Tuesday, October 31, 2006

November 1st

Do you mind telling me where the year has gone?

"Spooks" on BBC last night

Melanie Phillips wrote this article following last week's episode.............

The British Bigotry Corporation

Although I didn’t see it, a number of people have reported that the BBC TV series ‘Spooks’ has been a sickening example of sheer unadulterated antisemitism, complete with conspiracy theory and accusations of dual loyalty. A reader writes:

Anti-Zionism may be unremarkable on the Beeb, but this skidded well over into antisemitism. The take-home message was that Al Qaeda are a bunch of amateurs and can be managed as a law-enforcement problem but the real danger are those devious, murderous, all-too-clever Jews. The main plot involves a group of ruthless Mid-East hijackers who take over a London embassy and shoot people every hour. They turn out (of course) to be Jews in disguise. We have a Jewish traitor in high places with dialogue invoking the classic ‘can’t serve two masters’ accusation: ‘I asked which side he would fight on in a war between Britain and Israel. He just gave me his answer.’ The plot also relies on the same argument as the 9/11 conspiracy theory that Mossad blew up the twin towers because Muslims aren’t smart enough: MI5 realise the baddies must be Jewish because they’re too clever for their own good (and merciless and self-serving, naturally). The Jews in this episode may not be drinking the blood of Christian children but they are certainly bloodthirsty. There is even a fat, heavy-featured Mossad officer looking evil and inscrutable as he mouths ’shalom’. Plus the ringleader gets a cathartic booting at the end from the hero which had me in mind of Kristallnacht.

Nor was this a one-off rush of blood to the BBC head. Eric Lee, who wrote about this double episode on his blog
here was forced to return to it again here, since ‘Spooks’ has now used the ‘diabolical Israelis’ angle three weeks in a row. Are they really so short of plot ideas?
Only a few days ago, people were taken aback to read the brazen admissions of bias made by BBC bigwigs at their ‘impartiality’ seminar. But this is much more than political bias. This is deep, culturally embedded, venomous bigotry. Yet to my knowledge there has been no inquest at the BBC, no expressions of concern by staff, no sign of life from the Governors. Astounding.

What does one expect from the institutionally anti-semitic, anti-Zionist BBC?

Last night, "Israelis" were once again in a bizarre story-line. This time a supposed Mossad hit squad went after this weeks "Baddie". The "Baddie" got wasted, much to the annoyance of MI5 who couldn't tolerate such interference from a foreign power. Bless.

I wonder if the Devil cares about this?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Muddy fields in Kent and a haunted pub

For those of you who normally venture here , can I apologise. Today was very special. Why? you may ask. Well, the training programme is really kicking (or hiking) into gear.

Very soon, I'm going to have to join the Ramblers Association! - About 8 miles were covered, on foot, from the well known village of Sutton-at-Hone to Farningham and back. My guides were the infamous Lord & Lady Pay. The "first-half" was spent dodging sheep, Sevenoaks District Council (very near to Iain Dale territory) dust-carts, very small dogs and navigating tunnels, above which were the M20 & A20. The conversation was peppered with current affairs, politics; reminices about schooldays in Broadstairs, political speeches; (like the nonsense from Bliar this morning) tv & radio coverage and so on..................time was taken out for a photo shoot. ( see above - do you like the boots?)

After about 2 1/2 hours, when the three voices were getting a little hoarse, a pub was stumbled upon. Not any pub, but one run by daughter Katherine. An excellent repas was served and copious amounts of shandy were imbibed. The pub in question is the Pied Bull. This former coaching inn is haunted by a "friendly ghost". "Is that right", I said with a certain degree of sarcasm. "Certainly is", said Katherine. She then explained about various goings on and comings off, up and down the staircase. The ghost sometimes laughs. Katherine tells it to shut-up. It does!

The return leg (I know a terrible pun) resumed at about Chinese dentist time - two-thirty. ( some of you will get that) and finished around tea-time. A brew was gulped down before I headed towards the M25 and civilization.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

October Sunshine

A quite brilliant day today. I've already dropped a note here about todays marching over Hampstead Heath.

Tomorrow(correct, I'm having a day off) shall be spent circumnavigating various parts of the Darenth valley in North Kent. Later on, I'm being presented with some sponsorship money by some kind souls from England's garden. That'll put me past the 2K mark.

The day will be spent with Lord & Lady Pay. One of them shares my passion for da 'Gate

The oldest football club in London

No not Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham or even Brentford but lowly Leyton. Formed in 1868, that's 28 years earlier than us , their current side were walloped by the glorious 'Gate 4-0 yesterday afternoon.

I've been to some ropey grounds in my time but Leyton's, bless them, does take the biscuit. To be fair, their supporters, all 17 of them, were friendly and the tea bar served excellent chips, but I'm afraid the "stadium" has a long way to go to meet modern standards. (Mind you, so has Hartsdown Park, Margate, but that's another issue).

Just down the road from Leyton's ground, new facilities for the 2012 Olympics will start to spring up very shortly. That's all very well but IMO, sports grounds in this country are sadly lacking in number and quality. One just has to visit many non-league football grounds around the country. To that you can add the lack of hockey, lacrosse and rugby pitches. Compared to the Continent (where sport& recreation are taking more serioiusly) sporting ground choices for our citizens is awful. Did you realise that we've lost 34000 playing fields in recent years? Whether this is down to deliberate Government policy, greedy speculators or just plain incompetence, it is high-time this serious issue was tackled.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A day off

No sports reporting or radio broadcasting for me tomorrow. Instead, household chores, training and watching rather than commentating on football.

Oh and one more thing - the car needs cleaning.

Breast Cancer Awarness Day

Is virtually over and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a couple of calls concerning my preparation for "the" Trek.

More details can be found here.

With a bit of luck, I may be asked to give a talk at my public-speaking club about my fund-raising efforts.

Campaign for Common Sense

After reading Ruth Lea's piece in today's Daily Telegraph, I'm thinking of starting one.

Gordon Brown's squandered legacy By Ruth Lea

Gordon Brown is currently preparing his last Pre-Budget Report, which could be his last shout or, possibly, his penultimate shout as Chancellor. Doubtless his analysis of his management of the economy will be strong on self-congratulation and weak on self-criticism. A balanced assessment will not be on the cards. In truth, his management has been very mixed indeed.
On the plus side, there is little doubt that his move to hand over interest rate decisions to the Bank of England was sound. The Bank has performed a splendid task and delivered "low inflation stability" most satisfactorily. But even here the Chancellor has been unable to resist interfering. Quite gratuitously, he changed the inflation target from one based on the retail prices index (excluding mortgage interest payments) to one based on the less comprehensive, but euro-friendly, consumer price index.
Also on the plus side, the economy has performed reasonably creditably. Given worse management, it could have performed far worse. This may be seen as damning his management with faint praise. It is meant to. An analysis of the economy that Mr Brown inherited from the beleaguered Tory government, whose reputation for economic competence collapsed on Black Wednesday, and today's equivalent does not make happy reading.

In 1997, the economy, after the traumas of the early 1990s, was performing remarkably well. Post-Black Wednesday, Norman Lamont made hard, but very necessary, decisions on fiscal consolidation and introduced inflation targeting. These policies were consolidated by Ken Clarke and, along with the supply-side reforms of the Thatcher era, provided the conditions for economic recovery. Inflation moderated, growth was strong, unemployment fell, the balance of payments improved and the public finances were transformed.

Indeed, when Mr Brown made his triumphant entry into the faded Edwardian grandeur of the Treasury building (since refurbished at great expense), the healthy state of the economy was explained to him. Apparently an official had said to him: "These are fantastically good figures – the state of the economy is much better than predicted." To which his reply was: "What am I supposed to do about this? Write a thank-you letter?" He did not write a thank-you letter. Instead, he vilified the Tories' record, not least on the public finances.

Fast-forwarding nine years, it is clear that, while the economy has not been wrecked, it no longer performs as well as it did in 1997. You will not be hearing this from Mr Brown on Pre-Budget Report day. GDP growth has slowed when compared with the Major years, especially when allowance is made for the impact on growth of the large-scale immigration experienced since mid-2004. And this is at a time when the world economy has been, on the whole, remarkably benign. The performance of the manufacturing sector has been dire. Even though there has been a rise in employment, much of it in the public sector, unemployment is also now increasing quite sharply. Productivity growth has decelerated significantly, despite Mr Brown's procession of policies for "meeting the productivity challenge". Even inflation is now picking up.
The deterioration in the current account of the balance of payments has been dramatic. In 1997, it was almost in balance; last year, the deficit was £27 billion. Deficits of this size can be financed – but not without damaging Britain's net asset position with the rest of the world.

But the biggest macroeconomic horror relates to public finances. When the Tories left office, public sector finances were moving towards surplus. The Chancellor added to this potential treasure chest by raising taxes – most notoriously by removing tax credits for dividends paid to pension schemes, which has so damaged occupational pensions. This was Mr Brown's "prudent" phase, when he was storing up treasure for a "purpose".

The purpose was, of course, the subsequent massive injection of funds into public services, especially the NHS. It is difficult to comprehend just how rapidly public spending has shot up on the Chancellor's watch. It is huge, even allowing for inflation. In financial year 1997-98, total spending was about £320 billion; by 2005-06, it was £520 billion. And its share had risen from 39 per cent of GDP to 42 per cent.

The folly of injecting huge chunks of cash into the unreformed public services and the ever-expanding public sector has been debated on many occasions. The evidence of falling productivity and wanton waste of hard-earned resources is little short of scandalous. And, of course, taxes have been increased substantially to pay for Mr Brown's folly. Britain's tax-GDP ratio is rising at a time when most other OECD countries have realised that heavily taxed economies underperform and destroy individual incentives.

But even with Mr Brown's tax increases, public finances, far from heading towards balance as they were in 1997, are now stubbornly, structurally, in the red. Even on the Chancellor's own forecasts, which should always come with a health warning, public sector borrowing is expected to be £36 billion for the current financial year. Given that the economy has been growing since 1994, the unhealthy state of the public finances should be regarded as a major achievement of irresponsible mismanagement.

Sadly, too, general economic competitiveness has deteriorated over the past nine years. Not only have corporate taxes risen, but the horrendous complexity of the tax system is self-evident to anyone who ventures inside the covers of Tolley's Tax Guide. Regulations, some home-grown, many from the EU, insidiously creep into and fur up enterprise. The extension of employment regulations is especially troublesome. The Chancellor talks the talk on being business-friendly, but most emphatically does not walk the walk.

The Chancellor's record is nothing to be proud of. He inherited a golden legacy, and has squandered much of it. One thing is for sure. His successor's inheritance will not be golden. But he will have one thing in common with Mr Brown. He will not be writing a thank-you letter, either.

Ruth Lea is the director of the Centre for Policy Studies

2am on Sunday morning

The bi-annual hiatus of clock changing will be happening over this weekend. "Don't forget to put your clocks back" the voice on the radio will say. Then they bang on about that extra hour in bed. As if that's going to make such a difference to our lives!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Woman are meat - it's official

According to an Australian Muslim Cleric.

I suppose he's entitled to his opinion.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


A fellow London Corinthian sent me an e-mail yesterday imploring me to join YouTube. Jenny Cutler is a real star. Brilliant at public-speaking and story-telling, she's a stalwart of Toastmasters International.

Why, I asked myself. Will there be some global catastrophe if I don't?

I'm already (or rather my showreel is) on Google Video so why bother with these other types of self-promoting video sites?

Bulgarians & Romanians

The comment by Serf in his Blog is self-evident and more than worthy of a mention.

Here it is in full:
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tough on Immigration

Our Glorious Leader, in the knowledge that his lies on immigration have been rumbled, has vowed to be much tougher this time. His tame Pit Bull has been telling the world that Romanians and Bulgarians, will not have the automatic right to work in the UK next year, unlike their more fortunate Polish counterparts. Thats the theory anyway. The reality?

EU law means the Government can’t stop people coming – so permits will only drive people into the illegal economy.Read that carefully. Under EU law, all Romanians and Bulgarians have the right to come to the UK. The system to be put in place simply means that they cannot work legally. So my question to you is this: A Bulgarian who has been unable to find a job at home is now faced with an option

1. Stay where he is unemployed
2. Come to the UK and work illegally

Personally I would choose option number two.
Something which not enough people are aware of is exactly what free movement of people means. Open Europe spells out one very big problem with it:

While EU law allows the Government to restrict numbers coming to work for companies in the UK it currently forbids it from stopping dangerous criminals from entering the country, or deporting them if they commit a crime in the UK.

Seeing as crooks have more reason than most to wish to move around, this part of the law is a complete criminals charter. Probably in place to make a power grab in the area of justice much easier.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

English Language - usage and abusage.

Had to laugh on the way back to Euston from Manchester ( the 15.11) earlier today. The Virgin train "manager" came on the intercom and delivered in his best gutteral, "nah wot I meen" dialect and uttered something like - "the twain will be stoppin' at Stoke-on-Twent soas we can sort out the electrix". He continued bravely. "we will be there for about four to five minutes".

Unfortunately, the speed of his oration, meant that certain fellow passengers ( or customers, as they are now called) thought he said "Fawty-five". "Oh my Gawd"! shreiked the chavette over to my left. (She was no doubt pondering about the fact that her assignation with "Terry" or "Lee" would be delayed) Within a few seconds normal service had resumed, as our magnificent train manager, realising the error of his ways, slowly repeated over the intercom "four......to......five minutes.....so about five minutes, not fawtyfive minutes". Ironic applause would have been heard all over the Potteries.

You see, this could have been avoided if one just enounciated one's speech a little better.

Aw wight!

What a difference a week makes!

From beautiful Bordeaux to miserable Manchester.
The contrast couldn't have been greater. On the one hand, there's sophistication and on the other scruffiness, foul-language and anti-social behaviour. Most of it, of course, in the centre of town!
Luckily for me, I was staying with some friends near the relatively civilized suburb of Altrincham. Mind you, I was dead impressed with the new Hilton Hotel near the G-Mex centre. The lower half of this "thin" skyscraper is the hotel, then above it are private apartments. The tallest residential building in the UK.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Clare Short

I have to wholeheartedly agree with Iain Dale's comment in his Blog about Clare Short.

"I'm not sure what to make of Clare Short's decision to resign the Labour whip today and continue as an independent MP. If I were a Labour supporter I would be furious at the kick in the teeth she has administered to the Party which made her. And she does it at the very time that Tony Blair is on his way out. I would have more respect for her if she had done it much earlier, but she was of course very happy to earn her Cabinet Minister's salary for six years and keep Blair's patronage".

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Following the BA crucifix affair.....................

Overheard in a hospital earlier today:
Question: "Are you married?"
Old gentleman patient: "Sadly, yes."
Question: "Do you have any religion?"
Old gentleman patient: "No. I'm Church of England."

And he was not joking, our informant insists.

(Taken from the brilliant Samizdata Blog)

Democratic Party Convention

Just received this in from Alan Caruba. Loved the Chirac bit.

Agenda for the Democratic National Convention for 2008:

7:00 P.M. Opening flag burning.
7:15 P.M. Pledge of allegiance to U.N.
7:30 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
7:30 till 8:00 P.M. Nonreligious prayer and worship. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.
8:00 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
8:05 P.M. Ceremonial tree hugging.
8:15- 8:30 P.M. Gay Wedding-- Barney Frank Presiding.
8:30 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
8:35 P.M. Free Saddam Rally. Cindy Sheehan-- Susan Sarandon.
9:00 P.M. Keynote speech. The proper etiquette for surrender-- French President Jacques Chirac
9:15 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
9:20 P.M. Collection to benefit Osama Bin Laden kidney transplant fund
9:30 P.M. Unveiling of plan to free freedom fighters from Guantanamo Bay . Sean Penn
9:40 P.M. Why I hate the Military, A short talk by William Jefferson Clinton
9:45 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
9:50 P.M. Dan Rather presented Truth in Broadcasting award, presented by Michael Moore 9:55 P.M., Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
10:00 P.M. How George bush and Donald Rumsfeld brought down the World Trade Center Towers-- Howard Dean
10:30 P.M. Nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Mahmud Ahmadinejad
11:00 P.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
11:05 P.M. Al Gore reinvents Internet
11:15 P.M. Our Troops are War criminals-- John Kerry
11:30 P.M. Coronation Of Mrs. Rodham Clinton
12:00 A.M. Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
12:05 A.M. Bill asks Ted to drive Hillary home

Just passing this along to provide a bit of entertainment. The source of this is unknown to me. -- AC

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ramsgate Rally

Not a political point but one concerning one of my huge passions - football.
(The photo shows a victorious Margate FC in May 2004 team after having won one of the oldest competitions in English football - The Kent Senior Cup).

For the first time in about 45 years, Ramsgate FC is "above" Margate FC in a league position. This situation has been brought about by our (Margate FC that is) recent demise from the upper echelons of non-league football (The Conference) and the extroadinary rise of the "old enemy" Ramsgate FC . Both teams now play in the Ryman League, Premier Division. It's been 34 years since both clubs played each other in a league situation. In 1972/3, Ramsgate reached their soccer zenith by competing in the Southern League, Premier Division (the equivalent of today's Conference, IMO). But they only lasted one season. Margate on the other hand, finished well in that division that season and were on the telly as they narrowly lost to the Spurs 6-0 at Hartsdown Park in the FA Cup. Ramsgate FC's fortunes then took a nosedive and have only been revived since the local MP, Steve Ladyman, started to watch them more reguarly.

In just two seasons, Ramsgate's average home crowd has risen from 4 men and a dog to something approaching the average number in a queue at a Post Office on pension day. Last season, Ramsgate even managed to reach the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup. A remarkable feat for such a little team. It was only the second time in Ramsgate FC's history that they had "gone so far". This season, other little teams like Haverhill or Brackley could "do a Ramsgate".

Will your club "do a Ramsgate" this season?

Pyongyang Rally

Can you believe it's 2006!

The pictures from North Korea on the news last night reminded me of the old "Pathe" newsreel pictures of the Nazis parading at Nuremberg. You know, we could be on the verge of a major conflagration in the Far East. The state broadcaster said from Pyongyang that the rally was a mark of defiance against UN resolutions to start trade and other sanctions against the state (which has been fighting Imperialism for 80 years). Bless.

What will the political bloggers such as Iain Dale, Boris J, Ellee and the devil himself make of this potentially alarming situation?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

All aboard to Bordeaux

This was the sixth tour of it's kind for the dynamic duo (although it felt like the nth time I'd been away with Paul). Previously, various towns on the Continent of Europe, had been terrorised by us. These include: Bayeux, Compiegne, Ostend and Milano Marittima on the Adriatic coast.

But this weekend was unlike any other, as Bordeaux is a magnificent city. Full of Classic and neo-Classic architecture, wide roads where the trams snake through like smooth, semi-silent serpents. There are no cars in the centre, as several years ago it was decided to turn it into a pedestrian-only zone, the cornerstone of which, is the magnificent Greek and Romanesque- stlyed Opera House.

I need not dilate on the excellences of foreign travel to such places as Italy, Spain and France. This compares of course, to what we have at home. Instead of stylish, chic-looking women parading in and out of fashionable boutiques or sophisticated cafes, we have half-dressed, barely conscious; alcoholically-challenged, raucous females and males from some sub-culture, downloading (or is it chucking-up) images on their "phones" in their own self-amused fashion, on and around our High Streets.

Bordeaux, like most other towns and cities in France, has no thoroughfares called High Street, or it's equivalent in la belle langue - and as an antedote to English homogeneous, in Bordeaux there is the Place du Parlement, Cours de L'Intendance and the the superb sounding Place des Quinconces.

Along Les Allees de Tourny, Sunday lunch was taken at La Noaille, one of the finest bistro's in the city. Fresh asparagus, sole menuire and a peach and raspberry tart all washed down wth an excellent white wine - and how could I not mention our visit to St. Emilion. This village, world renowned for it's wine, quaint little restaurants and shops is really a sight to behold and " a must see" on any visit to South-West France.
(There's also a little extra piece about the car we took to St Emilion, here) and.....................
...........the bizarre-looking drink in the photo above, is a Monaco. Beer with a dash of grenadine.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blair melting away

Loved Guido's article about Blair melting away. Hopefully his ghastly bint will melt away as well.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Michael Palin and Monty Python's Flying Circus

A questionnaire recently winged it's way into my Inbox the other day. One of the questions was "What is/was your biggest influence". My response was virtually automatic - Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Some of you will no doubt be aware that Michael Palin is going to have his diaries serialised on Radio 4 starting this coming Monday. This evening on BBC TV, there's been programmes about Michael Palin and his fellow Pythons. Of course, we viewers were also given various glimpses of those wonderful sketches. Ministry of Silly Walks, The Argument, Norwegian Blue and my firm favourite the Poofy Commando sketch. Classic. Oops, are we allowed to post words like poofy, or will the Internet police close me down?

Friday, October 06, 2006

PC or not PC

I totally agree with Iain Dale's post this morning about that "policeman" who refused to guard the Israeli embassy. Iain's old political boss David Davis wrote a brilliant article which appears in today's electronic Telegraph................Here it is in full..........

Police can't pick and choose which duties they will fulfil By David Davis

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police yesterday called for an "urgent review" of the decision to excuse a Muslim police officer from guarding the Israeli embassy. The details of the case are not known to the public, and so at this stage the individual decision must be solely a matter for Sir Ian Blair.
But the conclusion the Commissioner draws could have widespread consequences throughout the police forces of the United Kingdom.

Every policeman or woman takes an oath when they become a constable:

I … do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.

The requirements to serve with "fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality" and accord "equal respect to all people" are there for a reason – so that every citizen, and every visitor here, can rely absolutely on every police officer to do his duty and protect us whenever we need him and whoever we are. There are absolutely no exceptions, certainly not on grounds of religion, politics, race or nationality.

Otherwise, where do we draw the line? The most famous act of diplomatic protection in modern times was the resolution of the Iranian Embassy siege in the 1980s. Should we not have acted because many people disapproved of the Iranian regime at the time? Hardly. Should we accept that Sikh and Hindu officers can choose not to police the Pakistani High Commission? Or should we accept that police officers with strong religious beliefs against homosexuality should be able to exempt themselves from policing a Gay Pride march? Of course not.

There can be no exemption on "moral grounds". The single most important job of the Diplomatic Protection Group is to protect the lives of the staff of the embassies, from the ambassador to the locally employed cleaner, from attack. That is why they are armed. What sort of morality is it that is unwilling to protect life, whoever's it is?

This is compounded by the fact that there is a conflict in the Middle East. It is precisely those countries involved in conflict whose diplomatic staff are at risk.
So it is vital that Sir Ian Blair's conclusion allows no ambiguity. The police force is a disciplined force for a reason. Policemen, like soldiers, have to take orders and act, without hesitation and without debate, often at risk to themselves, because that is necessary to protect the public.

There is no room for conscientious objectors in the discharge of the immensely important responsibilities owed to the public. When Fl Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith refused to serve in Iraq in 2005, he was court-martialled and sent to prison for eight months. The same principle should apply to the police. If not, are the other emergency services offered the same exemption? Can ambulance drivers and firefighters refuse to attend some emergencies on the basis of personal conviction? Surely not. Obedience to the demands of public safety should never be an optional matter.

This is true even in the area of safety. Many police officers accept serious risk of harm as part of their daily job. We cannot accept that one officer can opt out, leaving another to shoulder the risk. If on the other hand, the risk is from other Muslims – which I find implausible – this in some ways is even worse. Surely, the last organisation on earth to accept that its members should be able to be intimidated out of doing their job is the police force.
Welfare arguments apply, of course, to policing as much as to any other well-managed organisation. A policeman whose daughter has been raped would not normally be put on a rape case in the immediate aftermath; a police office who had lost a child to cot death would not be sent to a cot death inquest.

But the nature of policing means that these cases must be very narrowly drawn. They cannot be allowed to be a general get-out clause. Sometimes policing can be psychologically extremely uncomfortable. There are numerous examples of the police discharging their duties in the most difficult of circumstances – during the miners' strike, the poll tax riots and racial unrest – which pitched police officers against relatives or people with whom they felt some sympathy or affinity. Brian McCargo, a Roman Catholic Chief Superintendent in the RUC, provides a striking example. During an interview in 2001, he explained:
Not only was I reared in a nationalistic area, but … I played Gaelic football for Ardoyne. The day I started my training was Bloody Sunday … I was discouraged from living in the area by the paramilitaries. Had I persisted in living there, the chances are I'd have been shot dead… You can imagine the emotions that accompanied me when I went in, but never did I think: 'Why did I join the RUC'?... I respect people for what they are, irrespective of where they come from, and expect them to take me for what I am.
This was despite the risk to his life, the threat to his family and the "double points" the IRA offered for killing a Catholic police officer.

If we allow exceptions to be made on the grounds of religion, race, politics or nationality, it would be a disaster for our attempts to achieve diversity in our police forces. The implications for our society would be even worse. A real risk our nation faces today is a splintering of loyalties, a feeling that different parts of society can have an opt-out from the duties and responsibilities of being a British citizen. What hope do we have of promoting integration and community cohesion if our public servants can opt out of some of their duties?

Of all institutions, the police must be absolutely immune to this. They must be blind to colour, deaf to religious difference and silent as to political persuasion. They must be oblivious to nationality, and their personal beliefs must be entirely subordinate to their duties. And there must be no exceptions.

David Davis is Shadow Home Secretary.

This PC or not PC issue really makes my blood boil. We've had 30 years of political correctness. Isn't it about time we turned the tide?

Ask for the order!

This is exactly what Will Kintish points out in a post from his rather amusing Blog.

Of course, this rolls on nicely from my post here in August. Ask for the order!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Iain Dale on Radio 4

Political blogger, Iain Dale on Radio 4 this morning said that the Conservatives had to offer the electorate something different at the next election.

He was responding to the would-be Chancellor, George Osborne, who said ( and I'm paraphrasing here) "it would be irresponsible of me to say that a new Conservative Government would immediately introduce tax cuts". The only thing he didn't say was prudent.

Look 'ere Georgie boy, if you want to get elected in 2008/9 start distancing your party from the wishy-washy, federalist, PC agenda of the Lib/Lab alliance. Or do you want DC to be leader of Blue Labour as you a rightly referred to in certain circles.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The FA Cup with the BBC following Margate.

The FA Cup with the BBC following Margate is exactly what it says on the tin. Yesterday's exciting local derby with the Kent League leaders, Whitstable, would have been a brilliant match to watch for the neutral.

Assisted by my BBC colleagues, Mike Green and Peter Guise, I was able to chuck in my "two-bobsworth" on every occasion I was prompted to do so. In six years of commentating and reporting on football matches, I'd never had to suffer such "highs and lows" over a 90-minute period. But that, as no doubt many of you would say, is the magic of the FA Cup. BBC Kent's radio and internet listeners must have chuckled as my blood pressure and general frustration increased as Margate failed to convert their goal scoring opportunities into goals. Ten clear cut chances in the first half but the only goal that came was from pluckly little Whistable.

The last time Margate played the Oystermen in a competitive game was nearly 50 years ago with Margate winning by a handsome margin. No chance of that yesterday. Eventually though, the 600 or so away fans smiled as two late goals gave the 'Gate a deserved 2-1 victory. The photo above shows James Pinnock thumping the winner home from 12 yards.

The match at the Belmont was a far cry from the Cup-ties I grew up with Margate when we were pitted against the likes of Aldershot, Peterborough United and Swansea as underdogs. On the other hand there were those matches against Deal Town, Eastbourne Town and others where Margate were the professionals and expected to slaughter the opposition. We did just that at Eastbourne Town in 1967. The 9-0 scoreline still remains Margate's biggest ever away winning margin in a cup competition.

Yesterday's game reminded my pal Geoff Pay of the Fulham match in 1997. On that occasion, we lost 2-1 to Mohammed El-Fayed's team at Hartsdown Park in front of millions of viewers on Sky and over 5000 at the match itself.

Margate fans hope to avoid a tie against Dover in the next round. We'll see.