Category Archives: Town centres

Met Failure: No Whistles


The Met  has pointed out that it had too few policemen to keep order on Saturday in London. Of course, we know there has been forced reductions in police numbers so we can be sympathetic. After the main demonstration ended there were only 4,500 policeman to deal with 500 violent demonstrators, a ratio of nine policemen to 500 thugs and hooligans; far too few to deal with them properly.

Was this a failure of the Big Society? In an earlier blog I pointed out that as the Big Society was to take over policing, so to speak a call should be made for volunteers. This call was handicapped, so to speak, by a national shortage shortage of police whistles. I was not heeded for there are still too few. The main demostration was self-policed by volunteers. All was quiet and peaceful. Did anyone think well there is an opportunity for us? Let us recruit them on our side. Where was the organiser of the Big Society? Nowhere to be seen. Where was the pre-thought? Did his staff set out to recruit enpough volunteers to help the police? I have pointed out in a blog that you cannot expect volunteers to confront thugs. However,  a moments thought would establish how useful they could have been. The anarchists and thugs were well organised and effective. Their tactics were to make quick raids on the target shops, banks and offices before the police could get there. Their  sphere of operation was narrow and confined to the heart of London. Supposing in each of these streets which were attacked volunteers had been placed with whistles and mobile phones. As these thugs approached, and before the thugs could do anything, they would blow their whistles in the good old way of yesteryear. The police would head for the affected streets with great speed on their bicycles and the thugs could be arrested before they could inflict any damage.

So what do we have here. It is a Big Society failure. No one in the office, no recruitment of volunteers, no Met. Plan to instruct volunteers on their duties, and above all – no whistles. I pointed out earlier that  orders should be placed with British manufacturers for suitable supplies of police whistles. I suggested that they would be needed. They were needed on Saturday. Someone should take the rap for this. I know export orders for several dodgy states in the Middle East are remunerative for whistle manufacturers (and God only knows they are needed there) but they were needed in London on Saturday and so far as I can ascertain not a single whistle had been issued and noe were blown.

It is painful to witness mindless destruction. I am vehemently opposed to it. It is said by the Met that we should not be too critical. Criminal charges would be brought against these criminals and  CTV cameras would be scoured for the identification of culprits. What a sham. Do they not know that the Coalition has forced local authorities to remove these cameras. An invasion of our liberties, they said. They will have to do better. Do they not know that for the lack of a whistle the battle could be lost lost, for the loss of the battle the Big Society lost, for the loss of the Big Society the  governance of London would be decimated. Hold on was our Dave really working for the overthrow of Boris Johnson? Now it begins to make sense.

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Filed under Anarchists, Assembly Elections, BBC, Big society, Boris Johnson, Cameron, Civil liberties, Coalition Government, Economics, Ed Milliband, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Lib Dems, London, Metropolital Police, Nick Clegg, Politics, Town centres

Signs of Life


Eric Pickles, the Minister for Communities  and Local Government, has instructed local authorities to reduce the number of signs in their areas which he maintains are confusing and spoil the character of town centres in particular. His instruction has caused some amusement in Wolverhampton where a panoply of signs is thought by locals to bring colour and excitement to their streets. But pernickety points ignored, you can see what he means. Other objections appear to be more convincing. It has been pointed out by several authorities that most of these signs are required by law (laws the good Pickes has voted for!) and often for reasons of public safety. Some town centres, for historic reasons, are more inherently dangerous than others. However, even when that is allowed for, doesn’t he have a point? Let’s take the issue of public safety. Are there not ways other than signs to ensure safety?

Yes, there are. Do we need to have traffic in town centres at all. Why not pave over the roads and provide a decent tram service? Noisy trams are best. There is  no excuse for getting in the way of one. Stick a ringroad round the town and provide decent parking on the perimeter. That should do it. Look, I do appreciate that these towns are commercial centres and need to take deliveries. What can be provided is access lanes to be used, say, between the hours of 12 midnight and 6am. No problem. Remember Operation Midnight, the GLC scheme? (It failed by the way, still we have fond memories, and we learnt something, although I cannot recall what). There you are then, that’s the way ahead. If I may so this is how the Big Society can work for all of us and remember we are all in this together. I think it right to make these points.

Any questions? Would it not cost a lot of money and take a long time to bring to fruition? I am sorry to have to tell you that this shows some ignorance of how the Big Society works for you. It is not for the Government to concern itself with issues of cost. Local communities must work out what they want to do (providing it is wwhat we want) and raise the money for it. Local appeals for contributions, Whist Drives, Bingo. You know the sort of thing. Use your imagination. The sooner you raise it, the money, the sooner you can begin. We are opening a website for you. Come up with ideas, share best practice. You know it helps. We are all in this together. (sorry I’m repeating myself). Would not many local businesses be ruined by restrictions on movement in and out of our towns, particularly large stores? Yes, they would be if they didn’t adapt. They must recognise that a business model concentrating on becoming small and sepcialised is likely to be the one to succeed in the Big Society. That is how it is in our Tory market towns: small specialised boutiques, cafes and restraurants, a nice type of person. Come in on the bus for a pleasant day out. Well that’s it then. Thank you for coming. Roll up your sleeves. Like me. That’s a joke. Ha, ha.

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Filed under BBC, Big society, Cameron, Coalition Government, Eric Pickles, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Liberal News, Liberal Voice, New Stateman, Politics, Town centres, Treasury