15 August 2008

More ruination

The pussification of the UK's national life continues... gasps of surprise all round! And their legal excuse? Not on principle, morals, legality but on the tenuous link that it might offend Muslims, Catholics, Martians, gays, whoever.
Anti-Monarchists in Parliament have whined for years that they have to swear an oath to "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors" in order to take up their positions, snouts-down in front of the abundant trough that is Westminster, but now they're apparently mounting a legal challenge too. The BBC reports that 22 MPs have signed a Commons motion by Norman Baker, MP for Lewes, calling for the scrapping of the oath of allegiance.
Not surprisingly, Baker is a Lib-Dem. His voting record can be discerned pretty much by my telling you that he's a "whining anti-", except for his record on gay rights, which is apparenly only mildly pro- (perhaps it had been a rough few months - again - for Lib-Dem cruising scandals?). His expenses record for 2006/2007 was only [hem hem] £142,504 which only puts him at 225th highest in the House of Commons. Hmmm...
And who is taking up their mantle in this fight? It would, of course, have to be Louise Christian. Perhaps embarassed by the apparent partisanship of her surname, she's devoted her career to giving unpleasant people big legal hugs: if there's a penny to be made from a Legal Aid challenge to any authorities who might have looked the wrong way at the Human Rights Act, there she is, writing the invoice.
Now Ms Christian is, by all accounts, an excellent solicitor so I would expect a decent challenge to the oath. So what learned opinion have we so far? Er, "that it discriminated against Catholics, Muslims, other religions and atheists by requiring them to swear allegiance to the head of the Church of England". Perhaps it also offends young people by swearing to an old lady, huh Louise, huh? Shall we trot that one out too whilst we're putting together lazy arguments?
So there we have it: the tired old yah-boo-sucks argument of the lazy modern mind. She could object on legal principle or precedent, on grounds of poor governmentality, on constitutional grounds, or a host of other aguably legitimate reasons. However, the one that she's on the radio plugging is that is might offend people.
This is what we've come to in the UK. We should apparently dismantle all our traditions, all our values, all our history, just in case somebody might be offended, as decided by some rich, white, straight liberals who seek to impose their hegemony on everyone, trampling blithely over the views of other white, straight UK citizens (and a good few non-white, non-straight UK citizens who recognise some of the good things about UK traditions) so as not to offend their chosen cause celebre minority group.
Has anyone actually asked the Catholics, Muslims, atheists, Martians etc if they are offended by the oath of allegience? You can bet not. Let's just dismantle now and ask questions later.
It makes me ashamed to be a non-Brit, left-wing, left-handed, ginger lesbian copper. It really does.

16 June 2008

Base Details

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I'd live with scarlet Majors at the base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You'd see me with my puffy, petulent face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour, "Poor young chap",
I'd say --- "I used to know his father well;
Yes we've lost heavily in this last scrap."
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I'd toddle safely home and die --- in bed.

[Siegfried Sassoon, 1918]

The difference now is that the people sending our young men and women up the line to death are rather "wet" than "fierce"; I'd be very surprised if they bother to read any Rolls of Honour - it might discomfit them in making their initiative-led decisions; and they are unlikely to know the families of anyone who does make the ultimate sacrifice, on the home front or abroad - given how few MPs have ever served, in any sense, military, civil or voluntary.

Almost a hundred years have gone by since Sassoon wrote these words. But the words echo down the ages all the same.

10 June 2008

Tool of the week...

What a tool.

'Nuff said.

10 May 2008

"They haven't gone away"

With the courts still busy releasing suspected Islamist terrorists (and as a member of the public AND as a police officer, I say thanks very much for that - I'll sleep safer in my bed with these guys who'd like to kill me, my freedom, my lifestyle, my loved ones and my society out and about to continue their plotting) it's important to remember those that went before, the poor neglected terrorists in Northern Ireland / Occupied 6 Counties / Ulster / Thuaisceart Éireann.

Spare a thought for these guys and gals. No longer are they the terroristes du jour seeking and getting attention with their pesky pranks. The Ulster and Irish terrorists used to talk about "legitimate targets" and "collateral damage" but it seems they're now so miffed with the Islamists taking all the media attention that they've started targetting children's toy shops with their incendiary devices.

Yup, I said toy shops.

Now I know fine well that most of these 'incendiaries' are more to do with protection racketeering than politics, religion or belief. However, it still goes on, it's still terrorism, and modern spin post-peace process means that we just don't hear about it here on mainland UK any more.

But be under no illusions, they still haven't gone away.

29 January 2008

Service, and gratitude

The Government might not know what it means to serve, except that is, to self-serve, but apparently some of the good people of Great Britain do.
This picture is from the BBC web-site and shows a homecoming parade for soldiers just returned from sharp-end operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We know that the treatment of our military here in the UK is an utter disgrace - but then it was always so. Not without good reason do I reference Kipling in my strap-line at the top of this page and it's worth reading what he had to say from the perspective of the soldier, "Tommy Atkins".
It's not so different for police in terms of the total absence of any gratitude from Parliament, and not only soldiers and police who are treated contemptuously by our so-called leaders (the average expenses and bonuses of each one of our politicians would fund 4 extra police officers per year, 6 paramedics or 10 private or equivalent ranked soldiers, not even including the MPs' fat-cat salaries, subsidised dining [don't see many skinny politicians, do you?] company directorships, TV appearances and feathered-nest retirement deals). So it's clear who they think are most important, and it certainly isn't the little guys and gals putting their lives on the line for their country! At least nobody's tried to shoot me recently, not for a good while anyway, and I have the greatest respect for what our military in all of the arms, do for us, because I really don't know how they do it.
The tree-hugging, woolly-jumpered, bed-wetting, hippy soap-dodgers might not like the war; some clean, principled people with actual jobs don't like it either. But we all live in a country whose freedoms were won by people like those marching through Winchester to the cheering crowds. I'm pretty uncomfortable with the war, as it's been subverted by business interests of the Bush tribe and their cronies, but the people out there are fighting on behalf of our country, doing what I lack the courage to do, by and large honourably.
I see youths out pissing around on the housing estates I patrol every day, in suspended childhood, jobless (unless you count running for the local dealers) and expecting everyone to owe them a living, giving nothing, hands outstretched for welfare and what everyone else can do for them, always expecting extrinsic solutions to their pathetic problems. Then I see youths of the same age, but who are men, and women, growing up probably quicker than they ought to, but with pride, courage and honour.
I love the film, A Few Good Men and watching the fall of the tragic (in the classical sense) hero of Colonel Jessep. However flawed a character he is, and however much he deserves his comeuppance at the end, this character says some things that unnerve me, and here is one:
"...we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. [...] And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honour, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it.
I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post"
So when you're thinking about slagging off our soldiers, air force and naval personnel and whining about how Saddam just needed a big hug, how the war was all about oil (then drive somewhere using that oil), do remember that talk is cheap, but putting yourself on the line for others actually takes something intrinsic and strong.
And then just say thank-you, and go on your way.
Cheers boys and girls, men and women - I'll buy you a beer any day.

10 January 2008

So far beyond grumpy that grumpy is just a miniscule speck in the distance and seems quite cheery!

Gas price rises for 2008: 21%
My rent rise for 2008: 9.4%
Interest rate (UK average): 5.5%
The retail price index: 4.3%
The consumer price index (ie inflation): 2.1%
Current account interest rate (Nationwide): 0.8 - 3.2%, dependent upon amount paid in monthly.
Overdraft rate (Nationwide, authorised): 9.9%
Overdraft rate (Nationwide, unauthorised): 24.9%
Interest rates for loans (Nationwide): 9.4 - 16.4%, dependent upon loan amount
Mortgage rate (Nationwide, averaged): 6.5%

Nurses' pay rise 2007: 1.9%
Police pay rise 2007: 1.9%
British Army soldier, new entrant rate annual salary: £12,572

Average of MPs' pay rises (2006-2007): 2%
Average of MPs' expenses claims additional to basic salary, not inclusive of declared 2nd and 3rd jobs (2006-2007): £134,000

Knowing what it means to serve.... priceless (apparently).
Happy New Year.

25 November 2007

Night of the Long Batons

"His position is unsustainable, I think he should resign," he said. "I was removed from my job when the 'kiss and tell' happened and the reason I was given was that I, rather than the policing of Lambeth, had become the story. Ian Blair has become the story. London would be safer with someone else in charge."
Reported in the Torygraph, this has come from the controversial former policeman Brian Paddick, now shamelessly courting the media in an attempt to become the first Liberal Democrat mayor of London in place of "Ken le-Rouge". I know he's not in harness any more, having now handed in his warrant card on retirement, but Mr Paddick has been showing unseemly haste to stick the knife into his former Governor, Sir Ian Blair, whatever their differences.
One would have thought that the very reason he himself was moved post, in rather a shoddy way, would have given him some empathy for Mr Blair - surely to resign or be moved purely on the basis that one has become the main story in the witless cacklings of the press and TV media is the very reason why it would be such a dangerous precedent? The media, who are - of course - just looking for headlines, sales and ratings rather than making editorial decisions on any moral or ethical basis, would be foaming themselves with joy if their recent bullying actually scored a scalp in the person of Mr Blair. Now Mr Paddick himself is encouraging such knee-jerk behaviour. Shame on him.
If gives me no pleasure to say this - I've never been much of a fan of Mr Paddick, being as he is a bit of an embarassment to many gay officers - he's set our equality back years - but I am no fan of Mr Blair either, and suffer a wonky warrant card on the basis that it's still got Mr Stevens' signature on it (mature, I know) and I don't want it changed.
However, for Mr Blair to resign on the basis of a witch-hunt, and the moronically skewed hind-blindness of a lot of civilians who know nothing about duty and life-and-death pressures, because of the tragedy of multiple unfortunate happenstances that ended in the shooting of J-C de Menezes, would be a (further) gross error for the police service.
The Metropolitan Police Authority's Libdems and Tories have - predictably - tried to exert pressure to give him the elbow, in a blatent blurring of the separation of justice and politics (inasmuch as we can say that separation ever really existed!). With his usual paucity of thought or originality, David "Dave" Cameron has stated he wants police "chiefs" to be elected as in the USA - great news for short-term, knee-jerk policing goals! Not such great news for justice! No surprises then that Mr Paddick, now leapt onto the political bandwagon himself, should embrace any views that increase the influence of populist politicians into this morass.
Let's not make any long-term policing plans at all any more - let's just massage the egos of whatever politicians have been elected to rule us, with no more sense of duty than they have integrity and transparency in their expenses returns, and enact their vanity projects instead of striving constantly to protect the people we're appointed to, and have sworn and avowed to, protect!
Listening to the views around my nick in the London BOCU of Happiness is an interesting experience nowadays. Never have I heard so much, grudging, unwilling, reluctantly enthusiastic support for our Commissioner.
I still wouldn't be upset if he retired tomorrow. He'd have been hoist on his own petard, having himself encouraged too much of politics into policing already - and look how that's bitten him on the nose. But not for this, and not because a disloyal former officer with a personal grudge and political ambitions has wished for it.
My views are my own and would probably not endear me to my dear employers.