Vile vile vile

Police forces in England and Wales have been accused of trying to “evade public scrutiny” after an Observer investigation found that the outcomes of dozens of officer misconduct cases have been deleted from their websites.

They include some of the most serious cases of criminality, including that of the serial rapist David Carrick.

This is what a corrupt, authoritarian nation looks like. David Carrick was more than a serial rapist. He was a sadistic, intimidating, abusive, manipulative and coercive monster.

And yes, I do know what I am talking about.

I agree with Mary Portas on John Lewis

I’ve found myself agreeing with Mary Portas before, or rather, the other way around.

Since I moved from Amsterdam to England, I was very disappointed by two things:

  • That just about everyone here was lying all the time and saw nothing wrong with it
  • That many products I bought here were of horribly bad quality

John Lewis is a marked exception. I bought something there in 2005 that has weathered exceptionally well and is still going strong, and I had asked the advice of employees there but they refused to make me any promises whatsoever. They weren’t even willing to lie a little bit.

I think the British have seen so many valuable things collapse in the past decade or so that it is important for them to leave them something that they can still count on, and it sounds like leaving the structure of John Lewis has to be part of that.

I am not familiar with the company’s struggles but energy and real estate are bound to be a major factor. Its problems are likely similar to Debenhams which I have so hated to see go. What else is left?

We don’t need more Primarks.

John Lewis will likely need to make compromises, yes, but those have to be compromises that do not undermine what the company stands for.

John Lewis might learn a few things from TK Maxx, which does not seek prime real estate unlike John Lewis. John Lewis probably needs to relocate (some of) its stores and requires a good real estate scout who understands the company and its customers.

But I’m just guessing. I haven’t looked into the matter. It’s just that I would hate to see John Lewis succumb too.

For Dutch folks: in terms of shopping experience, Debenhams was and John Lewis is a bit like the Dutch De Bijenkorf stores (and also a little like Dutch V&D, which collapsed in 2015), but John Lewis is fully owned by its staff. (in English)

“The moment you antagonise your employees or sales people, your company is doomed to collapse. So, no matter how difficult it may be, always make sure that your employees remain protected and motivated.”

De Bijenkorf, too, used to look after its staff well and was a trendsetter in that area when I temped at its holding offices (while wrapping up my Master’s). I presume that they’ve managed to retain those company values over the years, but it’s currently owned by the Selfridges Group.

My name’s Mark and I’m a human rights campaigner.

That’s what I got on my screen just now. The text continued as follows.

I’ve just found out I was included in a government Mis/Disinformation Report for sharing a petition from the official Parliamentary petitions website.

And it’s clear that I’m not the only one.

Big Brother Watch research has found that secretive government units have been monitoring and recording criticism of the Government on social media. Politicians, academics, campaigners, journalists and even members of the public have been subjected to monitoring by Whitehall officials, and an “information warfare machine” in the British Army. Worryingly, many of these units have a special relationship with social media companies which gives them powers to force the censorship of online speech. The government’s Counter Disinformation Unit censors and monitors dissent, not disinformation, without due process or transparency. It should be shut down.

The Counter Disinformation Unit has overstepped the mark. Whilst the public think they’re fighting disinformation from hostile foreign states, Big Brother Watch’s investigation reveals that they’re acting just like those authoritarian states by monitoring campaigners, experts, journalists and MPs who post unflattering information about them. Monitoring critics and suppressing dissent only harms our democracy.

Government units are working in the shadows to keep tabs on people like you and me.

I am very likely to be in this database too, then.

It might explain the odd behaviors I’ve gotten from UK customs officials on my most recent two returns from abroad. They clearly had information about me in a database that they looked at and one of them added information to it. The other one tauntingly held on to my passport when he reached out to give it back to me. Pretending that he was going to confiscate it?

Before I moved to the UK, I had gotten highly used to living in a democracy.

Now consider this

Four simple little things:

  • 450 million wasted on Brexit check facilities that are largely sitting unused and continue to cost the UK tax payer money
  • Police forces that are basically misogynystic and racist crime gangs
  • Only 350 of the 900 seats filled on the Eurostar these days
  • UK businesses relocating to other countries or collapsing because they can no longer export their products or because they have trouble importing what they need

But I’m the one who tends to be seen as learning-disabled, slow, not all there, feeble-minded, senile, delusional about my education and capabilities and god knows what else by the types of folks who achieved the above.

My life is often dominated by immense anger these days. I want my goddamn life back. My European/American, largely immensely non-English and certainly pre-Portsmouth life. My rich, active, purposeful and often joyful life.

I want the full use of e-mail and text and of the full internet back. I want to have the use of telephony at my disposal again.

Here in Portsmouth, that’s considered an outrageous demand from a cranky old woman who has the audacity to refuse to be a damn doormat for English men, refuses to sit in a corner and knit hats – and what not. It’s despicable. It’s utterly despicable.

Yay for Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving

That’s 250 of the 900 seats. With about a 100 passengers still coming from Brussels and Paris, making a total of 350 filled seats. Of a total of 900 seats. Because UK passports now MUST BE STAMPED and other passengers now must be questioned extensively about what they’ll be up to in the UK. Even those who are actually running Eurostar, as its CEO.

There are several of these expensive and now unused or largely unused facilities. They cost 450 million pounds.

The local one cost 25 millions pounds, leaving the local council in the lurch for a big chunk of that (8 million) as well as the 2-million-a-year operating costs. It’s just sitting there. Nothing happens at it.

At the one in the photo, in Kent, the occasional Ukrainian pet gets inspected. That’s all.

And traditional wiring of £10 to the UK now costs 15 euro. Receiving £10 from the UK now costs 7 euro.

“UK retail sales pick up unexpectedly in December” except, they didn’t…

No, not really.

The ONS numbers were released this morning. UK consumers are still feeling the pressure of inflation.

Retail sales in December were lower than in November.

The pound fell a little in response to these data.

We are all trying to spend less so that we can heat our homes and have showers, but we are also trying to use as little energy (including skipping showers and driving as little) as possible.

Good. Keep it up – that is, down – folks, because overall inflation in the UK is now very slowly going down but it isn’t going away soon yet.

Unfortunately, we also seem to be having the longest cold spell that I have experienced on the balmy south coast since I moved here from Amsterdam. Or am I only imagining that? See also this post.

Pay most attention to food. If you’re well-fed, the cold is generally easier to withstand than if you are depriving yourself of food.

In the meantime, Dyson wants the UK to fill warehouses with goods that won’t sell so that production will be up and we can cause more pollution than we need to. Now that’s what I call “stupid”.

Overall, inflation in the UK is now decreasing (second month in a row)


So, you may have thought “bollocks” when you heard that inflation is down and if you did, nobody can blame you.

Lots more data on this page: If you’re a man and have relatively small feet, you may want to try women’s shoes, for example. The inflation percentage for those is only 0.2%. For men’s shoes, it’s 5.6%.

The biggest problem currently seems to be the big staffing gap needing to be filled after so many EU citizens left the UK because of Brexit. It’s holding businesses back and even staunch Brexit supporters are now asking the government to be more lenient.

I’ve also just read that Workaway has dropped all UK listings because too many people now get stopped at the border and sent back to where they came from. If that happens to Workaway, I wonder if it might start affecting AirBnB too at some point, even though it works very differently.

Are you willing to pay for David Carrick’s police pension?

Neither is Sadiq Khan.

As tax payers, we would all be funding “one of the worst sexual offenders in modern criminal history”. He’s a sadistic predator.

Do we already have a petition going on this? Looks like it won’t be necessary.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed to seek the forfeiture of the state-funded pension, reported to be £22,000 a year, after Carrick admitted 49 offences against a dozen women.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she supports the move and will consider Mr Khan’s application, arguing Carrick “should never have been allowed to remain as an officer for so long”.

Robert Jenrick, a minister in her department, said the subsequently sacked officer could be stripped of his pension because the offending was linked to his position in the capital’s police force.

I’m amazed that Braverman backs the idea.

What net?

Free pizza!

He wanted to carry out an act of kindness to help people struggling with the cost of living crisis

Free pizza. As long as you turn up when the doors open.

Who in Portsmouth is going to follow this example and make a name for herself?

Be prepared that more people will show up than you expect. However, also notice what happened when many more people showed up at this pizza guy’s doors.

  • After a few days, he started receiving donations from well-wishers, including one local woman who turned up with a roll of notes which totalled £300.
  • He received hundreds of pounds from a businessman in India, as well as other smaller contributions – and donations of ingredients from suppliers.
  • He said: “My brain was working overtime when I realised I might not be able to cope with this but it all changed when I started receiving donations.”
  • “I realised that there were people all over the world willing to help me.”

“Met Police officer David Carrick admits to being serial rapist”

“Oh my God. Oh my God!” That’s what I exclaimed when I saw this headline.

It turns out to be another policing horror story that is chilling to read. (Trigger warning for those with a trauma history.)

As if Wayne Couzens wasn’t enough yet.

In case you don’t know that, Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens abducted, raped and killed Sarah Everard in 2021.

David Carrick

He was suspended and arrested in October 2021.

David Carrick ended up in the same unit as Wayne Couzens, namely the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, guarding embassies, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.

“Wayne Couzens, 48, worked in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command and finished a shift guarding the US embassy hours before he carried out a false arrest of Everard on 3 March and abducted her.” (Source:

“Alarm bells also failed to ring within the force, which promoted Carrick in 2009 from patrolling the streets to being a member of an elite armed unit, the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, guarding embassies, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.” (Source:

A quote from within the CPS: “scale of the degradation Carrick subjected his victims to is unlike anything I’ve encountered in my 34 years with the Crown Prosecution Service”

“The scale of offending by Carrick, 48, spanning 17 years, makes him one of the worst sexual offenders in modern criminal history”

Now imagine that you’re a woman in London and you’re being stalked or have been raped. Would you still report this to the Met, already knowing that the police in England have admitted that they fail stalking victims as a rule and that police officers also often give rape victims a hard time?

Britain’s society is “not as it should be”.

That’s what 74% of people said in an ONS survey conducted between 22 November and 4 December with 2,524 respondents.

Around 16% of people said that they were worried or very worried about their food running out and not having any money to buy more. That was already the reality for 6% of the respondents.

About 23% of those surveyed said that they were unable to keep comfortably warm at home. That’s a health risk. It also can have implications for cognitive functioning as when the temperature drops, the brain receives less blood.

PS A day later I spotted this:

Cold snap

When I was living in Southampton (2005-2009), it cost me £200 a month just to keep one room reasonably heated in a cold snap like this.

I installed a curtain in a doorway and did all sorts of things to the windows. I also discovered a massive mold problem in the coldest room one day, with the condensation water literally streaming down the wall behind a book case.

I tended to become sleepy in all sorts of places because they were so much warmer.

(In Amsterdam, I paid around 300 euro a month in cold weather, but I was striving for Floridian temperatures at the time. I was very bad for the planet back then.)

Tens of thousands of people have been dying in England for years already, each winter, because of their inability to keep their homes heated. Far more than in countries with cold climates.

To suggest that this would be a new phenomenon is incorrect.

England has a structural inequality problem and the last political party to start remedying this is the Conservative Party. They won’t.

It’s easy for well-to-do men to tell women in poverty to lower the heating. Their blood vessels don’t shut down in their extremities, unlike women’s, and well-nourished people can bear cold better.

But still, lowering the temperature in your home lowers blood flow to the brain, too, and can make you function less well.

Continue reading

Olivier De Schutter (UN poverty envoy) tells Britain this is ‘worst time’ for more austerity

Olivier De Schutter is a human rights law professor at Leuven University in Belgium and, at the UN, the successor to NYU human rights law professor Philip Alston (who’s Australian). The latter has lambasted the UK government before because it pushes so many people into poverty and then keeps them there. (Why? I would say because the poorer people are, the less powerful they are and the more it enables certain very rich people to become even richer. The UK government has a tendency to use the population to balance its books. It sells off the poor and sends them to slaughter, like cattle, when it needs to free up cash. The poor, that’s currently about one third of the British population.)

De Schutter has a human rights law course on EDX, for anyone who’s interested. It’s free. (There is a paid version, which is part of a MicroMasters in International Law. EdX offers financial assistance to motivated learners in need. Leuven University students take this course too, by the way.)

(I think a new session actually starts TODAY.)

We must be careful with language on immigration, minister says

Yes, indeed. “Even the mildest otherization primes people for aggression” wrote Oxford neuroscientist Kathleen Taylor in her book “Cruelty. Human evil and the human brain.

The difference between otherizing language and violence against otherized people, she added, is a difference in degree, not a difference in kind. Otherizing language can escalate into cruelty and violence at an astonishing speed, she qualified further.

See also:

Home Office head honcho Suella Braverman’s use of the word “invasion” suggests that Britain is at war with war refugees and other migrants. Isn’t that as ugly as Russia suggesting that Britain sabotaged those Nordstream pipelines?

This is heartbreaking to read. It sets people up for failure.

Many refugees are constantly being moved without even being told where on earth they will be taken to. It traumatizes many of them and I fully understand that. This, too, dear Home Office, is a form of cruelty. This powerlessness causes an enormous amount of stress and it also often isolates people from anyone new who they have gotten to know.


I am seething

I have been seething with anger for days.

Liz Truss is a spineless selfish wuss. I couldn’t believe that she already threw in the towel after a few weeks. It did nothing to help the country. It is utterly self-serving and does nothing for the backward views on women here either.

Now there is talk of the horrible Trump clone returning, the Trump clone who declared that people like me – EU citizens many of who have been living here for decades and have helped the country survive when the English couldn’t manage for example their own power plants because the English didn’t have the required knowledge – shouldn’t get any crazy ideas and expect to feel safe and at home here.

We foreigners are told that we’re all from countries that have no decent healthcare, almost no education, no intelligent people, certainly no universities, no values, no integrity.

We often find ourselves dumbfounded by the low quality of education here.

Slovenia and Poland are about to overtake the UK in terms of average income and income equality too, according to a recent article in the Financial Times.

I get called “vulnerable” because I want to be allowed to make my own living and be free from lock-picking and other malicious interference and because I don’t want to be treated like a recalcitrant 3-year-old just because I am over 45. Because I don’t want to drown myself in knitting, crocheting, embroidery and the art of baking cookies just because that is what any good Englishwoman is supposed to do.

I get mocked because I want to be as healthy as possible. That’s seen as utterly delusional for anyone over 45.

Here in town, I have had two male idiots empty a bucket with liquid over me because, hey, I am not a fully fledged member of the human species and that makes it okay. I have had two women on the same Saturday stop in front of me, look me up and down and start laughing at me on a day when I behaved and looked the same way that I had done in the weeks before and would continue to do in the following weeks.

(Some of you’ve stood at the gates of some of our children’s schools and told our puzzled children to go home or to go back to where they came from.)

I’ve even had stones thrown at me a few times. How dare I object to that.

That is the extent of English values. Making fun of other people’s sensibility. To be sensible is seen as utterly objectionable over here.

To get away with the least effort possible, make as many excuses as possible and be proud of sloppiness, those things became English standards long before I moved here. In fact, some of those “standards” have improved a little since I moved here and are likely to be going down the drain again soon. Mustn’t adopt any of that international quality daftness.

I can’t even make any jokes here because a) most of the English have no sense of humour that doesn’t involve a form of sadism but worse b) it’s usually mistaken for me making a language error.

We foreigners are flabbergasted that the English believe that they’re the best thing since sliced bread and far superior to all the other people out there in other nations, including those in Scotland and Wales. Where on earth do they get that idea from?

I have had it. I am drawing the line. I will take no more shit from any English people. I’ve had it. You people are a joke and this country is a joke. This is not a recent development. It’s been like this for at least about 20 years. You’re only increasingly seeing the cascading results of your own misplaced beliefs in your superiority and your world-dominance. Now you have ended up with a bunch of utterly amateurish fools running your government.

Why do you prefer clowns, fools and bullies over capable and sensible people?

I have held my mouth shut for a long time because I felt that you’re entitled to your own culture with its own idiocies and idiosyncrasies. Every country has them, after all. Even when you voted to leave the EU, I wrote that if this would bring the improvements that this broken country so badly needs, then I was all for it. This was your country, after all, to do with as you pleased.

But now I’ve had it. I will no longer keep my mouth shut and I will no longer put up with any stupid insults and mockery from English folks. It’s you who are the stupid dimwitted ones and it’s you who are making a mockery of yourselves.

I am merely observing and describing.

Please don’t tell me that this only concerns the Tories. This also applies to the Lib Dems and to Labour. Please don’t tell me that the Tories lie all the time. One of the biggest disappointments in my life was discovering that many of the English lie almost all the time. It’s part of your culture. If you want to change that, you have to start changing the culture.

You see people who appreciate honesty and sincerity and doing the best job possible as naive fools. Well, now you have ended up with the results of that.

Has Britain suddenly gone crazy?

That’s what you’d think if you read the comments in foreign newspapers that the Guardian has so eloquently summed up here:

But no, folks, crazy is the only England I know and, yes, it’s not Britain but England that’s crazy. It’s just that since Brexit, it’s become clear to the rest of the world as well. You couldn’t even make the shambles of the negotiations with the EU up if you wanted to, let alone the rest of Brexit.

It was all plain bonkers, certainly in hindsight, but the cleverly encouraged conspiracy thinking that the Tories had intoxicated half of the English with in the course of many years meant that nobody could get through to them. That’s just how people’s brains work. It’s neuroscience. Otherising the Brexiteers made things worse, made them dig in their heels even deeper. Of course! They saw the Remainers as the misled conspiracy theorists!

Fortunately, there’s hope, because more and more English folks are starting to agree with me (in the sense that the country’s crazy and disorganized). I am not smarter; I just have the advantage of having lived in a few other countries that taught me a lot about my own country, too, and not all of that was pretty either.

Now we need a miracle. Say, a Merlin clone and a Queen Arthur magically emerging from the mists surrounding one of the most distant isles, one where sanity and practicality have been preserved. Apparently, Arthur can also be a woman’s name. I bet Merlin can be too if you want it to be. That sort of covers diversity, then.

88-year-old former nurse abused in luxury facility: An example of how otherisation can easily lead to cruelty

Older adults are demonized in the UK, multiple studies have shown. That’s the over-45s, roughly, certainly when it concerns women.

It also can lead to horrific abuse. These Guardian pages below contain video content that will leave you shaken. The family of this 88-year-old former nurse was shelling out £100,000 a year for her “care” in this “luxury” home. (The money came from the woman’s savings. She was paying for her own abuse.)

Among other things, the rag with which the toilet was cleaned was often – eh, how shall I put this – draped across her face, almost. Someone else can be seen shaking her bed just to pester her while another person says “it’s a wave”. Mrs King has dementia; they’re making fun of her. It’s vile.

I’ve reported this facility to Google as permanently closed. No matter what its management says, cruelty from multiple people can only occur when it’s condoned, whether passively or actively, by the people around them.