As a retired police officer and lifetime Londoner who strongly supports the Met, I was appalled to read that the Met will no longer bother to investigate “low-level” crime and presumably will no longer respond to calls reporting such crime.
Quite how burglary can be viewed as “low level” and unworthy of investigation is beyond me. It is a devastating crime and victims not only need support and reassurance, but they also need on-the-spot advice to prevent it happening again; burglars do frequently return to the scene of their own crime.
And what of stores and shopkeepers, especially the smaller businesses, already plagued by thieves and anti-social behaviour? Have we now reached a stage where hooded, masked thugs can simply walk into a shop and casually take whatever they want, knowing that this will not be of interest to police?
If you’re walking along the street or quietly drinking in a pub and get a smack in the face from a thug for no apparent reason, are we really saying that unless the injury is serious, you shouldn’t bother the police? Such assaults do tremendous and perhaps irreparable damage to a victim’s self-confidence and wellbeing.
The public understand only too well the damage Government cuts have done to policing. However, if this policy is implemented by the Met, public confidence will wane and a significant gulf will develop between the Met and the people of London who will rightly feel less secure.
Of course the public will no longer bother reporting “low-level” offences and in a couple of years’ time we’ll doubtless have the Met’s spin doctors gleefully proclaiming that there has been a dramatic fall in burglary, theft and other “minor” crime!
There’s no way Britain can produce all its own food post-Brexit
So Chris Grayling believes that post-Brexit British farmers should produce more food to offset the likely price increases on the importation of food from other countries? Perhaps, then, he could explain present Government policy on building on green belt land and why this is being disregarded?
Alongside the M1 and A414 and within a mile of the confluence with the M25, there are plans to build 2,500 homes on the green belt, currently being used as prime farmland. In a desperate search for profit, the housing developer proposes to ignore the effects of pollution, more congestion and noise on the people who will live in this paradise.
I am nearing the exit door, so I have no axe to grind on this ill-conceived housing cram, but surely if Grayling’s assertion is correct it would be appropriate for farming to be maintained on the land in question?
It is nearly 100 years since the First World War and Tory MPs appear to be acting like generals who believe their own invincibility and that the millions who suffer, or indeed die, are justifiable collateral damage.
The latest nonsense to leave Chris Grayling’s mouth fails to have taken account of the fact that large amounts of the food he thinks we will grow simply cannot be grown here.
We no longer eat locally seasonal fruit and vegetables or raise enough. It’s the same principle that makes him think that spending billions on Londoncentric transport projects while he cancels or dismisses anything strategic north of Watford, or west of Reading, equates to a fair and reasonable national transport policy.
He is no better at transport than he was at prisons. Heaven help us should he get to agriculture.
The public’s right to see official Brexit documents
Further to Tony Baker’s view that the public needs to see negotiating documents submitted to the EU (Letters), he is right but I fear that any request would be baulked on the grounds that negotiating documents are confidential to the parties, which is the usual situation. There is, however, another angle to this matter.
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, very sensibly commissioned at least 50 governmental studies on the impact of Brexit on the British economy. These are not negotiating documents appertaining to some prospective contract but they are reports by governmental departments which contain relevant information and facts relating to Brexit.
On what ground are they confidential to, say, Government ministers or the Government Brexit team? How can a Government department report to one political party to the exclusion of other parties? Why shouldn’t all MPs have access to these studies?
An irresistible inference to draw is that, if released, they will lay bare the paucity of the Brexit case and/or demonstrate what damage Brexit may cause to our economy.
We do have a foretaste of some of the contents of the studies. A leaked study from the Department of Health forecasts that by 2026 Brexit will result in a shortage of 40,000 nurses in the medical profession.
It is obvious that if the 50 studies were supportive of Brexit, the Government would have had no hesitation in publishing them to the House of Commons.
Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly
What a tangled web Government and the power companies are weaving into persuading the public to have a so-called smart meter installed.
Hopefully folk will fully recognise the ruse for what it is – these meters are only smart for the rapacious power companies. Although they do make me, as a consumer, “smart” at the thought of being forced into accepting one of these unwanted and unnecessary meters – and guess who has drawn the short straw for the installation fees!
The cannabis problem no one’s talking about
So it looks very likely that come July 2018 Canada will draw ahead of Uruguay, Colorado and the Netherlands in the liberal and legal attitude to cannabis.
Many people have and will debate the health angle, be it physical or mental, which at this juncture I shall not delve into as I fear a larger malevolent cloud looms on the horizon.
However, one area that could have a huge downside and may not materialise for perhaps 20 to 30 years needs focusing on without delay. When this legalisation spreads, along with acceptance, doubtless huge profits will ensue. Then it is not fanciful to envisage more and more land being given over to cultivation for startups and current farmers rotating vegetables and fruit for marijuana.
This could be bad enough in developed western democracies if complacency creeps in, but in countries with, say, a lack of leadership or despotic chaos, it could devastate the already weak food supply.
Let us hope future politicians show more common sense than is now on display.
Innocent until proven guilty
Thank you to Harriet Marsden for an excellent article expressing views which I tried to discuss with various friends last week as the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke.
I was drowned out by the “He’s guilty” mantra, despite trying to put the point across “Until proved guilty, a person is innocent”. This was interpreted as “So you think he’s innocent”.
The answer is quite simply what Marsden wrote: “If he is found guilty, I want him convicted. I want them to throw the book at him. But he hasn’t been ... Remember that our legal system is based on the premise that you are innocent until proven guilty.”
As someone who has experienced “guilty first, innocent second”, I caution against “trial by media” and uphold the principle “innocent until proven guilty”.
The abuse of power unfortunately is found throughout society and, in my experience, perpetrated by both men and women.
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