No not the policeman in charge of anti-terrorism in the UK, who unthinkingly, foolishly and potentially dangerously, went to a briefing with the Prime Minister with his documents in view of the press cameras. He has resigned, maybe unnecessarily, and we have lost a much needed expert in the battle against terrorism.
No he is not the man that is getting up the nation’s nose – he has been an important defender of our security – even if he has made a good press story.
There is another figure that we just love to hate.
I could be referring to the unspeakable and unstoppable Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, who has been advising the recent earthquake survivors to see the tragedy as a camping holiday and a chance for a trip to the seaside. I won’t go on about him or you will think I am anti-European after my recent attacks on the other two members of that depressing short-sighted trinity, Sarkozy and Merkel.
No it is not him either.
People have chucked bricks through his windows and vandalised his car. There is a sense of national outrage that (Sir) Fred Goodwin, the failed former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland could leave his job at the age of 50 with that outrageous pension of £703,000 a year and yet we read that the Royal Bank of Scotland is shedding 9000 other jobs internationally where no pensions will be paid and the unlucky staff will be given just statutory redundancy payments. How many times can £703,000 be divided equally and annually?
I know that Gordon Brown and Barack Obama want to stop the gluttons being rewarded for their failure – please let our complex but time honoured laws allow them to make Fred Goodwin the end of a despicable and shameful line even if he does manage to hold on to that obscene amount of money.
But lets not throw bricks at the man, we have seen only too recently how anger and crowd psychology can turn peaceful protests into violence.
I am talking about those G20 demonstrations – not the window smashing, which I do not condone, but, sorry to say it, our boys in blue.
They have developed a new way of working in these situations. Confrontation is now the thing. You get in there first, do some pushing, intimidate the protesters into submission and retreat. Some of the police officers were unwise enough to say with pride that they were “up for it.”
Well, most of the great British public, that dreaded silent majority, are perfectly happy for “anarchists” and “scruffy students” to get a bit of a working over but then came the shocking video footage of Ian Tomlinson, who apparently wasn’t even on the demonstration, being attacked quite obviously and aggressively by a group of policemen. His death may well have been from natural causes but whatever the postmortem reveals, the police action was totally unacceptable.
That anti-terrorism chief made a mistake and has gone in a flash but these offending policemen, a week later have still not been charged with doing anything wrong.
Jobs are beginning to go in all those G20 countries and a lot of people are in for a bad time – not the leaders, of course, not the bankers either. Tempers will be raised, and action should be taken.
We have learnt that the Chinese government is worried about the chances of public unrest when their economic downturn results in significant job losses in the year when they want everyone to celebrate the 60th. anniversary of the revolution.
Remembering Tienanmen Square and the sickening confrontation between so called law and disorder, we should all be careful about what we say and what we do.
It is too easy when your temper is roused, even in the most righteous of causes, to shout out that you are “up for it.” Street violence is ugly and, if only people, including the police, can keep their heads then street demonstrations, our democratic right, will remain a powerful weapon in what should be any nation’s march, away from brutality, towards justice.
Saint Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi and those much too ridiculed Sixties counter-culture revolutionaries have shown what peaceful protest can achieve. Not as much as you would think or hope for, I know, it will never stop Al-Qaeda for a start, but it is still the better way most of the time and we will be giving up more than just our right to protest if we support violence, on our streets or even at the home of Fred Goodwin.
If we let our kids grow up thinking violence is OK then we are in danger of seeing more incidents like the one reported in the papers about those two brothers,from South Yorkshire, England, aged 10 and 11, who are charged with the violent and sadistic attempted murder of two equally young children.
In The News
Ready for your close up?
Your fifteen minutes’ fame?
That photo opportunity.
It’s fun, a laugh, OK?
The parachute jump,
The lottery win,
Run naked for a crowd.
It’s fun, a laugh, OK?
Kiss a baby,
Cut a ribbon,
Hand out that giant cheque.
It’s fun, I think, OK?
Cry for the camera,
Show us your scars,
Some cash here for your grief.
Not fun I know, OK?
Dead babies, screaming men,
Bombs, brick dust, hospital beds,
In not-here, war-torn lands.
No fun, don’t look, OK?
Grinning leaders shaking hands,
Everything just apple pie,
We are the nice guys, vote for us.
Not fun, not true, OK?