Hands Up Don’t Shoot In Harrow?


“Harrow is a quiet borough but there are problems with burglary, robbery and anti social behaviour and my main focus will be to lock up those who commit crime.”

– Simon Oven, Metropolitan Police Borough Commander

The former police officer of Westminster broadcasted that reassuring message via the Harrow Observer, prior to deciding that it was a perfectly good idea to put a framework in place that would ‘discourage’ time wasting taxpayers from employing the services of the police when offences were about to be committed, and anti-social behaviour was blatantly on display. Despite this, all Harrovians should be gently reassured by the presence on our streets of younger, fitter, prettier, and more handsome police officers eager, very eager for their first promotions out of Harrow & Wealdstone er….Harrow. Watch in awe and suppressed lust as they sashay (occasionally) down the catwalk the rest of us fondly call Harrow High Street. I might add that they usually turn up when they’re not really needed, either because a Neighbourhood Champion has taken matters in hand, or simply because a street wise pensioner has.


Am I saying that they’re no good at community policing? After the Lawrence Report heaven forfend! But looking that pretty, and over-suffused with aggression (try holding a conversation with one of them), they’re really not that much good in Harrow and though I hate to say it, maybe they’d do better for themselves engaged in public order policing on the streets of Westminster. I say this only because the former Borough Commander held onto his older, and far less pretty officers whose experienced policing kept the community relatively safe and calm. Harrow has a low crime rate for a reason, and that reason is the calm, reasoned, patient and scrupulously shrewd policing of Harrows black spots and its calmer spots by those officers who had spent YEARS patrolling its streets.

The kind of policing that has unarmed youngsters being shot in the back of cars on public highways, has never made it’s way to Harrow. Though I must confess I’m puzzled as to why our streets are being cluttered by inexperienced police officers who will bypass a petty thief on their way to go ‘shopping’ at Primark, to pick on a shirty black sixth former  hanging out at the local shopping centre. Could it be a distinct lack of continuous presence on the local community beat? The same lack of community policing presence that led to the spate of police shootings in St Louis? The worse we can expect in Harrow is a spate of copious taserings, though incidents like that will be on hold I feel certain, until the Conservative Party has attempted (and failed) to get itself re-elected.

09.01.14: Met police want water cannon by summer



Serco: The Long Road To Rehab


Contrary to popular opinion that is not the Chief Executive of Serco trying to get away from his shareholders. This is in fact a diagram printed in the Daily Mail (in 2009), illustrating the cunning manner in which Julian Chautard was able to elude the custody of the same  vigilant Serco employees who had ferried him to Pentonville Prison, from Snarebrook Crown Court. One can only wonder if these were the same vigilant employees driving the ‘cost-effective’ van from which two Austrailian prisoners escaped, probably not. I can’t imagine Serco retaining their services if that was the case, even if defective vans were to blame. Which makes it all the more surprising that they have elected not to blame their poorly paid employees for the companies abysmal performance this year.

Yes folks, according to the Financial Times, Serco has sustained ‘reputational damage’ caused by the ‘untruths’ told about the number of prisoners they were transporting to court, as well as further ‘untruths’ about the number of offenders they were electronically tagging. ‘Reputational damage’ imagine that, in the City of London a corporation was caught out telling lies and the authorities didn’t just give them a wink and a nod, they were punished and suffered ‘reputational damage’.

I’m amazed and enthralled because I cannot recall a single person who ever worked as an internee in a City of London firm and went on to work elsewhere, who hadn’t picked up one spurious practice or another. In fact it seems to me (and I may well be wrong in my perceptions but there you go), that many of them had picked up only one lesson from their time in some of these ‘cream of the league’ firms, how to skillfully cheat, lie and manipulate your way to success….without getting caught out and punished for it.


They learn’t those lessons no doubt from watching companies like the Royal Bank of Scotland, complicit in the funding of the extraction of oil from Canada Oil Sands. In the words of the Cree Indians a company that is complicit in ‘the biggest environmental crime on the planet’. Or perhaps they took their lessons whilst being dandled on the knee of Bear Stearns, yet another company that worried about it’s ‘reputation’ prior to it’s failure and subsequent financial collapse. They certainly won’t have acquired that knowledge at the feet of G4S, who like Serco, has rapidly discovered how unforgiving the general public can be when faced with the sight of private sector companies, devouring their taxes like overfed sharks whilst giving little or nothing back.

Pretax losses of £7.3 million, the loss of the Dockland’s Light Railway Franchise and the scaling back of work managing Australia’s detention centres, have all played a part in facilitating Serco’s demise. One could almost resent feeling sorry for them were it not for one thing, an admission by the Chief Executive that the company’s problems were the result of poor leadership and not of an incompetent workforce. A company man shouldering the blame,rather than shifting it to his employees and then slitting their throats to save his own skin (figuratively speaking), in this day and age who ever heard of such a thing?


The GDP & Dodging Pernicious Poverty

Bobby-Kennedy_400‘Too much and for too long we have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. GDP counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, ambulances and clearing our highways of carnage. It counts special locks on our doors and the prisons for the people who broke them. It counts the destruction of the Redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.

It counts Napalm and counts nucleur warheads and armoured cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. Yet the GDP does not account for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit or our courage, neither wisdom or our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile’.

– Bobby Kennedy

RA01_30051001331351_UCoca-Cola seems to get everywhere in developing countries, yet essential medicines don’t. Why? Maybe it’s because the companies who make these medicines and could export them cost free to where they’re needed don’t have a consciense. In fact maybe these multi-national corporations have less of a consciense than the Coca-Cola Company has. Coca-Cola, listed as a partner of the R.E.D campaign whose mission’s goal is to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child by 2015.


Coca-Cola, the company who in a gracious display of multi-culturalism launched a campaign for the Indian holiday Diwali in 2011. The campaign included commercials, a song and an integration with Shah Rukh Khan’s film Ra.One. Coca-Cola, the company whose mining of groundwater in India leaving behind heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, has created water drought around the villages of Kerala. In the words of one Keralan Activist,’When they drink Coke, they drink the blood of my people’.

Vivek-Vanilla_CokeIn fact next to Monsanto, Coca-Cola does a terrific job of fuelling ‘Gross Domestic Product’ in all of the countries that are ‘graced’ with its presence, it’s a sparkling addition to India’s burgeoning economy a ‘jewel in its crown’. So let’s forget the fact that lawsuits were filed against it by the United Steelworkers of America, on behalf of Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal. And lets forget why, the false imprisonment and in some cases murder of trade union officials, whose demands for better wages and working conditions were getting in the way of Coca-Cola’s contribution to Colombia’s flourishing GDP. Those who have had dealings with the company claim them to be virulently anti-union, but does that matter? After all they’re doing such a grand job of contributing to the global GDP.

28_casualty(There are some who might ask what this has to do with the resurgent growth of the British economy and there are some who really don’t need to ask why. For the same companies have set up shop in the UK and with an increasingly flexible workforce, rising employment and falling wages, like Coca-Cola they too are having fun helping the UK increase its GDP. Don’t you just love it? The flawless ability of these companies (with the generous support of our government) to generate economic growth whilst simultaneously creating poverty?







Pending Invasion of Hordes of Happy Wahabi’s?

Bernard+Hogan+Howe+gD2eflT9FU3mHas anyone ever involved you in a car crash intentionally? I ask this because these days in Harrow, the likelihood of an intentionally caused, unintentional road traffic accident is something of a hazard. Not that you’d guess it from the ‘all is well we’ve got it all under control’ reporting of the local police. First the fraudster selects her victim, and then she facilitates the collision (usually at a roundabout or on a nice quiet though very long road).

The victim flummoxed and confused climbs slowly out of the car to be well-met by a casual passer-by (the fraudster’s mate). Before you know it the victim has taken the blame for an accident they didn’t cause and all parties wander off happy and relieved. The victim is relieved because nobody died, the fraudster because they’re about to receive a payday boost. Now, I know this because some Hackney Cab drivers told me. The police also know this but they haven’t shared their pearl of wisdom with the general public, because ‘all is well in Harrow’.

It’s kind of like the drone helicopters they told us about, after they’d raided a couple of houses for cannabis and illegal migrant workers. Here we are believing that they’re assiduously hunting down nefarious criminals, when in reality they’re out and about pursuing some Neo-Con agenda. Which brings me back to my favourite police officer, and yours, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

For Sir Bernard has expressed considerable concern….about Iraq. He is dreadfully worried that the hordes of happy Wahabi’s (yes, that is what they are calling them), will be happy no longer once Iraq gets its land back. Indeed they may become so unhappy that they decide to quit the sunny climes of Iraq and jump on a Virgin Airways plane straight back to England. In his words ‘Should there be large numbers returning it puts great pressure on all of us to make sure that we’re kept safe’. Note those words ‘all of us’ I take it he’s referring to the Neighbourhood Champions (one wonders if he will be handing out tasers and truncheons), and not just the Taxpayer salaried forces of law and order.



Austere Oral Reforms

Bernard+Hogan+Howe+gD2eflT9FU3mSo I told you that we needed to be honest about dealing with the debt crisis and that doing so would mean police spending cuts. But I also told you that as Home Secretary I would be tough on crime, I would give you the powers you need to get the job done, and, as a government, we would do everything possible to maintain a strong police presence on our streets. I know many of you were sceptical. I know you meant it when you said that spending cuts would destroy the police as we know it, that the front line service would be ruined and that crime would go shooting up….and I want to take this opportunity too to remember the officers who have fallen while on duty in the last year. PC Shazahan Wadud; DC Adrian Grew; PC Andrew Duncan; and PC Mick Chapman They died serving their communities, and we honour their memory.

– Home Secretary Teresa May’s Police Federation 2014 Speech

Welcome to the Metropolitan Police Force’s new approach to making our local streets safer. Working in partnership (don’t you just love that phrase?), with our local councils, housing associations and the Department For Work & Pensions the police are smashing high level criminal gangs. High level criminals, living in our dwindling council housing and housing association supplies? High level?

I kid you not, we the general public are supposed to be profoundly reassured by the Metropolitan Police Force’s new cost-effective approach to policing. We’re not supposed to wonder why they would choose to attack crime by flinging back into our jail cells those petty thieves who have only recently been flung out of them. We’re not supposed to ponder the wisdom of raiding ‘Homes-in-Multiple-Occupation’ because of the poorly researched belief that the migrant workers living in them are drug dealers, as well as petty thieves.

Nor are we supposed to ponder the efficacy of trumpeting one’s triumphant drug raids one minute, whilst claiming that the neighbourhoods you’re policing have no appreciable drug problem the next (please see Harrow Observer). Nope, we’re supposed to be exceedingly grateful for this new cost cutting approach. That, and the increasingly significant role being played by Neighbourhood Champions in London Boroughs that were once very effectively and proudly policed.

Remember Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe? Britain’s toughest and most demanding Police Commissioner? Appointed as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in September 2011, he reflected the Home Secretary’s desire to find a “single-minded crime fighter” to lead the police force.

He is the man who introduced the Met to the slogan “Total Policing”, a mix of zero-tolerance policing and care for victims. And now the man reduced to voicing a 101 answerphone message, which reassures potential victims of crime, that their ‘non-emergency call’ will be dealt with in due course. And after you’ve listened to that, try listening to the voice of a belligerent police officer, as he or she strives aggressively to persuade you that your ‘non-emergency’ phone call is actually no policing matter of any sort.

The Little Book of Big Scams launch

Migrant Workers, Whatever You Desire


‘This is the sharpest increase in [Romanian & Bulgarian] migration since the boom year of 2007. The fact that it has occurred despite measures to restrict benefits underlines the need for Britain to renegotiate with the EU about the terms of free movement of workers.

-Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrant Watch UK

We’re having scary discussions about migrant workers these days, the kind of scary conversations that keep you up at night. First world health workers having recently worked Africa being sent back to the developed world with Ebola? Well, what about all those diseased migrant workers lurking in various affluent western nations illegally. God only knows what ailments they’re bring into the country with them. An upsurge in certain types of crime?(and given the massaging of police statistics even that’s suspect), blame those lurking, lurky migrant workers. Especially those who have the courage to admit they’re from Bulgaria or Romania. Blame them, don’t try to figure out ways of helping those who just might be prey to organized gangs, just blame them.

Which is when we find that we’ve helped encourage, nurture, and even nourish, a variant of employment that has nothing to do with human decency, and everything to do with the inhumane ‘sport’ of human exploitation. Now, there will be those who have enjoyed thoroughly the lucrative fruits of migrant exploitation via pirate video touting, pick pocketingand racketeering. And there will be some who will not have a clue what I’m talking about. But there will also be others who will have registered some degree of peripheral uneasiness about ‘stuff’.

Like for example,the ‘father figure’ walking closely behind an unaware commuter, a man who looks nothing like the children accompanying him. Perhaps you may even have found yourself working for a community centre in the business of helping asylum seekers and migrant workers. Perhaps you may even have found yourself encountering in that job migrants who weren’t really migrants (and most certainly were a part of our organized crime problem) but merely scam merchants ruthlessly exploiting the poor and the vulnerable.The Home Office certainly have (take a close look at their bulletin on English Language Centres posted on the Gov.UK site).

All these are underground practices and all are practices that would be speedily nipped in the bud, were the government to take a much more humanely proactive approach towards solving the so-called migrant problem. But hey, it’s not like doing that will win them the next general election.