The 2011 Riots Inquiry

Earlier this week the Government confirmed it's intention to hold an inquiry into the recent riots.

Yesterday also saw the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visiting areas of London that bore the brunt of the breakdown in civil order.

Having devoted much of his adult life to helping the young and disadvantaged, the Prince spoke of the lack of extra curricular activities in schools and that one way of tackling gang culture was through building the self confidence and self esteem of young people.

"I still think half the problem is that people join gangs because it is a cry for help, the fact they're looking for a framework, a sense of belonging, and a meaning.

"What's been so lacking is that sort of opportunity to allow people to be motivated and encouraged, and frankly exhausted because that's what you really want at that age."


Nobody is better informed about the problems besetting inner city youth than the Prince, nor is anyone in a position of greater neutrality which offers access across all spectrums of society. Congratulations Sir, you get the job. I look forward to the announcement from Downing Street of the Prince of Wales Commission on Youth Dislocation.

Downing Street can announce a separate investigation into the failure of the Metropolitan Police to either predict or control events. Actually, recent events are simply an aggregation of hundreds of individual incidents that happen daily in London with little intervention from the police. They have appeared to lose control of the streets, or seeming interest in controlling them, years ago as we have previously discussed here and here. That organisation is clearly in dire need of top to bottom reform; as I suspect are many other constabularies. 




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 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."


Rioters & Tesco

Picadilly Riots; 26th March

Two things that I have nothing but contempt for are Tesco, (and the rest of the bloody supermarkets who are busy colonising our towns and villages), and long haired, unwashed demonstrators who bring mayhem, fear and damage to our streets unhindered, it seems, by the constabulary.

Tesco are however, despite my views of them, one of the best managed companies in the world. Little wonder then that they have managed to run rings around planning officers up and down the country and indeed the competition commision. Strange then, that Tesco and the yobs, (who are apparently anti big corporate), should should come together in a blog, given their seeming mutual antipathy to one another.

What's Crumble on about now, you cry?

Well, an acquaintance was working very close to the disturbances on Saturday near Picadilly and popped out to grab a sandwich at the Tesco Metro on the junction of Jermyn Street and Lower Regent Street. 

The Tesco branch was secured by six hefty looking bouncers, my chum entered and bought his sandwich unhindered. He was though, ever so slightly surprised to see the Tesco staff taking their motto, "Every Little Helps," to something of an extreme with the riff-raff happily buying cases of bottled beer from the store which they promptly took outside and dispatched with some vigour toward the police lines.

Tesco's contribution to the maintenance of good public order is clearly unhelpful, especially to the poor sods at the hurty end of the trajectory of airborne bottles of Carlsberg. It doesn't though, say much for police awareness of what's going on around them at street level. It's straying from the point somewhat but it's as clear as day to me that someone will be killed before long unless the police toughen up their response to the idiots. They have the law behind them and are far too intimidated by the press and every other man jack trying to be Don McCullin for the day to do their jobs properly.

In the meantime, they may want to wander round and have a chat with the Metro manager. Alternatively, they can just get their boss to call Phil Clarke the CEO, here's his number 01992 632222.

Lesson No 1 son, always keep your visor down. Don't worry..... we've all done it and learned the hard way

Ronnie Scott's; Postscript - Get a Grip Boris

Woooooaaaaaa; what a fantastic evening. Just blown away by the great jazz and wonderful relaxed, fun atmosphere. Now my idea of a concert is going to see something like the Trooping of the Colour or anything that begins with, "The Massed Pipes & Drums of the Scottish Division," but last night was up their with "great nights to remember." The chemistry between Lucy and the band was very smooth and because they were so obviously enjoying the evening it was no trouble to sit back, chill and let the music flow over you. 

In truth, I miss the smoky, run down atmosphere of the old place but life moves on. It certainly has for my chum who is always ready to rise to the next challenge that life throws his way. Last night he introduced himself to a wicked drink called a rum old fashioned and by the end of the evening I'm certain he was seeing two if not three Lucy's on stage. Lucky him. I daresay the consequences of his actions have left him feeling somewhat contrite this morning. That boy has to stop his ego writing cheques his body can't keep. 

A magical evening then............ that was, until we stepped outside. Soho at midnight resembles a Ridley Scott sci-fi movie set that looks and feels like a cross between Middle Earth and Bladerunner. As you step down the street, carefully avoiding the streams of urine trickling down the pavement and the menacing swarthy looking Eastern Europeans who lounge around on every corner, you wonder, just wonder, what in the hell to do if a bad thing happened? With two women, and another middle aged bloke at the wrong end of too many rum old fashioneds, it would be an interesting proposition. Obviously, with all night bars and clubs up and down every street there is clear potential for trouble. "Call a police officer," I hear you cry. Not so easy I'm afraid. In keeping with a seeming apparent policy of surrendering control of London's streets to any element that wishes to take control there wasn't a Bobby in sight. Not one. 

Anyone who has been to New York or even further East to the City of London knows that police officers are evident, on foot and in numbers. They call the tune, not the bad guys. 

We walked down to St James, that's the place with barely any open bars at that time, little trouble and few people on the street, and there we saw our first police officers of the evening, sitting in their van. Within minutes their sirens were on and off they sped through the empty streets heading toward................ Soho.

If Boris Johnson spent a fraction of the time cleaning up the streets and getting the police out to do the job we pay them to do as he spends on bloody cycle lanes and rent-a-bike schemes, London would be an altogether more amenable and welcoming place.

I bet it's cleaned up in 2012 though; we wouldn't want to upset the Olympic committee now would we.


Time to hire some NYPD guys.......