Friday, 17 April 2009

Tackle these daft frogs

I HOPE you didn’t try getting the ferry to France this week because the English Channel was shut. A fleet of French fisherman got themselves all wound up about their fishing quotas. British fishermen would have signed a petition and marched round Westminster waving their tackle in the air.
But that’s not good enough for the French. They had to block off the ferry ports with their boats and bring everything to a seaborne standstill. It was utter chaos with thousands of lorries en route to France parked all the way along the M20 in Kent. Passengers were stranded on both sides of the Channel and no-one was getting anywhere. If the French fishing folk have genuine grievances about their livelihood, then fair enough. But crippling everyone’s trade, tourism and reputation wasn’t brilliant, was it? So let’s hope the situation gets sorted before the French run out of cider, we run out of onions and Daily Sport babe Gemma Massey has to dress up like Vera Lynn and fly across to sing about Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover.
THE government want to take benefits off alcoholics on the dole until they get treatment. Whoever came up with that idea must have been pretty sozzled himself. Firstly, there are too few alcohol treatment services as it is and many of them have stupendous waiting lists. Also, causes of alcoholism include poverty, unemployment and the threat of having your house repossessed. Cutting off people’s benefits isn’t going to take them out of alcoholism, it’s going to push them further into it. And what about partners and children of alcoholics? They need the benefit money for life’s little luxuries, like heating and food. Cutting benefits of parents with a drink problem is like telling their kids “just in case you’re not already suffering enough, we’re going to make sure you freeze and starve as well.”
EVEN though Parliament’s not been sitting for two weeks, the bitching just hasn’t stopped. Latest in the “Hall of Shame” is talk of “smear campaigns” and “obscene messages.” Basically, a fella called Damian McBride who works for Flash Gordon Brown sent some e-mails to his mate Labour blogger Derek Draper. The e-mails contained ideas for rumours about top Tories. Another blogger by name of Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes, got hold of the e-mails. The papers found out and bang! It’s front page news. Smear campaigns aren’t my idea of good politics. They involve petty personal swipes and nothing about policies. As a victim of such rubbish myself, I can tell you they really suck – and the people responsible for them have no place in public life or the media. McBride has rightly got the sack and Gordon is trying to apologise for the whole mess. But I offer a warning. The Tories better be careful about taking the “moral high ground,” crying crocodile tears and demanding apologies. In the past they’ve been happy enough to use smear tactics and did not apologise. They should quieten down over this grubby affair before their less-than-glorious past comes back to haunt them.
MORE shocking footage of police tactics at the G20 summit shows a stroppy sergeant battering a female protester who was swearing at him. It’s obvious from the video she was giving the copper a lot of verbal. But that’s no excuse for what the bumbling bobby did next, smacking the woman in the face then beating her round the legs with his baton. All this is on top of the sorry story of that poor bloke who died of a heart attack after being pushed over by the police. Sure, they’ve a tough job to do. But individual officers need to act professionally and with restraint. That’s what they’re trained to do. Such violence is never justified, whether it’s by out-of-control anarchists or out-of-control cops. All the footage is now with the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission. It doesn’t have a great record when it comes to fairness but let’s hope there’s enough public pressure this time for a genuine investigation.

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