s.

The effect of Peel’s embracing  of laissez faire policies was to cause a split in the Tory Party which kept them out of power for more than twenty years.  During that time the Whigs, who were in the process of evolving into the Liberals,  avidly embraced the policies of  laissez faire and free trade. (2). Just as Old Labour transmogrified into NuLabour and the Conservatives into NuTory  during long spells in the political wilderness  through a desperation for office so did the Tories in the mid-nineteenth century.  The  party split after 1846  but  the party which was left and which developed over the next 25 years saw  laissez faire  firmly ensconced within it without becoming utterly dominant. It was a party divided between  Tories and Conservatives.

Because it has been melded by practical politics and the Conservatism traditionally sees institutions, culture  and  history  as vitally important because they are the priceless artefacts of the organic development of society, the repositories of the collective wisdom of  the evolution of society.

At the same time the party which was now called Liberal was split between  Whigs and the new liberals

But just as libertarianism and conservatism has mutated over time and are both broad ideological churches today , so have other political ideologies. Socialism can run from meaning any state intervention beyond the minimal state –  socialist and  commie are  common epithets directed at Obama in his attempt to provide universal healthcare in the USA – to Marxist-Leninism.

There is a profound practical difference  between the two ideologies. Conservatism has been put to the test of being encased within serious political parties which have formed governments while the libertarian cause has  been more of an aspiration than an organised  political movement. Indeed, there is an inherent difficulty in the idea of  libertarianism being enshrined within a party because. a party implies not only a set menu of policies but the need for enforced discipline on party members. Even more problematic is the idea of a libertarian government because that would mean libertarians forcing their will on those who were not libertarian, a direct contradiction of the idea of voluntary association which lies at the heart of libertarianism.

The worm at the heart of the concept of  liberty is the division between negative and positive freedom. Libertarians eagerly embrace negative freedom but thrust positive freedom firmly away, because negative freedom is simply the freedom to do whatever is not forbidden, while positive freedom requires the intervention of state authority to impose  measures such as a re-distribution of wealth or the  favouring of the poor when it comes to the provision of state-funded education. Indeed, many libertarians would deny that positive freedom is a  semantic fraud akin to “positive discrimination” .

The  consequence of  libertarians denying the need

Negative and positive freedom are not of course concepts which are peculiar to libertarians. Conservatives, even of the “old order” were great supporters of negative freedom. The last thing they wanted was an intrusive state for it interfered with their  social and political power. Nor did the entrepreneurs of the Industrial Revolution, who were all for the state allowing them to run their mines and factories as they  chose without such encumbrances as the Factory Acts.

The roots of libertarianism lie in the natural bias of  human beings to follow their own will.  But because Man is the social animal par excellence that will has to be filtered through the will of others. This necessitates, for any viable society, a degree of general concord. That is turn raises problems of  how such concord is reached. In simple tribal societies agreement is reached partly by  accumulated custom, partly by the natural formation of hierarchies and partly by general discussion and agreement.  These three things apply  to more sophisticated and larger societies but other forces come into play in such societies: the need for delegated authority and representation and the magnification of  the power of individuals through their control of ever greater resources  whether privately held or state acquired. This invariably restricts the freedom of the individual. It is consequently pointless for the libertarian to produce a blueprint for a libertarian society which is intended to fit any society regardless of its size and sophistication.

In principle, the libertarian ideal of a society based on individual agreement can be most closely approached at the level of the small tribal society, because it is only at that level that it is practical to have a society which can be run entirely on the basis of personal contact.  The fact that tribal societies are in practice far from the libertarian ideal is another matter, although  in some at least the reality is  probably closer to the libertarian ideal of individual determination and agreement than is any more sophisticated society because  circumstances force all the members to interact with one another.  What matters  is the  practicality of libertarianism within the society.

Once the

There is of course a great deal of difference between  theoretical political  positions and their practical realisation. A naturally authoritarian government  with very limited resources  may impinge far less on  the lives of those it governs than a government which has avowed libertarian intentions but a  much larger treasury, An Englishman living in the first half of the nineteenth century would have had his life little brushed against by the state provided he did not fall into criminal ways or need great enough to drive him to the Poorhouse. What could have impinged upon his freedom were poverty, lack of education,   the still surviving social dominance of landowners, the virtually unrestrained power of employers, especially in industry, and the general restrictions of  the class structure.

There is a lesson for libertarians there. Freedom is not simply  the absence of state control. It is also freedom from  the  tyranny of  those who are  powerful without the support of the state,   whether that be as a group or an individual,  That raises the problem of how libertarians are to create a society which minimises  both state intervention and non-state social control.  Clearly both cannot be realised so that there has to be a trade off between the two. If this is not done, all  the realisation of libertarian non-statist aspirations will achieve is the rapid creation of a plutocracy, a form of society which is antithetical to libertarian ends because it would reinforce and  enlarge the natural tendency within societies to

The honest answer to the question posed by the competition’s essay title is simple:  it cannot be meaningfully answered because there is no such thing as a perfect adherent to libertarian or conservative ideology  or an objectively certain  definition of Libertarian or Conservative. The same applies to any  other political ideology.  That being so it makes no sense to argue whether a libertarian can also be a Conservative even if a conservative is defined as  it has been  defined politically for the past few centuries.

What can be said is that most people who sail under the Conservative flag today  share much with libertarians, at least in their theoretical policy positions. They favour  a minimum of state interference in most aspects of  national life, the main areas of policy where this does not apply being policing and penal policy. Such people  are supporters of laissez faire economics,  although they often oppose completely free movement of labour.  They are for low tax.  They  support the idea of the family, something which a libertarian should support because the family is a bulwark against the state. They favour strong defence, something acceptable at least to libertarians who are not absolutists.  They support private healthcare and  private schools and ideally would wish universities to be independent of government.

A  card-carrying Libertarian could not be a card carrying political Conservative in any of the words’ historical or present senses. What he can be today is someone who embraces those aspects of  modern political conservatism  which accord with or at the least come nearest to meeting libertarian desires.  In theory at least, there are plenty of those.

But there is more hope for most libertarians than merely making do with aspects of conservatism,  for as pointed out above  few who call themselves libertarians are thorough going believers. They, like every other person, can  choose political ideas which are deemed to be politically incompatible  according to a particular creed or the  traditional  Left-Right political classifications.

Political ideas at bottom are simply conveniences  which human beings accept or reject insofar as they find them useful and congenial. Logical necessity extrapolated from an ideology counts for nothing.  For example, the more extreme believers in laissez faire economics build a theoretical construct which insists that free trade must logically include free movement of labour. The logical necessity exists only within their man made and self-conscious ideology, and is irrelevant  to real life  because it is self-evidently possible to operate a political policy of free trade in goods and services while preventing mass immigration.

There is no shame in  ideological eclecticism, merely an acknowledgment of  the impracticality or impracticality of political ideas and a recognition that  all ideologies are inadequate descriptions of reality and contain contradictions.  Political ends should be aspirations  towards the ideal.

For only liberty, only a free market, can organize and maintain an industrial system, and the more that population expands and explodes, the more necessary is the unfettered working of such an industrial economy. Laissez-faire and the free market become more and more evidently necessary as an industrial system develops; radical deviations cause breakdowns and economic crises. This crisis of statism becomes particularly dramatic and acute in a fully socialist society; and hence the inevitable breakdown of statism has first become strikingly apparent in the countries of the socialist (i.e., Communist) camp. For socialism confronts its inner contradiction most starkly. Desperately, it tries to fulfill its proclaimed goals of industrial growth, higher standards of living for the masses, and eventual withering away of the State, and is increasingly unable to do so with its collectivist means. Hence the inevitable breakdown of socialism.   Murray N. Rothbard

Cicero quotes Cato as saying that the Roman constitution was superior to that of other states because it “was based upon the genius, not of one man, but of many: it was founded, not in one generation, but in a long period of several centuries and many ages of men. For, said he, there never has lived a man possessed of so great a genius that nothing could escape him, nor could the combined powers of all men living at one time possibly make all the necessary provisions for the future without the aid of actual experience

and the test of time.” Chapter Four, Freedom, Reason, and Tradition; The

Constitution of Liberty ISBN 0-226-32084-7, University of Chicago Press | 1960 | Friedrich A. Hayek

There are many things specifically in laws and governments,” wrote Chief Justice Hale in the seventeenth century in a critique of Hobbes, “that mediately, remotely and consequentially are reasonable to be approved, though the reason of the party does not presently or immediately and distinctly see its reasonableness…Long experience makes more discoveries touching conveniences or inconveniences of laws than is possible for the wisest council of men at first to foresee. And that those amendments and supplements that through the various experiences of wise and knowing men have been applied to any law must needs be better suited to the convenience of laws, than the best invention of the most pregnant wits not aided by such a series and tract of experience…This add to the  difficulty of the present fathoming of the reason of laws, which, though it commonly be called the mistress of fools, yet certainly it is the wisest expedient among mankind, and discovers those defects and supplies which no wit of man could either at once foresee or aptly remedy…It is not necessary that the reasons of the institution should be evident unto us. It is sufficient that they are instituted laws that give a certainty to us, and it is reasonable to observe them though the particular reason of the institution appear not.”

Barry George and the celebrity effect

Note: When Barry George was convicted  of the murder of the  television presenter Jill Dando in 2001 I  wrote  the  pamphlet   entitled Barry George and the celebrity effect  for the Libertarian Alliance.  In it I argued  that the evidence  was very weak and entirely circumstantial and the conviction palpably wrong, a judgement borne out when the conviction was overturned on appeal in 2008.   The Dando murder prosecution case, like that in the Dobson/Norris trial,  rested on dubious  forensic evidence and there was a great deal of character assassination of George as there was with Dobson and Norris.   Both the George and Dobson/Norris trial verdicts seem to be the outcome of not an honest evaluation of the evidence but a reaction to the public emotion surrounding  the cases. Robert Henderson

Barry George and the celebrity effect

Robert Henderson

On 2 July 2001 Barry George, 41, was convicted at the Old Bailey of the murder of the broadcaster Jill Dando, best known as the presenter of the BBC programme  crimewatch. Few, if any recent convictions, have been greeted with such disquiet by the media. Leader comment (3 July) from the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph give the gist of press feeling:

“Despite his loathsome character and criminal record, the evidence against George was hardly compelling” (Daily Mail).

“…there can be few convictions that need the imprimatur of the higher courts [ie the agreement of the Court of Appeal that the conviction is sound] more than this.” (Daily Telegraph).

The comment is all the more noteworthy for coming from the two British national newspapers most unfriendly to the criminal and most supportive of the courts and the police.

From the moment that prosecuting counsel Orlando Pownall said in his opening speech that the Crown’s case against Barry George was in effect (because the forensic  evidence was utterly inconclusive) entirely dependent on circumstantial evidence, the alarm bells started ringing.

They rang even louder when Pownall said that the evidence was “compelling”, for a strong case needs no such gratuitous promotion but speaks for itself. As the prosecution unfolded it became all too clear that even by the standards of lawyerly hyperbole, “compelling” was going it a bit.

The prosecution were unable to show that (1) George had a motive, (2) that he was particularly interested in, let alone fixated with, Dando, (3) that he was in the immediate area of Dando’s house at the time of the killing and (4) that he had access to a gun since 1982. They produced no direct witnesses of the killing, no weapon and no unambiguous forensic evidence. Moreover, they failed to do all this despite devoting immense amounts of money and manpower to the investigation – 40-50 detectives worked on the case full time for more than a year. In addition, George at no time admitted to the police that he had committed the murder or had any knowledge of the crime,that is,  he did not make a confession (or any compromising statement) and then retract it. Throughout he strongly maintained his innocence.

Occasionally, as in the case of the murderess Rosemary West , circumstantial evidence is of a nature where a conviction is safe even if it is the only evidence (Fred and Rosemary West murdered many young women they befriended). To find her not guilty, the jury would have had to believe that she was able to live in the same house with her husband over a period of many years during which time he buried umpteen bodies of young women and girls he had befriended without Rosemary having an inkling of what was going on. There was also evidence given by girls befriended by the Wests who escaped being murdered, that Rosemary had accompanied her husband when he had gone out looking for girls to befriend and that she had been present when they were later subjected to physical abuse by Fred West.

The evidence against Rosemary West strained credulity past the breaking point because, although it was entirely circumstantial, it was also powerfully linked to the crimes being tried. In the Dando trial there is nothing to strain credulity past the point of no return nor was it linked powerfully to the crime. Indeed, the very opposite, for the weakness of the evidence presented against George was quite startling. So weak in fact, that even if there had been a really “killer” piece of evidence linking George directly to the murder, for example, if the murder gun had been found in his flat, it is difficult to see how the evidence presented at his trial would have added to the case against him because it relied so heavily on fanciful supposition mounted on the most contentious premises. The best that could be said for the prosecution case was that the evidence they presented was extremely voluminous.

The facts of the shooting

Jill Dando was shot at about 11.30 on Monday, 26 April 1999 on the doorstep of her house at 29 Gowan Avenue, Fulham, West London. Shortly before her killing she was captured on CCTV in several places. There was no evidence from the videotapes of anyone following her.

Miss Dando was found lying with her head against her front door. Her car keys were in her hand and her handbag open with the strap over her arm. She was almost certainly about to open her front door when attacked.

Damage to the lower part of the door suggested that Miss Dando was crouching when shot. There was a small bruise on her right forearm which was probably made by the killer grasping her arm. The killer probably forced her to the ground and held her in position for the killing.

Miss Dando was killed by a single shot to the head made at very close range. The fatal bullet went into her head just behind the top of the left ear and exited above the right ear.

Prosecuting counsel described the result of this shot thus: “An impression of the muzzle and foresight of the weapon used was discernible in the area surrounding the entry wound which suggested it had been pressed firmly against the left side of her head upon discharge,” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01).

The police found a yellow bullet and shell case at the crime scene. The shell case was of 9mm short self-loading pistol calibre. The weapons expert called by the prosecution claimed that “Such ammunition had never been widely distributed.” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01) There were six markings along the top of the cartridge suggesting a pin punch or similar instrument was used to secure the bullet.

From the bullet and shell case it was deduced that the gun used to kill Miss Dando had a smooth-bore barrel which had either been converted from a blank pistol or was a reactivated weapon. It was not fitted with a silencer, but because it was fired so closely to the head, the noise of it firing would have been substantially reduced. The markings at the top of the cartridge suggested that it had been adapted and may have carried a reduced charge, which would have created a quieter report when the gun was fired.

A single fibre (not from Miss Dando’s clothing) was found at the scene of the crime.

Two witnesses (neighbours of Miss Dando) who probably heard but did not see the killing said Miss Dando screamed and then came the sound of a shot. Presumably she must have seen the gun. These neighbours reported seeing a man but neither identified him as George. Indeed, the photofit produced from their description did not greatly resemble George if at all.

The facts of the shooting suggest a most efficient killer. He has moved swiftly to her, rapidly placed her in a position to be killed, killed her quickly with a single shot to the head, muffled the sound by placing the gun against her head and, possibly, reduced the report further by using adapted ammunition. This behaviour was utterly at variance with George’s chaotic character.

The prosecution tried to argue that the single shot (professional killers always use two according to the prosecution – such wondrous certainty over the palpably uncertain was displayed by Mr Pownall throughout the trial) and the use of a re-commissioned gun or modified blanks pistol, suggested that the killer was an amateur. The fact that one shot was used is, of course, no evidence of a lack of professionalism. Miss Dando was shot in a public place and the killer may well have decided on one shot to avoid drawing attention to the killing. The fact that the gun was a re-commissioned one or a converted blanks pistol also means nothing. Such guns are commonly used by London’s underworld, much more commonly by all accounts since the tightening of the gun laws by the Blair government.

George’s character The prosecution were, to put it politely, intellectually confused in their arguments relating to George’s character. On the one hand they wished us to believe that George was capable of having coldly planned and executed a most efficient killing without leaving any forensic or other direct evidence to convict him. On the other hand, when it suited them, they portrayed George as a reckless near simpleton.

George’s character as depicted at the trial suggested a seriously inept and disorganised man. As a boy he was a problematic enough a personality to have been sent to a special boarding school. He has never been able to hold down a job and has spent almost all of the time since he left school unemployed. He suffers from epilepsy to the extent that he was allowed an attendant in the dock at the Dando trial to assist him in the event of a fit. He was said to be of low intelligence. He lived in a terrible physical mess – his flat was covered with a deep “soil” of paper and other oddments such as a large number of rolls of undeveloped films.

Of particular importance to the trial was the fact that George is a serial fantasist of Walter Mitty proportions. This had two effects. First, evidence that he had lied to the police became essentially worthless without other corroborating evidence, because lying was second nature to George and, indeed, it is the type of behaviour which would have been reasonably expected from him in the circumstances of being arrested and questioned by the police. Second, much of the other evidence, such as his habit of  following women, could be plausibly explained by his tendency to act out his fantasies.

George’s fantasy world was one in which he sought satisfaction, and doubtless attention, by pretending to be someone glamorous or connected to someone glamorous or to have been in glamorous or sensational circumstances. At various times during the twenty years prior to the murder he has claimed to be Steve Majors (a name derived from Lee Majors and the character, Steve Austin, he played in the TV series The Bionic Man), an SAS soldier by the name of Thomas Palmer (an SAS soldier involved in the Iranian Embassy siege), Paul Gadd (the pop star Gary Glitter’s real name) and Freddie Mercury’s cousin (for which he used the name Barry Bulsara) to mention just a few. He has at various times also claimed to be in possession of a rocket propelled grenade launcher and to be able to roller skate over four double decker buses.

George did not merely have fantasies he acted them out. When he was pretending to be Freddie Mercury’s cousin, Barry Bulsara, he went to Mercury’s home after the singer’s death in a hired white limousine and left flowers outside the house. He then proceeded to sign autographs for a while, having persuaded mourning fans that he was related to Mercury.

In 1983 he was arrested by police in Kensington Gardens near to the Princess of Wales’ home, crouched in the bushes, dressed in pseudo military gear and equipped with a knife and rope. The police arrested him but did not press charges, although they searched his flat. The Royal Protection Group (RPG) did however, list him as a potential threat to the Royal Family. An RPG member also suggested him to the team investigating the Rachel Nickell murder in 1992 as a possible suspect.

In 1985 George was living in a bed and breakfast hotel in Gloucester Road, West London. There he came to know a family by the name of Dobbins. After they moved to a flat in Fulham George called on them unexpectedly dressed in combat gear and a balaclava. Once in the hallway of the flat he produced a handgun and fired a blank shot. He showed the Dobbins’ son, David, the blank rounds in his pocket and then left.

A further example of his exhibitionistic and obsessive mentality comes from his medical history. George attended no less than 18 different surgeries in West London at various times and was known as a “heart sink” patient because he was constantly coming in with imagined ailments.

Doctors who examined George after his arrest diagnosed an impressive array of psychiatric disorders: psychopathic personality, narcissistic personality, histrionic personality, paranoid personality and Asperger’s Syndrome (a disorder linked to autism). As a boy he was diagnosed as suffering from attention hyperactivity disorder. George was also diagnosed as having somatisation disorder and concurrent factitious disorder.

Whether psychiatric diagnoses mean anything is debatable. However, the police and courts credit them and therefore should have taken them into account before a prosecution was mounted. The interesting thing about these diagnoses is that they relate to personality traits which could innocently explain every part of George’s supposedly suspicious behaviour both before and after the Dando murder. A psychopathic personality is prone to lying and using aliases.

A narcissistic personality is one who urgently seeks attention and admiration and has a heightened sense of self-importance. A histrionic personality will imagine they have a well developed relationship with someone they do not know at all in a personal sense. A paranoid personality has obvious ramifications for George’s suspicion of the police.

Asperger’s sufferers have major problems with personal relationships and a tendency to become obsessive. Finally, somatisation disorder and concurrent factitious disorder explained his imagined illnesses.

Guns and the military

George was undoubtedly fascinated by guns and the military. The police found in his flat camouflage trousers and a jacket, notes about stunts to raise money for the SAS, books such as Uniforms of Elite Forces, SBS, the invisible raiders and various other survival and gun related magazines.

However, George appears to have been as unsuccessful in his efforts to achieve a life which regularly included guns and the military as he was with virtually everything else he attempted. He joined the Territorial Army 10th Bn Parachute Regiment in December 1981. He served until the following November but did not complete his basic training, although he attended 29 voluntary training days which included basic weapons training. In August 1982 he joined the Kensington and Chelsea Pistol Club as a probationary member. In September his full membership application was refused. He attended the club on eight occasions and concerned himself primarily with pistol shooting. In 1991 he applied unsuccessfully to become a member of the Royal Green jackets and the Field Ambulance Volunteers. That was the extent of his military involvement and weapons training.

When the police searched George’s flat for the second time, they found a list of firearms which they showed to George. This promoted him to say “That’s from when I was with the TA. I have only handled weapons under supervision.” This, if true, meant that George had not handled working firearms since 1982. Try as they might, the police could not prove he had. The best they came up with was the firing of blanks at the Dobbins’ home and a recent picture of George taken showing him holding a replica pistol capable of firing only blanks.

The police conduct of the investigation

The police did not take George seriously as a suspect until nearly a year after the murder, despite some reports from the public early in the investigation which suggested that he might be worth investigating. The police explanation for the delay was the sheer volume of leads they had to follow up – these ran to several thousands. This could conceivably be the reason, but more probably by the time the police turned their attentions to George they were getting desperate because of their failure to charge anyone and feeling utterly thwarted by the sheer lack of hard evidence to follow up. This view is leant weight by the words of Assistant Commissioner Brian Moore who said at the conclusion of the trial: “It was a strange attack. It was not seen by anybody, the killer was not seen by anyone at the time and very little forensic evidence left behind. There could be no more difficult environment to investigate a case.” (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01).

The police gain the vast majority of their convictions through one of three means: catching the perpetrators in the act, intelligence from underworld informants and the sheer incompetence and lack of self control of many criminals – more criminals are probably caught because they boast about a crime to other criminals who then inform on them than by any other means. Where none of these events occurs, the police inevitably struggle. It is not that they are dim or incompetent. Rather, it is in the nature of things that if a crime is committed by someone who leaves no material evidence, is not connected to the victim, tells no one and is not subject to the attentions of an informant, then the case is next to insoluble. In particular, the police have a pretty poor record when it comes to solving stranger murders, no matter how much effort they put into an investigation. The failure of the Metropolitan Police (the London police force) to even charge someone for the murder of PC Dunn (a few years ago he was shot down – probably by drug dealers – while answering what appeared to be a routine call) or to gain a conviction which would stand the test of an appeal in the case of the especially brutal killing of PC Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in 1981, shows how difficult such cases are to solve. In both cases the police force investigating the crimes had the greatest possible incentive to solve the crime, it was the best resourced and largest police force in Britain and had by far the greatest experience in murder investigations, because of the disproportionately large number of British murders which take place in London.

In most investigations the police just put it down to experience if they cannot solve the crime, even if it is a murder. Files may be kept open for a long time, but active investigation either stops altogether or is severely reduced.

But where the crime is sensational, especially if it is a murder, there is no question that the police devote more time and effort to a case than they would normally do. Had Jill Dando been an Old Age Pensioner killed in her home by a burglar, her case would have been quietly investigated for a few months and then effectively dropped if no obvious leads remained unexplored. But because she was Jill Dando, media celebrity, the police could not face doing that. Instead they employed a disproportionate number of  detectives (40-50) for a disproportionate amount of time ( more than a year) at a disproportionate cost (around £4 million). That amount of effort in turn creates an ever increasing need in the police mind for a person to be charged and brought to trial.

Any murder trial in which someone is not charged until many months after the event is likely to be suspect. Where the murder victim is a well known and liked celebrity, it is a near certainty that no real evidence exists if the accused is not charged until a year after the killing. The detective in charge of the Dando investigation, Detective Superintendent Hamish Campbell said after the trial that he had no doubt about the rightness of the verdict and then continued tellingly: “The ones [murders] that worry me are unsolved murders: cases that leave people without an answer for losses.” (Sunday Telegraph London 8/7/01). There is a strong element of the classic policeman’s mentality in that statement, both “he wouldn’t have been convicted if he was innocent” and “a job well done because a culprit has been found and punished”.

Why did the police pick on George when the evidence against him was so weak? His sister, Michelle Diskin put forward a plausible reason after the trial: “My feeling is that Barry looked disposable. They thought he could disappear and no one would notice. They thought it was just him and his elderly mum. They didn’t realise he had a large family network.” (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01).

The Crown Prosecution Service

The prosecution was sanctioned by Alison Saunders, then the Assistant Chief Crown Prosecutor for central London with the Crown Prosecution Service. She was interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph after the trial (8/7/01).

Ms Saunders insisted that the case passed the “realistic rospect of conviction test” – that a conviction is more likely to succeed than fail.

She admitted however, that “…it was a difficult decision to take because there was no eyewitness to the murder and no smoking gun, and we had to consider it very carefully.”

Ms Saunders was of course aware of George’s criminal record – see below. She claimed that she was not influenced by that, but one wonders whether at some level she did not take it, wittingly or unwittingly, into account. There was, of course, also the pressure she must have felt to bring someone to trial both because of the victim’s celebrity and the immense effort devoted to the investigation.

The evidence presented against George

Ms Saunders said that she was persuaded to recommend charges by the forensic evidence, statements by witnesses placing him near the murder scene, his efforts to obtain an alibi and George’s lies over not knowing where Dando lived or who she was. Let us examine the evidence under those four heads.

Forensic

The only forensic evidence which supposedly linked George directly to the killing was a minute chemical residue, too small to be seen readily with the human eye, and a single strand of fibre.

The chemical residue was found in the inside pocket of George’s coat. The coat itself may have been contaminated by the police because it was not kept properly protected on its journey from George’s flat to the forensic laboratory. In between, a policeman took the coat to a police forensics laboratory to photograph it. There it was, quite naturally, taken out of its protective bag to photograph it. The photographic studio had in the months before been used to photograph a gun which was seized at Heathrow and then test-fired in a laboratory before it was brought to the studio. The head of the Dando investigation, Det Supt Hamish Campbell, admitted George’s coat should not have gone to the studio before the laboratory.

Bearing in mind the minute size of the particle, is it probable that such a tiny amount would have been transferred to the pocket if George was the killer and had inadvertently placed it there soon after firing the gun? Surely if the residue had come from the careless transfer of residue by George, he would have left more than a single microscopic particle in the pocket? On the other hand, a small amount of residue from the previously photographed gun might well have been picked up in the studio and inadvertently transferred to George’s coat.

Most feebly of all, the prosecution could not even prove that the residue came from a gun . All they could say was that its chemical profile suggested this. But under questioning, the Crown’s firearms expert witness, Robin Keeley, had to admit that the residue could have come from a firework (no laughter please).

Even if it is allowed that the particle was from a gun, a very big if, the prosecution has another large obstacle to overcome, namely if it came from a gun it could have come from any number of guns. Moreover, bearing in mind George’s propensity for using blank firing pistols, why not from that source? The prosecution tried to show that the chemical composition of the residue was inconsistent with a blank round and consistent with that found at the scene of the crime, but as they could not definitely rule out the possibility of a firework as the source of the residue, there has to be a reasonable doubt about such claims.

As for the blue-grey fibre which was found at the crime scene, the dangers of drawing conclusions from such evidence are substantial. First, the fibres may be too small to be able to be matched forensically. Second, most fibres are mass produced so that their use as an identification tool is next  to worthless. The fibre in the trial was mass produced. The prosecution said the fibre was “Not inconsistent with” a fibre taken from George’s clothes. Again, embarrassingly feeble.

The identification evidence

It must be remembered that the witnesses were not asked to identify George until approximately a year had passed. That fact alone should cast a severe doubt over any identification.

The two neighbours, Richard Hughes and Geoffrey Upfill-Brown, who saw a man moving away from her house failed to identify George. The man had no apparent disguise or getaway vehicle. Neither identified George as that man.

Three other witnesses gave identification evidence of a sort.

Susan Mayes saw a man of “Mediterranean appearance” standing by a car at 7 am – Dando was shot at 11.30 am. She later identified him as George.

Teresa Normanton also saw a man of “Mediterranean appearance” at about 9.50 am. She also identified George but tentatively, saying she was not sure because of the  moustache George wore at the identity parade.

Charlotte de Rosnay saw a man from her bedroom window. When shown the video identification parade she recognised George but could not be sure that the man she had seen from the window was George. This evidence is significant because George was not merely a resident in the area but was a familiar figure on the streets where he regularly loitered for hours. de Rosnay’s evidence suggests that she knew George by sight because of this habit of his. The other two witnesses may well have known George by sight, not perhaps in a conscious fashion, but simply as an involuntary effect of seeing him frequently as they went about the area.

I might well have headed this section “identification” evidence. As evidence it is laughably inadequate. The two neighbours did not identify George – indeed the identifit picture created from their description did not greatly resemble George. The three people who saw a man earlier are uncertain that it was George. But suppose it was George, what relevance does it have that he was in the street hours earlier? Minutes earlier would be relevant. But hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people must have been in that street in, say, the six hours before the killing. Why pick on one and say that his presence hours before the event is relevant? Not only that but as George made a habit of hanging about in the streets in the area, seeing him would have been unexceptional.

Note also that two of the witnesses describe the person they saw in the hours leading up to the as of “Mediterranean appearance”. Two points arise. First, can George be so described? I would say not. He is dark haired but not swarthy, which is what one would normally associate with such a description. Second, why should two witnesses use the same precise description? A bit of a coincidence. Could it be that they met at the police station, either before and after the video ID parade and discussed it among themselves? If so, that would be a breach of the rules governing identification parades.

There is also the compromising fact that one of the witnesses had “a liaison” with a member of the detective squad working on the case. (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01). The jury did not know this, but the fact was brought out in legal argument with the jury absent. Michael Mansfield said: “They continued a relationship when he [the police officer] had been warned not to. It is most unfortunate that a witness of this kind, given her testimony, should have any liaison.”

The alibi attempts

In the days following the murder, George attempted to establish as alibi for the time of the murder. The alibis involved a day care centre for the disabled and a minicab firm nearby to the centre which he visited on the day of the murder. He visited them two days after the murder and asked people at both venues to identify when he visited them on the day of the killing and what clothes he was wearing. One of the people at the disability centre testified that George had been there at 11.am, half an hour before the murder took place, directly contradicting the prosecution’s case that George had lied about the time he visited the centre.

Why did George do this? Well, again the behaviour is consistent with his obsessive need to fantasise. Moreover, George had been interviewed by the police during the Rachel Nickell murder enquiry. It is possible that he was worried, not irrationally in this instance, about being targeted by the police for the Dando murder.

The lies George told the police

When interviewed by the police in 2000, George denied knowing who Miss Dando was or where she lived. These were probably lies.

Before the shooting George told a woman he knew that someone famous in lived in Gowan Avenue, a person whom he described as a “very special lady.” That is very suggestive of knowing that Miss Dando lived there.

The police accused George of lying about the time of his appearance at the day centre and the minicab office and his movements on the morning of the murder. They were not able to show conclusively that George was lying in either instance.

In fact, one of the people at the day centre substantiated George’s story about arriving at 11.am, half an hour before the killing took place. (Alasdair Palmer Sunday Telegraph 8/7/01).

The police also found two notes in George’s handwriting in his flat. These read: “Although I did not know Jill Dando personally, my cousin Freddy Mercury was interviewed by her back in 1986.

“I was present with him, so for this reason I feel it’s poignant to express together the situation of Jill’s death and my coming to Christ.” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01).

None of this proves anything. In fact, any evidence about George’s lying has little relevance when one remembers his propensity to fantasise. Moreover, the notes were written after the murder, not before. After the murder George had joined in the mourning for Miss Dando with gusto, as indeed he had done after Princess Diana had died, signing a book of condolences and leaving flowers at the spot where she died. I would suggest that George had simply created a new fantasy and woven it together with an existing one about being Freddy Mercury’s cousin.

Other evidence

The prosecution presented a mountain of other evidence. What follows is a sample to give the flavour of the generally weak reasoning employed by Pownall, and the ease with which apparently compromising behaviour by George can be explained by his general eccentricity. The prosecution thought these facts of significance:

George had a fascination with guns and the military. Big deal.

George lived at 4 Crookham Road, 500 yards from Jill Dando’s home. So what? In fact, if anything that could be an argument against his involvement because it would greatly raise the risk of discovery and only a very reckless personality would have undertaken such a public killing in the area in which he lived.

A woman. Sally Mason, who knew George, gave evidence that George had told her he had been at the killing although he did not admit to being the killer. “I was there you know”. (Daily Telegraph 5 May). When Mason asked him directly whether he had been the murderer George refused to answer.

Once again, such behaviour is consistent with George’s propensity to fantasise.

The prosecution claimed George had a fascination with the BBC, where he once worked as a messenger, and would collect copies of the Radio Times and the company’s internal magazine. So what?

Approximately 100 rolls of undeveloped films was found in George’s flat developed. These contained some 2,500 photographs. These were of 419 women whom the police assumed George had mainly photographed as he followed them about. Interestingly, only two of the photos included Miss Dando and these were taken from the TV. The fact that they were left undeveloped suggests that George’s fantasy ended with the taking of the picture. The fact that he had only ever taken photographs of Jill Dando from the Television (and only two of those) suggests that he had no great interest in her and had not followed her.

A List of models was found in his flat. Again one must ask so what?

What the prosecution case amounted to

Precious little, the honest answer has to be. The prosecution showed that George was a rather pathetic, exhibitionistic personality who was obsessed with guns and  celebrities (although not with Dando). That places him in the same category as tens of thousands of others. The fact that he lived near to Miss Dando made his involvement less not more likely in view of the public circumstances of the killing.

His propensity over a very long time to follow and engage in (since his time in prison) only low grade harassment of women is suggestive not of murderous tendencies but of the reverse, that is  his fantasies were played out at a level well below that of serious violence.

The limpness of the prosecution’s case is most palpable in the frequently absurd reasoning Oliver Pownall put forward. I will give one of the most potent examples of this habit. Referring to the evidence given by the witnesses about the man seen on Gowan Avenue the morning of the killing Mr Pownall came out with this gem:

“It is inconceivable that there were two men in Gowan Avenue that morning, both of the same age height and general appearance, both of whom had an interest in Jill Dando and experience in handguns.” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01).

I dare say Mr Pownall is a highly intelligent man, but he should be ashamed of himself for presenting such an obviously ridiculous argument before a court.

George’s criminal record

After the trial, much was made of George’s criminal past and instances of indecent assault and harassment which did not come to court.

George’s criminal record was if not petty, undramatic and even more importantly, very short and far in the past by the time that Miss Dando was killed. It consisted of convictions for indecent assault in 1982 and an attempted rape in 1983 for which he was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment. He has never been charged with attacking a woman (or a man for that matter) with a weapon or causing serious physical injury.

In 1980 George seriously molested two women, a civil servant and June Zeller, an actress. The latter was attacked by George in 1980 in a lift but he was acquitted of indecent assault on her in May 1981 at Middlesex Crown Court – at the same hearing which convicted him of indecent assault on the civil servant. George was caught after the civil servant noticed him hanging about near her office some weeks after the attack. (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01). This reckless behaviour is consistent with George’s tendency to play out his fantasies.

The fact that George never did anything after 1983 which bought him before a court strongly suggests he was not dangerous to the extent of killing someone deliberately. His one brush with prison probably frightened him enough to keep his fantasies within safe limits afterwards. It should be mentioned that when George attempted the rape for which he was convicted, he ended the attempt by apologising to the woman before running off. Not the action of a completely amoral personality.

It has to be said that George is not someone who would be welcomed as a neighbour. Apart from his criminal convictions, he has a long record of what one might describe as low grade harassment of strange women. He talks to them, he follows them, he stares at them. However, none of this behaviour was sufficient in the years between 1984 and 2000 to bring him before a court. Not only that, but Jill Dando had not reported any problem with a stalker to the police.

Nor it seems, because it was not mentioned at the trial, had she mentioned any such problem to her friends, family or fiancee.

The jury were of course, unaware of his criminal record. As a general rule the keeping of a man’s criminal record from a jury is a to be applauded. Ironically in this case it could conceivably have been to George’s advantage if the jury had known because of the length of time which had elapsed since he was last in court.

Why did the jury convict?

The answer lies I suspect in the frequently displayed behaviour of juries when faced with a case involving a celebrity. It is remarkably difficult to gain a conviction in front of a jury where a celebrity is on trial, often almost regardless of the evidence offered. The jury is reluctant to believe that someone they feel they know and often admire could be guilty or, perhaps even more fundamentally, deserving of punishment even if they are guilty. The same effect in reverse applies to cases where the celebrity is the victim. There the jury feels a desire to convict. The immense media coverage associated with the Dando murder and her widespread popularity with the public doubtless enhanced this natural tendency.

George’s counsel, Michael Mansfield QC, recognised the difficulty his client faced when he made his final speech to the jury: “We ask you to be careful about the strength of feelings there may be. It will do no justice to Jill Dando’s memory or this case were you to allow those feelings to mould together what otherwise might be a non-existent case because there is in some unconscious way or another a desire to see someone pay.”

It is true that the jury deliberated for thirty-two hours spread over five days before coming to a verdict and it could be argued that this means that the jury were not swayed by Miss Dando’s celebrity. In fact, the time involved means little because it was a 10-1 majority verdict – one of the twelve jurors had been excused from jury service during the trial. The most probable explanation for the time taken to come to the verdict is that a small group, perhaps as few as two, did not want to bring in a guilty verdict and it took time to persuade enough of this group to vote for conviction by a majority verdict. It is also a fact that long, high profile trials with a mass of evidence rarely bring rapid verdicts, probably because the jurors feel that they should spend a decent time considering the verdict simply because the effort in bringing the prosecution is vast.

Are the jury to be blamed? No, because juries are human. Nor should it be safely assumed that a judge or panel of judges would necessarily be immune to the pull of celebrity or without prejudice. One only has to remember the summing up in the Archer/Daily Star libel trial in which the judge drooled over the “fragrant” Mary Archer to be cured of that belief.

The real culprits are the police for devoting such an inordinate amount of time and money to the investigation and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for agreeing to the prosecution and encouraging the police in their investigation. One of the tests the CPS use for determining whether a prosecution should go ahead is that there is a good chance of a conviction. That judgement should be made on the evidence not on the likely response of the jury to celebrity involvement.

Who else might have killed Jill Dando

Various rumours circulated after the killing. Could it have been an underworld figure whom Crimewatch had damaged or angered? Was it a revenge attack by Serbs following Miss Dando’s appearance on a programme dealing with the Nato attack on a Serb television station during the Kosovan war?

Either was more plausible than the idea that the shambling, fantasising disorganised personality that is Barry George could have acted so out of character as accomplish what was in effect the perfect murder – single shot to the head, no witnesses, no weapon, no conclusive forensic evidence.

Because no claim of responsibility was made by a political group, I suspect it was an underworld killing not a political one. The fact that a re-commissioned gun or modified blanks pistol was used would also support this idea because such guns are widely used by criminals in Britain.

In his closing speech, George’s counsel, Michael Mansfield QC pressed the Serb line hard. This was probably a mistake because it was taking the jury into James Bond territory. In fact Mansfield would have done better not to suggest other assailants and simply rest his case on the inadequacy of the prosecution case.

The lessons to be learned

What can be done to stop such cases being brought to court? We need a new approach to the value of evidence. Despite cases such Rosemary West, it might be best to outlaw prosecutions based purely on circumstantial evidence or, if that is thought too extreme, only allow them where the circumstantial evidence is of a nature as to directly link the defendant to the crime, as was the case in Rosemary West.

The feeble suppositions and the subsequent chains of reasoning based on the suppositions which appeared in George’s trial should not be admitted as evidence. British courts need to realise that identification evidence of strangers is next to worthless (every academic study on stranger identification has shown this) and that forensic evidence is far from being cast iron. The latter may be scientifically dubious. In that case the jury may well be misled. It may be scientifically debatable – which means juries are asked to choose between conflicting experts without any rational means of doing so. It may be beyond the ability of a non-expert to evaluate (which includes judges and counsel as well as juries).

There is a good case for banning forensic evidence which is too complicated for the non-specialist to understand. The jury also needs to be made aware of the limitations of even the most familiar forensic evidence. Even fingerprinting is by no means the cast iron certainty it is normally credited with being. An American historian of science, Simon Cole, has just published Suspect Identities: a history of fingerprinting and criminal identification (Harvard University Press) which demolishes their infallibility and attacks the science which underlies fingerprint evidence.

There is also the question of both unwitting contamination and the deliberate planting of evidence. For example, suppose I wish to implicate someone innocent in a crime. I drop something, say one of the person’s hairs, at the crime scene. The DNA identifies the hair as that person. Perhaps it is unlikely that by itself the hair might lead to a conviction. But what if the innocent person cannot provide an alibi? Suppose it is a crime of violence, what if the innocent person has been heard to say they would kill the person? It is just too easy for a circumstantial frame to be built up where a piece of supposedly hard forensic evidence exists.

Because of this we should insist that such forensic evidence is corroborated or substantiated by at least one other piece of evidence. That would require a change in English law which allows that single piece of evidence – including a confession – is enough to gain a conviction.

The other worrying aspect of the case is the incontinent use of police resources in this case. This mirrors that in other recent investigations such as the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the investigation into the death of Ricky Reel, or, to take an earlier crime, the murder of Rachel Nickell.

As the police have strictly limited resources, there should come a point in any investigation where a decision is made that enough is enough, that sufficient time, money and manpower have been devoted to the case to make any chance of gaining a conviction thought further effort extremely unlikely.

Does George have grounds for appeal?

George has a better chance of an appeal now than he would have had even a few years ago. The new appeals regime is more open to examining the actual evidence presented to the jury than old appeals regime was. Nonetheless, unless he can introduce new evidence, to mount a successful appeal he must be able to show that there was a mistake in law or that the prosecution evidence introduced was flawed. What the Appeal Court cannot do, unless they create a precedent in a criminal trial, is overturn the verdict of  the jury simply because they think the verdict was perverse. I say create a precedent in a criminal trial, because last year the Appeal Court overturned a jury verdict in a  libel case, that involving the footballer Bruce Grobbelar and the News of the World, because they judged it to be perverse, However, Grobbelar is now taking that case to the Lords so the right of the Appeal Court to make such a decision is undecided.

The summing up was not obviously at fault. The judge heavily emphasised the circumstantial nature of the evidence and the possible dangers that could arise from a  prosecution case based purely on circumstantial evidence. The judge was also sympathetic to George’s decision not to give evidence, commenting that he thought it was reasonable because George was manifestly not competent, mentally and physically, to withstand the rigours of cross-examination. Thus, George’s failure to give evidence should not have been a black mark against him when the jury came to consider the verdict.

Where the judge may have been at fault is in allowing evidence from those who had not absolutely identified George at identity parades to be admitted and in keeping from the jury the liaison between a witness and a police officer working on the case.

There is also the question of whether evidence such as the forensic results of tests on the residue in George’s pocket should have been admitted when the residue could not be certainly identified as from a gun and because it could not be definitely shown to be compatible in composition to the residue on Miss Dando.

I hope George’s appeal succeeds, but I would not bet the farm on it.

Conclusion

The depressing truth is that George has been found guilty without a single piece of direct evidence being offered against him, while the circumstantial evidence on which he was convicted was weak in the extreme. No one can feel safe if this conviction is allowed to stand.

Personally I doubt whether he was the killer, not least because it is improbable that such a disorganised personality could have successfully planned the act, carried out the act and covered up the material evidence afterwards.

This trial and conviction is the latest nail in the coffin of English justice. Apart from the various miscarriages involving Irish bombings, we have had cases such as that of Stephen Cisko (who was convicted of murder on a confession obtained under dubious circumstances and who spent nearly 20 years in prison before DNA evidence proved his innocence – tragically he died shortly after his release from prison) and lately that of Michael Stone who was convicted of the murder of Lin and Megan Russell solely on the testimony of two cell-mates that he had confessed to them. One of the witnesses against Stone has since admitted that he lied under oath to obtain favourable treatment by the prison authorities and parole board. It is noteworthy that Stone like George was a disturbed, disorganised individual with a criminal record, who seemed to be someone who would not be able to muster much support if he was convicted on inadequate evidence.

If the public are not to lose all faith in English justice something must be done soon to prevent such inadequate prosecutions being mounted.

The most depressing thing of all is that English justice for all its faults is probably as fair a system of justice as any in the world and arguably the fairest. It has an ancient unbroken tradition, formal equality before the law, habeous corpus, sub judice, well established principles of due process, widespread use of the jury, substantial provision for legal aid and above all the presumption of innocence. The whole is underpinned by the potent concept of natural justice.

These legal goods stand on the platform of an immensely strong strain of personal freedom in English history which has produced a general principle utterly at odds with continental systems of law, namely the idea that an Englishman may do anything legally which is not forbidden by law.

But, alas, structure is no safeguard against human bias and error. God help anyone who comes before a court anywhere in the world is the honest and depressing truth.

Stephen Lawrence, Gary Dobson, David Norris and a political trial

Robert Henderson

The conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence is a savage and sinister travesty of justice. That is not because the defendants are necessarily innocent . What is profoundly worrying is the decision to prosecute regardless of the feeble quality of the new  evidence,  the placing in double jeopardy of Dobson (who had been formally acquitted in 1996 of the murder  when a private prosecution was brought) ,   the general  difficulties of a trial held 18 years after the event, the all too perniciously potent legacy of the Macpherson Report  and the almost continuous media circus which has accompanied the Lawrence killing for nearly 19 years and repeatedly savaged the reputation of the defendants .

The impossibility of a fair trial

The question of whether Dobson and Norris could get a fair trial should have been tested before the case was heard.   Despite assiduous attempts, I can find no  media reports that either Dobson or Norris’ lawyers applied to have the trial struck down on those grounds.  If no application was made by their lawyers ,the defendants would have every reason to feel cheated  because if ever there was a case where a fair trial would have been impossible this is it.

To understand exactly how outlandishly contaminating the circumstances surrounding the defendants were  it is necessary to  know of the  previous attempts at prosecution,  the scandalous behaviour tolerated at the Macpherson Inquiry, especially the behaviour towards the suspects,  and the virulent and extended  hate campaign waged by the British media against Dobson and Norris (and other  suspects).

The police originally had five  white  youths in the frame  for the murder, Dobson and Norris plus  Luke Knight and the brothers Neil and  Jamie Acourt.  The CPS refused to prosecute in 1994. The parents of Stephen Lawrence  then initiated a private prosecution   against  the five suspects, but only Jamie Acourt, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight  stood trial. The granting of a private prosecution is rare for any crime because the Attorney-General has to sanction such prosecutions; for a charge of murder it is unprecedented at least  in modern times( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/first-private-prosecution-for-murder-3-held-1616684.html.)

The trial collapsed when the judge ruled that the identification evidence of  Lawrence’s friend Duwayne Brooks, who had been with him on the night, was inadmissible (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-41.htm#41.3). That was scarcely surprising as Brooks originally told  the police he could not positively identify any of the attackers then later changed his story and said he could and picked out Neil Acourt and Luke Knight. As by his own story, Brooks ran away as fast he could when the attack happened and the  attack took place at night (around 10.30 pm on 22 April), it would seem improbable that he could have identified  the attackers with any certainty.  It is worth adding that (1) identification evidence is notoriously unreliable, especially where strangers are involved, and (2) the three independent witnesses to the attack were unable to identify any of the attackers.  The attack was also over very quickly.

Despite the failure to mount a criminal prosecution by the CPS and the abject failure of the private prosecution, the British media continued their campaign against those suspected of the murder. In 1997 the Daily Mail ran a front page which accused the five suspects of murder and challenged them to sue for libel (http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/features/frontpage/lawrence.html).    This was an act of outright cowardice by the Mail because they knew none of those they accused could afford to sue them.  A libel case against a the Daily Mail would have probably  have cost, at 2012 prices,  £1m to fund  because the Mail were determined to take it to court. But even if  the case was  won,  the judge would probably not have awarded  the plaintiff their  costs in full or even at all  and any  award would certainly be far less than the plaintiff’s  costs and probably derisory. If  the case was lost the plaintiff  would have to bear his  own costs and those of the Mail which would mean at least £2 million at today’s values.

The one family amongst the accused which had some degree of affluence at the time of  murder was that of David Norris, whose father Clifford was reputedly running  the drug trade in South London.  But Clifford Norris was jailed for nine years in 1994 and served seven years which reduced him to penury. In 2006 the Guardian found him living in a bedsit (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/aug/06/politics.lawrence).

But   even if a libel suit  had by some miracle been mounted, it is dubious if it would have succeeded because of the public demolition of the suspects’  characters over years. That would almost certainly have seriously biased any jury against them and  it could have been argued that the plaintiff(s) had no reputation to lose. Even if  a suit was successful, any damages would probably have been derisory on the same grounds of little reputation to lose.   It is worth mentioning that the editor of the Mail, Paul Dacre, knew Stephen Lawrence’s father  Neville, because Neville  had done some plastering work for him.

In 1998, through a combination of the more or less perpetual  media campaign and the religiously  politically correct  Blair Government,    the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry began presided over by a   senior judge,   Sir William Macpherson. This contained truly amazing scenes. In what was  a quasi-judicial proceeding there was an atmosphere close to mob rule.  Within the Inquiry  frequent interruption occurred in the public galleries, especially when the police were giving evidence.  At one point members of the Nation of Islam invaded the building and fought with the police (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/02/99/stephen_lawrence/282378.stm).

When the five suspects left the Inquiry after giving evidence  they were met by a mob and were physically attacked  by missiles and  directly assaulted by members of the mob (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/123608.stm).  Why they were expected to walk  through a mob when they left the building is a mystery because the police must have realised the crowd was likely to attack. Nor did the police show any urgency to either protect the suspects or arrest their assailants.

The publication of the Macpherson Report  in 1999 on the evidence given at the  Inquiry ensured the  Lawrence murder remained in the mainstream media throughout the eleven years leading up to the recent trial.   In addition, Macpherson’s  “anti-racist” recommendations, which included a dangerously broad definition of a racial incident as ” any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person” (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm),  were adopted throughout public service and then by private and not-for-profit  employers, especially the larger ones, many of which rely heavily on public contracts.

Politicians  of all mainstream parties competed to be the most enthusiastic  about this new quasi-Maoist “anti-racist” regimen under which  to make any comment which could be construed as “racist”,   however absurdly,  would probably mean the end of a career of a politician or public servant.  Unsurprisingly, public servants at all levels became eager to demonstrate how politically correct they were, both to advance their careers and to protect themselves.

Perhaps the single  most sinister  consequence of Macpherson  was the institutionalising of “anti-racism” – extremely crude  propaganda in practice – within the British state education system (http://www.schools-out.org.uk/teachingpack/stephenlawrence.htm), but the effect on  the police and justice system runs it close.

Macpherson did not believe that  racism did not  have to be consciously motivated.  He labelled the Metropolitan Police “institutionally racist”  (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-06.htm#6.6) ,  by which he meant, as far as he meant anything, unwitting racism arising from the general culture of  a corporate body.  The Metropolitan police at first rejected the tag of institutional racism but eventually  caved in, after which the other police forces in Britain followed suit.

To attack police racism, whether  deliberate or unintentional, Macpherson recommended that the police be directly placed under race laws:   “47/11That the full force of the Race Relations legislation should apply to all police officers, and that Chief Officers of Police should be made vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of their officers relevant to that legislation.” (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm).   This was enshrined in law in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/34/contents)

The effect of Macpherson on  the police was to render them, and especially the most senior officers,  rigid with political correctness – the toxic fruits of which  can be starkly  seen in the police statement that the recent killing of the Indian student Anuj Bidve by a white attacker in Salford was a “hate crime” despite the fact that  the police admitted  there is no evidence for this  (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/white-attackernon-white-victim-racist-motive-non-white-attackerwhite-victim-no-racist-motive/).   This mentality has continued to drive the Stephen Lawrence case.

The publication of the Macpherson Report provided the mainstream media with a never ending stream of stories related to the Lawrence killing. He became the lead icon for “anti-racism”. No area of life escaped. Not only schools and the police but every workplace was directly or indirectly affected by the consequences of the Lawrence murder.  Stephen’s mother Doreen ceaselessly  campaigned for further investigations  into the death . The ever expanding band of “anti-racist” interest groups were ready at the drop of a hat to use his death as a lever to get other perceived racist affronts into the public eye.    The mainstream media, without exception dominated  by enthusiastic “anti-racists” and “multiculturalists”, was  always willing to run another Stephen Lawrence story and only too eager to seize on any claimed example of racism and give it an airing, frequently with reference to the Lawrence murder.

Because of the constant media’s constant return to the Lawrence story there was never any chance that it would fade in the public mind.  Any trouble the  five suspect got into, including criminal convictions,  was given great prominence in the media.   The period after 1993 was also the time when the Internet took off so that no mainstream  story is ever really taken from the public fold.  Details of Norris and Dobson’s criminal past may not have been allowed into evidence at their trial, but anyone googling their names would have soon discovered the material.

With all that history,  is it conceivable that a jury could be empanelled which  was not aware of the defendants’ past  and was not influenced by the massive amount of adverse and often crudely abusive media coverage they would have inevitably experienced just in the normal course of living? To not be aware of the media’s  representation of the Stephen Lawrence case and Dobson and Norris’ involvement in it, the jurors would not  have read newspapers or listened or watched news bulletins or current affairs programmes over the past 18 years;  not found such information when using the Internet; not attended  “antiracist” courses in their workplace  and not been at school (and probably university)  after 1999  because of the institutionalisation of “antiracism” propaganda  (with Stephen Lawrence at its centre)  in British schools following the recommendation  that this be done in the Macpherson Report (Recommendation 67 – http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm).  .

Even  if by some miracle twelve people could be found who were unaware of the Lawrence case and the reputation of  Dobson and Norris,  there would still be the hurdle to overcome of the intensely politically correct atmosphere that has been gradually  created by the British elite over the past forty years.   Whites in Britain have been conditioned to believe that  it is dangerous not to play the multiculturalist game. To fail to accept the Lawrence case narrative presented to them and find Dobson and Norris not guilty would expose them to the dreaded charge of racism.  At the same time non-whites have developed a tremendous sense of victimhood  which leaves them unlikely to approach a trial such as this in disinterested fashion.

However the jury was comprised the jurors would have had good cause to return a guilty verdict regardless of the evidence.  If the jury was all white they could, and almost certainly would have been,  be portrayed, at best,  as whites  looking after their own. If the jury was racially mixed it would be very difficult for the white members to argue for a not guilty verdict if the non-white members were against it.  Conversely, a non-white member on the jury who did not believe guilt had been proved would be nervous – for fear of being seen as an uncle Tom – about voting  for not guilty, if such a vote would mean there was a unanimous  verdict and consequently it would be known that they had voted that way.

(I have not been able to  discover any details about the composition of the  jury other than that it was comprised of 8 men and 4 women  and people from the locality of the killing were excluded (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15735026). If anybody has details of the age, class, race and ethnicity of the jurors please let me know. )

If there is an equivalent case  in terms of sustained adverse  media coverage which has gone to trial I would glad to know of it.

The racist video

A video made secretly by the police of some of   the suspects including,  Dobson and Norris, during the original investigation   into the murder shows Dobson and Norris (and the others) engaging in extremely crude racist talk. Here is an example:

Neil Acourt. Sequence 11. “I reckon that every nigger should be chopped up mate and they should be left with nothing but fucking stumps….”

David Norris. Sequence 50. “If I was going to kill myself do you know what I’d do? I’d go and kill every black cunt, every paki, every copper, every mug that I know..

I’d go down to Catford and places like that I’m telling you now with two sub-machine guns and I’m telling you I’d take one of them, skin the black cunt alive mate, torture him, set him alight …. I’d blow their two legs and arms off and say go on you can swim home now …. (laughs).”

Gary Dobson. Sequence 27. “He said the fucking black bastard I am going to kill him. I cracked up laughing. I went what black geezer. He went the Wimpy one the fucking black nigger cunt, fucking black bastard. I went what the Paki……”

Luke Knight. Sequence 11. “…. it was Cameroon, a fucking nigger country… Fucking our presenters saying oh yeah we want Cameroon to win this, why the fuck should he want niggers to win it when they’re playing something fucking like Italy…..”  (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-07.htm#7.11)

It is astonishing that the video was allowed in evidence because there is a principle in English law  that  nothing can be introduced into evidence if it is not direct evidence of the crime and  would be likely to serious  bias jurors. The prime example of this is the long-standing refusal to allow evidence of previous convictions into evidence (this has been weakened as a principle too,  but still obtains in most criminal cases).  The video clearly falls into this  category because there is no admission in the recording that the suspects had committed the crime.

It has been suggested that those involved suspected or even knew they were being bugged,  and deliberately went over the top with their language to taunt the police.  But there is no hard evidence that this is the case.  Moreover, if the prosecution seriously believed that  the recording was made  when those recorded knew or suspected they were being recorded, that would have been another reason for  excluding it from evidence because it did not represent Dobson and Norris’ normal behaviour.   Because of the  conditioning to the “antiracist” mindset  outlined above, it is difficult to believe the playing of the recording to the jury followed by the evidence given by Dobson and Norris about the recording would not have had an adverse effect on the jury.

The fact that no admission of having killed Lawrence was made in the secret recording is  a pointer to their innocence.   To build on that instance there is a considerable  amount of surveillance over the years which failed to catch any of the suspects  making any admission of involvement in the murder:

“ Just weeks before the Macpherson report was published in February 1999, then Met Deputy Commissioner John Stevens asked one of his top detectives  John Grieve, to launch a no-expense spared new probe.

Career detective Mr Stevens told Mr Grieve, a deputy assistant commissioner, he could recruit the best detectives in the force.

At its peak, 120 officers were working on Operation Athena Tower, which lasted four years.

Yard chiefs were in constant contact with the then Home Secretary Jack Straw, the only person who could authorise telephone intercepts on the suspects.

Yard Assistant Commissioner David Veness approved dozens of bugging operations on the gang’s cars, homes and workplaces, while a surveillance team was constantly on their trail.

A source said: ‘It was run like a big anti-terror operation. The team had every piece of kit you have ever heard of. It was pure James Bond.’

It was during this phase that a house was purchased in the same street as one of the murder suspects, and an undercover officer tasked with infiltrating the gang.

TV INTERVIEW AND A SPY HELICOPTER

Two months after the Grieve probe started, the five suspects agreed to be interviewed by Martin Bashir on ITV’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald.

Programme makers were in close contact with the Met before the programme was recorded but for legal reasons, detectives ruled out suggesting the line of questioning.

Had they done so, defence lawyers could have argued they had used Bashir as ‘an agent of the police’ – scuppering the possibility of using it as evidence at any future trial.

Bedrooms and other pre-selected rooms in the secret house in Scotland where the interview was filmed had recording devices installed.

Scotland Yard even had a helicopter hover over the group as they played golf nearby, recording their comments, relayed by satellite from tiny microphones hidden in their golf trolleys. But the ‘bugged golf buggies’ did not provide any vital new leads – and neither did the TV show.

In May 2004, the CPS announced there was insufficient evidence to bring murder charges. One detective remarked at the time that the Yard’s best hope was if one of the suspects ‘became a vicar’ and gave a true account of what happened”. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081901/Stephen-Lawrence-trial-Police-bugged-killers-homes-cars-pubs.html  – this Mail article is worth reading in its entirety).

The fact that, despite the immense surveillance efforts made over a long period, no admission was ever recorded or heard by undercover officers pretending to be their friend strongly points to their innocence.  The temptation for young  men, adolescents when the crime happened,  to boast  amongst themselves about the crime if they had committed it would have been very strong because that is the way of young men.  Imagine keeping quiet about it for years on end even when you are drunk and  amongst people you think are your friends. It would argue for an iron self-discipline that few could muster and would be vanishingly  unlikely  to be found in every one of a group of five or more.

The breaching of double jeopardy

The ancient English law principle of no double jeopardy  – that there should be no more than one trial on the same offence or evidence after an acquittal  has been gained – was diluted by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This provided for  more than twenty offences  to attract the possibility of a second trial on the same charge after being acquitted previously.  Murder is one of the qualifying offences. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/44/part/10).   The breaching of double jeopardy was one of the Macpherson  recommendations – no 28  – although he was making the suggestion only in relation to racist crimes. (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm).

The removal of double jeopardy is dangerously wrong  in itself,  because of the opportunity it gives to the state to behave in an oppressive manner. To that  ill  is added that of de facto retrospection, for it is not only crimes committed after the 2003 Act which are caught by it but any crime committed before the Act was passed. Dobson was acquitted during  the private prosecution  and  until the 2003 Act was passed could not have been retried.   He is also a victim of retrospection.

There are supposedly strong safeguards against the abuse of power built into the 2003 Act.  The court of Appeal  has to quash the original acquittal and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)  has to give the go ahead for a new prosecution.  There is also a seemingly stern test for the new evidence on which a fresh trial will be based. Section 78 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 requires that the new evidence must meet the following tests:

78 New and compelling evidence

(1)The requirements of this section are met if there is new and compelling evidence against the acquitted person in relation to the qualifying offence.

(2)Evidence is new if it was not adduced in the proceedings in which the person was acquitted (nor, if those were appeal proceedings, in earlier proceedings to which the appeal related).

(3)Evidence is compelling if—

(a)it is reliable,

(b)it is substantial, and

(c)in the context of the outstanding issues, it appears highly probative [Having the effect of proof, tending to prove, or actually proving] of the case against the acquitted person.

(4)The outstanding issues are the issues in dispute in the proceedings in which the person was acquitted and, if those were appeal proceedings, any other issues remaining in dispute from earlier proceedings to which the appeal related.

(5)For the purposes of this section, it is irrelevant whether any evidence would have been admissible in earlier proceedings against the acquitted person. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/44/part/10).

The problem with such putative safeguards is that they  allow a great deal of latitude in their interpretation and the decisions,  whether or not to quash the original acquittal or mount a fresh prosecution, are made by members of the  elite who are often associated with politicians.  For example, the present DPP,  Keir Starmer, is a member of the Labour Party (he was named after Keir Hardie) and was  appointed by a Labour government.   Consequently , there is also a  “Who shall guard the guards” element to fret over.    But I shall leave that  question  to the judgement of the reader. What I shall go into in some detail is the question of the “New and compelling evidence” on which the re-trial was based.

The new forensic evidence

This consists of a minute blood stain identified as Lawrence’s blood, two human hairs of 1mm and 2mm  respectively (which could only be tested for maternal DNA because the hairs had no root) and a small amount of fibre identified as coming from Lawrence’s clothes which was found on clothing taken from  the defendants’ homes after the murder.   Technology was not advanced enough in 1993 to have extracted a complete DNA profile from the blood stain, but that is irrelevant because, according to media reports,  the blood stain was not spotted in 1993. The stain was tiny but not invisible being 0.25mm by 0.5mm (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081758/Stephen-Lawrence-verdict-The-evidence-convicted-David-Norris-Gary-Dobson.html).  

In the 1990s two separate forensic examinations were made of the clothes and other items gathered by the police in 1993 as possible evidence.  The first was conducted by Adam Wain  who was working with the police. The second  by Dr Angela Gallop who acted for the Lawrence family in 1995 when the private prosecution was being prepared.  Both found blood and textile fibres; both came to the same conclusions: that there was too little blood to test and  the connection between Lawrence and any of the suspects’  clothing was thin,  in Dr Gallop’s words  “Even in combination these fibres provide only very weak evidence of any association between Lawrence’s and Dobson’s clothing.” (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-25.htm – this is section 25 of the Macpherson Report)

But there were  fibres which had some similarity with the garments worn by Dobson and Lawrence:

“ 25.7 In summary, the conclusions of Mr Wain were really as follows: First, amongst the extraneous fibres removed from the bag from the right hand were two brown wool fibres that had the same microscopic and colour characteristics as those from Mr Dobson’s cardigan. One of these had similar dye components as those from the cardigan. The other one was too small for dye testing. 

Also he found that one grey cotton fibre from Stephen Lawrence’s jacket had the same microscopic characteristics as fibres from Mr Dobson’s jacket. That discovery was made in June 1994. Also a single white polyester fibre found in the bag from Stephen Lawrence’s right hand had the same microscopic characteristics as those from Mr Dobson’s jacket. As that fibre was white no further relevant tests could be carried out.”

25.8 The report of Mr Wain continued as follows … “Evaluation conclusions … where fibres are found to match the component fibres of a garment, this does not mean that they necessarily came from that garment. They could have come from another garment of the same type or another source of similar fibres. Therefore, in my opinion, there is weak support for the assertion that the two brown wool fibres recovered from the bag that was covering Stephen Lawrence’s right hand came from an exhibit ASR/2, namely a cardigan recovered from Dobson’s home”, and that, “there is very weak support for the assertion that the single grey cotton and white polyester fibres that were recovered from Lawrence’s jacket and right hand bag came from item LA/5, namely a jacket found at Dobson’s home.” (Ibid)

The importance of these early findings on the fibres are twofold: (1) it shows that extensive searches for fibres and their extended  testing was undertaken when the evidence was fresh and less likely to be contaminated (2) that  similarity of fibre was weak evidence of  where the fibre came from.

It is rather difficult to see how two highly experienced forensic scientists could have missed the fibres which were presented as evidence in the trial just concluded.  More to the point, even if they did miss them,  why are these putatively new  fibres any more potent as evidence now than those  found and tested in between 1993-1995? There would seem to be no ready answer to that because a fibre is just a fibre, a dye is just a dye.  There has not been  technological advance which will identify the  particular garment from which a fibre has come.

Even if there was other evidence, forensic or otherwise,  the new  fibre evidence  would add little to it simply because of its uncertainty.  If there was a great deal of evidence which pointed to Dobson and Norris being involved with the killing it might add a small  circumstantial something  but that is all. But there was not a great mass of strong evidence in this trial. The two hairs  found on Norris’ clothing could have been simple contamination as the evidence bags nestled together, unwitting transferred during other tests or even transferred by the officers initially  collecting evidence who also visited the Lawrence home.  It is worth adding that the clothes from which fibres were taken were not  collected for several weeks after the murder and the police themselves thought it unlikely that any fibres  from Lawrence would have been left on the clothes after that time(http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-25.htm) .

The only really  important new evidence put forward was the microscopic blood sample on Dobson’s jacket collar (http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16141534) and the two hairs.   The fibre and hair evidence really added nothing to this. The DNA evidence either stood or fell on its own merits. As  there was no blood evidence against Norris (only inconclusive  fibres and the two tiny hairs). He should have been acquitted because there was no meaningful evidence against him.

The blood evidence against Dobson presents more complex problems.   The defence did not question the blood  DNA analysis. Instead they attacked its veracity as evidence by claiming contamination.  There were solid grounds for doing this.   The blood stain was not seen  by the two forensic scientists who had examined the jacket in the 1990s. The evidence  had been stored for 18 years.  The clothes were stored in paper  evidence bags sealed only with sellotape – the original forensic scientist  Adam Wain warned of the  dangers of contamination as the bags and sellotape seals degraded (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2011/11/24/stephen-lawrence-murder-trial-forensic-expert-had-concerns-about-contamination-of-evidence-old-bailey-hears-86908-23585745)  Evidence bags containing Lawrence’s clothes and effects were stored with those containing the Dobson and Norris evidence.   Detective Sergeant John Bevan and Detective Constable Linda Holden, two of the officers involved in the initial investigation,  visited the Lawrence home as well as taking raids on the suspects homes (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8908314/Officers-may-have-contaminated-Stephen-Lawrence-evidence.html).  An officer on the case  DC Paul Steed  deliberately  sabotaged his records relating to the forensic  evidence (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/09/stephen-lawrence-trial_n_1139000.html . A forensic worker Yvonne Turner  mislabelled evidence in 1993, including the garments at issue in the Dobson/Norris trial (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/nov/23/stephen-lawrence-trial-evidence-mislabelled)  It is also true that contamination of forensic evidence is a not uncommon problem in many cases which heavily rely on it.  (http://www.impactnottingham.com/2012/01/can-we-really-rely-on-forensic-science/).

Having said all that there is the question of how the blood soaked into the Dobson jacket collar. Three other flakes of blood which tested as being that of Lawrence were found loose in the evidence bag, although again these had been missed in the earlier forensic examination.  They could plausibly have been in the bag as  the result of contamination by a simple mechanical transfer of material.  Dobson’s defence rested on the fact that the blood on the collar could have been caused by the liquid with which the jacket was sprayed to test for saliva. This could have softened another scrap of dried blood which allowed the blood to soak into the collar.

The prosecution brought Rosalyn Hammond as an expert forensic witness to say this was “practically impossible” (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2011/12/08/stephen-lawrence-murder-trial-contamination-not-to-blame-for-bloodstain-on-accused-s-jacket-says-expert-86908-23620646/).   Prosecuting counsel in his final speech to the jury said the blood on the collar could not “realistically be caused by contamination”. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16271736). Note that neither the witness or the prosecutor say it was actually  impossible. In fact, they used  the sort of phrases that people use when they are trying to paper over the cracks in an argument. Nor  is the spraying for saliva the only plausible way the blood could have got onto the collar. For example, someone opening the bag which had been contaminated with loose tiny flakes of blood could have had water or another liquid on their hands and without knowing it transferred both blood and liquid to the Dobson jacket.  It is also rather curious that only a tiny amount of blood would have soaked into  the Dobson jacket if it had been transferred during the attack or conceivably after the attack with blood from the knife or hands.  The fact that the blood was on the collar makes it even less probable because staining elsewhere – the sleeve or front of jacket would have been more likely  than the collar, especially if the blood was transferred in the attack. It should also be remembered that the blood stain and the three other loose flakes in the evidence bag were missed by both forensic investigations in the 1990s.

There are further strong circumstantial reasons to doubt the blood sample. Much was made in the Macpherson report of the failure to arrest any of the suspects for two weeks  after the killing and the fact that on two occasions before any arrests were made Dobson and Jamie Acourt  were seen leaving their homes carrying black plastic refuse sacks which might have contained items of clothing (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-18.htm).  The Macpherson report concluded that  this might have been clothes worn at the killing which were being disposed of to destroy any potential forensic evidence, a rather large assumption to say the least.   But If that was indeed the case why would they have kept any of the clothes? Common sense would have told anyone who had been involved in the killing to get rid of everything. . In  addition,  it should be remembered that David Norris’ father Clifford was a heavyweight villain who reputedly ran the drugs trade in South London at that time.  If he knew  his son and others had been involved with the murder  it is difficult to believe he would not have told his son  to make sure all those involved got  rid of any clothing or anything else they were carrying or wearing in case  these  provided  forensic evidence.

Exactly how the Court of Appeal and the DPP concluded this was “New and compelling evidence” I am at a loss to understand.   As for the jury, the judge warned them they had to accept the forensic evidence as being beyond reasonable doubt before moving to the question of whether Dobson and Norris were guilty.   Whether the jury understood the full ramifications and complexity of the forensic evidence we shall never know, but it is difficult to see how they could have met the steep test of “beyond a reasonable doubt”  on any rational basis.

The viciousness of the  white liberal

Nothing I have written is meant to suggest  that Dobson and Norris (or the other suspects) are  admirable human beings.  However, it is interesting to see the hypocrisy and viciousness of   modern day liberals as they respond to this case.

If this had been black defendants from similar backgrounds to those of the five accused the mainstream media would have been full of broadcasts and articles saying their environment was responsible for their misbehaviour, how disadvantaged they were and so on.    Nor has any meaningful  allowance has been  made by the mainstream media for the youth of  Dobson (17) and Norris (16) at the time of the attack or the fact that Norris had a father who was a serious criminal. It should also be borne in mind that the suspects lived in an area of heavy non-white immigration, unlike the regulation issue white liberal who,  curiously you may think for those putative worshippers of diversity, so often manage to  arrange their affairs so that they live in very white worlds.

As they are white working class men,   white liberals (and their black and Asian auxiliaries) feel free to casually vilify them in the crudest manner which demolishes any pretence they have to actually believing in the “liberal internationalist, be understanding, don’t blame anyone”  credo they continuously promote.

That bastion of liberal sanctimony the Guardian greeted the convictions with the tabloid worthy headline Monsters in the dock (http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/06/1?newsfeed=true) while the Daily Telegraph from supposedly the other side of the political spectrum  thought it relevant to comment on the physical appearance of the three members of the original five suspects not charged in this trial – The Acourt brothers and Luke Knight – and to sneer at the difficulties which the all but Jamie Acourt have experienced since the Lawrence murder (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8974918/Stephen-Lawrence-murder-Jamie-Acourt-Neil-Acourt-and-Luke-Knight-profiles.html).

The vindictiveness of the liberal can be seen in their howling for longer sentences for Dobson and Norris – despite the fact that they were aged 17 and 16 at the time of the murder –  and the willingness of those with power to pander to the public cries. The Attorney-General  – a politician in the British government – has already agreed to review the sentences to see if they are “unduly lenient”  because one or more “members of the public” have requested that he do so  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8994957/Stephen-Lawrence-murder-Attorney-General-to-review-sentences.html)

It might be thought that the liberal dominated media would at least have been disturbed by the diluting of double jeopardy, but with a few honourable exceptions such as Peter Hitchens  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2083636/Stephen-Lawrence-murder-I-dont-believe-man-stand-trial-twice-crime.html#ixzz1irbOpuHd) there has been a ghastly silence.

The unpleasant truth (for liberals) is that modern liberals, far from being interested in truth and fairness and  treating all human beings alike, are just like every other human being: they favour those they approve of and attack those they deem beyond the Pale.  In fact, liberals today are more likely to behave viciously towards those of whom they disapprove than the general run of Britons because they are rigid ideologues and like all ideologues they carry their beliefs to any length of sinister absurdity.

Shades of the Barry George conviction

When Barry George was convicted  of the murder of the  television presenter Jill Dando in 2001 I  wrote a pamphlet for the Libertarian Alliance entitled  Barry George and the celebrity effect  [https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/barry-george-and-the-celebrity-effect/ ]. In it I argued  that the evidence  was very weak and entirely circumstantial and the conviction palpably wrong.   The prosecution case, like that in the Dobson/Norris trial, also rested on dubious  forensic evidence.

I attributed the jury’s willingness to convict on such feeble evidence  to Dando’s  celebrity and the massive amount of irrelevant character assignation of George which occurred during the trial, character assassination which  was then gleefully amplified  by the media. Barry George was acquitted on appeal in 2008 when the weakness of the case against him was finally officially recognised.

Something similar seems to have  happened in the case of Dobson and Norris.   The police, the DPP, the  Court of Appeal  had obvious reason not to bring the case to trial or, in the case of the jury, to reach a verdict of guilty. Dobson should not have tried again because of the breach of double jeopardy and even under the new rules on second trials after an acquittal,  neither Dobson nor Norris should have been retried because of the patent impossibility that they would get a fair trial because of all that had occurred in the previous 18 years.  In addition, the new forensic  evidence was seriously compromised by the very real risk of contamination. This should have caused the case to fail to meet the “new and compelling” criteria for a new trial. The jury should have come to a not guilty verdict because clearly the “beyond a reasonable doubt”  standard was not met because of the risk of contamination.   The only plausible explanation for all of these things not happening is the creation by the media, politicians and interest groups of an atmosphere in which none of those involved in the process from gathering evidence to giving a verdict felt it possible to do anything other than allow the process of re-trial to proceed.

It is not necessary for those involved to have consciously made a decision not to do what circumstances and facts said they should do. All that it required is for those involved to have been in effect brainwashed by the coverage of the Lawrence case over 18 years and the ever increasing grip which  “antiracist” propaganda has on Britain which makes many white Britons believe that in some curious way whites are always in the wrong when black complaints of abuse by whites are involved.

This was a political trial pure and simple.  The desire for a conviction became part of the “anti-racist” crusade which the murder generated.  No expense has been spared  with an estimated £50 million having been spent on it  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081901/Stephen-Lawrence-trial-Police-bugged- killers-homes-cars-pubs.htm). At its height 120 officers were employed on the case full time (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081901/Stephen-Lawrence-trial-Police-bugged-killers-homes-cars-pubs.html). Even today there are 25 officers doing the same and suggestions that they should be re-deployed to other duties is causing media uproar.  The squad may well continue, viz.: ‘ Scotland Yard has denied reports that the team investigating the murder of Stephen Lawrence is being disbanded but it admitted the case is currently “dormant”’. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-16435790)

Compare the Lawrence case with the investigation of  the murder of a fifteen year old white boy Richard Everitt by Asians in 1994. (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/the-deaths-of-richard-everitt-and-stephen-lawrence-compare-and-contrast/). One person was convicted of the murder  and released after 11 years. Upwards of ten were in the gang which killed him who went looking for a white boy to attack. Unlike the Lawrence case there has been no sustained  median campaign to bring the others to justice, no Public Inquiry like that of Macpherson, no ongoing massive police  squad devoted to a continuing investigation, no outcry by the media at the release of the convicted killer after only 11 years.  This was a murder which the British elite wished to sweep under the carpet as quickly as possible.  The double standards of the British elite are howlingly obvious and disturbing.  The British public can see what is happening and are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the “white, wrong; black,  right”  policies and mentality of those with power and influence in this country. That could be the ultimate legacy of the Stephen Lawrence circus: the straw which broke the grip of the “antiracist” multicultural propagandists on British life.

Stephen Lawrence’s murder was just that, a murder.  It was as grave a crime as any other murder arising from the similar circumstances of a gang attack. No more, no less.

You must be mad if you don’t believe in the liberal globalist credo

Robert Henderson

Anders Breivik has been declared insane at the time of his mass killings on 22 July 2011 by Norwegian  psychiatrists, Synne Serheim and Torgeir Husby. They claim Breivik was psychotic  before and during  his bomb attack in Oslo and shooting  attack on  Utoya Island which together  left 76 dead.  Prosecutor Svein Holden said Beivik has been diagnosed as  insane and that  “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe”.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8922760/Anders-Behring-Breivik-not-accountable-for-attacks.html).  If this diagnosis is upheld ,  first by a Norwegian  legal medical commission and then by  the Norwegian courts,    Breivik will  be  incarcerated in an asylum, most probably for the rest of his life.

The question of whether Breivik will have a chance to speak at length in open  court  is  still open, viz.:  “The trial will proceed in much the same manner as if Breivik had been found sound of mind. Evidence will still be examined, and the court has the final say as to whether or not they believe Breivik is guilty of having carried out the attacks.”( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15954370). However,  if the question of insanity is the primary issue for the court to decide,  that could mean that Breivik is not allowed to testify  either at all or as freely as he would wish. They could well decide that he was guilty of the crimes without any testimony from Breivik (the facts are scarcely at issue and Breivik admitted his responsibility soon after the event (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14265526)  and then decide on the question of insanity based only on the “expert” evidence.  It is also possible that any court hearing could be held in camera. (It is only too easy to imagine politically correct Norway claiming that as the man was judged to be mentally disturbed,  he should  not be subjected to public scrutiny).   Unless Breivik has a  trial in open court he will disappear from public view without any opportunity  to speak his mind in public.

The matter is further complicated by the question of how Breivik will plead. If he rejects a plea of insanity and wishes to plead not guilty, he will have the obstacle to overcome of having admitted the fact that he did undertake the bombings and shootings.  If he pleads  not guilty  that could result in the court excluding any testimony from Breivik  relating to motive and deciding the matter purely on  his admission to the facts and the question of whether he is or was insane at the time of the killings.  If the Breivik is to plead justification for committing the killings he would need to do so in a way which it would be difficult for the court to refuse him the opportunity to speak at length.  I  think the most probable way he could do this is by arguing that he was acting in self-defence because he believed that the policies of his ruling elite were putting his society and by extension himself at risk. The weakness in his argument would be that he has not attacked those with the actual power and influence but the  youth wing of the party with power..

Breivik’s alternative would be to plead guilty and then use whatever chance the court offers him to speak in mitigation to put forward his justification.  However, if he does that  it would be both easier for the court to restrict what he might say and hold the proceedings in camera.

It will be interesting to see if Breivik is allowed to bring the  witnesses he wants or, indeed,  any witnesses at all,  to court.  These could be to support his claim of sanity or his belief that Norway (and the rest of the European world) is being betrayed by its elites through their  permitting of mass immigration and suppression of dissent about the effects of the immigration.   Those  relevant to supporting his political position could be distinctly embarrassing as Breivik could try to call those politicians he blames for Norway and Europe’s betrayal.  Such applications would almost certainly be refused, but  Norwegian officialdom’s refusal  of them would add to the impression of an elite determined to not hear Breivik’s case.

A taste of the way the things are likely to go in any trial  can be gleaned from this report of Breivik’s court appearance of  15 November 2011: ‘He [Breivik]  then questioned the competence of Judge Torkjel Nesheim “because (the judge) has a mandate from organizations that support multi-culturalism in Norway. Multi-culturalism is an anti-Norwegian hate ideology designed to destruct the Norwegian ethnic group.” He got as far as adding that “destructing the Norwegian ethnic group is the same as ethnic cleansing…” before the judge cut him off, saying the court only wanted to hear from Breivik about his impressions of prison life.

‘Breivik later said he had no problems with the conditions of his custody, but said he “doesn’t accept” his imprisonment because he’s a “military commander.” He recommended Norwegian police look to Saudi Arabia for other “methods of torture.” The judge cut him off several times, refusing to allow Breivik to use the hearing as a “soapbox” to spread his beliefs. As reported earlier, his request to directly address survivors and victims’ families was denied.’ (http://www.newsinenglish.no/2011/11/15/breiviks-altered-sense-of-reality/).  This refusal to allow Breivik to explain himself goes along with the keeping him in solitary confinement and denying him any knowledge of what was happening in the outside world.

Is Breivik  mad?

The psychiatric assessment  is that “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe”.  The problem with this judgement is that while  Breivik’s  political views can be rejected on the grounds that they  are unpalatable,  they are not  based on fantasy. There has been massive immigration into Western societies.  Vast numbers of Muslims have come to Europe. Post-war non-white immigration has both radically altered the societies into which they have come  and  resulted in European elites who suppress dissent and ceaselessly promote multiculturalism.  If immigration continues at a similar rate it will be a fact that over the next half century societies, especially ones with small populations like Norway, are in danger  of seeing their native populations become minorities in their own lands.  To be insane, at least in the English legal sense (McNaughton Rules), Breivik would have to have been  captured by delusions which rendered him unable to understand  reality, for example, a hearing voices in his head directing him to kill people or suffering from a paranoid belief that someone was trying to kill him.    Clearly this is not the case with Breivik’s political ideas. Those are based in reality and long considered.

There is also  the evidence of the meticulous  planning Breivik undertook and his extensive writings  which show someone fully aware of what he wanted to do and, most importantly for an insanity plea , why he wanted to do it. Breivik clearly understood that what he was doing would have been immoral as uncontexted acts, but these were given (he believed)  a  moral context because of the political and social circumstances  created by the liberal elites.

Nor could Breivik’s killing spree be reasonably used to decide that he is insane. There are innumerable terrorists who have killed with the same callous disregard but they have not been adjudged insane or, indeed, has there been any official  attempt to suggest that they were insane.   Evil, bad, immoral maybe, but not mad.

Compare  Breivik’s s assessment of the world  with the modern  liberals’ belief system. His is a recognition of what mass immigration and political correctness has actually wrought: theirs is a fantasy world  in which humanity is one big happy family with its human atoms readily interchangeable between place, culture and time regardless of race or sex.

An elite stitch up?

The diagnosis  of insanity  comes as no surprise.  Shortly after Breivik’s arrest his lawyer Geir Lippestad  conducted a press conference (on 26th July)  in  which client confidentiality was non-existent and Lippestad’s adverse opinions of his client were given full reign  in a way which is astonishing to  British eyes.   Apart from telling  the world that Breivik was a “a cold personality” ;  assuring them that Breivik hates “anyone who democratic” and that he thinks Breivik’s ideology as outlined in his manifesto is irrelevant to the case (which is a pointer to how his defence may be conducted),  Lippestad  made the astonishing comment  “This whole case has indicated that he’s insane “ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14292212).  I listened to  press conference as it was taking place and I noted  Lippstad as saying he was  discussing  an insanity plea with the prosecutor, although he has not seen fit  to tell his client that he is doing any of this.  (I have not been able to track down a full version of the press conference and the excerpts  which  are publicly available do not contain these  statements. Nor can I find it reported anywhere  in print. The longest extract I have found online is around 14 minutes long http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtXIGw0BvbM&feature=related).  A diagnosis of insanity would appear to have been the tacitly  or overtly agreed Norwegian  elite solution to the acute problem Breivik represents for not only them but  for elites everywhere  in countries whose governments  have signed up to the globalist multiculturalist creed. As for Breivik’s chances of controlling his defence, Lippestad stated baldly The “I won’t take no instructions [from Breivik]”  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtXIGw0BvbM&feature=related –  enter at 2 minutes 14 seconds).  On the face of it Breivik has a lawyer who will be unwilling to present a defence as Breivik wishes it to be presented.

How does  Breivik view the situation? He is reported as  describing the insanity diagnosis  as insulting   (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15954370). However,  he might not be too perturbed in reality because such a ploy by the  Norwegian judicial system would bolster his claims of a  corrupt and treasonous political elite who will stop at nothing to enforce their will and ideology.

Breivik’s  choice of lawyer Geir Lippestad  is interesting. Lippestad is a member of the Norwegian Labour Party.  He  specifically asked for Lippestad to represent him. Bearing in mind Beivik’s penchant for planning and research, it is improbable that he did not know Lappestad was a member of the party he despised. Why did he choose Lappestad?  Probably to ensure that his trial was seen as seriously flawed, to demonstrate publicly through the manner of Lippestad’s  defence how biased and controlling the Norwegian elite has become. The choice of Lippestad also has the advantage of placing a member of the Norwegian liberal establishment in the excruciatingly embarrassing situation of defending the man who has waged war on the young of Lippestad’s  own political party. (I have had the sneaking feeling ever since the killings that Breivik is working the Norwegian liberal elite with his foot).

It has been suggested that Lippestad was chosen because he defended  the white  killer of a mixed race victim in 2002 and Breivik asked for him because he thought Lippestad would be the best defence lawyer  because of the way that Lippestad conducted the 2002 case.  This is very implausible because Breivik could have had no illusions about being found either not guilty or insane.   The best Breivik could hope for  was a trial in open court with his ideas put before the public.  The quality of the defence  lawyer is irrelevant  in such circumstances (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/norway/8663525/Norway-killers-lawyer-Geir-Lippestad-defended-neo-Nazi.html

Doubtless a public trial in which he has his chance to speak at length  would have been Breivik’s preferred outcome, but the sinister act of having him declared mad – a tactic all too familiar from regimes such as those of the Soviet Union and  Communist China – could fit into his general purpose of demonstrating the  mentality he accuses Western elites of possessing. A flawed trial caused by the wilful inadequacies of his lawyer would reinforce the point that the Norwegian elite are determined not to allow any view but their own politically correct one to have a public hearing.

Can Breivik get a fair trial?

Beivik has been kept in solitary confinement and denied any knowledge of what is happening in the outside world. When he has appeared in court it has been mostly in camera. What we  know of Breivik’s attempts to speak at his court appearances show a judiciary determined to disallow any attempt to explain his motives.  Breivik’s lawyer has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of doing what Breivik wants.  To cap it all, psychiatrists find Breivik insane.

The solitary confinement might just about be explained by fears  that other prisoners would attack Breivik, although he could have been placed with prisoners without a history of violence. For the  rest it is simply an attempt to

denial of knowledge of the outside  world there is no security excuse and it can only have been  done for the petty reason of denying  Breivik any chance of deriving satisfaction from seeing what effect he has had. However, it has the unintended consequence of  making  it impossible for him to properly instruct his lawyer or  assess the advice given by his lawyer,  things which would seriously mitigate against a fair trial.   It also means that Breivik cannot use the response of politicians and the media to the attacks in any justification based on his  political position.

The liberal’s fear of Breivik

Why are liberals so very terrified of Breivik that they cannot bear the idea of him being thought sane or willingly countenance his  justifications for the attacks being presented to the public ?  After all,  this is a mass murderer  who presents his ideas in a distinctly eccentric form by wrapping his idea for a revolution against the ruling elites in the highly anachronistic clothes of the mediaeval military order of the Knights Templars, a group to which he considers himself and fellow spirits to be the heirs to.   Here is a sample of his curious mixture of ancient and modern:

“3.12 Re-founding of Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – PCCTS, the Knights Templar The European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal (the PCCTS – Knights Templar) was created by and for the free indigenous peoples of Europe. One of the primary purposes of the tribunal and order is to attempt/contribute to seize political and military control of Western European multiculturalist regimes and to try, judge and punish Western European cultural Marxist/multiculturalist perpetrators (category A, B and C traitors) for crimes committed against the indigenous peoples of Europe from 1955 until this day.

“Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – PCCTS (the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon), the Knights Templar was re-founded in London in 2002 by representatives from eight European countries, for the purpose of serving the interests of the free indigenous peoples of Europe and to fight against the ongoing European Jihad (referred to as the “third Jihad”). The Knights Templar was re-founded as a pan-European nationalist military order and a military/criminal tribunal with two primary objectives. The order is to serve as an armed Indigenous Rights Organisation and as a Crusader Movement (anti-Jihad movement). “  2083 – A European Declaration of Independence

The original Breivik  link to the manifesto – http://andersbreivik.co.uk/2083/ – has been nullified,  but the full document can be found at (http://www.kevinislaughter.com/wp-content/uploads/2083+-+A+European+Declaration+of+Independence.pdf).

Nonetheless,  in between all the romantic eccentricity are  ideas which strike deep into the heart of the liberal fantasy:  that Islam is compatible with Western society, that mass immigration is treason and that  feminism enfeebles a society by feminising men.   Breivik  is a challenge to   the entire politically correct edifice on which the liberal rests.    Worse, the liberal, like all ideologues, knows in their heart of hearts that their  ideology cannot withstand contrary argument because ideologies are always  incomplete description of  the world and consequently erroneous guides to action.

In the case of liberal internationalism  the ideology is especially vulnerable.  The liberal knows that the society they wish to see conflicts with  the way in which human beings actually behave  in the most fundamental way. That does not discourage the liberal because they do not believe in human nature and ascribe all behaviours to social conditioning. Consequently, any behaviour of which they disapprove can be changed by altering the conditioning.  Any failure of the re-conditioning is ascribed to it being applied over  insufficient time or of the re-conditioning not being rigorous enough.  There is never a natural point for the 24 carat liberal believer to say this will not work.

But although the liberal is certain that success will be eventually attained, they know that during the re-conditioning period the old social habits will remain and can still be powerfully appealed to.  That drives the liberal to believe that suppression of any dissent directed at the imposition of the new “liberal”  behaviours is morally justified on the grounds that the ends justify the means. The problem is the liberal’s view of how human beings  work is wondrously wide of the  mark and the re-conditioning will never succeed because it goes against basic human desires. The best the liberal can hope for is to suppress dissent to give the appearance of a step change in human behaviour.  Breivik is a frightening  challenge to that strategy of suppression.

No matter what the evidence to the contrary is, the true believers will continue to  believe because to do otherwise would be emotionally impossible for them. They believe still that it is simply a question of time and “education”, a word which is unreservedly sinister in the mouth of the modern liberal.  But  many , probably most, ostensible  liberals understand that there is such a thing as human nature and know that what they are asking of people is unnatural and will never be accepted. The problem for such people is that they are trapped into a situation where they have to keep pretending the ideology is correct for reasons of self-preservation.  At best they risk the loss of their privileged position if the liberal censorship is broken ; at  worse, they  could  be held to account for the treason which is mass immigration. Those fears  drive them to support the unreconstructed true believers  when they  behave ever more tyrannically in their suppression of dissent, which in Breivik’s case means  doing their best to censor his words and pretend that he is simply an unbalanced aberration which has nothing to do with their ideology.

Perhaps the most telling moments during Geir Lippestad  press conference of 26th July were  when he   answered the question “Why did he [Breivik] think it was a good idea to start a war by  attacking  members of  the Labour Party  rather than Islamics?”  With “I cannot understand that”  followed by repetitions along the same lines.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnbOtoJHUZI – go into the recording at  33 seconds). This was unbelievable because Breivik had  a clear and obvious motive, namely, Breivik was attacking the  next generation of the class whom he had identified as being responsible for the political and social problems which had driven him to act.   In  his mind Breivik  was culling those he saw as the future traitors and  sending messages to both the Norwegian elite and general public that the permitting of mass immigration = treason.   Yet Lippestad could not bring himself to either acknowledge what was obvious or even  offer an alternative explanation.  Interestingly, it was during this  answer that Lippestad  appeared to be at his most stressed during the press conference.

The right-wing broadcaster Glen Beck likened the youth wing whose members Breivik shot to the Hitler Youth: “”There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler youth, or, whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics. Disturbing,” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/26/glenn-beck-norwegian-dead-hitler) .  It would be more accurate to liken the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing  the Workers’ Youth League (Arbeidernes ungdomsfylking, AUF) to the Soviet youth organisation  Komsomol . The AUF is  affiliated with the International Union of Socialist Youth and  Young European Socialists  and the Nordic Labour Youth Movement (FNSU).  Many members of the AUF have gone on to high positions in the party. Indeed, the present Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, was once a member.  It is in that context that Breivik’s decision to attack the AUF  members should be seen.  I would agree with Beck that “a camp for kids that’s all about politics” is disturbing under any circumstances; in the context of Norwegian politics it is verging on the sinister because of the dominance of the Norwegian Labour Party over a very long period of time.

A de facto one-party state

How ideologically one-dimensional Norwegian society has become can be seen from the position of the Norwegian Labour Party (NLP).  Between 1945 and 1961 it held an absolute majority in the Norwegian parliament.   Since 1935 there have only been 16 years when the Norwegian Prime Minister has not been drawn from the Party.  It is presently the dominant party in the Red-Green Coalition which governs Norway.  (The coalition is formed of the  Socialist Left Party  and the Centre Party).

The history of the NLP  over the past thirty years  mirrors that of the British Labour Party. It began the period as a social democratic party, then shifted to supporting economic liberalisation and a programme of privatisation. At the same time it became every more ideologically committed to what is now called political correctness.

Interestingly, In 2011, the Norwegian Labour Party (Det norske arbeiderparti)  dropped the Norwegian and became simply the  Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet).  This was ostensibly on the ground that the electorate was confused  by the term Norwegian Labour Party because it was known commonly as the Labour Party. I suspect that the explanation will strike most people as simply absurd as the Norwegians had been returning the Party to the Norwegian parliament in droves for over seventy years.

A more likely explanation is that the “Norwegian” part of the title sat uneasily in a party which was firmly committed to internationalism in general and to Norway’s eventual  membership of the EU in particular.  The EU dimension is more important than it might seem. It is true that the Norwegian electorate thwarted the Norwegian political elite’s wish for Norway to sign up as a full member of the EU, but  the lesser relationship which Norway  agreed to  – its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) – still allows the EU to exercise profound influence over Norway (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/if-we-leave-the-eu-we-mustnt-be-another-norway/ ).

EEA membership requires that subscribing states have to accept the “four freedoms” of the EU: the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital among the EEA countries as well as those comprising the EU.  This the prime reason for not joining the EEA or having a bilateral relationship with the EU similar to that of Switzerland.  These “four freedoms” mean amongst other things that  EEA members cannot meaningfully control immigration, protect their economy, prevent foreign takeovers or  freely engage in any new taxpayer funded  subsidy  for  which is judged to interfere with the market (article 61).

These restrictions on Norway’s sovereignty mean that the Norwegian political elite can obtain much of their internationalist politically correct ends . Most importantly for the Breivik case, the four freedoms mean that Norway cannot prevent immigration from the EU.  This has allowed the immigration which has disturbed so many Norwegians.  Before the “four freedoms” Norway could control its immigration: now it cannot. Take away the immigration and Breivik may well have never even contemplated doing what he did.

What drove Breivik from ideas to action?

In  Right Now! magazine in July 1995 (issue 8 The Treason of the Liberals (https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/the-oslo-massacre-and-the-treason-of-the-liberals/ ) I examined the reasons which led Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. I attributed the cause to the creation by white liberal elites of circumstances which utterly alienated the white masses in whose interests they supposedly exercised power. The permitting of the mass immigration of those who by their nature could not or would not assimilate into white European societies and their overseas offshoots such as the USA by itself undermined the national cohesion.

If that was not damaging enough, the liberal elites used the upheaval wrought by mass immigration as a launch pad for what has become a rigid ideological creed by the name of political correctness. In the name of “anti-discrimination” all the old certainties were overturned: the dominance of the white population in white societies; the traditional place of the man; the distrust of homosexual behaviour all went by the board. The white male who was outside the liberal elite was left high and dry, constantly hemmed in with criticism and accusations about what was permissible.

To enforce the new politically correctly regime the state became ever more intrusive and the white person, and especially the white male, found themselves ever more marginalised. Whites became actively disadvantaged in ever sphere as far as it was in the power of governments to arrange this. Minority groups were given preference in employment (especially state employment) and higher education; political parties and corporate bodies rushed to ensure they could present a “diverse” face to the public and. To speak against this courted loss of employment or even jail.

At the same time Governments throughout the First World wrapped themselves ever more tightly in international treaties such as those of the UN, the WTO and the EU. More and more was taken out of the hands of national governments. More and more liberal elites insisted they could not do anything other than the politically correct because it would breach a treaty or be illegal. Democratic control was sucked  from national politics. Anyone who disagreed with what was being done under the liberal internationalist banner had no democratic path to follow.

The dimension of violence

Many in the West like to imagine that their societies are  beyond not only the crude politics of violence, but  of  socially approved violence generally. This is a myth.  Western societies value many purveyors of violence;  the police, state security organisations, armed forces and private  security guards.  The rich and powerful  have no doubt about the value of personal bodyguards, celebrities routinely use “minders”, clubs use bouncers and everyone but everyone is only too glad to see another use violence to defend them should the need arise.

Liberals will of course recoil at the idea that they are comfortable with  violence, but they are as willing as anyone to embrace those with a talent for violence. Look at the war-mongering propensities of Blair and Cameron which have ensured Britain has been at war since the late 1990s. Even if they do not war-monger they keep their mouths shut when  it suits them. Take the state massacre at Waco (http://www.serendipity.li/waco.html). That happened under Bill Clinton’s presidency. Were the government agents responsible brought to justice? They were not.   Did liberals generally rail against that monstrous act which resulted in women and children being burnt to death? They did not. Somehow the people at Waco were not quite the right sort of victim for liberals to care deeply about.

But it is not just violence which might seem legitimate in as much as the state  overtly  sanctions it  for reasons which are ostensibly at least for the defence of the individual and society at large, whether that be the maintenance of law and order, the defence of  national territory or the etiolated  national interest claims which cover the aggressive wars  in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya that is accepted as legitimate. Anyone who enjoys watching a sport which involves violence and danger is not merely saying this is violence which is regrettably necessary, they are actively enjoying the violence.  If you wish to see the excitement at its most explicit  and primal go to a an evening of professional boxing.  The men will be excited,  but it is the women you want to watch. They will be in a state of what can only be described as sexual arousal.

Then  there is the very considerable appetite for violence in films, plays and pornography.  War, gangster  and violent super-hero films are perennially popular.  There is a current fad for “torture porn” offerings such as the “Saw”  series.  Sadomasochistic websites are legion – I put “sadomasochism”  into Google and it came up with 2,490,000 results.  People routinely stop to gawp at road accidents. Going back into history the popularity of the Roman games  and the large crowds public executions point to the fact that the interest in violence is deeply imbedded in human nature.  It needs an outlet.  A society which too rigorously controls  such desires  may cause people to satisfy their inclinations  in much more harmful ways than  one which takes a relaxed attitude and offers relatively harmless outlets for the desires.

Why does violence hold such a fascination for humans?  It is dramatic. It causes the adrenalin to flow.   Fictional depictions of it at least offer an innocent escape from a world which is generally not only violence free but physically risk free. Perhaps most pertinently for the Breivik killings, depictions of violence in fictional form may  have a special attraction for men living in a society which is tightly controlled not only in matters of violence but generally. Films such as the Godfather  trilogy show a world in which people are not constrained by the rules of society, a world  in which men respond to even petty irritations with unbridled and disproportionate force. That has an obvious attraction for men  living in societies  which are  subjected to  the petty tyrannies of  political correctness which require  men to deny  all their natural instincts.

Norway is just such a society, one in which feminism is especially strong.   For example, there is a    legal requirement for  women to form at  least  40%  of  the boards of both  private enterprise  publicly quoted  companies  and state owned companies – the latter  include  any company which is  two-thirds owned by a municipality (http://www.nordiclabourjournal.org/i-fokus/gender-equality/article.2011-03-06.0387074773). At the level of mainstream Norwegian politics at least, masculinity is severely marginalised. One of Breivik’s complaints is that he was feminised by Norwegian society because of its emphasis on feminism. It could be that at least part of the reason he moved from thought to dramatic action was because his natural male instincts towards violence had no adequate outlet within the  society, that he felt suffocated by the cloying feminism.

His capacity for and willingness to use violence  sets Breivik  apart. It is one thing to hold dissident views, quite another to translate them into dramatic action . The psychological  power of violence is immense. It gives significance to all who use it. In the film Bronson, Tom Hardy plays Britain’s longest  serving prisoner  Michael Gordon Peterson who adopted the name of Charles Bronson.  At one point in the film Bronson is being transferred to a new jail. There he is  interviewed by the prison governor who says “Bronson, you are ridiculous and pathetic”, which would have been true but for one thing: Bronson’s amazing  capacity for violence.  This simple quality made him anything but ridiculous and pathetic  because it introduced the  most disabling  of emotions “fear”  into the equation.  That  is what saves Breivik from being pathetic , ridiculous and impotent, his capacity for violence and his will to use it.

Breivik put himself beyond the Pale because of the incontinent  manner of his killings, although they were not random because his targets were members of a type of Norwegian Komsomol. But  here is a question: what if Beivik  had killed only those with power, those who had committed  that most fundamental act of treason, namely, the covert conquest of a homeland by mass immigration?  Would it be quite so easy to see his actions as maniacally evil?

Margaret Thatcher: the most useful of idiots

With his mixture of vaulting intellectual ambition and howling mediocrity of mind, Lenin is the MaGonagal of  philosophers. (Connoisseurs of intellectual incompetence and pretension should browse through Lenin’s ‘Materialism and  Empririo-Criticism’ for an especial treat). Nonetheless,  like Hitler, the man possessed a certain low animal cunning  and a complete absence of moral restraint, which qualities  permitted him to make a few acute psychological and  sociological observations. Amongst these is the concept of  the useful idiot.

For Lenin this was the role to be played primarily by  simpleminded bourgeois dupes who unwittingly aided the  movement towards the proletarian revolution, a revolution  utterly antipathetic to the ideals and aspiration of the simpleminded bourgeois dupes. But the concept is of general  political utility. The useful idiot is any person who acts  in a way which unwittingly promotes political interests  which are opposed to his own political ideals.

The best of all useful idiots are those in positions of the  greatest political advantage, both because they have power  and their  propensity to be  deluded by their egos  into believing that they are utterly beyond manipulation or mistaken in their policies. They also display a serious want of  understanding of the probable consequences of their actions.

It was this combination of circumstances and mentality which  made Margaret Thatcher so potent a useful idiot in the  liberal internationalist cause.  As I wrote that last sentence, I saw rising up before me the  opposing hordes of her admirers and haters, singularly  united in a ghastly embrace of disbelief. Was she not the  Iron Lady, the Hammer of the Left, the destroyer of union  power, the slayer of the socialist dragon? Did she not speak  of turning back the tide of immigrants? Was she not the rock  from which the European Leviathan rebounded? Did she not  ensure that Britain was respected in the world as she had not  been since Suez? Was she not a mover and shaker in the nationalist cause?

In her own rhetorical world Mrs T was all of these things,  a veritable Gloriana who enchanted some and banally persuaded  many more, but in practical achievement she was none of them. This discrepancy between fact and fancy made her an  extraordinarily potent tool for the soldiers of the  ascendant ideology of the post-war period, the sordid bigotry  that is liberal internationalism.

The hard truth is that she allowed the primary British  political corruptions of the post war period – immigration,  multiculturalism, “progressive” education, the social work  circus,  internationalism, the attachment to Europe – to not  merely continue but grow vastly in scope during her period in  power.

A harsh judgement? Well, at the end of her premiership what  did Britain have to show for her vaunted patriotism, her wish  to maintain Britain’s independence, her desire to drive back the state, her promise to end mass immigration? Precious  little is the answer.

Her enthusiastic promotion of the Single European Act, which  she ruthlessly drove through Parliament, allowed the  Eurofederalists to greatly advance their cause under the  guise of acting to produce a single market; her “triumph” in  reducing our subsidy to Europe left us paying  several billion  a year to our European competitors whilst France paid next to  nothing; our fishermen were sold down the river; farmers  placed in the absurd position of not being allowed to produce  even enough milk for British requirements; actual (as opposed to official) immigration increased; that monument to liberal  bigotry, the Race Relations Act was untouched, the  educational vandals were not only allowed to sabotage every  serious attempt to overturn the progressive disaster, but  were granted a great triumph in the ending of ‘O’ levels, a  liberal bigot success amplified by the contemptible bleating  of successive education secretaries that “rising examination  success means rising standards”; foreign aid continued to be  paid as an unforced Dangeld extracted from an unwilling electorate; major and strategically  important industries either ceased to be serious competitors  or ended in foreign hands; the armed forces were cut  suicidally; the cost of the Welfare State and local  government rose massively whilst the service provided both  declined and Ulster was sold down the river with the Anglo Irish Agreement. Most generally damaging, she promoted  internationalism through her fanatic pursuit of free trade.

At all points Britain was weakened as a nation. Such were  the fruits of more than a decade of Thatcherism. Even those things which are most emblematic of her – privatisation, the sale of council houses and the  subjection of the unions – have had effects which are  contrary to those intended. Privatisation merely accelerated  the loss of control which free trade engendered. We may as customers celebrate the liberation of British Telecom and BA,  but is it such a wonderful thing to have no major car  producer or shipbuilder? The trouble with the privatisation of major industries, which may be greatly reduced, go out  of business or be taken over by foreign buyers, is that it  ignores strategic and social welfare questions. Ditto free trade generally. Both assume that the world, or at least the  parts which contain our major trading partners , will remain  peaceful, stable and well disposed towards Britain for ever, an absurd assumption.

Margaret Thatcher also engaged in behaviour which led to a corruption of public life which undermined and continues to  undermine her intended ends. Politicians should always think of what precedent they are setting when they act for bad  precedents will be invariably seized upon by later  governments. She  consistently failed to  address this concern. Take her attitude to privatisation and  the unions. In the former case she displayed a contempt for  ownership: in the latter she engaged in authoritarian actions  which were simply inappropriate to a democracy. Such legally  and politically cavalier behaviour has undoubtedly  influenced Blair and New Labour, vide the contempt with which  parliament is now treated, constitutional change wrought and incessant restrictions on liberty enacted.

There is a profound ethical question connected to  privatisation which was never properly answered by Tories:  what right does the state have to dispose by sale of assets  which are held in trust on behalf of the general public and  whose existence has been in large part guaranteed by  taxpayer’s money? This is a question which should be as  readily asked by a conservative as by a socialist for it  touches upon a central point of democratic political  morality, the custodianship of public property. The same ends  – the diminution of the state and the freeing of the public from seemingly perpetual losses – could have been achieved by  an equitable distribution of shares free of charge to the  general public. This would have had, from a Thatcherite standpoint, the additional benefit of greatly increasing share ownership. By selling that which the government did not  meaningfully own, she engaged in behaviour which if it had  been engaged in by any private individual or company would  have been described as fraud or theft.

The breaking of union power was overdone. As someone who is  old enough to remember the Wilson, Heath and Callaghan years,  I have no illusion of exactly how awful the unions were when they had real power. But her means of breaking their abusive  ways, particularly during the miners’ strike, were simply  inappropriate in a supposed democracy. Passing laws restricting picketing and making unions liable for material  losses suffered when they broke the rules were one thing: the  using of the police in an unambiguously authoritarian manner in circumstances of dubious legality such as the blanket  prevention of free movement of miners, quite another.

The Falklands War displays another side of her weakness in  matching actions to rhetoric. Admirable as the military action was, the terrible truth is that the war need never  have been fought if the government had taken their intelligence reports seriously and retained a naval presence  in the area. The lesson went unlearnt, for within a few years  of the recovery of the Falklands, her government massively  reduced defence expenditure.

But what of her clients, the Liberal Ascendency? Would they  not be dismayed by much of what she did? Well, by the time  Margaret Thatcher came to power liberals had really lost whatever interest they had ever had in state ownership or the  genuine improvement of the worker’s lot. What they really  cared about was promoting their internationalist vision and  doctrine of spurious natural rights. They had new clients;  the vast numbers of coloured immigrants and their children,  women, homosexuals, the disabled. In short, all those who were dysfunctional, or could be made to feel dysfunctional, in terms of British society. They had new areas of power and  distinction, social work, education, the civil service ,the  mass media to which they added, after securing the  ideological high ground, the ancient delights of politics.

Although the liberal left distrusted and hated Margaret  Thatcher (and did not understand at the time how effective  her commitment to free trade was in promoting  internationalism), they nonetheless had the belief throughout  her time in office that Britain’s involvement in the EU and  the Liberal Ascendency’s control of education, the media, the  civil service and bodies such as the Commission for Racial  Equality would thwart those of her plans which were most dangerous and obnoxious to the liberal.

Margaret Thatcher greatly added to this wall of opposition  by her choice of ministers. Think of her major cabinet  appointments. She ensured that the Foreign Office remained in the hands of men (Howe and Hurd) who were both ardent  Europhiles and willing tools of the FO Quisling culture, the  Chancellorship was entrusted to first Howe and then Lawson who was also firmly committed to Europe. The Home Office sat  in the laps of the social liberals Whitelaw, Hurd and Baker,  Education was given to Baker and Clarke. Those appointments  alone ensured that little would be done to attack the things  which liberals held sacred, for they were men who broadly  shared the liberal values and who were opposed to  Thatcherite policies other than those on the economy, which  of course was the one Thatcherite policy guaranteed to  assist liberal internationalism. By the end, she was so weak  that she was unable to prevent the effective sacking of a  favourite cabinet minister, Nicholas Ridley, by the German  Chancellor.

The constant cry of Margaret Thatcher after  she left office  is that she did not understand the consequences of her acts.  Of course she does not put it in that way, but that is what  it amounts to. She blames Brussels and the Foreign Office for  the unwelcome consequences of the Single European Act. She  readily admits that this minister or that in her government proved unreliable or treacherous, but does not conclude that  her judgement in choosing them was at fault. She blames the  Foreign Office for the Falklands War. But nowhere does she acknowledge her fault.

In her heart of hearts, has  the second longest serving and most  ideological prime minister in modern British history ever comprehended, however imperfectly, that she was a prime mover  in the Liberal Internationalist cause? I doubt it, because  self deception is at the heart of what makes a useful idiot.

The racial and ethnic make-up of the 2011 rioters

Robert Henderson

The mainstream  British media and politicians are desperate to claim that the recent riots and looting  have no racial context and that it is a multicultural event.(In fact, they have unwittingly reduced it to a black/white event because Asians are omitted in their narrative). This is absurd as anyone can see from the TV and Press coverage of the actual riots that the vast majority of those taking part are black.  However, although this is shriekingly obvious no one has published any breakdown by race or ethnicity of those taking part. This is an attempt to fill the gap by analysing the names of those charged with offences.

The Daily Telegraph compiled a list of 466 people charged with offences relating to the UK riots which began on 7 August 2011 who had appeared in court by 11 August. The Telegraph story is at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8698443/UK-riots-suspected-looters-statistics-and-court-cases.html.

Of the 466 people, 295 are named, the others being those under the age of 18 or those suspected to be under the age of 18 (under 18s cannot be named in British courts except where the court deems it reasonable) plus a few for whom the Telegraph did not have names.  I have listed the 297 named people below. Under them are the facts which need to taken into account when assessing   the racial and ethnic origins of the rioters.

Dale Siddall,Male,18

Alexander Elliott-joahill,Male,18,4/16/1993

Christopher EDWARDS.

Samir Drissi,Male,18,3/6/1993

Kyle Smith,Male,18,4/2/1993

Arjun Tassinari,Male,18,9/7/1992

Rodney Benoni Davis,Male,18,4/28/1993

Djibrile Batrane,Male,18,4/18/1993

Jamaal Hakim Hislop Whall,Male,18,12/24/1992

Reece Davis-james,Male,18

Dane Williamson

Ali Ladji Ford,Male,18,9/25/1992

Omar Muktar Farah,Male,18,11/14/1992

Ahmed Al-jaf,Male,18,3/22/1993

James Antwi,Male,18,12/19/1992

Zishan Hussain,Male,18

Samuel Jolly,Male,18

Graeme Paton, Male

Sanchez Banton,Male,18

Nathan Dempster,Male,18

David Attoh,Male,18

Laura Cook,Female,18

Aaron Warwood,Male,18

Abdul Majid,Male,18

Alexander Elliott-johill,Male,18

Amir Shar,Male,18

Ashton Alexander,Male,18

Beidir Amin,Male,18

Curtis Dejean,Male,

Jacques Samuel De La Lubie,Male,18

Jamal Ebanks,Male,18

Joseph Moran,Male,18

Liam Allan,Male,18

Michael  Binns,Male,18

Michael Caillaux,Male,18

Ricky Gemmell,Male,18,,

Ryan Brack,Male,18

Samir Shah,Male,18

Sebastian Praxitelous,Male,18

Shane Collett,Male,18

Lee Anthony Slade,Male,

Taryk Claytonabdorahman,Male,

Karmal Rizvi,Male,19

Miss Victoria Holmes,Female,

Ahmed Diakhaby,Male,19,2/20/1992,

Byron Cawley,Male,19,3/14/1992

Bennie Acato,Male,19,10/31/1991

Sean Mitchell ,Male,19,8/22/1991

Mr Nathan Anthony George Henry,Male,

Lorriane Andalinda Mcgrane,Male,

Dirye,Male,19,7/22/1992

Jamie Hoang,Male,19,7/1992

Adel Driouch,Male,19,11/11/1991

Adewumi Adebayo ,Male,19,6/3/1992

Heather Russell,Female,19

Kumail Rizvi,Male,19

Adam Ozdas,Male,19

Laura Johnson,Female,19

Christopher Clark,Male,19

Mr Shourov Chowdhury,Male,19,2/2/1992

Hamza Alamin Abubakar,Male,19

Stefan Hoyle,Male,19,1/21/1992

Max Doran Raven,Male,19,7/30/1992

Byron Cawley,Male,19

Callum Powell,Male,19

Carl Pine,Male,19

Charlie Herron,Male,19

Hamza Abubakar,Male,19

Michael Doyle,Male,19

Quamai Nugent,Male,19

Shourov Choudhury,Male,19

Tyrrel Shannon,Male,19

Youssef El-idrissi,Male,19

Peter Bugososlavsky,Male,20

Aaron Young,Male,20,3/19/1991

Pierre Wilkinson,Male,20,10/7/1990

Peter David Morgan,Male,20,4/22/1991

Lance Prince,Male,20,11/10/1990

Miss Shereece Ashley,Female

Jerome Lewis,Male,20,1/3/1991

Hodan Hussain,Male,20

Alicia Smith,Female,20

Abdiasis Ibrahim,Male,20

Badawi Elbadawi,Male,20,3/27/1991

Omar Talab,Male,20,6/29/1991

Danielle Mcshane,Female,20

Levi Nesbitt,Male,20

Ohene Bamfo,Male,20

Jordan Kelly,Male,20,1/9/1991

Adam Sieniuc,Male,20

Olufemi Akande,Male,20

Lloyd Coudjoe,Male,20

Thomas Anthony Livingstone,Male,20

Curtis Burke,Male,20

David Lukeman,Male,20

Gary Howe-sampson,Male,20

Gregory Coleman,Male,20

Harrison Mccalla,Male,20

John Alexander,Male,20

Jordan Blackshaw,Male,20

Munir Zaman,Male,20

Oliver Johnson,Male,20

Perry Atherton,Male,20

Ronnie Whitby,Male,20

Samuel Caillaux,Male,20

Shereece Ashley,Female,20

Darren Aiken,Male,21

Tyrone Thaddeus Coombs,Male,21,5/16/1990

Billy Bennett,Male,21,9/25/1989,

Nathan David Evans,Male,21,11/14/1989

Gavin RichardEdwards,Male,21,3/13/1990

Khuram Iftikhar,,21

Conrad Mcgrath,Male,21

Adam El-wahabi,Male,21,3/30/1990

Leandro Santos

Desaevasconcelos,Male,21

Ricky Farrant,Male,21

Aaron Israel,Male,21,4/24/1990

Amir Mostafa,Male,21,10/19/1989

Reece Mcdonagh,Male,21

Ryan Kaputula,Male,21

Billy Watson,Male,21

Donness Bissessar,,21

Daniel Hourd,Male,21

Kairo Lawson,Male,21

Leandro Santosdesaevasconcelos,Male,21

Marouanae Rouhi,Male,21

Reiss Wilson,Male,21

Saffron Armstrong,Male,21,,

Shaundre Robinson,Male,21

Tyrone Coombs,Male,21

Jade Wallace,Female,22

Mr Travis Cadagon ,Male,22,9/1/1988

Abdullah Ansari,Male,22,5/25/1989

Ishmail Lokko ,Male,22,2/28/1989

Craig Moody,Male,22,1/31/1989

Jason Akinole,Male,22,12/3/1988

Armin Naserbakht,Male,22,7/23/1989

Fredrick Osei,Male,22,1/3/1989

Abbas Larti,Male,22,2/11/1989,

Farshad Dousti,Male,22,3/31/1989

Daniel Ullah,Male,22

Shonola Smith,,22

Aaron Grima,Male,22

Samuel Green,Male,22

Micah Lammie,Male,22,3/18/1989

Pete Kemoy Williams,Male,22,2/15/1989

Mr Piotr Dziedzic,Male,22,2/27/1989

Oliver Tetlow,Male,22

Jack Lamb,Male,22

Andrew Britten,Male,22

Clive Morris,Male,22

David O’neil,Male,22

Fraser Giscombe,Male,22

Gassam Ojjeh,Male,22

Lee Mcaloney,Male,22

Mark Anthony Baker,Male,22

Piotr Dziedvic,Male,22

Samuel Thomas Green,Male,22

Tom Skinkis,Male,22,12/29/1988

Rhys Cleary,Male,23

Dayle Blinkhorn,,23

James Oliver Tomlinson,Male,23,3/3/1988

Dammy Sofekun,Male,23,3/14/1988

Brice Haddan Green,Male,23,7/9/1988

Anthony Akueruka,Male,23,6/3/1988

Samon Adesina,Male,23,9/11/1987

Christopher James Harte,Male,23

Mr Nicolas Robinson,Male,23,8/3/1988

Christopher Hart,Male,23,

Amerpreet Gill,Male,23

Antany Edwards,Male,23

Brice Green,Male,23

Callum Nugent,Male,23

Christopher Heart,Male,23

Imran Khan,Male,23

Luke Blakemore,Male,23

Nicholas Robinson,Male,23

Richard Mccoy,Male,23

Ross Jackson,Male,23

Jason Hedgecock,Male,24

Kaine Stephen Thorpe,Male,24,5/1/1987

Natasha Mavis Reid,Female,24,10/25/1986

George Austin,Male,24,11/18/1986

Mr George Austin,Male,24,11/18/1986

Linda Boyd,Female,24

Ross Lynch,Male,24

Sanh Ngan,Male,24,7/31/1987

Marvin Seymour,Male,24

Lucian Trufia,Male,24

Natasha Reid,Female,24

Craig Fullerton,Male,24

Dwaine Spence,Male,24

Kellie Hall,Female,25,4/15/1986

Youssuf Addow,Male,25,3/4/1986

David Gordon,Male,25,10/9/1985

Nana Kwame Sarpong,Male,25,4/8/1986

David Swarbrick,Male,25

Andrew Barlow,Male,25

David Benjamin,Male,25,4/4/1986

Kieron Samuels,Male,25,8/21/1985

Haramein Mohammed,Male,25

Felix Jones,Male,25

Barry Paisley,Male,25

Cain Larden,Male,25

Mark Burns,Male,25

Stephen Carter,Male,26, ,

John Millbanks,,26

Byron Payton,Male,26

Daniel Moran,Male,26

John Joseph Millbanks,Male,26

Craig Cave,Male,26

Gareth Rees,Male,26

Liam Cornwell,Male,26

Daniel Tony Watson,Male,27,5/20/1984

Ryan Doyle,Male,27,10/17/1983

Ian Blaize,Male,27,11/10/1983

Mr Lloyd Mansfield Mcgregor,Male,27,7/30/1984

Chammel Chrison Pusey,Male,27,9/14/1983

Troy Mcleod,Male,27,9/19/1983

Nina Yavarianfar,Female,27

Ahmed Farah,Male,27

Karl Brown,Male,27

Ricky Hudson,Male,27

Mr Michael Hayden,Male,28,2/2/1983

Karl Kaynor,Male,28

Natalie Lee,Female,28

Asha Mcdevitt,Male,28

Eoin Flanagan,Male,28,1/1/1983

Robert Denison,Male,28

Aaron Samuels,Male,29

Samuel  Konneh,Male,30

Joshua Mathias Courtney Jones,Male,30,8/16/1980

Medad Coker,Male,30,10/21/1980

Aaron Hugh Mulholland,Male,30,7/5/1981

Daniel Bell,Male,30

Tony Williams,Male,30

Gareth Okoro,Male,30

Katie Lovett,Female,30

Adellah Snape,Female,30

Mr Stefan Phidd,Male,31,11/19/1979

Julie Aldrich,Female,31,5/25/1980

Sayon Leroy Armstrong,Male,31,2/10/

Mark Phillips,Male,32

Sallah Osman,Male,32

Jeffrey Ebanks,Male,32

Keith Adrian Mitchell,Male,33,1/9/1978

Tony Gustave,Male,33

Mark Cunningham,Male,33, ,

Roxwell Yeboah,Male,33

Jean Brown,34

Paul Williams Newman,Male,34,8/24/1976

Stephen John Williams,Male,34,6/10/1977

Jason Matthews,Male,35,8/22/1975

Terry Payne,Male,35

Jason Matthews,Male,35

Gurmeet Tarmeet,Male,35

Shelly Bishop,Female,36

Abdelhak Hamraoui,Male,36,

Mr Robert Wayne Campbell,Male,38,9/1/1972

Michael Wilson,Male,38

James Best,Male,38

Anthony Winder,Male,38

Jason Ullett,Male,38

Hassan Halloway,Male,39

Joseph Levey,Male,40

Lee Montaldo,Male,40

William Jenkins,Male,40,5/11/1971

Joseph Levy,Male,41

Maurice Edward Dubois,Male,41,11/23/1969

Nosakare Aigbogun,41

Paul Obanyano,”,Male,42

Barry Nine,Male,42,6/25/1969

Karen Anne Turner,Female,42,6/23/1969

Stuart Gallagher,Male,42

Paul Obanyanyo,Male,42

Sean Havens,Male,43

Steven Keith,Male,43

Terry Monaghan,Male,44,2/26/1967

Martin Burton,Male,44,6/19/1968

Kenneth Michael Hunnisett,Male,45

Darren Byrne,Male,46

John Mcneil,Male,46

Bernard Moore,Male,46

Paul Raune,Male,46,6/28/1964

Lattlay-fottfoy,Male,47

Michael Coffey,Male,47

Gary Herriott,Male,48

Paul Obonyano,Male,49,9/26/1968

Peter Ellwood,Male,50

Ingrid Smith,Female,58

Aaron Mulholland,Male

Banye Kenon,Male

Jack Onslow,Male

In evaluating how many white Britons are amongst the 297 these facts need to be understood:

1. Those with double barrelled British surnames are most probably black because it has become the fashion for blacks in Britain to use both their parent’ surnames because there are so many illegitimate births and half-brothers and half-sisters in black families.

2. Those with first names such as Tyrone or Byron or standard white names spelt differently,for example Daveeed for David, are likely to be black.

3. Those with African names such as Akinole will be black unless a white woman has married an African.

4. Those of black West Indian origin or ancestry will generally have British surnames because the slaves took their masters names.  Some will have names which are indistinguishable from British names. However, they often use first names  rarely used by native Britons such as Delroy and Winston or unusual Biblical names such as Micah and Esau.

5. Those with Muslim names are unlikely to be white or native Britons. The could just conceivably be white converts or whites who have married Muslims.

6. Those with names such as Singh or Patel are most probably Asian,  although if it is a female who is older than a schoolgirl they might be white women who have married Asians.

7. Those with foreign surnames drawn from European countries will generally be white, but may well be first generation immigrants, especially if they come from Eastern European countries.

Using these criteria as a guide,  I estimate that at worst 70 of the 295 could have been white.  I say at worst primarily because there is no way of testing the question of whether some of those with traditional British names are blacks from the West Indies.   Of those who are white, a significant minority could be recent immigrants.

 

Spaced Out – What is the point of Homo Sapiens in space?

When I was young I was much enthused by spaceflight.  Anything seemed possible after the Moon landings. The immense technological and psychological challenges which the incredibly hostile environment of space and all the other planets and  moons of the Solar System present to  humans seemed merely waiting to be swept aside by human ingenuity. Now I am old I can see that space travel and settlement is of very restricted utility or possibility  unless startling scientific and technological discoveries are made, and if it ever became possible to move beyond our own system to other Suns such expeditions would contain great risks for humanity.

The nearest star to Earth  Proxima Centauri  is 4.2 light years away. Even if one could travel at  90% of the speed of light with little time needed to accelerate or decelerate, from the point of view of those on Earth it would take  around  five  years to travel to the nearest star (the perception of time passing would be less for those on the ship because of Special Relativity).  In practice the trip would almost certainly  take much longer  because it would  take considerable time to accelerate and decelerate to and  from such speeds, not least because of the  problems arising from the human body not being able to withstand prolonged rapid  acceleration
because of the G-forces  involved (http://quest.nasa.gov/saturn/qa/new/Effects_of_speed_and_acceleration_on_the_body.txt).

Most stars are much  further flung Proxima Centauri . Assuming neither a means of exceeding the speed of light is discovered nor a way of  circumventing distance by some method such as jumping through wormholes via dark holes,  all we can realistically do with manned flight  is explore our own solar  system.

In terms of human settlement or exploitation, exploring the solar system is not an attractive prospect because the only objects  which have any chance of allowing human occupation of any kind are Mars or Pluto or  some of the bigger  moons such as Ganymede and Titan. All the other planets would destroy human beings through excessive (for the human form)  gravity, atmospheric pressure or heat .  Even those bodies humans could land on would present a most hostile environment, for not one has an atmosphere which humans could breath . Moreover,  all, even Mars, would have a gravity which is only a fraction of that of Earth and this would have serious physiological effects on humans. The same problem with knobs on applies to any other planetary system. Man is made for Earth. Anything else will be foreign to his biology. Earth sustains life because it has an intrinsic magnetosphere which both protects the planet from highly charged particles carried by the solar wind which are harmful to life and the retention of the atmosphere which can be eroded by the solar wind.  Nowhere else in the Solar System  are these conditions  found and we would be  unlikely to come across them even if the vast distances between the stars and Earth could be travelled. More of that later.

I can hear devotees of sci-fi  shouting “what about terraforming”, the idea that planets or moons could be engineered to become places habitable to homo sapiens. Apart from the obvious barrier of  no one having  the slightest idea of how this might be done,  there are also inconvenient  facts which restrict  our choices.  The gas giants – Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus –  are ruled out because they are , er, largely composed of  gas.

The planets  beyond Mars are also vast distances away from not only Earth but also the Sun.   One astronomical unit (AU) is 92,955,807 miles ( 149,597,870 km),  which is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun.   Jupiter is 5.2 AU from the Sun; Saturn 9.54 AU; Unranus 19.22 AU; Neptune 30.06 AU and Pluto  39.5 AU( http://nineplanets.org/). Hence, the nearest planet to  Earth beyond  Mars, Neptune,  is a distance of 4.2 AU from Earth and Pluto is 38.5 AU away or to put in another way, 76 times the distance of Mars from the Earth which is around  half an AU off.    Apart from presenting immense challenges to build a spacecraft capable of sustaining humans for long periods –  for many years at a time at current rocket speeds –   the  distance  of the outer planets from the Sun means that the useable energy which could be captured from the Sun would be tiny compared with that which reaches a planet at Earth’s distance from the Sun.  Distance from the Sun would also  make settlement on the larger moons  such a Titan (Saturn) and Ganymede (Jupiter) very problematic even assuming it is possible to land men on them.

That leaves Mercury, Venus and Mars. Mercury would simply fry or freeze us, its surface temperature varying from 90-700 degrees Kelvin. It does rotate but very slowly – once every 59 Earth days and possesses a very thin atmosphere consisting  of atoms blasted off its surface by the solar wind.  This atmosphere constantly needs replenishing because the heat sends the
atoms into space. Venus is sometimes called Earth’s “sister planet”, because of all the Solar System ‘s planets  it most resembles Earth  in  size, gravity, bulk composition and distance from the Sun.  Sadly, it has next to no magnetic field to protect it from cosmic radiation, an  atmospheric pressure that  is 93 times that of earth, an atmosphere largely composed of carbon dioxide, clouds formed of sulphuric acid several miles thick  with winds of several hundred miles an hour and a surface temperature of  400-700 degrees Kelvin.  If terraforming of Venus were to happen, it would be the sort of job guaranteed to keep a builder giving an estimate sucking his cheeks in and  whistling for years.  So we are left with Mars. Mars also  lacks a decent magnetic field and is considerably smaller than the Earth so gravity would become a problem for long term habitation.  We could however actually land on Mars as it is presently constituted.

Leaving behind the dream of terraforming, what are we left with? Assuming that the problems of shielding people  from cosmic radiation and the physiological difficulties arising for an environment radically different from the Earth could be overcome, Mars and various moons such as our own might be lived on in physically  enclosed habitations with their own breathable atmosphere . However, there would be  the further problem of supplying the means of life, a difficulty which would be massively amplified if Mars or a moon had no water.  If there is water in large quantities, it is  possible to envisage settlements of a reasonable size living in closed settlements  and growing their own food.  Nonetheless, it is worth noting that an
attempt to replicate such an environment on Earth called Biosphere2,  was less than a raging success  from both a technical and psychological standpoint, with the oxygen content of the
atmosphere falling rapidly, food production inadequate and the inhabitants splitting into two groups hostile to one another. (http://www.biology.ed.ac.uk/research/groups/jdeacon/biosphere/biosph.htm)

Our present scope for colonising other parts of the solar system being distinctly limited , the big question is this, why we should be doing anything in space beyond  placing manned
satellites around the Earth and unmanned probes further afield?  The idea of mining the solar system for minerals is dubious in the extreme, because of the still fantastic cost of putting and maintaining anything into and in space. It is difficult to see how this will change. How about space tourism?   Perhaps we shall see a market grow for Richard Branson-style short trips to the edge of space, although even that is  it is difficult to see that as anything other than a very limited market for reasons of cost. Longer term trips into space, whether orbital or eventually to destinations such as the moon  or even Mars are distinctly unlikely because of the cost and physical and psychological training and qualities required to undertake long space flights.

A research laboratory on the Moon or Mars perhaps? Perhaps, but the cost would be frightening.  More to the point,  what would be the purpose of such a thing? The fate of the Moon programme is instructive. Men walked on the Moon  and where then left psychologically dangling in the air.  They had achieved their goal and had nowhere else to go. If a manned settlement is created on the Moon or Mars  the danger would be that the creation of the settlement would be an end in itself and once achieved become a white elephant.   Apart from
studying the geology of the Moon or Mars, it is difficult to think of any research which could be done on the Moon or Mars which could not be done on Earth or from a station in space.

But even assuming that it was thought worthwhile and affordable  to explore the Solar system or even go further afield there would be many horrendous  practical problems to be overcome.  Take the  psychological aspect. I suspect that humans would find  leaving Earth an immense distance behind would be tremendously difficult.  Parallels are often drawn  with those who set out  on voyages to parts unknown such as those from Europe to the New World, but there are considerable differences. To begin with  the exploring sailors were  not constrained by an environment inherently fatal to them; those in a spaceship are. Astronauts have to carry their air around with them; sailors do not.  Then there is the question of time.  A voyage across the Atlantic would take weeks:  with current technology a flight to Mars would last six months or more, one to Pluto nine or ten years.

Sailors in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries  were  restricted to small vessels but these would be larger than the living quarters of modern spacecraft and the crew would not have the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped within the ship, a feeling which would almost be a danger for astronauts on long missions.  Those in a spaceship would be very aware  that they had to carry all their  fuel and  provisions them;  sixteenth century sailors had no need of fuel and were   able to gather water and food even while they sailed  and always had the hope of landfall.  A spaceship is reliant  on very complex equipment  which  could not be replaced and probably not repaired during a flight;  a wooden ailing ship had a considerable capacity to absorb  damage and remain operational, not least  because a ship of any size would have a hip’s carpenter and wood to make repairs could be acquired if landfall was made in a wooded area.   The fears of space travellers and exploring sailors would be different.  Those in space would go with the knowledge of  the perils they were facing; the fear of fifteenth and sixteenth century  sailors would arise from not knowing what they would face.  I suspect the former state i harder to face because it is more real.  The loneliness and sense of vulnerability of
the space traveller and settler – even within the solar system –  might be impossible to bear.

Ten there are the physical difficulties. Even assuming we could come near to approaching the speed of light it is difficult to see how a spacecraft  could travel safely. For example, how would they miss objects large enough to destroy the ship at such speeds – and the objects  would not need to be very large.  As for strategies such as going through wormholes, how would spaceships  avoid materialising in the centre of a star or planet?

Many of the  problems might in time be overcome. Completely effective radiation shields might be made;  spaceships of great size constructed, most probably in space itself;
the  physical deterioration of humans caused by weightless halted;  the speed of spacecraft increased to the point where a trip to Mars or even the outer planets was reduced to a few weeks  to mention just a few.  But the question would still remain, to what end  would the travel be undertaken? For the trivial reason of tourism? Hardly a persuasive reason.  For the exploitation of of the physical resources of other planets, moons and asteroids? Intelligent machines could do that job much better.  To put research stations on the Moon or Mars? Again intelligent machines could do the work more safely and cheaply. Take the matter further. Suppose a means to travel to the stars was found, either by  new scientific and technological discoveries or by the  Noah’s Ark solution beloved of Sci-Fi writers where a giant spaceship spends generations travelling at a  cosmically modest speed to a nearby star. Would that be a useful or sensible course to follow?

To begin with the chances of finding planets suitable for uman habitation are most probably small. There is only body in the Solar System which supports life as far as we know. Certainly none supports advanced life.  Life of any type may be a rarity throughout the Universe.  Even if there are millions of planets in our galaxy which support life  of some type it would
still be a very long shot for humans in spaceships to encounter them because there are many tens of billions of suns in the Milky Way.  Even if “Goldilocks”  planets within what is considered the  “habitable zone” by astronomers  –  the distance from a star where an Earth-like planet can maintain liquid water on its surface – the chances of finding planets with life are small  as the Solar System shows  – Mars and Venus are within the habitable  zone of the Sun.

It is also a mistake to imagine that an Earth-like planet which contained water would evolve physically as Earth has evolved. For example, the existence of a large moon causes much
more tidal action than would otherwise be the case and this has effects on the Earth’s crust  which may include the tectonic action of her crust. This is unique amongst the planets of the Solar System. Such singularities may have laid the grounds for life to begin on Earth (http://www.astrobio.net/index.php?option=com_retrospection&task=detail&id=2507).

If a planet with life was found the chances of it being suitable for human beings to live on would be remote.  There would the problems of gravity and temperature which was too high or too low. The atmosphere would be unlikely to be breathable by humans.  There would be diseases against which humans would have no defence. Even if humans did not find hostile intelligent  aliens,  they would have to contend with aggressive non-intelligent aliens and probably more devastating If intelligent aliens were met, it is very improbable that friendly
civilisations would be encountered because if there is intelligent life on other worlds,  it will presumably have evolved . That will  mean in all probability that such creatures would be hostile to humans  just as we would be hostile to any alien who entered our solar system. The unknown is a great dissolver of liberal fantasies about humans being one big happy family. How much more powerful would the fear of those who were utterly unlike ourselves?

The most likely way for humans to explore and even exploit the Solar System or other celestial systems  is through intelligent machines. They would not be subject to the considerable physical limitations of humans and most probably not to the psychological problems humans would display in in space and on other worlds. I say probably because as artificial intelligence improves – and it is increasing by leaps and bounds at present – it is a fair bet that a form of consciousness will come along with the increased intellectual capacity
and that may lead the machines to suffer what would be in effect emotional/psychological problems.

Sadly, the most likely purpose space will be put to is war, as the major powers set up missiles systems and other weaponry in space.

 

Robotics and the real (sorry, Karl, you got it wrong) final crisis of capitalism

Robert Henderson

Humans and Robots

Robotics is advancing rapidly. Probably within the lifetime of most people now living – and conceivably within the next ten years – there will be general purpose robots (GPRs) capable of doing the vast majority of the work now undertaken by human beings. When that happens international free trade and free market economics even within a closed domestic market will become untenable.  The final crisis of capitalism will be the development of technology so advanced that it makes capitalism in the Marxist sense impossible because machines make humans redundant.

Robots are already undertaking  surprisingly sophisticated work, but almost all are designed to undertake a limited range of tasks(http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/computers_math/robotics/). None is a true GPR. That makes them expensive because of the limited nature of their possible uses and the restricted production runs they can generate. Many of the most sophisticated are either one–offs or counted in single figures. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8330246/Japanese-robot-could-be-sent-to-Space-Station.html).   A GPR will change that. They will be able to work across a wide range of tasks which will both enhance their utility and result in massive production runs. GPRs will become cheap, much cheaper than human labour.

The cost of GPRs will also fall because GPRs will sooner or later reach a stage where they can replicate one another or design and build new types of robot.  This is potentially startling in terms of what might be produced. Let us say that it takes one week for one GPR to create another. At the end of the first week you have two GPRs. At the end of the second week you have four GPRs. Let us suppose you keep on doubling up every week. In thirty three weeks you have more GPRs that the entire present population of the world. In thirty four weeks you have more than twice the population of the world. The only restrictions on production would be government curbs or a shortage of materials and energy to build and run them.

Economic history to date shows that technological advance creates new work. It may have very painful consequences for individuals whose livelihood disappears – the hand-loomweavers of the early industrial revolution are a classic example – but new opportunities for employment arise as an economy becomes more sophisticated and variegated. The hand-loom weaver found work in the new factories; the redundant western factory worker of today in a call centre. At worst they might only get a MacJob but at least it was a job.

But if the GPRs can do the MacJobs as well as the more demanding work, then there will not be any new jobs for humans, not even much supervisory work because GPRs will need little supervising, and less and less as they become ever more sophisticated. Hence, this technological advance will be like no other. GPRs will not only take away existing jobs, they will devour any new work; the easier work first, then the more complex.

The normal human response to such ideas is not reasonable scepticism, but rejection based on a refusal to accept the reality of change, a rejection expressed with ridicule along the lines of the Victorians’ response to the car:  “It will never replace the horse”. Mention robots and people commonly scoff “Science Fiction” to get rid of the matter without further debate. This type of response is natural enough because human beings, apart from disliking change, do not like to think of themselves as dispensable or redundant. Moreover, incessant propagandising by western elites has made it a received opinion of the age that work is becoming ever more demanding and requires an increasingly educated and knowledgeable workforce, something which seems to most humans to make them uniquely capable of doing the jobs of the future and, by implication, this excludes mechanisation (and robots) from the majority of future human employments.

If that were true the dominion of GPRs might be at least delayed. Unfortunately, the reality is that the large majority of modern jobs, in both the developed and developing world, are non-skilled or low skilled. Just sit and ponder how many our jobs need a great deal of intelligence or knowledge. Think of the huge numbers who are employed in call centres, shops, cafes, cleaning, driving car, on farms picking fruit and vegetables or assembling items on production lines which require no more than a repetitive task to be performed. These may be hard work but the training or innate skill required is small. Even work whose nature suggests that it is more demanding of education, training and knowledge such as much clerical work can be readily done by anyone with a reasonable facility with the 3Rs and a familiarity with basic computer operations, such as using a word processor and a search engine, something which the large majority of those in Western labour markets at least should possess. If twenty per cent of jobs in a developed country require an above average IQ or a long period of specialised training I should be surprised. In places such as India and China it will be less as they have taken on much of the repetitive factory production of the advanced world and are less inclined to substitute machines for labour, which is still by western standards very cheap.

The overproduction of graduates in both the developed and developing world is a strong indicator of the predominance of simple jobs.  In Britain there is a target of getting 50% of school-leavers to university. At present that does not look like being achieved because the figure has been stuck around 40% for years and the recent massive increase in university fees for UK students is likely to cause even that figure to drop in the future. But even with 40%, experience shows that is far too high a figure because large numbers of graduates are either unemployed or employed in jobs which do not require a degree-level education. The latest Office of National Statistics figures show 20% of recent UK graduates are without jobs, but even before the present  recession began in 2008, graduate unemployment was twice the UK unemployment average at 10.6%  (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1162). The  figures are worse than they look because graduates in employment include those in jobs for which a degree is unnecessary. In 2010 one in three new graduates were forced to take menial work  (http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/article-1697466/Stop-gap-graduates-forced-into-menial-work.html).

The picture is similar elsewhere. In China there are more than six million unemployed graduates (http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_37/b4194008546907.htm); the USA  had 2.4 million unemployed graduates unemployed as of June 2010  (http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/employment/2010-12-06-collegegrads06_ST_N.htm) and the Eurozone generally experiences a high level of graduate unemployment  (http://www.barcelonareporter.com/index.php?/comments/graduate_unemployment_rate_one_of_eus_highest/).  The position in less developed countries is considerably worse because the number of graduate-level jobs is meagre and often only available in government funded positions.

Employability also varies according to education below degree level.  Take the country which started the so-called “Arab Spring” uprisings, Egypt, as an example. In 2011 Egyptian high-school graduates accounted for “42% of the workforce, but 80% of the unemployed.” (http://www.afripol.org/afripol/item/237-africa-middle-east-the-jobless-graduate-time-bomb.html?tmpl=component&print=1). Most startling, a 2007 report found that the rate of unemployment in Egypt is ten times higher in the educated section of the population than among illiterates. There education equals disadvantage.  (,http://www.huliq.com/29092/unemployment-in-egypt-highest-among-literate-population).

The hard truth is that most modern work requires less knowledge and skill than was required in the past. A peasant four hundred years ago had to know about his soil, his plants and animals, the seasons, the weather, where natural water was and be able to do a hundred and one practical things such as ploughing, sowing, harvesting, making and repairing of fences and ditches, using tools and turning out cheese and cream and dried meat and vegetables How many jobs today require a tenth of that volume of knowledge? Nor did more demanding work stop at peasants. A 17th century craftsman would have served a long apprenticeship. Jobs which did not require an apprenticeship would have probably required some manual skill. Those who aspired to intellectual employment had to laboriously write and amend their works rather than enjoying the immense convenience of a word processor. That and the cost of writing materials forced them to become precise in a way that virtually no one is today. Perhaps most importantly,  modern division of labour with one person doing a repetitive job was not king. A person making something four centuries ago would probably make the entire item and quite often a variety of items, for example, a 17th century blacksmith would not merely shoe horses but make a wide range of iron goods.

GPRs would arguably have much more immediate difficulty in displacing human labour in a sophisticated pre-industrial society such as England in 1600 than they would today, because of the more complex demands made by 17th century employments. The large majority of  English people in 1600 were employed on the land where subjective judgement rather than decisions made on objective facts were pre-eminent in the days before science and advanced technology entered farming. A very sophisticated GPR would be needed to make such judgements. (I am assuming that GPRs sent to England in 1600 would only have the knowledge available in 1600). Conversely, GPRs today could take over a great deal of employment in Western economies and much of the industrialised parts of the developing world, especially China, because there are so many simple jobs which would be within the capabilities of very basic GPRs.

But that is only half of the story. If most jobs are not demanding of much by way of learned skills and even less of intellect, they do need diligence. Human beings are generally more than a little reluctant to put themselves out in work which has no intrinsic interest for them or which is not very highly paid.. Most people do not have a vocation, or at least not one at which they can make a living. Left with  work which is seen as simply a livelihood, most  just want to do enough to live what they think is a comfortable life. If the job they are doing is laborious and boring and pays not a lot more than is needed to feed and clothe and house them, then it’s a certainty that they will be more than a little resentful. (An old Soviet joke about low wages ran that the communist government pretended to pay the workers and they pretended to work). Resentful equals careless equals idle equals dishonest equals loss of custom equals loss of profit. So what will an employer do when he can employ a robot instead? He will go and gets himself some GPRs which will not get awkward, do what they are told, keep working all the time without being watched, does not make regular mistakes and requires no wages or social security taxes or holidays or sick leave. And it will not be able to sue you for being a bad employer.

The GPRs will have all the capabilities of computers. They will be able to compute and model and display and manipulate data to your heart’s content. They will absorb unlimited amounts of data in the blink of an eye. You need a GPR to speak French, the GPR will speak or translate French. If you want a GPR to explain quantum mechanics, the GPR will produce a lecture by an eminent physicist. You need to fix your car, the GPR will fix your car.

Now, how could any human being compete with that? At that level they could not, but in the beginning at least there will still be a sizeable chunk of jobs which GPRs will not be able to do. These will be the jobs which cannot be reduced to quantifiable tasks; jobs which cannot be done by following an algorithm; jobs which require judgement and jobs which require motivation to achieve a complex end which is not obvious from the units of means which are required to achieve it.  But those type of jobs are only a minority of jobs, probably a small minority, perhaps 20% of the total. If the earliest GPRs could only undertake fifty per cent of the jobs which humans do that would be catastrophic. Human beings will not be able to kid themselves for long that everything is going to be all right.

There will be two further advantages enjoyed by GPRs over humans. In principle there are no limits to increases in the capabilities of GPRs; there is no such human potential in the present state of knowledge. It may be possible in the future to enhance human capabilities dramatically through genetic engineering or a marriage of human and machine to produce a cybernetic means of advancement, although in both cases the question would arise are such beings human? But for the foreseeable future there is nothing to suggest that human capacity can be raised dramatically through education and training, not least because attempts to raise IQ substantially and permanently through enhanced environments have a record of unadulterated failure over the past fifty years or more. Most tellingly, all the claims for raised IQs through enhanced environments involve people without well above average IQs. No one has claimed to have demonstrated that those with IQs of over 150 can have their IQs raised by environmental means. Nor do adult IQs increase as people experience more and learn more. That suggests humans have reached an intellectual plateau in terms of an ability to comprehend by the middle teens. With GPRs as many robots as were wanted of a certain ability uld be created.

The second advantage is that GPRs will come with a guarantee of performance. An employer gets what it says on the tin. Moreover, the performance will be consistent. Humans beings do not carry such a guarantee. The individual’s qualities only become apparent once on the job and are subject to variation according to the physical and mental wellbeing of the person.  This makes them a gamble for anyone who employs them. A faulty or rogue GPR could be repaired or replaced without moral qualms; sacking a human being raises all sorts of ethical questions and matters of sentiment.

The social and economic effects of GPRs  

When the first GPRs appear those in political authority will probably try to say everything will be all right when they are first presented with the problem. Now it might be thought that it would be pretty obvious that a GPR which could do everything the average human could do and then some would spell trouble for the human race, but it never does to underestimate the power of custom, ideology and the sheer unwillingness of human beings to face troubles which are not immediately upon them.  The tired old and worthless comparison with technological change in the past will doubtless be made, namely, that new jobs for humans will be generated by the GPRs. But that will not last long because the reality of the situation will very rapidly force elites to accept the entirely new circumstances.

There would be a dilemma for the makers and distributors of goods and services.. At first it might seem attractive to use GPRs, but as humans lose their employment and purchasing power the question for private business would be who exactly are we producing for? Very few would be the answer. For politicians the question would be how can we finance government including public services when our tax base has collapsed? The answer is we cannot as things stand.

As GPRs threaten to destroy the world’s economy, politicians will be faced with an excruciating dilemma. If GPRs are allowed free rein by governments the consequence will be a catastrophic collapse in demand as humans lose their employment en masse and an inability of the state as it is presently constituted to provide welfare to those put out of work or even to maintain the essential services of the minimalist state such as the police and army.

The situation will be pressing no matter how supposedly rich a country is because the majority of people even in the developed world are actually poor. They are only a few pay packets away from destitution (http://www.retirementsolutions.co.uk/many-britons-have-little-or-no-savings). Even those who own their own home will not be able to sell it because who will
there be to buy?

To begin with attempts will probably be made to control the crisis bureaucratically by instigating rationing and price controls. But that will not go to heart of the problem which is how do you sustain an economy in which most people are not working. In the end politicians will be faced with two choices: ban or at least seriously curb, the use of GPRs or adopt a largely non-market economy. Banning GPRs completely would create a particular problem because some countries would continue to use them and this could lead not merely to cheaper goods and services but technological leaps which exceeded anything humans could do. For example, suppose that a country produced GPRs to their fighting. A country which relied only on humans would be at a hopeless disadvantage.

The widespread banning of the use of GPRs in national territories would severely shrink international trade, because as sure as eggs are eggs not all countries would stop using GPRs  to produce items for export.  Any country using GPRs could undercut any country which banned GPRs. Protectionist barriers against countries using GPRs freely would have to be erected, although human nature being what it is, this would doubtless result in GPR products being supplied through a third country which had ostensibly banned GPR produced goods and services. The likely outcome of such a situation would be for protectionism to grow beyond the banning of GPR products to the banning of products simply because they were suspected to be GPR produced. This would also be a convenient excuse for simply banning imports.

As free trade (or more accurately freer trade) and internationalism generally has been the Holy Grail of politicians in the developed world for a generation or more, the re-embracing of protectionism and state control might seem to be a tremendous psychological blow for western political elites to accommodate.  In practice it is unlikely to give them any great emotional difficulty because elites only have one fixed principle, namely, to do what is necessary to preserve their position. Think how the British mainstream Left, most notably the Labour Party, happily embraced the idea of the market and globalism in the early 1990s after having been resolutely opposed to both only a few years before. Here is Blair in the late 1980s: “We will speak up for a country that knows the good sense of a public industry in public hands.” (The Blair Necessities p52 1988). Dearie me, who would have thought it?

The alternative to a protected economy in which GPRs are banned or severely restricted is a society in which the market is largely defunct. A perfectly rational and workable society could be created in which human beings stopped thinking they had to work to live and simply lived off the products and services the GPRs produced.  The GPRs would do the large majority of the work and the goods and services they provide would be given free to everyone whether or not they had formal employment. No GPRs would be allowed in private hands. Such a situation would mean the market would not make the choice of which goods and services were provided. Rather, the choice would be made by the consumer through an expression of what was needed or wanted before products were developed or supplied.  This could be done by anything from elected representatives to online voting by any member of a community for which goods and services should be supplied. For example, all available items could be voted from by the general population and those which were least popular dropped. The provision of proposed new lines or inventions could be similarly decided.

As for allocating who could have what in such a world, money could be issued equally to everyone in lieu of wages (a form of the social wage). Alternatively, in a more controlled society vouchers or rations cards could be issued equally to everyone for specific classes of goods. Greater flexibility could be built into the system by allowing the vouchers to be swopped between individuals, for example, a voucher for footwear swapped for food vouchers.

In such societies there would be scope for a limited use of private enterprise. People could be allowed to provide personal services, for example, entertainment, and produce goods just using human labour (human-made would gain the cachet that hand-made has now). There would also need to be some greater reward for those who occupied those jobs which still required a human to do them such as political representation, management and administration. The reward could either be material or public approbation. It would not be unreasonable to imagine that in a society where necessary work was at a premium quite a few would take on such positions for the kudos.    There could also be some legal requirement to undertake work when required.

The greatest change resulting from such a social upheaval would be the removal of most of the advantage the haves now enjoy over the have-nots. Because the vast majority of things would be provided by the state one way or another, the advantages of wealth would be greatly diminished. Those with wealth at the time the GRPs forced a change on society might still have their money, but what would they spend it on? Not the goods and services provided by society because they would be sufficient for any  individual? On the luxury goods and services offered by human-labour enterprises? Perhaps, but that would be a petty pleasure. What the rich would have lost is what they prize most, their power. They would not be able to hire other humans easily because why should anyone work as a servant when they already have the means to live? Instead they would have to live as “the little people do” (copyright Leona Helmsley). The historical experience of those with privilege relinquishing it peacefully is something of a desert, but in the circumstances of where no one has to work simply to live they would have little choice.

It would be difficult to build up a great fortune even where money remained the means of exchange, because all that would be permitted outside of socially controlled provision would be that which humans could produce without the aid of GPRs or perhaps without any form of robot, would be items which because of their means of production or provision would be expensive. This would make them luxury items. There would also be an incentive for most people not to buy them because the socially produced items would be much cheaper, in effect free because no work would have been done to earn the money to buy them. Money in such a society would have much of the quality of a voucher.

Perhaps some entertainers and artists might still command high incomes but fortunes made from business would be next to impossible. The vast fortunes made in banking and other financial service providers would not exist because financial services would become redundant in a society which has decided to provide the means of living without working for it. But like the rich generally, what would it really buy them?

Could an economic system akin to those which depended heavily on slaves not be created with GPRs taking the place of slaves which might be owned by anyone? The answer is negative. No slave society has ever relied overwhelmingly on slaves.  In slave societies there is always a good deal of free labour, both because of the scarcity and cost of slaves and the inability of owners to trust slaves to do all work or work without the supervision of free men and women. The demand created by the free part of the population through work or accumulated wealth provide the basis for a market economy in a slave-owning society. In many slave societies, slaves have acquired rights to earn money, own property and have families, all of which bolsters the demand of the free part of the population.  In the case of the GPRs, they would undertake so much of the work there would be insufficient realisable demand to sustain a market economy. There would be no point in private business using GPRs on a large scale because there would be no mass market to serve.

Who would be best placed to survive? 

It might be thought that the people best placed to survive would have been those in the least industrially developed states because they would be less dependent on machines. But the trouble is that there is scarcely a part of the world which had not been tied into the global economy. If a country does not manufacture products on a large scale, it exports food and raw materials and accepts Aid.

The fundamental trouble with Aid is not that it breaks the initiative of the recipient or props up dictators or alters traditional trading patterns or drains countries of money through everlasting interest, although all those are important features. . The killer fact is that it produces a level of population in the Third World which the Third World cannot naturally support. If the  economies of the industrial nations collapse, the Aid will stop and the market for their export of food and raw materials dry up. All of a sudden the Third World will find they cannot feed their populations and their elites will no longer have the means of maintaining order because they will not be able to finance forces to subdue and control the population.  The chaos which will ensue will be aggravated by the fact that the old economic and social relationships have been fractured so that even maintaining a population appropriate to the traditional ways of living will be problematic.

Low-wage developing countries such as China is now will be struck particularly hard because when GPRs are available their labour cost benefits will disappear.

The future

The rate at which robotics evolves will play a large part in how the story unfolds.  The speed with which GPRs replace human beings could be truly bewildering. The example of digital technology to date suggests that the stretch from a primitive GPR doing simple work which can be broken down into physical actions to a GPR with some sort of consciousness or a facsimile of what humans think of as consciousness will not be massive. Such development could well be speeded up by GPRs assisting with development as they attain more and more sophisticated abilities. The faster the development of  really sophisticated GPRs, the more chaos there is likely to be because there will be little time to plan and implement changes or for the human population to accommodate itself psychologically and sociologically to a radically different world

How sophisticated GPRs will get is unknowable, but the development of Artificial Intelligence programs which allow a process of learning are already well established. These have the potential not only to produce the wide-ranging intelligence which would allow value judgements, but also for GPRs to develop in ways which humans cannot predict. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/microsoft/8344028/Xbox-Kinect-foretells-computers-of-the-future.html).

It is reasonable to assume technology will develop until GPRs are showing behaviour which suggests consciousness. They will make decisions such as what would be the best way of  achieving ends which are loosely defined, for example, an instruction to design a city redevelopment in a way which would have the greatest utility for human beings. At that point the GPRs would be effectively making value judgements. Perhaps they already are doing that at some level. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/roger-highfield/8587577/The-big-plan-to-build-a-brain.html).

This is a real danger with potentially catastrophic world-wide consequences. The problem is getting people in power to address the subject seriously. There needs to be discussion and  planning now about how far GPRs,  or indeed robots or any type,  should be allowed to displace human beings in the functioning of human societies. Nor should we assume humans will happily tolerate GPRs  for reasons other than the economic. Robots which are too like humans make humans uncomfortable, probably because it is difficult to view a machine which looks like a human and acts like a human simply as a machine.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/8494633/Japanese-robot-twins-fail-to-bridge-the-uncanny-valley.html)

Apart from the economic consequences, GPRs also offer dangers such as the possibility of the realisation of the tyrant’s dream; an army of unlimited and utterly loyal and obedient servants who will refuse no command and GPRs developing intelligence and human-like qualities so profound humans have difficulty in treating them as slaves.  But those are subjects for another day…

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