Will Jeremy Corbyn change his Shoot to Kill Policy?

Last night three Islamic terrorists first used a van to mow down pedestrians on London Bridge, then went on a stabbing rampage that left even are dead and 48 injured At least one of the cowardly attackers was wearing a fake suicide vest, no doubt to deter anybody trying to defend the innocent. This will be the likely reason why eight police officers discharged a total of 50 rounds to ensure the terrorists were dead. Terrible as this attack was, it was very small scale to the Paris attacks of Friday 13th November 2015 that left 130 dead and hundreds wounded. This was the response of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to those attacks in an interview with Laura Kussenberg

LK : If we saw the kind of horror in Paris here if you were Prime Minister would you order security services onto the streets to stop being killed.

JC : Of course you bring people onto to the streets to stop people being killed, to prevent and ensure there is safety within our society, but its much better that it is done by the Police than security services, but it is much better we have strong and effective community policing; neighbourhood policing; and a cohesive society that brings people together. Obviously that is essential so that is one of the messages that I will be putting to the Prime Minister.

LK : But if you were Prime Minister would you be happy to order people – police or military – to shoot to kill on Britain’s streets?

JC : Err, I would , I am not happy with a shoot to kill policy in general. I think that is quite a dangerous – and I think it can often be counterproductive. I think that you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can. There are various degrees of doing things as we know. But the idea that you end up with a war on the streets is not a good thing. Surely you have to work to try to prevent these things happening. That’s got to be the priority.

So when terrorists are rampaging on the streets, killing and maiming people, Prime Minister Corbyn will be unhappy for police officers to shot them dead to protect the innocents. With that policy, I am sure the lives of the terrorists could have been saved last night. But not before they had killed and injured quite a few more. So potential jihadists will know that if they do launch a terror attack, it will not necessarily be a suicide mission, and they will be able to bag a few more infidels before being overpowered by community police officers.

By the same line of thinking, if horror of horrors, negotiations failed in a nuclear war, and an aggressor unleashed its missiles against us, Prime Minister Corbyn would be unhappy launching a retaliatory strike. In doing so he would no doubt save millions of lives in aggressor country. Knowing Prime Minister Corbyn’s pacifism and dithering, would be aggressors will be emboldened to flex their muscles.

But it gets worse. This is what the Guardian wrote about Jeremy Corbyn in 1996.

Every few years, the London Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn indulges his romantic support for Irish republicans by using his parliamentary privileges to give them a publicity platform. These occasions always also provide a showcase for Mr Corbyn’s abiding qualities: his lack of wider political and moral judgment, his predilection for gesture politics, his insensitivity to the feelings of most Londoners and his indifference to the policies of his party… Mr Corbyn’s actions do not advance the cause of peace in Northern Ireland and are not seriously intended to do so. It is surprising that a politician as clever and important as the Sinn Fein leader should be bothered with him. Grown-up people ought to keep this childish sideshow in perspective. Mr Corbyn is a fool, and a fool whom the Labour Party would probably be better off without.

When dealing with the problems of Northern Ireland, Jeremy Corbyn spoke to Sinn Fein. In so doing the political wing of a terrorist organisation were able to gain ground at the expense of the peaceful Social Democratic and Labour Party. Similarly he called the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah friends, helping them to legitimacy at the expense of more moderate and peaceful representatives of the Palestinian people. The people who should be most afraid of a Prime Minister Corbyn are those in the Muslim Community who want to live peacefully in a free country. This I believe is the vast majority of the Muslim community. Corbyn is drawn to the noisy and ideological types, who hate liberal democracy for something more akin to Saudi Arabia. Another group are who should be afraid are members of the LGBT community, given what Islamic ideology has to say about homosexuality. The Jewish community are clearly afraid. Whilst a few years ago a majority supported Labour, around 13% do so now.

One of the wonderful things about our liberal democracy is that people have a secret ballot. The vote is between them and their conscience. Jeremy Corbyn is well-meaning, but is a dangerous fool. He should not be trusted with the highest office in the Mother of all Parliaments by anyone who believes in diversity and freedom to practice ones own beliefs.

Update 

Whilst I was writing this, Jeremy Corbyn announced that he now supports a shoot-to-kill policy. But the first action as Prime Minister will be to commission a report on the changing nature of the terrorist threat. He views the ways of making a more effective police force is more numbers and higher pay. Nothing about improving the quality of service, and stopping unnecessary bureaucratic hindrance. There is also nothing about listening to those with mainstream democratic views in preference to the anti-democratic extremists. Corbyn then quickly changes the subject.

Kevin Marshall

Diane Abbott’s Lack of Repentance for Past Support of IRA Terrorism

Today on the Andrew Marr show Diane Abbott, who could be Home Secretary if Labour win the election, refused to categorically say that she has changed her former views on supporting the IRA.

There is the following clip.

 Andrew Marr : You yourself said it would be a defeat for the British State would be a great move forward at that period of time. Do you regret your support for IRA right back in the eighties.

Diane Abbott : That particular quote you’re referring to comes from a now defunct left newspaper and it has as well as ….. no no no no, but what I am saying to you is this. It was 34 years ago, I has a rather splendid afro at the time. I don’t have the same hairstyle and 1 don’t have the same views. The hairstyle has gone and some of the views have gone.

At 49s

AM : …Do you regret what you have said about the IRA at the height of the bombing?

DA : What specifically do you want me to regret? 

AM : (caught off guard stutters, searches among papers) …You said “a defeat of the IRA would be devastating to the British people” and ” a defeat for the British State was a good thing” you said at the time when the IRA was attacking the British State. And you said “the reason for the violence was the entirely caused by the British presence in Northern Ireland”. I am saying do you think that the those statements now are wrong?

DA : This was 34 years ago. I’ve moved on. 

AM : You’ve moved on. Alright I got the quote here finally. You said “The Ireland is our struggle. Every defeat of the British State is a victory for all of us. A defeat in Northern Ireland would be a defeat indeed” was the quote. 

DA : 34 years ago. And I have moved on.

Many of us have held views that we no longer hold. Some of them we would now find distasteful or shameful. In politics, there are many who had extremist and repugnant views in the past. I do not believe that, morally, this should necessarily be a bar to high office. But you must clearly have repented of such views, and very clearly state how your current views differ from past views. This comes from my Christian perspective that we should repent of our sins and strive to leave a better life. For those seeking high political office, it is analogous to former criminals seeking to become a minister (or priest) within the Church. Having held repugnant views (or even committed criminal acts) in the past, and recognize them as such, along with the transition they have made, they might have an understanding of how to lead others away from those views, or how to combat the threat they pose to the wider communities. But Diane Abbott’s perspective is like a church considering for ministry someone who does not repent (and maybe still practice) denouncing Christian Church, proclaiming the teachings of Jesus Christ are false, and thinking that the murder of fellow Christians for their faith is of no consequence.

However, so as not to be accussed of taking a short section a longer interview out of context, I refer to readers to a video of the full interview.

For instance from 2.00 where Marr asks Abbott about the early day motion she signed in 1989 asking for the “Aboilition of conspiratorial groups like MI5 and Special Branch….”.

Or at 2.50 Marr asking about Abbotts voting against anti-terrorist legislation about 30 times. The deflection is that she voted the same way as Tory MPs. That is rebelled against her own party when in Government.

At 3.45 she is asked about why, shortly before 9/11, she voted against Al Qaeda being proscribed as a terrorist organisation. The excuse is that the legislation was for a whole list of organisations, some of which some people would argue were not terrorist organisations. In my view, the FARC group in Columbia could also be called a dissident group, or even freedom fighters. Alternatively FARC is a communist terrorist organisation that have murdered tens of thousands over the last fifty years, forcibly conscripting children into its ranks and financing it activities through kidnapping, extortion and involvement in all levels of drug trade and production. Your perspective depends on whether or not one supports the Rule of Law in Liberal-Democracies. Diane Abbott clearly did not in the past, and will not proclaim she has recanted such views. Neither would she give one example of organisation that should not have been proscribed.

To repeat, if Labour are elected Diane Abbott, could be Home Secretary. Andrew Marr lets Diane Abbott conclude on an upbeat note. At 13.20 Abbott says

I will run the best Home Office that I can. I will draw on my experience having worked there. I’ll draw on my experience as an MP at the grassroots. But we will have the best Home Office that I can run, which will draw on some of the Home Office’s best traditions and above all will keep this country safe.

The Home Office website lists nine Responsibilities. These include

  • keeping the United Kingdom safe from the threat of terrorism
  • reducing and preventing crime, and ensuring people feel safe in their homes and communities
  • securing the UK border and controlling immigration
  • considering applications to enter and stay in the UK
  • supporting visible, responsible and accountable policing by empowering the public and freeing up the police to fight crime

So I would ask

  1. Is the best good enough for this country, from someone who in the past has preferred terrorists to the British State, and will not now proclaim those views to be a grievous error of judgement? For those who are citizens of other countries, and love that country despite its imperfections, substitute your country in the question.
  2. Is someone who has called for the abolition of of MI5 and Special Branch (rather than calling for reforms) and not recanted those views, be a fit person to head up those organisations?
  3. Will someone who is unable to provide a single example of a dissident group on a list that included the most deadly terrorist organisation of recent times, be a person of sound judgement to decide who is fit to be let into the country?

 

My point here is that a politician does not have to always supported the British State in preference to terrorists that sought to harm Britain and its citizens, to put themselves forward as a Minister of State. But they should express a clear preference in support of the British State at the point of consideration. That includes making a clear statement that past errant views were wrong. But admission of error is something that the British Hard Left never do. They will evade, deflect, distort, and name-call, but never admit to a crack in their omniscience. Diane Abbott is a long-term leading light of this left-wing trait.

Kevin Marshall

 

Shotton Open Cast Coal Mine Protest as an example of Environmental Totalitarianism

Yesterday, in the Greens and the Fascists, Bishop Hill commented on Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascists. In summing up, BH stated:-

Goldberg is keen to point out that the liberal and progressive left of today do not share the violent tendencies of their fascist forebears: theirs is a gentler totalitarianism (again in the original sense of the word). The same case can be made for the greens. At least for now; it is hard to avoid observing that their rhetoric is becoming steadily more violent and the calls for unmistakably fascist policy measures are ever more common.

The link is to an article in the Ecologist (reprinted from Open Democracy blog) – “Coal protesters must be Matt Ridley’s guilty consience

The coal profits that fill Matt Ridley’s bank account come wet with the blood of those killed and displaced by the climate disaster his mines contribute to, writes T. If hgis consicence is no longer functioning, then others must step into that role to confront him with the evil that he is doing. (Spelling as in the original)

The protest consisted of blocking the road for eight hours to Shotton open cast coal mine. The reasoning was

This was an effective piece of direct action against a mine that is a major contributor to climate disaster, and a powerful statement against the climate-denying Times columnist, Viscount Matt Ridley, that owns the site. In his honour, we carried out the action as ‘Matt Ridley’s Conscience’.

The mine produces about one million tonnes of coal a year out of 8,000 million tonnes globally. The blocking may have reduced annual output by 0.3%. This will be made up from the mine, or from other sources. Coal is not the only source of greenhouse gas emissions, so the coal resulting in less than 0.004% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the alleged impact of GHG emissions on the climate is cumulative. The recoverable coal at Shotton is estimated at 6 million tonnes or 0.0007% of the estimated global reserves of 861 billion tonnes (Page 5). These global reserves could increase as new deposits are found, as has happened in the recent past for coal, gas and oil. So far from being “a major contributor to climate disaster”, Shotton Open Cast Coal Mine is a drop in the ocean.

But is there a climate disaster of which Matt Ridley is in denial? Anonymous author and convicted criminal T does not offer any evidence of current climate disasters. He is not talking about modelled projections, but currently available evidence. So where are all the dead bodies, or the displaced persons? Where are the increased deaths through drought-caused famines? Where are the increased deaths from malaria or other diseases from warmer and worsening conditions? Where is the evidence of increased deaths from extreme weather, such as hurricanes? Where are the refugees from drought-stricken areas, or from low-lying areas now submerged beneath the waves?

The inability to evaluate the evidence is shown by the comment.

Ridley was ( … again) offered a platform on BBC Radio 4 just a week before our hearing, despite his views being roundly debunked by climate scientists.

The link leads to a script of the Radio 4 interview with annotated comments. I am not sure that all the collective brains do debunk (that is expose the falseness or hollowness of (an idea or belief)) Matt Ridley’s comments. Mostly it is based on nit-picking or pointing out the contradictions with their own views and values. There are two extreme examples among 75 comments I would like to highlight two.

First is that Matt Ridley mentioned the Hockey Stick graphs and the work of Steve McIntyre in exposing the underlying poor data. The lack of a medieval warm period would provide circumstantial (or indirect) evidence that the warming of the last 200 years is unprecedented. Gavin Schmidt, responded with comments (5) and (6) shown below.

Schmidt is fully aware that Steve McIntyre also examined the Wahl and Amman paper and thoroughly discredited it. In 2008 Andrew Montford wrote a long paper of the shenanigans that went into the publication of the paper, and its lack of statistical significance. Following from this Montford wrote the Hockey Stick Illusion in 2010, which was reviewed by Tamino of RealClimate. Steve McIntyre was able to refute the core arguments in Tamino’s polemic by reposting Tamino and the Magic Flute, which was written in 2008 and covered all the substantial arguments that Tamino made. Montford’s book further shows a number of instances where peer review in academic climatology journals is not a quality control mechanism, but more a device of discrimination between those that support the current research paradigm and those that would undermine that consensus.

Comment 6 concludes

The best updates since then – which include both methodology improvements and expanded data sources – do not show anything dramatically different to the basic picture shown in MBH.

The link is to Chapter 5 on the IPCC AR5 WG1 assessment report. The paleoclimate discussion is a small subsection, a distinct reversal from the prominent place given to the original hockey stick in the third assessment report of 2001. I would contend the picture is dramatically different. Compare the original hockey stick of the past 1,000 years with Figure 5.7 on page 409 of AR5 WG1 Chapter 5.

In 2001, the MBH reconstruction was clear. From 1900 to 2000 average temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have risen by over 1C, far more than the change in any of century. But from at least two of the reconstructions – Ma08eivl and Lj10cps – there have been similarly sized fluctuations in other periods. The evidence now seems to back up Matt Ridley’s position of some human influence on temperatures, but does not support the contention of unprecedented temperature change. Gavin Schmidt’s opinions are not those of an expert witness, but of a blinkered activist.

Schmidt’s comments on hockey stick graphs are nothing compared to comment 35

The Carbon Brief (not the climate scientists) rejects evidence that contradicts their views based on nothing more than ideological prejudice. A search for Indur Goklany will find his own website, where he has copies of his papers. Under the “Climate Change” tab is not only the 2009 paper, but a 2011 update – Wealth and Safety: The Amazing Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather in an Era of Global Warming, 1900–2010. Of interest are two tables.

Table 2 is a reproduction of World Health Organisation data from 2002. It clearly shows that global warming is well down the list of causes of deaths. Goklany states in the article why these figures are based on dubious assumptions. Anonymous T falsely believes that global warming is curr

Figure 6 for the period 1990-2010 shows

  • the Global Death and Death Rates per million Due to Extreme Weather Events
  • CO2 Emissions
  • Global average GDP Per Capita

Figure 6 provides strong empirical evidence that increasing CO2 emissions (about 70-80% of total GHG emissions) have not caused increased deaths. They are a consequence of increasing GDP per capita, which as Goklany argues, have resulted in fewer deaths from extreme weather. More importantly, increasing GDP has resulted in increased life expectancy and reductions in malnutrition and deaths that be averted by access to rudimentary health care. Anonymous T would not know this even if he had read all the comments, yet it completely undermines the beliefs that caused him to single out Matt Ridley.

The worst part of Anonymous T’s article

Anonymous T concludes the article as follows (Bold mine)

The legal process efficiently served its function of bureaucratising our struggle, making us attempt to justify our actions in terms of the state’s narrow, violent logic. The ethics of our action are so clear, and declaring myself guilty felt like folding to that.

We found ourselves depressed and demoralised, swamped in legal paperwork. Pleading guilty frees us from the stress of a court case, allowing us to focus on more effective arenas of struggle.

I faced this case from a position of relative privilege – with the sort of appearance, education and lawyers that the courts favour. Even then I found it crushing. Today my thoughts are with those who experience the racism, classism and ableism of the state and its laws in a way that I did not.

That reflection makes me even more convinced of the rightness of our actions. Climate violence strikes along imperialist lines, with those least responsible, those already most disadvantaged by colonial capitalism, feeling the worst impacts.

Those are the people that lead our struggle, but are often also the most vulnerable to repression in the struggle. When fighting alongside those who find themselves at many more intersections of the law’s oppression than I do, I have a responsibility to volunteer first when we need to face up to the police and the state.

Faced with structural injustice and laws that defend it, Matt Ridley’s Conscience had no choice but to disobey. Matt Ridley has no conscience and neither does the state nor its system of laws. Join in. Be the Conscience you want to see in the world.

The writer rejects the rule of law, and is determined to carry out more acts of defiance against it. He intends to commit more acts of violence, with “climate” as a cover for revolutionary Marxism. Further the writer is trying to incite others to follow his lead. He claims to know Matt Ridley’s Conscience better than Ridley himself, but in the next sentence claims that “Matt Ridley has no conscience“. Further this statement would seem to contradict a justification for the criminal acts allegedly made in Bedlington Magistrates Court on December 16th
that the protesters were frustrated by the lack of UK Government action to combat climate change.

It is not clear who is the author of this article, but he/she is one of the following:-

Roger Geffen, 49, of Southwark Bridge Road, London.

Ellen Gibson, 21, of Elm Grove, London;

Philip MacDonald, 28, of Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, London;

Beth Louise Parkin, 29, of Dodgson House, Bidborough Street, London;

Pekka Piirainen, 23, of Elm Grove, London;

Thomas Youngman, 22, of Hermitage Road, London.

Laurence Watson, 27, of Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, London;

Guy Shrubsole, 30, of Bavent Road, London;

Lewis McNeill, 34, of no fixed address.

Kevin Marshall

Velicogna 2009 and Chen et al 2009 on Acceleration in Antarctic Ice Melt

This blog post started out as some musings on the different way of measuring the changes in the mass of Antarctic land ice, as a follow up to a couple of comments to Jo Nova’s posting “Antarctica gaining Ice Mass — and is not extraordinary compared to 800 years of data.” The problem with this is that it looks at just part of the total ice mass balance. These lead me to look at the major papers that looked to Total Mass Balance. There are two from 2009, using early data from the GRACE satellite gravity mission Velicogna and Chen et al. In comparing the various estimates, I discovered three anomalies that should have been detected as part of the peer review process.

Error in Velicogna Summary

The abstract notes

In Greenland, the mass loss increased from 137 Gt/yr in 2002–2003 to 286 Gt/yr in 2007–2009, i.e., an acceleration of −30 ± 11 Gt/yr2 in 2002–2009. In Antarctica the mass loss increased from 104 Gt/yr in 2002–2006 to 246 Gt/yr in 2006–2009, i.e., an acceleration of −26 ± 14 Gt/yr2 in 2002–2009.

When I tried to replicate this for Greenland, the figures worked out. Starting with 122 Gt/yr a year ice loss in 1992 and adding 30 to each year gives the “137 Gt/yr in 2002–2003 to 286 Gt/yr in 2007–2009“. But for Antarctica, adding 26 to each year cannot give “the mass loss increased from 104 Gt/yr in 2002–2006 to 246 Gt/yr in 2006–2009“. However, if the statement is rephrased with the Greenland timescales as “the mass loss increased from 104 Gt/yr in 2002–2003 to 246 Gt/yr in 2007–2009” then the numbers work out.


The spread sheet is easy to construct. For Velicogna Antarctica, start with -90 in 2002 and subtract 26 from the preceding year. The average uses the “=AVERAGE()” function in Excel.

So why did this dating error occur? There is no apparent reason in the Velicogna paper to use two different averages over such a short time frame. I might suggest that there is another reason. The two papers were published weeks apart (Velicogna 13th Oct and Chen 22nd Nov) and used the same data for Antarctica over similar periods (Velicogna Apr 02 – Feb 09 and Chen Apr 02 – Jan 09). The impact of both would be enhanced if they had comparative statistics. For instance Zwally & Giovinetto 2011 state

Table 2 includes two GRACE-based mass loss estimates of 104 Gt/year (Velicogna 2009) and 144 Gt/year (Chen et al. 2009) for the period 2002–2006 and two estimates of 246 Gt/year (Velicogna 2009) and of 220 Gt/year (Chen et al. 2009) for the period 2006–2009.

Correcting Velicogna, it becomes

Table 2 includes two GRACE-based mass loss estimates of 142 Gt/year (Velicogna 2009) and 144 Gt/year (Chen et al. 2009) for the period 2002–2006 and two estimates of 233 Gt/year (Velicogna 2009) and of 220 Gt/year (Chen et al. 2009) for the period 2006–2009.

That is, the two papers become far more consistent if the averages are corrected. It would appear that Velicogna changed the dates without doing the maths.

Form of the acceleration

Velicogna states in the abstract

We find that during this time period the mass loss of the ice sheets is not a constant, but accelerating with time, i.e., that the GRACE observations are better represented by a quadratic trend than by a linear one, implying that the ice sheets contribution to sea level becomes larger with time.

This quadratic trend is backed up by graphs on the NASA website (Antarctica) and NOAA websites (Greenland)


For ice melt Velicogna is stating that, not only would the trend be for each year to be greater than the previous year, but for the incremental increase to be greater than the last.

But, if ∂M is the change in ice mass, from the following functions were used in my spread sheet to replicate both Velicogna’s and Chen’s results.

For Velicogna 2009, Antarctica

∂M = -90 – 26(Year-2002)

For Velicogna 2009, Greenland

∂M = -122 + 30(Year-2002)

For Chen et al. 2009, Antarctica

∂M = -126 + 17(Year-2002)

These are all linear functions. I do not have access to Chen’s paper, but Velicogna’s abstract does not conform to her model.

Discontinuous functions in Chen et al. 2009

The abstract for Chen states

… our data suggest that East Antarctica is losing mass, mostly in coastal regions, at a rate of −57±52 Gt yr−1, apparently caused by increased ice loss since the year 2006.

Chen detection of increased ice loss is similar to Velicogna’s. But unlike Velicogna, Chen suggests that there is a discontinuous function. In other words, Chen’s graph would look like this.


Although it is possible to extrapolate from a discontinuous function, it would be highly misleading to do so. It suggests there is no underlying empirical relationship to be observed, in direct contradiction to Velicogna. Further, over a short period it is impossible to say whether this is the shift in the underlying rate of change in Antarctic melt, or if this new direction be quickly reversed. Fortunately, the two studies were published over three years ago, so there are alternative studies to compare the projection against. This will be the topic of the next post.

J. L. Chen, C. R. Wilson, D. Blankenship & B. D. Tapley Nature Geoscience 2, 859 – 862 (2009) Published online: 22 November 2009 doi:10.1038/ngeo694

Velicogna, I. (2009), Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L19503, doi:10.1029/2009GL040222

H. Jay Zwally, Mario B. Giovinetto (2011) Surveys in Geophysics September 2011, Volume 32, Issue 4-5, pp 351-376, Overview and Assessment of Antarctic Ice-Sheet Mass Balance Estimates: 1992–2009 10.1007/s10712-011-9123-5

The Summer Riots – causes and prevention

Whilst I was away on holiday in Pembrokeshire, riots broke out in the cities of London, Birmingham and Manchester. The following comment was just posted to John Redwood’s blog:-

We should look at this in context. All the riots except the first in Tottenham were copycat riots. People saw that with sufficient numbers of people, looting could be carried out without fear of arrest. There was also the adrenalin rush of rioting, just like football hooliganism. The rioting stopped when people started being arrested in large numbers. They also stopped in Manchester when it started raining.

We should not overreact in issuing draconian laws. Rather it is to understand that people react to the opportunities presented to them. We had in the inner cities for a few nights to opportunity to riot and loot in the belief there would be no punishment. Many took that opportunity. This can be gleaned from the work of Prof. Gary S. Becker, who pioneered the study of the economics of crime.

Prevention of the riots in the near future might simply be to show that many of those who rioted had been caught. Therefore the belief that criminal acts in a riot would go unpunished is a false one. Beyond this, there might some minor changes. First, by more rapidly escalating the intensity of Police action in an area and nationally. Second, by instituting temporary powers of arrest in, or near, riot areas for those covering their faces. Third, if riots are in the summer, for helicopters to spray water to simulate a heavy downpour. The water might also contain a harmless dye visible under ultraviolet light (that can be removed with soap and water) to identify those who duck into side streets.

The ideas are minor. They will not quell a serious political riot – but the more serious riots of the 1980s in Brixton & Toxteth were also stopped by the rain. These are superficial “shopping riots“*. They are only a reflection of a breakdown in society insofar as there are large sections of society who lack the moral sense to respect property and other people even when there appears to be no possibility of being caught for breaking the law. The rule of law needs to be respected by vast majority of people for the vast majority of the time for civil society to exist. Otherwise, the peace can be maintained only by draconian laws and thuggish law enforcement. In such authoritarian societies the civil peace is maintained only by fear of arbitrary arrest and restraint of peaceful activities.

*This is not an endorsement of David Starkey’s other comments on the subject.

Reduce Gun Control to strengthen the Rule of Law?

I have commented on John Redwood’s Blog about the response to the murderous rampage by Derrick Bird through Cumbria. My claim that we may reduce gun control as a result needs to be substantiated. This posting does so in three parts.

  1. The posting, where I made the claim.
  2. A thought experiment on diverting police resources from gun control to tackling burglaries.
  3. The Rule of Law implications.

 

1. Posted to John Redwood’s blog

The Prime Minister’s response is the correct one. Government should act where there is an expected net benefit to society.

There are two sides to the argument.

Prevention – To argue how not only how any future occurrence could be prevented by the new measures.

Resource Diversion – To demonstrate that the implementation of any measures would be a worthwhile diversion of resources. That is both the police time in enforcement and the public’s time in complying with the regulations.

The rampage of a madman through Cumbria should mean a complete rethink on gun control. Paradoxically, it could mean less onerous regulations. The new laws introduced after Hungerford and Dunblane have not prevented a reoccurrence, but do involve a lot of police time and inconvenience to a section of the law-abiding public. There has been a net loss to society. The key to effective gun control is to concentrate on the substance and not on the political appearances.

2. A Thought Experiment

The tragic murders by a gunman on a rampage are, mercifully, very rare indeed in this country. Our laws should try to prevent an occurrence, but not at the expense of other things. For instance, the police claim there is a lot of time spent on enforcing exiting regulations. Suppose the effect of this has been to deaths from these rampages from 2 a year to 1. Now suppose that enforcement takes the equivalence of 200 police officers full time. This time instead is devoted to chasing up investigations into burglaries, with the result of one less burglary a week per officer. This could mean apprehending only one persistent burglar a year, or simply a team of officers reducing the number of burglaries per week of a professional burglar. Burglaries cause misery and upset. Suppose for every thousand burglaries there are ten serious confrontations and one very serious case of grievous bodily harm.

Also, for every hundred burglaries suppose one elderly person has their life reduced by a year due to the shock, fear and insecurity. Let us also state that the career of a police officer is 40 years.

So excessive gun control means, in this though experiment, one life saved for every five police officers spending their entire working careers on enforcement. This may be an exaggeration, as there is no evidence that the draconian laws have reduced the frequency of these mass killings, and the amount of police time spent on enforcement may be greater.

Alternatively those two hundred officer years will mean 10,000 fewer burglaries, 100 less cases of GBH and 100 years of extra years of lives prolonged. If average life expectancy is 80 years, that is one life saved for every four police officers spending their entire working careers on enforcement. There is no measure for misery caused by burglaries, though the cost of burglaries is in extra police resource, and higher insurance costs.

So on one hand you have law enforcement that means the a police officer spending their entire working career causing inconvenience to a large number of law-abiding citizens with have a one-in-five chance of saving one life. Or, alternatively, preventing one burglary a week. That, in turn, reduces the number of more serious crimes, and reduces the instances where crime makes people less secure in their own home, even shortening their life expectancy. They may, effectively, save more lives. But this is the tip of the pyramid. It is the other crimes that they will prevent as well, making people feel safer.  

3. The Rule of Law Implications

The police solving of minor crime provides a very positive image to the victims of crime, along with those in the wider community. People see the police as an agency that serves their interest, making them feel safer. Failure to clear up minor crime means contact with the police is simply to get a crime number for the insurance claim and a contact to the victims support unit. Major contact with police officers is for those who have transgressed (mostly traffic offences), or are suspected of doing so (stop and search late at night in inner cities). Therefore, by clearing up crime, the law-abiding see the police as their agents, not as people to be avoided.

Gun control is enforced by tight regulation of those who possess firearms. It means the police carrying out routine and regular checks on the personal circumstances of those involved and the places where those firearms are stored. Contact with the police is that of a potential suspect. It can thus serve to undermine the Rule of Law.

Why the BNP is the Wrong Choice

Many who are considering voting for the BNP try to justify themselves in various ways. This is why they should think again.

1. It believes in punishing the troughing Pigs (the MPs).

The BNP are not explicit on this. If it is prosecuting those who are guilty of fraud, then a small minority will be prosecuted. Most MPs acted within the rules and on advice from the Fees Office. If the BNP obtained power do they impy they would restrospectively change the law to prosecute these opposition politicians, or just use this as an excuse to imprison the opponents.

2. A vote against the Muslims

The public face of the BNP is

“The British National Party is opposed to the Islamification of Britain in the same way that Muslim countries would be opposed to the Christianisation of their lands, and bears no animosity to any individual Muslim.”

So the leadership is at odds with their supporters?

3. A vote against Immigration

The BNP says

We call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by a generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.

Problem is that many of the most disliked immigrants – such as Asian muslims – are British born and British citizens. You will not turn Bradford or Burnley white by this policy. Also “voluntary resettlement” will not only include lots of taxpayer’s money, but also plenty of sticks.

4. Clamping down on Crime

Getting tough on crime does little to reduce it. With all the political prisoners, the BNP would have to build special prison camps.

5. Going after the Greedy Bankers

Like for the MPs, would this mean restrospectively changing the law, or just rounding them up?

6. Curing the Economic Crisis

Any prospect of BNP in government would cause a massive capital flight, and no foreign investment. That is unless the BNP so changes that it alienates it’s core voters. Beyond Nick Griffin, the leadership are generally clueless.

7. Backing a Christian Country.

Jesus’s core message was a very positive one. It is about loving the Lord your God first and your neighbour second – with all the rest following from that. (Matt 22: 37-40). It is about recognising our own faults, forgiving past wrongs done to us and helping others. In British culture it comes through in the ideas of playing fair, assuming people innocent until proven guilty, integrity in public life, giving sanctuary to oppressed minorities and voluntary work.

Further, if the BNP is so keen on emphasising that this is a Christian culture, why no greater promotion of Christianity in our schools?

Christianity is ingrained into British culture. By forgetting the positive role of the national religion, they are showing themselves to be an anti-British party.

From the Rule of Law to New Labour

John Redwood blogged today on “Killing the High Street”. I started to write a post, but went off topic onto wider issues. I therefore publish my post here.

 

Mr Redwood you point to a much wider problem when you say

 

“We will not linger long, deterred by the rip off car parking charges and by the need to comply with an ever more terrifying array of traffic and personal conduct rules and laws. We know the yobs will flaunt all this with no consequence for them,….”

 

We are moving from a society under the rule of law to one where we are constrained by laws. Under the rule of law, the laws are irrelevant for most people. Breaking the law is not something that people would consider, even if the most severe punishment were a public ticking-off and a fine of 50p. This is because as this vast majority don’t just aim to live on the boundaries of the law, but living peaceably with one another. A good number of these peaceable citizens working to positively enhance the society around them. Furthermore, serving the community whether an elected official or a local government employee is something to be admired.

Ever-increasing laws and rules mean that we are all law breakers, and equally guilty. Politics becomes the arena for the grasping (MPs expenses) and the manipulators (As this weekend showed). Employment in the public sector becomes a matter of secure jobs, gold-plated pensions whilst failing to serve the public.