Sunday, 10 April 2011

No, your other left, Max Payne

Dumb Jon’s crosshairs intersect on a ‘police officer’ acting like a cross between a vigilante and an old maid, tut-tutting the yoof of today.  

Back in the day, before political correctness stole the cultural treasure we had invested the Establishment Bank instead of trying to look after it ourselves, I remember the teenage me as a policeman-wannabe: imagining what I’d have done, or would like to have done, in a copper’s place…when facing the likes of bank robbers or hostage takers: hunting down the abductor of Lesley Whittle perhaps. Later when I was an undergraduate I imagined arresting the Yorkshire Ripper to the gratitude of an admiring world.
In the Boy’s Own fantasy world of daydreaming, a chap might see himself standing alone against an angry mob or spending his waking hours and considerable detective skills to protect the weak and helpless against the evil stalking the land.

Quite what it says about an actual policeman when he fantasizes publicly about what he’d have done if he’d faced the fully-loaded foul mouth of a short, bald Shrek lookalike and world-leading bonobo pinup swearing in person, I don’t know.

Perhaps Jon’s commenter Rob nails him with this:

I'd hazard a wee bet that if his force's performance was analysed a little more closely it would show that instead of them nicking people for cussing, they are smiling and laughing with pissed yobs instead, just for an easy life.

Adolescence and the beta male imagination often enough dream of courage, glory, and the admiring stares of  the female of the species, but quite how Superintendent Payne’s behaviour fits in with well-policed streets lined with never-burgled shops and safe homes whose occupants are never threatened by the rowdiness of drunken brawlers or one-punch manslaughter, I don’t know. It’s not as if today’s up-to-date, state of the art police service can’t integrate a little actual illegal violence into their daily routine and cutting-edge online presence (or at least refer to it really graphically). This is the way it’s done, Superintendent.


Perhaps it’s a cry for help?
You know: not the old fashioned kind of cry for help as in ‘He’s breaking in through the back door right now officer, please send someone quickly. I have children in here with me…. No please don’t put me on hold again,’ but a big, old heartfelt Nu British ‘Another fifteen years of hard, honest public service like this and I’m really going to need that OBE.’

But what do Sir Alex’s comments say about the broader world of the amazing new post-democratic way we are ruled by moral giants such as Superintendent Payne?

'Everyone has an opinion today,' said the Manchester United manager.
'There is an issue in the modern world of a need to be noticed.
'There is a wee guy, sitting down there in the Midlands, probably never been recognised in his life, managed to elevate himself to whatever it is in the police force.
'Have you ever seen Wolverhampton on a Saturday night? Do police ever arrest anyone for swearing on a Saturday night? Dearie me. That is a good one.'

'Everyone has an opinion today,'

Footballers and their bosses aren’t really a part of the ruling class and its horde of ideological enforcers.
Apart from the obligatory anti-racism campaigns against the Banana Terror, (and let’s face it, football crowd members insulting players for their race is quite a nasty thing and the terraces are one of the few places outside of Liberal Wonderland where you will find actual, vocal, white-against-black racial abuse these days), football is actually a pretty much PC-free zone.

That’s probably because football is real. Kind of.

Now there are two sets of opinions about Sir Alex and Manchester United: either that he and they have stolen, cheated, robbed and bribed their ways to undeserved tournament glory and world fame and have done so for decades and therefore you can ignore such dubious evidence for their success such as the goals scored versus goal conceded statistics which are frankly anecdotal and say nothing about which Bolgia Sir Alex and his villainous thugs will someday inhabit… or that Sir Alec is just a big, fluffy old teddy-bear who’s led his team of charming,  mop-topped ragamuffins to glory in England and around the world and the only way he walked away unconvicted for a traffic offence instead of losing his driving licence was because he’s rich and powerful.

Rich, yes; able to afford top lawyers, yes. But powerful? Not really.

Because football is real. Kind of.

Football is part of the real world of hard work and achievement and facing up to failure and which shows visible results and follows obvious rules of what constitutes the right thing to do and the wrong thing, and where hard work and applied alone talent can bring riches and success.
Football is the kind of place where wealth is actually created.
I know, I know – there are and long have been crooked and unsporting behaviour amongst managers and players like, including Sir Alex and the Red Devils themselves quite recently, and there are enough bribery stories in football to fill a book, let alone the, ahem, oily nature of some of the Premiership’s investors, but still and all professional football represents freedom and wealth creation and excellence and much that our rulers have spent their lifetimes trying to destroy.
Social mobility. A career open to one’s talents. Rules which may be broken but whose violation can not always be justified and is often broadcast and rebroadcast in the full view of the public.
How unlike our state schools, our state-controlled broadcaster and our members of Parliament.

Most of football’s revenue consists of people voluntarily spending their own money attending or viewing games and on merchandising - which they can take or leave alone. Even on the big corporate side, it’s the advertisers and venture capitalists that put their own money up to buy and sell teams and players.
Football magnates rarely came knocking on your bank account asking you to finance London’s bid to emulate ancient Greece…by acting like modern day Greece.

And so, okay, Sire Alex is a Labour supporter. There’s a lot of it about amongst the rich and powerful, so some of the mess we’re in is down to him spending his own personal money to fund the Blair and Brown dog and pony show. He got the money from ticket sales and advertising revenues and television rights. No prison sentences involved for those who didn’t want to enrich the man.
Whatever: that’s democracy for you.

But here, by and large, is where football isn’t part of the true elite who own us, or think that they should. It’s what he doesn’t do next that tells us he and professional footballers aren’t political-class insiders. He doesn’t become a celebrity fascist by going after our cash against our wills and being determined on running our lives.
He didn’t go on to suggest that playing football or walking in the countryside should be made compulsory, or tell us what we should or should not eat at a cost to us mere taxpayers of £372,000,000 that might otherwise be squandered on dreary old thief-taking or left up to parents to decide how to fed their own families, or to driving the sale of tobacco underground into the back streets.
No, he surely wants to get to our money the old-fashioned way, and his players and his Board work hard to earn it the old-fashioned way, as do the rest of them most of the time.
But Six Alex and his grubby ilk in The Beautiful Game don’t seem to want to own our bodies and souls rather than earning our admiration.
Unlike the politicians and their bagmen, football money is freely given. The disconnect between the greedy, sometimes corrupt leaders of private enterprise and our clueless, worthless masters is the practice of voluntarism. Compare how football tries to entice money and our Saturday afternoons from us with the offer of fun and service and sporting glory with the way many of those who extort it through the tax man behave when the rest of the nation discovers they can’t afford the gold-plated pensions and untouchable job security of the public sector.

Football’s customer base don’t tend to have gold-plated pensions and their hands deep in taxpayers’ pockets and are, amongst others, from trades and professions based upon voluntary payments and who are non-monopoly providers.
It took me ten minutes’ worth of thought to think of and list the following:

Farmers, farm labourers, builders, building labourers, hairdressers, osteopaths, retail chemists, research chemists (private sector ones anyway), shopkeepers, shop assistants, trawler men, trawler owners, tailors, weavers, foresters, car makers, car salesmen, taxi drivers, lorry drivers, fork-lift drivers, non-conformist ministers, rabbis, market gardeners, architects (again, the private sector ones), glaziers, carpet fitters, carpet makers, window cleaners, publicans, bar cellar men, bar men and barmaids, photographers, wedding planners, plant hire employees, graphic designers, investment brokers and financial advisers, veterinary surgeons, novelists (unless insisting on their books being given away ‘free’ at the public expense,)  Roman Catholic clerics, haberdashers, shoe menders and key cutters, tobacconists, brewers and distillers and their employees, newspaper proprietors and their print and journalism workers (except those heavily subsidized by state job advertising), private broadcasters, everyone in the unsubsidized film industry making films people want to watch in numbers, computer coders, systems administrators and allied weird trades, makers of cash registers, medical equipment, surgical supplies, petrol station attendants, car mechanics and body workers, carpenters, builders, plumbers, electricians, tarmac-layers and motorway sign manufacturers, hoteliers and hotel staff, service station staff and their suppliers, roofers, dry stone wall builders and non-BBC disc-jockeys.

Don’t tell me you don’t need some of those services as much as you need Police and Community Support Officers and secondary school HR managers?

Who knows what another ten minutes or ten thousand minutes of thought might add to the list of people whose taxes pay those happy, self-indulgent rioters and the political class and the State’s direct employees (including me) and who keep them relatively cosy and well off via taxation and the growth of the state?  

All of which shows that the post-modern rebranding of idiocy thus:

In an interview with the Socialist mouthpiece El País, for example, Zapatero famously asserted that the idea that Spain was actually in trouble was “opinionable” and said that “it all depends upon what we mean by crisis.” He said that those warning about an impending economic crisis were being “unpatriotic” and that such talk was a “fallacy, pure catastrophism.” Zapatero also warned: “Let’s not turn economic forecasting into a fetish.” Think positive, he said: “To be optimistic is something more than a rational act. It is a moral requirement, an act of decency and, if I may say so, elegance.”

…and something-and-nothing gimmicks such as The Big Society, come down in the end to the political goons who fouled up the planetary economy in the first place having no idea what’s wrong or understanding how markets, wealth-creation, voluntarism and freedom work and who just won’t ever do anything to fix it because they just don’t want to.

To finish with Mark Steyn’s best for a long while:

America, 2011: A man gets driven in a motorcade to sneer at a man who has to drive himself to work. A guy who has never generated a dime of wealth, never had to make payroll, never worked at any job other than his own tireless self-promotion literally cannot comprehend that out there beyond the far fringes of the motorcade outriders are people who drive a long distance to jobs whose economic viability is greatly diminished when getting there costs twice as much as the buck-eighty-per-gallon it cost back at the dawn of the Hopeychangey Era.
So what? Your fault. Should have gone to Columbia and Harvard and become a community organizer.

Still, if Superintendent Payne gets his way, we’ll be able to watch the Beautiful Game free of foul language.

If power cuts or home invasions don’t end the flipping transmission.

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