Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Sensitivity Training


The Outrage Express

JB writes: Police officers are not at their best with “sensitivities”.“Sensitivities”  are what the MSM, particularly the creepy BBC, invented to enable a yeast-like, self-generating, gooey ball of “outrage”, “hurt” – and particularly the all-purpose “fury” – about anything whatever to replace  news reporting.
Observant readers will have noted that the number of pubs has dropped catastrophically in the UK over recent years, a result, it is widely reported, of the tobacco ban. Up to a point, Lord Copper. An equally important reason is the growth in “sensitivity awareness” and the subsequent risk that unguarded talk about sensitive subjects – which these days means all subjects – risks having some repulsive eavesdropper reporting you for crimes against snowflakes, such as mocking gay rugby.   
The pub was always where British people talked unguardedly among themselves, with alcohol and fags reliably fuelling both the loud conversation, the indiscretions and the highly enjoyable gossip. That is no longer  possible. Such talking still takes place but in homes, or other private areas, safely away from thought-grasses. A great pity - was there ever a better, freer,  buzz than that in a good pub?
In this climate a policeman’s – yes, I know* – lot is not a happy one. Most of them come from the same domestic and educational background as criminals and, like them, are unworried about using violence where necessary.  Violence is the heart of their job. If you want a social worker, go to the council: the police are there to protect the public, detain criminals by force and, if necessary, as it frequently is, kill them. That’s what they do and it gives their lives significant meaning.
In the current climate, however, they have to pretend: which is why police officers  don’t go to pubs like they used to. But the attempts of officers like  Andy Hayman to imitate tender custodians of the sweet public rainbow have sometimes reminded me of waiters in British Rail restaurant and Pullman cars a generation ago, when the unions ensured that catering work went not to  those who understood food or liked serving people (and certainly not to women), but  to time-served men no longer able to carry out track-laying, sledge-hammering or the removal of human ordure from between the rails.
 BR Waiter Swelter with  Kitchen Car Assistant
Thus one was confronted on the Glyndebourne specials by huge, gnarled veterans in pretty aprons looking much like Mervyn Peake’s Swelter –  waddling along the gangway, their giant hands encompassing five soup plates at a time as they grunted, “VICHYSOISSE? Ooze  the vichyssoise?”  Dear, dear.
Officer Andy Hayman at Leveson giving his opinion
Officer Yates giving his. It looks like there was a jovial disagreement about the size of a child's coffin

New Brooms...

But now we have the Balliol educated M/S Dick as Scotland Yard Commissioner who will ensure, for example,  that the next time  the police gun down an innocent Brazilian with hollow-charge bullets, as they did under her command some years ago, (his body was “unrecognizable”) she will at least be able to utter the correct soothing and sensitive noises, possibly in elegant Latin verses, to the relatives and the public.
Still, it wasn’t  the nature of previous officers that guaranteed they’d be out of their depth in Operation Grange's media quicksands  but the  task itself.
“We should not have to explain or justify how many times we are going to Portugal," a Yard spokesman said to the Sun ten days ago, “Whatever we do, and we are doing our very best, someone always wants to criticise the actions of the police regarding Madeleine McCann. If we make two trips people say that’s not enough. If we make more that’s seen as being too many so whatever we do we can’t win!”

...Old Tasks

Personally I found that both true and a breath of fresh air. The media job was impossible. All the sensitivities were there like IED tripwires – tots, parents, guilt, outrage, grief, innocence, tears – these, of course, modern Britain being modern Britain, supplied in positively Lake Victoria quantities – all stirred up by an MSM that now  feeds off synthetic emotion and synthetic outrage, as if on a life-support drip.  And all watched by the McCanns’ very own team of media lawyers, PR people and pet journalists ready to reach for the phone.
Nor, contrary to rumour, are most UK police officers politically aware – like Gamble they get replaced PDQ if they are – so the extremely delicate politics involved in the setting up of the review added a further layer of difficulty to their task.
So, the effort to resolve the intractable question –  essentially how do we get the clever bastards without being dropped in the shit ourselves? (old smokers’ pub version) or how do we handle the media bastards? (newer bar version, whispered)  or  how can we protect an innocent and grieving couple against unfair and untrue rumour? (public version) – has led to greater and greater difficulties.
It’s easy to blame Redwood but there we are. Older and wiser heads above him took refuge in the “since the beginning of the operation we've filled 1700 metal waste paper bins marked MP, eliminated thousands of Brazilians  suspects, drunk 423 gallons of PG Tips tea  and eaten 9211 meat pies and we are determined to succeed” stuff; Redwood decided to play the McCanns at their own game and use the media as an arm of the investigation.
The result has been that Scotland Yard has ended up sounding as reliable, truthful and honest as the grieving parents – because both sides have used the same dodgy  PR methods but  the McCanns are far better at it and pay more.  The Yard’s greatest failure, for which Redwood carries the collective can, was to muddy and conceal the exact status granted to the couple for the duration of the investigative review and then evade all questions about it.
The good news is that, as the Sun quote above demonstrates, that period is over. Who knows – perhaps it’s over because the job is largely complete, which is what the Bureau thinks, rather than because the previous approach had become unsustainable. Whatever,  Rowley, clearly by agreement, has for months now been releasing bits of information hitherto withheld, risking the consequences. And making no preparations whatever to soften us up for bad news.  
All without public explosions. That is  partly because the final destruction of the McCanns’ case against Amaral has left the parents, supporters  and media alike with neither energy nor motivation to mount an assault. The Yard can take credit for that as well because, despite the tangles it has got itself into with media problems, it has slowly and quietly bled the pair into semi-helplessness by providing nothing but deep foreboding for them and fine, “sensitive” words for  the public.
*and also a policelady's and, no doubt,  also a policetransitioner's - but life is short. 












Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Don't Ask!

You think so?

A shorter version of this piece appeared on the Amazon KM forum today.
AJS writes: Among so many mysteries, one  thing I am quite certain of is the Anglo-Portuguese agreement to insist that the McCanns are not suspects. The bitchy Mail tested it once again last week with a needling piece hinting that Grange's targets, whoever they might be, certainly aren't in Portugal but a great deal nearer to home.  

What possible sense could the "not suspects" claim make without such an agreement? Facts don’t need re-iterating in irritable police interviews; something that is self-evident never needs saying; something which is settled doesn’t need, let alone demand, insistence.

And since the McCanns are not suspects, then there is no possibility of a future trial, is there? In which case there is zero need to avoid any prejudice. Which leaves what? An attempt to help an unfortunate couple finally put the case behind them out of the goodness of their dear, uniformed hearts? If so, who are they trying to convince? The media?

Hardly. The MSM either stays away from the subject or, like the Mail, needles in we know and you know and you know that we know terms that go right over the head of the "average reader"; both  are impervious to unconvincing Yard assertions made without background. So who are they aiming to convince?

Well, the Yard explicitly  mentioned social media in their response to the Sun last week. Perhaps it's all of us.  You can just imagine the anti-McCann websites solemnly posting, no more criticism of the couple please, the Yard has told us again they aren't suspects, can't you?  Social media is lost to the McCanns forever, writs or no writs, and the Yard and the PJ know it.   
No, pull the other one: they say it because they've agreed to do so, knowing it won't convince anyone but lacking any other way of keeping a lid on a possibly explosive pot until they announce a conclusion.  Neither the Portuguese nor Scotland Yard have made any attempt to  lighten the rumour burden on the McCanns apart from this one claim – no stressing that Smithman is definitely not Gerry McCann, no helping the couple distance themselves from the glutinous Clement Freud, no insistence that, apart from Jane Tanner’s Bundleman “mistake”, the Nine are good, honest witnesses, no reassurance for the pair that "the child may not have been alive when she left the apartment" has no negative implications for them. Oh no, of course not,  none at all.  And no statements at the libel trial by Ribeiro or Rebelo (who was supposed to give evidence for the pair) or any other police officer that the couple are not  persons of interest.   Funny that - until you remember that they were on oath.

The testiness and obvious sticking-to-the-script caution* account for the constipated nature of police/media interviews whenever the subject is broached: whatever happens they will not expand upon the answer in any way, because they can't - for if they do  they at once  open a Pandora's Box of follow-up questions, beginning with  why aren't they suspects? That, of course,  is why Rowley, Redwood, do Carmo and Co., when discussing the subject with the usual mixture of silence and bluster, sound rather like the evasive  McCanns themselves in their TV interviews, who also have areas where we are not going to go. "Period!" as  Pedro do Carmo says.

Do Carmo’s response was particularly noteworthy. He was asked if it had been a mistake to make the couple arguidos, which, contrary to the claims of Gerry McCann and their child-like  acceptance by Leveson counsel (now judge) Jay, means either “defendant” or “accused” in English.** His answer was to talk about “nao ‘suspeitos’” about which he wasn't asked. His hapless attempt to stick to the script was the reddest of red flags. It also included the superb, "ask the dogs" reply:

“I do not want to talk about what happened up to 2008. This has been sufficiently debated at its appropriate place.”

Where was that, Pedro? In the Portuguese Supreme Court?
Mind you, those fellow posters  who take the view, or rather aggressively insist,  that Grange is being deliberately run into the ground, adding helpfully  that the Bureau is "desperate to claim that Grange will succeed", might ask themselves what  do Carmo’s statement means for them.  If he's supporting Grange, then the Grange conspiracy, or whitewash or whatever they agree it is, isn't just a British conspiracy but an international one. Really?

The McCanns are NOT SUSPECTS.
Easy to say, isn't it?


* Latest: "Speaking exclusively to The Sun Online, the SY spokesman said defiantly [our italics]: “We should not have to explain or justify how many times we are going to Portugal. Whatever we do, and we are doing our very best, someone always wants to criticise the actions of the police regarding Madeleine McCann."


Note particularly the definitive  "Uma vez constituĂ­do arguido, deve considerar-se suspeito da prática de um crime"  ["once constituted an arguido a person must be considered a suspect (suspeito) in the commission of a crime"]but the entire content of the statement gives the lie to this endlessly repeated invention of Gerry McCann - most recently in the Sun last week:

'In September of that year, Gerry and Kate, who are both doctors, were sensationally named as ‘arguidos’ by Portuguese police. While arguido is often translated as ‘suspect’, it actually means a person being questioned under caution.'

It doesn't.