I have been pondering what to say in response to Denis’s “retirement” from the Blog. That he and his long suffering wife, Julie, will be busy for the next few months is probably an understatement. Getting ready to pack up and move out will require all their time and efforts to say the least. As is the way in France, they move out before they can really get to grips with buying their next home. Whether you comment on here or not I am sure we all wish them well, I know I do. Denis has been at the heart of the Blog. Now it is not something many use to express their views but clearly many read it. Keeping it fresh, especially at the moment when “policing” issues seem few and far between is difficult but Denis does so much more. When I am stuck as to how to change something Denis has the answer. If he hasn’t then Denis finds the solution somewhere. When I find there is little to Post Denis seemed to dig that bit deeper and pull something from a dull day. I might have this wrong but I reckon, give it a week or so Denis will be knackered. He will take a break, sit down in the Spring sunshine and think “somethings wrong”. At this point Julie will spot the signs and hide his computer before his withdrawal symptoms get the better of him. Whatever happens, a big, big thank you Denis. We could not have done it without you. Happy house hunting.
Former police officer charged by Operation Elveden detectives
One that nearly slipped through our keen eyes!
Operation Elveden detectives have charged a former Surrey police officer with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
Gregor Gill, senior lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The CPS has today, 28 February, authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge Simon Quinn with one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 November 2000 and 30 January 2011.
“Mr Quinn will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 10 March 2014.
“Criminal proceedings have now commenced and this defendant has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
Quinn was the 62nd person arrested by detectives involved in the Fleet Street bribery probe. Clearly we would not wish to comment further.
On to non police issues
The events unfolding in the Ukraine, especially in the Crimea Region will have not escaped your attention. If they have, where have you been? What surprised me there was the “New President”, no doubt to placate the protestors in Kiev, immediately set out his plans to move closer to the EU. Given that their big neighbours the Russians have a Naval Base in the Crimea allowing them clear access to the Black Sea, I would have thought it diplomatic to take steps to reassure the Russians that he would not interfere with that arrangement. To find Russians now controlling the Crimea hardly seems, to me at least, a big surprise. What is a surprise is President Putin claiming that the overthrow of President Yanukovych was an “anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power”. Hmm! Wasn’t that what created modern Russia and brought down the Tsars?. However, I found this interesting in the Independent. Sarah Palin predicted in 2008 that Putin would invade Ukraine if Obama was elected
So, she is not as mad as everyone thought? Ok I admit it, I still think she is.
Oscar Pistorius trial
I am sure many will follow this with detached curiosity. A mountain of forensics, including an iPhone that had to be unlocked by Apple themselves in California up against a very expensive (apparently) defence team. With no jury it will be interesting. The sickest thing about it so far? Paddy Power, the online betting company offering odds on the result. Sorry, to me that is really really sick.
A senior adviser to David Cameron was arrested on child abuse images allegations, Downing Street said.
Patrick Rock, who had been involved in drawing up proposals for internet porn filters, resigned after being questioned by police. Officers from the National Crime Agency examined Downing Street’s computer systems and offices used by Mr Rock, 62.
Now innocent until proven guilty applies but I would love to be a fly on the wall in Number 10.
Public warm to coalition
Nick Clegg tells Liberal Democrats to prepare for another term in power, despite 10 per cent poll rating. Seems Nick feels we like the idea of them helping out. Well, the idea does not bother me (coalitions that is), it is the practical side of this that bothers me. Given that, to form a coalition, the Liberals will need MP’s, he might be being a tad too optimistic.
David Cameron to announce increase in tax allowance to more than £10,000
Widely reported, David Cameron is to claim Tory ownership of an expected increase in the personal tax allowance to more than £10,000 in the budget later this month when he indicates that his government will prioritise tax cuts for the low-paid. Nick Clegg though is not happy. Nick Clegg has accused his Conservative coalition partners of displaying “brass neck” in pinching their idea. A pledge to raise the personal tax allowance to £10,000 was the first pledge in the Liberal Democrat manifesto in 2010. Oh come on Nick? There will be an election next year surely you saw that coming, it is time for the bribes, oops, sorry, sweeteners to be lavished on the unsuspecting and ever grateful for small crumbs, electorate surely? Mind you, Cameron is reported as saying that “A bit of extra cash that can help a dad afford those trainers for his son or help a mum celebrate her daughter’s birthday with a meal out. Having more money in our pockets is what gives everyone that sense of financial security and peace of mind. It’s what enables us to provide for our families and feel more confident about the future.” – or even not have to go to the food bank to feed your own family David!. Still, I doubt DC has ever had to worry about such things.
Food Banks and food production
OK I have mentioned food banks so I will continue. Last nights BBC “expose” reported on the upward trend of our Nations reliance (for many) on food banks. A number of Bishops and the Head of the Catholic Church in the UK have already had a dig about this worsening situation. It seems to raise the hackles with many. Ian Duncan-Smith apparently said in the House that all the publicity is increasing demand. As one person who runs food banks said last night, “for that to be true would require a huge conspiracy between thousands of agencies across the UK”. What struck me was the woman who had a part-time job in B&Q which did not cover rent and food, so she reluctantly turned to a food bank. Not interested in benefits from the State she then took on a second job working a total of sixty-eighty hours per week often working till 3am-4am delivering pizza. She now has a full time job with B&Q and things have settled down. Didn’t seem like a scrounger to me. Many would not argue that benefit claims should be for those who need them. The definition of “in need” might change depending on your political persuasion but if you do not stick to the rules you lose them – immediately. Fail to attend you job centre and try to get work – you lose them for a month. Not going to argue with that but…. The seemingly EU sceptical Tory Party want to re-negotiate our Treaty with the EU. Pity then that they did not agree to the EU’s desire to cut farm subsidies. The rules now are it is up to the Nation concerned. We could have saved £70 million a year by following the EU’s advice and capping them at £260,000. If the benefit to the Farmers was limited to £26,000 like it is for the poorest, then we could save £1 billion a year. Worse still it would appear the Government want to “relax” the rules so that the already impossible to enforce restrictions on getting the subsidies disappear altogether. Fail to stick to the subsidy rules, no problem, keep claiming over £260,000 p.a. Wonder if it has anything to do with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs being at 17 Smith Square, London SW1 and the address of the National Farmers’ Union being 16 Smith Square, London SW1?
Keith Blakelock murder
Nicholas Jacobs, charged with killing police officer in 1985 Broadwater riots, bragged of trying to ‘do a copper’, witness says. More details of this story can be found in the Guardian for one here So, the long arm of the law carries on seeking justice, and so it should.
Lastly, the Pope
Now the current Pope seems a really nice guy. Very down to earth and humble. I am not a believer but nice people deserve recognition and I like him. Shame his Italian has caused a stir. In a speech in Italian this lovely man either misread or mispronounced a word. The Pope’s message of charity was lost in translation on Sunday, as he accidentally muddled “caso” (“case”) with “cazzo” the F word. He did realise something was wrong and corrected it. Now my foreign language skills are abysmal and this guy speaks many fluently but sadly made an error. The Press Worldwide had a field day, not much forgiveness there then?