Archive for the ‘racism’ Category

February 23, 2008:

One of things that I find so frustrating about blogging is dealing with people who are either stupid, venal or willfully choose to misrepresent your views. More often than not, these people post anonymously and decide to tar their opponents with the epithet “racist”, “homophobic” or “fascist” in the hope that by using such a description, debate is closed down and they win by default.

O rly?

February 25, 2008:

Moving on from the oh-so powerful list of race-baiters who announced their endorsement of Ken Livingstone, we now see a new list of Livingstone supporters – except that this time it isn’t particularly impressive at all.

The idea that this alcohol-dependent divisive figure should be re-elected as Mayor is absurd. He has had his time and it is time for a change. While Boris Johnson may not be perfect, he’d be a damn slight better as Mayor of London than Ken Livingstone.

A few years back I observed that the Tory policy which envisaged an opposition on fundamental principle to the Euro, but only for the life of one parliament, made it possible to objectively estimate the length of a Tory principle at something less than five years. Clearly, exposure to the Leadership Institute has enabled the puissant advocate Blaney to dramatically reduce the half-life; it’s like a political linear accelerator that blasts neutrons off anything you place in front of it.

However, given enough power you can transmute lead to gold with a real linac; this version works more in the opposite sense. A reverse Maxwell’s Demon; it actually increases entropy by reducing information.

Further, note the interesting fact; the first post has an active comments thread. The second, containing two arguably libellous statements (“race-baiters”? “alcohol-dependent”?) as it does, doesn’t. Blaney again:

Such is their intellectual insecurity that they will not engage in honest debate and instead they resort to infantile abuse in an attempt to stifle debate. I cannot help but wonder whether these people would not prefer to live in a police state where only certain views (theirs) are allowed to be held because the venom and vitriol that flows when you dare to stand up to them is quite astonishing. It says a hell of a lot about them and their upbringing.

How right you are, eh.

Regarding his “race-baiters” smear, it’s worth stopping for a teachable moment here; this is a classic piece of extreme-right rhetoric. You could call it the phone-in three card monte. First of all, you make a coded attack on some group or other; Where is the BBC White Male Middle-Class Network? Well, it’s called Radio 4, as someone pointed out. The basis of all this stuff is that you deny that racism exists; the existing institutions are perfect, so any specific provision for any other group is illegitimate. (Don’t miss him getting schooled about the World Service Polish programme, either.) Then, when you get called on it, whine like a whipped dog;

The fact that I do not believe in multiculturalism, cultural apartheid or so-called positive discrimination automatically makes me, in their eyes, a racist – despite the fact that in opposing these beliefs I share the same worldview as the likes of Martin Luther King, Bishop Nazir-Ali and Trevor Phillips.

Finally, you’re ready to launch an inversion smear: see comments above.

Now, the messages that are actually transmitted here are as follows: first of all, Look at me! Bashing THOSE PEOPLE! (This one for the benefit of your target audience.) Secondly, to the wider public: I’m a lady libertarian. (This one is an exercise in working the ref; it’s necessary camouflage.) Thirdly; RACISTS RACISTS RACISTS!! Nur-nur-nye-nur! (This one is intended to demonstrate your aggression to your target audience; see Josh Marshall’s classic statement.)

Blaney: hypocritical, intellectually dishonest, determined to import everything that is most repellent about US politics into Britain. And apparently cool with the idea of shooting Greenpeace protestors.

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OK, this is it. Not only must the Home Office go, so too must the Association of Chief Police Officers, the newest political party on the block. Its president, Ken Jones, now wants not just 90 days of detention without charge, but unlimited detention without charge. After all, it worked so well in Northern Ireland. Inevitably, Killer of the Yard’s in favour, too.

What makes this even worse is the increasing blurring of functions between ACPO, a non-statutory club for top cops, and the actual police. For example, the ANPR number-plate tracking cameras deployed on the motorway system are the result of an ACPO decision, apparently outside either local accountability to police authorities, operational line management to Marsham Street, or ministerial accountability to Parliament. Processing the details of overseas convictions into the criminal records system, it turns out, is also carried out by ACPO.

And, at the same time as it carries out police work, it is also an independent political force – a sort of free-floating lobby for authoritarianism, a peripatetic producer of paranoia.

Of course, not having any place in the command structure or the constitution, it can be as authoritarian as it likes without facing up to the consequences. Says another fearsome security lobby, the Prison Officers’ Association, the prisons cannot cope with the influx of terrorist cases – there are signs of proselytising and the formation of gangs. Obviously, the thing to do is to lock up a lot of people, some of whom by definition will be innocent, in an overcrowded jail with people we know certainly are actual Islamist terrorists.

Now, doesn’t this have an ugly sound to it?

Whatever Sir Ian Blair says, the opposite is probably true. It’s a basic working assumption that has at least one major advantage – that even when it’s wrong, it won’t lead you into anything too terrible. Rather like the Malatesta estimator. To estimate a value people disagree about accurately, take the most and least exaggerated values, total them, and divide by 2, then subtract 30 per cent. This last manoeuvre takes into account the fact that exaggeration has no limit, but underestimation can only go as far as zero.

Sir Ian is currently furious that one of the suspects in the murder of Bradford PC Sharon Beshenivsky apparently fled the country posing as a veiled woman. Why didn’t the Immigration Service stop him, he wants to know? Subtext: if real men like Sir Ian were in charge, they would have been more offensive to brown people.

Unfortunately, the Immigration Service hasn’t operated any embarkation controls for some time. When there is a APB out, police detectives are deployed at ports to look for the suspect. As he is believed to have passed through Heathrow, it’s Sir Ian’s very own Special Branch who missed the unusually hefty lass.

Whatever Sir Ian Blair says, the opposite is probably true. It’s a basic working assumption that has at least one major advantage – that even when it’s wrong, it won’t lead you into anything too terrible. Rather like the Malatesta estimator. To estimate a value people disagree about accurately, take the most and least exaggerated values, total them, and divide by 2, then subtract 30 per cent. This last manoeuvre takes into account the fact that exaggeration has no limit, but underestimation can only go as far as zero.

Sir Ian is currently furious that one of the suspects in the murder of Bradford PC Sharon Beshenivsky apparently fled the country posing as a veiled woman. Why didn’t the Immigration Service stop him, he wants to know? Subtext: if real men like Sir Ian were in charge, they would have been more offensive to brown people.

Unfortunately, the Immigration Service hasn’t operated any embarkation controls for some time. When there is a APB out, police detectives are deployed at ports to look for the suspect. As he is believed to have passed through Heathrow, it’s Sir Ian’s very own Special Branch who missed the unusually hefty lass.