The Way We Live Now    
    Some observations on contemporary society by Junius    

Battleground UK

The shocking increase in gun-related crime had scarcely been swept under Westminster's plush carpeting before the knife crime figures (including machetes and swords) were released. As might be expected, the Met area, where serious policing is now history, topped the league with a staggering 174 per cent increase, while elsewhere the norm was around 20 per cent up on the previous year. Couple this with the chilling news that every year 30,000 court cases collapse because witnesses or victims have been intimidated. Meanwhile the creaking system plays at pass-the-buck. The Government blames the police while the police blame the judges. That frame of mind is typical of Blair's Cool Britannia and, of course, cures nothing! Britain's ills all stem from a total lack of firm leadership and the political will to tackle problems at the roots.

Putting the fear of God into them

Within months we will be seeing one of the Government's new inventions: uniformed Community Support Officers, empowered to use reasonable force to detain a suspect for up to thirty minutes while a real policeman gets to the scene. Additionally, they will be able to issue fixed-penalty notices for dog-fouling and to people riding bicycles on the pavement, while under-age children may find that their alcohol and tobacco are confiscated. The mind truly boggles! "And Now, madam! Here's a ticket for your dog's poo, which will cost you a tenner, and another because your kid is riding a bike unlawfully. But just stay put for a moment while I get that little blighter across the road to show me his birth certificate." Or possibly we might have: "Look. I'm sorry that this charming young man called you a white bitch, but that was half an hour ago so, as no policeman has turned up, I can't hold hands with him any longer." Given what we read about the millions of pounds in unpaid fines levied by the courts, the fixed-penalty notices are, of course, a sick joke. And as for detaining some drug-crazed youth with ‘reasonable force’, can we honestly believe that these CSOs, being paid, we are told, some two thirds of a constable's wage, are really going to risk life and limb in areas which the police have already given up the ghost?

Give us the guns!

Now here are some statistics that Blunkett will not like. In the U.S.A. the states of New Hampshire and Vermont have the lowest crime levels in the country, and also the highest levels of gun-ownership. On the other hand, Washington DC is one of the most murderous places in the Union and has the most rigorous gun control laws. As Simon Heffer puts it, "For a householder to shoot a burglar in most states in the U.S. is regarded not so much as permissible as part of his civic responsibilities."

Another stinker

"Gibson, in what amounts to the John Wayne role, has rarely been worse than he is in this, wearing a rictus of increasing distaste which seems more suggestive of dodgy on-set catering than the horrors of combat." In the ordinary way, we would be intensely sceptical of any suggestion that Mr. Gibson might have made a film more tedious than Braveheart, but Tim Robey, reviewing We Were Soldiers for the Daily Telegraph, is very convincing and witty, though not so hilariously funny as little Mel himself when he treats us to one of his ‘serious-acting’ expressions!

Looking to the future, we understand that Bombers over Baghdad - to be released in 2005 and already tipped to pick up seventeen Oscars - ends with a spectacular shoot-out in which Mr. Gibson manages to blow away the entire Palace guard single handed!

A loose Canon?

Courage to Love is a new collection of prayers for homosexuals. Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw (himself one of them) believes it will "provide strength and inspiration for those who want to celebrate their God-given (sic) sexuality in the face of continuing rejection and hostility from Church leaders." Canon Jeffrey John is a contributor and says: "The clergy needs to bless gay relationships, which are based on the same commitment as marriage." One item prays that the next Pope "shall be young, coloured and gay." Ah well! There's no harm in asking. Now all we have to do is to watch out for the pink smoke!!!

We will not argue

During a recent speech, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks warned that anti-Semitism was increasing in Britain and the rest of Europe. He said that Jews had been persecuted throughout history because they were different. "There is an instinctive human tendency to fear the stranger. Anti-Semitism should concern us all because difference is natural." With this we could heartily concur, but maybe here is an opportunity to clear up a slight misunderstanding. Whenever nationalists notice different racial characteristics and seek to discuss them intelligently, they are invariably castigated, not to say persecuted. Could the Chief Rabbi perhaps explain the rules to us?

A spider's web

Prior to the sweeping reforms introduced during the 19th century, voters in parliamentary elections were shamelessly bribed in order to gain their support for a particular faction. And, in a way, they still are when we have to acknowledge that the outcome of a political contest can depend on promises involving government expenditure on free or subsidised services, or on legislation seeking to promote what are perceived to be the interests of particular segments of the electorate; race relations provides a good example of this.

But now we face a new danger which will put all our previous ideas about sharp practice in the shade. We are being told by Peter Hain, amongst many others, that Britain must embrace the single currency, so that we can be there, at the heart of things, protecting our own interests; that it will be fatal if we are left behind and out in the cold. What you never hear is that ours will be just one lone weak voice, with no power of veto, among twenty others, the majority of whom will be either dedicated to the super-state concept or in receipt of massive hand-outs and therefore willing, if not entirely happy, to go along with whatever ‘Big Brother’ puts on the agenda. Now that's what we call bribery.

But they've left the backdoor open

While the headlines were telling us that the appeal of the so-called ‘metric martyrs’ had failed. journalist Christopher Booker was taking a closer look at what Lord Justice Laws had actually said. In fact, the true legal position is that there is nothing in the European Communities Act which allows the EU, or any of its institutions, including the European Court of Justice, to overrule our Parliament unless that Parliament agrees to it. The learned judge went on to explain that withdrawal from the EU would be a simple matter of repealing the Act, which our Government is entirely free to do. Meantime it can, if it wishes, enact laws contradicting EU law, though it must state that this is the intention of such legislation. In a nutshell, Parliament, being sovereign, cannot abandon its sovereignty. This makes the struggle to reject the euro all the more crucial and, of course, Blair knows it. Once we surrender our economic independence we are finished, and passing all the laws under the sun will not set us free. In the pubs and clubs, and over the garden wall, nationalists have a duty to explain to our British folk exactly what is at stake - survival or extinction!

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