Monday, June 21, 2004

Here is one of the reasons that the rail system in Great Britain has slipped. Fragmentation of the railways has added duplication. You can not treat trains as buses.

H, who used to be a resident of Nottingham, wrote to me about his experiences with crime:

The popular crime at the time was squatting and it seems the laws of the UK allowed someone to break into your home and live there and you were unable to remove them by threat or do such things as disconnect the gas and electricity as that was deemed endangerment. Luckily all the houses we lived in in the UK had ONLY deadbolt latches, no exterior door knobs. Just a keyhole and a little brass handle to push/pull the door with. The latch would automatically lock when the door was closed so there was no way to have an unlocked door. Still we observed that robbery was rampant in Nottingham and London. My office in the science park was burgled regularly and copiers, PCs, and radios taken. I volunteered to spend a few nights there to deter or catch the culprits but the manager was aghast and forbid me on the grounds that I might injure the thief and the company would be liable for legal action. The firm installed an expensive alarm and despite being only 4 minutes from the police station the burglaries continued with police response times never being less than 20 minutes.

We quickly found that the laws in the UK seem to encourage theft. We have lived all over the world and the only place my wife has ever had a problem was in Notts where a teenager tried to snatch her purse on Clumber street. She kept the purse and pointed out the culprit to a WPC who refused to do anything. When we bought a car, our friends warned us to expect it to be broken into or stolen at least once a year, just one of those things. In our 40 years in the US we had never been burgled in home or car and were astounded at the calm acceptance of crime as normal.

We loved our time in the UK and hope to live there again but we understand that the British view of crime and punishment are far different from our colonial American view.

The Belmont Club has a great post that says the same thing that I have been saying that the next phase of war on terror will be waged by the three lettered agencies. I figure that our allies in the Middle East and through out the Islamic world will be fighting a proxy war for the US and western democracies. It will be a nasty and brutal effort. Can you fight fire with fire? The US will lend logistical and intelligence to these forces, because they are on the front lines and they can move trough the Islamic world easier than an American. No Westerner, even one who is fluent in Arabic could pass themselves off as an Arab. They would be speaking the “Queens” Arabic versus the local dialect and that could be a fatal liability. There will be a few ethnic Arabs of Christian or Islamic faith that are willing to fight al Qeada since they are intolerant of anybody, even other Muslims, who do not tow the party line. This will be a long struggle that will last many years. Also Donald Sensing has a great post with four possible outcomes to this fight.

This past Saturday I went with the family to a polo match in Langham near Oakham, in Rutland County. It was a relaxing affair. In America matches are a bit more structured, but here it is free to attend, there are two playing fields, a bar to get a pint of Pimms and a small tack shop. Everybody was friendly, asked questions about the game in the States and told tales of Price Harry who played for Eton and his body guards and minders. I think we will be attending a few more matches during the summer and I will post more photos for Navin, Sean and Marty.

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