I HAD something of a friendly disagreement with The Press editor David Bentley on Tuesday, over mobile phone footage showing armed police in Ravensthorpe, one of whom had his sub-machine gun trained on someone/something.
The police action, as you will have read elsewhere in today’s paper, was amidst a series of violent clashes across our once-peaceful and community-friendly district. My, how times have changed.
I was born about 200 yards from where those armed officers pounced.
Today, some of those streets are no-go areas for the local Plod (such as you ever see them anywhere).
They have been since before the dreadful occasion a full 16 years ago when police apathy ended with a mob of Iraqi Kurd migrants ambushing Lee Massey and his pals with almost fatal consequences. Such as the police go into those neighbourhoods these days, it’s in body armour and mob-handed.
In my childhood, where the police were concerned those streets were no-need-to-go areas.
No-one had a car to firebomb and any improbable burglars who got into our back-to-back terraces on Sackville Street would not only have left empty-handed, but might have been moved to leave a ten-bob note behind out of sympathy.
Any ‘guns’ being pointed back then were probably sticks or branches pointed at each other by five-year-olds romping in the old laundry field, going “pow, kapow”. Happy days.
On the video footage, one resident can be plainly seen and heard abusing the police, calling them mother******s and encouraging them to shove their guns where the sun doesn’t shine, in not so many words.
The police weren’t interested in him, sadly, but two men in a car they had stopped and who were arrested on drug offences.
Back to the editorial disagreement. I wanted to put the entire clip on our Facebook page, warts and all, but David wanted to mute the bad language out.
I’m the gaffer, but he’s the editor, so the edited version went up (I posted the unexpurgated version on my own social media account).
Whether or not that abusive Ravensthorpe resident was subsequently arrested, I know not.
I doubt it, both from the viewpoint of those policemen having more serious matters on their hands, to the senior officer probably not wanting to stoke up community tensions by hauling the jerk off in the manner he so richly deserved.
We’ve come to a sorry state when that’s the humdrum reality of life on Dewsbury and Batley’s streets, but reality it indubitably is.
Just as troubling however is the silent acquiescence of virtually everyone in public life, from the councillors whose streets this mayhem is happening on, to our two MPs and senior police officers cowering safely behind their distant Huddersfield desks.
No-one got killed on this occasion – at least not that we know, because these drug/turf war gangsters don’t tend to call 999 – but I suspect it will take an innocent victim to be caught in their crossfire before we finally see crocodile tears from the only people empowered to do something about it.
Cat got your tongues, folks?
WELL, the Brexit Party delegation of MEPs made a right set of fools of themselves with their back-turning protest against the EU anthem being played at the opening of its new Parliament.
It was childish and unnecessary and whatever they/I think of the EU as an institution, it deserves basic respect on a formal occasion.
The Brexit Party stunt backfired after a fashion, with hysterical Remoaners falling over each other in a rush to compare them to National Socialist (Nazi) deputies turning their back in the German Reichstag in 1926.
Conversely, such wild hate-mongering also highlights the wild-eyed desperation of the snowflakes. It’s all very immature and unsightly, don’t you think?
The Brexit Party antics rather deflected from two notable appointments in Brussels.
Juncker the drunkard has been replaced as president of the all-powerful EU Commission by a failed German defence minister whose greatest political achievement was carrying Angela Merkel’s handbag.
Under Ursula von der Leyen’s ministry, German soldiers taking part in NATO exercises had to use broom handles instead of guns. Really.
They all had creches for their children though. Even in her homeland, von der Leyen is a laughing stock – but she is a committed EU federalist, so Brussels clearly isn’t listening to the increasingly sceptical voters.
More importantly for the already fragile union, some genius (French president Emmanuel Macron actually) managed to shoehorn Christine Lagarde in as chief of the European Central Bank.
‘So what?’ you say, she was head of the International Monetary Fund, so must be well qualified.
Actually no. As French Finance minister (2007-2011) Lagarde almost bankrupt France and during the financial crisis was the IMF’s iron fist when Greece was being ground into the dirt.
She’s a lawyer, not a financier, and with German banks in dire straits, the EU suddenly staring down the barrel of a new trade war with Donald Trump, and Italy (among others) being in political and economic revolt, the Eurozone looks in greater peril than ever.
Lagarde’s form suggests she’d try to fix a cracked vase by hitting it with a bigger hammer – so happy days! I think I’ll treat myself to a nice glass of wine (a Chilean or New Zealand sauvignon, none of that French muck).
WE OUGHT to have a change of Prime Minister every six months, I reckon.
Boris Johnson is trying to woo public sector health workers with pay rises and the better-off with tax cuts while putting 20,000 more police on the streets, while Jeremy Hunt will pour billions into the military, farming and fisheries – and both will have us out of the EU inside four months.
What’s not to love about that? (Except of course that you’ve got more chance of writing a drunken wishlist to Santa and having it all turn up the next morning.)
This is like a travelling circus, with Johnson and Hunt taking turns entertaining Tory gents and their blue-rinsed better halves, both auditioning for the lead role in a West End show.
Just wait until one of them actually wins this political edition of Britain’s Got (no) Talent, and takes their London bow at the Commons despatch box. Then they’ll find out what a hostile audience is.
I say ‘one of them’ but of course it will be Boris, because Hunt’s just a rather more urbane version of Theresa May – an arch-Remainer willing to sacrifice his political principles in the name of the ultimate reward: power.
If he gets the top job, then I really will bare my backside on the town hall steps.
And if anyone gets us out of the EU by October 31, I might just streak round the town centre.
PS: I’m sorry the England ‘Lionesses’ lost their World Cup semi-final to the USA and all that, but really, people are getting worked up over a celebrating Yank miming sipping a cup of tea?
It puts some of the abuse in the men’s game into perspective.
I didn’t watch any of their games for the same reason I didn’t watch under 11s unless my kids were playing. Sorry, but it is not elite sport.
If you enjoyed it, I’m happy for you. But I can’t wait for the outcry when the first ‘Caster Semanya’ of women’s football breaks through, which can only be a matter of time.
Heck, if a time machine could have cast me forward 40 years I might have given rugby league the brush-off and stayed with football, ‘re-designating’ as Danielle perhaps.
Those USA women really wouldn’t have known what was hitting them when a 6ft 1in, 14-stone centre half came pounding into their box...