Consider the Impact of a Politicised Police Force and Rioting on Civic Society

From the Newsletter:

NI21 leader Basil McCrea yesterday issued a stark warning that the PSNI do not have the resources to deal with both riots and criminality.

Earlier this week Police Federation chairman Terry Spence warned that over 500 officers had been hurt since last summer because of trouble at parades and Union Flag protests.

It’s depends on whether you want a police force to be constantly politicized or whether they are for catching criminals.

When I was in school, the peelers were identified as the baddies because of internment, collusion and sectarian bias. But when I grew up I realised that I had been systematically subjected to sectarian bias and the police force, while it may contain the odd bad egg, are there to catch thieves, murderers, rapists and help keep the majority of civic society safe. That’s actually what we pay them for.

The irony that is the present day has both extremist parties in government accusing the police of collusion with the other. And yet only a small minority seem to call this for what it is.

Yes, there is a right to peaceful protest and in a civic society a single car of policemen could police 1000 peaceful protesters. But we do not live in a civic society. We live in a society where the major parties raise armies of disaffected youth, feed them propaganda about how they are being held back by the others and goad them into illegal and violent acts.

Don’t justify rioting as protest. It’s not protest and it’s not the actions of civic society. Keep the police depoliticized so they can protect civic society. And while you’re at it, question why we have let this shambles of a government go on so long and why there are five parties in there who have succumbed to the baubles and privileges of ministry and yet turn a blind eye to the shredding of the fabric of our society.

The last 14 months have been a black era in our history, easily as dark as when I was growing up. While civil- minded people debate the difference between protest and riots, community “leaders” are organizing weekly “Putsches” for the disaffected.

You have to think forward. What is the end game here and what society will look like in five years.

WWGD

From Gamasutra:

July 19th:
Official Android sales numbers for Gentlemen! after three days: 8 copies sold. 2,462 copies pirated.
August 20th:
If you’re interested, after three weeks those numbers are now 144 copies sold, 50,030 copies pirated.

I reported these numbers to the resident Android user in our household and she said: “What did they think would happen?”

It definitely says to me that Google wants people to make money from advertising on Android. And as everyone knows, Advertising makes the mobile experience even better. And it’s ace for games.

There are other ways to make money on Android as well. There are different models for this but you have to take the biggest dis/advantage (Google Play is almost a lawless frontier) and turn that to your advantage. If Google don’t want to police or protect your IP on their platform, then it’s carte-blanche for developers as far as I can see.

WWGD. If money was on one side of the equation, What Would Google Do?

Welcome words from the new Finance Minister

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph after only three weeks in the job, Simon Hamilton said the size of the [public] sector is unlikely to shrink “for the foreseeable future” so it needs to become as innovative and creative as possible.

There is a mechanism, called the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) which is designed to tackle this. In my opinion, Northern Ireland needs to look at the problems it has in the widest possible scope. This isn’t just about buying the best locally-sourced pen or paper but about looking holistically about where Northern Ireland should be. We should be better than Estonia.

From an InvestNI email this morning:

NI companies are invited to a half-day event on Estonia “SmartEST – Opportunities in the Emerging Baltic Country” in Titanic Belfast on Wednesday 2nd October 2013

Estonia is a vibrant and fast developing country in Northern Europe. It is a member of the EU, and it offers excellent business opportunities due to easy accessibility, transparency and similarity to the UK business culture. It has a young, well-educated labour force, good links with its Baltic and Nordic neighbours, including Russia, and strong, innovative financial service and ICT sectors. The eGovernment sector is particularly well developed.

We have problems in transparency. So the need is there to release more data and then pump-prime the sector with SBRI to exploit the data. There used to be a DFP-funded project called OpenDataNI and we need to get Northern Ireland out of the “sin bin” when it comes to open data.

We have problems in eGovernment. So the need is there to find and exploit some eGovernment solutions. Michael McDowell is the Belfast representative for PlaceSpeak (whose founder spoke at TEDxBelfast)

We have problems in the hope and aspirations of our people. So how can we create some locally sourced solutions? Where are the outputs from the current inputs to the system? Are we examining the root causes of society’s issues? How do you make Northern Ireland the absolute best place to live and start a business?

Alex, I feel your pain, but you’re wrong.

If I agreed with Alex, I wouldn’t be in Northern Ireland. I’d have left years ago. I wouldn’t have stayed here. Married here. Had kids here. Started a career here. Founded businesses here. Started clubs and conventions here. Helped people here.

The recent turmoil in Northern Ireland highlights one thing to me. The people in government do not represent you, me or “themmuns”. We have a coalition of five parties because no-one can be in government unless everyone is in government. The two main parties in government may lead the coalition in their jointly equal First Minister and Deputy First Minister roles, but they actually loathe each other. You only have to look at their Twitter accounts to see the constant sniping between them. They can turn up for a photo shoot and if they’re in private, they seem to get along fine, but in public, where it matters, they show their colours.

If you’re a voter in Northern Ireland, you’ve been taken for a fool for too long. You are smarter than that. You need to remind the government that it is you they work for. You need to remind them that if they ignore the majority wishes for peace, reconciliation and a shared future, then they deserve to be punished. And the way you punish a politician is by voting for someone else. Just because you’ve always voted for “theesuns” because they’re the opposite of “themmuns”, it doesn’t mean you always have to. Don’t make life decisions based on someone else’s war. You don’t have to choose between orange and green. There is a better way.

If you just got your A-Levels then you’re likely going to have the first chance you have ever had to vote. There are council elections, MEP elections and MLA elections. Be part of the shared future. You can be part of the change that Northern Ireland needs.

When The War Ends…

Our honeymoon (5 years ago) took us to Russia, East Germany and Estonia. I was surprised how the latter two had fared after the fall of the Eastern Bloc and was pleasantly amazed at how welcoming and progressive these nations were. I don’t know how much of my “conditioning” to this is as a result of western propaganda but I had assumed all Eastern Bloc countries were a little like Russia, which was frankly still depressing, corrupt and crime-ridden.

Both Estonia and East Germany were fabulous. It then pleases me further to see this short tourism video from Georgia.

GEORGIA | hyper – travel from Timelapse Media on Vimeo.

Georgia, on the right hand side of this picture, borders on the Black Sea. It’s up there with Russia, the Ukraine and other far-off places that a Cold-War teen would recognise as “the baddies”.

It seems that the countries who endured the Cold War on the other side of the Wall, seem to have embraced the future in different ways when the war ended. Some, like Estonia, have become a model of digital citizenship and engagement. Some, like Germany reunited, have become an economic powerhouse that even a recession cannot falter. Others like Croatia and Georgia seem to be absolutely thriving as the best-kept secrets of Eastern Europe.

I do hope that Northern Ireland is able to some day receive the “peace dividend” of the war ending here. We will have to wait until the war ends, I imagine.