Thursday, 9 April 2009

Some People Need To Grow The Hell Up...

So, late on Tuesday night, video was released to the media of a now infamous incident from the G20 demonstrations that had, initially, been reported as a purely natural death. And – for all anyone can say from the incident on the video – still is a purely natural death.

But the left wing media and blogs totally lost their collective shit.
Anyone from the ‘right’ of the blogosphere (either self identified, or those considered to be on the right by the left) who didn’t immediately post was castigated for ‘ducking the issue. By a Lib Dem blogger, no less!

Those who argued, once they’d seen the video in question, that other interpretations and conclusions were available, were howled down as the ravening pack descended on their comments section.

Wiser heads who elected to say nothing at all until more of the facts were in were mocked by commenters and pretty much told they should write about what the mob wanted them to write.

Anyone who commented on a thread and didn’t immediately sign up to the ‘all police iz pigs, innit?’ point of view, (or who pointed out what the video didn’t show) was labelled an ‘apologist’, a ‘supporter of fascism’, someone using ‘NuLabour Socialist-Speak’, etc. All those insane descriptions were actually applied to me in my little trip round my usual blog reads. A glance at my blog – not a full reading of every post, but a glance - would have shown the commenters how wrong they were, about that, but facts are, it seems, worthless. It’s how things look at this point in time that counts.

The left didn’t want to know. They had got their outrage on, and they weren’t prepared to hear anything that conflicted with that.

And that’s the difference between the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ (if those terms have meaning anymore). Emotion. With the left, emotion and immediate gratification rules. They react with passionate intensity to what they see, what they feel, and what things immediately look to be. If I’ve read once that Ian Tomlinson was ‘murdered’, ‘beaten to death’, viciously attacked’, I’ve read it a hundred times on blog comments. I’ve read that the police ‘caused his heart attack’ as if this was a) possible, and b) deliberate.

Now, many people claimed that they too were outraged about this, and that they were not ‘on the left’. But in reacting to the emotions raised by the initial video and immediately deciding that you just ‘know’ what it shows marks you out as someone who doesn’t think, someone who reacts to what they are seeing. What does that sound like to you? A child? Or an adult?

Was Ian Tomlinson ‘assaulted’? It looks like it from the video. Whether that constituted unprofessional conduct remains to be seen.

Did the police initially lie about this? They certainly put out a statement that the death was of natural causes and they had had no contact with him, but that’s typical of the PR department in any big organisation. Deny, and get your side of the story out, and hope no-one else has evidence. If not for the media-driven 24/7 news cycle, the response from the police would be ‘no comment until we’ve investigated’. Anyone want to conjecture how that would go down with the tinfoil hat brigade?

So yes, criticise the police for what they do – I do that often enough myself. They are human, and as prone to mistakes as the rest of us. And the wretched influence of the Righteous is responsible for making them what they are today – a sprawling, target-driven, ideologically schizophrenic organisation, who are required to deal with disaster and human wickedness with one hand tied behind their back, and the eyes of the world’s media on them at all times.

But remember why we need them. And remember why they were there that day:
the metropolitan police
see more Political Pictures

31 comments:

Obnoxio The Clown said...

I'd consider myself very right-wing indeed, and I thing the police are a dangerous bunch of government-controlled thugs who are more than happy to cosy up to the state and protect the state more than the individual. I've said so for ages and didn't feel I needed to make any comment about the latest exemplar of this.

But no-one takes me seriously anyway, so luckily I escaped castigation. :o)

Shlomo said...

Spot on!

Like you, I sniffed something amiss once the video hit the blogs and forums.

I don't know the figures, but someone is probably murdered somewhere in the UK every day of the year (murdered as in deliberately killed), yet rarely, aside from the odd 'public' interest case (cf. Jean-Charles thingamebob), do we hear a shriek of protest or outrage from the left.

Damn their eyes I say!

Keep up the good work...

Blue Eyes said...

Julia - post of the month if not the year so far.

I agree with your assessment that the police are not evil just frequently incompetent. That the police are still trustworthy overall despite 12 years of political assault actually shows what a resilient bunch they are.

I'm afraid that Mr Clown is half-right. The government *wants* the police to be a bunch of government controlled thugs. Luckily the government has not yet got its way.

Dr Melvin T Gray said...

I didn't know of a fresh G20 this week; I missed that one.

ranter said...

Thank you for this thoughtful posting which has been refreshing to read after the hysteria across the various blogs I enjoy and from the mainstream press as well. Maybe the Ian Tomlinson story is a good way to bury bad news for many of our politicians. Boris was thoughtful, Ken Livingstone brought up Blair Peach. Jackie Smiff must have thought 'HURRAH'!

You are spot on that it is the 'Righteous' that have made the police the way they are today, your description is spot on and they ahve been taken away from daily interaction (in police nuspeak: engagement) with the public over the last 40 years, but so much more quickly in the last 15 years.

The influence of the righteous left and the lawyers cannot be underestimated either, neither can the selection, training and attitudes of the ACPO class of officers and those aspiring to those ranks.
Looking at the footage as it has been presented it does look a bit over the top, but the officers were there to clear a particular area by the looks of things and we have no idea what they were looking at or facing. No doubt various other bits of video and CCTV will become available and the officers evidence will also complete the picture. Maybe Mr Tomlinson was not being very compliant, he may have had some problems but in those circumstances it wasn't possible to conduct a more rational or normal assessment of the situation because of the rest of the mob.
Yes, it must have been upsetting for some people (3rd Year medical student?) to witness levels of force and violence but as you clearly point out, an intent had been clearly stated by the leaders (if anarchists have such a thing) and the police response -in light of the failings of 1999 - was deemed necessary. They are damned if the do and damned if they don't.
On the day I looked at many of the press photos, and indeed at times it seemed as if it was police v photographers, and I was struck at just how young so many officers looked. Well I am old and retired from the job now so no surprise there. But I thought, as I so often thought in the past when on such protests do these people really think that these young officers all got out of bed that morning intent on beating someone up, let alone killing them? Police officers have to face the same difficulties as anyone else in society, pay rent, mortgages, get their kids into a good school etc? They're not the only ones still earning a reasonably good wage in this recession? The truth will out eventually and of course that won't satisfy a lot of people if it transpires that Mr Tomlinson wasn't murdered by the police. But the damage has been done. If anyone thinks the police will return to the way they were 15 years ago let alone the days of Dixon - don't hold your breath.

JuliaM said...

Not quite, Obo, I did point out in your own post on this that it was unlikely that the police possesssed a 'heart attack causing ray'... ;)

JuliaM said...

"I didn't know of a fresh G20 this week"

Eh..?

Mummy x said...

I'm with you on this one JuliaM. I personally think that the Officer did assault Mr Tomlinson, and I also suspect this may have contributed to his heart attack. BUT that does not make the Police murderers. I have had several comments left at my place forcefully explaining that The Police are just out to get us all, etc, etc, etc. I am happy to stick with my theory that, like in any organisation, there will always be a couple of bad apples. Some of the bloggers I like to read are sounding more and more paranoid every day. Which is a shame, because it makes me less inclinded to read them. I like to read peoples opinions on stuff, not their paranoid witterings. I certainly don't like people leaving comments telling me what to think and that I am stupid if I don't agree with their ideas. I like debate, and everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the shit flying around the blogosphere regarding Mr Tomlinson is getting a tad hysterical and a tad ridiculous. A lot of people seem to have lost sight of what actually happened and are now using this case to justify a lot of spurious allegations about the Police.
Mummy x
p.s sorry for such a long comment :-)
p.p.s you have read some of my ramblings, am I classed as left wing, right wing or balanced on the fence. I still can't work out where I am?

JuliaM said...

"...Maybe the Ian Tomlinson story is a good way to bury bad news for many of our politicians."

Wouldn't be the first time, would it? Didn't save Bob Quick, mind you! And the hounds are still on Jacqui Jackboot's trail...

"Some of the bloggers I like to read are sounding more and more paranoid every day."

You know, I've noticed that too. Do you think they are putting something in the water...? ;)

"..sorry for such a long comment.."

All comments welcome ;)

"you have read some of my ramblings, am I classed as left wing, right wing or balanced on the fence. I still can't work out where I am?"

Join the club! I'd class myself as mostly a small 'c' conservative, but the view of 'conservatism' I seee bandied abround on some blogs isn't anything I'd recognise.

I think political leaning is like a religion. You don't want to buy too deeply into any one creed. Just in case...

Sue said...

I must admit I did stick up for the police initially on mummys blog too. I do happen to think that it must be a very unpleasant job.

My X husband was a policeman and all he wanted from his job was to protect society from criminals.

The police are now merely a badly run organisation by a corrupt government.

Oldrightie said...

I'm afraid that Mr Clown is half-right. The government *wants* the police to be a bunch of government controlled thugs. Luckily the government has not yet got its way.

No, they haven't yet but signs are there. Too many to list but anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded. We have a nation sleepwalking to Labours' mood music. Some of the players are policemen.
Check out the latest footage from C4 news on Tomlinson's assault.

Stan said...

The left turned the police into their paramilitary wing so this is something they need to deal with - not the right.

All I want is the police to go back to proper Peelian Principles. Anyone who knows and understands these simple nine principles will know what I mean - the left don't.

JuliaM said...

You bet!

NickM at 'Counting Cats' summed it up quite well the other day:

"That’s what is wrong with modern British policing. You can see it in the CCTV cameras, in the arbitrary and rapidly changing speed limits on our roads, in the security theatre of our airports, in Blunkett’s plastic plods, in ID cards, in mission statements, in hundreds of new offences since 1997, in all the “fishing” expeditions. We need Commander Vimes although I’d settle for Fred Colon."

Dan said...

My default position is one of support for the police.

If I see rioters attacking police lines or throwing things at them or smashing shop windows, I am quite happy for the police to crack them over the heads.

During the May Day riots of a few years ago, I'd have been delighted to see watercannon and rubber bullets in action.

I accept the need for 'kettling' and I can't stand gobby lefties.

However - from what the video shows, we don't have anything else to go on yet - Tomlinson was walking away from the police, with his hands in his pockets. He presented no threat to them; to my eyes - again, we don't know the full story - he didn't even seem to be aware that they were there.

One officer, having passed by him, turned abruptly to his right, hit him about the legs with a baton and then pushed him violently to the ground.

Was it necessary? From the evidence currently available, we don't know, but it seems highly unlikely.

Were there other options available to the police? Yes. (He could have been guided with more care and respect; they were not rushing to defeat an imminent threat to life or property, unable in all conscience to take time or care, but ambling slowly down a road; he was not (apparently) posing them any threat or showing any aggression; had either of these things been different, the action would probably have been proportionate and justifiable.)

If Tomlinson had treated the police officer in this way, would he have been arrested? Yes.

If I was treated in this way by a non-police officer in front of a group of police officers, would I expect my assailant to be arrested? Yes.

Did the fall precipitate the heart attack? We don't know.

If it did, is this murder? No.

Is it manslaughter? It may be.

Can we be confident that the same treatment would not be meted out to a person who was confused by having just suffered a stroke, or deaf, or unintelligent, or in the early stages of diabetic hypoglycaemia, or otherwise slow to respond? No.

As far as I can see, this was a disgraceful assault on a member of the public by a thug in uniform.

I do not believe that this action says anything in particular about 'the police' - just about this policeman. Subject to the video showing what I think it shows, and there should be a proper enquiry of course, he should be sacked and prosecuted.

Sorry if that makes me sound like a bleeding heart.

Dan said...

Sorry, this was badly phrased:
"He presented no threat to them; to my eyes - again, we don't know the full story - he didn't even seem to be aware that they were there."
I meant to suugest that he wasn't aware that they had any particular requirement of him.
I understand, after all, that he was not even part of the demo but was just a dad of five (?) heading home from work.

JuliaM said...

There's a little doubt about that creeping in now, Dan.

One witness has come forward to the Evening Standard to say that he had an earlier altercation with them where he has blocked the path of a police van and had to be physically moved out of the way.

North Northwester said...

Julia, I'm with Blue Eyes on this being post of the month or the year in that your forensic skills are actually doing something blogs [and especially conservative blogs - hope you don't mind my assumption there] should do.

Which is to make people think for more than a minute.

"Wiser heads who elected to say nothing at all until more of the facts were in were mocked by commenters and pretty much told they should write about what the mob wanted them to write."

There's your crux about the news coverage.
Left wing history gets written when some adolescent-minded numpty reacts instantaneously and a Cause is born. It becomes Left-wing history proportionately to the number of people who express outrage and to the frequency with which their outrage is treated as measured and well-considered by the main opinion-formers and news-vendors of the day.

Ye gods - that means the mainstream media!

Read the comments, if you must, of mine and others over at A Tangled Web

http://atangledweb.squarespace.com/httpatangledwebsquarespace/gordon-brownnominated2009-world-statesman.html#comments

as my (admittedly hasty) comment to the effect of 'Hang on, let's see if it's true, and what about the real destroyers of life and liberty; will they be discouraged by anti-police propaganda from the Guardian et at?'is followed by a rack of we-are-all-victims stuff from posters.

Admittedly, ATW attracts a lot of trolls of the 'you're wrong so nah!' type, but coming from the Bar Sinister end of the bloggosphere - the one utterly silent on the rain of rockets onto Israel during the ceasefire and the suicide attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan - I suspect that the inalienable Rights OF Man not to be randomly killed for political convenience is not its chief motivation.

But even if we are all selective in the victims we publicly mourn, these are people happily feeding the febrile atmosphere of a cause celebre with little or no concern about what it's going to be like to be a police officer on public order duties over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Their words of pain and outrage can't possibly be inflammatory and inspire heroes of the revolution to bottle them in revenge, but in any case, even if their moral panic did cause some police officers to be hurt, and even if the Left did force itself to admit that hurting police is bad [to some value of bad], we must all remember that using free speech to grunt inarticulately about their deep hurts that we suffer from and to express grievance at a system that ignores and diminishes them is their Absolute Inalienable Right, and should be enjoyed and exercised no matter what the consequences.

Unless someone says 'nigger,' obviously, as that can have TERRIBLE consequences for the named group.

Absolute Inalienable Rights have their limits, and you really have to check with the Guardian to see what they are, what with some grievances being merely vindictive grudges and all.

This poor dead bloke will very soon be painted as a latter-day Francis of Assisi, devoted family man, inventor of the cure for cancer...unless Ian Tomlinson eventually turns out to be a BNP supporter.

Dan said...

"There's a little doubt about that creeping in now, Dan."

Yep, as I say we don't know the facts and I'm only going on what the video shows. It doesn't show a bloke being murdered by the police, but it does show a man with his back to the police and posing no threat to them being attacked by one of them with no opportunity even to brace himself.

As I say, I am pro the police and anti demonstrators (where they get out of hand) but this does look pretty inexcusable to me at the moment.

Absolutely it should not be used as a stick to beat the police generally with, though.

alison said...

Great stuff Julia. Especially the last paragraph. We may not agree on all the little pieces that make up the puzzle regards the police as a whole but we seem to broadly agree on the rest. I really hope all bloggers out there don't feel this was police "brutality" else it indicates the men in this country would cry in a barfight and have lost their collective balls.

Larry Teabag said...

The notoriously childish and emotional Mr Eugenides said: "if the state can beat one man to the ground for being in the wrong place, and do it with impunity, then we are all in the wrong place, and we are all on our knees already".

It's the sort of statement I'd expect libertarians and those skeptical of state-power to agree with. The eye-opener during this episode has been the numbers of self-professed small-statists and libertarians whose concern at expanding unaccountable state power starts and ends with their own tax bills. Thereafter it's just a case adopting whatever posture is most likely to piss off "The Left".

One other thing, oh dispassionate and objective one:

Did the police initially lie about this? They certainly put out a statement that the death was of natural causes and they had had no contact with him, but that’s typical of the PR department in any big organisation.

So that's a categorical "yes" then. They lied. Again, I'd have expected rational right-wingers to privilege truth and accountability over PR and spin, but somehow the equivocation just keeps coming...

Chalcedon said...

I have seen a lot of articles and posts on this. I haven't joined in because you can interpret the video in several ways and I do not know what preceeded it. What is just nasty is the way the cop attacked him from behinbd. He had no forwarning of the shove etc. We do not know if earlier he had been arsey to the cops or whatever. However to clobber someone, even if he was walking slowly deliberately to piss them off is pretty poor behaviour for a trained riot control officer. My concern is that the police are being politicised and may end up as labour shock troops rather than as guardians of the peace.

The left howl because they identify closely with the beatee here, as usually it is themselves getting a rapping from the baton. And those long thin buggers must really hurt unless you have suitable clothing to take the whack and sting out of it.

I have had the odd run in with the police. Often they have a rather aggressive attitude rather than assertive. I did tell one constabule that I think he had been associating with the criminal element too long to hold a normal conversation with a member of the public such as myself.

I'm going to wait for the inevitable enquiry and to see any other video released prior to the whack from the back.

You cannot automatically link the whack with the heart attack if you have zero knowledge of his state of health, medications, clinical history and so forth.

JuliaM said...

"The notoriously childish and emotional Mr Eugenides said: "if the state can beat one man to the ground for being in the wrong place, and do it with impunity, then we are all in the wrong place, and we are all on our knees already".

It's the sort of statement I'd expect libertarians and those skeptical of state-power to agree with."


I don't disagree with that statement, actually. It's just there's that small matter of the 'with impunity' bit.

Or are you seriously suggesting that police officer won't be punished if what they did amounts to unreasonable force?

JuliaM said...

"So that's a categorical "yes" then. They lied."

In the sense that they knew that he'd had altercations with the police on several occasions and so deliberately claimed that he hadn't?

Unproven. But I'm sure we'll find out once the investigation concludes.

JuliaM said...

"You cannot automatically link the whack with the heart attack if you have zero knowledge of his state of health, medications, clinical history and so forth."

This is certainly true. Doesn't stop the left and the professional agitator types from trying, though...

Homophobic Horse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
glasshopper said...

Dear Golden Eyes,

The petulance of Mr Loneranger’s response to criticism makes him look like a babe deprived of the teat. 

Meanwhile, elsewhere, the poisonous degenerate who masquerades as our unelected Prime Minister, with his ludicrous Moral Compass and the sermonising voices in his head telling him it‘s the right thing to do, is busily goosestepping all over our historic freedoms, reducing our quality of life, corrupting the public discourse, beggaring for decades the public finances and rendering the temper of our times to a hitherto unknown level of filth and violence and squalor and greed and envy. He enforces his vile visions through regiments of corrupt mandarins, slag spin doctors, bought cops and judges, by enlisting and promoting and bribing the most unprincipled, thuggish, sticky-fingered, incompetent, jobsworth, ministerial whores in history, and not only allows their laceny but joins in as they and all the other parliamentary pimps and whores go about stealing everything not fucking nailed down, whilst telling us, just to add insult to injury, that this they are compelled to do because they are so poorly recompensed. Every last one of these spivs and freaks is stooging for their own venal financial interests. Salaries, pensions, allowances, expenses, subsidies, their families, their multiple homes, their careers, their quango posts, their lovers, their boyfriends, their drugs, their freebies, their honours, their newspaper columns, their book deals, their directorships etc etc.

The bankers who showered themselves with billions of pounds of unearned bonuses are now bailed out with thousands of billions of pounds of our money, whilst council house building is suspended and the housing ladder destroyed. NHS hospitals compete with Auschwitz for their efficiency in killing people and our social services jobsworths sit tapping at their computers whilst children supposedly in their care are tortured and beaten to death.

And whilst all this, and much, much more is going on what does Mr Loneranger pop his head above the parapet to say? Excuse me, but it’s vitally important that I tell you I have nothing to say. As though the entire world was waiting, with baited breath, to learn what had today attracted the pompous egotistical vanity of his compulsive observation.

I couldn’t give a toss about the fatuous, puerile spat between rival juvenile egos - yes, you should comment, oh no I shouldn’t - who gives a flying fuck? Surely there are bigger fish to fry?

Mr Loneranger, in the greater, or even lesser, scheme of things, is irrelevant, but he should maybe either shut the fuck up or seek psychiatric assistance for his delusion - the one that makes him think the world cannot survive without him being its continuity announcer.

Perhaps he should take his po-faced, nit-picking sanctimony along to see the relatives of Mr Tomlinson, they’ll love him nearly as much as I do.

JuliaM said...

Only warning, Homophobic Horse. I don't mind the odd profanity, but those words coupled with a desire to see police officers killed will get you deleted so fast, it'll make your head spin...

JuliaM said...

"The petulance of Mr Loneranger’s response to criticism makes him look like a babe deprived of the teat."

Not at all. You breezed onto his blog, insisting he write what you wanted him to write about, or else.

As I told you then, if you desire to see a particular topic covered, it's easy to set up your own blog and cover it.

I have to agree wih you about the worth of our Prime Monster, though...

Mummy x said...

Oh JuliaM, it appears that you are highly contagious. I do believe that some one said you were a sycophant. Well it appears it's catching.
I posted
http://andtherewasmethinking.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/2nd-update-on-sigh/
and in response Glasshopper told me

Nonsense, OH isn't so small and petty as to take offence just because you disagree with him. If you think he's talking out of his arse, and can make your argument, go right ahead, he'll think more of you not less, or I'll cross him off my Easter card list. The blogosphere isn't a mutual appreciation society, and is all the better for it.

Mummy x

JuliaM said...

"The blogosphere isn't a mutual appreciation society, and is all the better for it."

Glasshopper is actually right there...

Wouldn't it be a pretty worthless place if it was?

Larry Teabag said...

In the sense that they knew that he'd had altercations with the police on several occasions and so deliberately claimed that he hadn't?

In the sense that they (probably) didn't know what had happened, but immediately released a story calculated to cover their backs. Truth be damned.

(The only alternative - less likely - is that they did know what had happened, and immediately released a story calculated to cover their backs anyway. Truth be damned.)

On a point of semantics: if you don't know the truth, and so you make something up, and then you turn out to be utterly wrong, then you have lied.

Unproven. But I'm sure we'll find out once the investigation concludes.

It's proven all right, and there's no need to await a investigation (on this particular point). The facts which emerged the next day immediately exposed the official police line as a pack of lies.