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Thursday, 11 December, 2008

Sarah McDermott | 15:51 UK time, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Here's the plan for tonight's Newsnight:

Irish Referendum
"If at first you don't succeed try, try again" - that is clearly the EU Commission President's attitude to Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. Insulting? Arrogant? Realpolitik? When the Irish voted no in June, President Sarkozy (France holds the Presidency) said there would have to be another referendum, and so it will be after a little "tweaking" of the terms. It looks as if Ireland will have assurances on its military neutrality, independence over abortion and family law - not materially affected by the Lisbon Treaty - but what about the big demand - will Ireland have its own EU Commissioner? Tonight we'll be asking the President of the European Parliament what happens if Ireland votes no again? Will the Treaty be abandoned or will Ireland be booted out?

European Economies
Still with fractiousness in Europe... There may have been a certain froideur between the UK and Germany at the EU summit today, where the agenda will be dominated by EU wide efforts to beat the recession. After all it's not every day that such a direct and jeering criticism is made of one member by another, but Gordon Brown's strategy for dealing with the economic crisis has been mocked by Germany's Finance minister who dubbed it "crass Keynesianism" that would saddle Britons with debt for a generation. The plunging pound today will not have helped the atmosphere.

Gangs
We have a special investigation into gang violence on the streets of Edmonton, north London, where three teenagers have lost their lives this year. We speak to a man with inside knowledge, who gives a chilling account of how children as young as 11 years old are recruited and groomed by gang leaders.

Restoration Comedy
And the holy grail of British comedy. How a Dad's Army classic has been resurrected in glorious technicolour.

Join us at 10.30pm.

Kirsty

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    What is it about democracy that politicians don't understand? The only time that the people of Europe were allowed to vote on the Lisbon treaty, they voted No. The treaty hasn't changed, so why do the Irish have to vote again on the same thing? If they had voted Yes last time I'm sure they wouldn't be holding another referendum to see if they might have changed their mind.

  • Comment number 2.



    Ill informed gullible voters vote for pre-selected 'rosette stands' whose first allegiance is to their party. These ciphers play the Westminster games, whereby leaders with strange 'political characteristics'
    hubris, obsession, rhetoric and - on a bad day - charisma, float to the top.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    THERE MUST BE ANOTHER WAY OR IT'S GONNA HURT IN THE MORNING

    Ill informed gullible voters vote for pre-selected 'rosette stands' whose first allegiance is to their party. These ciphers play the Westminster games, whereby leaders with strange 'political characteristics'
    hubris, obsession, rhetoric etc. (and - on a very bad day - charisma) float to the top. Should they arrive in the office of Prime Minister, these chosen ones expand their weirdness to an amazing degree. Then Britain finds herself at the mercy of a war-mongering messiah, a simplistic shop-keeper's daughter or a courage-obsessed funk.

    The message is so very clear: under the system we (that's us) currently permit, bizarre personalities ROUTINELY get control of our lives. The other half of the message is also clear: when we get the really barmy one - with all our data to hand - be afraid.

    The next General Election is on the horizon. As far as aberrant behaviour is concerned, from the three contenders: you ain't seen nothin' yet! The Westminster cauldron that distilled the previous delusionals to the top, IS JUST THE SAME ONE that elevated Dave and Nick. Would nice Nick fire that nuke to prove he is really tough? (Score: 30 laid, PLUS a nuclear war?) What might Dave do? You can never see behind the mask. But if the past is anything to go on . . .

    Sorry about premature posting . . .

  • Comment number 5.

    IT WOULD BE AN IRISH JOKE IF IT WERE NOT SO FOUL (#1)

    We are constantly told that the EU has brought all manner of advantages in its wake. Isn't that what cult leaderships tell the gullible who fall into their clutches?

    I suggest that electronic communication and mass travel have done far more to reduce fighting in Europe, than all this commonality.
    The trade would have multiplied anyway; it has been going on for thousands of years.

    My post 4 is concerned with the nature of the UK political animal. Such animals, distilled from other dysfunctional cauldrons across Europe, have set up the central EU body, WITH CORRUPTION AND DYSFUNCTION BUILT IN, almost as if to make my point!

    That Ireland's 'NO' is of no account is bad enough. BUT THAT THERE ARE A BODY OF POLITICIANS WHO WILL LET THIS HAPPEN,
    WHO SEE IT AS HONOURABLE CONDUCT,
    is utterly treacherous and despicable. And I am back to Westminster again.

    If ever a just war, on the soil of Europe, was called for to dispel a gathering darkness, it is now.

  • Comment number 6.

    it seems the psychological target of pound euro parity is on hedge fund minds. basically they are going to do to the uk what they did to oil. not because its right or makes sense but just because they can.

    what benefit to the uk are uk tax havens if they are used as bases to trash the economy?
    obama is right to want law to come to uk dodge city tax free rule free havens.

    why is gordon protecting them?

  • Comment number 7.

    A DOCILE BLOKE IS AN ANIMAL WHO HAS BEEN DISTRACTED.

    Men in boring, repetitive jobs, used to go on strike with enthusiasm. At last, life had some sparkle. Boys who have fallen below the 'sprit/sludge' divide of schooling, might well have a similar mind-set. Guns last week, knives this week - the Teds had razors - maybe hand-grenades next? These are the fashion of the day TO WARD OFF BOREDOM in an alien world.

    If we have a politician's 'initiative', at great expense, and reduce knife crime (by 17%) what will sparkle in its place for bored kids?
    Just suppose we took away the right of politicians to spout vacuous rhetoric, and stick verbal knives into one another, how would they feel?

    If the hooligans were roaming a harsh landscape in search of game, for which they were barely a match, armed with only primitive weapons, I think they might do a lot better at life than a typical, effete politician in the same situation.

  • Comment number 8.

    At approx. 7.30 p.m. BBC News 24, Bilal ****, an ex gang member and good friend of a lad who was stabbed to death 14th March 2007 (Kojo) said clearly the possibility of prison sentences did not deter thugs in the UK because the sentences were soft. He clearly indicated (with ref to tougher sentences in the USA and their effect) stiffer sentences would help. He mentioned too many benefits in prisons. Is it not time we stopped handing out costly prison sentences and used cheap flogging? In public, on the streets in the ganglands. Let the thugs hear the screaming. Let them see the torn flesh. I doubt it would be necessary to administer the punishment more than a very few times.

    And why not sterilisation? I do not know whether the transmission from generation to generation is through genes or socialisation (probably both). Sterilisation would work either way. (With an aging population and a pensions crisis looming, after we get through the current blip, we cannot afford to squander resources on scum. Remember, any funds used dealing with street crime cannot be used to fund pensions...or schools or hospitals. The costs of street crime are greater than those directly attributable).

    I do not accept that 14 year olds cannot be held responsible for their actions... that society is responsible. The streetwise 14 year olds on the streets of Edmonton, Walthamstow and Tottenham can, and should, be held responsible.

    We need to stop our PC attitude to race in this matter. I've walked the streets of the 3 areas I mentioned, before and after dark. The racial mix on the streets is different after dark. The main culprits are.......watch TV and form an opinion on the basis of evidence.

  • Comment number 9.

    European Economics

    I read the original article a few days ago

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/172613

    at the time not realising it's future news significance. It is worth a read for anyone who hasn't read it, if nothing apart from it's 'honesty'.

    Blog regulars will recall the vat changes and the inability of some parts of the media to calculate the new retail due to the 2.5% price reduction.

    I recalled the German Finance Minister had done a comparison of before and after High Street prices.

    So off I went to the now offending article, I was going to have him. Triumphantly stride into the blog with the headline for tomorrows Sun: Germans Can't Do Vat.

    Sorry, he can use a calculator.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 10.

    #7

    "If the hooligans were roaming a harsh landscape in search of game, for which they were barely a match, armed with only primitive weapons, I think they might do a lot better at life than a typical, effete politician in the same situation."

    Yes, spot on.

    The nature of society has changed more rapidly than evolution could change the nature of men.

    It seems unlikely the changes will be reversed, so we need to force adaptation. The alternative is a constant mismatch and an unpleasant society.

    It was about 50 years ago Sir Geoffrey Vickers said (something like) "Many people say the difference today is changes occur more rapidly than in the past. But it has always been like that. The real difference is, the rate of change has accelerated beyond our capacity to adapt."


  • Comment number 11.

    DEMONONIZING 'CHILDREN'

    13thMan (#8,#10) As we have progressively feminised our culture, and especially our education system, we have made it harder for the more masculine, lower verbal, amidst us. This does not condone or excuse the behaviour, but it does go some way towards accounting for the dramatic group differences in criminogenic risk, especially robbery and violent crime. As to offender management, it's currently a dead loss, which is why Probation has, since the recent Act was passed, effectively lost that aspect of their work to the Private/Third Sector (not that they will be any better at it).

    It's clearly getting worse, and is going the way of the USA. See also South Africa. The statistics are well known to the Home Office/Ministry of Justice, and they have been known for decades. The problem is that well meaning, self-appointed, 'experts' who one might have expected to know bette given their HM Prison Service experience. appear to have an unshakeable faith in the power of environmental intervention, when in fact there's very little evidence at all for its efficiacy, hence the dismal reconviction figures!! Nevertheless, you'll still see some of them boldly proclaim that they have great faith in... 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'.

    In our current PC/political (and I hasten to add legal) climate there's little to be done other than watch the problems get worse and see lots of money/resources (which should really be spent on better things as you say), squandered keeping an eye on groups of 'youths' which are at high risk of causing others suffering. It's all down to breeding.

    Anything else is presently inconceivable and almost certainly illegal.

  • Comment number 12.

    13thMan "The nature of society has changed more rapidly than evolution could change the nature of men."

    Populations change as a function of migration, gene barriers and differences in sub-group differential fertility rates. These can change populations very rapidly, i.e in a couple of generations. In a country with a TFR of 1.1 the population can halve in a generation (30 years). See Russia which now has a TFR around that. See the USA today and what's likely to happen over the next couple of decades because of differences in the birth rates. See London's projected growth ove rthe next 30 years, it's 99% BME. Too few people think like this, but it's all that matters.

  • Comment number 13.

    EXCEEDINGLY GOOD APHORISMS (#12)

    Oh JJ - 'ALL that matters' is a bit strong.

    Mr Kipling said to 'treat those two impostors just the same'. A sinking ship is a sinking ship - fair enough. But what happens on that ship, as it sinks, will be very different with a mature crew of positive thinking (philosophical) people, rather than the TV-brainwashed bozos we have become.
    They might even keep it afloat long enough to define the cause and come up with a solution.

    If that solution turned out to be eugenics in some form, so be it. But my guess is, you can do eugenics in ways that do not affront or degrade - if your leaders are wise enough.

  • Comment number 14.

    THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO

    barrie (#13) Not 'a bit strong at all'. It's true (sadly), and I challenge anyone to provide evidence to the contrary, as CJS policy is going in this direction as a consequence of what is known. Others who know the research would say just this. It's invariably those who don't know the evidence who assert otherwise. I repeat, all we can do environmentally is limit damage (to rthe best of my knowledge), often caused by dysfunctional families, but that does not mean that the damaged victims are not already high rik because of the genes they inherit. In recent decades we have just made this message much harder to get across through flooding our 'universities' with students and staff who really are not really fit for higher education.

    "But my guess is, you can do eugenics in ways that do not affront or degrade - if your leaders are wise enough."

    Yes, it's state-policy driven 'family planning', as in the PRC. The problem is, in Liberal-Democracies, Human Rights charters make it next to impossible to legally/practically implement. In fact, the Liberal-Democracies are trying to get the PRC to adopt their own dysgenic ways!

  • Comment number 15.

    JJ (11)

    You are well known to us all as a fan of stats, but what is your claim that "it is clearly getting worse" based on?

    Violent crime has fallen for quite a few years, and the evidence suggests that knife related crime is going the same way:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2008/07/sceptical_of_knife_epidemic.html

  • Comment number 16.

    I VOTED AGAINST THIS TREATY BECAUSE IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND. YOU NEEDED TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE NICE AGREMENT TO BE ABLE TO READ THE TREATY. tHIS TREATY WAS NOT DISCUSSED HERE AS PREVIOUS TREATIES WERE. I WILL AGAIN VOTE NO IF ANY ONE TELLS ME AGAIN TO VOTE YES OR ELSE.........ie france , etc do you understand

  • Comment number 17.

    Plus JJ, it's difficult to base any argument on population projections when they have been almost always universally wrong in the past!

  • Comment number 18.

    #14

    "flooding our 'universities' with students and staff who really are not really fit for higher education."

    Yes. (I taught in two and was an external examiner to others.)

    Several senior managers I know in the "breeze block uni.'s" (post 1992) are used car salesmen in a different job.

    (It isn't only the polyversities. I recently worked part time for a very old uni. Academic standards were appalling. I resigned.)




  • Comment number 19.

    BARROSO HAS A BLAIR-LIKE RIGHTNESS

    The feeling grows in me that Barosso lacks temperance in matters of self belief. Also worrying, as I have said before, he has a 'guarded' signature; but guarding implies something he doesn't want us to know.
    Just as Brown's 'world saving' slip confirmed much that we had guessed of Brown (though a look at his signature shows it is desperate bravado of a small man) so Barroso's comment about 'those who matter' (in the UK) indicates illusions of dominance.

    I can only warn, again, that we must stop elevating these dangerously flawed, democracy-free egos, to positions of power, because it is only a matter of time before we get a Hitler, a Stalin, a Pol Pot or some all-new mutation of unpleasantness.

    We need thoroughly inspected heroes.

  • Comment number 20.

    NickThornsby (#15) "Violent crime has fallen for quite a few years"

    No it hasn't, it's increased!

    Not only has the prison population almost doubled since the early 90s, the only reason why crime generally appears to be 'in check' is because this government has been bending over backwards to go softer on young offenders. It's political. Ask anyone involved. The crime rate has been increasing since the end of WWII. That's the advice which senior Civil Servants give to Ministers, and they also advise them that there is nothing the latter can do about it! Even Michael Howard said that on Newsnight a couple of years ago.

    What you are saying is entirely false.

    It's getting worse and will get worse because of differential fertility and changes in our demographics. I have explained all of this in very simple terms.

    As to your remarks in #17, they are ridiculous. We (like the USA) have a major demographic problem on our hands. That's why we have been importing so many people. It's a problem which blights Europe. It's been the wrong thing to do.

    Wake up. Believe it or not, I understate 'my' case. Follow some of the links I have provided. They have been selected because they are representative and informative.

    As to my being fond of evidence...

    Words fail me. You clearly don't know when to listen.

  • Comment number 21.

    I suspect people's perceptions of crime depend on where they live. I live in Enfield, North London (close to Edmonton, Tottenham and Walthamstow). I regularly visit Coventry (fairly run down in many places) and the area around Canterbury. The three places feel very different. Even Coventry doesn't feel too bad. Away from London and some other larger cities, few people have any idea of the nature of the problem.

  • Comment number 22.

    Its a black thing. We are going to have to jump the PC hurdle first before discussing this candidly and truthfully. The latest Louis Thoreau documentary season is a good illustration of the difficulty the Black African has within the European and the America world; and not to mention their own slow progress within their own vast continent. Is it not any wonder that - their inability to compete in the class room/workplace due to deep-rooted inherent traits - leaves them frustrated and far outside the normal civil behaviour lifestyle, they have no choice but to turn to tribal instincts and criminality and develope an identity within the street/drug gangs.

    All the IQ test devised over the last 40 yrs bent in favour, hoping to demonstrate that the African can be on par with the European has not given any positive results. At some point there has to be some recognition that there are differences within racial groups. Hopefully then we can devise something more favourable for the young black youth in making attempts in turning them away from criminality and the street gang culture which presently blights our cities and communities.
    The Education system needs a radical overhaul in facilitating any progress that can be made for the failing black youth; coupled with a firmer justice sytem that can nip in the bud early signs of criminal and anti-social behaviour, this been applied to all racial groups.

    Don't hold your breath though as the BBC won't entertain Darwinism and eugenics on this subject as its too taboo. Tonights Newsnights report was like 'Toytown Noddy' meeting the 'Los Angeles Cribbs'...get out of yer bubble BBC as your out-of-touch Guardian readership stance is becoming very frustrating to watch...as frustrating as watching that clueless idiot Louis Thoreau.

  • Comment number 23.

    Dear News night...Jaded Jean refers to the 'less verbal' but funnily enough, despite the 'jive talk' 'lingo' 'gang estate speak' etc... the hooded guy spoke much more clearly and directly than most politicians and pundits do on Newsnight. Can we hear more from these guys and girls please....also, why not allow them to conduct the interviews with the (slimy )politicians on these subjects and let Jeremy and Kirsty learn something perhaps.

    Listen to them everyone! The youth are telling us that Drugs drive it all! We must decriminalise ALL drugs urgently - that is, not legalise but allow people to have what they want from normal chemists...not criminal dealers.

    So what if someone is an addict - most of them would want to get clean after a while anyway. It is only 'the way of getting of the drugs' that causes danger and chaos to us all - hence the gangs activities that the police cannot deal with what ever they say....

    Ironically, it is drugs that are keeping Afghanistan war going - and funding the Taliaban. It is another case of "we will sell them the rope with which we will hang them" etc. Even stopping the growing of cannabis there causes a bigger problem in that dealers now grow it under lights in Europe instead - and in so doing create a much more potent form (and so dangerous) than the Afghan dope used to be

  • Comment number 24.

    JJ

    I never said you're 'fond of evidence' I said (jokingly) that you're fond of statistics.

    You've just told me that violent crime has continually increased, but the figures say otherwise. So on this occasion you seem to basing your argument on anecdotal evidence.

    "You clearly don't know when to listen"

    Sorry, what?

  • Comment number 25.

    HUMANS, DOPE, AND DOPEY HUMANS

    Having a complex brain, permits us to screw ourselves up in very complex ways.
    Small wonder we have sought ways to turn the damned thing off - if only for a while.
    Were we to set out, from before conception, to nurture in the interests of stability, security, philosophy and quiescence, the brain might be its own comforter and a wise strategist.

    While we sow seed without a thought, and then put the resultant growth through the school 'digester/fermenter', simply to provide for Mammon's needs, angst will prevail and drugs (ALL of them) will be endemic among humanity.

    PS: I frequently refer to school as a fermentation process, yielding both spirit and sludge. I cannot help but see prison (the politicians cure-all) as an anaerobic pit that converts sludge into black slime. There's a triumph for 'civilisation'!

  • Comment number 26.

    It's a Black thing?

    it's funny how, gang culture is never associated with groups of middle aged working class white men who after working all week for a boss of another ethnicity,
    At the weekend revert to their tribal instincts of going to the pub and leaving for a punch-up and a bit of random brick and stone throwing mindless vandalism, theft,GBH and arson, before/after watching two teams of 11 men kick a leather bag of wind about a football pitch.

    But i suppose that is a white thing!
    Or lads just letting off some steam?

    Criminals are everywhere, and they scum in all colors.

  • Comment number 27.

    NickThursby (#24)

    ""You clearly don't know when to listen"
    Sorry, what?"

    I repeat - You clearly don't know when to listen. New Labour is very good at 'perception management'.

    Look at figures 2.5 and 2.65 on page 29 of the most recent Crime in England and Wales 2007/8 which can be found on this page. Ask why they have chosen 1981 as the starting point and what the supposed falls in rate are calculated relative to. Yes, there have been
    desperate legislative and procedural measures
    to control boh this behaviour and perception of it in recent years (see the 2006 independent review), and whilst the former is a good thing, this is just an effort at containment, it doesn't get at the driving factors which I've tried to highlight in a number of posts. The BCS is flawed methodologically, and I suggets one only need sto look to what is going on in our schools to appreciate what is really the case (lots of inclusion, lots of MAPPA).

    The advice given to Michael Howard when he took office was that all his government could do was manage,ment public expectations. Another way of putting that is 'perception management' or spin. See the Indepdendent Review above.

    Learn to spot 'perception management'. New Labour is renowned for this, along with politicisation of the Civil Service. If you look closely at the older Home Office crime figures, you will see a remarkable statement at the beginning of one of the Home Office reports n ethnicity and crime which essentially says that the Home Secretary is not obliged to tell the public what is really going on, but to report in the public interest. I'll find the link and post sometime in the future.

    Look at the long term prison population. Why is it growing? Why are our schools straining o manage disruptive behaviour? Why is it disporportionately African Carribean? Are our schools unwittingly institutionally racist?

  • Comment number 28.

    Barrie

    Some groups lost their spiritual icon.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=a_sQ95HrudU&feature=related

    Who was replaced by by the Gangsta, bling bling materialism snd consumerism.

    Much like Brown and want us to do to save the imaginary economy.

    Not the drugs but the surrounding culture that programmes the mind.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 29.

    JJ (it's Thornsby)

    I find what you say interesting, and I do look at the links you provide. I am aware that spin is enshrined in the premise of New labour, and yesterday's ridiculous figures on knife crime are a great example.

    The link that I posted above from Mark Easton's blog is interesting, don't you think? It is my opinion, backed up by figures, that perception and fear of crime is actually much worse than crime itself.

    Anecdotal evidence is pretty useless in a debate, but I was talking to someone who says that every time one went out in Manchester of an evening in the 60s, it was routine, yes, routine, to be subject to some sort of violent attack (a fight). Now, it is unusual to see, or get into, fights.

  • Comment number 30.

    gangs

    sounds like they need anger management skills.

    young men? a man is someone who chooses to live by honour and the law. it doesn't just happen to people they have to choose it. people who don't make that choice remain with infantile behaviour patterns.

    peace and law are not things that can be enforced. it must be chosen. preferred. reasoned and motivated.

    so cultural questions should acknowledge the existence of the choice, highlight this choice and repeat the reasons for making the choice and why it is preferable. how many can articulate that? i have never heard it in the media.


    but what do we get instead? gangsta rap/ celebrity/ fame/ easy money/normalising drugs lifestyle etc.

    for years i used this reasoning on hoodies with success. now they are adults and you can see the 'choice' working in them.

  • Comment number 31.

    why does dad's army work?

    is it the bad language? the nudity? the cruelty?

    so why do people today think those are essential in comedy?

  • Comment number 32.

    WHAT CAN ONE SAY?: PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT EXTRAORDINAIRE

    NickThursby (#24) Followup to #27.

    here is the leader to the 2006 report "Statistics on Race and the
    Criminal Justice System - 2005: A Home Office publication under section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991"
    :

    "Criminal Justice Act 1991
    Section 95

    (1) The Secretary of State shall in each year publish such information, as he
    considers expedient for the purpose of:

    (a) enabling persons engaged in the administration of justice to become
    aware of the financial implications of their decisions; or

    (b) facilitating the performance of such persons of their duty to avoid
    discriminating against any persons on the ground of race or sex or any other
    improper ground.

    (2) Publication under subsection (1) above shall be effected in such a manner, as
    the Secretary of State considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing the
    information to the attention of the persons concerned."

  • Comment number 33.

    the irish should continue to vote no...if they want to...isn't it all about choice? The EU is almost fascist in it's dealing with the hoi polloi, why don't they become more democratic? I blame De Gaul

  • Comment number 34.

    NickThornsby (#29) "JJ (it's Thornsby)" So it is. Sorry about that.

    The evidence, statistics and logic that I'm drawing on is international. If one looks to the USA (look at the size of the Black population and at the proportion Blacks contribute to the prison population) and other couintries, and relate that to our changing demographics. If behaviour is largely genetically driven, one would expect to see the same patterns everywhere, and no spinning/massaging of statistics will make any benevolent difference in the end, regardless of our Lysenkoist Race Relations/Equalities legislation.

    The TFR in Black population is not much higher than the White TFR, so this is not a major issue, but as Whites flee the inner cities, it will get worse. Even amidst the Blacks it is only a minority. The Muslim TFR is higher than replacement, but again, there is a difference between bethaviour of Pakistanis and Bangldeshis, the latter are smaller, more feminised. Immigration is too high, but Muslims overall are reasonably well behaved relative even to Whites, very probably through the influence of highly moral Islam (ironically given all the 'terror' talk - muslims are a major competitor to another group's interests of course, both politically and economically). The problem is a swelling underclass and shrinking 'elite' quite aside from race, and the latter has been made worse by much greater female higher education as it lowers the birth rate amongst the more able. Females will not accept this, which is, I suggest, why in the past (and even today) Orthodox Judasm and Islam have been so 'repressive' with their females.

  • Comment number 35.

    #30 Book Him Dano

    Thanks, saves me having to write it.

    Also if crime was reduced we could make redundancies in police, CPS, courts. lawyers, legislators, probation, social services, prisons etc etc.

    They could do something else positive instead of dealing with negatives.

    The misery industry is very strong, is is not?

    Celtic Lion





  • Comment number 36.

    SIZE DOES MATTER

    leftieoddbod (#33) Ireland is about the size of a NUT (like Finland, Scotland, Sweden, London). An EU NUT is about 6 million. I reckon Regional Assembles/Development Agecies are not, in principle, a bad idea, as these would make administraion easier - we have just grown too big. As I see it, the English Regions are all about NUT size, and these could be seeen as States, each with their own governor or EU Commisioner. France, Germany will be incorported the same way. To make this work the EU has to do away with national governments which is why I reckon we have been seeing what amounts to anarchism/Trotskyism in recent times, as the state, as we know it has to be fragmented in orde to make this Federal system viable.

    So in the end, maybe it's for the best?

  • Comment number 37.

    35...The misery industry is very strong, is is not?...

    because they hate the idea there is ' a choice'. which is why they do not acknowledge there is one but put responsibility on other factors like poverty, housing etc. They say all people are 'victims' of their surroundings. They give people excuses not to choose.

    the root of their denial about choice is because they are moral relativists. They say there is no such thing as the Good or Truth and thus deny hierarchies of choices.

    so they work to create a society where there is no responsibility and calls for self dicsipline are seen as an oppression.

    Parmenides showed anyone who does not take the idea of the Good The One as the highest idea of the mind will fall into nihilism and relativism. Which is what we increasingly have.

    10 years ago i was faced with unruly teenage gangs trying to disrupt my business. I was shot at twice and the police didn't even take statements [apparently gun crime reports makes the figures look bad -see game theory ] . I then realised that i was on my own and so decided to work out a strategy to deal with them. So i put philosophy of the Good into practice and began talking about 'the choice' that really makes 'a man'

    The model of man kids get from the media is some kind of gangsta drug lifestyle which is why they ape the words and clothes. This is the model of man they believe 'gets respect' so that is the one they use

    So i began talking about a model of man that depends on choosing the good as the highest idea of the mind as the model that 'gets respect'.

    Within a very short time some of the real nut cases who had been giving me the hardest time stopped bothering me.

    After a few years i noticed a pattern that 12, 13 14 year old kids [boys and girls] would come and try out their gangsta model on me ie try and steal, intimidate, insult, threaten etc. As a retail business you are open to the public so an easy 'target'. But what they were really doing was looking for a better model of man and if you don't give them the idea there is a different model of man they stay with the gangsta model.

    So i would use dialectic. ie asking questions like why are you threating me? Why are you stealing? Why do you want to burn my house down? etc. They would answer with the gangsta line of reasoning e.g respect, looking after business, my homies etc

    Then i would say a real man is someone who chooses the Good. Its a choice. Being a man/human doesn't just happen you have to choose it. They would laugh and use hand gestures etc.

    the strategy worked. After a few weeks of dialectic they would change enough to not affect the business.

    i remember a Kathleen Raine lecture where she said in one fairy tale the town people in distress from gangs prayed for help was surprised to not be sent a knight with a sword but a person skilled with words.

    There is a choice.


  • Comment number 38.

    bookhimdano (#27) "because they hate the idea there is ' a choice'. which is why they do not acknowledge there is one but put responsibility on other factors like poverty, housing etc. They say all people are 'victims' of their surroundings. They give people excuses not to choose."

    As an alternative to imputing mental causes and choice, read through as much of this as you can bear keeping in mind that although simply written, what he's saying draws on a powerful technology of behaviour.

    Until we learn to stop talking the intensional language of mentalistic folk psychology we won't get a grip on behaviour.

  • Comment number 39.

    it is the usual practice of moral relativists to diss plato as irrelevant.


    indeed they must do. they must dismantle the model of man based on The Good.

    they must seek to replace the Good with other words they thing better like Freedom, Dignity. All those words have good in them but they are not The Good.

    i disagree with the relativist who seeks such substitution The Good is the highest idea of the mind. If so what follows. what model of man.

  • Comment number 40.

    A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

    Here is a century of Home Office crime data, i.e enough to show why it what matters that one looks to a cut off before 1981. Try scatter-plotting data against count for any of them.

    Here's a press report from last October, and one today on knife crime When concern over government statistics was debated in Parliament it was clear to all that this 'open and transparent' government was not too keen on openness and transparency.

  • Comment number 41.

    WHAT WAS BF SKINNERS MOTIVATION?

    Was he haunted by 'the unexplained man' and HAD to have an explanation (even though no explanation might be possible?

    Was he driven to be 'the one who is right'
    or to prove 'them' wrong, above seeking (or failing to find) truth?

    Is his thesis based more on what he can 'stomach' as the nature of man (himself) rather than what is unpalatably apparent?

    Did he acknowledge such lack of personal freedom-to-be-objective, and such seeds of error in his conclusions?

  • Comment number 42.

    Barrie (#41) This is almost a science in itself. It's pragmatic, it is radical, best described as Machian or Quinean and is essentially atheoretical.

    They tend to regard 'cognitive psychologists' as modern witches and warlocks.

    It's worth taking very seriously. Not a lot else is.

  • Comment number 43.

    Errata: A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

    "i.e enough to show why it what matters that one looks to a cut off before 1981. Try scatter-plotting data against count for any of them."

    "i.e enough to show why it matters that one looks to a cut off before 1981. Try scatter-plotting date against count for any of the offences".

    Barrie (#41) The Experimental Analysis of Behaviour measures how rates of emitted behaviours (acts or operants) are shaped by their consequences i.e outcomes. It eschews mentalistic/intensional language (e.g. 'motivation') in favour of a language of behaviour/actions and controlling contingencies.

    It's rather austere. But good.

  • Comment number 44.

    THE TROUBLE WITH MAN (#41)

    My problem is that I know of no one who is not reacting to their childhood.
    Not only are we, thereby, not objective, but we skew our truth to salve our pain and then (if very clever) mask the skewing. Were I academic I would write a thesis on
    'The Inverse Ratio of Learned Papers to Mental Quiescence'. Lucky escape there.

    In technical terms: "it's a bugger."

  • Comment number 45.

    #37 Book Him Dano

    Thank you for your post, we could talk all night, because I think we don't need to.

    You came up with a solution outside of the 'misery industry'.

    On occasions I have worked within the 'misery industry'. I normally get sacked after the 6 months 'probation'. 'Unsuitable for the post', is the reason.

    Thank you for bringing up Game Theory=self interest.

    If you work within the misery industry, and solve the problem. With the click of a finger.

    There is nolonger any need for the misery industry. So the misery industry does not want solutions. Until the misery industry accepts it must work towards it's own redundancy, we will always have crime and disorder.

    Children stabbing other children are one of the raw materials the misery industry needs to justify it's existence and jobs. Sad.

    But BHD that's part of the game.

    And to you bleeding heart academics. I might have contributed to two Nobel Prizes last year and can discuss Plato etc until the cows come home.

    But sadly I can also be as Barrie describes, one of those very special American mommy likers, with a reluctance to spend money,

    In '79 with my friend John we were walking across Crewe town square. Although we had no interest in football, we were surrounded by 6 members of supporters of another football club. Unfortunately we were bikers, in the vernacular of the day we were Greasers, we were Grebos.

    Surrounded the flick knives were pulled and activated. I was 0.5 of a second from the blade entering me just under my left rib cage to over my bladder.

    Distraction. "You're on your own John" I said. The knife carrying football fans, so obsessed with their shiney hand extensions hadn't realised the implications of me being a biker.

    The also hadn't read the sleeve notes of Quadrophenia either.

    In my hand was a Kangol Falcon fibreglass fullface helmet. My right hand moving from chinstrap to chinpiece.

    John knew I wasn't about to desert him, my warning was it was 'goin' down'. All he had to do was look after himself. So he hit the deck, while I like a pirouetting Olympic hammer thrower dropped all six.

    I didn't hit them hard enough to kill them or fracture skulls just distract them and introduce them to the pavement.

    John with his impish sense of humour didn't even bother stepping over the circle of bodies. More on them with a "Cheers mate".

    We didn't hang around as the misery industry would probably want me for 6 counts of ABH on the grounds that the football fans only wanted to make friends by showing me their shiny nice knives.

    Strangely they never reported me.

    Me I prefer to think it improved their future demeanour and as a gang they learnt not to be so stupid in the future.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=EqP3wT5lpa4


    BHD. I take it as the exception proves the rule. All the best I agree with you.

    Rock on. I have recently been told I am only 2 degrees of separation away. OK

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 46.

    barrie (#44) Perhaps because you see so much through the lens of Berne's Transactional Analysis? (which is really a popular version of Freud's Superego (Parent) Ego (Adult) and Id (Child) with a few games thrown in). All of that's outside most academic/professional training. A lot of people have been encouraged to look to key periods in their development (the 2s, puberty, early adulthood and middle age) putting a lot of store by how they were influenced by their environments (everyone has a childhood), but the truth is that they can't know for sure, and they rarely have physical knowledge pertinent to their own biological makeup to know any better, so such beliefs may just be superstitious conditioning. There is very little evidence for any of the psychodynamic or therapeutic stuff. It may be genes which squirt out their behaviours, and if so, there's not much anyone can do about their lot except come to terms with being who they are.

  • Comment number 47.

    SO LET'S SAY: (#46)

    Skinner's genes made him an intelligent polymath. He became concerned for life's impermanence in the microcosm and translated this into 'survival of mankind' in the macrocosm.
    He then set about saving mankind in a way HE found comfortable - for whatever reason.
    His entire construct might be more about 'saving' BF Skinner than saving mankind?

    I was swaddled in bias binding.

  • Comment number 48.

    #23

    "We must decriminalise ALL drugs urgently - that is, not legalise but allow people to have what they want from normal chemists...not criminal dealers."

    I certainly seems the criminal drug trade is responsible for much of the world's crime. From drug barons to murder of five women in Ipswich to street gangs. Decriminalisation would surely have some good effects. It should be possible to manage that to gain more than we lose.

  • Comment number 49.

    #37

    "So i began talking about a model of man that depends on choosing the good as the highest idea of the mind as the model that 'gets respect'.

    Within a very short time some of the real nut cases who had been giving me the hardest time stopped bothering me."

    I was once if you behave like a nutter, people will leave you alone.

  • Comment number 50.

    #26

    "It's a Black thing?

    it's funny how, gang culture is never associated with groups of middle aged working class white men who after working all week for a boss of another ethnicity,
    At the weekend revert to their tribal instincts of going to the pub and leaving for a punch-up and a bit of random brick and stone throwing mindless vandalism, theft,GBH and arson, before/after watching two teams of 11 men kick a leather bag of wind about a football pitch.

    But i suppose that is a white thing!
    Or lads just letting off some steam?

    Criminals are everywhere, and they scum in all colors."

    But the problems you talk of are minor compared to the street gangs of London (and some other places).

    Still, we should deal with scum the same regardless of race. Flogging for a first serious offence and then sterilisation for a further offence. That would target the real problem cases.

  • Comment number 51.

    barrie (#47) Well...no, not at all. His work was based on the recording of the behaviour of pigeons and rats. The thing is, behavioural laws discovered by Skinner and students (and later Herrnstein and students) turned out to be applicable to nearly all animals. Consider Skinner's work as the natural selection of behaviours. He was a bit like the Darwin of behaviour. The value of this work lies in the fact that it is recorded my electromechanical equipment. Instead of emotional/psychological/mentalistic terms (all hopelessly intensional/illogical), there are 'contingencies of reinforcement' which provide a much better explanation for what we refer to as feelings and thoughts etc.

    The Experimental Analysis of Behaviour is critical to much of the work done in neuroscience. It is the technology of behavioural assay. It is reliable, and highly respected in biological science. What Skinner 'thought' is neither here nor there.

  • Comment number 52.

    #45 seems like informed truth and experience that can contribute constructively is not permitted.

    Still another 4 deaths on the decree of a lawyer, which can be given public exposure.

    the horror

    PS BHD I agree. It does work far better than the misery industry will permit. Ignore the detractors, I hav been there also.


    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 53.

    AN INTRACTABLE PROBLEM

    13thMan (#48) "certainly seems the criminal drug trade is responsible for much of the world's crime"

    That's because they patch into CNS systems (monoamines/opioids) which are the sine qua non for normal reinforcement (aka habit formation - eating, sex, temperature control, you name it). It's why dealing with 'the drug problem' is, on the one hand, so important, and yet is one which is intractable. Making drugs illegal is likely to be as effective as making sex illegal. It isn't going to work, but then, not trying to control it is hardly the answer either. These CNS systems come about as close to what some people call 'the mind' or 'soul' as one can envisage. But I guess this is obvious?

  • Comment number 54.

    'GOING MAD TO STAY SANE' (#53)

    In keeping with Andy White, I suspect I have chosen a madness that I can live with, and you, JJ, have done the same. For either of us to claim ours is in fact sanity, is impolite.

    I won't if you won't. (:o)

  • Comment number 55.

    KingCelticLion (#52) Do you seriously think that the hundreds of thousands of people working at the coal-face in the CJS/Social Services/Education do not appreciate the potential benefits of a reduction in the rate of offending behaviour? The root problem is that we now live in a political system (Liberal-Democracy) which breeds more people 'at risk' of offending whilst also winnowing those who might have any hope of better supervising/distracting them in their 'high criminogenic risk' years.

  • Comment number 56.

    TRUTH IS OFTEN STRANGER THAN FICTION

    barrie (#54) "I suspect I have chosen a madness that I can live with, and you, JJ, have done the same. For either of us to claim ours is in fact sanity, is impolite."

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but what I'm saying is bog standard behavioural-neuroscience. That may well be impolite, but it's as close to the truth as professionals know.

  • Comment number 57.

    Did anyone scatterplot (#40)?

  • Comment number 58.

    Quite part from the legal/memorial fiasco, ask who was backing/funding New Labour and their 'Third Way', and ask what 'packing the legislature' really means in a Parliamentary Democracy (cf. 'Ks and Ps').

    In the end this is just Social-Democratic politics (albeit via those who are most vocal). If some can make most feel bad about seeing it all this way, perhaps this is the worse for Liberal-Democracy?

    Liberal-Democracy is a utopic fantasy - it's not, sadly, what actually heppens.

  • Comment number 59.

    HOLD ON LADS - I HAVEN'T GOT AN IDEA . . .

    I am puzzled - again - JJ. Is your CONCLUSION that mankind, on its present course, is INEXORABLY in decline? Further, that the science tells why, and is unequivocal - unchallengeable?
    If so, how would you characterise your blogging here?

    I have to admit, I did not 'scatterplot', as I was running away from my ignorance of the term (unable to deduce what it might mean).

    AH! Not in my dictionary and not current when I did algebra but I am half way there.
    Now I have to decide is 'scatterplot' is noun, verb or metaphor.

    Could do better.

  • Comment number 60.

    GOING BEYOND THE INFORMATION GIVEN

    barrie Whilst the global data shows that overall, there is world dysgenesis, within that global population there are exceptions such as the one-party PRC. To implement eugenics it seems that one has to be non Liberal-Democratic, which is why I regard modern Liberal-democracy as subversive, demographic warfare, eugenics being proscribed by the Lisbon Treaty FCHR. I didn't say it was inexorable, although it may be for Liberal-Democracies.

    As to scatterplot, the Home Office crime data was an Excel file. Look in Excel graphs and you'll find scatterplot.

  • Comment number 61.

    Excel - Insert - Chart, fourth down.

  • Comment number 62.

    The purpose of a liberal democracy is to look after members of a society not for all members to be eggheads. Are there enough intellectuals around to plan the future? I'd say yes. But the future will largely depend on the extent to which the modern elders survive, to counterbalance the Orwellian policies of confused postmodernists and the naively dangerous nostalgia of traditionalists, until the new generation of neomodernists can regain control of the institutions. Starting with the word good is a good place. Talk good, fight bad. That's the thing, that really is the Thing.

  • Comment number 63.

    doctormisswest (#62) "The purpose of a liberal democracy is to look after members of a society not for all members to be eggheads. Are there enough intellectuals around to plan the future?"

    The purpose of Democratic-Centralism in the consitutionally 'Stalinist' PRC is to do much the same, and yet they don't approve of 'Liberal-Democracy' ay mor ethan Zimbabwe does. Why is that do you think?

    Are there enough intellectuals? It isn't about intellectuals. It's about doctors, engineers, administrators and many oter professionals who keep the infrastructure running. Watch the ETS clips and do some re-thinking looking at the USA and UK economies.

  • Comment number 64.

    doctormisswest (#62) "Talk good, fight bad. That's the thing, that really is the Thing."

    Is that talk or fighting talk? Don't people have to listen to each other in order to avoid fighting?

  • Comment number 65.

    There's looking after and there's Looking After

    Russia has a different cultural history to the UK

    Doctors, engineers and administrators are intellectual

    Rethinking is a daunting concept

    Arguing is better than a bloody nose, listening comes later

 

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