Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Chicago Way

It's all over the internet - Brits are angry and getting angrier. "Vitriolic" and "volcanic" are words used to describe how people are feeling. And that's just the V-words. I've read phrases like "teetering on the brink of open ethnic warfare". The BNP can't keep up with applications for membership. One Labour MP called the growth of the BNP "a cry for help."

I think all right-minded Brits should sit down over a pint of Bass and watch the 1987 gangster film The Untouchables. On the surface this has nothing to do with Islamic terror or ethnic tensions or Britain whatsoever. But listen carefully, my friends.

In this classic film Sean Connery plays Jimmy Malone, a tough, honest Chicago cop - the voice of brutal realism. (When reading his lines it's important to hear his voice. It sounds much tougher.) Elliot Ness wants to bring down Al Capone but he is limited by his own naive idealism. Ness can't destroy Capone's organization legally because Capone has corrupted the legal and political systems through bribery and intimidation. Malone, the street-smart veteran, explains how to get Capone in the real world.

MALONE: You said you wanted to know how to get Capone. Do you really want to get him? You see what I'm saying? What are you prepared to do?

NESS: Everything within the law.

MALONE: And then what are you prepared to do? If you open the ball on these people, you must be prepared to go all the way. Because they won't give up the fight until one of you is dead.

NESS: I want to get Capone. I don't know how.

MALONE: Here's how you get Capone: he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That's the Chicago way! And that's how you get Capone. Now, do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?

The Untouchables is not just a mob film. It's about how good men do what's right when the authorities cannot or will not protect people from a violent gang bent on seizing control of city. Sound familiar?

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