Today I toddled along to a local town’s Gendarmerie here in order to complain about a crime against the person (aka me) and various threats that added up to demanding money with menaces. Some of what follows is, bizarrely, connected to the UK General Election….and the lawless nature of the ghastly forces now running the EU.
The first thing that struck me was, on arriving at this quite large market town – and realising I didn’t know the exact location of the copshop – how few local residents had the faintest idea where it was. To be precise, I had to ask eleven people before somebody finally told me where it was. Common sense suggests that this was a law-abiding town where few residents had ever been anywhere near the police station.
On the gate outside the building I observed the opening hours: 8 until 12 noon and then 2 until 7 in the afternoon. How many provincial English towns have a police corps open even four days a week any more, let alone 9 hours a day?
The reception area was spotless and empty. In my English home town of Manchester, one would be greeted by run-down premises and harassed police officers dealing with a Tsunami of lowlife and frustrated citizens trying to get someone – anyone – to pay attention to their complaint. In the last Devon town I inhabited, the police station was open three days a week for four hours a day…and your chances of getting any complaint, theft, attack or aggravated violence acted upon were close to zero.
But not here. A charming female gendarme listened patiently to my problem (it concerns a braindead cockney thug insisting on payment for work he hadn’t done, when the work he had done was sloppy) and stood wide-eyed as I described the physical and verbal abuse to which I’d been subjected in broad daylight.
There was no messing about. She took the details and explained the action they’d take. Not only that, she took my phone number and promised I would be rung by her or another directly involved officer once the action had been taken. Further, she then promised that if there was any recurrence, the suspect would be arrested wiithout further ado, and a formal investigation begun.
There are several germaine points I wish to raise here tonight about these events.
1. In France, any form of violent threat is regarded as very serious. I’d assumed it wouldn’t be, but I was wrong: even relatively benign threats in one email or letter will result in the perpetrator being given a severe warning. That is not so in the UK.
2. The gendarme with whom I dealt had clearly been well-trained in dealing with the public: her patient sympathy was exemplary.
3. France is having all kinds of difficulties dealing with British migrants who bring with them assumptive attitudes of legal entitlement which are (quite rightly) alien to the French. In my own little corner of Lot et Garonne, the impact of spoiled UK Underclass is already becoming a serious problem for a hitherto largely crime-free region.
4. I think all those voting in the UK General Election two weeks from now should give serious consideration to why a “kinder” society has bred such people, and how the new neoliberals are on the one hand demonising them, while on the other seeking their support for casual racism.
5. Not a single substantive political Party in Britain shows the slightest interest in community ethics, and policing that protects the vulnerable citizen as opposed to the politically privileged. In short, policing has been a non-issue in the 2015 electoral farrago of fluffy indifference. Every politician now evades questions about law, order and the protection of the individual, because a quasi-liberal hegemony in the media have decreed that such issues are illiberal and ‘not progressive’.
There are no quick-fix, short-sharp-shock, target-driven answers to these profoundly (albeit unpopular) questions. But sooner rather than later, the British political class must address them in a way that goes beyond five-year-term facile solutions. Failure to do this – from either fluffy Labour or fanatical Tory – will inevitably lead to revolutionary nastiness.
That may seem like extremist exaggeration, but it isn’t: the Westminster Bubble is now so woefully out of touch with real people, it is in imminent danger of making the same mistakes as those in the EC/ECB/eurogroupe cocoon. It is a cocoon inside which the changelings exist to insist that their reality is ours.
Nothing could be further from the truth.