How can our po­lice ever beat the MPs?

Sunday Express - - BREEDING CRUELTY -

AS AN­OTHER teenager is fa­tally stabbed on London’s streets, it is re­vealed Mayor Sadiq Khan’s crack­down on junk food ad­ver­tis­ing on the city’s pub­lic trans­port net­work, which comes into ef­fect next month, could be ex­tended to in­clude ad­verts for stock cubes, olive oil and but­ter.

Mayor Khan is clearly tough on Oxo cubes and tough on the causes of Oxo cubes. But when it comes to real is­sues, it’s ob­vi­ously sim­ply too hot in the kitchen.

WITHIN weeks of the clo­sure of the na­tion’s second largest air­port, Gatwick, due to dan­ger of drones, the same thing hap­pens at Heathrow, Bri­tain’s largest and Europe’s busiest air­port, which was closed for an hour last week.

Did it not oc­cur to the au­thor­i­ties to take the ac­tion nec­es­sary to guard against such an oc­cur­rence? And the Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment last week that the ex­clu­sion zone around air­ports will be ex­tended to 3.1 miles is mean­ing­less. If some­one aims to break the law an “ex­clu­sion zone” is un­likely to pre­vent any­thing.

WITH a few ex­cep­tions fig­ures from ma­jor stores make for grim read­ing. Gloom on the high street is as bad as it has been for a decade, due to the grow­ing in­fat­u­a­tion with Amazon.

If you splashed the Christ­mas cash that way, how do you re­act to its tiny busi­ness rates bill? With UK sales of £8bil­lion, it paid only £63mil­lion in busi­ness rates. Deben­hams and Next each paid £80mil­lion on sales of £2.3bil­lion and £4bil­lion.

Add in that – as this news­pa­per re­vealed last week – close to a mil­lion jobs have been lost in the 10 years since Wool­worths closed, what more does it take to en­cour­age you back to the high street?

THE IRONY should be lost on no one. Year after year, our politi­cians have presided over the crim­i­nal cas­tra­tion of our po­lice forces, leav­ing many of us in fear of walk­ing the streets, or even be­ing alone at home at night. The po­lice were even ac­cused of “cry­ing wolf” over staffing levels and fi­nances by the most se­nior politi­cian of the lot, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May.

It was also the PM, home sec­re­tary at the time, who warned po­lice in 2014 they should re­view the prac­tice of stop and search as it was dis­crim­i­na­tory against young black men. She told them to rein it in or she would as­sume con­trol and take ac­tion. Polic­ing ex­perts point to that be­ing the time po­lice started to lose con­trol of the streets and the mur­der rate started to soar. In London, last year’s grim tally of 134 deaths was the high­est in 10 years.

For so many of us, vi­o­lent crime – or the fear of it, or just try­ing to avoid it – is a re­gret­table facet of ev­ery­day life. In too many cases, in­sanely lib­eral judges have handed down laugh­ably lame sen­tences to vi­o­lent of­fend­ers. Bur­glars have been spared jail be­cause they claim they’ve “found them­selves” through a newly dis­cov­ered love of po­etry. A vi­cious thug who tried to smash his way into a car after his bi­cy­cle was re­port­edly clipped by the driver and who was wield­ing a 12in “zom­bie knife” was handed a suspended sen­tence be­cause he claimed to have been nearly kid­napped some time be­fore so he was liv­ing in fear. It is a vi­tal tenet of our le­gal sys­tem that the ju­di­ciary is free of po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence but that wouldn’t pre­vent our law­mak­ers from pass­ing tougher laws, ac­com­pa­nied by tougher sen­tenc­ing guide­lines.

Of course, for our so-called elected “great and good” this bleak sce­nario is about as rel­e­vant as the perks they en­joy – su­per­an­nu­ated pen­sions, golden parachutes and gen­er­ous liv­ing ex­penses – are to you and me.

But that has all changed now and the rea­son was a foul ver­bal at­tack on one of their own. Let’s be straight here, the abuse and ha­rass­ment Con­ser­va­tive Re­mainer-inChief Anna Soubry was sub­jected to last week was rep­re­hen­si­ble, thug­gish and cow­ardly. Threat­en­ing her with sex­ual as­sault was a clear breach of the law.

What is truly re­mark­able about the whole sorry af­fair is how MPs rounded on the po­lice for not do­ing more to pro­tect the MP. House of Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow and nearly 120 other MPs have writ­ten to Met Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick urg­ing tougher ac­tion and calling for the abuse to be tack­led. They are, of course, right but when will the penny drop that it’s them and their rul­ings that have emas­cu­lated our cop­pers?

The of­fi­cers who just looked on as Ms Soubry was heck­led, called a “Nazi” and a “fas­cist” and threat­ened with sex­ual as­sault were at fault and should, at least, have walked the pro­test­ers away and cau­tioned them, if not sim­ply ar­rested them there and then. After all, Sec­tion 5 of the Pub­lic Order Act makes it an of­fence to use lan­guage “likely to cause ha­rass­ment, alarm or dis­tress”. If this un­pleas­ant performance wasn’t likely to re­sult in that, it’s dif­fi­cult to con­ceive what might be.

Con­sider the words of Dai Davies, for­mer head of the Met’s Ter­ri­to­rial Sup­port Group pub­lic order unit: “I would have ar­rested these peo­ple. Po­lice today are far too wishy-washy. They’re scared to do this be­cause they’ll be crit­i­cised.”

Some­one needs to tell them polic­ing isn’t a pop­u­lar­ity con­test. It’s about keep­ing order, not about stunts to gain pub­lic af­fec­tion, sanc­tioned by se­nior of­fi­cers who should know bet­ter. If male cops are lauded for wear­ing high-heeled shoes to show sup­port for the fight against slav­ery or paint their fin­ger­nails pink to sup­port fem­i­nist groups, it’s lit­tle won­der they seem to have for­got­ten their pri­mary role.

The sit­u­a­tion for our MPs was re­solved within 24 hours as ex­tra po­lice were de­ployed at West­min­ster. Ask your­self this: would any of us have war­ranted such a rapid re­sponse? THESE preach­ing, preen­ing, self-ob­sessed luvvies can be des­per­ately dif­fi­cult to keep up with. It was only two Hol­ly­wood award sea­sons ago that they be­rated the Amer­i­can pub­lic for in­stalling a pres­i­dent they didn’t like. Among other rea­sons, Don­ald Trump was re­viled for be­ing ma­cho, a bully, coarse and threat­en­ing. How­ever, as he won a Golden Globe last week for his hugely im­pres­sive por­trayal of for­mer US vice-pres­i­dent Dick Cheney, Bri­tish ac­tor Chris­tian Bale thanked the movie’s di­rec­tor for cast­ing him as some­one who was “ab­so­lutely charisma-free and re­viled by ev­ery­body” and he went on to thank “Satan for giv­ing me in­spi­ra­tion”.

How sur­pris­ing these folk whose tal­ent is to read other peo­ple’s words and stand where some­one tells them to, have such trou­ble stick­ing to the script.

HOW WON­DER­FUL to see sales of veg­etable seeds rock­et­ing and out­strip­ping those of flow­ers as veg­gie-based di­ets be­come the lat­est trend, sup­ported in a not in­con­sid­er­able way by fad-con­scious mil­len­ni­als. Some are even tak­ing al­lot­ments or us­ing any garden space they have to grow po­ta­toes, veg­eta­bles and sal­ads, reports the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety.It’s been likened to the days of that glo­ri­ous 1970s BBC sit­com The Good Life, fea­tur­ing the ex­ploits of Tom and Bar­bara Good. Look for­ward, then, to an ex­plo­sion in the sale of Margo Lead­bet­ter-style kaf­tans, home-knit­ted out­sized sweaters... and goats.

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