Monthly Archives: May 2016

Rational choice theory. Liz Clayton


Bentham and Beccaria.

  1. humans are rational
  2. criminals make choices

cornish and clarke have furthered rational choice


Burglat thinks. Which houses have goodies? Are neighbours around? Which houses can be accessed?

rational choice is the notion that a criminal considers pros and cons before committing crime

is all crime pre meditated? This is a fallacy.

macro perspective on crime. rewarding, easy , satisfying and ludic

there are contributing factors to crime – baackground, psychology, demographics, situational, peer pressure, alcohol, drug infuence

weigh cost and benefits  quickly

chances of getting caught, punishment, gain and immediacy of the gain

criminal uses past experiences.

choice theory relies on the assumption that crims have other needs

hierarchy of needs. shelter is higher than love

food is more important than a phone

past experiences

choice only has to be rational to the criminal but not to others.

society can use target hardening to make it more difficult to commit a crime. bank vaults.

rational choice describes. it does not explain how crims process info or if choice is rational


A dream of moving house


I dreamt that I was back in an old house in the former USSR.

I went to a dingy little flat. The wallpaper was mouldering. I gathered my belongings. There was sme bric an brac. Twas like the place in Little Paris but worse. There were many garmets. I opened wardrobes and found more than I could take. I was irked. It was hard to stuff all thse itmes of clothign into my bags.

Maybe this s because I imagine leaving here.

Operation Sealion



What was Operation Sealion?

This was the German plan to invade the United Kingdom.

What was the context? In June 1940 Germany defeated France and the French were forced to surrender. The German Army was stationed all along the Atlantic Coast of France.


The UK was the last country in Europe fighting against the Third Reich (Germany). The UK had some allies – Australia, India and Canada for example but they did not produce many weapons.

Why did Germany make this plan?

Hitler knew that if he defeated the UK then he would be master of all of Europe. At that stage the USA was neutral. The Soviet Union was also neutral.


What did the plan consist of?

The Wehrmacht (Germany Military) planned landings at various places in the south and east of England. This was because these beaches were the closest places to France. Before the landings the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) needed to win air superiority. The German Army would land and storm London. They would then take over major cities. They estimated the British would surrender within a month.


What were the German plans for after the conquered the UK?

The German Military wrote Informationsheft England (”Information booklet about England”). It gave a very detailed plan for what to do once they beat the British. There was a list of about 10 000 people to be arrested including politicians and intellectuals. They wanted to kill the British Prime Minister Churchill right away. They hoped to find another British politician who would be willing to become Prime Minister and take orders from Hitler. Windsor Castle would be Hitler’s home whenever he visited the UK. The capital would move from London to Oxford.


Was the plan ever put into action?

No, it was not. It failed at stage one. The Germany Navy was not strong enough to beat the Royal Navy. The Germans gathered barges from all over Western Europe. These were not suitable for a sea crossing. The shortest point to sail across to England was only 30 km but a barge will easily sink in the sea. A barge is good for a canal only.


What about air superiority?

The Luftwaffe – German Air Force  – attempted to win air superiority in September 1940. The RAF was more numerous than the Luftwaffe. The British aircraft factories built planes much faster than the German ones. The British also had radar which was top secret at the time. Therefore the RAF could see the Luftwaffe coming and shoot them down. The German Air Force suffered too many losses. They wasted their time bombing civilian areas and not attacking air bases and factories. Hitler then abandoned the idea of launching Operation Sealion.


Was this ever a serious plan?

Some people say it was never a serious plan. Hitler did not want to fight the British. He wanted to scare them into negotiating. Some British wanted to do a deal.  Prime Minister Churchill refused to talk. Hitler’s real aim was to invade the Soviet Union. He started moving troops and planes towards the east in September 1940. His plan was to attack the USSR in the spring of 1940. Operation Sealion was just to trick the Soviets into thinking that the Germans were going to attack west and not east.


Would Operation Sealion have worked?

That all depends on air superiority and naval superiority. Without air superiority and naval superiority there is no way the German Army could land. But if they had landed there is little doubt they would have smashed the British. The Germans were more numerous and had better weapons. Every time the British and Germans fought it was the Germans who won.







criminology. labelling theory


Mark Cambridge.

perspective is looser than a theory

many people write in this tradition. has no clearly defined perameters

micro sociology likes subjective forms of knowledge

macro sociology looks at objective knowledge

crime and deviance looked at from perspective of the offender.

sociological positivism.

universal laws

how does criminal describe crime?

Techniques of neutralisation

all we do is radical criminology.

classical criminology is determinist

in radical criminology there is voluntarism.

find rules that explain deviancy

what is the meaning of subjective actors themselves

context. nothing happens in a vacuum

1960s this came out – labelling theory

sociological drivers. mods and rockers. moral panic about youth and cannabis

generation gap.

1960s liberalisation. Swinging London. Beatles.

affluence for the young.

sexual revolution.

empathy grew. people tried to understand crime from the standpoint of the criminal

social processes involved in becoming deviant – people tried to understand these.

symbolic interactionism. pioneer George Herbert Meade

one has a concept of self. divided into I am me.

I: self-concept. How one perceives oneself. One might say kind, modest, successful, decent, wise etc….

me:  your role in a social situation. role you are currently in. student for example. this can be sister, brother, passenger, customer, pharmacist,

one behaves differently in different roles as a brother or a father or as a lecturer and then a friend.

roles keep shifting

a teacher can attach a label to someone ”she is always late”

if one keeps attaching a label  – a stigmatic one – then the person acts up to it. it affects the master status

primary definers – teachers, parents, police

people perceive themselves in terms of the label

crimes are only crimes because they are labelled such.

you interact with people in terms of a label.

people become entrenched in crime because it is hard to get out of

primary and secondary deviancy


primary – is before they become labelled. not a problem

secondary – is after they become labelled. IS  a problem. deviancy amplification

no act is inherently deviant

Gothman on mental asylums. madness is reflect into inmates. he looks at total institutions

status change in prison. told to call people sir. addressed by surname

master status is replaced in prison. number. old identity is stripped away

prison should change deviant identity but seldom does

prison day structured

in prison master status is changed

master status on release ex con

incarceration aggravates criminality. furnishes someone with another deviant identity

in consequence one makes a spoiled identity

new master role. one can relate to this.

A sense of freedom’‘ by Jimmy Boyle. published 1977.

Gorbals was v rough. penury. people worked in steel. masculinity. Brought up there. been redeveloped twice since then.

father violent. sought fights on the street. during childhood he was exposed to violence. involved in crime. adolescence his criminality grew graver.

he administered violence. built up reputation for being scotland’s hardest prisoner.

sent to barlinnie special unit. for 12 men. they were given autonomy in meals and timings. when he was there  he started pottery. he was told he was talented. boyle got into it. when he was set free he became an artist. for first time in his life he got a positive label.

he internalised negative label

spoiled identity boyle the crim

there is the positive label – the potter

exlpore processes in becoming deviant. we become deviant according to social process.

this comes full circle.

what policy flows from this approach. more police you have the more primary definers – more people coming into the system. more spoiled identities means more people trapped in offending

criminal justice policy  should avoid labelling

pre emptive strategies. attach positive labels

different study done. one teacher told class is stupid and v difficult. the other teacher told that the class is creme de la creme.

the pupils got the qualifications that were expected.


problems of labelling approach

sometimes one needs to label

too deterministic

people can reform. absolves someone of personal responsibility





Lord Heseltine.


Lord Heseltine’s intervention in the Brexit debate is unwelcome. I confess this is partly because I take a contrary view to the former Deputy Prime Minister.

Lord Michael Heseltine closed his mind on European integration in the 1950s. He appears to have never reconsidered his opinions.  M R D Heseltine is extraordinarily vain. The story goes that in the 1950s he plotted his path to power on the back on the envelope. He envisaged himself becoming PM in the 90s. As Alan Clarke wrote of Heseltin, ”He has a VERY high opinion of himself.” Look at the long hair Heseltine has in his 50s.

Hezza resigned over the Westland Helicopter affair in 1986. He pretended it was about principle. He was such a blinkered europhile that he wanted the army to buy helicopters from the EEC and not the US even if the American choppers were cheaper and better. His ulterior motive was to bring down Thatcher. He was desperately casting around for an excuse to leave the cabinet. Unemployment was high. Labour was ahead in the polls. There was an election due in  year. Hezza forecast that Neil Kinnock would leader Labour to victory. Thatcher would then be forced out as leader of the Conservative Party. Heseltine could then come in as Tory leader and be leading the Wet faction of the party back into the dominant position. It all backfired when Thatcher won a resounding victory in 1987. Heseltine was left languishing on the backbenches. He professed his loyalty to her but it was blatant to everyone that he detested her and prayed for her downfall. Michael Heseltine always had his eye on the main chance. He did not have the courage to knife her in 1989. It was up to Sir Anthony Meyer to stand against her for the Conservative leadership in 1989.

Only in 1990 did Heseltine pounce when Thatcher was unpopular due to the community charge. Thatcher was at odds with her cabinet over the proposed exchange rate mechanism. As it turns out Heseltine was dead wrong about the ERM and Thatcher was right. The ERM turned out to be a calamity for the UK.

Thatcher defeated Heseltine. She polled 55% among Conservative MPs. Nevertheless she was persuaded to step down. Heseltine was thwarted in his ambition to Prime Minister. He persuaded the new PM John Major to bring the United Kingdom into the ERM. Admittedly Major was keen on the idea and needed little encouragement.

Heseltine was a thorn in the side of subsequent Tory leaders. He was a back seat driver which he once accused Thatcher of being. Deep down he believes in nothing besides the EU. He admitted that he was tempted to vote Labour in 2001. He was a Wet but still served Thatcher. As Jacob Rees-Mogg said Lord M Heseltine is an old humbug and silence on his part would be apt.


Corruption and faith.


Which countries are at the bottom of the World Corruption Index? Transparency international has Pakistan and Nigeria at the foot of the list. These are among the most religions lands in the world. Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. Some states of Nigeria have Shariah law. About half of Nigerians are Christians. Many of them are fervent and outspoken.

There are religious people who are sincere and honest. Some of them live ethically and in accordance with the best precepts of their faiths. Most people in Pakistan and Nigeria are not corrupt. They are the victims of corruption. Certain elitists rip off the public purse.

If religion led to more moral conduct one would expect the most religious countries to be top of the list. Moreover, one would anticipate that the least religiously observant lands would be at the bottom of the list. In fact the reverse in the case. The Scandinavian countries which are very non-religious are at the top.

The self-deceit involved in religion enables corruption. People who lie to themselves about this issue lie to others about financial matters. They see morality as being bound up with faith and ritual. Probity has little or nothing to do with it. Pecculation can be absolved by undergoing ceremonies.

Is religion the sigh of the oppressed, the opium of the people? Because the masses are so exploited they palliate their sufferings through religiosity. They project onto the almighty all the things they are denied in reality. They imagine the Most High to be omniscient, benevolent, bounteous and forgiving. They seek recompense for injustices suffered in this life by being told that the downtrodden shall be exalted in the next life.

The countries with the most liberty and justice have little needs of such imaginings.

Durkheim classical criminology


Mark Cambridge



development of sociological positivism



positivism is split into individual and sociological

individual positivism is split into biological and psychological positivism

sociological positivism.

Positivism is a method not a theory. a mode of inquiry

individual positivism and classicism seek to be correctionalist


they have many things in common.

they see crime as something that can and should be controlled

classicism and positivism say crime can be controlled. they have different policies

policy from classicism. They say punish. they are part of the enlightenment. They believe in progress. punishments must be consistent and predetermined. less barbaric. more predictable. No discretion. They are not moralistic. they  want proportion and no arbitrariness. punish mind not body

they tried to be rational and clear. they favoured deterrence. actions are guided by hedonism

they believed in freewill.

positivists say that crime is caused by pathology. It is an illness. It is biological or psyochological.

they say something is wrong with experiences of the person. they favour treatment

they approaches have one thing in common

they say that crime can be controlled.


the notion that crime can be controlled is challenged by Durkheim

Poeple study criminology to understand causes and see how crime can be prevented

sociological positivism – grounded in natural science

alien spacecraft and car

objective and subjective knowledge. two forms of knowledge

we can reveal two forms of knowledge. objective knowledge is that the alien spacecaft can adduce objective knowledge through observation. red traffic light car stops and green traffic light the car goes. they look at pattern and recurrent nature of sociological nature.

we can develop universal laws

we do not know WHY driver is stopping. the lights do not control the engine.

knowledge rooted in nature of relations’ tap into universal norms

seeks to be objective

sociological positivism.

bumble bee. poet says it exists to be pretty. gardener says it exists to pollinate. child says it exists to make honey

objective knowledge – they all agree that it is a bumblee bee

subjective knowledge – purpose


durkheim said crime is a social fact

moving away from frameworks of seeking to control crime

situate theory.

context. Durkheim lived through turmoil

context informs theory. a theory does not develop in a vaccum

durkheim wanted to know what made society cohere

society bonds due to religion etc….

society is structured and interdependent

it has a system. look at it as a whole. he draws a biological analogy

it is like a plant. they are structured and interdependent.

all parts serve a function

he is a structural functionalist. provides us with a biological analogy

it is made up of interrelated parts. it all serves a function

plants have roots and these have a purpose.

it is possible for the plant to become dysfunctional. If a part ceases to work.

each part is interrelated. for this to be healthful it needs to have each part functioning.

society is similar. it has classes and institutions. kinship is one.

objective knowledge is falsifiable. wanted to apply new way of seeing things to sociological phenomena

he conducted a study of suicide

high suicide in UK law in SPain. answer – catholicism”

suicide is not personal only it is due to society

suicide rates fluctuate

religion was once seen as the reason for everything including volcanic eruptions

apply social forces to understand suicide.

self-destruction proves that external factors drive our behaviour

he used states. he drew conclusions in a value free manner

some countries have consistently higher suicide rates than others.

religion has a central role to play in C 19

Catholics had more extended kinship networks.

DURKheim says crime has a function  – social change

is it criminal act that causes social change or is it the idea that brings about social change?

crime is normal. in two ways. it is inevitable. secondly  it is universal

even in a society of saints there will be crime. there will always be one or two who are tempted to violate the law.

infractions are eternal

crime highlights moral boundaries

crime helps society cohere  because it can identify enemies and unacceptable conduct

when someone commits a crime he offends the moral sentiments of society

by punishing crime we heal the wounds done to collective sentiments

Soham murders bound community together

conscience collective at heart of societies

set of shared values and beliefs and morals

we all have these. the nature of collective conscience changes

there is mechanic solidarity and organic solidarity

different forms

industrial revolution separates modernity from pre modernity

it says that nature of c c (collective conscience) in pre modernity was mechanic solidarity

mechanic solidarity  – homogeneous. small communities . self sufficient’ . highly established  C C . resemblance between individuals. well established rules.

modernity – metropolis. heterogeneous. diverse.

in diverse communities c c is weak. plurality






A dream of acing the exam and another of being in the Guards


The night before last I dreamt of dong my finals. I only had to answer 4/8 quesitons. In the dream I answered 6. I kew that was overkill. I felt very self assuried and left esrly. Then I was at Beal na mBlath. I osbevrrd hr scne. There was not fighting in thr ambsucade. Perhaps I am thinking I ought return to Hibernia some time


I dreamt I was a Guards offcer. I know it would not suit me at all. I had  free three bedroom falt. I was there with my wife. In the dream I think she was rhe evil one. then a then middle aged Pakistani came along. H e was sharing it. we rarely saw him. H ewas a decent type and had disorderly hair. He had little to say for himself.

Then another Pakistani couple came along. the woman said she had 8 children.The chidlrenw ere not with her at that miment. I was horrified at the idea of sharing the place wih so many saucepan lids. I said no they could not come. theys aid the had the right t eb ther ebut were not insistent. They left. we thought we had better check. amybe the cpiple were impostors and had no right to share the plac

e later I had v long toenails and was cutitng the. there was something abot serpent being attched to it and I was afraid to see it. The eivl oen berated me for my unmanliness

hat 8 children comes form meeting a Mlaayian muslim at a abr and she told me her sister has 8 children

The release of Nadia Savchenko.


The release of Nadia Savchenkko is to be welcomed. She was put through a trial in Russia which had no legal basis. She was kidnapped in the Ukraine by pro-Russian militias and brought across the border illegally. Therefore he trial was illegal. She was charged with crossing a border unlawfully which means she was charged with being kidnapped. In Russia being a victim of a crime is now a crime!

Ms Savchenko was released in exchange for two Russians who had illegally crossed into the Ukraine to fight in pro Moscow militias. They have not been charged in Russia with crossing this same frontier illegally. This demonstrates the blatant hypocrisy of Moscow. La Savchenko’s legal team could have entered a tu quoque defence. Even if Miss Savchenko had crossed the said border of her own free will it was wrong to charge her with this offence. That is because Moscow’s minions have also crossed this same border unlawfully it is wrong for Moscow to charge someone else with doing the same whilst disregarding its own wrongdoing.  Tu quoque was found to be a valid defence at Nuremberg.

The fact that two Russians were released in return for her freedom brings home the fact that Russians are fighting illegally in another country. Moscow has often denied that Russians are fighting in the Ukraine. The Kremlin’s Lie Machine maintained that it was an internal conflict. Yet Russia knew that thousands of its people were illegally crossing into another country start a civil war. It is not an internal conflict. Russia has weighed in on one side in the civil war. Moreover, there is an abundance of evidence that Russian soldiers are given leave to go to the Ukraine and fight.

Some Russians maintain that the pro Moscow paramilitary groups are  exclusively using Soviet era weaponry. This does not stand a moment’s scrutiny. Much of the equipment is of post 1991 manufacture. Have the pro Russian forces not run out of ammunition in almost 3 years of conflict? They have been supplied with their arms and ammunition by Russia. The Russian public is very willingly credulous. They will swallow any lies from their government.

One Russian pal of mine said foreign volunteers are also fighting for ISIS. I pointed out that she was putting pro Russian militias on the same plane as ISIS. She was stumped.

The Russian media show destroyed civilian houses in the Eastern Ukraine and claim these are destroyed by the Ukrainian Army. This could have been blown up by the Ukrainian Army or by the rebels. It could be a mistake or deliberate. The message is relentless – that the Ukrainian military is purposefully targeting civilians. This makes no sense since it does not further the Ukrainian nationalist cause. It is inhumane and apart from that it a waste of ammunition. The Russian media very seldom reports any casualties on the side of the insurgents of the Russians fighting there. Nor does it report many casualties among the Ukrainian Army. The idea is to spread the notion that civilians in eastern Ukraine are being killed for no good reason by the barbaric Kiev regime. There is no context. The Russian public are given to believe that pro Moscow forces are hardly fighting. Moreover, no fighters on their side are being killed. There is nothing that might demoralise the Russian public nor are they allowed to see this in the context of a civil war. The Russian media is very partisan. There is blatant news management. No probing questions are asked of government ministers, pro Moscow rebels or Russian fighters in the Ukraine. Civilian reports of attacks by the Ukrainian Army are accepted uncritically. The Russia press is extremely pliant. There is no dissent from the Kremlin’s narrative. The Ukrainian Army is misportrayed as fascist and savage. No wrongdoing on the part of those who are fighting illegally is ever reported.

The Ukrainian Army no doubt does destroy civilian buildings sometimes. This always happens in modern warfare. There is legal collateral damage. There is very little evidence that the Ukrainian military purposefully kills civilians knowing them to be civilians.

Russians may answer that NATO countries are supporting the other side. This is perfectly true. NATO countries have long told the truth about this. In the US Congress funding for the Ukraine is announced. NATO forces train Ukrainian troops in Romania. One sovereign state is allowed to help another. One sovereign state is not permitted to sponsor a revolt in another state.

The UN Charter forbids aggressive war. This is defined as a war against the territorial integrity or political independence of another state.

This article is honest enough to admit that many people – maybe most – in some eastern districts of the Ukraine wish to join Russia. Russia has a reasonable historic claim to Crimea. The Ukrainian Government is of questionable legitimacy. It does at least have free elections and a free media. Moscow claims that the Syrian tyranny is legitimate despite the fact that the Ba’athists have held thousands of political prisoners for years, do not allow free expression, have sham elections, massacre civilians by the tens of thousand and use torture on a massive scale.

Russians may claim that the US and other NATO countries have done wrong themselves sometimes. This is so.

Obama set the reset button with Russia when he moved into the White House. He scrapped the missile systems in Poland.  This has not led to an improvement in Putin’s conduct. Therefore Obama is right to place missiles in Romania and other countries. Putin is attacking his neighbour. He shall not desist unless costs are made very high.

Radical criminology continued


M Cambridge

transportation  to Oz – reflected economic needs

60s labour shortage. immigrants sought.

1960s rehabilitative


according to richard kirkheim this is because workers are needed

this is informed by economic base

incarceration is wasteful of the labour force

in recession lock people up to reduce unemployment