Tuesday, 25 July 2006


People who offer comments anonymously and who simply hurl abuse without the courtesy of arguing their case, will not, from this moment forward, see their comments posted.

Just for the purposes of clarity, this, offered just a short time ago, is the sort of thing I mean:

"You really are a ***** **** aren't you Richard. Oh, and why do you use a picture of Steve Davies?" Anonymous.

Brave and clever little boy, aren't you, Anonamong. You are actually the first to offer me such mindless abuse, and, whilst I doubt you will be the last, yours will be the only one to be held up to ridicule.

Who is 'Steve Davies' by the way? I mean, you say it as if we should all know this person. Have you mispelt the word? Do you mean the world famous snooker player, perhaps?
Now fuck off back to whichever little stone you crawled out from under, you servile little creep. If I want your opinion in future, I'll give it to you.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Ever the sound-bite politician

Gordon Brown - "I love being a father; it's such fun.... and I am sure the two boys will get on very well."

Bet they bloody don't, Gordon!

It's the birth of your child, and you sound as though you are announcing a new schools policy or something. You think it is your destiny to be Prime Minister. Me too - the shortest serving PM in British political history.

Oh, and by the way, your chinos were at least two inches too short.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Lord Levy reveals NuLabour's true legacy

Lord Levy, the personal friend, fund raiser and envoy of the Prime Minister, has been arrested today and questioned as part of Scotland Yard's investigation into "Loans for Peerages".

For the avoidance of doubt "loans for peerages" essentially means that rich people could physically buy their way into a position from which to rule the country if they made a donation to the Labour Party.

This is far more serious than simple Party fund raising. I couldn't care less who or how people are convinced to give money to political parties. A seat at the table of power, however, must be earned not bought. People must see and hear what you stand for and must be as easily able to sack you from office as they were to elect you.

Let us also be clear that Lord Levy is joined at the hip with the Prime Minister in this situation. The PM takes full responsibility for anything that Lord Levy did. More significantly, it is unlikely that Lord Levy did anything without Blair's personal sanction.

In 1995, the calamitous "Cash for questions" affair blew up around a failing Tory government. An unfathomably stupid man by the name of Hamilton was alleged to have taken money in return for asking questions in the House of Commons. The media went beserk and, rightly, the death knell rang out for the Government and the reputation for sleaze was embedded for ever.

Cash for questions pales into insignificance when compared to loans for peerages. Firstly, it involved only a lowly minister. It reached no higher than that. And secondly, the questions did little more than reveal dull and specific information. They certainly carried no lasting or significant impact.

Now, however, we have a political fraud that reaches right to the pinnacle of our political system and is serious enough to merit police investigation and arrest; we have a political fraud that was sanctioned from the very top and was designed to leave a lasting and embedded impact on the future political landscape.

Our Prime Minister actually expects to be interviewed without coffee by the police. We have truly descended into the mire of corruption and deceit that we have long associated with basket case democracies. It is a day to be sad, angry and humiliated.

So what then is this legacy? Well for certain it is revealed in the timid and cowering approach being taken by the media. The most devastating story in British politics lies unprobed and untold whilst a full scale police investigation unfolds. All level of political reporter pleads ignorance and a lack of information. None surge forward to demand answers. Chief pundits play it down and pretend it is nothing.

Ten years of media bullying. That is the legacy to which I refer. A decade of bullying which leaves us with an impotent and shallow media. What hold does Blair have on these people? The 4th estate have sold out. But they should know that when the walls come down, anyone too close gets crushed.

Nulabour has been a lie and a sham from day one. It has been corrupt and sleazy from conception to old age.

It is ironic that this Government effectively legislated to put to sleep hundreds of loyal, hard working hunting hounds. Can there be any more appropriate an analogy?

Monday, 10 July 2006

Don't knock the police - it really is not their fault

I have been to our meeting, and quite interesting it was too. (You may have read the post below first! Sorry they are both long. Please stick with it. It makes sense in the end!))

What came out? Well the poor police sergeant took a bit of heat. He was regaled (well, harangued really) with story after story of incidents of a) inability to report crime to a human being (always the centralised voice mail) b) the lack of response when crime was successfully reported and c) the complete failure to do anything meaningful or effective to those known to be the culprits.

The Sergeant asked for us to help to provide evidence, to stand up and be counted, but then confirmed that photographing or videoing anti social behaviour or crime was of no help. He asks the village to provide a statement and "expose" themselves (metaphorically) to the culprits but then admits that nothing ever happens. The evidence won't stand up, the CPS won't touch it, and the ASBO kids remain free to wreek their revenge in the full knowledge that the cycle will repeat itself, whatever they do.

Buckden is full of people who would dearly love to provide evidence and deal with these people effectively. They know exactly who the ten or so young people are in the village who most need to be dealt with severely and effectively. They know exactly where and when things happen and in a great many cases they know exactly who is doing it.

But when they try to inform the police in real time via the "centralised answering service" (for which they must have the obligatory "targets for customer service") nobody answers; if they do get through nobody comes; and if they do come they prove to be impotent without the "right sort of evidence" to bring a prosecution. In such circumstances, it is easy to see why people give up.

Ultimately, the system, over which our lowly Sergeant has absolutely no control, does not want to pursue this sort of ASB or low level crime and harrassment. Under the current rules of evidence, it is simply too hard to achieve a conviction, so the resources afforded to trying are frankly wasted. They are forced to police by "targets" and "customer satisfaction levels". But we are not customers. We are citizens, just like them.

Unable to prosecute and punish, they try instead to tackle matters by deterrence and engagement. It is pretty much all that is left to them, but the vandalism, harrassment and verbal abuse is left unchecked. These people are mobile enough to avoid deterrence and are the last people to engage. As I eventually said, engagement is my problem, as Councillor. We can engage all we like, however, but only if he delivers the firmer policing that must accompany it.

What is missing is that level of policing that used to exist just underneath the legal radar. Real policing that used to know communities inside out and knew exactly who to go to when something happened. Moreover it was robust policing that knew exactly how far to go to make sure that their discipline was effective in keeping a tight lid on ASB. It made the odd mistake but on the whole it steered generations of kids through the joys of adolescence with a firm hand, with the support of the community (including their parents) but without criminalising them.

This policing existed right up until the mid Nineties, when a certain person deliberately commissioned a report to undermine the a national institution that would best reflect the dawn of a new style of government.

Macpherson delivered and the police were destroyed in a single day. Every community has paid the price ever since.

I was wrong, in my post below, to look look for a problem spanning twenty years and I was wrong to search among the youth and their parents. The problem lies in the government and their attitude, the Human Rights Act that protects the perpetrators of crime at the expense of the general public and a police force who are made to serve us with both arms and legs tied behind their backs.

Hug a hoodie??

David Cameron has had his say on the issue of youthful behaviour and I have mine in a couple of hours - at a village meeting, organised to debate the all too continuous levels of anti social behaviour in the village. This is the jist of what I intend to say....

In the last 15 to 20 years things have gone terribly wrong. 20 years ago I was 15 and, along with other 15 year olds, we knew pretty much where we stood in the community. As I approach the moment when my own children need three hands to count their age, I discover that teenagers still know where they stand, but it is absolutely not the same place.

Why is it then that a generation of kids born in the mid to late Eighties, of parents themselves born in the early sixties, have turned the entire adult - child relationship on its head? Unless I am very much mistaken, adults now fear teenagers in the way teenagers used to fear adults.

Why is it that villages and communities like my own, allow their lives and desires to be dictated by the threat from teenagers. We can't put up cricket nets or renovate the 5 a side court because "the youth will trash it". We can't do anything in the village because the kids will wreck it, threaten us and ruin the village. Trouble is, we are having this meeting because the youth are wrecking things, threatening us and ruining the village anyway.

So the kids trash the village for want of something more constructive to do, but we can't give them anything more constructive in case they wreck it. How does a cycle of negativity like that start, but much more importantly, how does it end?

The clamour is for more and better policing. I agree wholeheartedly. I wish that policing had a more robust character. But police are just citizens empowered by citizens to uphold the law. They reflect society because they are society. So if we adults all sit in our homes refusing to confront the youth who threaten us or avoiding people and places for fear that they might pick on us, we can't expect the police to be much different. Community policing draws its confidence and character from the community it serves. Apathy and ambivalence will be met with apathy and ambivalence. If we look round for someone else to solve our problems, then so will they.

Anyway, let us for a moment imagine that we got our dream. A village Bobby dedicated night and day to the safety and good order of Buckden. Within weeks, we would have a person employed, to all intent and purpose, to chase the same group of youth round the village in a game of cat and mouse.

In that same time, you can guarantee that the first thing he or she will do is stand in front of the Parish and Village Hall committees and beg for us to do more for the kids. He will tell us that with more facilities and amenities and without more involvement from parents and elders alike, he stands no chance of guiding the teenagers into more constructive activity and preventing the younger ones from following the current example of their older brothers.

So the point is that which ever way up you turn this problem, the answer is for us, the grown ups, to be the adults in this situation. We have to be the ones to break the cycle, we have to be the ones who give first, we have to endure the initial contempt and failure but we have to persevere and prevent the next generation from following suit.

We have to dominate our village, support our police, provide the evidence and stand up and be counted. For whilst the youth think that we are not interested and not going to confront behaviour which they know to be unacceptable, they will not change and we continue to suffer.

I ask you all - we must do more to provide more for the youth. We must lead the way and set the example, so that those who sit on the side lines abbrogating their responsibilities feel unwelcome and out of place.

There are a great many kids who stay at home for fear that they will be tarred with the same brush. We need to get them out and into the village so that we all dominate the village and repel those who have nor respect, no care and no thought for others.

I have said before and I say again, we must do three things - encourage firmer policing, provide better amenities and educate the youngster in our primary school - and we must do them together.