Category Archives: international slum-costume

Cummings looks as if he might smell

Why would you want to look like a typical urban thug?

Dalrymple writes that the only piece of writing he has seen by Dominic Cummings was

abominable, both verbose and hectoring. Reading it was like being cornered by a drunken bore at a party who has a totally new theory of the origin of the universe.

The British prime minister’s grey eminence dresses

like a thug from the slums. If you saw him in the twilight coming down the street towards you, you would think of crossing the road to avoid him.

The question for Dalrymple is whether the Svengali’s appearance

is the result of carelessness or of great care. I think the latter. He is the Marie Antoinette de nos jours. Instead of playing shepherdess he plays the boss of a trafficking outfit in a bleak public housing estate.

Why

should anyone want to look like a practitioner of ‘rap’ or of that charming musical genre known as ‘grime’? Is it a case of sympathy for or identification with those to whom such a mode of dress comes naturally, as if there were no other choice for them; or is it a question of packaging? If the latter, as seems the more likely, what is the message that Mr Cummings wishes to convey?

Cummings is said to be a revolutionary at war with the ossified, suit-and-tie-wearing Establishment. If so, Dalrymple is,

sartorially speaking, on the side of the counterrevolutionaries, though I have no particular admiration for the Establishment that he is said to be at war with.

One law for the bien pensant, another for the rest of us

Shire Hall, Cambridge

Dalrymple writes:

One of the perpetual criticisms of Western legal systems is that they apply one law to the rich and another to the poor. Magistrates in Cambridgeshire recently did their best to substantiate this criticism.

A parliamentary candidate for the Green Party

was arrested for having defaced the offices of the county council by spraypainting them with Extinction Rebellion symbols. She was charged with criminal damage. Her defence was that she had been defending her property from imminent damage caused by climate change. The magistrates accepted this and acquitted her because of her ‘very strong and honestly held belief that we are facing a climate emergency‘.

Angela Ditchfield

Such a socially destructive judgment, says Dalrymple,

made honestly held belief, however absurd, a defence against what would otherwise be a criminal act. It made everyone a law unto himself. The magistrates, as weak of mind as of character, were acting in a politically biased manner. If a person with a ‘very strong and honestly held belief’ that Britain was being Islamised had daubed the council offices with a slogan to that effect, he would (quite rightly) not have been acquitted. If the accused had been an unemployed young male lout dressed in international slum-ghetto costume, he would not have been acquitted, either.

Dalrymple points out that the police in London have spent more than twice as much on trying to contain the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations as they have on a special force to deal with the increasing number of violent crimes, but then,

violent crime affects mostly the poor and ethnic minorities, so it is not very important by comparison with, say, the distant and purely hypothetical damage caused by global warming to the property of parliamentary candidates for the Green Party.

Notes from underground

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 13.23.08On an escalator on the Metro, Dalrymple witnessed this scene:

A young man in international slum-costume and face as malign as the late Mark Duggan’s…used a spray gun to scrawl his initials in bright red on the handrail. Scores of people saw him do it….He returned the other way to repeat his action on another handrail.

Dalrymple was saddened.

The ease with which the stupid and criminal insolence of one young man was able to defeat the civilised conduct of the vast majority of citizens present was…dispiriting.

Duggan: malign

Duggan: malign

And just because the young man was cretinous

doesn’t mean he wasn’t cunning, or wouldn’t be able to draw the correct lesson that he could act with…impunity.

Dalrymple dared not do anything to stop the French Duggan. Nor did anyone else. Why? Dalrymple points to these factors:

  • He and others were ‘busy with their own lives’
  • He and others were afraid of the French Duggan, ‘that he might carry a knife or a gun’
  • He and others were ‘by no means confident that if they had intervened…it would be the young man and not they who would be charged with an offence’
  • Certain witnesses — admittedly a very few, the silliest among them — might have ‘so read, marked and inwardly digested the exculpatory sociology of our time that they saw in his graffito not an act of moral depravity but a cry for help’