Thursday, August 31, 2006

With anxiety


If ever a song was made for remixing...

Apart from Wuthering Heights, there are very few songs that I'd be interested in hearing in lots of different cover version. But The Ruts' 'Babylon's Burning' is definitely one of them.

And lo and behold....

You wait twenty five years and sixteen of them come along at once.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Divi up

I’ve already done some groundless pontificating today, so I’m going to extend the licence that I’ve granted myself. With a bit of luck, Chris Dillow will read this post and offer an evidence-based version of it?

Kerron’s quite happy with his ‘divi’ from the Co-Op. I’m not so sure that he should be.

The more I look at the way we try to make the world a better place, the more I’m inclined to the view (one that I understand that lots of economists and sociologists have taken as ‘given’ for a long time) that few organisations can really serve the public interest as their prime function.

Whether you’re an adherent of ‘public choice theory’ or its variation, the ‘bureau shaping model*’, it’s hard to escape the view that every employee has the following priorities:

1. Keep their own job
2. Make it easier, nicer and better-paid
3. Get promoted
4. Keep the organisation going in the current shape
5. Improve the size of the organisation
6. Improve the standing of the organisation
7. Serve the purpose that the organisation is actually supposed to
8. Serve the purpose that the organisation says that it serves

The difference between numbers seven and eight, I think, illustrates the whole ‘corporate social responsibility’ idea. Lots of organisations market themselves as the providers of ‘solutions’ when – if they were honest – they are the providers of dividends to their shareholders. Being seen to get to number eight is only one of many means of achieving number seven. In those cases, number eight is rarely very ambitious, and more observed in the breach than anything else.

Capitalists!

The ‘budget-maximising’ notion is a misanthropic viewpoint, I know. And I know that there are lots of individuals that can claim to be motivated in a different way. And that some of them are right to make that claim. Every reader of this blog, for example.

But, when you think about it, politics should really be about finding ways of motivating everyone to pull together in the public interest - to really get to number eight (above) - and to do so in the most practicable way. We should be reforming all organisations so that they can get higher up the scale, while demanding more ambition in those stated aims. As long as the stated aims include a reasonable definition of freedom and prosperity for all, who could argue with this?

And where does the ‘divi’ fit in to this? Well, from what I’ve seen of the retail Co-ops, the employees appear to be under remarkably little pressure to get beyond number four in that list that I’ve drawn up (above). For such a large outfit, the Co-op retail arm seem to yield very little real value to anyone apart from their own senior managers as far as I can see. My enquiries lead me to believe that the pay and conditions of most shopworkers there are not noticeably better than those offered by other retailers.

Different organisations are, I would argue, more likely to be motivated to hit the jackpot. Personally, I think that worker co-ops – particularly ones that provide services to their customers – services that take the form of consumer co-ops – are the kind of organisations that are likely to hit number eight most consistently. But I have very little data to back that up.

Lots of government departments seem rarely to get beyond number five. A lot of charities appear to be drifting from number eight (the ideal) to number seven (the managerialist’s ideal) with a lot of their employees drifting into the civil servant mindset (with number five as the ceiling) as government seeks to move more of it’s responsibilities onto that sector.

But I return to my central point. The Divi is little more than a stunt. If you go into my local retail Co-op and ask any employee (including the manager) what a divi is, what a co-op is, how you join, or any of the relevant questions, you will be met with slightly puzzled looks.

Yep. Hand everything over to the workers I say. And then citizens can be the people who sit on the committees that demand a better deal from the workers.

Now, where did I hide those guns...?


*I can’t find an decent links to explain ‘bureau shaping’ but I suspect that this book would be very useful

Pub conversation primer

A pint, earlier.

(This post breaks all of my rules about not writing about something unless I know what I'm on about. Never mind)

Off to the pub in a minute? Want something to get people arguing? Then start with this (fairly inoffensive) little joke.

Q: How many bass players it takes to change a lightbulb?

A: None. Get the keyboard player to do it with her left hand.

There’s plenty more like that here if you’ve never seen the canon of musician jokes.

And if your audience are warming to your sparkling sense of humour, then you can step the conversation up a gear with this one:

Q: How you shut guitarists up?

A: Put some sheet music in front of them.

Now if they're still eating out of your hand thanks to a bunch of lame gags, you've got them where you want them. You can start an argument (yay!). Because it’s true that most guitarists are hopeless with sheet music. We have a mickey-mouse version of it called ‘tablature’. It is simply a visual representation of the fretboard showing you where your fingers have to go.

And because it’s easy to recreate, we like to share it with other guitarists.

The Register has the latest installment of the cat-and-mouse game that guitarists have been playing with musicians who aim to share guitar tablature. Over the years, all sorts of shenanigans involving proxy-servers have been deployed, but in the end, OLGA - one of the first filesharing systems (long before Napster) has had to succumb to the demands of The Man.

I mention this because the defence offered by the contributors to OLGA (and other such sites) is that they only offer ‘by ear’ transcriptions.

So, I hear a song on the wireless, work out how I think it’s being played, write it down and circulate it. It is more widely acknowledged, I think, that the defence would be too flimsy if file-sharers were circulating carbon copies of published sheet music or tabs? But, to date, The Man is winning the argument (probably because no-one can afford to take The Man on in the courts).

I’m guessing that – if I work out a tune without the help of sheet music, and I were to teach someone else, I would be breaking the industry’s definition of copyright? And where does this leave guitar teachers?

And what about impersonators? Next time you hear an advert on TV, listen to the voice-over. They obviously pay the more recognisable celebs for a sample of their voice (often without the celebs being seen). But what if a good impersonator started touting their trade doing duplicate voice-overs? Would the celeb have a case?

And what about buskers? As someone who kept a number of little barmen in work for most of the 1980s using the proceeds of my rendition of 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' (in that long tunnel at Green Park tube - the best busking pitch in London IMHO), can I expect a writ from m'learned freinds? And don't get me started on cover bands....

My own way of resolving this argument is that it is fair to copy something to address a market failure. If you create a demand for something, and then can't fulfill it in a reasonable way, then expect others to do so.

So, if The Man can offer people tablature that is either free or very cheap to anyone who can prove that they've bought the CD, then there is no need for piracy. But if the only way you can get the tabs for 'The Wind Cries Mary' is to shell out £15 on a book that is no more accurate than the version that you can find free on t'internet, then we all have a moral duty to confound The Man, to work it out, and show as many people as possible.

Thing is, everyone has their own version of my perfectly reasonable position on this. None of them as smart, obviously...

Thus the argument.

Darfur

The Euston Manifesto group is holding a public meeting about the situation in Darfur, making ‘An urgent case for Humanitarian Intervention.’

Lord Clive Soley is speaking among others. Go if you can.

Amnesty International want you to wear a blue hat on September 17th to mark the Global Day for Darfur. I think I’ve got that right.

Does the all-pervading silence on this subject baffle you? It astonishes me.

In fact, read this. Just read it. To start with.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ambition

This is a picture of Albert Niland. Albert is an audacious man. Click here and listen to find out why (have your speakers on).

Good, eh?

Paddy Beat

This is the look for the forthcoming autumn, I think?

Brendan is modelling a dark suit of a comfortable fit with a white open-neck shirt. Out of shot, the trousers will be seen tapering from a well-stocked waistband to meet slightly scuffed black brogue shoes.

It is a look that was revived in the early 1980s and can be seen on the sleeve of The Pogues 'Red Roses For Me' and in a more sanitised form on 'If I Should Fall from Grace With God' LP.

I only mention this, because the 'look' is known in certain circles (circles who are qualified to comment, I may add) as 'Paddy Beat.' I googled it, and got other non-couture definitions for the term. So this post is purely to add to the sum of human knowledge.

Book meme thingy

I've been meaning to write a post here asking if anyone else has found it a lot harder to read decent fiction since they started blogging?

I have. Over the last eighteen months, I've gone from being an avid reader - sometimes taking on fairly challenging fiction - to someone who can only limp through lightweight detective novels. And I think that the reason is that blogging has occupied all of the brain-space that I used to apportion to such books.

I mentally compose far more posts than I actually publish, and because it would be rude to blog without reading what other blogs say, I spend a fair amount of time trawling them (as I hope the content of this blog proves).

Anyway, Shuggy has tagged me with his 'Book Meme Thingy', so with the above in mind, here goes:

1. One book that changed your life - the hardest question first. Dozens have done so slightly, but I can't think of any one particular book that caused a wholesale change in outlook. I think that - even though Alan Silitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning has it's flaws, I'm very glad that I read this when other people were reading the dreary 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.' Arthur Seaton is the model autodidact, and his understanding of what was (and is) wrong with the world is a lot more persuasive than most of the crude materialism that passes for social realism. Or do I mean 'idealism'?

It's set in Nottingham y'know...

2. One book that you've read more than once - I re-read a lot more than I read these days. This was the case before blogging put the mockers on literature for me as well. You get a lot more from a book on your second and third look. This is particularly true of Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour Trilogy. I'm picking it because it is clearly Waugh's best work. I'd be inclined to chose something by Brian Moore, but all his output was consistently excellent (and it all improves with each visit) so I can't pick just one. M. Bourdieu would probably have something to say about that.

3. One book that you'd want on a desert island - I know that I'd like to read Don Quixote, but I've not done so because every time I start, I decide that it is a book that rewards leisurely reading. It's one that you'd want to savour. And I'm too impatient to savour stuff at the moment. A desert island would create the time, I think.

4. One book that made you laugh - well Waugh and Flann O'Brien would be the obvious answer, but as a blogger, I'm going to acknowledge the brilliant Portadown News. Published initially as a website and later as a newspaper column, it ceased trading a while ago and a valedictory book was published. So 'The Best of the Portadown News' is my choice. You can find everything that was in it - and more at the original site - click on the pic to see the archive.


5. One book that made you cry - Michel Houellebecq's Atomised did the trick here. If you haven't read this yet, stop blogging till you do.

6. One book that you wish you had written - My friend Ann wrote a book called ‘Lost Decade’ about the Pogues - I wish I'd written it, not least because her account of the research alone sounds like it was fun.

7. One book you wish had never been written - If I hadn't been so disappointed by all of Roddy Doyle's ‘Barrytown novels’ (Snapper / Van / Commitments), I would have picked up his excellent 'A Star Called Henry' more quickly than I did. Proof that you can't always judge an author by their previous works.

8. One book that you are reading at the moment - I went to a reading of David Peace's 'The Damned Utd' the other night and it sounds very good. I'm about to start reading it. It's about Brian Clough and I'm a completist on that subject anyway.

9. One book that you've been meaning to read - Philip Roth's 'American Pastoral' - one of the books that I've been 'about to start' almost every week since I started blogging.

10. Five others that you’d like to do this – how about Matt, Skuds, Rockmother, Dave O and Paul A (who is probably too lazy to do this, but worth a try). Go on kids – give it a go.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Honeybunny

Go on. Waste your time.

Find out.


What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?

You talk fast, you think fast, you act fast. Stop. Calm Down. Drink some decaf and go back to hitting up liquor stores.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.


That's what Will says you should do.

And - oh fuck - Shuggy's tagged me. What goes around....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Meme of 3

Andrew tagged me with this. The ungrateful voters of Lewisham left him with too much time on his hands, if you ask me.....

1. Things that scare me

  • Penury
  • Violence
  • Disorder
2. People who make me laugh
3. Things I hate most
  • The vast majority of what passes for political journalism
  • Unkindness to strangers and a lack of neighbourliness
  • Musicians who try to sound weedy, disoriented and sloppy. Like The Cure or Nirvana to name but two.
4. Things I don’t understand
  • Why most political journalists can’t see just how ridiculous they are
  • How do people learn jazz chords well enough to ‘comp’?
  • How people have the nerve to use the word ‘holistic’ in any context at all
5. Things I’m doing right now
  • Suffering from post-holiday ennui
  • Mentally composing about half-a-dozen blog posts that will never see the light of day (when I could be reading a novel instead)
  • … while mentally processing the various incompatibilities that various bits of hardware that I own have – and finding a way that I can get them to work together. (There’s always a way if you think about it long enough)
6. Things I want to do before I die
  • Find a way to live and work part of the year in the west of Ireland and part of the year somewhere hot.
  • Go to watch Forest win an away game in the European Champions League with my son.
  • Get involved in a band that plays regularly again.
7. Things I can do
  • Play guitar quite well when I put my mind to it
  • Pick up the basics of a new musical instrument quite quickly
  • Provide information and contacts for people (people are always surprised at how many other people that I know)
8. Ways to describe my personality
  • Difficult sometimes
  • Single minded and impetuous sometimes
  • Outgoing most of the time
9. Things I can’t do
  • Manage my time properly
  • Concentrate on the things I should be concentrating on
  • Offer anything more than strained politeness to posh people
10. Things I think you should listen to
  • ‘Sweet Sticky Thing’ by The Ohio Players
  • Craobh Rua’s ‘The Antrim Narrow Gauge Jigs’
  • Captain Beefheart’s ‘Clear Spot’ LP
11. Things you should never listen to
  • Any musicians that are part of the ‘bedwetter’ genre
  • Pessimists and bureaucrats
  • The Rolling Stones
12. Things I’d like to learn
  • How to be a competent jazz guitarist
  • How to be an exceptional guitar accompanist of Irish music
  • To play either the tin whistle or the tenor banjo to a performance standard
13. Favourite foods
  • Cheese ‘n’ Onion Crisps
  • Curry Chips
  • Lamb Dhansak
14. Beverages I drink regularly
  • Coffee
  • Guinness
  • …er
15. Shows I watched as a kid
  • Roobarb and Custard
  • Scooby Doo
  • Top Cat
16. People I’m tagging (to do this meme)

Post-Mayo Depression

The Interior of McDonnells, Belmullet, Co.Mayo, Ireland.

Until a few months ago, I thought it was just me. Then I was talking to Ann (I've known her since I was a kid) about leaving County Mayo (in the west of Ireland) at the end of the annual summer holiday.

She said she could never stand it - and still can't. Leaving a place where everyone knows you, but where you can get away with murder if you want to. She told me that she gets a spell of mild depression that can last for weeks. Like the one I've got now.

Yet it can't be that rare really. For the last three weeks, I've had Mid West Radio on in the background, and about 50% of their muscical output are songs with that generic combination of Pedal Steel and Accordion about how people are abroad yearning for a little village and a homestead so dear. Songs with titles such as 'Four Pubs in Bohola' and 'The Boys of the County Mayo' - ones that manage to recite the name of every town in the County in order to maximise sales to the emigrant population.

And the other 50% of Mid West's output is even better than that!

Brendan Behan recites some old poem (it's in Borstal Boy, I think - I'm quoting it here from memory) that suggests that this is nothing new.
Since my journey's decided, my step will get stronger,
'till once more I stand in the plains of Mayo.

I suppose there's always next year....

(Previous eulogy here)

PS: There is no prouder moment in Mayo than this one. On Sunday, The Green and Red of Mayo will trample the dirty Dubs at Croke Park to earn a place in the final. More on why that matters here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Gratuitous dig

I wonder if giving the Italians even longer holidays than they already get would actually reduce the amount of bribery and corruption that is collectively perpetrated throughout neighbouring countries?

Commentary of the very highest standards imaginable

In it's excellent leader today, The Guardian points out that applying the rules of Cricket "can only fuel the alienation felt by some British Muslims at a time of great strain."

I admire the sophisticated way that Guardian hacks can interpret principles, don't you?

And when they say that "their failure to return to the field promptly after it triggered a chaotic close to the afternoon, in which first Pakistan and then the umpires appeared to go on strike." represents the kind of postmodern approach to reporting that is all too lacking in our newspapers these days.

The floods of admiration are just cascading down my leg.

The comments under the editorial also reflect a standard of public debate that must be the envy of the world.

Product placement

My three regular visitors will know that I've been a bit elusive due to the fact that I've been on an extended honeymoon in County Mayo. It is a very romantic setting if your definition of 'romantic', like mine, involves pubs full of smelly old farmers drinking pints and chasers while awaiting further orders.

The wedding went splendidly, by the way. Thanks for asking. I know you're not here in the first place to read 'ten top tips for organising a wedding', but I'll give you a few to be going on with:

1. Bloggers make good wedding photographers.
Well, this one - AKA himself - comes highly recommended anyway. I have one complaint though. I don't look as fat-faced in real life as he's made me look. But otherwise, he did a lovely job - and if you have a more libidinous set of lady-guests than the heavy-set Irish crowd that attended my wedding, it seems that he can also add a bit of totty to the proceedings. The fact that he blogs about his approach is good as well - you know what you're getting.

2. Get all whizzy and web two-point-oh when you're picking a band.
Picking a band can be a bit hit-and-miss. But being a standards-compliant type, I checked The Northern Celts out on MySpace before hiring them. They are good on MySpace, but absolutely great live. Particularly for a wedding that has a large Irish contingent on one side, and a crowd who quite like folky music on the other.

So, all of you, go and hire the Northern Celts for YOUR shindig. There's a list of gigs their London gigs on their MySpace page as well.

3. Just act like money doesn't matter.
No matter how hard you try, getting married costs an absolutely obscene amount of money. Take whatever figure you think it will cost and times it by at least four. Especially when the better instincts of a chippy tight-fisted forty-something male are being continually over-ruled. Worrying about it is a waste of time. Just brace yourself for bankruptcy, or at least a large overdraft.

Hung for a sheep as for a lamb, and all that.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dillow's three

The thin posting here is due to an extended holiday. It's coming to an end now.

But Chris Dillow's annoying habit of saying things that I've been thinking of saying* (only with lots more coherence, charm and straighforward evidence, damn the man) has continued unabated.

Firstly, Adam Smith - echoing Socrates surely - on the inverse relationship between a blog's traffic and it's quality.

Secondly, teaching kids to gamble.

And thirdly missing counterfactuals, the availability heuristics, outgroup homogeneity bias, and bayesian conservatism.

*OK, the stuff about how Blogs should focus on quality, not visitor-quantity and the bit about how you learn a lot about life by losing your shirt were in the pipeline here. But don't ever come here expecting anything as coherent as the post behind that last link.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Moredieu

In a previous post, I suggested that – if you have any sense at all left – that you should get hold of Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘On Television and Journalism’. There is no better time to do so. When I read it the first time (in 1998, when I was suffering the kind of sleep deprivation that baby twins can inflict on you), I had one major criticism.

Not only does Bourdieu refer to his book as a critical analysis. He also calls offers a solution: “…collective negotiations with journalists towards some sort of a contract…”

And it’s a huge weakness that undermines the rest of his case. Exhortation is usually a lazy alternative to the construction of a sustainable social force, and this issue offers no real exception.

In identifying a group of people who are entirely enslaved by the process of ‘demagogic simplification’ that he sketches so persuasively, and then suggesting that they act as agents for change, does not look like much of a plan.

At least, that’s what I thought in 1998. But since then, something has happened. The blogosphere has changed a good deal of this. The ‘demagogic simplifiers’ are finding themselves being ‘fisked’ daily. New historical perspectives that reflect a less crude materialism - such as those found in the Euston Manifesto for example - are being advanced at the expense of the “political microcosm” advanced by the worthless commentators that dominate public debate.

Were Bourdieu alive today, I suspect that he would have been able to look at the way that the blogosphere operates. He would have found his agents for change in Slugger O’Toole, and in bloggers such as Shuggy, Norm, Tom, Chris, and many others. He would have, I hope, agreed with me that phenomena such as Comment is Free represent an attempt to co-opt the blogosphere into becoming part of the same old same-old. And that such co-option was pushing at a few open doors – whether it’s Iain or Guido (our aspiring talk-show hosts) continually wanking onto the cracker that is ‘the political microcosm’ (the winner has to eat it and take a job on one of the dead trees). Or those bloggers that allow themselves to be carried along by the populist Chomskyite bullshit that passes for dissent these days.

In short, a new social force is being constructed gradually. And the attempts by the MSM to co-opt this force – I would argue – are unlikely to succeed. Most bloggers, I would suggest, find it irksome to be expected to go over to someone else’s space and make it work for them. When the excellent OpenDemocracy project was starting up, it aimed not only to provide an editorial venture that remained uncompromised by ‘the prejudices of the proprietor that the advertisers don’t object to*’, it also aimed to build a global discussion community.

At the time, I felt that one of its weaknesses was that people wanted to have a space that was identifiably their own – and the blogosphere has done that subsequently (much to OpenDemocracy’s benefit, I’m glad to say). If OpenDemocracy hasn’t been able to co-opt the global commentariat, how on earth can big media expect to do so?

And in bringing up Chomsky, I suspect Bourdieu will have been laughing in his coffin when Prospect magazine selected the exponent of “one of the most perverse forms of academic pedantry” as our ‘greatest public intellectual.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oh, and one other thing....

On the letters page in The Irish Times, a lively debate has been developing within the Irish Labour Party about the obsession with ‘anti-imperialism’ within the left.

Time for a Dublin launch of The Euston Manifesto? The Heuston Manifesto perhaps?

Outage

Apologies for the light posting lately. I’m not near a decent internet connection very often at the moment. This is probably a good thing for both of us. I've tried to make up with a glut of posts that have been in gestation for about ten days now.

Reading Shuggy on 'evidence-free commentary' about the current middle east situation Pootergeek on global warming in the light of my own previous post about Bourdieu, I think that anyone who pronounce confidently on either of these issues marks themselves out either as experts on the subjects in question, or as the witless victims of demagogic simplification.

The latter outnumber the former.

A new word for you

Wyatting.

I’ve even heard it in the bogs of Co. Mayo, so I suspect it’s old news to the metrosexual readership of NTaH. But just in case it isn’t…..

What's going on

I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes, I read something that I agree with so completely that I internalise it, (does ‘internalise’ mean what I think it does?) adopt the arguments as my own, and find myself getting frustrated with other people because they don’t instantly understand a line of thought that is obvious to me (having ‘internalised’ it at length previously).

And this is particularly the case when the book you read confirmed long-standing prejudices anyway.

In this case, I have in mind Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘On Television and Journalism’. Soon after I read it, I forgot that I’d done so, but I’ve been presenting his views as my own ever since. So, self-esteem = delusion (again).

It is a great book and I urge you to read it. I stumbled upon my own copy as I was sorting out a box of books and I’ve just re-read it.

Here is a sample (mostly from the introduction):

“…the journalistic field produces and imposes on the public a very particular vision of the political field, a vision that is grounded in the very structure of the journalistic field and in journalists’ specific interests produced in and by that field.”

“… there is a tendency to shunt aside serious commentators and investigative reporters in favour of the talk show host….. real information, analysis, in-depth interviews, expert discussions, and serious documentaries lose out to pure entertainment and, in particular, to mindless talk show chatter between “approved” and interchangeable speakers….. these people are always available…. not merely to participate but to play the game – and they answer all the questions that journalists ask – no matter how silly and outrageous…… To justify this policy of demagogic simplification (which is absolutely and utterly contrary to the democratic goal of informing or educating people by interesting them), journalists point to the public’s expectations. But in fact they are projecting onto the public their own inclinations and their own views…”

“…they are more interested in the tactics of politics than in the substance, and more concerned with the political effects of speeches and politicians manoeuvrings within the political field (in terms of coalitions, alliances, or individual conflicts) than with the meaning of these…… all of this leads to a cynical view of politics which is reflected in their political arguments, and in their interview questions. For them, politics becomes an arena full of hyper-ambitious people with no convictions but a clear sense of the competitive situation and of their opposing interests..”


All bleeding obvious when you think about it, isn’t it? Now, if I quote any more, I could get a nasty letter from the publishers’ lawyers. But the above sample is not simply the best bits cherry-picked.

Almost every sentence in these 82 pages punches a button that is rarely touched in public discourse. I’d urge you to read it as an introduction to the totality of power-relations within the media, and how they effect democratic discourse.

Two stories. No connection.

From The Irish Times on the 3rd August:

Item one:

“A meeting of Tralee’s joint policing committee …. holds it’s first meeting today.

The committees are to include gardaí, local authority staff, councillors, members of the Oireachtas and community representatives, though Sinn Féin complained during Dáil debate on the legislation that more community leaders should be appointed.
............
Calling for Northern Ireland-style community restorative justice, [Sinn Féin TD for Kerry North] Mr Ferris said the Tralee body would face a difficult task in curbing anti-social behaviour in the north Kerry town.
............
Blaming a small number of “thugs”, Mr Ferris said that he had to “personally intervene” in two housing estates in the town in the last few weeks to curb anti-social behaviour."

Item two (paraphrasing):

  • PSNI officers are being urged to fraternise with participants in a Pride March
  • PSNI officers are finding fraternisation involves answering difficult questions about the handling of a recent ‘public indecency’ case (trans: cottaging) against a number of gay men in Coleraine, in which…
  • The judge asked for the case to be handled ‘with sensitivity’
  • The peelers published the names, addresses and photographs of the men in question
  • Paramilitaries got involved
  • Families were burnt out of their homes
  • Men in question had to take a powder.