In Quitman, Georgia in the United States, the local constabulary have taken a more creative stance to cleaning up their town. And why not........
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." T.E. Lawrence; Seven Pillars of Wisdom
The television presenter Charlie Webster has resigned as patron of Sheffield football club as a result of their decision to allow convicted yet unrepentant rapist Ched Evans to train with the team following his release having served half of a five year sentence. Two further patrons, sixties pop star Dave Berry and health expert Lindsay Graham have also resigned during the course of the day.
Have the board of this "family and community orientated," club completely taken leave of their senses or is their moral courage so diminished that they have folded like a wet paper bag to the demands of the contemptible Players Football Association? The head of the PFA, an odious individual called Gordon Taylor, has a somewhat original view of the world, ‘If he earns money he'll pay taxes. Those taxes will go to help people who maybe can't get a job.’
Seriously? These people don't think so.
The statement issued by the club is jaw dropping. Are they really suggesting that there is a fair and reasonable case for a convicted rapist to return to a role as a public figure? Read the statement yourself and judge.
I'm absolutely speechless.
These are the culpable men although news reports suggest that among them there are those who are uncomfortable with the decision. They should simply resign and walk away forthwith. For the others, what exactly would your mothers say?
Co-Chairman (Group); Kevin McCabe, Jim Phipps
Chairman (Football Club) ; David Green
Director (Football Club); Scott McCabe
Vice President; Mike Blundell, Ian Cameron, Martin Green, Andrew Laver, Martin Ross, Christopher Steer
Operations Director; Dave McCarthy
Head of Football Operations; John Stephenson
Finance Director; Craig Burns
Commercial Director; Steve Coakley
Head of Group Coordination; Carl Shieber
Prince Abdulraham Bin Abdullah
Director (Plc); Selahattin Baki, Jeremy Tutton
All of you are utter cowards. What's next, a goalkeeper from Broadmoor and a couple of ABH's on the wing? I hope your wives, girlfriends, golf, masonic, wine and gin clubs, sling you out on your ear. You've proved yourselves not to be responsible people acting in the best interests of your club and community. You are morally bankrupt and your actions reflect badly on your town, your sport and indeed yourselves although its evident that you long since stopped caring about any of those things. You had better be quite sure about your actions because on these rest your legacy for it is this for which you will be remembered.
Light shines through though in the form of Ms Webster. Others should follow. Some of those men will be decent family guys; they need to prove that; to themselves more than anyone.
The howls of indignation about phone hacking and the News of the World emanating from the Outrage Bus parked outside Westminster has, to my ears, a hollow and tinny sound; like the sort of pinging a cheap Chinese watch makes. It's an absolute fact that to the detriment of anything resembling standards in our society the leaders of all parties have for years courted Murdoch and his papers, even to the extent of employing former editors as their spin meisters. Well, Cameron's got a big old septic boil to lance now.
That it took the revelation that a murdered child's mobile telephone was hacked to give Westminster some backbone after years of sycophantic toadying to News International is just profoundly depressing. Perhaps our formally unelected upper chamber was the only constituency in the country which was independently minded enough to stand up to them. Well, they're not around anymore.
Moreover, hacking into bereaved relatives phones leave one wondering if the story can get any worse. Don't worry; it can and very probably will for these vermin know no limits in their pursuit of so called "stories."
No-one to whom I have talked is in the least surprised by any of this. The general public long since abandoned any confidence in the ability of our tabloid press to lift themselves out of the grimy, manipulative and nasty sewer which they call home.
Audience participation though will no doubt spike when we get to the point when some of these cornered rats begin to turn on themselves and begin to spill the beans on each other, Westminster and their competitors. It's just a fact that the press always have more stories than they dare publish. None of them have yet gone nuclear but I suspect someone will, "I found Jesus and he led me to the truth.... when I worked at the ........" and so on.
The broadsheets needn't take on that holier than thou stance either. In "Newspaper Reporters Plumb New Depths," I discussed how reporters from the Mail and Times trawled the Facebook pages of children for gossip and stories. Odd too how the Mirror is strangely quiet; given they were happy to fabricate stories about British soldiers under that supercilious reptile Piers Morgan it's only a matter of time before their name pops up in the frame. I have experience of their reporters door stepping bereaved families; contempt doesn't come close to what I think of them.
However, the deeply troubling aspect of this disgraceful episode is the reprehensible action of a small number of police officers who accepted bribes from journalists. They will be found and they will go to prison, it's as simple as that. We should chuck the editors and journo's in with them and melt the keys.
News International meanwhile is sinking into a world of financial and reputational hurt, Sunday should certainly be interesting. Some people are even wondering if they used the same password for their email as they used for their Myspace and News International accounts, if they had them. News Internationals statement in 2009 in response to police interest reads as if it were penned by Lewis Carrol, "It is untrue that officers found evidence of News Group staff, either themselves or using private investigators, hacking into "thousands" of mobile phones." Well done Hayley Barlow and Alice Macandrew; just oozing journalistic integrity.
It would of course be warming to think that the News of the World will now go into a death spiral and be quickly buried and forgotten forever. It's unlikely, sadly. Never underestimate how low our fellow citizens will go in their happy pursuit of sex and scandal; however fabricated some of it may be.
And the thing that leaves me feeling like my lungs have been ripped out by an 800lb gorilla? The fact that the Guardian has been the only entity to consistently illuminate the wrongdoing and subversive influence of News International. I'll never be able to bring myself to buy it but they do chalk up some good guy points for the stand they've made.
As a said earlier, the entire debacle is unedifying and profoundly depressing. Lets conclude then with a story which lays the lie of good journalistic practice bare but leaves us with a smile. Over to Uncle Marvo,
"PILOT'S SKILL SAVES PREGNANT WIFE FROM DISASTER
Pilot Philip Foster's skill and training saved his pregnant wife from certain death yesterday when his aircraft's engine failed whilst returning to his home airfield. He averted disaster by landing in a field, avoiding surrounding villages ...
What a hero, eh?
This is the reality.
Philip Foster (the name they used, and nothing like mine) was actually buggering off somewhere else because the weather was nice, rather than returning home, and was skiving off work. The wife at the time was indeed a bit pregnant as I remember, and was reading a book, oblivious to the engine failure which the hero, Marvo, was addressing with what can only be described as the full three degrees of incompetence.
Having looked around for a suitable landing site and found something vaguely greener than most other possibilities, Marvo proceeds to fail to turn off the fuel. He then descends, because this what aircraft do when they have a buggered engine, normally. He fails to apply the flap, then careers into a field of winter barley, about two feet or so higher than the wings, at a rather unusual angle and executes what can only be described as a "crash" which, had it not been for the height of the crop, would have taken out a small village, church and sub post-office.
Marvo then finds the nearest pub and proceeds to drink it dry.
Now, compare that to the MSM article above? Any similarity at all?
No, didn't think so."
I've long held the view that Facebook is a car crash waiting to happen for most individuals. It is a minefield of potential embarrassing and career ending entries and posts, perhaps typed in a moment of carefree exuberance but the consequences may last a very long time. Once circulated on the web, it cannot be deleted. Incidents resulting from "fun,"entries on Facebook are legion, not to mention those who have inadvertently ruined job opportunities, relationships and friendships by the liberal use of the keyboard in the heat of the moment. At least you can tear letters up after a moments reflection before you post them. Indeed, I fully intend to be the last man standing without a Facebook account and refuse to subject all of my 5 friends, three of whom have four legs, to my inane musings over Facebook. They can check in here if they wish.
Why? Well, you may as well post your thoughts on the electronic billboards at Piccadilly Circus for all the confidentiality you are assured, no matter what your privacy settings may be. Why take the risk?
Nonetheless, it remains the principal means of communication for youngsters and indeed it has a number of advantages. It is cheap, easy to circulate news amongst their circle of chums, (although why they all seem to have hundreds of so called friends is quite beyond me), and an easy way of circulating updates for school work, school and club sport and so on. It clearly though, harbours a number of menacing threats. Quite apart from the intentionally addictive nature of the thing there are some rather unsavoury characters lurking in the digital shadows.
I recently became aware of an incident at a school in the wider area and of that incident I have no particular view. I was appalled though, not to say outraged to discover that hairy old Fleet Street hacks have been trawling the Facebook pages of children as young as 13 in order to dig up material which they can exploit to bolster their collapsing circulation, and you can interpret that in any way you so wish. I see no difference in these reptiles scrolling through private conversations between kids than I do them rifling through their private diaries, drawers and letters.
Of course kids, and everyone else for that matter, should never put anything in the least bit sensitive in electronic form and always have their privacy settings set to the maximum possible. The lack of diligence by kids however, does not excuse cynical adults exploiting their lack of care and attention for financial advancement either on behalf of their proprietor or themselves. There is no difference whatsoever between this behaviour and the thief who offers the defence, "the door was open so I walked in and helped myself."
Hiding behind their Freedom of the Press banner these big boys go under the tag, "A Daily Mail Staff Reporter;" cowards. They won't be so big and brave if they come across parents. If they're lucky they might bump into the odd father; if mothers ever get a hold of them they'll be eviscerated.
Politicians, celebs and premiership footballers scream from the rafters if their privacy is invaded. They will readily set free the litigation attack dogs of firms like Schillings, Mishcon de Reya and Herbert Smith to hold back intrusion by Fleet Street. Who though, stands to protect our kids? There isn't one of us who didn't say or do something indiscreet in our teenage years but without permanent stain on our young reputations; why therefore, are we absenting ourselves from our duty of care for this generation and not corralling unscrupulous reporters and their editors into a corner and forcing them by threat of severe sanction into leaving minors alone.
It's a disgrace and way beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour commensurate with a civilised and decent society.
The creepy reporters from The Mail just can't stop themselves from trawling the Facebook pages of children, no matter how unfortunate and tragic the events that raise their squalid antenna. These vermin need to be caged.
Is this what Cameron meant by the Big Society?
Floored with nothing more than a handbag containing some tissues, a packet of Werthers Originals, a bus pass and purse.............. but wielded by an angry Granny. Serves them right.
Seen any police.............. no, you won't. They don't do that sort of thing anymore unless there are 36 of them tooled up with armed response, dogs and aerial CCTV.
Expect said Granny to be given an ASBO for breach of the peace.
Sadly, as benefits are withdrawn you can also expect to see much, much more street crime as addicts and other vermin look to replace their handouts. With no police on the streets you can also expect to see more citizens fighting back and that, in all probability, won't end at all well.
A soldier from 2 PARA was killed on operations in Helmund yesterday. His death, the 350th since operations began, has not attracted very much media attention given they would appear to be almost exclusively focused on some ex footballer / commentator who has been fired for being a stupid ex footballer / commentator.
Meanwhile, the Home Secretary has announced that control orders, which place curfews, electronic tags and bans on where terror suspects can go, are being replaced with "targeted, temporary measures." These will apparently be replaced by an overnight residence requirement with limited access to mobile phones,computers and greater freedom to associate.
Well, that's good then; that should make Nick Clegg look good in front of all his tofu munching liberal friends.
So, on the one hand, we have a young Para killed in action whilst on operations to preserve our safety and the national good and on the other at home we have bloody politicians doing, not the right thing, but what for them is politically expedient. We, and especially the men of Task Force Helmund really do deserve better.
At what point do these muppets get the point that they are entrusted with the safety of the nation and there are some very bad people who not only want to hurt us but are unceasing in their attempts to do so. That anyone can be a suspect and chill out at home with mobiles and computers is completely and utter bonkers.
I have no confidence whatsoever in any of these idiots. Some of our citizens will inevitably die as a result of letting the sandal wearing Guardian readers feel warm and fluffy and then they'll be back on the box attempting to sound Churchillian with quotes like, "Terrorism must not be allowed to win." To my mind, a bus full of bodies missing limbs means they have won.
I would imagine that at some point today, the Commissioner of the Met, Sir Paul Stephenson, will be ringing the Home Secretary to tender his resignation. That is the honourable thing to do after the attack on the Prince of Wales yesterday and the desecration of our national monuments. If he doesn't, the Home Secretary should fire him.
It's evident that the police have decided on a policy of containment for these riots and they are very conscious of the number of photographers, news cameramen and every man jack with a mobile phone. It will have been hammered into every officer that one mistake can be a career ending incident. It's also clear that there is apparently an "acceptable level," of violence below which the police will not respond aggressively. As anyone who has faced rioters knows, this can only end badly.
Before we get into the meat of this, let's immediately clarify a few points,
* There is no tumultuous groundswell of support for these rioters around the universities. Students are just not that passionate about something that doesn't affect their generation.
* As with every protest, a large number of the miscreants have been no closer to a university than I have. They're agitators and trouble makers.
* We can be grateful it is winter; if it were summer, the riots would be ten times worse.
If the riots are to continue without a robust response then the agitators will escalate the level of violence. Someone will go "tooled up," or with petrol bombs and someone else, probably an innocent as it usually is, will suffer. Obviously, the violence could happen the other way, for example, "white van man," gets a hold of one of the protesters and gives them a hiding.
So what is a robust response? The police must deploy in force and meet any violence with a commensurate response. They must also seize the initiative by using snatch squads to make arrests. Speed and aggression is the key to dealing with riots; absorbing violence feeds it. Given their nervousness of the media I'm sure that discussions are on going about the deployment of water cannon to deter rioters. The problem is that it is an indiscriminate weapon which has not been used much in the UK but does, protect the individual baton wielding police officer from having his face transmitted across the world in seconds. Dye added to the water is a nice touch and as a gesture to public health the police could chuck a couple of bars of soap into the melee.
As police officers are quietly going through the footage of yesterday's events and comparing it to things like Facebook accounts, I think we can expect a wave of arrests shortly. The criminal justice process must then be expedited and swift sentencing should follow.
What about the students who are sincere in their protests? Well, given they're supposed to be our brightest and best they're not doing very well. They are being neither innovative or creative in their campaign and what public sympathy they had is very quickly receding. Just sitting down in the road is large numbers and in silence would, for example, have a much greater impact than defiling Churchill's statue. I am reasonably sympathetic to their case. I don't see why, for example, I should subsidise students in Wales and Scotland who will not pay fees yet pay for my own children first through taxes and then through fees. When our children graduate they compete with students from all over the world for jobs; why on earth would be make it tougher for them than it already is?
As I have written before, one of the consequences of ramping fees up will be a tightening of standards at universities. Many students have barely four hours of lectures a week and many, many courses could easily be done in two years rather than three. Parents and students simply will not tolerate subsidising the relaxed and gentle lifestyle of professors and obviously, many average universities that should be closed will be.
The other consequence will be that many of our best students will just take a hike to other countries where the value proposition is more attractive. Others, will not bother with university and many will be exactly the ones who should be there.
The structure of the loans too is deficient in open, clear thinking. On the one hand we have an aging population trying to augment their pensions but with interest paying less than 1% on their savings many are struggling. On the other hand we have an up and coming generation who need funds for education. Blow me..... is that supply and demand I see there?
HMG should issue "Granny bonds," through the taxpayer owned banks, RBS & Lloyds, and pay a decent rate. Just as an example lets say 3% and charge the students 3.25%. Obviously, many students won't make payments until after their studies or after they reach an earnings threshold. We can cover this by making the "Granny Bond," a zero coupon bond, ( a security that doesn't pay interest (a coupon) but is traded at a deep discount, rendering profit at maturity when the bond is redeemed for its full face value). Oh, and to spice it up we'll make it tax free..... that's clever "Big Society," thinking but then all parties involved in this nonesense haven't been very clever to date and while I think of it....... I didn't need a degree to figure it out.
Following the creatively named post, "Bugger, blast, bugger....!!!!" I've been in receipt of some very useful advice from a good and helpful friend, and being a good and helpful chap I'm going to share it with you.
You'll recall that I was pinged by a sneakily hidden radar gun in Banchory out of the back of a van, unfairly I thought, 30 yards from my journeys end after a 565 mile journey.
My friend suggests the following,
"I'll bet a pound to a penny that their radar "gun" wasn't properly calibrated that day. They have to be calibrated over a fixed distance at the start of every shift. Just contest the ticket and write to request the calibration certificate and the log for that particular piece of equipment for that day. If it was the following make/type of radar gun they were using, you've got a great chance of not paying....
The LTI 20/20 radar gun is a speed gun used in the UK. You could clock sparrows hopping about on the ground at 140mph!!!
The device, made by a US-based company, has been the source of much controversy since its introduction for its unreliable speed readings. Tests in 2007 recorded a wall as traveling at 44 mph, an empty road recorded 33 mph, a parked car was clocked at 22 mph and a bicycle ridden at 5 mph was recorded moving at 66mph. A man is currently fighting his speeding ticket, demanding the source code of the radar gun to deny the improvement of the device."
Interestingly enough, there appears to be a growing guerilla movement of little guys fighting back against this monstrous demonisation of the driver. More links to the fightback and failings of the LTI20/20 can be found here, here and here.
One piece of parting advice, don't use a mobile phone in the car. If you kill someone whilst talking on a handset it's an automatic 7 years in the chokey which is no laughing matter either for you or the victim. Mrs Flashbang thought this handset thing didn't include looking at a text in slow moving traffic; the Hampshire Constabulary in Liphook thought differently and she's now the lucky participant on a driving awareness course. This complements nicely, the speeding awareness course she attended a couple of years ago for doing 34mph in a 30mph limit at 8am on a Sunday morning in Crowthorne.
Constabularies up and down the country however, might be well advised to send their own officers on such courses given the destruction they regularly visit upon the public and their cars. The Telegraph last year reported that,
"Officers admitted causing 3,357 crashes last year – an average of more than 64 a week - many of which were caused by basic driving errors.
Accidents were caused by failing to stop at junctions, doing U-turns without looking, taking bends too quickly and failing to use mirrors when reversing."
Keep picking on housewives doing 34mph though, that'll solve the crime problem.