Grampian police have always seemed to me to be largely immune to the lunacy elsewhere. Nobody gets arrested for blowing their noses here. So far. However, the madness is spreading very fast now.
Quiet Man has the story of the Terror of the T-shirts. Apparently, in Aberdeen, a shop has been selling 'Anyone but England' T-shirts for the World Cup. I don't care about football and with the snow back today with a vengeance, it'll be some time before I'm shopping for T-shirts so this won't trouble me.
There are a lot of English people living in and around Aberdeen. The locals aren't, on the whole, racist at all despite being very white indeed due to the rare appearance of that yellow ball in the sky. So rare is its appearance that when it does, women faint and children scream and the old farmers sacrifice a chicken. There are rabid racists here but they are few and are universally despised. Then again, a place this cold doesn't attract a lot of immigrants. Certainly, moving from Pakistan or anywhere in Africa to a place where the people regard any temperature above zero as 'balmy' would be a severe shock to the system. The 'immigrants' are almost all second or third generation and have adapted to British weather further south before moving here. The Poles do well here, although most foreign visitors/students have a rough time in winter.
A little enclave of non-Righteousness - well, nearly. The local NHS managers did try to ban Easter one year in case it upset the Muslims, but the loudest voice shouting them down was that of the Muslims themselves. Here they integrate. They don't want their peaceful coexistence messed with and they are not cowed by radicals (you can't wire a bomb if you can't feel your fingers) so they say so.
Non-integration is not an option here. The locals won't attack anyone wearing a black tent and veil. Nobody cares about the dress but if you walk into a shop wearing a veil they won't accept your existence. They won't insult or attack you. You are simply not there. It's much the same tactic as observed in rural Wales if you don't speak Welsh.
Headscarf, fine. Hardly anyone goes out without some kind of head covering here because there's always something wet dropping out of the sky. Floor-length dress, fine. It'll get wet at the bottom but if you want to put up with that it's nobody else's business. Bare feet and sandals, fine. Frostbite is nasty but not contagious. Nobody else's problem. I have only once seen a woman in the full gear with veil and sandals. She has never appeared again (I don't know if she's still here or moved away, she had a mask on that time).
There was one very nasty racist attack here last year. The victim was Polish, and the perpetrators were benefits drones. The sort who complain that 'foreigners are taking our jobs' even though they have never worked in their lives and have no intention of doing so. The constituencies where most attacks take place are Labour ones, full of benefits junkies, who cannot be scared off with threats or weapons although a job application form works like Kryptonite. If you find yourself in an area of Aberdeen and you notice that all the shops have steel mesh over the windows, get on a bus quick. Any bus. Especially if you have a non-Scottish accent and aren't wearing a shellsuit.
Even then, few of them pick on people because of their colour. They'd beat the crap out of me if I was stupid enough to go there on a Friday night. If I was black and had a Scottish accent, I'd be fine. These are people who are still fighting Culloden even though they don't know what or where it was. They get their history lessons from Mel Gibson films and their political understanding from the BBC. They are, fortunately, few and concentrated in easily-avoided areas.
However, it seems those T-shirts, which have been on sale and on display in the shop window for months, have attracted no complaints at all. Even the professionally offended have overlooked them, but then that's because the race they are aimed at is white. The professionally offended confine their upset-by-proxy activities to the non-whites. That's why that attack on the Polish guy was hardly mentioned in the news, even though it was something not heard of since the days of mediaeval torture. He was white. He doesn't count as a racist attack in the eyes of the Righteous.
Nevertheless, not one English person has piped up with 'Racist!' which I think says a lot more about the English than about the people who play this card at every opportunity. The English just shrug it off and ignore it. If that T-shirt said 'Anyone but Pakistan', it would be different. There would be a national outcry. Not necessarily from the Pakistanis who live here, but most certainly from the Righteous.
Grampian Police went round to have a word with the shopkeeper and warn him that his T-shirts could be considered racist. Well, nobody was arrested or cautioned so no real harm done, yes?
The thing is, there were no complaints. None. The whole matter came about because of a police officer acting on his own initiative.
The job of the police is to keep the peace. To deal with those who break the law and to deal with disturbances. It is not the job of the police to predict disturbances nor to decide what might or might not be against the law. To be fair, it's hard to determine what's against the law now that Labour have produced so many of them but even so, the correct course of action would be to first determine whether that T-shirt display broke any laws. If it did, have a word. If it didn't, leave it alone. It is certainly not the job of the police to bring to the attention of the professionally offended some trivial thing they have so far overlooked. The police should be concerned with preventing trouble, not provoking it.
And yet, nationally, it is becoming difficult to decide what the police are actually for. While they will come down on litterers, smokers and nose-wipers like a ton of bricks, they won't tackle travellers who have stolen a van. That might be dangerous without guns, dogs and helicopters.
We have travellers once in a while. Since their pitch is next to a part of town known locally as 'Fuckwitopolis' they don't make much difference to the level of trouble. They don't stay long anyway because they are real travellers, not one of the mobile crime gangs masquerading as travellers while they look for a pliant council who will let them build a permanent base without all that 'planning' nonsense. Ours don't look all that dangerous, certainly no more dangerous than the local hoodies.
If the group in the Telegraph article have become dangerous, it's because they have been allowed to become dangerous. Just as all those feral children have been allowed to get away with anything they like for so long, they have no fear of a police force that is too scared to even give them a ticking off. Helicopters? Guns and dogs? For a traveller site? How did the police manage before, when one local bobby could move them on - and if they refused, a vanload of unarmed police would follow up?
The softly-softly approach to real crime has made it all much worse. Add to that the treatment of something nobody has complained about as if it was promoting Nazism, and it's easy to see why people have lost respect for the police.
We pay them to catch criminals, not to harass the innocent.
Under Labour, the police have lost their way. I don't hear the Tories even mentioning this so it's not likely to change in the near future.
Therefore, the way to avoid arrest is to appear as dangerous as possible. If you are law-abiding and generally peaceable, they'll get you. It's best not to present an easy target because those are the ones the police seem interested in.
Time to get a spiky leather jacket.