The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for August, 2011

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal look like kids amongst men – and they are!

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I am an Arsene Wenger fan. I have up most respect for what he has done at Arsenal. My lot are stuck in the Championship and don’t look like getting out of it any time soon. Therefore I have no horse in the Premier League race but my sympathies are with the Arsenal and I hope they do well. Why you ask? Because they try to play the beautiful game.

However if I was an Arsenal fan this evening sitting at home waiting for The X Factor to start I’d not be a very happy bunny. (Seriously why is The X Factor starting already? The X Factor should be on when it’s dark and summer has moved on and the autumn chill in the air is prevalent).

This afternoon I watched the Arsenal v Liverpool game and the moment Frimpong got booked everyone knew he was seeing red at some point. He was lucky it was only a second yellow as in all honesty it was a straight red challenge.

Arsenal never looked like winning the game. They looked like a team devoid of confidence. Watching them this afternoon was like watching me on a dance floor around pretty women I don’t know. Awkward and distinctly uncomfortable. You knew nothing good was going to come of it but you dare not look away incase something dramatic happened.

Watching Arsenal you have to start to really fear for them. Yes everything could come good but I worry that they’ll not and Wednesday’s game at Udinese for a Champions League spot looks more than a tricky game and more like a bazillion bananas skins and all the Arsenal players are in bare feet and the pitch is made of lino that has only just been washed.

The transfer window shuts at the end of the month and if Arsenal are to do anything this season then they simply have to make moves. Defensively they looked solid enough today but there was no guile in midfield and that was the most worrying aspect of the whole match. If Arsenal can’t open a team up then you have to seriously worry.

Also it seems as though Arsene made a deal with the devil at some point and suddenly on Carling Cup Final day the devil called in the deal. Then this off-season Arsene didn’t pay up and he has decided the best way to get back at the Frenchman is to keep injuring defenders. The injury devil is working overtime with the Arsenal back line. Surely Arsene is scared to pay £15million for Jagielka or Cahill then they’ll be injured and out for the season within half an hour of their debut.

Being a Pompey fan isn’t easy but I’m used to us sucking the club being run by morons but Arsenal fans aren’t used to it and they must not be enjoying themselves tonight…

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August 20th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Football

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Kate Hoey really does talk out of her rear end at times…

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Kate Hoey is fun. She may not be that bright but she sure is fun. The Labour MP for Vauxhall is back in the news for claiming that Sally Bercow should give the money she is making from appearing on Celebrity Big Brother to the tax man as she gets to live rent free thanks to the tax man. Whilst that is true she only lives where she lives thanks to her husband’s position. If the Bercow’s split up then it would be Sally who’d have to move out.

It just smells to me like Kate Hoey vying for some attention. This is the woman who famously was against London holding the Olympics because she thought Paris was better. How about not shitting on your own doorstep Hoey?

I am neutral to Sally Bercow and couldn’t give two hoots what she does but she isn’t in a job paid for by the state and therefore whatever she does she should be allowed to do without interference from the state. No doubt the tax man will take some of the earnings off her like he will to all Celebrity Big Brother contestants but just because she’s married to a man who gets a free home thanks to his job it doesn’t mean she should be bound by more red tape?

This isn’t the 1800s Hoey. This is modern Britain. Mrs Bercow should be able to do whatever she damn well likes when representing herself in a personal capacity. If you don’t like that then tough.

To end an old favourite as Brian Paddick describes Kate Hoey…

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August 20th, 2011 at 11:27 am

Posted in Politics

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The UK Riots – A short video with two young Londoners

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I was forwarded an e-mail from Ipsos Mori this AM inviting me to watch a short video with Georgie and Tashan – two young Londoners about what they felt was behind the unrest of last week. It was an interesting insight into what young people think.

It is probably worth three of so minutes of your time. The video in behind this link and you’ll need the password ‘ipsosmori’ to view.

The things that I get out of it are:

*Georgie thinks that Mark Duggan was loved. I would say it is more the police were hated and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

*Tashan makes what I think it a great point about how single mum’s are working all hours of the day to keep a roof over her families heads and therefore they aren’t around to tell kids what is right or wrong. This is a fantastic point and something I think a lot of us overlook. All we think of are the layabout mothers but they are in the minority. A lot of single mums are out there trying to earn a living and doing low paid jobs for very long hours. These are the people that need our support and not our disapproval.

*Georgie says it wasn’t a gang thing. Without a doubt she’s right. The Prime Minister is trying to make it out to be but that is a crock of you know what and it just a placebo to get the rest of society to back his more right-wing views to ‘declare war’ on the gangs. Look gangs are not good at all but this wasn’t a gang problem.

*Georgie also says it was police versus citizens. No it was police v the non-law abiding.

*Georgie also says everybody thought about looting. No they didn’t. A lot of people wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

*Tashan also says that the looters didn’t realise what they were doing until they saw it on TV. They just didn’t think and that is the crux of the problem. Some people just weren’t thinking.

Anyway have a watch and make up your own minds.

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August 19th, 2011 at 11:32 am

Posted in News

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Do you like coffee more than electricity?

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Well it seems as though the average person pays more per year in coffee than they do it electricity bills. This (to me) quite staggering revelation came out yesterday and there is more detail in this report in the Daily Mail.

As a nation we consume 511million cups of coffee a week nationwide. Now my crude maths tells me that adds up to an average of around nine cups each a week but of course not everyone drinks coffee so when you take out the coffee drinkers then that average explodes. People often ask me how I save money and not spending £20-30 quid on coffee is one easy way to save the best part of £100 a month. Yep when you work it out that is what the average coffee drinker is spending a month on coffee. That is an insane amount. I probably spend double that for all my groceries in a month.

I know that as a nation we have migrated from tea and coffee is now the drink of choice. I drink neither but I’m weird. I probably get through a bottle of squash a day so say that’s a quid when you balance out all the special offers etc… so that is £30 odd a month of my liquid intake. As a non alcohol drinker as well this all helps as my liquid intake is juice and water and that is it. Really saves the pennies. If people sat down and worked out what they spent a month on coffee and alcohol it could easily be 10-20% of their income.

The headline though is the electricity one. We all need electricity and we are use using it like it is going out of fashion. We all complain vigorously when the energy companies put up the cost of gas and electricity seemingly every year but when you take a step back and look at your outgoings and more money is going on a luxury caffeinated beverage than electricity then it is hard to really get worked up.

The fact on average we Brits spend more a year on coffee than we do on electricity just flabbergasts me. It really does. Just think of all you could do with the money you didn’t spent on coffee…

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August 18th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Nick Clegg isn’t from Peckham

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I just read over at The Radical Blues a story entitled Justice: Two cases of youthful indiscretion detailing the similarities between an incident involving Nick Clegg and one involving a 17 year-old from Peckham. It is a story that has been told several times in the past few days. I do though dispute what the author is trying to say in his blog though.

The differences are not their backgrounds but the way in which society dealt with both crimes at the time. Nick Clegg and his pals did some community service and gave something back and learned their lesson. They did something bad. Many teenagers do something bad but they weren’t thrown in jail because that helps no-one. When you are young you are often naive and you don’t get anything from being locked up and hanging around with genuine bad people for a few months.

It shows that community punishments can work. Whilst Clegg didn’t face any criminal charges that is only because he agreed to give something back to the community and if I recall the story correctly was painting local buildings in his spare time for the rest of the summer. Now unless there are a lot of skeletons in the closet that is the extent of Clegg’s past issues so it shows that community payback schemes that he advocates work.

Now in this current climate of everyone wanting all these rioters rounded up and put on the front line in Afghanistan to show them what’s what judges have been overly harsh in sentencing. Someone stealing a bottle of lucozade is not an offence that deserves jail time. Whatever you think about these people you can’t try them all using the same formula. Every offence is different. I have banged on about this for eons but people don’t believe it. Ok some people do but a lot don’t. They think we need a one-size fits all judicial system and that is crazy folks. Crazy.

I couldn’t give two hoots that she is a church-going girl. That to me means nothing but it is about as pertinent as the fact this young woman was from Peckham. Judges don’t care about that at this point as they are just too busy giving everyone convicted of anything to do with the wanton criminality of last week as harsh a sentence as possible. They think it is what the public want and they think it is what these young people need.

Instead of trying every case on it’s own merits they are just looking at the charge and the verdict and looking straight away at the higher bands of sentence and that isn’t justice and more importantly it isn’t right. Community payback punishments are the way forward but it seems as though large sections of society and the judges trying these cases would prefer to look tough and ruin people’s futures instead of being fair and that my friends makes me deeply uncomfortable indeed.

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August 18th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Politics

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Locking rioters up will only serve to make the divisions in society worse – far worse

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The rioting or wanton criminality that we saw last last week (whatever you want to call it) was both disturbing and horrifying. Plenty of people got involved who were just along for the ride and they deserve some sort of punishment. However we are seeing sentences that I personally deem disproportionate and down right unfair.

Take for the example the two eejits who got four years for Facebook posts. Yes just posting on Facebook trying to organise some criminality gets four years. Look I know these two guys are complete pillocks and probably deserve some jail time (although I can easily be persuaded that they don’t need to see the inside of a jail cell and that spending a year or two doing community service would be far more valuable to the community than having them locked up inside) but four years considering people get less – a lot less for actually doing things including violent crimes – heck even death due to careless driving can get less. Killing someone can get you less time in jail than a bit of idiotic Facebook action. Are we freaking serious?

That disgusts me but the following I actually find far more troublesome and worrying and that is the amount of people being held on remand. To me that is terrifying. Remand should be for the safety of the public or in most circumstances to ensure a defendant cannot get to and intimidate the witnesses. Essentially it is putting people in jail even though they have not done any wrong in the eyes of the law as yet and it should be used sparingly. I read somewhere the other day that it is usually around 10% of those charged for offences deemed serious enough for crown court are put on remand but that so far we are seeing nearer 67% of those charged for offences during these riots are going on remand. That is crazy.

I know many think I’m far too lightweight on crime. I’m not. I just like to think of ways to combat crime not only in the short term but also the long term. I also don’t like seeing people in jail cells who haven’t been convicted of any crime. I know in some cases there are real reasons for remand and I accept that but can I accept that 67% of those charged in the past week need to be on remand? Quite simply No. No I cannot.

You are without a doubt putting innocent people inside. Sadly that is a fact of life. Our judicial system is far from perfect but the amount of people being put on remand for offences during these riots are causing me a deep sense of unease. I know it is cool at the moment to hate on all these people but remember first of all every case needs to be tried on its merits on an individual basis. This isn’t guilt by association and we shouldn’t convict that way. I know people want stiff sentences but will stiff sentences lead to less crime in the future? Is locking up morons for a while with hardened criminals really going to help or will it lead to more lives of crime?

I know what my money is on.

David Cameron thinks that society is broken because people are selfish and have no morals but it’s not. There are bad eggs in every generation and every so often they will come to the fore. Most people are good people and that small percentile of bad eggs should not taint the whole of society. I suspect there are far more racists and sexists out there than those who are involved in criminality from dysfunctional backgrounds. Yet we gloss over casual racism and sexism as they are accepted and we go after the most front and centre problem. The problem is we are not all treated equal is every facet of society. When we treat the mentally ill with the same dignity as we treat Mensa members then we’ll be going in the right direction. When we treat the wheelchair bound the same as we do Olympic athletes then we’ll be going in the right direction. When we treat people with different coloured skin and different accents the same as we treat the person who has never left his or her home village then we’ll be going in the right direction.

Society isn’t broken because of what the M thinks. It is broken because of a lack of respect and that is something that many adults teach their kids. Until everyone teaches and preaches that we are all born equal – every single one of us – then people will be even more prejudiced and society will never be a utopian one. Going after troublemakers with a heavy hand now will only cause further rifts between communities and whilst short term the tension may decrease – long term it will bubble up and be even far worse.

David Cameron is so short sighted on this one it frightens me. It frightens me a lot and I hope and pray (figure of speech – I don’t pray) that the Liberal Democrats in this coalition will loudly and proudly stick their heads above water and cool this one down. Locking people up is rarely the answer and is this case it really isn’t. Until people believe they belong then they’ll have little respect. Locking them up won’t make them feel like they belong at all and that my friends will only go and make this a whole lot worse for the next generation that comes through.

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August 17th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Politics

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Grant Coleman – an inspiration to someone he’s never met or probably even heard of

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Me.

I suspect only a handful of people who ever stumbles across my blog will even know who Grant Coleman is. Well for those that don’t he was Sports Editor at BBC Radio Solent for what seemed like my whole childhood. He often got accused of being a Southampton fan but Pompey fans and vice versa by Southampton fans. Bournemouth fans just thought he hated them. Oh the joys of being in charge of sport for a station with three league clubs.

When I first used to listen to BBC Radio Solent’s sports show they didn’t have any live commentary of either Saints, Pompey or the Cherries but in time they slowly started doing games. First it was the odd second half here and there and then they would broadcast the biggest game of the day from the three clubs. Then slowly they split the frequencies so they could broadcast more than one live match at a time and as we stand today all three clubs will have every game live on some part of the BBC Radio Solent frequency.

I haven’t lived in the BBC Radio Solent region since 2002 and in all honesty once I became a Season Ticket holder at Fratton Park the amount of games I listened to on either Solent (or 107.4 The Quay) went down dramatically. I’d go watch Newport IoW if they were at home or often even follow them away as well. When Jeff and the boys started to really get Soccer Saturday going I’d watch that although I’d still listen to the Pompey games online. These days I don’t bother and if I’m in I’m usually just watching Jeff and the boys.

However this is now and I’m talking about then. Portsmouth Football Club was a significant part of my world for many years. These days less so but they’ll still always be my club. In the late 90s the club were on the verge of going to the wall and I truly believe that three men were huge parts in why they didn’t go under and that the club survived. Everyone knows about Alan Ball. Just a great man and words cannot describe what Portsmouth fans feel for the man. The next is Tom Burton who was the administrator appointed to oversee the club. It was him who managed the purse strings enough to both keep the club up and secondly get the club sold on. Then there is Grant Coleman.

Grant Coleman as Sports Editor at BBC Radio Solent kept the club very much in the news and his passion for the club shone through. The year of the Great Escape in 1998 is something no PFC fan will ever forget. That game away to Crewe Alexandra where it all started down 3-0 and ABBAWA rang out loud and proud. Three days the later the now infamous Stockport County game where there were nearly four million fans inside Fratton Park (if you believe everyone who said they were there) but in all honesty I think it was just under 9,000 if my memory serves me right. I was listening at home that night and the atmosphere was insane and Grant Coleman couldn’t believe it.

We would fight on and somehow took it to the final day of the season. We had to win at Bradford and if we did we were safe whatever happened in the Stoke City v Manchester City game. Behind this link is the three goals from Grant Coleman that day (with Alan Knight in the background). A truly great day but it was Grant Coleman to whom I aspired to be. A good man running sports at local radio. Kind of a humble aspiration no?

Well those dreams have faded and life as they say has moved on but when I made my live football radio commentary debut last weekend I couldn’t help to think back to the man I aspired to be. Doing some internet research it seems as though he lives in Spain now working for the Olympics Host Broadcaster out of Madrid. Doesn’t seem like a bad gig. However I just want it out there that he was the man who made me want to be on radio covering football. I doubt he’ll ever read this but I just want it out there. There are plenty of people who have inspired me in my life but very few of those are people I’ve never even spoken to but he is certainly one of them.

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August 17th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Football,Personal

Tagged with ,

My Total Politics Awards Votes go to…

with 4 comments

The jury has deliberated and here are the results of The Rambles of Neil Monnery panel:

The following blogs got votes:

Caron’s Musings

No brainer. Caron is a fine blogger and doesn’t just focus on politics (any F1 blog of hers will certainly get my trigger finger on the hyperlink) but it is her politics stuff that gets her this vote. Blogs often and varies it from the mundane to the opinion-filled. It is how I like my blogs. A little bit of everything.

Political Parry

Most people would think Kel and myself wouldn’t get on. Most people think I hate all feminists. Kel is a feminist. However we do get on and her political viewpoint is about as akin to mine as I know. Her blogs very often mirror what I’m thinking in my head – just with less swear words and more clever words. I think this proves a) I don’t hate all feminists and b) I don’t hate all feminists.

Olly Grender @ The New Statesman

If you don’t know why Olly’s on this list then I suspect you don’t do political blogging of any sort.

Liberal Burblings

Probably the biggest surprise (to me) on this list. When filling out my voting form and thinking about blogs I visit more often than other I realised that I go here quite often. If I do then that surely means I’m interested in what the author has to say.

Liberal England

I like this blog because it is a good mix of short punchy pieces and the odd rant. Also again is isn’t just partizan BS all the way through.

Solution Focused Politics

The biggest surprise (to me) on this list. I don’t know the author at all hardly and don’t think I’ve ever really interacted with him but I find myself when scanning through Lib Dem Blogs clicking on his pieces more often than I don’t. Says everything.

Welcome to Spiderplant Land

Hands up who thought I was voting for this blog? Anyone? Exactly. Well I filled out my voting form based on what blogs I read most and not on personality. Whatever I think about some of her political stances her blog is one of the better ones out there and provokes more discussion than most and whatever you think about it – isn’t that a big part of the blogosphere?

Lib Dem Voice

Yeah not exactly a shock. Good starting point for Liberal Democrat views on a variety of topics.

You can vote for your favourite political bloggers behind that link but if you haven’t checked out any of the blogs I’ve mentioned I think you’d be well advised to do so at some point.

Note: I didn’t vote for David Allen Green @ The New Statesman due to me seeing it not as a political blog in the main. If I did that blog would also of seen a high vote given to it from this jury.

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August 17th, 2011 at 10:47 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

Tesco are evil.

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I don’t know the author of this blog post entitled Stupidmarkets but she is from my old stomping ground and she does make an extremely valid point. Please read her blog post as it is well worth it but the short version is she was accused of shoplifting in front of 100s of people at her local Tesco Express dragged through to the back of the store where she was finally told that she stole some shampoo and put it in her bag.

Only problem being she hadn’t and they refused to show her the CCTV which they said proved that she stole it. The fact that she had just spent £200 odd on food there is neither here nor there apparently. She stole some shampoo but was happy to pay for all the other £200 odd of groceries she bought. Whoever said Security Guards were thick as two short ones?

Now I’ve never been accused of this but I can fully imagine how this lady feels. Anyone with an once of common sense knows that someone doesn’t spend £200 odd at the till but steals a couple of quids worth of shampoo. That y’know doesn’t happen. You’d have to be immensely stupid, or a security guard, or best yet a security guard from Havant (I can say that as I was born in Portsmouth and raised in Waterlooville) to think that a person would do this.

Now the bull about Data Protection on the CCTV. Yes they can say that but you are fully entitled to be shown whatever data any company has about you if you ask. Therefore Tesco has to (as far as I’m aware with my limited knowledge of facts) show her said CCTV as long as they isolate just her on the tape, which they must have been able to do as they saw her put shampoo in her bag (but oh wait – she didn’t – the security people are morons of the highest degree – did they go to Purbrook Park by any chance?)

Also Tesco’s actions since have been appalling to say the least. Man up Tesco. Say your staff were eejits and useless morons (well maybe they went to Crookhorn) apologise profusely and do something in good faith. Don’t just hide behind a wall of being a big corporate entity who is in fact evil.

As an aside we’ve all probably been followed around HMV or similar in our teens but I was followed round Waitrose just a couple of years back by their security guard. I was 26 FFS. However the stupid fool was so blatant that I noticed him so I started playing a game and just walking round the store endlessly and then hiding at the end of the aisles where he couldn’t see me so I could wait for him to rush down the aisle to see what I was doing. Such fun. When I finally went to the till to buy what I went in there for I turned to him as he strode past and said ‘well that was a waste of time wasn’t it – did you see me nick anything?’ with that he scowled and everyone in the queue looked at me like I was scum. Well I was a young male wearing a hoodie in Waitrose, I suspect they were just pleased I didn’t have a knife. I have written about how I’m treated in M&S before right?

Young males wearing hoodies are all evil apparently. Just not as evil as Tesco. They are proper evil. Fact. End. Innit. Mush.

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August 16th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Others

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Cameron & Miliband want to be seen to be tough on crime. I just want to see and hear from Nick Clegg

with 4 comments

If you didn’t notice last week we saw a bit of unrest in pockets around the country. The police decided to sit back and do some ‘softly softly’ policing aka known as ‘CCTV policing’ and some youths (and older people) thought that they could have a bit of fun and let out all their adrenaline in a five finger discount looting kind of way. Things got pretty hairy as 100s of people essentially took over neighbourhoods and did whatever they liked with seemingly no-one willing or able to stop them.

However as we all know the police started to get themselves into gear and stopped it and starting cleaning up the mess with lots of arrests and some rather harsh sentences. The clean-up operation will cost tens of millions in cash and the psychological clean-up of those who have lost their homes and businesses will take longer. It is not right that anyone should have to live with fear but that is what these selfish individuals have done to society.

So the common man whether they are working class, middle class or upper class is wanting swift and retaliatory action. They don’t want these people to be given normal sentences they want to see heavy-handed sentences to crush the rebellion (well it wasn’t a rebellion in all honesty) well then to crush the spirit of these lawbreakers who have no sense of social responsibility. These made grave errors of judgement and the average Joe wants them to kind – in kind.

These leads to a position where the two main party leaders are going toe to toe on who can be tougher on crime. It took a few days of wanton criminality for them to turn their attention from the deficit and the economy to who has the biggest and hardest set of balls on them. It seems like only a fortnight or so ago (oh wait…it was) that the death penalty somehow made another attempt at making it into the news-cycle. That news story has gone away for now as even Dave and Ed couldn’t advocate hanging for these people – well unless they thought it was a vote winner that is.

You see this is what pisses me off about politicians and it happens day in, day out, week in, week out, year in, year out (ok Neil we get the picture) that these people change their view on things to get closer to the public sentiment. Why not just have an opinion and stick to it? Yes there might be slow changes in your views in time but politicians can change their view wildly within days depending on what the public are. This isn’t a game of ‘who is most popular?’ it is meant to be about governing the country.

We expect to see the electorate to change their opinion on a whim as we can’t do anything about it. It is just how it is. However MPs should not be cow-towing to the latest whim of the people. If they did that then the country would be in an awful state. I expect the party leaders to be statesmanlike and do their job and not use every situation as a political point-scoring opportunity. I may be naive (you are) but I want my elected representatives to stand for something. If in a year or so this happens again and rioters are shot dead by the police then the public perception will change because it has actually happened. Many will say today that the police should be more heavy handed but if it happens again and they are and it leads to deaths and even more unrest then watch the two men scramble for the more middle ground.

It just sickens me. Yes be tough on crime. We all advocate that but there is being tough and then there is being unjust and unfair. These people made mistakes and deserve to pay for them. What they don’t deserve though are punishments that are not in keeping with what has happened before.

As for ensuring it doesn’t happen again – well that is a much bigger issue and maybe one for another day but it would mean the police being something that strikes fear into people. These criminals had no fear as the police weren’t going to stop them. If the police though were ready and willing to stop them then would this have happened? The short answer is no – no they wouldn’t. A small handful will have tried and failed and the majority of people who only joined in because they thought they would get away with it would never have joined in. The police need to be a force that has the power to stop people just by being there.

Lastly I’ve not mentioned Nick Clegg yet. I’m trying to look at you Nick but I can’t find you. I’m here waiting for you to speak and I am ready to listen to what you have to say. I know you are in government but you are entitled to have your say and there are millions of us who want to hear what you think. Whilst you are Deputy PM you are also the leader of the third biggest political party in the country and you are not providing leadership to your followers and that is an issue I have with you. I believe in what you are doing in government but I also want to still hear you and the media are happy to let you talk so why won’t you?

The Tories are ready to follow Tony Blair’s lead and try to strip away at civil liberties under the guise of making the country fairer. Are you ready to let them and if you aren’t then why don’t you tell us all about it? If you are then my faith in you will be rocked so it will.

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Written by neilmonnery

August 15th, 2011 at 11:02 am

Posted in Politics

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