The Canary is excited to share the latest edition of our letters page. This is where we publish people’s responses to the news, politics, or anything else they want to get off their chest. We’ve now opened the letters page up so anyone can submit a contribution. As always, if you’d like to subscribe to the Canary – starting from just £1 a month – to continue to support truly radical and independent media, then you can do that here:
This week’s letters
This week we have people’s thoughts on a Canary writer’s call to abolish the police, a lot of anger about another reader’s letter about the SNP, and Catalonia.
In response to Tom Anderson’s Canary Lowdown on the cops
The Lowdown is an exclusive weekly article for members and subscribers. You can sign up to receive it here.
Every thought that Tom Anderson has about the police, I have thought and feel myself. My only question is, what would replace them?
Certainly the policing and punishing of people in Northern Ireland by the paramilitary organisations was probably very effective – apart from preventing violence by the military, paramilitary and RUC forces themselves, of course.
However, it was draconian in the extreme, and any form of vigilante policing will inevitably bring out the worst in any group. It will attract the bully, the racist, the sadist, the Colonel Blimp, the disciplinarian. We would likely end up with a need for a force to police and rein in the vigilante force.
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In my experience, only a small proportion of men (and sometimes women) go into the police force because they are bad, mad or dangerous to know. They become that way because like all little boys (which is why it is generally speaking a bigger problem for male officers) they join a gang and are groomed via canteen culture. You join, or you don’t belong. Too few are brave enough to be different, to be themselves, to risk being ridiculed, ostracised or set up. They know the power of their ‘comrades’ (and I use that term with regret!) and they know what they are capable of.
I don’t have a miracle answer, and I am not saying that Tom Anderson is not right. However, as much as I see the sense, also – now that I am aged, and have worked around people from across the board, from children to recidivist prisoners, my entire working life – I would worry about the consequences.
The answer would be in better recruiting, training, supervision, and even more so a certainty that unacceptable behaviour would be reported, and punished with appropriate severity and speed. The fact that they are entitled to a pension after a relative few years, would be the biggest stick and carrot, as would a register – similar to the sex offenders register – which would make it difficult for those in public office who committed an anti-social, sexual, racial, or violent offences to work in a role with close contact with the general public. They are paid by us, their pensions are paid by us, so in essence we are their employers and we should have a right to say who we are safe employing and who we are not.
So, I am not taking issue with the piece, but would just like to be more clear as to the alternative; the who and the how of would do the recruiting, the selection, the training, the supervision, the ‘policing’ of the ‘force’. Whether they are a public force, paid, or like the Territorial volunteers (to some extent), all those responsibilities would still apply. Local forces were seen as the way forward, and to some extent they work. But there is no doubt that there are some forces with a truly bad reputation – and not simply because of scale. Those forces that ‘mix’ with gangsters and high levels of violent crime, gang crime, and organised crime, become a gang in themselves. Other places, the system works perfectly well. Ever was it thus.
Eileen QW, via email
In response to David Carter’s letter about the SNP, 25 March
Your comments about the SNP are rubbish. The Scottish Labour politicians will get the support, as before, of the English people living in Scotland, and the armed forces. The majority of the Scottish people want independence from the deceitful, greedy, corrupted Westminster mafia. We’ve endured centuries of pillage, robbery and abuse of Scotland’s natural resources and taxes. The Scottish people will eventually end this. And after that happens, and Scotland is recognised as an independent country by the international community, England will become an impoverished, pariah state.
Angel, via email
Let me try and explain the political feeling in Scotland if I may. For 80-odd years, Scotland voted Labour – come hell or high water. But we always always ended up with the government the English voters chose. Then Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling appeared, and suddenly Scottish voters got what they had voted for since long before Harold Wilson: a Labour Government – or so we thought.
How wrong we were. We got a New Labour government. It’s strange how the word new has been subtly dropped by the right wing of the party and the dreadful, biased BBC, ITV, Sky and other news channels – and all the corporate media, including the Mirror and the unionist Scottish Daily Record (part of the Mirror group; nuff said).
It did briefly once again become the Labour Party, when a new fresh faced socialist tornado blew in and rattled the right-wing establishment to its foundations; so much so, the entire right-wing propaganda machine went about destroying the greatest prime minister we never had. Once again, thanks to the English Voters the man among monsters was Jeremy Corbyn. If JC had become PM then I believe Labour would’ve taken Scotland with a landslide. But in answer to your question about the rich, lying, backstabbing establishment lackey Sir Keir Starmer: Scotland has had its fill of the corrupt New Labour, old Tory establishment – and I do not believe my compatriots are in any mood to bring them back. At least, I hope they’re not.
In the words of Margaret Thatcher, when asked about her greatest achievement, she answered “New Labour”; again, nuff said, guv.
Patrick Mcqueenie, via email
Spain sabotages EU committee’s investigation into Pegasus spyware
There is concern in the EU that some states are spying on mobile phones with the Pegasus software, which allows the tapping of written and spoken communications, but also gives access to all mobile phone content (images, audios, data) and allows changes to be made (in passwords, texts, communications) and activates cameras and microphones. Apart from being very invasive because it violates the right to privacy, it is democratically very dangerous because, with the stolen information, it allows political blackmail.
Following the disclosure by the prestigious Canadian organisation Citizen Lab that 65 Catalan pro-independence politicians, activists and lawyers had been spied on with Pegasus [Ed: believe it was 63 Pegasus and 4 Candiru], Spain has had to acknowledge that a judge had authorised at least 18 of these cases.
As a result of this concern, the European Parliament has set up a committee to investigate Pegasus cyberespionage in EU countries. The intense activity of Spanish MEPs from all parties, bordering on harassment of committee members, meant that initially only Hungary and Poland were considered for investigation, where the volume of alleged cases is much lower than in Spain. However, due to its seriousness, a special mission to Spain has been included for 20-21 March, headed by Dutch MEPs Jeroen Lenaers and Sophie In’t Veld, and accompanied by three MEPs from the country under investigation, as well as an Austrian, a Polish, a Slovakian, and a Catalan pro-independence MEP.
The mission had been announced a month in advance and planned to meet with the Spanish Prime Minister, ministers and members of parliament, but the Spanish government informed them, only a week beforehand, that they could not receive them on 20 March because it was a public holiday in Madrid and that they had just scheduled a motion of censure on the government for 21 March (which they must have arranged to coincide with this). On this pretext, the president of the government and the ministers involved declined to meet with the committee and would only be received by the congressional Defence Committee. But this was not possible either, the MEPs waited for two hours in a room in Congress and the committee never arrived. They were only received in protocol by the Secretary of State for European Affairs.
After this surreal incident, the committee tried to reconvene through a telematic meeting a week later. But it was not possible because they could not find translators and because the Spanish MEPs refused to hold their meeting in English because they were in Madrid.
Spain shows that it does not want the truth to come out and that points to it as the perpetrator of this violation of rights. If Spain dares to treat MEPs with such disregard, we can imagine how it belittles the violation of the rights of the Catalan citizens who were illegally spied on. If Europe does not stand up to Spain, Europe will be soiled by these criminal practices of this EU member state acting outside the law in ‘its war’ against the right of Catalans to decide their future in freedom.
Jordi Oriola Folch, Barcelona, via email
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