Not much to get enthusiastic about this November is there? As I feared and ventured to suggest some weeks ago, all but cancellation of Halloween, Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day services hasn’t caused much of a ripple from most people. Certainly here in St. Mary on the Wold, the usual complaints are heard while waiting in line at the Post Office, about the importation of all things American not being a good thing and isn’t it about time ‘somebody’ did something about all those idiots setting off fireworks in the bus shelter and down the lane late into the night frightening all and sundry – fireworks louder than hand grenades apparently, although I’m not sure if any of the complainants had ever heard a grenade never mind seen one, but you never know; all things are possible.
I didn’t like to ask why these good but elderly people were creeping about in the late evening watching youngsters hanging around the bus shelter but there you are. It could of course be that they have volunteered to be a ‘Covid champion’ and were hoping to help fellow community members ‘stay safe and healthy’ and ‘navigate these changing and uncertain times’, as one local councillor is reported as saying.
Anyway, I’m sure they mean well and if you want to do the same, sign up to the on-line course organised by trading standards which in six hours will teach you how to stay safe, evaluate risk, understand track and trace and all sorts of useful things, and at the end of it, successful participants will get a certificate, presumably awarded after an assessment, not even a simple test. Some may even go on to be ‘Covid marshalls’ or even a ‘Covid enforcement officer’, both of which seem like good long-term career prospects and, if reports are to be believed, well paid ones at that.
In our community at least some kind souls are doing their best to show a little community spirit and several ‘guys’ appeared in the days leading up to Bonfire Night, even though by order, there were no bonfires this year. The usual amount of vandalism was reported after ‘guys’ and Halloween pumpkins were destroyed by the more disturbed members of the community or, as old Dave said in passing, they must be getting a bit long in the tooth now. I’ve lived here for 30 years and they have been vandalising bonfires and the Christmas tree each year. Perhaps it’s some sort of family tradition, who knows.
The council has announced that due to the emergency, the Wold’s Christmas tree and lights will be on a much smaller scale this year. It’s down to the risk to people erecting trees and lights, not being able to keep to social distancing rules – sorry laws – which although necessary, as we all know, apparently don’t apply to workers on construction sites who are, it seems, immune from such restrictions and dangers. This must have come as a welcome relief to residents here, many of whom are taking advantage while ‘working from home’ to have all sorts of construction works completed on their properties.
On a more sombre note it was gratifying to see that, locally at least, Remembrance Day and Armistice Day commemorations went on without any interference from the local constabulary, so much so that the usual collection of inebriated individuals who every day inhabit the memorial shelter in the garden of Remembrance in town remained undisturbed during the two minutes’ silence on both occasions.
It may, of course, be down to constabularies in the area around the Wold concentrating on the strict enforcement of mask-wearing laws in shops and not having the time to monitor local people as they paid their respect to local war dead.
In fact, one rural police service has been boasting in the press that one third of fines – all 75 of them – which have been handed to recalcitrant members of the public nationally have been issued by their officers while patrolling those known hotspots of crime and disorder – supermarkets and shopping malls.
Perhaps we should be grateful as there have as yet, been no reports of shire officers being used to close down businesses, break up demonstrations or gatherings of more than two people or, as was filmed in Whitehall this week, actually failing to stop people demonstrating at, and desecrating, the Cenotaph.
Setting aside the security implications of such behaviour in Whitehall, when the capital and indeed the country is on the highest security alert, one could be excused for asking why it took police 20 minutes to respond. Staff shortages can hardly be blamed for, as we know, some of the first of 20,000 new recruits to the police service have already been welcomed.
Surely some of them must have found their way to the Metropolitan Police by now. Mind you, if they are of the same ilk as the plods who knocked over the middle-aged ex-squaddie playing his bagpipes during the Remembrance Day service, or the four with obviously nothing better to do than patrol a supermarket in Birmingham and threaten to arrest a shopper because he was not wearing a muzzle, or arrest a 73-year-old retired nurse and ‘detain’ her 97-year-old mother before returning her to a care home, perhaps the public should be more than a little circumspect and muted in their ‘welcome’.
All part of the ‘police service’ paid for by you the taxpayer but often directed and controlled by politically-motivated activists masquerading as senior officers, abiding not by the Home Secretary who on our behalf pays 51 percent of the police budget, but another set of administrators with their own agenda sporting the grandiose title of Police and Crime Commissioners, unwanted and indeed unasked-for by the public and when first introduced, the turnout to vote for and elect these people was so abysmally low, the next elections were held on the same day as local elections presumably in an attempt to ‘bump up the numbers’ .
Not that any of this has any relevance to most people who have little idea who or what these people supposedly do and probably even less interest.
Just another fine mess foisted on the taxpayer by ‘call me Dave’ you may remember, after a visit to the US where commissioners are required to be police officers. Incidentally, wasn’t it good to see Dave and Sam back in the news this week as they have now decided not to construct a swimming pool at their home because it’s reported it will breach neighbours’ human rights!
Anyone who thinks that the police still operate under the auspices of ‘without fear or favour’, particularly in the City of London or London Metropolitan Police area, and are on ‘our side’ are likely to be very surprised and disappointed during any sort of contact.
That’s if you even manage to talk to a police officer. Telephone calls are usually answered by a member of staff and any person seen in public is likely to be a uniformed member of staff – that’s a police community support officer to you and me, who as the head of the Labour Party and one time head of the Crown Prosecution Service recently discovered, is not the same thing at all.
On rare occasions you may find yourself talking to an armed response officer clutching some sort of automatic weapon, wearing sunglasses and these days a facial covering, looking for all the world how Hollywood filmmakers imagine ‘special forces operatives’ to be clad. I’m not sure if I would ask these officers the time of day or anything else for that matter and as an aside, the power of those weapons makes them totally unsuitable for use in our highly populated and built-up areas. If used, the carnage would be unimaginable; best then to keep away. Perhaps that’s the idea, it certainly a new slant for the new normal on community policing and the idea that police officers are just ‘us’ in uniform.
This year, the attack on our institutions and our liberties while apparently most of the country was either ‘working from home’ or not working at all, or were frightened out of their wits by Covid hysteria in the mainstream media, has been unremitting and relentless, an attack by not some unseen or previously unknown force, but by our own local and central government officials backed up by ‘our’ police service acting in a way that previous generations would have deemed unbelievable and certainly unacceptable.
Public Health Legislation has been used illegally in the opinion of many professionals to restrict the movements of individuals even to the extent of how many people you can visit or have in your home, we have allowed them to dictate and track and trace our every movement, close down shops and business activities, sport and recreational facilities, schools, health care, allowed thousands of futures to be ruined and businesses bankrupted.
Part 2 of Outside the Bubble will be published here tomorrow.