Posts Tagged ‘ASBOs’

Now Johnson Weighs in on the Grooming Gang Scandal

August 5, 2022

I caught a brief look at a video by Mahyar Tousi on YouTube last night. Tousi’s a true-blue, hard-right Tory Brexiteer. He was crowing because Johnson had made a statement that he was going to come down hard on councils like Oldham, which had tried cover up the Pakistani grooming gangs and which were still trying to stop public inquiries into them. Tousi gave as an example of this a stormy public meeting with the council in Oldham last week, where furious citizens did not accept the council’s denials that any such cover-up had taken place. Those citizens who confronted the council on this had ASBOs slapped on them, in what looks very much like a display of totalitarian power by a local authority determined to silence critics of its wrongdoing. Johnson, however, has said he’s going to take action against authorities like Oldham,, and make them apologise to their victims.

This cheered the Tory hordes, but only to a certain extent. Despite their continuing faith in the blonde bozo, Johnson has connection to the working class and absolutely no interest in their welfare. This includes that of the raped and exploited White girls. He’s only interested in gaining a political advantage, and in hanging on to power for as long as possible. But the Tory base, or at least that part of the party that watches Tousi, Nigel Farage and the others like it because it’s primarily an attack on Labour. Tory spin on the issue is that, as most of the authorities where the gangs were allowed to operate while the police and council officials looked the other way, it’s a case of the Labour party siding with the rapists against the White working class. This ignores the fact that, as commenters on this blog have pointed out, Labour MPs and whistleblowers on these councils were heavily involved in the campaign to bring the rapists and child abusers to justice. Furthermore, Telford, the site of further revelations last week about depredations by another gang, has been under Tory control for the last couple of years. Johnson’s interest in the issue isn’t about obtaining justice for the girls, but about exploiting a popular and controversial issue over Labour.

I have to say that in my opinion, the anti-racist movement has badly handled the issue. I wrote various emails last week to the papers and to the local deputy elected mayor of Bristol, Asher Craig, who is also head of equalities and child services, urging multicultural marches against the grooming gangs. I may as well have whistled for it. The letters weren’t published and Craig did not reply to my inquiry. Not that I expected she would. Neither she nor Cleo Lake, the Green councillor in Bristol, replied to an email I sent them months ago criticising the motion they introduced and had passed at a city council meeting supporting reparations for slavery. Craig and others were, however, on local television the other night talking about the importance and legacy of a Mr Hackett, a Black gent who led the boycott against Bristol bus company. He had died at the grand old age of 93. At the time the bus company wouldn’t employ Blacks. Haskett’s actions was not only a victory over discrimination in Bristol, but influenced the passage of the first race relations act.

While it’s entirely right that Haskett should be commemorated and honoured, Craig’s failure to reply to me says much about the attitude of the anti-racist establishment. They are extremely uncomfortable, if not actually opposed, to confronting the issue of anti-White racism. Organisations like United Against Fascism and Stand Up To Racism were formed to combat anti-Black and Asian racism, which certainly was rife and violent. But prejudice, abuse and violence against Whites is generally played down or actively denied. This is largely because of the fear that inflammatory accounts of it,, like Enoch Powell’s notorious ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, will result in further anti-minority feeling and racism. And underneath that is the fear of the Nazis, that noxious organisations like the BNP will exploit it to gain power, dragging Britain into dictatorship and racial murder.

That’s part of the reason, no doubt, why councils and police forces like Oldham’s did not take action against the gangs. The police said they didn’t want rioting to start, while there was also the fear that they’d be accused of racism. And anti-racist organisations like Stand Up To Racism don’t want to touch the issue. A month or so ago, the notorious islamophobe, grifter and thug Tommy Robinson was up in Brum with his Storm Troopers publicly showing a film they had made about the grooming gangs and their rape of the city. Stand Up To Racism turned up and protested against Robinson, shouting ‘Off our streets, Fascist scum!’ and ‘Refugees welcome here!’ But while these slogans are entirely right directed at organisations like the NF, they miss the point with Robinson. He’s been able to exploit the scandal, because Sabby Dhalu and Stand Up To Racism have allowed him by not marching or publicly condemning the venomous anti-White racism of the grooming gangs. Thus to a certain class of alienated working class Tories, Robinson’s a hero. As you could see from the many comments praising the thug on Tousi’s wretched video.

Commenters here have pointed out that Robinson is a bigot with no real interest in combatting child abuse per se. He hasn’t, for example, protested against notorious BBC abusers like Rolf Harris or Jimmy Savile, the last of whom was a friend of Maggie Thatcher. As for Robinson exposing the gangs through his supposed journalism, that’s a lie. Robinson’s often come late to the party after they’ve been exposed by others. And his citizen journalism is a menace. He’s been prosecuted several times for contempt of court for broadcasting his feelings about the trials of various gangs outside the courthouse while the trials were proceeding, making it very clear that in his opinion the accuse were guilty. The problem with this is that there are very strict rules on court reporting in order to make sure the accused have a fair trial. Robinson’s biased reporting, by contrast, threatens that and could lead to the trial being abandoned. Which would mean that, if the men were guilty, they’d get off scot free.

I’m very much aware that some of the commenters here may be uneasy about my call for a multicultural march against the gangs. Several commenters have said, quite rightly, that all the victims of child abuse and rape are of equal value, whatever their colour or the colour of their attackers. None should be regarded as more important than any other. I actually agree. But the case of the Pakistani grooming gangs has racial aspects to it which caused its White victims to be ignored and silenced for decades. And it exposes the deep flaws in an anti-racist political establishment which is swift, or wishes to be seen to be swift, to act against anti-BAME racism while covering up assaults against Whites. This double standard needs to be confronted and torn down, if we are to have a genuinely anti-racist society.

In my opinion, this can only be done by the left, if they can reject their own reluctance to deal with it. And in this struggle, Johnson is definitely not an ally.

Private Eye on the Dodgy Foundations of the Troubled Families Programme

February 17, 2015

I also found this article in the 27th July – 9th August edition of Private Eye criticising the government’s Troubled Families Programme. This was an initiative to tackle the problem families that feature so much in Tory propaganda and the pages of the Daily Mail. They’re the type of neighbours for whom ASBOs were invented, and whom Gordon Brown famously declared to be ‘feckless’.

The problem is, as the Eye reveals, there simply aren’t that many of them to require the massive amounts the government wishes to spend on the programme. Coupled with the fact that the contractor hired to carry out the programme is G4S, with its superb reputation for quality. Here’s the story:

The government’s Troubled Families Programme is itself troubled after coming under sustained attack from critics who argue that it’s simply blaming people who are poor rather than tackling anti-social behaviour.

Ever since it was launched by the unlikely figure of community secretary Eric Pickles, experts have criticised the foundations of its claim that there are 120,000 “troubled families” whose behaviour costs the country£9bn. They point out that the 120,000 statistic is based on an estimate of families with multiple disadvantages, not antisocial behaviour, and that nobody can come up with figures to justify the £9bn stated.

Just as well, then, that extra help is at hand. Under a £200m outreach service run in conjunction with councils and companies delivering the Work Programme, six firms will be staking their own money on their ability to turn troubled lives around under the government’s second big payment-by-results project.

Troubled families and local authorities in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington are especially fortunate to have assistance from a company that specialises in managing and co-ordinating the provision of services “to support workless people into meaningful, progressive employment”. Step forward, fresh from its triumph at the Olympics, G4S.

From this is appears that the Troubled Families Programme has been launched not because there is an actual need for the programme, but to satisfy the ideological and propagandistic needs of the Tories. As well as provide a nice little earner for the welfare-to-work companies.

Tory unemployment policy is based on the principle of ‘less eligibility’. Poverty isn’t due to economics and poor circumstances. It’s due to laziness and poor character of the unemployed themselves. Hence all the stories in the Daily Mail about problem families, and areas of high unemployment riddled with crime and plagued by drugs. The criminality and drug problems in those areas aren’t due to lack of job opportunities and poverty. No, they are the results of the immoral character of the people themselves, who prefer the squalor and misery of their lives to one of honest and respectable toil. and if people like them don’t exist, or exist in much smaller numbers, then it also casts doubt on Tory welfare policies as a whole. Without them, there is much less justification for harassing the disabled and ordinary unemployed. In order to keep up this façade that unemployment is all down to the anti-social bad attitude of the unemployed themselves, the government needs to be able to point to a large number of such ‘problem families’. And these clearly are invented through exaggerated and massaged statistics when they don’t exist. Hence the inflated statistics.

It also shows just how much of a scam the welfare-to-work industry is as well. I’ve posted a series of blogs on the repeated scandals of the welfare-to-work firms overcharging the government, to its marked indifference and even, it has been alleged, support and connivance. Private Eye has argued that the economics involved in government outsourcing means that these firms are only commercially viable through such fraud. It would appear from this that the Tories know this too, and so are desperate to give work to the private contractors in order to maintain the profitable illusion that private enterprise really is more efficient than government bureaucracy.

Quite apart from the fact that these companies may also be able to offer lucrative directorships in their turn, when the terms in power of certain MPs come to an end.

The Ballardian Totalitarianism of Cameron’s Britain

November 17, 2013

Last Thursday the Mirror ran a story reporting the Conservative’s deletion of their election promises from their website. They noted that this was the re-writing of history like that done by Big Brother’s totalitarian dictatorship in Orwell’s classic 1984. It was Orwell, who coined the classic statement that he who controls the past, controls the present and future, though he phrased it far better than my own memory allows here. The Mirror also reported that, astonishingly, Conservative Central Office attempted to defend their actions with the excuse that they were trying to help visitors find their way around their website better. The Mirror did not, however, pick up the similar totalitarian impulses behind this attitude. While Orwell’s description of the way absolute dictatorships distort and re-write history is well-known, this last aspect of such tyrannical regimes is far less famous. It comes not from Orwell, but from that old author of transgressive SF, J.G. Ballard.

Ballard’s novels and short stories, such as High Rise, Concrete Island, The Atrocity Exhibition and Super Cannes, are set in depersonalised, alienated futures, inhabited by psychopaths and characterised by social breakdown and savage, extreme violence. His novel, Crash, filmed in the 1990s by David Cronenberg, is about a subculture of the victims of motor accidents, who gain sexual pleasure from car crashes. The novel itself was so shocking that the publisher’s reviewer wrote a note about it say, ‘Author mentally deranged – do not publish’. Cronenberg’s film was so extreme that it sent the Daily Mail into another moral panic. Acting once again as the guardian of the nation’s moral purity, the Mail launched a campaign against it and the film flopped as a result. Many see it as a classic of SF and transgressive cinema. Ballard himself was completely different from the violent and psychotic characters in his work. Visitors to his home were surprised to find him living in respectable suburban domesticity, caring for his sick wife and raising his children. Listening to his cultured Oxbridge tones on the radio brought to mind a gentleman, who enjoyed a good malt and a good cigar, and whose favourite reading was Wisden, rather than the delineator of brutal violence and bizarre and extreme sexuality. Ballard is now recognised as one of the great SF writers of the 20th century, and his work has garnered respect outside the SF ghetto in the literary mainstream. This is partly due to the way it examines the role played by the media, including news reportage, in shaping the post-modern condition.

Back in the 1990s Radio 3 ran a short series of five interviews with writers, artists and scientists. Entitled Grave New Worlds, the series explored the transhuman condition. Amongst the guests on the programmes were the SF author Paul J. McAuley, the performance artist Stelarc, feminist writers on women and digital technology, and J.G. Ballard. The conversation got on to the subject of Ballard’s then recent novels, in which the heroes enter gated, corporate communities. Instead of peace and harmony, the heroes find that these communities are based on violence, in which brutal attacks on outsiders are used to bond together the communities’ inmates. Talking about these savage dystopias, Ballard stated that in his opinion the totalitarianism of the future would not use force, but would be characterised by servility and obsequiousness. It would claim to help you.

There is an element of this spurious claim in previous totalitarian regimes. At times both the Nazis and Stalin’s Communist states claimed to be somehow helping their victims. The propaganda films produced by the Nazis to allay international concerns about their treatment of the Jews, purported to show the victims of their deportations happily working on their new, luxurious plot of land in the special areas allocated to them in the East, rather than the violence and horrific, mass murder of the Concentration Camps. The Jews featured in these films were all forced to do so by the Nazis, the victims of beatings and torture before and after they appeared in front of the camera. Immediately after the filming was over, I believe some were taken away to be killed in the death camps.

Stalin’s propaganda for his collectivisation campaign similarly showed crowds of joyous peasants voluntarily entering collective farms bursting with food and abundance. Kniper’s stirring song, Wheatlands, written for this campaign, contains lines where the peasant subjects of the song declare that they weren’t forced iinto them. They certainly did not show the squalor and deprivation within the collective farms, nor the mass starvation caused by the campaign in the Ukraine and other areas of the former Soviet countryside.

Back in Nazi Germany, a group of shopkeeper’s in Munich took the Nazi’s professed commitment to the Corporate state at face value, and attempted to set up a similar corporation themselves. This new body was expected to regulate trade and prices. The result, however, was inflation. The Nazis reacted by dissolving it and arresting its members. They pasted notices over the arrested individuals’ shops, stating their offence and that they were ‘now in protective custody at Dachau’. This somehow suggests that it was for the victims’ benefit, rather than their punishment.

Ballard himself was a high Tory, who felt that increased legislation was stifling Britain by making it too safe. He wrote Crash while he was a correspondent for a motoring magazine. Driving along the new motorways, he felt the experience was too bland and antiseptic, and so in his imagination created a cult around a charismatic psychologist, Vaughn, whose members got their sexual kicks from staging the very accidents road and motor vehicle legislation was intended to remove. The violence in his novels, like Super Cannes, was a deliberate attempt by these societies to counteract the debilitating ennui experienced by their wealthy members by stimulating them at the most primal level through violent threats to their lives.

Now my memory of the 1970s was rather different from Ballard’s. Admittedly, I was only a boy at the time, but I do remember the road safety films. ‘Clunk Click, every trip’, with the vile Jimmy Savile, told you to wear a seatbelt. ‘Don’t be an Amber Gambler’ warned drivers of trying to rush through the orange light at crossings. There were also campaigns against drunk driving and speeding. Dave Prowse, the man behind the Darth Vader costume, appeared in one set as the ‘Green Cross Man’, helping kids cross the road safely. Alvin Stardust also appeared in one of these. Rather than the bland landscape of antiseptic safety Ballard complained about, these public information films traumatised a generation of children with images of mayhem, destruction and carnage. Cars were totalled, and drivers, passengers and pedestrians ground to bloody pulps on regular programming slots – usually just before Grandstand on Saturday afternoons. Rather than senses-dulling boredom, I’m surprised these films didn’t turn everyone watching them into quivering nervous wrecks at the thought of venturing out on the highway.

Despite Ballard’s own Right-wing political views, his observation that future totalitarian regimes will be manipulative and claiming to serve their victims, rather than adopting the naked use of force, does describe the style of Cameron’s own administration and its steady erosion of personal freedom. The ostensible rationale behind the Work Programme and Work Fare, is supposedly to get the unemployed back into work by helping them acquire the necessary skills and the habit of working. The terms and conditions imposed on Job Seekers by the DWP is presented as a ‘Job Seekers’ Agreement’, as if it were a bargain struck between two equal parties, and freely accepted by the unemployed, rather than forced on them through economic necessity. Esther McVey even had the gall last week to claim that the people suffering from sanctions on their benefit, were those ‘who refused the system’s help’. They were made to look like recalcitrant, who had gone back to recidivist scroungers, rather than the victims of a highly exploitative system that sought for even the smallest reason to deprive the poor of an income.

The papers also this week carried the news that the legislation proposed by the government to replace the ASBOs would also allow local councils to ban peaceful protests and demonstrations on the grounds that these constituted a public nuisance, or would annoy, upset or inconvenience local residents. It’s a totalitarian attack on free speech, but again masked by the claim that somehow people are being protected. Now the authorities will act to curb and ban demonstrations that may lead to violence or a breach of the peace, such as Protestant marches in Northern Ireland that go through Roman Catholic areas or demonstrations by the BNP or English Defence League that enter Black or Muslim areas. While the authorities’ actions against such marches are resented by the groups planning them, I doubt many people object to the bans on the grounds that the marches are deliberately provocative and would result in violence. Cameron’s legislation goes further than these entire reasonable concerns. Instead, they allow public protests to be banned simply because the residents in the area in which they are held may find them simply inconvenient, like being too noisy. The legislation’s main objective is to stop political protest. It is, however, disguised with the claim that it is giving local people the power to stop troublesome individuals upsetting the rest of the community, like the cantankerous pensioner, who was given an ASBO to stop him being sarcastic to his neighbours.

There is also something Ballardian about Cameron, Osborne and Boris Johnson’s own background. They were members of the elite Bullingdon Club after all, an elite society of the extremely wealthy. Even if they don’t go around beating, maiming and killing non-members as an exercise in corporate bonding, nevertheless they seem to have a shared contempt for the poor coming from their common background.

So Ballard was exactly right. The new totalitarianism does indeed claim to be helpful and somehow serving you, even as it takes it away its citizens’ incomes, their rights to free speech and assembly, and their pride. It’s just that Ballard got the political direction wrong. He thought it was going to come from the Left, rather than the Libertarian advocates of deregulation on the Right.