How can our police ever beat the MPs?
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.