Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our boys make points

Nick: This attack on football clubs is just class envy. (Background.) I'm not sure that Nick has the right analogy - that is comparing football fans with political demonstrators.

At first, along with everyone else I talked to, I cheered the police on. Hit football hard, we cried. Make it suffer. Only afterwards did I worry about being vindictive. Clubs already meet the cost of policing inside their grounds. The police might compel them to pay for the cost of officers escorting fans to and from a game as well but that is not a tactic a democratic society should encourage.

Readers may remember that Nick appears to support Manchester United. I'm not convinced that he really "cried" "Make [football] suffer." Perhaps he was thinking of the team formerly based in Highbury.

Premier League clubs, by contrast, throw money around - even though most of them are in debt - and allow their players to join the super-rich. Class envy makes us want to punish them. Funny, that: it's our season tickets and pay-TV subscriptions which provide their wealth in the first place.

Well, speak for yourself, mate. I don't want to "punish them" - I do think that the rich can afford it; the police budget comes out of money which also goes to council housing, etc. But there are a few knowledgeable football fans among you (Justin and the Captain, for instance).

The bit which annoys me is this:

Why do millions who enjoy the game still want to punish its clubs and administrators, when they give the genuinely sinister organisers of the Olympics' minority sports such an easy ride?

I've already dealt with the word "punish". But what on earth does he mean by "genuinely sinister organisers"? I'm involved with athletics (pretty much a minority sport), and I know people involved in other minority sports. None of them are sinister. There is an argument that the Olympics should not have been awarded to China, but that doesn't make the participants supporters of torture. Sebastian (now Lord) Coe went to Moscow in 1980. He seems to have always been a conviction Tory rather than a Muscovite pawn. Shorter me: what the fuck?

David Aaronovitch didn't appear in the Times on Tuesday. We got Simon Barnes instead. He knows a lot more about this.

Aaro did appear yesterday: The internet shrinks your brain? What rubbish. He almost wholly right. The internet has kept me from even opening my copy of "The Golden Notebook" and I haven't read Bryan Appleyard for ages. That must be the intertrons, surely.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article seems wrong and confused in so many different ways but to take one obvious problem.

The analogy between football fans and demonstrators is silly. Political protest is a fundamental right in a liberal democratic society. I think that almost everyone would agree that spending scarce tax payers money on upholding the right to protest is a bit of a no brainer. On the other hand football is a business with inputs and outputs. If the taxpayer picks up the tab for security at the games, then the clubs are externalising their costs onto the taxpayer. Why considering their wealth should their costs be borne by the public purse which has other far more worthy committments.

8/14/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a couple of things:

Nothing the game has done recently compares with the odious subservience of the International Olympic Committee before the Communist Party of China

Chelsea toured in China this summer. Nick's favoured team, man utd, played a one-off game in Saudi Arabia this year and toured China in preseason last year, and in 2005.

Has he just forgotten this stuff? probably, since he seems to know very little about football. Has he forgotten the subservience of the Premier Leauge before such dodgy club-purchasers as Thaksin Shinawatra, Roman Gaydamak (via his son) and Roman Abramovich?

it's our season tickets and pay-TV subscriptions which provide their wealth in the first place

actually, it's either the dodgily-sourced wealth of billionaires, or (for the clubs not owned by such a character) the pay-TV subscriptions of people in other countries which provide the primary source of wealth for most UK teams.

I was looking at a map of Islington the other day for some reason. The Emirates Stadium is two streets away from Highbury, Arsenal's former ground. For all Nick's apparent worries about thugs, it's well-known that Arsenal are the club with probably the richest supporters in the country, if season ticket sales are anything to go by - today there is a piece in the paper about how the average UK football fan is now middle-class and benign.

Nick appears to either know very little about football or to be making up his former opinions, since there's no way anyone who knows anything about football would have opposed the Emirates on the grounds of Islington being 'overrun with thugs' - the hooligans fight in other parts of the town now, away from the police, and Arsenal have never had a particular reputation for thuggishness off the pitch. The primary problem with the Emirates for locals is that the travel infrastructure cannot cope with the ground, and that the club reneged on agreements over providing leaisure facilities.

8/14/2008 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, on this one I'm with Nick. Things are better now than under Thatcher's barely concealed contempt for footie fans, but if football clubs should pay for policing outside grounds then surely pubs and nightclubs should pay for policing in the streets outside on a Friday and Saturday night. A handful of Premiership clubs are megarich; below that most football clubs can barely survive financially as it is. I read Nick's 'sinister' comment as referring to the IOC - which is surely fair comment. One doesn't have to accept much else Nick says to see them for a shameful organsiation (Marina Hyde the other day on IOC treatment of Iraq was just one example).

By way of balance, back to normal service. This gem on BBC site today on the threat of obesity related illnesses on a par with terrorism:

Surely underestimates the threat - much more likely to die prematurely of type II diabetes than terrorism. Routinely people overestimate the threat of one and underestimate the other; even Oxford graduate do this apparently - although I suppose the intellectual struggle against obsesity lacks a certain something

8/14/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

something else:

A successful swimmer or fencer could be the boy or girl next door. We realise that they will soon return to relative poverty and obscurity.

note the word relative. as debated ad nauseam on radio 5, the resources needed to compete in most of the minority olympic sports are fairly expensive - not least fencing. I get a bit tired of the temporary interest in most of the olympic sports, invariably covered by people who aren't experts (witnes Alan Green doing the rowing and Jonathan Overend calling the shuttlecock a 'ball' every minute on 5 live), but all the same, I'm not sure whether there's any of the 'class envy' identified by Nick at work when people cheer the yachting or 3 day eventing teams really.

And incidentally, one of our fencers (to use Nick's example) is a qualified civil engineer. Another is halfway through a Classics degree at Cambridge. Are they really destined for 'relative poverty'?

In terms of football clubs having to foot policing bills, it's not all that clear-cut. Wigan were recently held to ransom by their local police force, forced to pay way over the odds for a relatively small amount of policing. But clubs also have a duty to control their fans and without the police i'm not sure what the enforcement of that would entail.

8/14/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan: Things are better now than under Thatcher's barely concealed contempt for footie fans, but if football clubs should pay for policing outside grounds then surely pubs and nightclubs should pay for policing in the streets outside on a Friday and Saturday night.

Perhaps that's the wrong analogy: pubs and nightclubs rely on passing trade rather than dedicated support, and they don't hold 75,000 people. That said, I'd be interest to see who bears the policing costs of, say, Glastonbury.

PS: If the Football League had a more egalitarian distribution of wealth (rather than the bloated plutocracy that is the Premiership), more clubs could probably afford to pay the police.


8/14/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't particularly disagree with Nick's basic point, but it seems a fairly minor issue on which to base a whole column. Obviously he wants to write something more about China and this is the hook on which to hang it.

8/14/2008 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with redpesto on this, the analogy with city centre pubs and clubs is bogus.

What the police are effectively doing is providing security for the escort of fans to and from stadia. Why should the taxpayer stump up for this? Surely this should be one of the costs of staging a match.

8/14/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm joining Jonathan on Team Nick. Various local councils actually do attempt to float the boat of making city centre pubs pay for policing from time to time and it always gets shot down for good reason. They can require clubs to have licensed doormen, but the police are a public service, and if the public want to walk to the Emirates Stadium in a group, the police have to deal with that - this is a distinct issue from policing inside the ground.

Quite apart from anything, if the police are able to decide on the amount of policing necessary and then write the bill, it's a recipe for abuse. It's a tax by another name and ought to be passed by primary legislation if it's going onto the statute book at all - councils are getting totally slap-happy with these funky little mandatory user fees and it is not good for the general health of politics.

By the way, the Womens' World Cup was held in China in 2007.

8/14/2008 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in 1991 apparently, according to Wikipedia. And it is a proper World Cup tournament, sponsored by FIFA, by the way.

8/14/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain 'The Silence of the Decent Lambs' over the conflict in South Ossetia? Cohen, Aaronovitch, Hitchens have said nothing. Only the Attila Hoare/Paul Anderson wing of the Nick Cohen Brains Trust have come out in favour of plucky little Georgia.

8/14/2008 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would anything they say about South Ossetia have any credibility?

Moussaka Man

8/14/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That doesn't stop them on any other topic.

8/14/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I think it's because the facts are all a bit complex, and a bit too close to home to be rantable, and the whole issue of Russia is a bit difficult as it's to do with oil and not muslims.

I expect we'll get more by the weekend or next week, as then it can be spun as 'Russia can't be trusted', 'Cheney is the only man who sees things clearly'*, and so on.

* Sorry, 'the Bush Administration'. They've been pretty quiet on Cheney.

8/14/2008 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry, they have nailed the truly bad guy in all of this.

Yes, it's Seamus Milne

8/14/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to football: No local authority is forced to host a football club (though actually ejecting one would obviously be quite tricky). They are on the whole very happy to have the clubs as they generate large amounts of revenue in rents and custom for local businesses, as well as prestige which may attract other businesses. The costs of policing, etc. have to be balanced against these benefits, and most local authorities are very happy with the balance. (Though the financial connection between local authorities and police forces may be more complicated than I'm allowing for.)

I would also take issue with some of the challenges to the comparison with pubs/clubs. I think most of these rely more on regular visitors than on passing trade. Even in a night-life district with lots of clubs, the district as a whole will have common customers and common responsibilities.

I would also guess that the number of people in a popular city centre district on a weekend night is comparable with the number of people going to a typical football match. 7,500 would be more likely than 75,000.

8/15/2008 02:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is estimated that 10,000 people come into our local town centre on a Saturday night so you have it about right. It's not an especially pleasant place to be and there are large numbers of police around - more than would normally be neccessary to police a gathering of that size.
For that reason I don't have a problem with the local bars and clubs having to pay something towards the additional cost of policing. If there was still a big problem with violence outside football grounds which required additional police numbers then I would likewise not object to clubs having to pay extra, but thankfully that is generally no longer the case.

8/15/2008 07:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to South Ossetia...

Matthew: I expect we'll get more by the weekend or next week, as then it can be spun as 'Russia can't be trusted', 'Cheney is the only man who sees things clearly', and so on.

And as if by magic: Mikheil Saakashvili, 'Moscow can't be trusted':

The Russian leadership cannot be trusted - and this hard reality should guide the west's response. Only western peacekeepers can end the war.

Harryettes, please start your laptops...

And now, back to the football.


8/15/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

john fallhammer: Even in a night-life district with lots of clubs, the district as a whole will have common customers and common responsibilities.

...but they won't have to deal with a couple of thousand people from a rival club in another part of the country who've come to taunt the local DJ (yes, I know some clubs have a [inter]national following, but it's not the same as Arsenal v Man U)


8/15/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

It depends upon the pub/clubs surely. Some pubs are responsible, others make huge profits out of getting people legless. Given that Superpubs deliberately try to get their customers as legless as possible, it seems pretty reasonable to make them pay for cleaning the mess up afterwards.

I guess a better analogy would be this. If football clubs made more money when their fans were violent, and deliberately encouraged them, then it might be reasonable to make them pay more for policing (at the least). Given that they don't (and want it stopped as much as everyone else)..

8/15/2008 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am with Cian on this. Many city centre vertical drinking establishments do their best to get people blootered - they make huge profits out of this so why shouldn't they pay for some of the clean-up?

On a different note- Am I the only one struggling to make sense of what's been going on in Georgia?

Did the Georgians destroy the centre of Tskhinvali and kill large number of civilians? This is what the Russians claim but we have no independent verification of this. On BBC news last night a journalist stated that it was difficult to tell because both sides used the same weapons. Could the Russians have bombed the area so as to create a pretext to invade? This may sound like an outlandish conspiracy theory but anyone familiar with the events preceding the second invasion of Chechnya should be a little suspicious.

Considering how Russia behaved in Chechnya one should not be surprised at the scale of atrocities that have been carried out in Georgia but did the Georgians provoke the assault, and how sensible was it for Georgia to try and join Nato, or for that matter for the US to try and base part of its missile defence shield in former Soviet satelites?

It all looks very morally complicated which is I guess why the Belligerati have avoided it. They tend to like nice simple clear-cut morality tales where everyone knows who is in the white and black hats.

8/15/2008 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW anyone interested in the Georgian situation might like this article which has some interesting analysis and itsn't at all polemical.

8/15/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all looks very morally complicated which is I guess why the Belligerati have avoided it. They tend to like nice simple clear-cut morality tales where everyone knows who is in the white and black hats.

And lo and behold...

8/15/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew I must say how much I have enjoyed your comments over at HP where I see you as a lone captain aboard the good ship reason attempting to nurse your vessel through the seas of irrationality, paranoia and madness.

8/15/2008 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubby, many thanks. Sometimes at HP I wonder if reality has been turned inside out and I am the one who is mad so it's nice to be reassured.

8/15/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

I think if Russia had bombed the capital, then Georgia would have denied it, no?

8/15/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No you are quite right Cian I thought better of that part of my comment almost as soon as I had posted it and it seems fairly obvious that there is very strong evidence that Georgia did send its troops into South Ossetia. What seems confusing though is how many people were killed in the attack and how indiscriminate the violence was. The Russians claim 2000 civilians were killed but this is not what HRW are saying. I think the Stratfor article is very interesting on the backstory to the conflict.

8/15/2008 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Georgia / Russia spat should really be straight-forward for the HP Sauce-Attila Hoare-‘Dude’ Hitchens tendency. Having been let down by the proletariat & the USSR, this wing of Decency look to End-of-History capitalism as the exemplar of freedom and only path of liberation, with the United States as the avatar of the platonic ideal. Thus: always support America. Russia is going to be the baddie in any conflict with the West or a Western proxy regardless of the proximate issue at stake. History is on Georgia’s side, and the intricacies of local politics are strictly secondary.

It must be a bit trickier for the Norman Geras-Popinjays tendency (admittedly, very much in the minority, but ideologically influential on the late-lamented Euston Manifesto), who are Decent on the rather narrower ground that atrocious deeds must be punished by whatever agent of retribution is at hand. Until we have the globe straddling federation of cricket playing socialist republics, only America is really available for smiting evil-doers. We should be exceedingly grateful to Uncle Sam, and stint not with the hosannahs, but there's no principled reason why another scourge of atrocity shouldn't present itself in local cases, and in these situations, they too should be cheer-leaded (case in point: Vietnam invading Kampuchea).

In this context, Russia should surely be seen as one of the good guys, in visiting condign punishment on Georgian marauders. To point out Russian hypocrisy, strategic ambition and so on is crude anti-imperialism, and a repudiation of solidarity with the South Ossetians who endured Georgian attack. One can't complain about other Russian motives, as Geras-isms rules such subjectivisms as unknowable and irrelevant, nor can we moan about disproportionately, as Geras-ism declares that over-reaction is the fault of those who criminally resist just chastisement.

Insofar as Decentism takes its principles seriously, they really should bust up over Georgia, between the Neo-Hegelians and the Neo-Kantians. What HP and Geras are actually saying on the matter, I'm afraid I don't have the will to find out!

8/15/2008 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

That Gerard Baker article is a true return to form for a man who I though the failure of the Iraq war and Bush Administration had been knocked off course forever.

8/15/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HP essentially say: anything that our normal hate figures say about the conflict is wrong. singled out for particular vitriol is Seumas Milne, whose opinions look like satire because it's so far-fetched that the USA have any influence in Georgia.

Geras says: the guardian (as a whole) is awful because Seumas Milne compared American intervention in Iraq to Russian intervention in Georgia, and omitted to mention that the Georgian government is democratically elected.

Geras himself omitted to mention that the election of the Georgian Govt is about as dodgy as the recent election of Robert Mugabe...

8/15/2008 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the world-historical menace that is the Graun! That should be sufficient to bind together variegated Decent speakers-to-power.

8/15/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Decent view seems to be that Saakashvili should be supported as he is a legitimate, albeit flawed, democratically elected leader. This is of course entirely consistent with their support of legitimate, albeit flawed, democratically elected leaders in other countries. Venezuela for example.

Eh? Oh.

8/15/2008 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So does this meqan that the rule is that legitimate, democratically elected leaders are allowed to invade their neighbours? How flawed do they have to be before this rule does not hold? Is there an international index of flawedness?

Moussaka Man

8/15/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

He's not really democratic, though, is he. The Rose revolution was very pretty, but he overthrew his predecessor in a coup, and then won 97% of the vote in the subsequent election.

8/15/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does this meqan that the rule is that legitimate, democratically elected leaders are allowed to invade their neighbours?

No, but it might mean that they're allowed to send in the troops to recalcitrant areas of their own territory. (I'm not arguing this, just pointing out which side of South Ossetia Georgia's internationally recognised borders go.)

8/15/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So to what extent, in the Decent view, is being a legitimate, democratically elected leader a kind of get-out-of-jail card? Could you, for example, gas your own people if you were a legitimate, democratically elected leader (and the people had been sufficiently recalcitrant)?

Moussaka Man

8/15/2008 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger BenSix said...

"Can anyone explain 'The Silence of the Decent Lambs' over the conflict in South Ossetia?"

Czechoslovakia 1938 - Georgia 2008? By Marko Attila Hoare, 14th August 2008

8/15/2008 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No idea, MM, as IANAD - I'm generally in favour of treating international law as if it weren't a fiction, which is about as un-Decent a position as there is.

I've been a bit baffled by the way the parallel with Kosovo has been drawn by some on the Left - as if NATO's aggression somehow balanced out Russia's or justified it. I'd say that the illegality of the Kosovo operation was a dangerous precedent precisely because it made acts like this more likely.

8/15/2008 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saturday afternoon: Alan NTM Johnson on CiF re Russia's "Finlandisation" of its neighbours. The Decents must have agreed on a narrative.

Moussaka Man

8/16/2008 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NTM's CIF article is dire. It could have been written by the State Department - Russia must not be allowed to "neutralise" any country; the US must be able to do what it likes. Typical white hat/black hat rubbish, devoid of context or argument.

8/16/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

most of it was written by someone else, as well - the last set of points are lifted pretty much verbatim from someone else's work.

8/16/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Milne here manages something quite extraordinary: he "forgets" the mass escape from the prison house of nations that was only made possible by the collapse of Communism, while supporting the resurgence of an authoritarian Russia as the very means to open up "genuine space for self-determination". Astonishing.

The difference is, some of us thought the Cold War was going to end when Communism collapsed. See also this from Craig Murray:

"The answer is not to strengthen NATO. NATO is part of the cause of the problem, not the solution. By encircling and humiliating Russia, not least with new missile systems, NATO has creaated the climate in Russia so favourable to Putin.

The new NATO is the main symptom of the West's chronic inability to create a new post cold war security structure. By clinging to and expanding NATO, we merely made the return of the Cold War inevitable - much to the benefit of the arms industry and military establishment. If our leaders had any imagination, they would realise that the answer is to wind down NATO and create new structures into which Russia should be drawn."

8/16/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Craig Murray article is so much better than the NTM one. Murray doesn't shy away from criticising Russia's behaviour and its true that Europe didn't raise a peep while the Russians leveled Grozny and killed upwards of 100,000 civilians. But how you actually deal with a problem like Russia is very tricky. The Decents as ever have no sensible plans beyond finger pointing. Their preferred solutions like expanding Nato membership are only likely to make things worse.

BTW I would put my house on Nick running a 'the left appeasers have sold Georgia down the river' article tomorrow.

8/16/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger flyingrodent said...

I wouldn't go that far - presumably the Observer has columnists who aren't mental... If I was the editor, I'd give the week's biggest stories to one of them instead.

8/16/2008 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope - Nick writes this week about the parallels between Prince Charles and Marie-Antoinette. He must have had lunch with Dick Taverne.

BTW, I think that Johnson's article gives the game away. It shows how much Cold War thinking is still around even 20 years after the end of the Cold War, and suggests that there are some people who would like Russia to be rniged by hostile states.

Moussaka Man

8/17/2008 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nope, he's gone for another boring piece about how greens have got everything wrong, because they're posh:

one particularly weak idea is idea Prince Charles' enormously successful business is the modern equivalent of Marie Antoinette's farm.

8/17/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no there goes the house. On the other hand this article reads more like something from Spiked.

Blimey now he's citing Burchill. Talk about desperate. First the swivel eyed loons at Policy Exchange now our Jules.

The Independent ran a great review of her book a couple of weeks back. which is definitely worth checking out.

8/17/2008 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus, that was bad. And what was the point of the article?

In what world is George Monbiot filthy rich? Or upper class for that matter? And would it take Nick a second to think of the environmentalists who come from ordinary middle class (or even working class) backgrounds. Mark Lynas, Derek Wall, Tony Juniper, etc, etc.

He does seem to be auditioning for Spiked Online - odd given their other views, but there you go.

Wow. The bit about natural childbirth is quite bizarre.

8/17/2008 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this:

"Tellingly, Prince Charles has little to say about climate change, the one argument greens have won decisively."

Yes, it tells us that he's fighting a battle that hasn't already been won. Fiendish.

8/17/2008 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So greens are bad because they're posh, unless they're denouncing China?

The consistent thread running through this and the China pieces is that he considers the personal character of his opponents to be more important than the arguments they put forward.

8/17/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a linkdump of the "official" decent line on Georgia, just in case.

Georgia on my Mind

8/17/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Is that the official decent line? I detect three lines: Walzer (the rational wing of Decency); the neo-con fellow-travellers who take their line from Gerard Baker in the Times (Weintraub, HP Sauce, ANTMJ); and then the totally barking "this is 1938" wing, personified by MAH.

One could have a half-sensible discussion with Walzer ....

8/17/2008 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

Walzer's argument strikes me as a reasonable one, even if I don't fully agree with it.

8/17/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

There's a disconnect, isn't there, between MAH's 'this is 1938' language and the measures he actually proposes. If it's really all hands on deck to avoid a rerun of 1938 shouldn't we be quadrupling our defence budget and sending an expeditionary force to Poland, rather than expelling Russia from the G8?

8/17/2008 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The constant thread ... is that he (Cohen) considers the personal character of his opponents to be more important than the arguments they put forward."

Indeed. Though surely this was one of the bad habits of the Left that the Euston Manifesto was complaining about?

Moussaka Man

8/17/2008 10:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to wind the conversation back a bit to the topic ofpayment by police for private services. NC is right on this one.

And unlike him, I actually know a bit about this topic, having just published an article on it. The key distinction here is between the policing of public and private space. Payment for the latter is, if not a good thing, at least consistent; payment for the former is a good deal worse.

Chris Williams

8/24/2008 11:31:00 PM  

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