Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Set 'Em Free



Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Birmingham City Woeful. That’s all I have to say on the matter, except that I hope the players have been instructed to go to their rooms for a long, hard think.

The kettling debate continues. It tickles me to see people on football message boards vigorously defending the actions the police took against the great unwashed. Many of them would be the same people who rage against the machine when the rights of football fans are infringed, or when kick off time are changed in the name of good public order, or potentially difficult matches are designated bubble matches

I recognise that it is difficult for the police. I am a man of peace and have no sympathy at all for those protesters who wish to engage in violence, but I wonder how many of them actually wish to be violent. I don’t know, but I suspect that it is a small group, and I suspect that they have a bit of previous, some of them may not even be in education at all, but attach to themselves to any demonstration in order to pursue their hobby of acting like complete pricks. The police are pretty adept at isolating troublemakers at the football these days, I am sure that the skills utilised by officers in football intelligence are transferable, why not get some of those brainiacs involved to try and limit the potential that the worst among us have to act the goat.

This is a huge dilemma for democracy. We all have the right to air our views and we have the right to dissent. We should be allowed to gather in our thousands, if enough of us feel strongly enough, but we should also be responsible enough to gather in our thousands peacefully.

No one voted for this poxy coalition, but this poxy coalition is what we have. This is what our electoral system has served us up, and we have to live with it, which doesn’t mean that we should sit back meekly and accept everything that is thrown at us. We have a right make those who are increasing hardship for millions of people feel uncomfortable.

The current presenting issue is tuition fees, but over the coming years there will be many others. The problem is, that many people will look at police tactics, and wonder if they really want to run the risk of being whacked about the head, or charged by a horse, and whacked about the head, or corralled somewhere he doesn't want to be for hours, unable to even enjoy a shit, and many people will choose to stay at home. Kettling is an awful tactic. It imprisons people against their will and most of those ketteld will be innocent of any crime and will not be offering any threat to public order or the stability of the nation. Democracy loses

Those who wish to take to the streets, probably thousands upon thousands of people, should do so in a benign and good humoured way, otherwise the message they are trying to get across will be diluted and all protesters will be lumped in with the great unwashed. Our hegemonic media will gleefully focus on the bad shit. Organisers of marches and protests should work intelligently with the police to stop protests becoming hijacked, but the police also have to work intelligently with protest organisers to ensure that measures put in place are not too draconian.

Mikey Delgado puts it better.

Enough of that bollocks. I finished the Alan Warner, and, while it was a bit of a struggle, I would actually recommend it. The blurb talks of his brilliant imagination, and he surely does have a brilliant imagination, although he does have the posh English girl slipping into a Scottish brogue from time to time. It is impossible not to warm to all of his characters in the end, even the grotesque, vulnerable Manda. This is not my usual crime fiction, this is literary fiction which focuses on working class women, and does so with a dispassionate, yet warm and humorous eye. It doesn't romanticise and it doesn't demonise, and in British fiction, it is a hugely refreshing change not to be reading about the existential crisis of some upper middle class berk.

So, I dived into Nesbo's Snowman. God, it was a comfort. I have barely started but  I feel right at home in it and I know I am going to be pissed off when I finish it. I shall have to ration myself. Have I mentioned KO Dahl on here? He is another brilliant Scandinavian, as good as Nesbo, but he only seems to have had two books translated. This is a crime against the genre loving British public, and needs to be adressed.
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