The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

14 September
Comments Off on British Soldiers Abused, Attacked In London – Is It Those Presbyterians Again?

British Soldiers Abused, Attacked In London – Is It Those Presbyterians Again?

There wasn’t much about this outside the Telegraph, Sun and Express – I wonder why?

Army officers have told troops on duty for the Paralympics to travel around in groups after servicemen were “attacked, verbally abused and harassed” during the Olympics.

In the worst case a lone soldier was abused, attacked and beaten near Tower Hill Tube station. Police are investigating but in a city swarming with CCTV there appears to have been little progress – one wonders if senior officers have have decided that making too much of it would cause trouble with the local Presbyterian community…

Those Presbyterians – always ready to be provoked….

h/t Brendan O’Neill at Spiked

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31 August
Comments Off on Summary Justice…..How Police Constable “Ginger” Dealt With Violent Husbands In 1920s South London….

Summary Justice…..How Police Constable “Ginger” Dealt With Violent Husbands In 1920s South London….

My dad lived on a tough estate in Brixton when he was a kid in the 1920s. His own father disappeared from the scene very early on so he and his brother and sisters were brought up by his mum. He recalled that quite a few of his friends were in the same position – only the phrase “single mum” had not then been invented.

Working class couples didn’t get divorced but most likely the statistics of separation might have been the same as today. There were also quite a few “common law” wives and “uncles” just living together as “partners” – another word that hadn’t been invented yet.

Wives/mothers tended to stay but some men appeared and disappeared as circumstances changed. That’s not to say that there were not lots of couples who soldiered through together and did their best even through trying times but dysfunctional relationships are not a monopoly of 21st century Britain.

My dad, through his young eyes, saw drunkenness as a familiar facet of everyday life – not amongst his peers but by watching older men staggering out of pubs as they wended their way home through the streets. And, with the drunkenness there was the violence – between men when tempers flared but, more often, the violence inflicted on the women once the men got home.

Levels of accepted behaviour were different in those days. Some men felt they had the right to slap their children and their wives but, as my dad said, there did seem to be an invisible boundary between what was acceptable – and what was not. Using your wife as a punchbag was not right – but few would dare to intervene between man and wife.

Except Ginger….

Ginger was the local bobby and the estate was his beat. He walked it regularly and knew everyone and made sure he was aware of what was going on….”intelligence led policing” is what it would be described as today….Ginger would do it by chatting to mums and kids and shopkeepers and milkmen and postmen and the local publican – and by using his eyes.

My dad said he was big and beefy with butcher’s hands. He could take a joke but was uncompromising if boundaries were crossed. Several times dad or one of his mates would be dragged by the ear to their home and parents informed in no uncertain terms of the appropriate transgression. No parent argued with Ginger – his word was law…Ginger WAS the law.

Ginger exuded authority and never walked away from trouble. He had great physical presence but dad never recalled him actually hitting anyone…..except when some wife had been used too often as a punchbag by her beer sodden husband or “uncle” – then there followed the same ritual.

Ginger would appear outside the house or block of flats, take off his jacket, fold it neatly and place it on the ground. On top would go his helmet and truncheon. He would then roll up his sleeves and go up to the front door and announce “Police – open up”. If nothing happened he would kick it open. Once inside he would hold a fairly one sided discussion with the man. This usually entailed, from visual evidence observed over the next few days, beating six bells out of the man with his bare fists. Ginger would then reappear, put his jacket and helmet back on and proceed down the road in his usual slow ponderous fashion without saying a word.

Nobody thought of going to the police station and complaining. It was rough street justice sanctioned by Ginger’s uniform.

Was it right?

Did it end domestic violence? Probably not – but maybe the thought of being at the receiving end of Ginger’s fists might have made some men hold back their punches…

Does violence resolve violence? Who can tell….

But I do know Ginger’s behaviour made a big impact on my dad, as a youngster, in terms of showing that bad actions could have unpleasant consequences – a kind of down on the street education in the realms of ethics….Ginger as the avenging angel…

It’s easy in our supposedly more enlightened culture to be very sniffy and disapproving of how Ginger went about things – but I suspect that a lot of us feel that in an imperfect world it might be comforting to know that Ginger could well be coming round the corner…

BTW…that is not Ginger in the pic, it’s just how I imagined him to look like…

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14 August
Comments Off on Hey, Mitt..Those London Olympics….Got Something Else To Say?

Hey, Mitt..Those London Olympics….Got Something Else To Say?

Confession time….I was a cynic and doomster about the London 2012 Olympics. In 2005 I was hoping Paris would get the time bomb and we could avoid all the expense and inconvenience. It seemed a classic piece of Blairite New Labour grandstanding, as empty and vapid and meaningless as the Millennium Dome.

In the weeks beforehand my pessimism meter dial hit the red zone as transport unions blackmailed extra bonuses, private security companies failed to deliver and predictions of traffic chaos and empty seats filled the pages of the Daily Mail eager, as always, to always play Cassandra.

Then it all changed. An brilliantly orchestrated opening ceremony that captured the essence of our quirky, eccentric, self deprecating British spirit segued us into a fortnight of sporting drama. No transportation problems, no security breakdowns, no violence, just day after day of pure unadulterated enjoyment.

We were on holiday in Italy for most of the time so just got to see bits and pieces of the action from screens in the restaurants and bars surrounded by Italians and Germans. Imagine how good it felt to gloat (inwardly, of course) as our sportsmen and sportswomen piled on the gold medals….

And, after that magnificent Olympic cauldron was finally extinguished and the Mayor of Rio took hold of the Olympic flag I suddenly remembered……..Mitt Romney and his cheerleaders at the US conservative blog Hot Air. Even with the rest of the world praising London 2012 resident blogger Allahpundit was sustaining his glass half empty schtick, pursing his lips and flaring his nostrils at the closing ceremony…..

Sorry, Allah (as I commented at his post), I think the rest of the world will pay more attention to the response of the Aussies whose 2000 Sydney Olympics have, up till now, been regarded universally as the benchmark of success. Down under they rate the 2012 Games as even better than Sydney and, coming from Oz, that is praise indeed.

As for the closing ceremony it is always more of a party atmosphere and the audience and the athletes in London obviously enjoyed it. In lengthy celebration there will always be low spots and Russell Brand fits that bill admirably. The rest of it, however, was great fun.

But then Hot Air has systematically waxed eeyore over the London Games. That might be because of an inbuilt tendency to regard anything outside the USA as weird/outlandish but it is more likely to be due to the fact that Atlanta 1996 was not one of the best summer Olympics or that Salt Lake 2002 winter Olympics had to be rescued from a bribery and corruption scandal.

As for Mitt, is he man enough to eat his own words and offer his congratulations to Lord Coe, the man who organised the best ever summer Olympics, and to the British people who embraced the Games with a fervour unmatched in modern times?

Just askin’ as our American friends might say…..

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26 July
Comments Off on Mitt Headroom Badmouths London Olympics Before Visiting London To Build Bridges….

Mitt Headroom Badmouths London Olympics Before Visiting London To Build Bridges….

My Tea Party friends in the US have never held Mitt Romney in high regard. Until the autumn of last year (coincidentally when the Republican presidential primary campaign began) his public rhetoric against the Obama administration was strangely muted and he has always retained an aloof distance from the tea party.

His ascension to the probable GOP nomination was strangely lacking in public warmth from ordinary voting Republicans. But it was certainly well organised with legions of surrogates doing their very best to undermine potential rivals even before the 2008 presidential election was over.

Romney didn’t win the campaign with love, but he did win it with money – and the support of a seedy coalition of GOP “consultants/strategists” , RNC hacks and those Washington/New York “conservative” media pundits apprehensive of the tea party and the new media which was beginning to break the old news monopoly.

But when I heard that Romney was coming to Britain ready to build bridges I thought maybe the guy had a bit of steel in his backbone

Members of the former Massachusetts governor’s foreign policy advisory team claimed that as president, he would reverse Mr Obama’s priority of repairing strained overseas relationships while not spending so much time maintaining traditional alliances such as Britain and Israel. …….
……..The two advisers said Mr Romney would seek to reinstate the Churchill bust displayed in the Oval Office by George W. Bush but returned to British diplomats by Mr Obama when he took office in 2009. One said Mr Romney viewed the move as “symbolically important” while the other said it was “just for starters”, adding: “He is naturally more Atlanticist”.

Then I read this

But he told US television there were “disconcerting” signs about Britain’s readiness. “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” he said. “There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”
Nonetheless, Mr Romney questioned the enthusiasm of the British public. “Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment?” he asked. “That’s something which we only find out once the Games actually begin.”

For crying out loud – if that’s his way of building a bridge I think I would rather deal with some fruitloop from Iran….at least you know the guy is a viper right from the start.

If he knew us better he would realise that it is in our very nature to moan and complain until the event actually starts. We did that with the royal wedding and the diamond jubilee. Indeed a lot of us were never that enamoured of hosting the Olympics anyway. But now the thing has arrived our enthusiasm has already started to show….witness the crowds in every village and town to greet the Olympic torch. Why didn’t Romney’s crew do some research on that?

…and maybe Romney (as well as Allahpundit at Hot Air) forgot about the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

If International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch’s address to the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games is remembered at all, it is for his unwillingness to bestow Atlanta’s Games with the honor of “the greatest in Olympic history” – that coveted rhetorical flourish lauding the host city’s organizing efforts. Unbridled commercialism, poor and unreliable public transportation, a deadly terrorist attack on Centennial Olympic Park: such significant failures shaped Samaranch’s verdict that these Olympic Games were “most exceptional,” but not “the greatest.”

Romney’s gaffe about the London Olympics, bad mouthing them even before they start is in itself of little consequence in the great scheme of things. But it does tell us something about the man…. say what you like about Sarah Palin she knows the difference between being forthright and showing good manners. Maybe Mitt Romney is really Edison Carter….

Max Headroom was shown to have been created from the memories of Edison Carter. The character’s name came from the last thing Carter saw during a vehicular accident that put him into a coma: A bar with a sign warning of low clearance, marked “MAX. HEADROOM: 2.3 M”.

Mitt Headroom, anyone?

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05 June
Comments Off on Jubilee Closes With A Million People Standing In The Rain Cheering The Queen

Jubilee Closes With A Million People Standing In The Rain Cheering The Queen

Many came into London early, some even camped out overnight….why? Because were British….and, for once, no pontificating weasel popped up to say that sort of phrase was not allowed because it’s old fashioned, xenophobic and contrary to human rights…

A solemn service at London’s own St Paul’s Cathedral, lunch with the Lord Mayor of the City of London then back to Buckingham Palace where more than a million people stood outside cheering, singing and waving union flags…thus ended an amazing three days when, for once, the voices of the normally silent majority drowned out the shallow posturings of a sneering and patronising “cultural elite”

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09 May
Comments Off on Boris Is Likeable, Charismatic But He Won Because He Was A Good Mayor

Boris Is Likeable, Charismatic But He Won Because He Was A Good Mayor

From Stephan Shakespeare an excellent postscript to Boris Johnson’s re-election as Mayor of London in a city that is natural Labour territory at a time when everywhere else the Tories were getting a drubbing.

You don’t win London by luck. And you don’t win London, at the very moment when 50% of its electorate are saying they would vote Labour at the next general election, just because you are likeable and funny. Look at the polling: the majority credit him not just with charisma, but with doing a good job – even a significant fraction of Labour voters approved of how he handled his first term as Mayor.

That is the key fact about Boris. Beneath the golly gosh public schoolboy upper class twit image is an incredibly shrewd political brain. What is more his four years as mayor has now shown that he is also a savvy and efficient administrator. Interestingly enough many working class Londoners recognised this aspect of Boris and broke with their tribal loyalty to Labour in sufficient numbers to vote for his return to City Hall. It seems that they have latched onto something that has bypassed most of the commentariat.

Boris is competent. He is charismatic, likeable and competent. He is quite separate from the Conservative Party machine and competent. He is low tax, anti EU tough on crime and competent.

Boris is one of the few politicians of any party who combines brains with charm and humour. They are three very useful skills to have when running for anything. I am not sure whether Boris will be a future Prime Minister, but one thing will be sure, if he does decide to go for it, nobody will say to him he hasn’t had any experience of running anything… unlike Messrs Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Milliband Mi and Balls.

If I were David Cameron I would be feeling rather nervous about Boris – and if I were George Osborne I would be giving up any hope of becoming leader because the one word you cannot now associate with those two is COMPETENCE.

For the moment, at least, Boris is the only Tory game in town…..

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