Tag Archives: G20

JQP in Brief

Allies

It may prove a strategic error for the Cambridge PD to have shown their collective asses right at the start of Blog Against Racism week. It practically guaranteed them the spotlight as “offenders of the week” at a time when thousands of honourable people were looking for a bigot to pillory. On the other hand, I didn’t even know it was IBARW until Jennie Rigg mentioned it: hat duly tipped.

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JQP in Brief

So I’m back on the Metro run for the first time in a while, having spent 9 days in a field in Somerset making actual things out of wood. A short list of things I felt rant-worthy appears below.

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The Confidence Trick

Expensive

I’ve stayed relatively clear of the commentariat’s dive into the Torygraph’s shark pool. Obviously, people needed to comment: for example, when the they smeared MPs someone needed to be telling them off.

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Culpability VII: Bootnote

Liberal Democrat [ MP. –Ed ] Tom Brake says he saw what he believed to be two plain-clothes police officers go through a police cordon after presenting their ID cards.

Brake, who along with hundreds of others was corralled behind police lines near Bank tube station in the City of London on the day of the protests, says he was informed by people in the crowd that the men had been seen to throw bottles at the police and had encouraged others to do the same shortly before they passed through the cordon.
                                                — The Guardian

You know, I’m beginning to wonder about this journalistic integrity thing. It’s a bit odd for me anyway, since I’m an historian. As a discipline we’re inclined to the long view; we’re inclined to use a lot of caveats about data and provenance thereof, and we’re inclined to be very careful to leave room for new data to change our interpretation. It was in this spirit that I wrote the Feast of Fools and Culpability series; I kept seeing things in eye-witness reports which I either cited very carefully, noting that eye-witness reports were unsubstantiated, or left out altogether because there wasn’t enough data and I genuinely hoped they weren’t true.

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Culpability VI: Law or Order?

Having gone truncheons to tasers in a generation, I also have to wonder what purpose the current Police Service has been built for? […] It looks like we have been built to violently confront and overcome people. I am not saying that is our mindset, but it is without doubt what we are equipped to do. Once people get over the quasi military kit, we are mostly approachable and pleasant people, it’s just that we dress like Imperial Stormtroopers.
                — NightJack, Winner of the Orwell Prize for Blogs, 2009

I’m going to repeat, at this stage, something I’ve said a few times through this fiasco but which I don’t think can be repeated often enough. I am not angry with constables as a class. I think there are some specific individuals who broke the law (the chairman of the IPCC agrees with me, btw) and need to be tried and jailed. I think that there is a policy from the highest levels which is flawed, arrogant, short-sighted and dangerous; but I do not and will not blame coppers for how they’re trained, briefed or ordered. The blame for those things lies squarely and solely with senior officers, the ACPO and the last four governments.

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Culpability V: That which is seen

“Police brutality is not new”, say the right-wing blogs. Well, no. “Police brutality is worse elsewhere”, say the trolls. Well, yes; so what? We’ve been doing this Enlightenment thing longer than any other continuous democracy: we’ve had more chances to learn from our mistakes, and therefore we as a people cannot be excused from civilisation because we forgot to do our homework. So if police brutality is neither new, nor local, what has changed in the last ten years? After all, the police started a riot at Gleneagles and then violently subdued it, and there was none of this fuss.

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Culpability IV: Punishment and Crime

Assaulting officerspolice_medic_and_his_big_stick1Victim

The previous two posts have laid out a disturbing impression of police policy and culture. The culture and direction from senior officers is explicitly encouraging the avoidance of accountability, which is scandalous in armoured riot troops. Officers are systematically misusing the law, engaging in deliberate intimidation through the assumption that the public can’t follow the law, and engaging in both disingenuous and frankly laughable attempts to turn the innocent into an excuse for violence. These things are true of British policing across the country, all the way from football fans in Manchester to middle-class anglers in the Home Counties. The question I want to examine based on the Climate Camp report is whether there’s more to it than that when it comes to the policing of dissent specifically.

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