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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  28/04/2011  :  07:37
Political comment is a high risk activity on the site these days so I thought I'd try again to give those who are interested in politics a safe haven!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 12/08/2011 : 06:09
PS. While I was brewing the coffee and putting a loaf into the breadmaker Sir Hugh Ord has spoken for the police. He says that it wasn't the politicians coming back off holiday or Theresa May ordering the police to stop leave and be more robust in a conference call to all CCs that produced the escalation in activity that stopped the rioting. (He also pointed out that the Home Secretary has no authority to give orders to the police) He said that it was the normal process of policing that produced the higher levels of activity. Once the scale of the problem was appreciated normal police procedures swung into play, honed by years of experience and training.

Further, he says that the politicians have done nothing that will make any difference to what is happening in the streets. Reading between the lines he is pointing out that the rethink of how society is treated is not police territory but the politicians and they should concentrate on that.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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panbiker
Senior Member


2300 Posts
Posted - 12/08/2011 : 11:02
"The thin blue line", that's what strikes me about the present post mortem of the poice reaction to the recent trouble.

In my view you should only ask someone to do a job for you (especially a dangerous one) if they are properly equiped to deal with all eventualities. In a riot situation or severe civil disturbance the guy with the biggest stick is the one that usually wins. No surprise then that the police who had to face the early contenders were somewhat reluctant to fully engage. If you are one of 5 or 10 blokes (or women) and you have what amounts to a boiler suit, a plastic shield and a stick and are faced with a mob of 100 hell bent on destruction, thuggery and theiving, what are you going to do! Once the re-inforcements arrive and the proper equipment you see a totally different story which is exactly what we saw emerge over the last week.

One thing that has come to the fore though. With the obvious mass usage of social networking technology by the offenders, it does make you wonder whether the police should be actively monitoring traffic such as this at a more basic level. I know the security services do this for national security.  One woman that was interviewed yesterday said that her 9 year old son told her that it was all going to "kick off" hours before the first bricks were thrown. Maybe it's time that local forces should be monitoring the tweets and posts that make up "the word on the street". 

Hang on a minute though, that would involve a bit of investment and maybe some extra admin staff, if you were going to make a proper job of it, Unfortunately that's not on the agenda of the present government at the moment.

 

 


Ian Go to Top of Page
Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 12/08/2011 : 11:26
Suicide note or not Richard, if you are aware of the changes that can be done, then why aren't you doing something about it? Politicians are there to carry the can, and should rightly be held up to account and ridicule when found wanted.

I'm afraid your approach is a bit like the three wise monkeys.

The debt has to be paid, the country probably deserves better services, and it might be nice to know that everyone who takes money from the Treasury actually respects their roles and responsabilities within that society. Without it you have anarchy, with it you have some form of accountable democracy.


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 12/08/2011 : 11:39
On the police:

I note that Sir Hugh is in line for the top job at the met, and needs to increase his media prescence to accomplish the task.

He is right when he says that the Home Secretary can not control the number of the police on the beat, and to all intents and purposes all chief constables can ignore requests from ministers, it has been ever so and is enshrined in law to stop gerrymandering.

At the end of the day, I do think that they are accountable, and under current Laws, all damage reparations committed during a riot is actually to be taken directly from Police Budgets. So the sheer inefficiency of the Police Actions means that these organisations are effectively bankrupt and are having to be bailed out by the Treasury. That is why the cameroon announced the money, as without it there would be no money for salaries and I don't think the police would work for free even though effectively that would be a community penalty.

On the man from Birmingham, I'm full of admiration from him. He didn't just stand up for himself, he pronounced the right of the community to exist peacefully.

and Panbiker, I must laugh at your analogy. Jack Straw introduced rules which stated that when an individual is arrested, he must be accompanied to the custody officer by the policeman making the arrest. Then within a given time the individual has to be interviewed by the arresting officer. So maybe the police need a little more flexibility and common sense within their organisation to actually be able to provide a much better service.

In the rioting situation, it effectively means that any arrests take men out of the line and the Law actually encourages those police actions such as the kettling and police brutality captured during recent protests because they don't have the resources available to those police forces on the continent.

Edited by - Tardis on 12/08/2011 11:40:24


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panbiker
Senior Member


2300 Posts
Posted - 12/08/2011 : 15:10
Laugh away if you must but I thought that was what I said anyway. Enough bodies on the street and you can effectively control the situation even within the current regulations for arresting officers. Reducing the number of police on the beat and giving them equipment not suitable for the job in hand and you get what we saw at the start of the troubles.

Are you actually saying that taking thosands of officers out of the system is a good thing for law and order?


Ian Go to Top of Page
Bruff
Regular Member


479 Posts
Posted - 12/08/2011 : 15:51
Look, I have spent the last 20-odd years on a permanent efficiency drive, and will keep chipping away.  And I have to say it's extremely hard to identify efficiences in complex problems like sustainable long term care of the elderly, or rather more prosaically find the 'unit cost' of drafting a letter for a Minister to send to a 'concerned member of the public'?  And whilst in a world  of unicorns, rainbows and cats' tears on lovage it would be great for Ministers to stand up in Parliament and say that service standards have dropped but we have saved this much money and they'll get better in the future, it's not going to happen. 

 
I sometimes wish a Minister would countenance saying (and the public and media allow him/her to say) 'I know the pensions didn't get paid last week and the fortnight before but don't worry, it'll all be OK in future, this is just a performance dip following an efficiency review'.  Or even better say, 'unfortunately, you can't have this cancer treatment that will perhaps prolong your life for 3 months as our efficiency review means this treatment is not cost-effective, and it's better to direct some of the monies to epilepsy treatment', because cancer patients tend to be very understanding of efficiences etc.

 
The way to save money in the public sector is to cut.  Stop doing things.  End delivery.  Efficiences where you can, but this is no panacea and never will be.  Useful soundbite though. 

 
Richard Broughton



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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 13/08/2011 : 06:32
I'm afraid you're right Richard, how many times have we been told that a policy doesn't need 'new money' it can be funded by 'efficiency  savings'. Of course this becomes more pernicious  when you realise the savings are made the responsibility of the service being 'improved'.  It sounds good because there are generally inefficiencies in any large organisation. The classic is the number of civil servants, another is the QUANGOs. When did we actually see any money being saved or a service improved by these methods. I think the core Civil Service is probably one of the most efficient sectors of government but they are an easy target because most people don't appreciate their work.  As I have been heard to say before, it's a matter of priorities. The ConDem government sees the savings as being available in public services. I see them as being in other areas. Did you see that we have a new PFI scheme? Do we really need Trident?  Can we afford the Inefficiency in HMRC, did I see a figure of £30billion in unrecovered taxes?

Make up your own list of priorities. Mine wouldn't start with the public services that affect the most vulnerable. In the end these will prove to be the most expensive mistakes it is possible to make but the expenditure is pushed into the future. Look at the acknowledged correlation between prinary school spending and future crime figures.

Another area that cries out for attention is contract law as applied to governments. It should not be possible for smart lawyers to put government in a position where it costs more to stop a bum contract than continue paying. This means investing public money into the government's ability to draw up and enforce contracts in such a manner that we have control when things go wrong. This includes rigid control of the original specifications. Once set they should not be allowed to be the subject of change because the procurers have thought of another goodie that can be included. Anybody who has dealt with construction contracts knows that this is the single most damaging action and loses control of expenditure because of 'extras'. The firewall in that case is the architect who guards the extras. The government needs an equally powerful mechanism. There should be some independent body with the authority to govern the contract, stop the extras and if necessary end the contract. This flaw is how we finished up with the liablity of two useless aircraft carriers.

Dave is looking a bit shaky. He had to do an immediate U-turn on criticism of the police yesterday and if he thinks the butter he spread on the matter cancels out the mistake he made by blaming the police and trying to take credit for the end of the riots has healed the breach he is mistaken. As I have said before, how many enemies can a government afford to make? 

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, the markets draw breath and reassess the situation. Their main fear, that global economic growth has faltered is correct, they know that what they have to do now is stop the self-destructive panic and try to find ways of turning a bear market to their advantage. This is why the French government had to stop short-selling of bank shares. The speculators had moved in and there was a real danger to the French banks. Global trade is like an oil tanker, it reacts slowly in real time and more damage has been done than appears on the surface. The position will continue to worsen no matter what any government does. You can't scale or control nature and damage is being done now in otherwise stable economies that will take years to recover. Dave and Ossie should remember Harold. "Events Dear Boy!"


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 13/08/2011 : 08:00
Just back from me walk round the town and I was thinking.... There was a good discussion on R4 yeatrday about the scandal that is the Edinburgh tram contract, over time, over budget, contractors walking off the job and suing the procurement authority and now the programme is on again but the tracks laid down are being ripped up and relaid and the extension to Leith has been abandened. A sorry tale of mismanagement all round.

Contrast that with Nottingham. They devised a single specification with a clear brtief and put it out to tender as one contract  mecessitating the contractors having to form a consortium. The contract was specified as fixed price with all the responsibilities for inforeseen problems laid on the consortium. At the time the price was criticised as being too high because of the way the contract had been let. The contract was finished inside the contract price. As the old farmers used to say, first cost is best cost.

Again, in about 1960 Earby Council contracted with a firm who made incinerators to supply a plant capable of burning waste, particularly plastic waste from Armorides, at a high enough temperature to achieve safe and clean combustion. The plant didn't work. The Council asked for their money back and told the firm to take the incinerator away and reinstate the site. The contract had been set up in such a way that this was possible.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 13/08/2011 : 10:36
Are you actually saying that taking thosands of officers out of the system is a good thing for law and order?

Are you actually saying that more police are better?

I wonder if you understand how the law is applied by the police.

The police are one piece of a jigsaw that includes the community, politicians etc. If one section does not want to engage how will more police help the situation?


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Tardis
Regular Member


453 Posts
Posted - 13/08/2011 : 10:54
Richard, I applaud all "chipping away" but I am beginning to baulk at people who tell me (Pendle, LCC) that "I do not make the rules, I merely apply the rules". That, to my mind is no accountability because if you don't agree then you should be standing up and refusing to do it, even if that meant resignation. If you do agree then you should be supporting the organisation.

Change does not happen through inertia and acceptance of the status quo.

I recognise much of the iniquity within the system. I am a long term sufferer of the NHS because my chronic condition is not as "sexy" as cancer but it will kill me just as effectively and incur much greater costs for the NHS on a future time line. I try to keep NHS interference to a minimum because I find my condition is then much more benign. My many medications, my monthly trips to the GP, my regular hospital consults still cost the NHS money but the NHS doesn't do chronic. It is fantastic for acute.

I'm told that 60% of people who apply for ESA fail the test, but the people have to obtain a GP's sick note before they can apply for it. I'm left wondering why no one has yet pointed the finger at GP's and asked WHY? Those extra 60% of people could actually be reduced at source which obviously greatly reduces costs of the people who have to sift all these applications and get the benefit paid out and delivers accountability too. It also seems obvious to me that these people have generally had to make appointments to see their GP's to get the notes and renew them (currently the test is after about 12 weeks) so again there is a knock on efficiency in the system there too although that is the NHS budget it is still tax money. Where is the CUT?

You live in the world that you want, and I think that if you do not engage then that is what you want; your world will be delivered by others and you will have to live within those parameters.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 14/08/2011 : 06:42
Much wallpaper is being pasted over cracks in Downing Street. Nick Clegg never looks authorititive or convincing but he reached new lows when he was back-pedalling on the police row yesterday. Theresa May has gone quiet. Ossie does the only thing he knows, sticks to his guns even though they are pointing in the wrong direction. He says he will not move on police cuts and in a brilliant PR coup, reiterated his belief that the 50p tax rate on the wealthy should be looked at on the grounds it is 'an uneconomic tax' because it is avoided by smart lawyers and accountants. Surely the corollary of that is to close the loopholes? Will Danny Alexander speak up again against it or has he been nobbled?

Most telling figure I saw yesterday was that in the first six months of the year when growth could be seen to be slowing, domestic spending was actually higher than in the last six months of 2010. In other words the cuts have not yet bitten into disposable income but despite this the economy was slipping backwards. My reading of this is that global effects are having a more deleterious effect than anyone suspected and that in the next six months as the cuts start to bite the regression will get worse. External events dear boy.

 The bald figures on consumption don't seem to have been adjusted for the hidden real inflation. ie. The fact that inflation in basic spending on necessities has been running at nearer 10% than the public 5% index. In other words, factor in more money buying less goods. There is also the other factor that nobody mentions, the overall profit margins in the domestic sector. Profits are being hit by pricing to reduce stocks and maintain turnover. The evidence for this is the rising tide of closures in the retail sector. The giants of retail can sustain this from their size and it is a benefit to them to see smaller traders going out of the market, there is a war going on in that sector and the end result will be a reduction in diversity. For the Tesco's of this world, the cloud may have a golden lining.

Quote of the day during an R4 profile of Theresa May. "If Cameron fell under a bus the choice for leader would be between May and Hague". Really.....  Now there's something to look forward to!


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 15/08/2011 : 07:10
ConDem coalition are in high gear PR mode. Cameron is to announce a 'major initiative' today aimed at social cohesion. Theresa May spoils the wicket slightly by refusing to deny that relations between the coalition and the police are in dire straits.

I note that our local Tory MP stepped into the fray with a totally amorphous statement backing the party line. God knows why they bothered to print it in the local paper. No opinion, no suggestions, just weasel words designed to make him sound concerned without going against the party line. Can't help getting the impression he is a yes man. Can't help wondering what Gordon Prentice would have been saying if he was still our MP. A bit more substance I think. One hopes that the voters are taking notice.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
tripps
Senior Member


1404 Posts
Posted - 15/08/2011 : 08:43
"wondering what Gordon Prentice would have been saying "

Look at his blog - not so frequent posting now, and he seems to be in Canada all the time, but he's  still giving is views. I don't think Lord Ashcroft will be on the Christmas card list. 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 16/08/2011 : 06:47
Must have a look David. I have neglected him of late. Not surprising he hasn't forgotten Ashcroft and he is not alone. Noticeable that Ashcroft is keeping a low profile in UK matters at the moment. He has other things to occupy his mind elsewhere. That story isn't over yet!

Listened to Cameron waffling about 'putting a rocket booster' under legislation to address the 'faults in our society'. Notive he quoyed specific figures for 'helping' 120,000 disfunctional families by 2015. Now where did he get that figure from? He's been going on about 'Broken Britain' for years now and in office he has presided over cuts in the very programmes that were addressing the problem.Bit of confusion here somewhere.....

Meanwhile Theresa May continues her attack on the police via a different route. She can't order the police to do anything but she can issue 'guidelines' and force police reform forward. What she has forgotten is that her relationship with the police depends on cooperation and consent and I don't think she is in the best position to do that. 

Meanwhile, France's economy is flat lining and the figures for German growth are expected to show a slow down. The Euro problem hasn't gone away and all the evidence is that the vast amounts spent by the Central Bank on bonds isn't convincing the market. Germany is the main banker and the German electors are beginning to suspect that there is no end to their contributions to the rest of Europe. The pressure is going to start for more Central Bank control of individual members economies, in effect a big step towards a federal Europe. It's getting very messy.

Milliband was getting very close to a coherent response to the riots in his speech yesterday. Certainly addressed the wider problems. I even heard the words 'Distribution of income' used by one economist yesterday.  This is the single biggest factor and has never been addressed properly as long as I can remember. Even Disraeli noted this. Read his novel 'Sybil'.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Bradders
Senior Member


1880 Posts
Posted - 17/08/2011 : 00:26
Meanwhile .....there are rumours that Coulson was being paid by N.I. all the time he was employed at No. 10 .........

....and the Huhne situation seems to have gone a bit quiet just now .

The " Summer of Discontent"  syndrome strikes again ......eh !

 


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