May 2012

On the march

The police, the cuts and more

On the marchOn the march
It was not a good time for the police to march through London to protest about 'the cuts'. The same week the revelations following the trial of men in Rochdale for 'grooming' under-age girls for sex included the fact that the police had known of this and other cases for at least ten years. They had, however, not taken any action for fear of being accused of being racist, or at least this is what we are told. The immediate post-trial reactions of many people, not just the police, followed the usual path. Blame shift and denial, outrage and fresh threats of racist accusations were the basis of this phase. But we start with former MP Ann Cryer, for many years seen by her own party, Labour, and the liberal left elite as a bit of a liability for her campaigns on, amongst other things, forced marriage in UK Asian society.

It is said that she passed on information to the police, but nothing was done. Other people researching the darker side of UK Asian culture, female genital mutilation for example, have had a similar tale to tell. Nothing happens, nothing is done, statistics are not known or not admitted to.

Disappointed Dodo?

Extinct bird meets modern politics!

The Dodo, icon of our time?  The Dodo, icon of our time?
In 'Alice in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll, the Dodo said that "all must have prizes". By the time the result for the Mayor of London was declared and Boris Johnson won again, it was clear that the Dodo was not going to get its way in the local elections. Anyone who cares about democracy must be concerned that the turnout was so low and hope that the politicians have spotted this. The chances are that they have not, yet. First will come the excuses such as - the rain was nearly continuous on the day of polling - but this is clutching at straws. People outside of the London-centric political bubble could tell way in advance that public participation would be down. Had the bubble dwellers spent just a little time in a typical suburb they would have experienced for themselves the feelings of voters. The late Peter Cook, who was far more than just a comedian, gave us the line, "don't vote, it only encourages them". So it was he rather than the Dodo who got it right on the night.

In some cities voters who could be bothered to turn out had two ballot papers, one for local elections as per normal and another to set up an elected mayor system. The latter was generally rejected and represents a set-back for all three parties.