Friday, 7 October 2011

An Englishman's home is his drug farm

This morning's Express front page returned to a familiar theme of British debate; the right of an upstanding Englishman to shoot the living shite out of anyone who tries to touch their stuff.

It's a time-honoured tale, rehashed in various configurations ever since the conviction of charming Middle England pin-up Tony Martin, for bravely shooting an unarmed 16-year-old intruder in the spine as he tried to run away all those years ago. Today's version concerns the tale of Malcolm White, a homeowner who, finding himself beset by intruders, took the ultimate action to protect his property, and by extension himself and his family, by allegedly shooting an alleged intruder. The Express, never big fans of moral ambiguity, or indeed facts, has picked a side pretty early on here, and I don't think it will be a terrible surprise which side. The story of the 'hero dad' firmly plants the Express in White's camp thusly;
Neighbours of Mr White, who is 60 and described as a pillar of the local community in Whitbourne, Herefordshire, were furious after discovering that he had been arrested.
Mr White is a retired clockmaker. Quaint, right? It's like Midsomer. We get to hear much about his good deeds over the course of the story. If this guy was auditioning for X-Factor, Coldplay's 'The Scientist' would be kicking in right about now over a montage, as we learn of White's recent ill health, and that he generously fixes the church clocks. He's 60, 'gentle-natured', and 'a very nice bloke'. He's just a guy in his £420,000 house trying to enjoy his life with his wife and his £50,000 car, and trying to make it as a pop star. Wait, not that last bit. But still, an all-round Good Egg, dragged into doing something desperate because of Broken Britain. But wait, what's this? If you go to the Express' site at the time of writing, the front page appears to have changed. Malcolm White's story is no longer front-page news. Wayne Rooney's dad remains a hot topic, but now the most pressing issue facing us is how the cuts to the bloated BBC that bloody well needed cutting down to size may lead to a few extra hours of sickening REPEATS which we all hate...


Now, I'm sure the BBC repeats issue is vexing to Express readers, being as they are the kind of people who can simultaneously want licence fee freezes AND dramatic improvements in quantities of original output. But it's a tad harsh on good old Malcolm White, no? I wonder if, perhaps, it could have anything at all to do with this extra little facet to the story, that emerged after the initial front page was released? Shock over drug farm after shooting.
Villagers have spoken of their shock after detectives investigating the shooting of a suspected burglar found a "well-organised and large-scale" cannabis farm during forensic searches. West Mercia Police said a 60-year-old man, named by neighbours as Malcolm White, was still being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and of cultivating controlled drugs after the shooting incident late on Wednesday. Meanwhile, officers investigating the alleged break-in at White's home in Whitbourne, Herefordshire, have arrested a second man on suspicion of burglary.
I should make several things clear at this point. I do not know if Malcolm White is a drug farmer or drug dealer. I do not know if he was acting in reasonable self-defence when he seemingly shot his intruder. He may well be, and if he was I hope justice is done and no charges are brought against him. Those are things for courts, rather than jumped-up snarky media bloggers, to decide. But I would like to go on record as stating that, if Malcolm White does indeed turn out to be a massive weed dealer protecting his homegrown stash (as well as being a charming elderly clockmaker), I will laugh my fucking tits right off.

Because if he does turn out to be less than whiter-than-white (if you'll excuse the pun), the Express have put themselves in an awkward position. And in withdrawing the front page as soon as it turned out he might not be the type of man they like, they would have shown themselves to be moralising cowards whose sympathy for human beings is threadbare and conditional. I love this story because, if all the elements I've presented here turn out to be true, it shows that we're not simply a world of Good Guys and Bad Guys, nasty burglars and gentlemanly 'pillar(s) of the community', as White was described in the Express' story. We're human beings with shades of grey, capable of heroism and evil and good old-fashioned moral ambiguity. As I've said, I don't know. But if Malcolm White acted in self-defence then he has my sympathy whatever he may or may not have been cultivating, and for whatever purpose. Does he still have the Express' sympathy?

(Hat-tips for this story to Richard Peppiat and Five Chinese Crackers)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Correctness gone mad!

One of the fun aspects of the Daily Mail is that relatively minor changes in administrative procedures can seem earth-shatteringly, pants-tighteningly important. Imagine, for a second, that changing the name of a particular field on a passport application form could herald the death of thousands of years of civilisation and tradition as we know it. If your beloved, time-worn traditions are so entirely flimsy that they can be under threat by a simple choice of words, then congratulations! You have found your newspaper.

Today's Mail, then, is upset. Very upset. See, the liberals are at it again, and this time, they're coming for your mum and dad. And all because of the gays. Those meddling gays. In Goodbye, mother and father! Now Parent 1 and Parent 2 appear on PC passport form (direct link), we get a shocking insight into what the tree-hugging liberal do-gooders have gawn and done now:
For decades, passport applicants have been required to provide details of their mother and father.

But now, after pressure from the gay lobby, they will be given the option of naming ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’.
Oh my! That's disgus...oh, wait, it's fine, isn't it? It's really actually a pretty straightforward change which enables the Passport Office to get accurate data from everyone about people's legal, rather than biological, parents. Including, wait for it, those of us with a mum and dad. The Mail's story goes on to breathlessly blame all this horror on The Gay Lobby, only slightly undermining themselves with this bit:
Officials accepted that the move was made following lobbying from gay rights groups who claimed it was discriminatory.

But a spokesman for the Identity and Passport Service insisted it was necessary to incorporate same-sex parents on the form so that accurate information is collected.
Accurate information? What will these PC liberal Nazis want next? I bet they'll have to add extra lines for people who have three or more gay parents! That's what they're like, isn't it? Quick, get some rent-a-quote dickbag to denounce this travesty!
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but have quite distinct roles to play in the care and nurture of their children.

‘To speak of “parent 1” and “parent 2” denigrates the place of both fathers and mothers.

‘Much as the equality and diversity social engineers might wish it were otherwise, it still takes a father and a mother to produce a child.’
Norman Wells, there, a man who apparently takes his cues about what he should call his parents entirely from passport application forms. Inspiring. Wells then goes on to make a point which is as self-defeating as it is joylessly bigoted;
‘It is high time ministers started to represent the interests of the country as a whole and not capitulate to every demand made by a vocal and unrepresentative minority.’
Just process that for a second. 'The country as a whole'. That's quite an interesting insight into this mindset ,there. See, what this relatively minor change does is to indeed serve the country as a whole, including people who were raised by same-sex parents, without in any way excluding the majority of people who weren't. What Wells is asking for there is instead the exclusion of a minority, in the face of a simple solution, just because of his pearl-clutching devotion to How Things Have Always Been Done. At the end of the piece, The Mail goes on to, quite bizarrely, parrot statistics about how few gay people there are in the country. The underlying message of all this, of course, being; you're gay, you're a minority, you don't count. Why should we change anything to help you?

There's very much a sense that this whole article was tossed off in a rush. Wells is surprisingly the only self-publicising loudmouth the Mail could find to back up their hell-in-a-handcart narrative. The rest, including the headline, is left to shady, unaccountable 'critics';
It has led to claims the official travel document is being turned into a ‘PC passport’.
And, in a photo caption;

Capitulating: Critics say the official travel document is being turned into a 'PC passport'
At no point are the identities of these 'critics' revealed. Perhaps they are too afraid to speak up publicly, lest Stonewall send in their big gay militia. Perhaps the critics are simply too numerous to name. Perhaps the critics are little voices nagging, nagging, nagging in the author's head that never stop talking in the night and won't go away and OH GOD MAKE THE VOICES STOP. Who knows? All we can know for sure is this; The Critics do not take too kindly to being made to be politically correct. Or, as we might more accurately call it in this case, correct.