Friday, January 25, 2008

Make Up Your Mind

I don't live comfortably in this world. I don't share a lot of the values of my culture (this morning the papers seem full of shock/horror stories about Romanian gangs smuggling children into the UK to work as beggars and thieves, in a Dickensian tale - with the money going back to Romania to fund a high-living life-style for gang-bosses).

Well, duh - you offer poor people the capitalist dream, and then get horrified that they become opportunist (Romania recently joined the European Union). And just because we stopped most of our own 'Dickensian' behaviour a hundred or more years ago doesn't really put us in a position to judge, any more than the fact that we have now stopped putting children in jail or the workhouse for such behaviour.

The idea that we all live in the same period of time just doesn't hold water...

Some still live in 'medaeval' conditions by our standards, some in paeoleolithic or tribal situations, right now, right here on the same planet. To tut tut at people getting stoned to death for adultery (say) is to deny our own heretic-burning heritage, or our involvement with the slave trade, or the fact that the British government got the Chinese population addicted to Opium (not so long ago) by forcing cheap supplies on them (grown in British India), etc.

We air-brush embarrassing details of our own past out of the history we can judge more harshly anyone passing through stages we have graduated from. This seems (to me) about as fair as telling kids to 'grow up!' or expecting of them the same sensitivity, knowledge, understanding, insight or self-control as you yourself may have acquired over a longer life.

You can see why I often hear cries of outrage when I talk to people. Many want the simple judgemental approach (I agree! I disagree!) not thinking about complex matters with fuzzy logic, exploring the grey areas, adding a touch of 'maybe' to narrow certainties.

I wonder how many people outraged that 'new' Europeans are coming over here to make money are buying up cheap property in Romania, as 'holiday lets'. Just a thought.

I don't like exploitation of children any more than you, but I do think we have to approach this stuff cautiously. Crime and exploitation of children is despicable wherever it happens (don't get me wrong!), but I don't like the witch-hunting attitude of some of our newspapers which can make life hard for law-abiding, ambitious and hard-working people who also arrive here, perhaps to offer a better future for their children...

Hey ho. Better drink my coffee...

PS: Here's Stephen Leather being interviewed four years ago, and it was all going on then. So why is this suddenly news in this morning's paper? Because they rescued some of the kids? Good news, of course, so long as we integrate them and make them happy...

The police are well aware of the mounting scale of the problem. Jamaican Yardie gangs run amok in south London, and have been for twenty years. Now they’ve moved into Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. Turks and Kurds have been dealing drugs through London for years and are now moving into the Home Counties. The Albanians are the fastest growing criminal group and now control three quarters of the off-street vice in London, now challenging the Turks and Kurds for control of the heroin market. Bangladeshi gangs are moving into the cocaine business, Chinese Triads run Chinatown, people trafficking and drugs empires, and the Columbians traffic cocaine into the UK. The Russian mafia are major players in London, along with Kosovan and Romanian gangsters. All are jostling for position, and all are willing to kill for a greater share of the criminal profits.

And how about, overall, immigration is good for Britain?

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