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Police shouldn't catch criminals?

The primary role of the police is to prevent crime, not catch criminals, the chief inspector of constabulary for England and Wales has said.

Tom Winsor said focusing on would-be offenders, likely victims and potential crime hotspots would save taxpayers' money and keep more people safe.

But "primitive" technology is limiting officers' ability to do that, he added.
Source BBC News.

I remember as a kid having a nice policeman come to our school and tell us nowadays crime prevention was where it was at. We were given a few stickers, sang a song, told to be careful of strangers and do our bit by thinking about criminals and how to prevent them from stealing things from us. On the surface of it this seemed like a great idea and for years I swallowed the dogma about "prevention being better than the cure".

In the comic book 2000AD there's a character called Judge Anderson. She's a futuristic cop from the same world as the more famous character, Judge Dredd, but unlike him she has psychic powers and can read people's minds. This means she's able to take crime "prevention" to a whole new level and, being a satire, the strip deals with the serious issues such a policy inevitably incurs. If someone thinks about commiting a crime should you arrest them in advance?

Oh, come on Nick, this is bo---cks, the police aren't talking about that sort of thing.

Not yet they're not but it's a possibility in the future. Online profiling is still in its early stages but already there's a lot of evidence to suggest that criminal "types" can be spotted very early on if you have an idea what websites they're looking at. The obvious profiling for terrorists and sex offenders has begun to seem like common sense, it won't be long until any incriminating evidence you leave online regarding less serious crimes will become more widely used, I suspect.

Judge Anderson, and most of the world Dredd inhabits, was clearly inspired by Philip K Dick. I strongly suggest you read his work.

The Dark Judges: Equally badass, less sexy.
The writers of Dredd do not generally deal in subtlety so there is another character from the same story called Judge Death. He thinks the best way to stop crime is to kill everyone before they can do anything wrong. What is this if not the most effective form of crime prevention? The strategy our new "Chief inspector" is advocating taken to its logical extreme. Judge Death's world has existed for thousands of years without a single living inhabitant. Crime is a thing of the past. The tactic works, but at what cost?

The alternative to these "crime preventers" is Dredd, the strip's main character. All he does is apply the law. He turns up, kicks-butt arrests criminals and doles out the maximum sentence. I'll be amazed if there is so much as one comment underneath this blog entry that thinks that is a bad way of doing things. I'll assume it's trolling. No one disagrees with that tactic, unless they disagree with the law itself.

I remember watching a lad at our school once get punched square in the jaw for no reason whatsoever. The guy in question was minding his own business and the person who smacked him one had no quarrel with him particularly, he just fancied punching someone to see what happened. As a crowd gathered and stories about the event were swapped I was astonished to hear the number of people who said, "yeh, but he must have said something, he's asked for it didn't he?" and so on.

No, no he didn't. It was a random act of violence. It happens. What I have come to realise over the years is that these apologists who tried to pretend the unprovoked random act of violence was in some way the victims fault are in fact making excuses to themselves and ducking the awful reality of random acts of violence. They want to believe that such a thing could not happen to them because they'd never do the bad thing in the first place.

For me this is the same as blaming someone who gets their sat nav stolen from a car by some druggie or a woman who gets raped for wearing a short skirt. It's the abused victim being told it's their fault because no one really cares to confront the reality: some people are bad and do bad things[1].

Notice the crucial word there, "some". Not all, not everyone, not me, not you. Some people. Prevention assumes we're all to blame for crime as opposed to the criminal themselves. I strongly suspect it's in fact a tiny, tiny, tiny minority who are responsible for actual crimes[2]. Google the phrase "one man crime wave" to discover how frequently it is the case that statistics show only a very small proportion of people break the law. Why should we all take the blame for their actions?

If we locked people up who actually attack body or property and left everyone else to get on with things it would be a much better world. Why the police are so insistent on not doing that is worth questioning. I strongly suspect it's because one strategy gives them more overall power and influence than the other.


[1] Oh boo hoo, you had a bad life. Don't break people's jaws and I'll be sympathetic.
[2] No, I don't mean tax fraud and parking offences. I mean attacking someone's body or property. Not catching someone smoking in a pub or downloading some pop music on the internet.

049 The Cult of Nick ... I didn't hear your question but the answer is ALIENS!!!

This podcast features an interview with Dr Steven Greer of The Disclosure Project. In my opnion they're one of the most interesting sites as regards ET's/UFO's.

As I say in the podcast, I'm not sure what I think about these matters nowadays but I consider them an important thought exercise at the very least. This interview is an example of where those thoughts can lead.

The music you can hear is here:

My twitter account is here:


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Why don't the British people celebrate St George's day?

Britain is a Protestant country. St George's day is principally a Catholic festival.

Furthermore Britain is a nation which is more than just England. A state backed knees up which so obviously snubbed Scotland was politically sensitive for most of our history.

But Granny says we used to go mental on it.

Granny has probably conflated it with Empire day.


You, Me.

This meme came from this Facebook page. These versions are ones I made.

It's one of the funnier memes I've come across recently:

Wanna make pictures like this? Go here.

048 The Cult Of Nick incl Jon Ronson interview

Interview with Jon Ronson from the archives. I’m quite obviously a huge fan of his work. The film we discuss has been posted on Youtube and, while it’s there, I suggest you take a look. Link at the bottom. Title of the film is “Reverend Death”.

The second half of the podcast is the story of watching the Boston attack via Twitter. It’s based on a blog entry on called ‘Watching tragedy unfold online… #blamethebombers’.

Thanks to all the tweeters who helped us all make sense of that particular night. You know who you all are.

Do join me on Twitter:


Jon Ronson film:

"Reverend Death"


Music used in podcast:

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Watching tragedy unfold online ... #blamethebombers

I first heard about the Boston bombings through the internet. It wasn't long before I switched on Sky News[1] but Twitter was my main focus as the awfulness began to emerge. During 9/11 and the 2011 UK riots I was on the radio reporting on the events and being online during these attacks in Boston was a similar feeling, watching the flurry of mad thoughts, comment and unconfirmed reports coming through. As far as I'm concerned it's a useful experience for people in that it demonstrates how no one ever knows "the truth" about any particular event, they just have their impression of it. As a result it makes the experience more realistic, life tends to unfold in a similar confusing manner and no one really knows what's going on.

This is also true for a journalists and was certainly the case as I reported in a local radio studio on the events of 9/11. We had no idea what was going on there and our role soon became to unquestioningly repeat information rather than report it, we certainly were not allowed to let people question it. The London riots were slightly different in that I was actually in the capital taking calls from rioters and policemen. In that instance a picture of what was happening developed through those eyewitness calls. At points it conflicted and as a presenter it's your job to point that out but, unlike my work during 9/11, I felt far more comfortable with the result. I prefer the listener to make up their own mind about a caller, as opposed to me butting in and telling them "the truth" of the matter, particularly if I'm not sure what that is anyway.

If the police say "X", CCTV cameras appear to show "Y" and a caller says "Z", the fullest picture is usually a combination of all three. However it is always upto the individual recieving the information to decide what they believe, in other words it is their personal responsibility to work out who to trust. During the riots, for example, at first we had police officers telling us there was nothing going on and that it was all ok. This appeared to be accepted without question by our rivals on BBC London and I was told by many that for hours we were the only station really covering the violence.
A journalist's job is to get the story and get as close to "the truth" as possible. Despite what people in the media might think, the audience for that story will all react to that "truth" in different ways. They will only ever see what you are saying as one source of information. If a reliable friend of theirs contradicts your "official" report they won't care if you're a "proper journalist" or not, they'll likely trust their alternative source. In truth "official" sources can be wrong, particularly during a breaking news story:

What's interesting about the internet is that it puts thousands of sources at the fingertips of anyone who is interested and as a result you are required to work out for yourself which of them is the most reliable. In this scenario you can't blame "the media" for what you think because you're the one who made the final decision to trust whichever source that catch-all term happens to apply to here. The narrative you followed required a level of consent which was not as obvious in the pre-internet age.

For example, as I watched the footage it wasn't long before I started to think in the following direction:
As I've said in previous articles, the internet allows you to discover people who are literally on the same page as you and a swift search for the keywords "Four Lions" produced:
As the night went on, Frankie Boyle, a prominent tweeter added to the Four Lions angle:
Other tweeters added to the narrative:
This is exactly what would happen on a phone in show and shows how story line and angles develop. As I write I've not seen coverage going with this aspect but in the event the criminals use Islam as an excuse for their deeds the parralels are too strong for it not to become more prominent. In that event there are likely to be idiots who seriously believe the film itself is also partly to blame. This is as absurd as blaming the Koran. The bombers must take responsibility for what they have done, no one else.

Aside from this on my Twitter feed other common narratives emerged, the slightly irritating stating-the-obvious "this happens in other countries all the time" tweeters and then the genuinely annoying "America brought it on themselves" people:
As the night went on the word "Muslims" started reach about #8 on my UK trends feed. However, as I write, there is no firm evidence to suggest the identity of the bombers. There was a strong sense this would be blamed on Tea Party Gun Nuts coming from the conspiracy theory tweeters but as the possibly completely false (at the time of writing) Muslim narrative gathered speed pundits moved in and one in particular made a bit of a fool of himself:
Once located he didn't react well to criticism from me and one of my followers, going on to retweet our little spat to his 8,000 or so readers despite having apparently deleted the "sarcastic" call to mass murder:
On a phone in show it's likely you'd use the profanity delay to get him off air. On the internet, as casualties and fatalities are announced, he's free to call for death and laugh it off as sarcasm. Personally speaking I think the world is a better place as a result, people like this should be allowed to advocate their position as long as others are able to argue back:
In the event that he goes beyond absurd "opinion" and starts issuing more frequent and specific threats perhaps the law should get involved but if someone decides to take action and hurt people, that's their choice not his isn't it? It's a very thin line and rightly not one that is fully covered by "free speech". His tweet (which had been deleted) was in response to the question "ARE YOU ALREADY BLAMING MUSLIMS?" and read: "Yes, they're evil. Lets kill them all". If it had been a named individual I'd say he needed to face criminal charges, as it is I think his stupidity speaks for itself. Particularly when the response to this tragedy from Muslim tweeters became so instantly apparent:
For me this is one of the reasons why it is crucial to #blamethebombers. What they did is their responsibility and no one else's.
Meanwhile other 'pundits' began calling for consequences here in the UK, specifically:
Strangely, "freedom of speech" appeared to be in the air on that particular night. Click on the tweet to read the resulting debate.

Watching an awful tragedy unfold through the internet did seem to make it more intense than just watching sensational news footage on loop. It also made me hopeful that people in the future will be less easy to manipulate as they explore their own angles on breaking news and form their own opinions of what to think about news. That's a nightmare for the establishment who, because of the internet, are literally losing their grip on concensus reality. There's also reasonable grounds for concern as regards sensitive pictures of identifiable injured people being casually retweeted.

However I am not personally concerned about "conspiracy theories" and "misninformation". I believe in the fullness of time the wheat will be seperated from the chaff. Here are a few of the more controversial tweets in that direction which I noticed:

However, the sheer volume of opinion means there were a number of inspirational moments within the tragedy. This one stuck out for me and seems an appropriate way to end the entry:
Nick Margerrison


[1] Sky have an unofficial policy of "print and be damned" and they're better for breaking news in that sense. They'd rather be first with a story and correct later on. Their ticker tape in particular is incredible for 'speculative', by which I mean 'might not be true', news. The BBC on the other hand would rather be reliable than first with news.

A response to Ding Dong The Witch is Dead is to buy Telstar next week

The campaign to ban "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" is absurd. Generally speaking it is the left who are keen to ban things[1] and the so-called right wing shame themselves if they call for state intervention in the free market. It is no surprise that senior "right wing" people have come out against the idea.

From The Telegraph:
The anti-Thatcher anthem Ding Dong the Witch is Dead has seen a surge in popularity since Baroness Thatcher’s death and looks set to retain a top slot when the Official Chart Show airs on Sunday.
In a controversial move the BBC are likely to play the track if it is in the top five, after executives are said to see little reason to take it off of the airwaves. A final decision will not be made on grounds of taste or decency.
But the move has found support in some unlikely corners as UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Tory MP Philip Davies, who have both paid glowing tribute to the former leader, said broadcasting the song was the right thing to do.
Partly their support for the Wizard Of Oz song might be down to the fact they know "the left" are currently making themselves look mean spirited and nasty as they delight in the death of a person but more importantly it's consistent with "right wing" ideas[1].

I classify myself as neither left wing nor right wing but I'm astounded that no one on Thatcher's side has yet to think of the obvious response to all this: buy Telstar next week and the week after and the week after. It's famously her favourite pop song.

Nick Margerrison

[1] Why would that be? I suspect the left wing are less inclined towards free speech because one of their core ideas is that all people are born equal, as a blank sheet of paper, and their characters are written upon them by the events of their lives. The right wing tend more towards the idea that people are born fully formed and genetics is the main factor in determining who you are. If you take the left wing "tabula rasa", or blank sheet of paper, approach to life censorship makes perfect sense. You can't let bad ideas get written on that paper! If you go the other way and think it's all genetics then what harm is there in someone seeing or hearing something offensive?

Evidence to support this theory comes from the left's advocacy of Leveson. More trivially you can see it in the comedy world in this interview in The Guardian with the creators of South Park:
"The big lie of our whole career is that rightwing fundamentalists are always trying to shut us down," Stone says. "It has literally never happened. The Mormons haven't, the Christians haven't – OK, the Scientologists did, but they don't count. But when we make fun of liberal people, they're like, 'What?!' I think religious conservatives are more used to taking a beating." And as if to antagonise their long-suffering liberal fans even more, Parker announces that the two causes he and Stone believe in are "gay marriage and guns. We're for both of those."

047 The Cult Of Nick ... SERIAL KILLERS!

This interview really struck me at the time. I was taken aback by how mundane everything was as the best friend of a serial killer told me about his time as a boy playing games and mucking about.



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Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead: a win for the right.

Your reaction to Margret Thatcher's death says more about you than it does her. As I write the song "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" is climbing the iTunes chart and looks set to be number one for the UK countdown on Sunday. Street parties are being planned and "edgy" BBC comedians are posting delighted tweets:

Reaction to her death by people who classify themselves as “left wing”, reveals an awful lot about the so-called ideology they claim to represent. Knowing this the “right wing” press has covered it with obvious glee. There is even an article here (links to Media UK) which shows how The Daily Mail are clearly trying to ham up the disrespectful reactions. The reason is obvious, snotty kids dancing on an elderly woman's grave will not play well with most people and whatever causes those who behave so smugly in the face of death claim to support are tarnished by association.
The terms "left" and "right" work as forms of control which hinder political thinking. They are obviously divisive but what’s interesting to me is how predictable they make people's behaviour. Broadly speaking the “left wing” mindset is inspired by love and the “right wing” by fear. The left like to think of themselves as being on the side of good:

"To be good you had to be on the left [...] the Thatcher administration [...] appeared to reaffirm the Left's monopoly of goodness".

"What's Left?" - Nick Cohen 
At first it seems obvious that love is better than fear and if it's an either/or choice the majority first tend towards the left moving to the right over time as old age sets in and fear becomes a bigger factor:

"If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain".
Winston Churchill
However the left's issues can be easily understood by anyone who has had to deal with the unwanted affection of a would-be lover, it's an emotion which can easily turn to hate. Furthermore if you genuinely believe you’re acting in a kind, caring and loving manner, your opponents surely cannot be on the side of good, they must necessarily be evil. This is how many of Thatcher’s “left wing” opponents saw her and in this context her decisions become deliberate acts of malicious cruelty, instead of mistakes. In short she was seen as a manifestation of evil who was hated by many of those whose ideas she spurned.

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about Thatcher and he told me that she'd been on his "machine gun list" throughout the 80's. In his eyes the damage she did to The North of England had ruined the lives of many people. I asked him if he was disappointed when the IRA failed to murder her in 1984. He looked shocked and genuinely horrified, despite having only moments ago been talking about doing pretty much the same thing.

The terms "left" and "right" have their origin in the French revolution. Like any good superhero (or villain) from a comic book, this origin story carries the seeds of its identity. In their parliament those on the left hand side of, The King Of France, the side most vulnerable to the sword arm, were those who opposed him. Nowadays it is accepted that the French revolution required brutality and its advocates have had to see violence as a necessary means justified by their noble and loving ends. It's a period of European history which is very revealing as regards understanding the mindset of “the left” and their cheery acceptance of cruelty in the name of “the cause”.

Make no mistake about it, laughing over a dead old lady is cruel. Even the most infamous of anti-Maggie tweeters implicitly accepts this with his "two wrongs make a right" argument which was posted a few hours later:
However it was the orgiastic levels of violence in France which was used at the time by the emerging British media to put people off going down the same route again here. Actual cruelty and violence does not have mass appeal and the chaos it implies is not a welcome guest for most households. The right wing know that the hateful nature of their opponents is a weakness in terms of the mainstream and they are clearly exploiting it.

So the “left” are doing exactly what their opponents will have expected and appear to have prepared for, celebrating the death of an old (and in their eyes evil) woman. The “right” has anticipated this move on the chessboard and are now using it to stoke up fear as a response so that the so called silent majority are presented with an implied choice between the two. No matter which way you slice it, from a distance laughing and gloating over the death of an old woman is never going to have mass appeal, so every time someone decides to join the Maggie-Bashing-Bandwagon it’s a win for the right. They must be praying that song is still at number one by Sunday and civil disturbances on the streets on Wednesday during the funeral would be nothing short of a PR Godsend.

046 Project Camelot

Still one of my favourite websites to browse. This interview amuses me because of the gap between a true believer in the field and a casual observer such as myself's realities. Teleportation devices are real? Ace.

MUSIC from:

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