As Global Gangland is due out on October 2nd, I though it might be time to respond to those who have emailed me, asking about posting some of the book in this blog.
Any comments or feedback on the following are welcome, just keep in mind that what you are reading bellow is from the draft manuscript prior to any editing.
GANGLAND GB – ORGANIZED CRIME IN THE UNTITED KINGDOM
‘The English love a good villain.’ – Charlie Richardson
Some of his contemporaries – usually the ones who didn’t find themselves with electrodes attached to their testicles – have called Charlie Richardson one of the cleverest English criminals of the 20th Century. When it comes to understanding the English psyche and its fascination with crime, his insight seems exceptionally accurate.
In Britain, there has always been a strong tendency to romanticise crime. A gang of robber bandits led by a local outlaw became the folk heroes Robin Hood and his Merry Men. In just over 250 years since the hanging of sadistic highwayman Dick Turpin in York, he has become the hero of a television series and used to sell everything from beer to porcelain.
This mythologizing is not restricted to historical figures. Three decades after his release from prison, ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser is enough of a celebrity to regularly appear on TV game shows. He has joined the ranks of iconic names in British organised crime from the second half of the 20th Century, who like the Krays, hold a firm grip on the public imagination. This British love affair with outlaws has often obscured the vicious and horrific nature of organised crime in the United Kingdom.
Another insightful ex-gangster - Dave Courtney – who has benefited and commentated on the nature of organised crime’s celebrity status in Britain, has identified that the love-in may be well and truly over in the 21st Century. The trans-national, pervasive and increasingly violent nature of crime in Gangland GB leaves no room for romance.