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Wednesday, April 21, 2004
The scary thinking of the Guardianistas

Peter Briffa has a couple of great pieces on the Guardian this week. The ability of the paper's columnists' to advocate the unspeakable as if they were ordering coffee really is a sight, and the last couple of days have demonstrated this perfectly.

Yesterday, as the Prime Minister announced a referendum on the EU Constitution - a great victory for all eurosceptics and democrats, who must now turn all their fire towards showing just what a thoroughly bad document it is - the paper's leader column demanded that the eurosceptic press be gagged during the referendum campaign in the name of "fair press coverage"! Timothy Garden Ash explains:

22 million newspaper readers pick up a dose of Euroscepticism every day, compared with about 8 million readers of papers broadly favourable to the European project.

As Peter Briffa notes, it's apparently our fault we don't read the Guardian enough. It's not as if the europhile press does not exist. For every Telegraph there is a Guardian, for every Sun a Mirror, for every Mail an Independent. But inexplicably people seem keener to fork out their cash on a morning for the former newspapers! What more evidence of foul play could there be? Interestingly, I don't remember this complaint when the Conservatives fought the last election with the support of just one newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. And all of this conveniently ignores all the television and radio stations that the BBC - at least as europhile as the pro-EU press - has at its disposal.

Thomas Jefferson said that "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." Would that the Guardian had such wisdom.

When it comes to the Metropolitan Police's latest big idea, Briffa is still more scathing, and deservedly so. A huge proportion of all the crime in Britain occurs in London, yet the frighteningly PC Met has refused to investigate ordinary burglaries and has focused its resources on people who call transsexuals names. Now it is proposing affirmative racism to ensure that one in four of their recruits are from ethnic minorities, their actual ability to do the job very much a secondary concern compared to their skin colour. The defence proposed by Roy Hattersley amongst others is typically laughable. The idea that only a black man can treat black criminals and victims of crime fairly is absurd and offensive. The view that ethnic minorities will only have 'confidence' in the police if a lot of them are the same colour is a straightforward endorsement of racial intolerance, and logically inseparable from a view that white people cannot be expected to trust non-white policemen. By implicitly accepting ethnic racism, the Metropolitan Police tacitly legitimises white racism.

The surest way to restore confidence in the police and the criminal justice system is not to indulge the balkanising identity politics of political correctness, but to treat everyone fairly. That means taking violent and property crimes seriously, working hard to catch the people who commit them, and then ensuring they face a reasonably proportionate prison sentence when convicted. If all these things happened as a matter of course, few law abiding people would have grounds for distrust of the police. That the three almost never occur together is why people feel the law is not on their side, and that feeling will continue until it is put right, whatever the skin colour of Britain's policemen.

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