* Posts by North Briton

10 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Aug 2010

Crash grounds RAF Eurofighters - for Battle of Britain Day!

North Briton

Re: But being a jolly good chap

And they really were:

‘Flying Officer L.T. Manser … stayed at the controls of his damaged Manchester aircraft, at the cost of his own life, so his comrades could parachute to safety.’


‘P/O Tom Tomlin DFC from Plymouth … stayed at the controls of his aircraft whilst his crew parachuted.’ (http://www.49squadron.co.uk/Roll%20of%20honour/Roll_T/Tomlin%20Tom.html)

Flt. Lt. Peter ‘Andy’ Anderson ‘didn’t make it and perished when the plane crashed. Like many pilots before him he had stayed at the controls too long in order to ensure every crewman had got away.’


Undiplomatic tweet from French diplomats

North Briton

Not a liberal reformer but a liberal informer

Did you report the comments to the police or the Register’s moderator, my little Stasi friend?

‘Like the soldier, the spy stakes his freedom or his life on the chances of action. The informer is different … He risks little. He sits in security and uses his special knowledge to destroy others.’ Whittaker Chambers, ‘Witness’ (p.454)

Rackspace claims credit for shushing Koran-burning 'pastor'

North Briton

Re: Err…

You might have confused ‘More or less’ rebutting a claim that ‘in the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim’ (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/more_or_less/8189434.stm). The C4 survey, carried out by GfK NOP, is available here: http://www.channel4.com/news/media/images/articles/2007/06/04_muslims_survey2.doc

The survey sampled 500 British muslims; one can speculate how accurately this represents an estimated 1.6 million muslims in Britain (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=293); one can deliberate the ambiguities of 57% disagreeing that HMG has told ‘the whole truth’ about 7/7; one might worry that 68% feel that the muslim community bears no responsibility for the emergence of extremists, or be reassured that 58% agree that it should be doing more to address extremism. Or one can airily dismiss it like a good liberal.

I have known a few Muslims too, apparently westernised and often charming—and I found it worrying how they pulled out every anti-Western canard when topics such as 9/11, the West’s role in the middle-east, etc. came up. While I don’t expect them to be wearing suicide vests any time soon, how much material aid would they give to those who would, if asked? How much are they giving now? (http://defendingfreespeech.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/alms-for-jihad-charity-and-terrorism-in-the-islamic-world/) *Some* Muslims have no loyalty to our country, and that is an issue that must be addressed not dismissed.

Some muslims, but not *all* by any means: ‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them’: RIP, Jabron Hashmi (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/jul/04/military.afghanistan1 / http://jabron-hashmi.gonetoosoon.org/memorial/).

USB stick with anti-terror training found outside police station

North Briton

Re: Yes and no

I’ll reserve my tears for the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven until I hear what the Guildford & Woolwich Seven have to say on the matter, and perhaps the Birmingham Twenty-one as well. We’ll need a séance though, seeing as the IRA murdered them. Their autobiographies won’t be coming out any time soon. And we’ll be waiting a long time for their film.

Wikileaks publishes secret CIA memo

North Briton

The true voice of bourgeois liberalism:

… no pretence at pacifism or opposing a war, just outright support for the enemy. Tony, did you cheer on the Taliban’s murder of doctors Karen Woo, Daniela Beyer and Cheryl Beckett, and Tom Little and Dan Terry, both in their 60’s, as much as you cheer on the deaths of working class Americans? And unlike the accidental deaths caused by the military the murders of those ten non-combatants was premeditated and up close and personal—close enough to see the terror in their eyes and hear their pleas for mercy.


Japanese press step into execution chamber

North Briton

@ David Wilson

I must apologise: I too quickly skimmed the spreadsheet in providing figures. The category of ‘total crimes against the person’ actually describes ‘lesser’ crimes of violence (including such categories as ‘other wounding, etc.’, ‘assault’, ‘intimidation and molestation’, ‘abduction’ and ‘other malicious injuries’) and excludes the more serious (not combined as I erroneously thought). So in *addition* to figures already supplied there were 1.52 homicide-related crimes per 100,000 population in 1921; by 1951 this figure had increased to 3.61, 1961 5.3 and in 2001 it had increased to 59.56. This is obviously a better measure of our burgeoning crime rate.

In terms of comparing historical data, I do not claim hard science. As described by serving police officers such as David Copperfield (‘Wasting Police Time’) and Michael Pinkstone (‘The Victorian Playground’), crimes figures are inflated due to police officers investigating nonsense that once would have been quickly resolved or dismissed; but crime figures are also deflated with crimes not being investigated and statistical legerdemain (e.g. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1487992/Police-officers-manipulate-the-statistics-to-meet-robbery-and-burglary-targets.html).

In comparison, Dr Jose Harris in ‘Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain 1870–1914’ wrote that ‘a very high proportion of Edwardian convicts were in prison for offences that would have been much more lightly treated or wholly disregarded by law enforcers in the late twentieth century. In 1912–13, for example, one quarter of males aged 16 to 21 who were imprisoned in the metropolitan area of London were serving seven-day sentences for offences which included drunkenness, playing games in the street; riding a bicycle without lights, gaming, obscene language, and sleeping rough. If late twentieth century standards of policing and sentencing had been applied in Edwardian Britain, then prisons would have been virtually empty; conversely, if Edwardian standards were applied in the 1990s then most of the youth of Britain would be in gaol.’

So, David, I argue in return that if historical comparisons are to be *dismissed*, this should be done likewise with maximum caution and not maximum opportunism.

North Briton

@ David Wilson

In terms of per population, 1921 appears our safest year with only 1.8 total crimes against the person per 100,000 population; by 1951 this figure was up to 20.68 per 100,000 and by 1961 it had nearly doubled to 40.82 (the 2001 figure is 1,065.85 per 100,000).

Capital punishment was but one factor—but it *was* a factor. As well, judicial corporal punishment existed, stern and disciplined prisons, and police officers pounded beats—sufficiently plentiful that, in towns, beating truncheons against walls could alert fellow officers on neighbouring beats. Corporal punishment was routine in schools, welfare was limited and did not reward failure or criminality; and Peel’s 7th Principle, that ‘the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence’ was not an empty slogan—the public were legally obliged to enforce the law: ‘[A]ny private person who is present when any felony is committed, is bound by law to arrest the felon, on pain of fine and imprisonment if he negligently permit him to escape’ (A.V. Dicey, ‘Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution’, Appendix IV). However, liberals do not argue for any of the latter measures but oppose each one.

One should note there are numbers now ‘getting away’ with manslaughter: e.g. Gareth Rees, who subjected 3 year old Courtney Crockett to sustained abuse, eventually culminating in her death (the pathologist cataloguing more than 100 injuries), was sentenced to 10 years (automatic release after two-thirds served); in saner times and prior to the Homicide Act 1957, Rees would undoubtedly have been charged with murder and hanged.

It is true that we used to exercise considerable mercy in our application of capital punishment (too merciful perhaps). Even so, I do not see any grounds for clemency that might have saved Shaun Clarke from the rope for strangling Patricia Sykes in 1988; and if he had hanged then, Donna Wilson, a 30 year old care worker, would still be alive now.

North Briton

‘… so lavish of their pity for the criminals that they have none left for their victims’

1. Capital punishment deters: homicides and attempted murders nearly doubled 10 years after Capital Punishment’s abolition—from 532 in 1965 to 1,014 in 1975. One must also consider the serious assaults that only fortune and improving medical care prevented from becoming murders: from 2,269 to 4,493. Violence in general continues rising: although in 2008/9 there were ‘only’ 1,223 homicides and attempted murders, there were a further 49,472 crimes of serious violence. In 1901 there were 2.24 homicide-related crimes (including serious assaults) per 100,000 people; in 1941 this had decreased to 1.68; in 2001 it had risen to 59.56. (http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/recordedcrime1.html)

2. ‘Life’ imprisonment does not stop convicted murderers committing crimes, including further murders. A 1997 Home Office report (http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs/hosb297.pdf) records that 362 ‘life licensees released between 1972 and 1990 were reconvicted of a standard list offence within 5 years. Of those released 66 had been convicted of a grave offence by the end of 1995’. Another report (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb0209.pdf) records 30 homicide convictions between 1997/8 and 2007/8 of people already convicted of homicide, i.e. 30 convicted murderers, who would once have hanged, murdered again. 30 people have died in 10 years as a *direct* result of Capital Punishment’s absence.

3. Life imprisonment without parole does not stop convicted murders from committing crimes behind bars—rapes, assaults and murders: three of the 30 murders above were inmates murdered inside prison.

4. Ironically, hanging still occurs in British prisons. Dr Anthony Daniels (retired prison psychiatrist) wrote in his essay ‘Arrested Development’: ‘There have been many more hangings in my prison since the abolition of the death penalty than there ever were before.’ From 1990 to 2001 there were 759 self-inflicted deaths in prisons in England and Wales; there were also 26 homicides (rdsolr4604 http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/rdsolr4604.pdf).

North Briton

‘Does fining a criminal show want of respect for property…

…or imprisoning him, for personal freedom? Just as unreasonable is it to think that to take the life of a man who has taken that of another is to show want of regard for human life. We show, on the contrary, most emphatically our regard for it, by the adoption of a rule that he who violates that right in another forfeits it for himself, and that while no other crime that he can commit deprives him of his right to live, this shall.’

—John Stuart Mill, from his speech against abolishing the death penalty, April 21, 1868 (http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/262/52906)

Best Buy slaps 'God Squad' priest with cease-and-desist order

North Briton

>> kill all the lawyers

But Shakespeare intended a solid dig at lawyers. In ‘King Henry VI, Part 2’, Act 4, Scene II, Cade promises utopia with, ‘seven halfpenny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops and I will make it felony to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in common; …’ and continues in this vein as above, which Dick ends with the punchine, ‘let’s kill all the lawyers’—because it won’t be Utopia if there are lawyers, *obviously*… The dig at lawyers continues in the next line with ‘Some say the bees stings; but I say, ’tis the bee’s wax’, a modern rendering of which would be, ‘Some rob with a gun, others with a pen’. It is unlikely that Shakespeare meant to defend lawyers with these lines, nor was this his only play containing digs at lawyers.