Friday, 23 April 2010

Slavery and Stalking in Luton

This isn't a very pretty subject, so avoid these links if you're having a really good day.

The Watt family have been variously convicted of murder and familial homicide in the case of Michael Gilbert, who was kept as a slave by them from the age of sixteen, for ten years. Medawar will not use quotes or the word "virtual": they kept him as a slave.

The photograph the prosecution issued to the press, of Michael Gilbert, shows him in a sports shirt with a St George's flag on the shoulder. The jury returned their verdicts on St George's day. In doing so, they had to decide between murder and familial homicide for several of the defendants, and in effect, the verdicts directly reflect how much each family member was under the influence of James Watt. It is an interesting lesson in how a group of people, in this case a family, can collectively exhibit psychopathic behaviour, although perhaps only one key member could be individually diagnosed as a psychopath.

Throughout the trial, Medawar was constantly reminded of how like an organized stalking gang the Watt family was, and wondered if there might be some insight into the way such gangs work. Then, once the verdicts were returned, the press were free to report all the things that the jury could not be told, foremost amongst them being that the Watt family were indeed a stalking gang. Organized stalking is a force-multiplier for psychopaths. A rich psychopath might have hundreds at his disposal, a poor psychopath might have only his family and their partners to control. But the outcome, unspeakable cruelty, and in this case it really is difficult to speak about what was done, is the same, differing merely in detail. It's just that a wealthy psychopath can use hundreds of stooges to inflict similar levels of misery on scores or hundreds of victims. And they are less likely to face justice for it, even on a perfect St George's Day.

Sentence update: Life with a thirty-six year minimum tariff for James Watt. See link for details.

Also, this link is to a video, by James Reeves, showing the children's home where James Watt and Michael Gilbert met, together with one of the female defendants. The video was made before Michael's plight was publicly known, and about a year before he was killed. A longstanding weakness in the state-run care system was the abrupt cut-off of social work supervision and support when children were old enough to leave children's homes. In the more distant past, many children from Luton needing such care went to a home in Harpenden, run by the (methodist) charity National Children's Homes. NCH did sometimes manage to go on helping some "children" through college and even university, which local council homes never seem to manage. Medawar doesn't think that NCH would have let a vulnerable client such as Michael, come under the control of a psychopath like James Watt. But that would have required somebody to exercise initiative, which isn't allowed to happen in local government in the UK anymore. Local government is actually conducted in a more repressive manner than national government at the moment.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Mr Eden and the Holocaust

This link ought to quash, absolutely and forever, the conspiracy theory (ie: in this case, malicious fabrication) that the British Government attempted to cover up the Holocaust. Mr Eden made a very complete statement, in response to Mr Silverman's question, on December the 17th, 1942.

In fewer words than a modern politician uses to say "hello, I am Tony, trust me", Mr Eden gives an essential history of the holocaust and the methods used, barring "gas," which, at the time of his speech, was still being used experimentally on handicapped German children rather than Jews. Mr Eden's statement is notable for the information it gives, rather than what it hides.

Mr Eden was interviewed (between 5:00 and 7:30 on this clip) on this matter, years later, for "The World At War" and although he didn't doubt the intelligence, he knew that something this awful and incredible would be attacked as crude "Hun-hating" propaganda unless he was very sure of his ground, but over the course of a few months, persistent rumour became a flood of mutually-consistent eye-witness accounts.
(There were also photographs smuggled out. It is always worth trying to document this kind of thing, even if it seems hopeless. This is why more people believe in the holocaust than in the German massacres of civilians in Belgium in 1914: both atrocities were all too real, but the latter was (and mostly still is) perceived as propaganda. Hence Mr Eden's wariness, but also his determination.)

There was also a need to protect MI6 sources in Nazi Germany, some of whom were very highly placed and of war-winning importance, as well as an equivalent need to protect signal intelligence sources such as "Ultra". In this context, Mr Eden seems to have made as complete a statement as he possibly could have done, just as soon as verification and the physical safety of his sources would allow.

There is no way in which this can possibly be described or honestly presented as any sort of "cover up." But readers will doubtless find a hundred posts elsewhere on the internet telling them another tale. This, however, is the one with the link to an article which any interested party can verify via the contemporary printed copies of Hansard, and the link gives all the references needed to accomplish this.

(All you really need is Mr Eden's name and the date of 17th of December, 1942, but there are "column numbers" on the link, which is how Hansard references work.)

The Nazi holocaust did not commence in a vacuum: the Japanese occupation of most of Burma (there were always large areas that they did not control) was accompanied by the rapid and almost complete disappearance of Burma's Hindu population, apparently at the hands of the Burmese Nationalist Millitia rather than the Japanese themselves. This occurred almost concurrently with the first wave of the European Holocaust, against Jews in the Baltic States. If there's a hidden truth anywhere, it may lie in that synchronization and the inscrutable motives for ethnic cleansing in Burma, which remains an appalling work in progress, sixty-eight years on.

NB: this above post has been updated to include a link to Mr Eden's World at War interview, he was by then (1973) Lord Avon. Thanks to Richard for help in finding this: the series is on You Tube in something like 140 clips! This link is to a database of the relevant episode's contents, Medawar is not sure if there's a database for the whole series.)

Monday, 12 April 2010

A Hung Parliament

The Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru (their Welsh counterparts) have agreed a joint strategy in the event that the UK General Election on May the 6th fails to give a major UK party a working majority in the House of Commons. That is, they will support the legislative programme of whichever UK party agrees to increase central government funding to the Scottish and Welsh administrations by a minimum of hundreds of millions of pounds, even though whoever wins, they will need to reduce overall UK government spending by tens of billions of pounds. They have not said that this is conditional on the legislative programme being good, bad or indifferent: if they are paid, they will support it and thereby make the paying party the UK government.

Medawar's question to these two parties is simple: if you propose to start from a position of complete moral indifference, where on Earth do you expect to end up?

The Liberal Democrats, amid a shower of trite counsels of perfection, cheap shots and solutions that threaten to cost a great deal more than any problem, are effectively promising to support a minority Labour government, on the sole condition that the Labour leader, Gordon Brown, steps down and is replaced by someone else.
So, they propose that instead of a Prime Minister that only a minority (but just short of a majority) voted in the expectation of getting, they will work to ensure that we get a Prime Minister whom none of the electorate even knew to be a possibility at the time they voted. The Liberal Democrats like to say that the British electoral system is flawed, and it may be that it is, but no electoral system on Earth is as flawed as the moral logic here.

The Conservatives are staking everything on winning an outright majority and do not have a credible, or any, plan for a hung Parliament. This is probably why the SNP and Plaid Cymru have put themselves up for unconditional sale to the highest bidder, because they calculate that the Conservatives will have no option but to buy.

The trouble with either the Conservatives buying enough Nationalist votes to govern, or Labour making a blood sacrifice of its leader to gain Liberal Democrat support for a government led by, well, it could be almost anyone, is that in both cases the resulting coalition will legislate as if it had a genuine working majority, ie: very badly indeed.
Over the past thirty years, fully half of the UK's avoidable problems have stemmed from slack draughting of proposed legislation going uncorrected as bills are forced through by a big majority, followed by cries of woe and denial from the party supposedly in charge when the courts proceed to interpret those bills, now law, in almost any manner except that advertised and expected. Our problem hasn't been with Labour or Conservative ideology, but from the almost illiterate manner in which both have put pen to paper when making laws.

The best possible outcome, for the country, would be a hung parliament with the balance of power held, not by self-prostituting nationalists or opportunistic Liberal Democrats, but by a good tranche of independent members of Parliament.

If, say, there's a twelve seat difference between Labour and Conservatives after the election, and twenty to thirty independents, all with differing ideological positions which will tend to cancel each other out, then those independents will have to be convinced by each piece of legislation on its merits. It is most unlikely that any of them will support legislation written, as by both John Major and Tony Blair, with the express intent of concealing its true purpose, nor will they support legislation written on the assumption that Prime Ministerial intent will communicate itself into law by sheer willpower rather than by careful and articulate phrasing. (See Margaret Thatcher, Gordon Brown and quite probably David Cameron.)

In other words, a balance held by independents will indeed be a balance, and it can swing on any bill that doesn't do something that's actually clearly necessary, sets out unambiguous measures for doing so and contains no hidden loopholes or flaws. This is the very definition of good government and it's what we have not seen, regardless of ideological positions, for a generation.

And Medawar's other thought on the forthcoming election is this, debate on whether or not the Labour Party is fit for government begs a more interesting question: is the Labour Party even less fit for opposition than for government?

The Party has considerable internal tension between different factions ideologically (and also between personalities who simply hate each other) and the Party's huge financial problems have been kept at bay only by massive and cynical donations from vested interests, who have nothing to gain by throwing money at a party not in power. It is clear that in many ways, the Labour Party is held together by being in government, and as soon as it is not in government, it will splinter in all directions.

A Conservative government, whether with a working majority or some sort of coalition for hire, will probably not be a wholly good thing (it never has been before) and the national interest will require it to be constantly checked from folly and held to account for mistakes. This duty, and the British Constitutional system relies on political opposition rather than tolerating it, as in Russia or the USA, cannot be performed by a party in the throes of its own private civil war.

Labour voters should vote Labour if, as polling day approaches, it still looks as if their party has a chance. But if it doesn't look as if Labour can come anywhere near governing in its own right, and bearing in mind that its only likely coalition partner wants a destabilizing change of leadership as the opening payment for its support, then Labour voters have a duty to consider how much worse a Conservative government can be if it is not held in check by an effective opposition. That might be UKIP's moment, because although it's a huge stretch for a brand new party to become a government, a new-born party might make an effective opposition, whilst a dying one cannot.

British politics depends on the opposition to work, and it's the failure of opposition that has enabled the failure of government over the past two to three decades. For example, our current economic woes are largely the result of John Major, as Chancellor, effectively biasing the housing market towards "buy to let" speculators instead of first time home owners, who might have stabilised things. But the Labour opposition didn't oppose this measure with any energy, and when they came to power themselves, in 1997, they did nothing to correct his mistake, and it took them until 2004 to admit even to themselves that something bad was happening, by which time the bubble had grown so big they were terrified to prick it. In 2008, it burst of its own accord. But the cause, tax breaks for speculators, still hasn't been addressed and the process could yet be repeated in every bloody detail.

Whether Labour voters think they like UKIP or not isn't really the issue. If their own party still looks in with a chance, they wouldn't and shouldn't dream of voting for UKIP instead. But if their party has clearly blown it by about May the fourth, their best option, logically but not emotionally, is to vote for a party that will constructively oppose the Conservatives from the word go, rather than spend the next ten years fighting itself to the death. After eighty years on the sidelines after giving us the most corrupt government in our history, it's a bit unlikely that the Liberals are going to suddenly move centre stage and act constructively.

Does Not the Thorn Have Flowers?

Monday, 5 April 2010

Documenting a Stalker's End-Game

This blog is the author's attempt to keep us informed as a wealthy Canadian stalker attempts to use his minions to eliminate her. In secret, he hopes.

Friday, 2 April 2010

This, This is Spring!

Both river and season start with bright sunshine belying the brisk, eye-watering gale and soil still numbed by four months of unrelenting cold. But water is once more a liquid and it flows, from here to the North Sea, through millstream, river and navigation. Perhaps, too, the coming election will provide a fresh start for Britain, but not if any of the three "mainstream" parties have the least thing to do with it. Though, for all their skill and polished sophistry, they no more control the electorate than mankind controls the seasons.