Blair and his heir

Though I consider the man and his legacy thoroughly bad, Tony Blair’s political career and accomplishments (such as winning three General Elections) are nothing if not remarkable.  During his ten years as Prime Minister he was a dangerous, destructive figure both at home and abroad, and he remains so to this day.  It’s seven years since Blair left office, but he’s never really gone away.  The PM who was central to and instrumental in destabilising and devastating the entire Middle East became, on leaving office, in an irony beyond satire, a UN/EU ‘peace envoy’ to the Middle East.  It would be laughable if it were not so sad, since Blair is responsible for the suffering and deaths of countless people.  But of course Teflon Tony has got away with it once again (in this life at least), as the possibility of justice effectively died, just a few days ago, when it emerged that the Chilcot Inquiry has become the Chilcot Whitewash.

I will always keep an interview with Blair by the Financial Times Editor Lionel Barber (FT Weekend Magazine, 1st July 2012).  It’s a worthy article, and though it’s two years old by now, many of the insights offered into Blair remain valid, such as, “There is an urgency, even a frustration about Blair.  … Blair still wants to be at the centre of attention.”  Well, Blair’s lust for attention has been temporarily satisfied with a glut of media coverage today, including The Times front page, headlined, “Blair tells Europe to wake up” (which is what prompted me to blog this).  The pro-EU Blair is clearly very worried about the ongoing growth of popular political opposition to Britain’s continued EU membership, particularly in the wake of UKIP’s recent electoral triumph.  For Blair, a British withdrawal from the EU is an untenable and illegitimate political aspiration for anybody to hold, and I’ve no doubt he’s as keen as David Cameron to encourage the ‘far right’ fallacy with which Tory CCHQ spin doctors and the mainstream media’s propagandists attempt in desperation to smear UKIP.  Indeed it could be that an attempt to kill UKIP and sustain the Conservative Party becomes Tony Blair’s next big crusade.  After all, UKIP has become a major threat to David Cameron, and Cameron really is the ‘Heir to Blair’.  I’d be very surprised if Tony Blair actually wants Ed Miliband to beat David Cameron in the 2015 General Election.  If Cameron is ousted next year and the Conservatives annihilated, it will be a setback for Blairism.

The scale of the challenge facing Blair and fellow pro-EU, social/economic liberals wishing to save the Tories is huge.  The Tories are dying, as they have been dying for many years, and perhaps only a vote for Scottish independence in the referendum later this year can give the Tories any hope of obtaining an outright majority in Westminster ever again.  The Conservative Party long ago ceased to be conservative – in either social or economic terms.  (At best it might be said, relatively speaking, that the Conservative Party’s current leadership remains, tangibly, though only slightly, more favourable to economically conservative policy than the Labour Party.)  There is abundant evidence of the long-term decline of the Conservative Party and, by extension, of the increasing likelihood of its future demise as a major party.  The Conservative Party is manifestly no longer a conservative party and the Tories have treated their own members and conservative voters with contempt and hostility for years.  Now the worm is turning.  It’s small wonder that the party’s membership numbers are in freefall.  It’s not even possible to be genuinely and openly conservative in the contemporary Conservative Party; indeed, to hold and express orthodox conservative views leads quickly to marginalisation within or expulsion from the party.

The best example of the truth that the Tories do not represent socially conservative opinion was David Cameron’s forcing the redefinition of marriage into law last year.  And as to economic conservatism, if the protection of the UK’s economy and financial interests (by the exercise of sovereign power yet to be regained from the EU, to which the Conservative Party is not committed) is not the defining economic-conservative issue of our time, I don’t know what is.  Peter Hitchens hit the nail on the head in his Mail on Sunday column yesterday: “Ukip has grown from nothing in a few short years because thousands of Tories have had enough of being taken for granted by a party that despises them and their concerns.  Many of them are never coming back.  Tory membership and local organisation, which were in deep trouble anyway, have come close to collapse, especially since David Cameron forced same-sex marriage into law.  But above all things, Tory voters have realised that the mass immigration which is transforming the country before their eyes cannot be stopped as long as we stay in the EU.  And they have grasped that the Tories are apologists for the EU and will never try to leave it.”

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Carlyon Bay and Mevagissey

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Yesterday morning I was out and about around the St. Austell area and I took a few photos along the way.  Alas it wasn’t the best light for shooting but some of the shots do stand out.  Most of the shots in the set (http://www.richardcarvath.net/apps/photos/) are of Carlyon Bay and Mevagissey.  On the whole the set isn’t ‘picture postcard’ photography — but rather the photos show people going about their daily business and capture something of the contrast to be found in Cornwall today.

And see if you can spot a ‘mooner’ in one of the shots; it’s the traditional form of Cornish Mooning in which you keep your pants on… ;)

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Play Spot-The-Crime with Greater Manchester Police

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Here’s a challenge for readers…  Play ‘Spot the Crime’ with this Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol.

This photo was taken on Saturday (22nd March) at Wynnstay Grove and you can see it to best effect here (first photo in the Abort67 album).

There’s serious criminal activity going on in this photo – at least one indictable offence punishable by up to seven years in prison – but this GMP patrol drove right past it.  What could it be?

You’ll notice that the GMP patrol is taking a keen interest in the Abort67 pro-life campaigners standing on the pavement, but the campaigners are not committing any crime.

The Michael Todd-era slogan on the car – “Fighting crime, protecting people” – is such a lovely PR slogan but in this instance it clearly isn’t true.

This GMP patrol drove right past a serious crime scene, so I ask you readers, can you spot the crime?

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Passionate Conversations with Abort67

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Yesterday I was in Manchester (yet again – a long way from St. Oz) and ended up covering the Abort67 public displays (and a counter demo) in Fallowfield.  I took a set of 40 shots which you can see here at best quality: http://www.richardcarvath.net/apps/photos/

Some of the photos really are rather remarkable – and, be warned, some are quite graphic – which is why, though my online activity is at a relatively low ebb at present, I decided to take my photo app out of mothballs and use it for this photoset.

The Abort67 event stirred up some passionate conversations as can be seen from the photos.

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A Chief Inspector spills the beans

Yesterday I had a disappointing email correspondence (4 emails) with Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Chief Inspector Derek Hewitt wrote to me (10:33 hours, 20th March 2014) “…on behalf of Chief Superintendent Hankinson…” to offer me a meeting with himself and Inspector Debbie Weake at Wythenshawe Police Station.

This offer of a meeting was to discuss the matter of the Sandy’s Superstars illegal brothel at 375 Palatine Road which GMP has been turning a blind eye to for over ten years in response to my raising this issue via email with Chief Superintendent Catherine Hankinson, who is GMP’s newly-appointed (March 2014) Divisional Commander for South Manchester.

I replied to Chief Inspector Hewitt with a lengthy email (15:51) in which I declined his offer of a meeting whilst making it clear that I would be keen to speak with him in person if GMP were to provide me with a written commitment to enforcing the law in regard of the Sandy’s Superstars illegal brothel.

Chief Inspector Hewitt wrote back to me (17:17) to acknowledge my decision to decline his offer; stating that, “The invitation to meet with Inspector Weake and myself at Wythenshawe remains open should you wish to reconsider.”

His email (17:17) also contained the following admission: “Greater Manchester Police have responded to your concerns on a number of occasions and that position has not changed since the last correspondence.  I can inform you that the premises [i.e. the Sandy’s Superstars illegal brothel] you refer to in Northenden have been visited as recently as February 2014 by Manchester Action on Street Health (MASH), during this visit there were no concerns raised.”

I replied a second time to Chief Inspector Hewitt with the following email (18:08), which I think neatly summarises the current impasse between the law-abiding public on the one hand and the non-policing police on the other:

“Dear Chief Inspector Hewitt,

Thank you for your reply.  … Your reference to the recent visit by [GMP partner] MASH to the Sandy’s Superstars *illegal* brothel in Northenden is very interesting indeed.

MASH is on public record as approving of the Sandy’s Superstars *illegal* brothel in Northenden and is also known to advocate the legalisation of brothels.  You, the police, are in partnership with and doing the bidding of a group which directly opposes the fundamental purpose of the police – namely law enforcement.

I can only interpret your reference to MASH and the fact that, as you state, MASH has raised “no concerns” to GMP about the *illegal* Sandy’s Superstars brothel to mean that it remains the case that GMP has no intention of ever enforcing the law (the Sexual Offences Act 2003, against keeping a brothel) upon those criminals responsible for running illegal brothels in Greater Manchester, in line with what is clearly GMP’s ongoing vice trade policy, as previously disclosed in an FOI response to me.

Therefore, there is clearly no point at all in any meeting between us as we are committed to opposite agendas; I am committed to enforcing the law (i.e. closing down all illegal brothels), whereas GMP is committed to *not* enforcing the law (and, moreover, is at the forefront of efforts to legalise brothels and other vice-related offences).

Whilst I’m willing to help police officers in fulfilling their duty to uphold the law, I obviously cannot be of any assistance to a police force which is committed to undermining the law and supporting prostitution.  We ought not to waste each other’s time.

Once again, thank you for your email.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Richard Carvath.”

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GMP organised crime report (2012) goes online

The Command Team for the group investigating the Greater Manchester Police over allegations of co-operation with and infiltration by organised crime networks has taken the decision to de-restrict a two-years-old dossier which can now be accessed here.  It’s free; please help yourself.  Prior to today, this report has been seen only by GMP and a small number of private individuals offline.  The report is published online in the public interest and for the purpose of crime prevention.

Readers should remember that the report is now two years old.  Some of the information contained in the report is no longer correct (e.g. police officers have moved on to new posts).  It should be noted that this report is Part One of what was a two-part report.  The second part remains embargoed; it is classified due to security considerations and it will never be disclosed to the public.

I served as the report’s general editor; apologies for any SPG errors I missed.  I’m afraid it’s not the easiest reading for the general reader and won’t win any prizes for literature.  Broadly speaking, the report provides an ‘overview’ of the situation two years ago – and that was its main function as intended by its authors – but it’s worth bearing in mind that it was also deployed for [now defunct] tactical purposes back in 2012.

There have been several major developments since the report was first prepared.  Two of these developments are: (1) since the report, GMP disclosed a written statement of its vice trade policy under the Freedom of Information Act; and (2) GMP conducted a Professional Standards Branch investigation which was subsequently referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

For over three years it has been ‘my pleasure’ (!) to be the only public frontman for the group investigating GMP and the Manchester vice trade, however it may be that a new face takes over from me later this year – if indeed the whole case isn’t fully wrapped up this year.

Further public disclosure of previously unreleased material is scheduled for the coming months – whether here or in the papers.  In particular, the spotlight is set to fall once again on the conduct of GMP’s former Chief Constable Michael Todd…

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Hello 2014

Hello AD 2014.  I’ve been fairly quiet online for quite some time now – in contrast to the rather busier reality of my affairs offline.  The majority of what I currently do as a journalist never sees the light of day online (at least, not credited to me) – and it’s ever been thus – however this year I intend to put some new articles/photos up alongside my name (i.e. here), and also to accept the occasional byline from now on with suitable articles.  Though much of my journalism must necessarily remain under the radar, in future I do desire to open up and go public in a more direct manner when possible.  New content should start to appear by the spring (which is when I reckon the years really begin, in my own personal thinking).  Archive material (blogs, PDFs, photos, videos) is safe and sound and some of it will probably re-appear online in future, although attending to this is not a priority for me at present.  And 2014 might even see me getting around to making much-needed improvements to the overall functionality, coordination and aesthetics of my web presence; so I hope…

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