This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Will the real blogger please stand up?

Dan Collins invited me along to a real life political/literary function this week: MEP Daniel Hannan in 'conversation' with author Theodore Dalrymple. You can read several different versions of how it went here, here and here.

On attending such a prestigious event, the main concerns of a police blogger are of course, in this order:
  • What should I wear?
  • Will I see anyone I know? Unlikely at an intellectual Tory gathering, but you never know.
  • What name should I use?
  • Having chosen the apposite identity, will Dan Collins blurt out the other one?*
  • Will there be photographers?
  • Will I feel an uncontrollable urge to leap to my feet and ask a question that draws the attention of the entire room, before accidentally revealing my force to a room full of journalists?
Having established none of the answers to the above before setting off from home, I made my way to Chelsea in good time, then lurked around the corner for a good half hour to make Dan think no one was coming.

The event was interesting. Clearly prison doctors have similar dealings with society as police officers, and I found myself agreeing with most of Dalrymple's theories, for example:
  • Crime is not caused by heroin.
  • There's no such thing as an underclass, there are just humans.
  • You have to WANT to be caught to be prosecuted for any half-serious crime nowadays, whereas the police are pretty good at the trivial stuff.
My conclusion is that the NHS is exactly the same as the police, and that by becoming a prison doctor Theodore Dalrymple has managed to combine two of the most entangled bureaucracies in our country. Which probably accounts for why he is generally depicted as pessimistic and morose.

I have a different view. I was once accused by a supervisor of being terribly negative about my work (I know: shock horror), because I'm always pointing out where we're going wrong. But the truth is, I'm not negative. If you are resigned to your fate, if you have given up, or given in, you become quiet and submissive. Those who critique, criticise and debate, do so because they haven't given up. They still believe things can change.

It is when we stop talking about the problems that we really have a problem.










* Yes.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.

29 Comments:

Anonymous Chris said...

Ohmigod, I am just thinking about all the women in the room and wondering which one you were. How exciting, in the same room as Daniel Hannan, Theodore Dalrymple and PC Bloggs!

25 February, 2010 20:37

 
Blogger Blue Eyes said...

"I am just thinking about all the women in the room and wondering which one you were."

Same here! It was refreshing, wasn't it?

Thanks for the link :-)

25 February, 2010 20:51

 
Blogger Hogday said...

How very poignant your closing remarks were, to me. I was pipped at the post for a job recently. The feedback I requested said that my comments about the police (a liaison partner in the post) were, on occasions, `a little negative`. My tactic, clearly not made clear enough or simply ignored, was actually to explain that I understood many of the obstructions and weaknesses in the system within which the police have to work, would allow me to better tailor how we worked with this. Your points entirely. It seems that the `con` is still working in other parts of the public sector and the hook, line and sinker still being swallowed :-/

26 February, 2010 10:24

 
Blogger Boy on a bike said...

Hoorah.

26 February, 2010 10:32

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like an enjoyable evening. Darymple is one of my favourite writers. Wish I'd been able to go.

26 February, 2010 13:47

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think gadget went too!

26 February, 2010 14:26

 
Blogger News from Monday Books said...

Sorry Bloggsy!

26 February, 2010 17:21

 
Anonymous Chris said...

It was awesome. Theodore was surprisingly a happy and cheerful guy.
I agree with you (P.C. Bloggs) about the negativity thing. As a teacher I once said 'The day I stop fighting and accept what is going on is the day something dies inside me'.

26 February, 2010 19:36

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad you still have the energy to 'fight' all the crap Bloggsy, because I'm just about all ranted out, for now anyway!

And in my current state of 'knackeredness', I do feel some satisfaction, at having given the B******S a damn good run for the money.....and it aint over yet!

The truth has been 'outed'. The message is loud and clear, that there is something SERIOUSLY WRONG at the top of government, which has trickled down into all the public services. It really is up to those with integrity, energy and determination, to put things right, to make sure that happens A.S.A.P.

But I would be very interested to hear some words of wisdom, as to just exactly what a survivor of abuse can do, about the totally unacceptable situation of an official cover up, about abuses of power coming from 'Top Brasses' and No10?

How does one defeat 'The Forces of Hell' and its' 'devils' who smear the names of victims of rape, more abuse, attempted murder, and serious fraud, and who instruct a local police force to sweep it all under the carpet, and to tell the victim that 'no crime has been commited?

How does one sort out that sort of nonsense please, considering the very powerful government lies and spin machine? You know, the one where White comes out as Black, having been put through the twisted system.

Night Owl

27 February, 2010 02:25

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Hannan, Dalrymple and Bloggs in the same room! There is a quality "think tank" in the making.

Night Owl makes some good points; I wonder, if the think tank could be assembled, what would be their choice of three laws to repeal?

I am now convinced that we are heading for disaster in part because we have *too many* laws and, with notable exceptions like Bloggs, Gadget & Co., a police force lacking in good judgement but over-endowed with PC compliance. Even stripping out MSM filtering, things that lead to this kind of lunacy do not give me any confidence -

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/7326561/Father-told-to-stop-taking-pictures-of-his-own-son.html

There is also the 'Counter-Peelian' police attitude portrayed in my previous link to the Accrington dunderforce's behaviour and some of the absurd responses there.

A long time ago, my work used to take me to Eastern Europe, 'behind the iron curtain', both before and soon after its fall. I have seen what we're in for. In fact we could well have arrived already. "Nothing to hide? Then you've nothing to fear!", mostly intoned by robotic morons with a licence to bully, stamping their strangely twisted world view on MOPs at every opportunity. To start unravelling this mess, we should start with striking some things from the statute book. What should they be?

Ray.

27 February, 2010 09:01

 
Blogger Joker said...

Agreeing with Chris, what you said on the negativity thing, Bloggsy. Pragmatism is not a dirty word. If I phoned the police to report a burglary in progress, I wouldn't expect to be told that I was being too negative, and to call back when I had something nice to report...

27 February, 2010 21:48

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

28 February, 2010 12:58

 
Blogger Nick said...

As usual Bloggsy you are the voice of sweet reason. Dalrymple writes like an angel and is always worth reading, but I can't help thinking he (and his acolytes) are missing something here. "Welfare dependency" is surely a symptom of something deeper rather than the cause. Why don't all people who grow up in (relative) poverty and deprivation turn into benefit scroungers? I fact, if it's that attractive and the education system is so bad, why don't we all?
I think the real problem is that society as a whole (including the media) no longer has any clear, unambiguous boundaries on our behaviour and as a consequence we all suffer. It isn't popular to say so but the Labour government has been actively trying to replace the boundaries society used to impose on itself; what do you think ASBOs are all about? And properly administered they DO work - I can give you loads of examples from my own experience (Neighbourhood Policing skipper).
The problem in the public sector has much more to do with the (right wing) idea of imposing commercial managerial strategies on organisations which need something very different. If you insist on counting beans you get Stafford Hospital!

28 February, 2010 18:04

 
Anonymous wmidplod said...

Find your blog very amusing and witty.Leading on from your theme,when you go for your board,please do not tell the truth or express an opinion which differs from THE BOSSES,you will find that contrary to some advice they do not want to hear reasoned arguments(however valid),u must tell them what they want to hear and work for change once you pass..Sad and cynical but true as I'm sure you already know

28 February, 2010 21:33

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray @ 9.01 27th Feb makes a very valid argument. They could make a start with putting a stop to all the over the top policy in Child Protection which has undermined parental authority. The policy in Social Services of snatching kids from perfectly decent, loving parents, on flimsy justifications such as "the child MIGHT be subjected to emotional abuse in the future". This is lunacy and an abuse of power by the state.

Another matter they could easily put right, is to have the courage and the decency to admit that they got it wrong and STOP all the Stalinist personal data collection on the whole population. This new 'safeguarding children authority' database will use ANY bits of old gossip, speculation, assumptions and even false allegations against innocent people. That is just plain wrong and has turned the established law of this country on its' head..... Innocent until proven guilty.

Hopefully the people of this country WILL wake up to what has been going on, and will not be fooled into voting Gordon Brown in for another 5 years. God help us and save us from that nightmare.

Night Owl

01 March, 2010 01:53

 
Blogger Nick said...

Anonymous,1.53 am 1/3/10
I don't know what your knowledge of child protection is, but I think I'm quite well informed. Social Services can't take any children from any parents; it is the court that does that. And they don't just rubber stamp social workers' decisions. Of course you are right in the scenario you have described, except I have never come across anything like it in over twenty years, apart from in occasional newspapers who only have access to half the information.

01 March, 2010 08:24

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick - good comment, but Dalrymple doesn't miss the fact that some of our problems are caused by the lack of 'clear, unambiguous boundaries on our behaviour' - it's pretty much always been part of his worldview!

Read Second Opinion - you'll see this writ large.

01 March, 2010 09:29

 
Blogger Nick said...

Anon: you're right, and that's the main reason I admire Dalrymple. Although I was trying to point out that, as reported, the speakers seemed to be attributing blame to a symptom (excessive dependency of some on the welfare state) rather than a cause - the fundamental shift in the way our society behaves. I just don't think the welfare state itself is the problem.

01 March, 2010 10:33

 
Anonymous Cabbage said...

Nick: I think you're guilty of presenting a false dichotomy between the welfare state being a cause or a symptom. It seems to me that it is likely both. Behaviours and attitudes reinforce themselves in people as they get time to accept them and spend time around other similar people.

01 March, 2010 12:10

 
Blogger Nick said...

Cabbage, again, I think you're right about people's behaviour, But I also think it's wrong to suggest, as so many commentators do, that the mere existence of social welfare actually promotes such things. Referring to my first post, why don't we all become welfare scroungers? I don't know the answer, but I refuse to accept that it's wrong for the state to provide social welfare. If I were trying to engineer social change I'd start with the education system, not the welfare system.

01 March, 2010 12:21

 
Anonymous NottsSarge said...

Wow! Political philosophy on a Police blog! And I thought my years at university studying this stuff had gone to waste...
It's true to say that we cops tend to veer to the political right, but most cops I know tend to be pretty libertarian and, ironically, a bit anti-authority.
I agree that there is too much law, too much nannying and a particular view of society has been enforced on us all. The Blair message (probably genuinely held, at least at first) was that government - and by association the Police and other public sector bodies - would be empowered to shape society for the better. Nice, but that road leads to totalitarianism. So, for me, less law, do what you want within the lines, but cross them and we'll come down on you like a ton of bricks.
Goes for Child Protection, welfare provision and pretty much everything else mentioned here.

I wonder how many Home Office geniuses have read Ayn Rand? Or, come to that, P.J. O'Rourke. Right-wing libertarians make excellent humourists, if not Chief Constables

02 March, 2010 01:59

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick, you wonder what my knowledge of the Child Protection System is.
I know 100% that they have gone too far with it and that what was originally intended as a safety net system for kids who were suffering SERIOUS sexual and/or physical beatings, was turned into a witch hunt against parents, mothers in particular.

How do I 'know' this for certain?
I am the author of the letter written in 1986, which outlined the concept for the system, and kick started it. The main intention was to help in particular, kids who were being abused by men in positions of power and authority, and who were also being threatened and intimidated into keeping their mouths shut tight about it.

Unfortunately, the letter and the concept was hijacked by a Big Bad Wolf in sheep's clothing, who was a vile, disgusting and dangerous Beast, who had abused many children. People were terrified of him, so nobody stopped him going on TV and claiming the idea as his own, plus the £365 Thousand cheque for MY BABY.....A fraud. Obtaining money by deception, sanctioned by government, past and present, who knew full well who he was and what crimes he had committed. His crimes were very serious ones - sexual abuse of children, rape and the murder of my sister, Lynne.

Both political parties are now colluding with each other in a conspiracy of silence and attempted cover up about this scandal, heaping further abuse upon myself and adding insult to injury, none of which has been redressed nor compensated for, so far, as all the numerous communications regarding the issue have been ignored, to date.

The system is STILL failing kids who have been abused by men in authority, because the so called 'partners' in health and social care are too frightened of the paedos in positions of authority. They too keep their mouths shut and FAIL to protect those kids AND their parents, who are often made the scapegoats to create a smoke-screen to hide the truth and to protect the guilty.

I also know, that government prefer to maintain the status quo for the paedophiles in positions of authority, and prefer to make life harder for parents, especially vulnerable ones, by a so called 'tightening up' of the system. I know that there was a deliberate plan to allow a few 'bad cases' like Baby Peter and the two Edlington boys, so that they could justify the 'tightening up' of the system, to further oppress parents. The intention is to gain access to fresh 'targets' for abuse in Foster Care, as it is now difficult for the paedos to abuse kids in council care homes, thanks to the Child Protection System.

I know that some Social and Health Care workers, think that they can write whatever they like about people, even if it isn't true, and that they keep these defamatory comments hidden from the subject of them, whilst at the same time the 'system' discusses the smears, which often get leaked out into the public domain, ruining the lives of innocent people.

I know that comments in Health records are regarded as 'The Word of God', and no matter how incorrect the comments or opinion is, one has a devil of a job to get them removed. Social workers take these comments as 'The Word of God', as do Lawyers and many Judges, especially if the person ticks all the 'wrong' boxes, like single parent on benefits, and has suffered from depression, or has been abused in the past.

I know that there is a policy of an automatic ASSUMPTION of 'guilt' by the Health and Social Care System, until one PROVES oneself to be innocent of any crime or imperfection in ones character and/or history.
It is all very 'Alice in Wonderland' and it was NEVER intended to be like that.

02 March, 2010 03:06

 
Blogger quixote said...

Re the welfare state discussion upthread. I live in the US, which has some rather marginal social welfare, but probably wouldn't be called a welfare state by anyone but our right-wing loonies. The problems with crime, cycles of crime repeating in families, corrupt cops, opportunist politicians, useless media, the whole boiling, is a lot worse here that in Britain.

Ergo, it can't really be caused by the welfare state, can it?

02 March, 2010 03:14

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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02 March, 2010 05:04

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick: "Referring to my first post, why don't we all become welfare scroungers? I don't know the answer, but I refuse to accept that it's wrong for the state to provide social welfare."

I think the reason most of us don't become 'scroungers' is marginality, Nick (it's also why some do).
It's entirely rational, surely, for people on benefits not to want to take up low paid work if the difference between the income from benefits and the income from the low paid work is marginal.
Here's a UK government calculator: I've done it quickly, but putting in the details of a 30-year-old single parent with two dependent kids, no income and rent of £100 a week in a private flat or house, it shows you are entitled to £12,767.69 per annum.
Given that you can also work in the black economy to supplement this, it's not hard to see why some people take this option rather than work 40 hours a week for minimum wage.
For others, to 'scrounge' would be to take a big cut, so they (we) don't do it.
Obviously, something should be done about this marginal effect in terms of its discouragement to work.
The important question is what: personally I would cut benefits a bit but also raise the tax threshhold to around £10k (the only sensible policy the Lib Dems have ever proposed).
This would make low paid work worthwhile.
(Read Charles Murray's In Our Hands for an interesting take on this.)

Nick again: 'If I were trying to engineer social change I'd start with the education system, not the welfare system.'

I'd change both, but I am with you in sentiment, Nick.

Quixote: "Re the welfare state discussion upthread. I live in the US, which has some rather marginal social welfare, but probably wouldn't be called a welfare state by anyone but our right-wing loonies. The problems with crime, cycles of crime repeating in families, corrupt cops, opportunist politicians, useless media, the whole boiling, is a lot worse here that in Britain.
Ergo, it can't really be caused by the welfare state, can it?"

Interesting question, Quixote. It's a bit like comparing apples and oranges, though; our society, history and system are different to yours and thus our outcomes will be different. I think the question is really what has the welfare state done to the UK, not what is it not resspnsible for in the US.

02 March, 2010 11:27

 
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03 March, 2010 05:51

 
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Anonymous Metcountymounty said...

I am a faggot too!!

You are all fucking twats!!!!!!!!!

07 March, 2010 13:42

 
Anonymous NightJerk said...

I am a graduate failure.


I am Diogenes.


I am a faggot, too!!

Cameroon!!!!!!!!!!!!

07 March, 2010 17:45

 

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