29 November 2006

Damned if we do...

So the left wing thinks we're all facists, the right wing thinks we're all now tree-huggers. In fact we are even blamed for the media's lack of reporting of a white terrorist cell (allegedly). Can we win? Altogether now with a chorus of, "A policeman's lot is not a happy one (happy one....)"

Quite frankly, I dislike both extremes, which is just as well really given that we aren't allowed to be political and all.

I watched a programme late last night on Channel 5 [no, it wasn't porn] where Donal MacIntyre did a documentary on Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair. At one point, they all visited the former East Germany where Adair met with far-right fascists who had little shrines to him and to his organisation - "C Company" of the UFF - Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist paramilitary leader. Now "Combat 18" is on the rise, apparently, with contacts being forged between hate-groups in Eastern Europe, former East Germany and Poland. And the RUC and UK security services apparently colluded with loyalist terrorists in the 1970s.

So the tangled web of hatred does fascinate me on some horrid, morbid level. I'll try to sum it up:
  • Fascists hate Blacks, Jews, gays, Muslims, Lefties, Catholics, Asians.
  • The UFF are kind of fascists. They carry out "punishment shootings / beatings" to people who commit crime in their area. In fact, a few years ago in Belfast I saw painted in large white letters on a gable wall, "HOUSEBREAKERS WILL BE SHOT". Fairly unequivocal.
  • However the UFF fund terrorism through extortion, protection racketeering and drug running, and terrorism itself is, of course, a criminal offence.
  • The black community [hated by fascists] is alleged to be quite homophobic against gays [also hated by fascists]
  • Muslim community, not happy with the gays. Hated by fascists.
  • Catholics, hate the gays. Not best friends with fascists.
  • Jews, same. 'Nuff said re Fascism.
  • Catholics v Protestants - has run and run in the Auld Sod. Will nobody get tired of it?
  • Belfast Pride - opposed by both Protestants and Catholics
  • Jews versus Muslims - the world's most inane summary of the Middle Eastern "Troubles"
  • Sunni don't like Shia (I once misheard this on the radio as battles between Sonny and Cher groups. Oh, the mental picture! Ho hum)
In fact everyone seems to hate each other but in reality they are all united in one thing - EVERYBODY HATES THE GAYS!! It's almost like they're a uniting force in the world of politics and religion.

This brings me back to my favourite picture of Adair, and the one I'd have in a shrine, if I did such things [which I don't] would be this one. Hard man? Getting his face made up? He's just a big, bullet-headed (in more ways than one), no-necked, terrorist, drug-running, violent, extortionist pussy-cat.

Could he be the new gay icon that unites all the hate-groups? Watch this space . . .

12 November 2006

They can kiss 2.2% of my ass!

News recently in that in the dispute over police pay, the Police Arbitration Panel have supported the Staff Side's proposal that we would be paid the amount they bloody well promised over the Official Side's trying to renege on a 27-year deal. John Reid is reported to have "accepted the ruling of the Police Arbitration Panel".

Yes that's right - he didn't accept it because it was fair, or because it was the right thing to do, because we've worked bloody hard over the past few years, dealing with the ever-shifting sands of policy, legislation and attempts at political influence, or because we've tried to face up to a new breed of terrorist that has struck at and killed for no good reason, because of the bravery and heroism shown by brother and sister officers in running into smoky tunnels to try to save as many lives as possible, then to be on endless "aid" to reassure the travelling public by high-visibility patrolling for months afterwards, all the while trying to deal with the trauma of what we saw and dealt with that day. It was not even because of the bridges we've tried to build or rebuild with vulnerable communities who have felt themselves targetted after such atrocities, or even to communities who have always been targetted by colour, race, sexuality, gender etc, which goes on and which we try to fight. He ignores that we've done all this, or at least tried our best to do this, whilst dealing with ordinary crime; the drug dealers, thieves and rapists did not stop when terrorism hit London - they capitalised on it.

No. He did it because he was forced to.

Each year, MPs vote themselves a pay rise. Often it looks on the surface like it's 1% but this doesn't take into account the interim jumps of often 6 or 8% (26% in 1996 and they all wanted 22% in 2005!), the travel allowances, the staff allowances, the postage (postage, for heaven's sakes!) allowance and a host of other benefits, nest-featherings and back-scratches possibly amounting to £200K, all the while CUTTING the number of hours that they do!

They tell us they have a stressful job? Well pick up body parts from the street and then patrol that area every day afterwards, still seeing those ghost pieces there in the corners of your vision, and comfort the frantic relatives and friends arriving at the hospital unsure of whether or not their loved ones are still alive or are suffering life-threatening or life-changing injuries and then tell us you've got a hard job.

And then deny us our pay rise until you're forced to accede by an arbitration panel? Reid and his cronies should hang their heads in shame.

Home Secretary ratifies police pay deal
Police officers in England and Wales will receive their disputed 3% pay claim
Home Secretary, John Reid has said in a statement that he accepts the ruling of the Police Arbitration Tribunal which will award officers the 3% indexation deal and for it to be backdated to September. He also announced that he would carry out a review of the way police pay was determined in the future.

Chairman of the Police Federation, Jan Berry has welcomed the award but expressed frustration that the dispute had taken so long to resolve, "whilst I am relieved that this year's pay settlement has been resolved, I am disappointed we had to take it to Arbitration".

In his statement Mr Reid has made clear that the indexation formula will form part of the review when he announces the terms of reference, "the tribunal panel accepted that we not only had the right but a duty to consider and put forward different factors and approaches which could be applied in determining police pay, to this end I will be reviewing the way police pay is determined including indexation."

The case was referred to the tribunal after the Official Side of PNB refused to accept the claim under a 27-year-old indexation formula, which links police pay to private sector pay awards. The Police Federation of England and Wales has fiercely contested the decision arguing that the deal reflects not only the unique nature of policing but also the fact that police officers are prohibited from taking industrial action.

A ‘fair pay campaign’ was launched by the Federation which included posters, postcards and media articles together with national and local lobbying of MPs by Federation Reps and members. All of which contributed to a successful outcome for all police officers.

Pesky work!

Well I haven't yet died of the 'lurgy, despite its best efforts but thank you all for your kind thoughts! As there's currently a Met-wide "initiative" against anti-social behaviour I've been pulling nasty long shifts for the past week or so, even at one stage - whisper it children! - arresting people. As a community officer this doesn't happen too often so I've had to lie down and have Mrs Bitseach bring me lots of tea to get over it.

Although I was at work today (as usual - I barely know what the inside of my flat looks like at the moment!) I was able to spend a few minutes in a private act of remembrance and bowed my head for the two minutes' silence in memory of the dead of our wars, and the living who still put their lives on the line for their Queen, their Country, their Regiments, mates and families. My own grandfathers both fought in the First World War, one lucky enough to survive the Somme and the other, Mesopotamia, as an infantryman and engineer respectively.

As was the case in those days (oh halcyon days before everything had to be "shared" ad nauseam), each one barely spoke of what they went through, but the quality of the medals they won, and the citations for those medals speaks for their efforts, sacrifice and bravery. Their time in their respective arenas, exhausted, gassed, injured, as prisoners of war, their respect for and pity for their captors (sharing cigarettes and chocolate from their Red Cross packages and the Christmas 1914 (or was it 1916?) gift from Queen Anne, with their German guards, who were harshly treated by their officers even in those harshest of times) gave small snippets of a heroism I can only imagine (being, as I am, an abject coward!) from what few scraps of information we coaxed out of them as children and to whom War and "killing Germans" was tremendously exciting:

how he learned to smoke from these same Red Cross packages; the fear and malnutrition of Granda Bitseach's young guards; the time that, when being marched from one place to another as prisoners, a German sniper from afar started picking off the POWs, so the German officer made his men mix among the POWs, which stopped that particular bit of slaughter; fighting at Ypres (or "Wipers" as the Ulstermen called it); his injuries when he took over as "runner" to deliver the message to advance on the area around Thiepval and after the previous two runners had died trying, and himself almost killed in his successful attempt (which probably saved his life in the long run); the time the gas-shell came in close to him and he took as big a lungful of air as he could before the shell exploded mustard gas, and ran and ran and ran along the trench until he had to collapse and breath - which he was lucky to be able to continue doing.

This is family lore, extracted over 80 years - all he ever told me as a child was about how they tried to make the trenches more comfortable, digging little alcoves in the trench wall to store the Government issue binoculars and how he stuck his pocket watch, which he carried with him all his days, into the muddy wall so that others who didn't have such luxuries could also see the time... he didn't want to tell me how many Germans he'd killed (which is what I really wanted to know) but just how he tried to make life a little more comfortable in Hell.

We will remember them.
My views are my own and would probably not endear me to my dear employers.