Thursday, 9 April 2009

A man is dead, and there's no shortage of fingers

Ian Tomlinson: nigger, Nazi or victim?

I'm plagiarizing my own comments in other posts on this one, and I may soon regret posting in haste about the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 riots - sorry demonstrations - but there's good eating on Left-wing hypocrisy and libertarian me-tooism.

Julia does her usual thorough autopsy of the news and blogging coverage of death of Mister Tomlinson here.
Note that her comments are about the attitudes of bloggers and others to the news; it is in no sense an attempted justification of a 'police murder.'
Mine might be, but hey, that's just me, right?

It's quite simply the best I've seen so far.

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.

And this the crux to me:

"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."

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.

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!

Over at A Tangled Web, Mike Cunningham had posted a quotation from Gordon Brown:

"And let me, therefore, promise you our continued support to ensure that there is no hiding place for terrorists, no safe haven for terrorism."

...and then immediatley after photo of a line of riot police guarding (I think) Westminster Bridge a next copy of the Guardian video showing Mister Tomlinson being shoved to the ground, and then arguing with police.


For those of us who want this to be a one-off incidence of what appears to be genuine police brutality, it's not an easy call, but still and all the police are by and large institutionally the good guys, and so in I dived with my ha'pennyworth:

This looks bad. The Guardian's decades-old assault on the forces of law and order can always do with a boost, and what appears to be a genuine example of police brutality is just the ticket.
It's being investigated already, according to our highly selective news.

And all the while, in back rooms and basements across Britain, and in camps in Pakistan, young men, enraged by internet hate sites, dream of doing Allah's work.

And the civil rights Left and the holier-than-thou-libertarians will draw together New Labour's increasingly authoritarian attitude to...well, to everything, and they themselves will choose to dream that there is no jihad - or at least not one caused anywhere but in 'Palestine,' and some land transfers and more 'aid' will solve that.

And the government's slippery resolve to protect us all will slip a little lower down the spin cycle.
And more of us will die. The grave is where you have no civil rights - none at all.

Not too bad for a Wednesday night before the pub with Mrs. Northwester wanting us out the door ASAP as scumble awaited, but still it seems I was right about the civil rights crowd.

We got:

Apparently certain sections of the police force get 'masked-up' because they specialise in brute, physical violence, and need the anonymity.
Good news of course for those in power who also seek anonymity while they pillage the State's coffers to enrich themselves. It kinda fits into the general ethos.

At least the thug has handed himself in I hear.

And then

I suppose I should really arrest myself, too. I'm a terrorist, as I often amble along the street, lost in thought. (Thought is doubleplusungood, as Smythe surely found out in '1984').
Tom Tyler.

So to quote the master:

For those who are keeping score there's the Tangled Web quickie posting [and I've done it myself, it's a legitimate dramatic effect for bloggers to use] which connects: a national security statement about terrorism from the Prime minister with a (probably illegal, yes, I got the irony, thank you so very much) photograph of street order arrangements for G20 with an egregious example of what appears at first sight to be unprovoked police brutality,

...followed by 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?'

and followed by a rack of we-are-all-victims stuff from posters. And it's not the worst on the web, by any means. Look here at the comments in Old Holborn and of course The Independent.

Admittedly, ATW attracts a lot of trolls of the 'you're wrong so nah!' type, but coming from the Bar Sinister end of the blogosphere - 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, and we are, 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 our 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 may 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, in which case all bets are off.

Wow, even the BBC has this only as English news.
So maybe it is just a little local difficulty to the Government's analinctusest cheerleaders.

But with fresh 'news' and 'evidence' coming out all the time, will the light of truth finally be shone on this tragedy, or will more darkness merely be added?

As for the Left, we know just what they'll say,
But for the Right, let Dumb Jon end the day.



Anonymous said...

Well I take heart that we aren't in a police state yet but that's no reason not exercise vigilance.

A lot of foolish people on the right imagine that the machinery of the state is fundamentally good but the wrong people are in charge. If only we can put our people in charge they will make it all good. I think that's the root of the difference between say Dumb Jon and libertarians.

Nice but a bit idealistic. Think Baker bringing in the national curriculum to restore old fashioned teaching. That worked well.

The point of all this is that the loyalty of the Right to the police must have limits. After all the Stasi were policemen too and this government has done more than any to politicise the force. It'll take more than electing Mr Cameron to undo the harm done by two or three generations of PC educated elites to this countries institutions.

My view of the death is that it is too soon to judge. On face value the force of the push did seem excessive given the video evidence but I'm inclined to give the policeman some leeway on the basis of "heat of the moment". It's unreasonable to expect the adrenaline to flow one minute and not the next. But that has to be demonstrated.

CherryPie said...

Personally I would want to see what had gone on before that video clip to make a proper judgment.

JuliaM said...

"A lot of foolish people on the right imagine that the machinery of the state is fundamentally good but the wrong people are in charge. If only we can put our people in charge they will make it all good."

That would be a very wrong assumption to make, in my opinion. But for anyone making it, who exactly is this 'our people'?

Call-Me-Dave's bunch? Unlikely...


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