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This is quite an angry book from a man who, clearly with some regret, kick-started the popular fashion for true crime in the United Kingdom with his first biography of the Kray Twins back in the 1960s.The Profession of Violence is, like the The Wicker Man in film and The Communist Manifesto in politics, an example of the remorselessness of the law of unintended consequences.This book should be read as the most considered account of the Kray Twins thirty five years on but also as an exercise in self-reflexion on the popular biographers art by a doyen of the trade.His anger may be a little with himself but it is most reasonably expressed as anger at the two sides of the Kray Twins coin.There is an anger with both the sheer violence and (certainly in Ron Krays case) psychopathy of the Krays world and with the way that the establishment connived at their celebrity game in order to avoid scandal.Sometimes, it is hard to know which is more evil - the thuggery of the Krays making their way up from the slums or the protection of truly psychopathic, narcissistic and weak men like Driberg and Boothby by their own class in both major parties.If I had to choose a poster boy for true social evil, I am afraid that I would have to choose Arnold, Lord Goodman over Reg Kray any day. Goodman epitomises the intellectual manipulation of power and rules to protect a pack of social jackals - Rons perverted desires seem small feed in comparison.These ruminations are not merely historical. As we write, good policemen and women and good journalists - notably those at www.exaronews.com with whom I am proud to be associated but also many others - are digging in the slime of similar cover-ups related to child abuse only a decade or two later.The child abuse scandals of the 1970s and 1980s (and perhaps beyond as they morph into internet rings) can now be seen as natural extensions of a total world of abuse in which the Krays are really a mere incident.What underlay the exploitative evil of the Krays was the convergence of a culture of sexual repression (in terms of homosexuality) where the laws were not enforced where they existed, a hypocritical ruling order where bad conduct needed to be repressed but was otherwise accepted amongst their own and the usefulness of outsiders, raised in social neglect to be totally self-regarding, as allies and tools.This was a culture that pragmatically kept a lid on things that perhaps could not have been ordered in any other way given the society and politics of the country but which became extremely deviant at its dark edges. Narscisitic gay psychopaths converged on one another and built networks and alliances which the establishment, where it knew of these things, preferred to turn a blind eye. It became too easy for the deviants to exploit the vulnerable and to feel that they could do so with impunity, This is Poliakoff country.For be in no doubt that the Krays were peculiar in many senses. There are other gangland familes and networks which are perhaps only now being addressed by the formation of the National Crime Agency but these never sought the celebrity of the Krays. They were and are primarily business men like the mafia, not legends. Pearson is good on the influence of the American gangster film and the allure of the mafia (this was the mafias high point of global influence) for Reg and Ron but it is clear that our native born thugs were little more than occasionally useful tools for their sophisticated counterparts from New York - somewhat of a metaphor for the British relationship with the US after Suez!The only caveat I would have with the book is that the psychological profiling of the Twins, while plausible in many ways, is over-played.Pearson is part-establishment himself - he was famously biographer of Ian Fleming and James Bond - and he remains, like all his journalistic ilk, rather weak on the sociology of resistance to the system implicit in organised crime.Yes, organised crime is wolf-like, opportunistic and psychopathic but it does not arise from nothing. These systems are businesses organised by the more or less intelligent to provide real services for alienated and bulied populations as well as cruel and vicious exploitative ones.Even the cruelty and exploitation is more morally ambiguous than any abstract believer in justice may think. Famously, Capone did more to eliminate adulteration of milk for children than the lack-lustre local government. If the State dumps disturbed kids in hell-holes and abandons them, then being noticed by gangsters and given a chance to relieve their misery or get money may still be preferable to being trained to be a grunt in the military or a shelf-stacker in a retail chain.Even sex workers who were introduced to the industry by these grim routes are not simple victims but have sometimes seized a chance to use their assets for lives that they would now consider themselves to have chosen. Indeed, many now fear that criminalisation of their trade by do-gooding establishment dim-wits whose cruelty is no less than the gangsters will slash their incomes and throw them back into the hands of the underworld.Gang and state, state and gang, sometimes two sides of the same coin, drones and pub-shootings, taxes and protection money, the law of the street and no snitching or the law of the state and no whistleblowing. The real route to crime of the Krays was their own natures as violent psychopaths but in the context of localities completely abandoned by the middle classes but where enough of the middle classes still wanted things that their own values denied them.Repressive cultures combined with class neglect inevitable lead to collusive relationships between weak ruling classes and the wolves at the bottom.In this case, we had the collusion extending to the narratives of eager journalists, photographers and film-makers who wished to tell the tale in terms of glamour - of Camelot, if you like.Pearson cannot be accused of this - or, if he once glamourised the Krays, it was out of youthful naivete. This book makes ample amends.He writes well. The account of the murder of Frank Mitchell is genuinely moving and has all the hall-marks of a Greek tragedy. Even the Krays, without moral complicity (and when he is not getting angry and spouting cod-psychology), come across as complex persons rather than mere monsters. That is no mean achievement.He adds as an appendix photographs of his own correspondence from Ron Kray in prison. His poor education, street intelligence and sentimentality cast a different light on the man without diminishing the horror of his conduct as killer and exponent of GBH. But the question remains, while other gangsters run multinational businesses and prepare for war with the National Crime Agency, there is no doubt that the Krays are not forgotten in the white working classes of London, even today.Their funerals were pure theatre, 20,000-40,000 being prepared to attend the last one. Their criminal associates and rivals have given themselves pensions on well-selling true crime memoirs. Figures like Freddy Foreman and Mad Frankie Fraser have iconic status and even some sympathy when true tales of toughness in standing up to the old prison system are recounted.If people can think like that - as they think of the murderous Salvatore Giuliani in Sicily - then something is going on that must be understood before it is condemned by armchair moralists. Recent cop killings in the UK have exposed a culture of hate for the police at the margins of society. The official news narrative is countered with a social media narrative of deep resentment and a preparedness for self-immolation that reminds one of Jean-Paul Belmondos last scene in Breathless. There is a dialectic here between popular culture (film and now video games) and criminality that is not a simple one of cause and effect. The rage in the machine is prior to the popular culture which lives off it - the popular culture merely gives it theatrical form in real life. Millions lose themselves in the rage or the fantasy without acting on it in the world. A few are so filled with anger and resentment that they code their suicidal actions in the language of the Joker or Get Carter. This should not be taken overly seriously but it should also not be ignored or over-simplified. Something is going on out there and the London Riots, a narrative heavily suppressed and rewritten in the last two years, are part of the story.John Pearson gives us no answers here but his personal re-evaluation of his own relationship with these iconic organised crime figures must be added to the raw material from which an analysis will come.And not only in relation to the origins of resentment but also to the handling of collusion. The Boothby-Driberg scandal involving the undoubted sustained sexual exploitation of teenage boys must be put in the scales with Kincora as a sexual exploitation story in which some people at very high levels were collusive and complicit in covering up what took place.As we write, child abuse investigations have now extended from the celebrities who were permitted excesses by a see no evil BBC to the care home system which we have all known for far too long have been grooming grounds for the underground sex industry.The question is not the free choice of disturbed youngsters to engage in that industry as their way into the world but the collusion of their carers in driving them into that world without informed consent and of sections of the political and law enforcement community in protecting and even providing custom.Beyond that, despite the publicity, the establishment still shies clear of investigating the cruelties and brutalities not only within the Catholic Church but other institutional structures that are politically powerful.Only this weekend, the BBC reports our much-loved RAF finding itself embroiled in an old scandal. In short, this culture of exploitation was endemic at the margins of institutional life and the victims have been ignored and bullied for far too long.In this brutal context of humiliation and abuse, the Krays start to look like minor excesses in a rotten system, even perhaps as a form of undirected revenge by the humiliated as a class on their ultimate humiliators, the worst parts of the ruling order.So, we may expect attempts at cover-ups and damage limitation (and weaselly demands for closure and drawing a line under the past), but the story is out.Perhaps, at the end of all this, we will see the gangsters at the top and those at the bottom for what they really are ... somehow, I think both sets of hyena will survive this crisis and reappear in a different form. For that is the way of the world ...

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