Good Wavell Room Article - The Army has 'a culture of apathy and dishonesty'

HE117

LE
If, by that, you mean anti-English discrimination, I'm unsurprised.

My late brother, who wed a Jock lass and went to live in Greenock while working for Cisco Systems sent me (must be nearly 20 years ago) an academic study which very carefully presented evidence showing that Jock racism against English folk living/working in Scotland had leapt out of Pandora's Box within weeks of devolution, and flourished.
Whilst not disagreeing with you that devolution has fuelled some quite disgraceful xenophobia, it was not this that I was specifically referring to..

My observation was that the overwhelming attitude from Whitehall has been to step back from activities in Scotland whether the issue was one which had been devolved or not. The attitude seems to be to find any excuse not to get involved and to collectively wash their hands of everything. It is particularly noticeable with the Police, where Police Scotland seem to be being allowed to behave as if they are no longer in the UK, but the same has happened with BBC Scotland and many other government agencies, who are to a great extend declaring UDI, and being allowed to do so. So many tin pot hierarchies are breeding from this single event it is quite concerning, particularly as these newly devolved agencies have neither the history nor the competence to carry out the tasks and responsibilities that they have now taken upon themselves..

I do not believe that this was ever foreseen as a consequence of devolution, but is should have done.. essentially that idiot Blair kicked off a process of structural mitosis, and who knows where it will end!
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
An insurgency fails back to a nascent state when the legitimacy, credibility and authority of the state are recognised by the bulk of the population and the institutions of the state are seen as fulfilling a legitimate function in a more or less even-handed way.

The key element in any COIN is always going to be the police - not the indigenous military and not any third party outside miitary. Only if the 'acceptable level' of violence is reached and maintained can the police work to re-establish the state's credibility.

I was personally enormously sad to see the RUC GC pass into history - I (and many others) have enormous respect and some affection for the brave and dedicated folk who manned that force; however, if any sort of legitimacy was ever to be accorded the police by both sides of a deeply divided polity, it had to go and Patten probably worked out the least worst way of making sure it did.
 
I do urge people to be careful around searching Kris Macdonald on line.

You'll find yourselves going down some red/blue pill rabbit holes sadly.

You will indeed, considering his name was Kriss Donald

Perhaps it was this rabbit hole you meant, rather than some red / blue pills rabbit hole.

The case, which featured the first-ever conviction for racially motivated murder in Scotland, is cited in two newspaper articles as an example of the lack of attention the media and society give to white sufferers of racist attacks compared to that given to ethnic minorities. It is also suggested the crime demonstrates how society has decided to redefine racism so as to no longer include white victims.

A pretty damning paragraph, considering it was made 15 years ago.

Apologies for thread drift.
 
Thanks for the link to Wikipedia, but how you get to "nearly got Vietnam won when we left" based on the story told therein defies my understanding altogether.
Everybody says that about Vietnam. The last American ambassador to SVN, Martin, was saying it ,right up to the moment he was practically carried on to the USMC helicopter on the roof.
 
Whilst not disagreeing with you that devolution has fuelled some quite disgraceful xenophobia, it was not this that I was specifically referring to..

My observation was that the overwhelming attitude from Whitehall has been to step back from activities in Scotland whether the issue was one which had been devolved or not. The attitude seems to be to find any excuse not to get involved and to collectively wash their hands of everything. It is particularly noticeable with the Police, where Police Scotland seem to be being allowed to behave as if they are no longer in the UK, but the same has happened with BBC Scotland and many other government agencies, who are to a great extend declaring UDI, and being allowed to do so. So many tin pot hierarchies are breeding from this single event it is quite concerning, particularly as these newly devolved agencies have neither the history nor the competence to carry out the tasks and responsibilities that they have now taken upon themselves..

I do not believe that this was ever foreseen as a consequence of devolution, but is should have done.. essentially that idiot Blair kicked off a process of structural mitosis, and who knows where it will end!
And some people think Blair wasn't a revolutionary. Yet he wrecked the unity of the nation, the constitution turned the lords into a political second chamber full of washed up politicos and even tried to ditch the pound.
 
An insurgency fails back to a nascent state when the legitimacy, credibility and authority of the state are recognised by the bulk of the population and the institutions of the state are seen as fulfilling a legitimate function in a more or less even-handed way.

The key element in any COIN is always going to be the police - not the indigenous military and not any third party outside miitary. Only if the 'acceptable level' of violence is reached and maintained can the police work to re-establish the state's credibility.

I was personally enormously sad to see the RUC GC pass into history - I (and many others) have enormous respect and some affection for the brave and dedicated folk who manned that force; however, if any sort of legitimacy was ever to be accorded the police by both sides of a deeply divided polity, it had to go and Patten probably worked out the least worst way of making sure it did.
It depends on the enemy.... Where you have a majority in revolt, you need local auxiliaries of one type or another to do the dirty work. In India, we used to call them the Martial Races and in Iraq used the Assyrians or Burma the Karen's to do our dirty work. It makes a lot of sense, to use the minorities as a loyal servant in the face of a majority.

Where you have a minority in revolt, that's when the lessons learned in Malaya and Police led can be used. But nowadays that has the smell of ethnic cleansing and the Police can only control where you concentrate a population enough to have total control over their lives.
 
You will indeed, considering his name was Kriss Donald

Perhaps it was this rabbit hole you meant, rather than some red / blue pills rabbit hole.



A pretty damning paragraph, considering it was made 15 years ago.

Apologies for thread drift.

Indeed.

But you will meet some people down the path who will use the undoutbed injustice, to guide you to their reality.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Voter suppression as you call it, is basic election security i.e. minimal levels of identity checks to secure an election and allow all sides to accept that all votes are legal.
I suspect I agree with a lot of your objections to current political activism. One of the major problems is that they apply things as if everywhere was the US. For example, BLM being uncritically imported to the UK given the major difference in policing styles, outcomes and laws, is a total idiocy. The navel gazing of US activists is too often photocopied by activists elsewhere in the west as if everywhere was the US. It is not.

Unfortunately, you are doing the same in reverse. There are quite well documented efforts in the US by Republicans to suppress voters in (coincidentally) black areas, which have been going on in one form or another since 1980. Republican political strategists (ex- of course) have even talked about it, read up on Lee Atwater, or (not very good) book 'It Was All A Lie' by Stuart Stevens where he discusses this. It's rarely blocking people from polling stations, it's enacting laws explicitly because the data shows they drive down black voting. Voter suppression is a fair way to describe that strategy.

The idea that ID cards are "basic election security" might hold true in some places, essentially anywhere with uncertain population data, such as anywhere we have tried to bootstrap democracies in the ME or Asia. Given we've been having broadly secure elections for some time without them, I'm not sure the UK is one. But it's very definitely not the whole picture in the US.

If you don't like how someone behaves, take care not to start behaving like them.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
It depends on the enemy.... Where you have a majority in revolt, you need local auxiliaries of one type or another to do the dirty work. In India, we used to call them the Martial Races and in Iraq used the Assyrians or Burma the Karen's to do our dirty work. It makes a lot of sense, to use the minorities as a loyal servant in the face of a majority.

Where you have a minority in revolt, that's when the lessons learned in Malaya and Police led can be used. But nowadays that has the smell of ethnic cleansing and the Police can only control where you concentrate a population enough to have total control over their lives.
If you have a majority in revolt and you're supporting the minority, it might be worth considering whether you're supporting the right side.
 
I suspect I agree with a lot of your objections to current political activism. One of the major problems is that they apply things as if everywhere was the US. For example, BLM being uncritically imported to the UK given the major difference in policing styles, outcomes and laws, is a total idiocy. The navel gazing of US activists is too often photocopied by activists elsewhere in the west as if everywhere was the US. It is not.

Unfortunately, you are doing the same in reverse. There are quite well documented efforts in the US by Republicans to suppress voters in (coincidentally) black areas, which have been going on in one form or another since 1980. Republican political strategists (ex- of course) have even talked about it, read up on Lee Atwater, or (not very good) book 'It Was All A Lie' by Stuart Stevens where he discusses this. It's rarely blocking people from polling stations, it's enacting laws explicitly because the data shows they drive down black voting. Voter suppression is a fair way to describe that strategy.

The idea that ID cards are "basic election security" might hold true in some places, essentially anywhere with uncertain population data, such as anywhere we have tried to bootstrap democracies in the ME or Asia. Given we've been having broadly secure elections for some time without them, I'm not sure the UK is one. But it's very definitely not the whole picture in the US.

If you don't like how someone behaves, take care not to start behaving like them.
Your last line sounds biblical to my ear and its a fair point. When I've seen the defenders of the US Election security be pushed back to a base argument, they're will apply that very argument you make i.e. 'well the other side did it'..... The essential nature of life is people come up with elaborate excuses and reasons for anything and everything to fool themselves and others. But when you strip away the rhetoric, its little more than an immature desire for a tit-for-tat/eye for an eye which can be so satisfying in the short term, but very damaging medium/long term.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Your expectations have been set as a light-skinned bloke in a light-skinned country, where the police are well-trained and generally unarmed. Of course you're going to trust the nice officer and assume he's got your best interests at heart. Now turn it around. Picture yourself somewhere in Africa or Asia; you're driving an expensive vehicle at night, when (what appear to be) two local policemen attempt to stop you.
  • Do you indicate that you're going to turn in at the safe, well lit, camera-surveilled garage in half a mile? Or stop on the spot?
They point guns at you, start shouting, and appear to be rather overexcited.
  • Do you make any moves whatsoever, or do you go for Olympic-level sitting still and not being a threat, keep your voice down, and try to explain things calmly?
Option C, you hunker down behind the engine block and get out of the killing area.

I will point out, however, that in your haste to make a fair point, you are falling for some of the idiot orthodoxy of the moment. You are far more likely to be explicitly be treated better in Africa or Asia as a white bloke driving a nice car than you are elsewhere. Times three if you're in the rich Middle East.

All of those places have a much simpler form of racism, which is that if you are rich and white (so given the relative incomes, probably if you are white), it's usually not worth bothering you. The underclasses who bear the brunt of the racism are the itinerant blue-collar workers from other parts of Asia or Africa. It probably has a lot more to do with you being rich (and therefore potentially influential) than white.

Your picture may be true either in the case of an actual problem (kidnapping etc), a warzone, or in countries like DRC where law is basically local militia enforcement (to include whatever Bde of the army runs the area), but it doesn't apply to the substantial majority of either of those continents.

One of the ironies of the moment is that countries where people make a huge deal of racism tend, in the absence of actual apartheid, to have a lot less of it. I'm not sure what BLM activists would make of the very explicit anti-poor-people racism on open display in much of the world with brown and black skinned majority populations. It certainly doesn't fit their narrative of 'whiteness'.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Your last line sounds biblical to my ear and its a fair point. When I've seen the defenders of the US Election security be pushed back to a base argument, they're will apply that very argument you make i.e. 'well the other side did it'..... The essential nature of life is people come up with elaborate excuses and reasons for anything and everything to fool themselves and others. But when you strip away the rhetoric, its little more than an immature desire for a tit-for-tat/eye for an eye which can be so satisfying in the short term, but very damaging medium/long term.
Over the years, I've come to the considered opinion that it's not ideas that you should challenge, it's methods.

If you think about any given example, most poor to toxic ideas are relatively harmless once you divorce them from the horrific methods used to impose them. Hitler was just a blowhard without the Holocaust; Stalin was just a censurious bloke down the pub without the NKVD and gulags, and so on. So you are correct, and that behaviour you note is more the root of the problem than the bad ideas, whichever side it's coming from. It also means that you can't just blame everything on a Mao - it's the little shits who enthusiastically sign up to be Red Guards that carry much of the responsibility.

I recommend it as a line of argument to use in any given culture war debate: ignore the ideas and go straight to insisting they justify the methods being used to implement them. It's an impossible defence, and leads quite quickly to an actual dialogue, because the obvious next step is they insist you condemn the same on 'your side' (easy gift if you are focused on the methods). Hey presto, you have demonstrated reciprocity, and you've established red lines of behaviour. That's 90% of a formal negotiation strategy right there.
 
Over the years, I've come to the considered opinion that it's not ideas that you should challenge, it's methods.

If you think about any given example, most poor to toxic ideas are relatively harmless once you divorce them from the horrific methods used to impose them. Hitler was just a blowhard without the Holocaust; Stalin was just a censurious bloke down the pub without the NKVD and gulags, and so on. So you are correct, and that behaviour you note is more the root of the problem than the bad ideas, whichever side it's coming from. It also means that you can't just blame everything on a Mao - it's the little shits who enthusiastically sign up to be Red Guards that carry much of the responsibility.

I recommend it as a line of argument to use in any given culture war debate: ignore the ideas and go straight to insisting they justify the methods being used to implement them. It's an impossible defence, and leads quite quickly to an actual dialogue, because the obvious next step is they insist you condemn the same on 'your side' (easy gift if you are focused on the methods). Hey presto, you have demonstrated reciprocity, and you've established red lines of behaviour. That's 90% of a formal negotiation strategy right there.
Its nice to see a reasoned opinion and I would agree up to a point.... The problem however is the cause could be just, or downright evil but either way is driven with the belief of good intentions and so making Germany strong again and removing those who make it weak, aren't that far away from 'no place for racists' in say the modern culture today.

If the effects are to exclude somebody, then that to me is the red flag and not the more obvious signs we associate with the worst dregs of history. Of course, a nuanced and objective approach today is tantamount to treason, as one side or the other will usually be upset and so I rarely win anything.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Its nice to see a reasoned opinion and I would agree up to a point.... The problem however is the cause could be just, or downright evil but either way is driven with the belief of good intentions and so making Germany strong again and removing those who make it weak, aren't that far away from 'no place for racists' in say the modern culture today.

If the effects are to exclude somebody, then that to me is the red flag and not the more obvious signs we associate with the worst dregs of history. Of course, a nuanced and objective approach today is tantamount to treason, as one side or the other will usually be upset and so I rarely win anything.
Agree. I don't think that contradicts what I said. The conclusion is that good intentions are morally no defence for bad methods.

But I wouldn't necessarily buy the assertion of 'good intentions', anyway. I see a small core of motivated instigators who are making explicit power grabs, based on studied tactics that have been developed over decades. Then a much larger periphery of followers who have joined the mob, and are using it to broadcast their personal grievances, or map their grievances onto the mob. All of them are carried along by the pack-driven bloodlust that accompanies any group bearing pitchforks and torches.

It's wise to listen to those grievances, and it was certainly wiser to listen to and address them before it got to this stage. That doesn't mean that the behaviour of the mob, or the consequences, are justifiable. I wouldn't honor them by assigning 'good intentions'. They've not earned it. They are more Mao than Mandela.

This applies, equally, to both Portland and the Capitol; to both Twitter and Q-Anon.
 
I'm not sure what BLM activists would make of the very explicit anti-poor-people racism on open display in much of the world with brown and black skinned majority populations. It certainly doesn't fit their narrative of 'whiteness'.

I remember having to give my head a wobble when I spent a couple of weeks in India in the 1990s. Suddenly realising that nobody there was poor - at least, no-one who mattered. Shiny hotels with the beautiful people, but a leather-jacketed bodyguard outside with an AKM, and fifty yards from the front gate there's a pile of cow turds being sold as fuel, or some poor b**tard trying sleep in the street. Hand-painted advertising signs, because a painter is cheaper than an investment in a rather large printing machine. Bamboo scaffolding, because metal is pricey and if it fails there's always another brickie in the shantytown next to the building site...

Culture shock was the transition from an accepted attitude that people are valuable, the rest is just machinery; to one where machinery and metalwork are valuable, but the poor are cheap and replaceable.

The BJP was building up, and soon to take over from the Congress Party; and you could see and hear the Nationalist arrogance in most of the (not poor) young men. It was easy to tell who was wealthy - they could afford extra calories, and all had visible body fat. Chubby spoilt twentysomething blokes in flash clothes, being sexist pigs to the young lass who was our team's Liaison Officer, not an impressive sight.
 
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You obey the instructions of the man waving a pistol about and get out of the car with your hand up. Then complain later... Simply refusing to get out of a car shows a desire to rile up the policemen and sadly force majeure has never been particularly open to debate.
2 contradictory sets of instructions were being shouted at him. Which do you obey ?
 
What if most people are indifferent to either side ? but of the ideologically driven minority, the majority are with the enemy... The losers in any conflict are always those who wish no part of it.
The rule appears to be that populations break into thirds in these situations. 1/3rd support the Government by omission or commission. 1/3rd support the opposition by omission or commission. And 1/3rd generally don't care or can't afford to support either position.

To win both sides have to increase the number of people supporting by commission and decrease the number of people supporting the opposition by omission.
 
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