Monday, 27 June 2016

UK: For those too young to know

With the aftershocks following the vote for Brexit, one of the many interesting outcomes, has been the first truly generational divide, certainly in the sense of democratic decisions, with a substantial difference in generational voting.

My own daughter sat downcast bemoaning how 'older people' had swung the vote away from her perceived perfect result.

Well that's a shame.

I did not vote btw, although a committed European, I could not, in all conscience, put my weight behind what the EU has become, and chose instead to go with the flow, also because I do not trust our politicians, one way or the other.

Having said that, the un-preparedness of our elected (and unelected) elite, has been a most welcome, and surprising result. With no time to spin and deceive, we have been treated to wall to wall coverage of their utter and unmitigated incompetence.

Perhaps some real good will come of this.

And that's the most important point, democracy works. But it is not a stabilizing establishment as we like to believe, which cements and confirms the status quo of continuing and relentless inequality and subjugation. Democracy is a force for change, where many small (and some not so small) democratic events prevent sudden revolutionary upheavals, and in that respect only, stability is preserved.

But back to the fun.

Witnessing the glum faces of the EU establishment has alone been worth the admission fee. David Cameron has done the right thing and resigned, though Mama Merkel is unlikely to follow, but that's perhaps asking too much of the person who has single handedly destroyed the European community - just what is it with German chancellors?

On Saturday morning, I popped down to our local Asian convenience store for a freshly baked baguette and was immediately struck by the excited buzz which reminded me of what London was like before the slow and bureaucratic institution of EU stifled our collective spirit.

And what about Obama? He came, he interfered, and he got nothing, perhaps he has more to learn from Mr Trump than he he is able to admit, too late now in any case.

So what of the future?

Brexit hasn't happened yet, and that will need to be watched very closely, there is already a campaign to ignore or reverse the result, a very dangerous path to pursue because what worked in Greece will find stiffer opposition here for sure.

And for all those children of the EU, who have never known what a vibrant Democracy feels like, it may not be much comfort right now, but sometimes we all need to accept that daddy knows best.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

UK: Politicizing politics

With the tragic death of Labour MP Jo Cox we are left with the strangest of situations.

A disturbed and otherwise unremarkable loner has gained national and international notoriety by murdering a young unarmed woman week before her 42nd birthday. Sound familiar?

Well yes, except that in this case the motives and ideological inspiration behind his actions are front and centre of the investigation. But how can that be, surely his mental and social conditions are enough to explain this cowardly act?

Apparently not.

When the ideology is right wing extremism, and the motive is retaliation for the many and varied problems caused by government policies here in the UK, it is fine to bring us full disclosure of his home, reading material and political world-view.

No heart wrenching, soul searching dilemmas about how, why and when he became a 'radicalized' political extremist, where Thomas Mair is concerned - his attire and choice of literature are enough for us to draw reasonable and immediate assumptions about his motives and external contributing forces.

So is this a watershed?

Have we now realized the importance of knowing what inspires ideologically driven assassins, whether they be in organized groups or the much vaunted 'lone wolf' as here? Is it clear now that whatever a political killer shouts during his murderous attack, is a vital clue to understanding this, and preventing any more, such attacks? Assuredly so, provided the outrage is accompanied by cries of 'Britain first' or whatever else he may have yelled,

But, we are entitled to ask, supposing the next murderer shouts something like 'Alla Akbah', what then?

What do you think?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

UK: If one picture says a thousand words...

The first impact of our new mayor of London does not bode well for the future safety and security of those who recently voted him into office.

Westminster council has decided to proceed with controversial plans to remove one of our first lines of defence against criminals, and more importantly, terrorists, in the high profile shopping and tourist centre of London's West End.

While it is true that I don't recall mayor Khan campaigning on a 'law and order' platform when he was elected to office, it was rightly expected that public safety would nevertheless be one of his core priorities.

So why remove all of the council operated cameras at this time of heightened threat?

Well firstly, Mr Kahn has not personally removed the cameras. The council has a budgetary problem, don't we all, and hoped that he and the police would share the costs. He has just refused to help the borough to upgrade and run the service, as have the police, but with the advent of MOPAC the mayor's office 'sets the direction and budget' of the Metropolitan Police Service, so if the mayor does not want cameras, there will be no cameras.

The greatest fear facing London is what used to be called a 'Mumbai style attack', but now can be called a 'Bataclan event' (and which city will be next on that murderous list?)

The ability to follow a gang, or several gangs, of murderers in real time and relay their direction and numbers to those entrusted with risking their own lives to save ours, can only be achieved with a centrally monitored system of cameras, and no shopkeeper's anti-theft setup comes close to providing such a level of protection.

Remembering how crucial video evidence was in identifying the Boston bombers and preventing their campaign from continuing thus saving innumerable lives, it is difficult to imagine what justification there can be for this woeful lack of civic duty from the mayor's office.

There is another possibility.

Our new mayor is a well publicised muslim, and knowing islam so well, he may be deliberately engaging on this path for an altogether different motive.

As these cameras are also used to secure criminal prosecutions - their introduction signalled a 30% drop in street crime - he may have reasoned that with the risk of radicalization among the high proportion of muslim criminals so great, allowing them to continue their criminality unabated, and thus keeping them out of prison is a more effective form of anti-terrorist precaution.

That may seem a bizarre kind of logic, but have you tried reading the koran?