Monday, April 10, 2006

Hannah Pool is an idiot

Via the keyboard of the superlative Strange Stuff, I am directed to that blog which I have been avoiding like the plague, Comment Is Free. In particular, my attention has been roughly drawn to this article by Hannah Pool, and whilst Chris has done his own fine fisking, I thought that I may as well weigh in with my own peculiar brand of Anglo-Saxon blandishment...

Our own dear Hannah is addressing the ludicrous case of the 10 year old who was up in court for alleged racist insults, a case which was described by the judge as "political correctness gone mad". Hannah Pool, naturally, thinks that the judge is a reactionary old fool, but that is because she is an absolute fuckwit of the sort that The Grauniad foists on the unsuspecting world far too fucking often.
You have to hand it to Judge Finestein, he has single-handedly reminded us all precisely how naff the phrase "political correctness gone mad" is. In fact it's impossible to utter those four little words without inadvertently painting yourself as some sort of Victor Meldrew character.

I'll admit the phrase is overused, Hannah; however, in this case, it doesn't make it any less true.
Finestein was complaining about the Crown Prosecution Service pursuing a case against a 10-year-old boy from Salford, Greater Manchester, who allegedly racially abused another youngster (aged 11), calling him "paki", "Bin Laden" and using the N word. "Does this amount to a criminal offence? It is crazy. Nobody is more against racist abuse than me, but these are boys in a playground," said Finestein. Really, no one more than you, Finestein? Somehow, I doubt it.

Really, Hannah? So maybe you are atempting to imply that, actually, the good judge is a racist? Naturally, you'll be able to back that assertion up, yes?
Finestein, who apparently has a reputation for speaking his mind, went on to reminisce about his school days, during which other children taunted him about his weight. "I was repeatedly called fat at school. Does this amount to a criminal offence? This is political correctness gone mad, it's crazy," he said. Ah yes, that old chestnut. When will people realise racism is not just about the words said but the history of oppression behind those words.

Is that so? My dear Hannah, if you think that these kids have any fucking knowledge of history whatsoever, then you have a lot more faith in the state education system than I have. Still, never mind; let's have a look at some oppression, shall we? Let's take something ultra-oppressive, such as slavery. Oh, look: those terrible darkies seem to have been rather good at oppressing themselves long before we came along. And look who's still indulging in slavery too... Yup, that won't be us evil Whities. Anyway, enough of the history lesson, let's move on and digest some more of Hannah's pearls of wisdom...
That said, I am in part agreement with Finestein in as much as I don't think prosecuting 10-year-olds for racist language, no matter how foul, is particularly helpful (their parents perhaps). But presumably that's not actually what happened. One moment the boys were happily abusing each other in the playground the next they were up in court? I doubt it somehow.

Oh yes, there has to be some method of reporting them; it was probably done by someone like this right-on piece of crap.
Justice Finestein's comments have prompted criticism from the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

Chris Keates, the general secretary, said: "The judge had every right to question whether there were other ways of dealing with the incident. He was wrong to do so in a manner which trivialised racist taunts and abuse.

"Judges have a responsibility to consider the potential impact of their comments. Relegating an incident of what appears to have been repeated abuse to the level of a playground spat is unacceptable.

I can't help thinking that if teachers did their sodding jobs rather than attempting to arbitrate in social politics, then we might all be better off (and the children might have a rather better grasp of "the history of oppression"). And what the fuck is this National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers anyway? I thought that teachers would be one for equality: do women teachers have some needs that the male ones don't? Do they campaign for better tampon disposal facilities in the teachers' common-room or something?
The CPS has issued a statement saying the three boys involved were offered a formal reprimand (an official slap on the wrist, that is) but only two accepted, the other offender's family preferring that he go to court and chance his luck by pleading not guilty. Still the CPS's fault now?

Well, yes: the CPS did not have to prosecute. The point is that the other two boys now have a criminal record; the third boy and his parents were, understandably, unwilling for him to earn a criminal record. But then, as The Policeman points out, the CPS probably had "a policy".
Normally, if you’re a victim of a crime, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to make an issue of it (“press charges” as they say), however, in race/hate crimes, the victim doesn’t get to make that choice: we do, and our force policy is to make an arrest.

None of this makes any difference to our commentator of very little brain, of course.
Either we are against racial abuse or we're not. Either it is legislated against or it isn't. You can't start exceptions because thing have become a little uncomfortable.

Well, to be honest, honey, most of us don't think that prosecuting people for what they say is a terribly liberal policy. Furthermore, we do tend to treat children as... well... children. This is why they don't go to adult prisons; this is why they cannot vote, or buy cigarettes, or buy alcohol or any one of a hundred other things; because they are children. Do you see, my sweet little idiot?
What exactly is it Finestein's concern? The age of the accused or the nature of the alleged crime? Is it that he doesn't think racist abuse should qualify as a criminal offence, or the fact the alleged perpetrators are young enough to be in short trousers?

Well, from what the judge said, I would say that it was the latter, wouldn't you? Well, no, obviously not. For Hannah Pool, yearning to break free from the cut-throat world of eyebrow grooming, the concerns of those of us who think that criminalising people for the things that they say are irrelevent; Hannah has got her break into social commentary and she has to air her good, Lefty credentials or else The Grauniad won't even let her write drivel for their piss-poor blog.
Would he feel the same if the boys were 15, say, or 25? What if they'd been abusing an elderly neighbour, say, rather than it being what he seems to think was harmless playground banter? Would that have been worth the CPS's attention?

I don't know Hannah, you're the journalist: have you asked him? You know, asked for an interview, got a quote? At least eyebrows don't answer back, eh, Hannah...
I agree it should never have got to the stage it did, but presumably there are numerous stages beforehand.

Wait a minute: Hannah disagrees with the case going to court too? What happened to this, Hannah?
Either we are against racial abuse or we're not. Either it is legislated against or it isn't. You can't start exceptions because thing have become a little uncomfortable.

Either you think that this case was worth bringing or you don't, Hannah: you can't start exceptions because thing have become a little uncomfortable. (By the way, did you mean "can't start making exceptions"?)

Some people just make things a little too easy, don't they. Hannah is one of those people. She's probably mentally subnormal, hired by The Grauniad as part of some worthy outreach programme or something. Nothing else could explain this amateurish volte face.
It has nothing to do with political correctness—gone mad or otherwise. Yes, prosecuting tweenies sounds harsh, but really Finestein, you can't truly believe the CPS forges ahead with prosecutions just to strike a goal for the cause of racial harmony and justice.

Er... Yes, I can. What a wonderful idealist our Hannah is, eh? Apart from anything else, Hannah, you have implied that you think that this case should have been prosecuted; in one short post, Hannah seems to imply both that the case should have been prosecuted and that it shouldn't have.

What a silly girl she is; maybe she should wander back to the eyebrow-plucking department and not worry her pretty little head about social commentary and politics. Apart from anything else, I couldn't give two shits about eyebrow-grooming—I have a particularly bushy pair that I fully expect will grow over my eyes in only a few years—and so won't feel the slightest urge to peruse her writing and then be moved to call her a useless fuckwit with all the brains of roadkill, and that can only be good for all of us...

UPDATE: The Longrider is, as usual, very good on this too...


Katy Newton said...

"presumably there are stages beforehand..." - bloody hell, if she doesn't know whether that's right or not why doesn't she ask someone who does? She's right, sort of. First there's the decision whether or not to make an arrest. Then there's the decision whether or not to caution/reprimand. If the caution or reprimand is turned down, then there is the decision to charge. Er... that's it. Once the decision to charge has been made, it goes to court, unless the CPS change their mind, and with race related crime they pretty much never do, because of the Policy. I'm not sure what Hannah thinks could have been done at any of those stages apart from the CPS changing their mind or the ten year old changing his.

By the way, what happened to trying to educate children out of racism? How is giving this child a criminal record going to make him less racist, if he was in the first place?

Katy Newton said...

Oh, and there is at least one review of the charging decison. Still depends on the CPS changing their mind.

Anonymous said...

Every time I look at "Comment is Free" my blood pressure goes up - arrant stupidity, non sequiturs and straw men abound. The Graunaid is definitely bad for my health. Hannah Pool is both ignorant and prejudiced, her article is nonsense from start to finish. She also indulges in a series of asinine assumptions that are avoidable if one takes note of what Finestein actually said. But that would be too easy...

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid in the 70s we called the boy over the road "paki paul". Obviously now I'm not proud of that, and I have no idea where the name came from, but the reality of it was, we didn't know any better, Paul was cool as fuck, we loved him to bits and weren't actually *aware* that he was a different colour. It was only years later that I came to understand the concept of colour, rascism and that words and names had meanings and power. The kids 10. 10. Personally I don't think it's possible for a 10 year old to commit any crime so they were right to stick the caution - education is the key here, not the fucking judicial system.

Jim said...

Exactly. Kids use words all the time that they pick up from adults and don't know what they mean. It's part of growing up. If the teachers were prepared to put him in an empty classroom, talk to him about the meanings behind the word, and have him apologise to the other kid, all this could have been avoided. The fact that everything has to be solved with a criminal measure these days (ASBOs, dispersal orders and the various anti-protest laws included) is a sad reflection of the government we live under.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to note that she is at it again, this time singling out us poor Australians. Has she run out of racists in the UK perhaps? Or is this a feeble attempt to establish some international credibility?

This is how it was reported by "The Age" in Melbourne today:
Australia 'racist, sexist, deeply flawed'

You got off lightly in the UK; we are also 'sexist' and 'deeply flawed' and lacking in shops around the corner that stock 'Polish bread, Turkish cheese and Indian vegetables'.

From her suite at the luxurious Observatory hotel ( while having a jolly time with her boyfriend in the magnificent pools, spas and leisure club, she did look upon we mere ordinary folk (sadly lacking in eyebrow care) and decree that we are a pack of racists, sexist to a man (person), and oh so deeply flawed.

I believe that Hannah herself has cast the first, second, and now the third stones, and may need an exorcism of her persecution complex.

To all the UK, please do whatever you can to keep here over there. Although she was here but 5 years ago (and still recounting the tale)it was perhaps one trip too many to the Antipodes, and having displayed attitudes and predjudices such as hers we are certainly NOT looking forward to her return.

I think I will now go and give the lashes a pluck in an effort to free my mind of any one-eyed racism lurking there.

Anonymous said...

you are actually a fuckwit...

Anonymous said...

This Devil Kitchen guy is a massive cunt isn't he? I'm not even gonna bother dissecting his unbelievably retarded post because I feel too sad and have this hopeless sinking feeling about all mankind to correct this one dumb prick.

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