Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dots on the knuckles

An old school friend of mine had dots tattooed on his knuckles. It used to be quite common amongst vaguely criminal elements in Glasgow. This was a cipher for 'APAB' - which stood for 'All Pigs Are Bastards'. Replaced because the polis worked out what this stood for, although it wasn't long before they worked out what the dots meant too. It's heresay but the same friend told me of someone who got his fingers broken for having these. I dare say it wasn't true - or if it was, no doubt he was resisting arrest or something.

So to the G20 and the death of Ian Tomlinson. As the footage shows, he viciously attacked tooled up riot police with his back. Despite this egregious violence on his part, medics could have saved his life were it not for the hail of bottles that obstructed their rescue.

Or maybe it shows something else.

I can't tell you how depressing I find most of the commentary on this issue. Have these people spent most of their lives indoors having tea with mother? This thread is particularly dispiriting. In the eighties, reactionaries used to say, "Go and live in Russia", if you had the temerity to criticise Thatcher's Britain. Fast-forward to today and cut and paste Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea - foreign places, y'know?

Now looky here: all pigs polis are not bastards - they're just like the rest of us, which is to say for the most part complete assholes. Like the cop in the video. How anyone can imagine that what they've seen here is something exceptionally aberrant is beyond me. Nah, the only unusual things here is a) someone died, b) it was caught on camera. Other than that, all you're seeing here is same old, same old - it's what happens when you give people a uniform, some tools and some power. I wouldn't disagree that society requires people to be given a uniform, tools and some power but given the human condition and all its failings, I don't think it's out of place to suggest that this should be kept to a bare minimum. It may be presumptive and over-arching to suggest that human history has taught us as much as this but please remember Ian Tomlinson the next time you mobilise some bullshit prolier-than-thou argument to justify the expansion of police power in what is indeed still a relatively free society.

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