Category Archives: moaning

Has football finally reached its financial tipping point?

player greed, the death of football
Geed; not so great after all.

As a lifelong football fan and a passionate supporter of fans rights, I am often asked to become involved in campaigns. These can involve huge protests about clubs being taken to the edge of financial ruin by useless owners through to charity evenings being run by fans to raise money for sick children.

No matter what they are, as long as I have a degree of sympathy with the cause then I will do whatever I can do to help be that by going along to show solidarity or by donating books to raffle off as prizes. And I do that because I am one of those who believe that no matter where they watch their football, fans are one huge community. Yes of course there are exceptions (we all have rivals after all!) but at the end of the day, it’s the game that really matters and if a club are in trouble or something is being done which is fundamentally wrong, we should all pull together to help. I actually wrote a book about this very thing –Rebellion- which examined protests at clubs ranging from Manchester City to former FA Cup winners Wimbledon FC.

The reason I mention this is that this very week we have seen two clubs go into administration here in the UK including one of the legendary names of world football. No, not Pompey, but Glasgow Rangers.

Now I won’t go into my usual rantings about the way football is run but there is a sad inevitability in the fact that as with all such things, the only real hope for ultimate salvation will lie with the fans. Only recently we saw little Darlington put out a call for help when closure seemed just days away and to the credit of all those who follow the game, even though they are a relatively little club that call was heard and a small fortune raised (including one single donation of £25,000) to keep them going for a while in the hope that some way of saving them will be found. And to be fair, if history is anything to go by it probably will be. Sadly too many clubs have been in this position before including such giants as Chelsea, Leeds, Wolves and even the great Manchester United.

To me, things like this actually show football fans at their very best. We get a lot of bad press thanks to the hooligan and racist elements but we should never forget that they form only a tiny minority and the vast majority love the game and everything to do it. Long may that continue.

However, whilst news of a club in crisis being saved by the community of football fans always fills me with pride, it also fills me with a sense of anger. Anger which is directed at one specific group.

It would be reasonable to assume that the target of my fury would be those who administer the game. After all, their consistent failure to impose any kind of strict control over how the individual clubs manage their finances is ultimately responsible for things like this happening. But it is not. No, my anger is directed at players.

I do not for one second begrudge anyone earning a decent living out of the game because if I could, I would. I don’t like the amounts involved when we get into the top flight, that’s true, but I certainly don’t blame them taking it. That’s market forces after all.

What I do have a problem with is players taking that money and never putting any of it back into the game. Yes of course there are exceptions to

The bank of football, for some.
The bank of football, for some.

that but in the main, players take a fortune from out of the pockets of fans and then when trouble hits a club, we are the ones they expect to dip into our pockets to keep that the club alive. That’s not right. Not right at all.

Here in England there are 92 professional and hundreds of part-time clubs and together they form what is in the opinion of many, the greatest league structure in world football. If one of those clubs goes under, especially in the current financial climate, it can only destabilise the rest and as Rangers have shown, no one is immune from the danger of financial collapse especially when the tax man comes calling. Indeed, there are a number of Premiership teams in serious trouble at the moment and one can only imagine the consequences should one of those go out of business.

So with so much at stake is it really too much to expect that the people who take the largest slice out of the game contribute a small percentage of their huge wage to help keep a struggling club alive?

Or is that responsibility always going to fall on that group of people who in far too many cases these days are already struggling to afford the cost of a ticket to walk through a turnstile?

 

The Crew. A thriller by Dougie Brimson
The Crew

Two quick plugs, I’m currently giving away ebooks versions two of my best-selling books (The Crew and Everywhere We Go). Further details can be found by clicking here Free Books 

Could I also thank all those who have downloaded my most recent book, The Art of Fart. If you liked it, please leave a review at the store where you obtained it from. As with all my books, they really do make a difference.

And I recently gave a short interview to the excellent It’s Round & It’s White website. Please click on the link to visit.

Football’s fascists have finally gone too far.

football fans complaining about money and something else.
Bastard football fans daring to complain.

I will be the first to admit that I am something of a grumpy bastard and that I spend my days moaning about subjects ranging from the failure of HM Tax and revenue to collect money from the travelling community (why don’t they?) to people who illegally use disabled parking spaces (who should have their cars crushed on the spot). However, today I read something which hasn’t just irritated me, it has left me incensed. Yes, that’s right, incensed.

For on this very night, the 22nd of December, at White Hart Lane where Spurs will be playing near neighbours Chelsea, stewards will be wearing cameras in an effort to catch on film anyone in the crowd who uses foul, abusive or racist language.

Stewards….. wearing cameras….. Sorry, but I had to type that twice because I still don’t actually believe it.

To be honest, I don’t even know where to begin with this. The sanitisation of football is something I have written about extensively over the years and yet it continues apace. Usually it has to be said, hidden or at least cloaked under the ‘Kick Racism’ banner. But whilst I will be the first to jump behind anything which deals with either racism or racist abuse as I have done at length both in books and on this very blog,  this is something else entirely.  This is little more than fascism.

Like most people, I go to football to let off steam and part of that involves shouting, singing and occasionally, indulging in that little thing we fans call banter. Now in truth, many of the things we say, sing or chant could, when taken out of context, be considered abusive but inside a football ground,  when directed at opposing fans, players or even officials, they are little more than simple words. Many of these words have basis in either history or fact but they are above all, instrumental in the creation of atmosphere. And atmosphere is, above all, what makes going to football one of the great joys of life.

But now, all of that is in grave danger of being taken away and make no mistake, that’s exactly where this is heading. The question is, why?

The fascists’ case is that no one should be subjected to any kind of abuse which might be deemed unacceptable but this is bollocks. This is about context and in the case of football, the game is the context. Enter a ground and you should know exactly what you are walking into, play it professionally and you must know what you are likely to experience at some point. If you don’t like that, then either don’t go or watch the sanitised version on television or don’t seek to enter the profession in the first place! It really is that simple. Because you have no right to walk into a ground or run out onto a pitch and then cry foul because you don’t like certain aspects of what you find. The individual will never, should never and can never be bigger than the game.

Yes, of course there are things which are said, shouted or sung inside grounds which are unacceptable but shock horror, terraces aren’t politically correct places and nor should they be! Furthermore, history has proven time and time again that in the vast majority of cases, the line of acceptability is drawn firmly by the people sitting within earshot which is exactly how it should be anyway! It is not, nor should ever be, drawn by someone sitting in a control room viewing CCTV footage a few days later.

Equally, what will be deemed unacceptable? The girls in Hertfordshire do have tits and fanny’s but me singing about them doesn’t make me sexist just as the age old songs about Mickey Quinn eating all the pies hardly make me fatist.

But to some politically correct driven jobsworth, that might be exactly what they decide and what then? Bollockings? Bannings? Prosecution? Or will we all have to attend some kind of seminar outlining the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of football fandom.

It’s a joke. But of course, it isn’t. Because it isn’t funny at all. It’s potentially very real and it could well have major consequences for the game in this country.

The irony is that this is happening on the very same week that someone in the UK has finally seen sense and decided that a return safe standing might actually be a good idea. Of course it isn’t in England because that would mean relinquishing some of the control the game exerts over us but fair play to the Scottish game (and that’s something I never thought I’d say! ) for finally having the balls to give it a try.

Yet what is the driving force behind the safe standing campaign? Exactly, the demise of atmosphere inside our grounds! Which is of course exactly what this farce at Tottenham is going to erode even further.

Well I have news for those who ‘run’ the game. Start filming people and prosecuting them for using foul language inside a ground and you will be fucked. Because enough is enough.

This isn’t about the game or the police, this is about the clubs themselves. OUR clubs. They’ve hiked prices to ridiculous levels, make us sit not stand, shift games around without a moment’s thought for the travelling fan and each week seem to find new ways to part us from our increasingly hard earned. And now, as we have seen at Blackburn and numerous other clubs, not only are they starting to cry foul when we actually have the nerve to voice our opinions about what is or is not going on at OUR clubs, thanks to Tottenham there is a very real sign that they are seemingly moving toward the total control of what we can and cannot say inside grounds. OUR grounds. What next? Song sheets? Big screens being used as auto-cues? Fans being asked to sing adverts for sponsors?

You may laugh, but I wouldn’t put anything past anyone involved with the financial side of football because none of them have the remotest idea of what it is (or was) like to stand on a terrace and be spontaneous. That’s why what’s going on at Spurs must be stopped from spreading and if the FSA and those who claim to be supportive of the rights of fans had anything about them, they would already be screaming blue bloody murder.

So where are they?

Note: My new book, The Art of Fart is now available to download from Amazon at £1.53 (or $2.68 in the US). Please visit www.theartoffart.net for further details. Make a stunning Xmas present…… especially post-sprouts!!!
My ebook. A fucking bargain!
The Art of Fart – What a bargain!

Beat ’em and flog ’em. The players, not the fans!

Tevez, money, manchester City, sex, greed
Carlos Tevez... upstanding citizen.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people asking me to comment on issues relating to footballers and in particular, their morals.

This was of course, largely a result of the Carlos Tevez situation and his alleged refusal to get his overpaid but extremely talented arse off the Manchester City bench and actually do what he is paid shit-loads to do. But it’s continued thanks to the activities of… well, far too many of them.

Quite why anyone thinks I am qualified to comment on the morals of anyone is something of a mystery as my life has hardly been virtuous but hey, if they ask, I answer. It’s what I do.

For what it’s worth, I think that the vast majority of footballers are decent blokes who are lucky enough to be paid to do a job most blokes would do for nothing. Some of them are paid way too much money admittedly but that’s hardly their fault. Whilst one can argue at length about the issue of players wages, as it stands it is market forces that dictate what they get paid and so until that issue is finally resolved as it surely has to be soon, I say fill your boots!

However, there are also a few amongst their number who are not decent at all and can at best be described as chavs and at worst, as scum. There are certainly individuals who, were it not for the fact that they could play football, would be in prison. Probably for a long time.

This is hardly a shock. After all, football is the working class game and even in this day and age, many footballers come from backgrounds which can hardly be called affluent. So it is hardly surprising that some of them go off the rails when they suddenly find themselves swimming in money, living in expensive apartments and left to their own devices. What doesn’t help is that their clubs or agents are so quick to step in and clean up their mess and that to me is the real problem. It’s the fact that being a good footballer seems to provide a golden get-you-out-of-jail card. That’s not right.

No one should be above the rule of law but equally, no one who represents the game, be they player or manager, has the right to drag it into the papers for the wrong reasons and be able to escape punishment. Being a twat, stupid or just horny is no excuse and I don’t care if it’s drink driving, adultery, rape, murder or simply refusing to play, they are bringing football into disrepute and should be hammered by those who administer it.

Not least because it makes those who follow the game that funds these lifestyles look foolish to those who don’t.

Why this Thatcher fan will never vote Tory again.

Thatcher, greatest leader ever! And sexy too!
Come back Maggie. We need you!

It’s not often I write about politics but today, I have to make an exception.

Quite why this compulsion has hit at this particular time is unclear as the decision I’ve made and the reasons for it were made months ago but hey, my subconscious has decided that today is the day and so here we go.

I have never made any secret of the fact I have always voted Tory and am a huge fan of Lady Thatcher. My father led me along this road from an early age but it was reinforced when I joined the RAF (the military are traditionally right-wing) and set in stone when I headed south as part of the South Atlantic Task Force in 1982.

If anything, my anti-left resolve was hardened when Blair and his loathsome cronies came to power and set about their pre-planned destruction of the social (and as we later learned, economic) fabric of our country. A crime which is far more serious than the ongoing obsession with a so-called illegal war in Iraq yet which will similarly and tragically never result in any kind of justice being imposed upon those responsible.

Have no doubt, I was thrilled when Brown was ejected from number 10 and chuffed to bits that my vote contributed to his demise. I had high hopes for Cameron and even though he was forced to bring the Lib-Dems in, I was convinced that anything would be better than what we had been enduring. Yet as the weeks unfolded and the true extent of the damage Labour had inflicted on the country began to be exposed, I began to become concerned. And the more I heard, the more my unease grew.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually support many of the things the coalition are doing and whole heartedly back the cuts the government are making because at the end of the day, that’s my money being wasted by the NHS, the Civil Service and even the MOD (don’t get me started on that!). I also applaud the stance being taken over law and order and the growing calls to repeal elements of the human rights act. However, I certainly don’t support some of the cuts made to defence especially the destruction of the Harrier fleet which will surely rank as one of the most crazed military decisions of all time.

But there have been two particular issues which have enraged me since Dave came to power and combined, they have ensured that I will never vote Tory again.

The first is the issue of Europe. I’m English first, British second and European never. Whilst I understand the concept of a European state and accept that there are certain elements of it which are of huge benefit to the nation, there are other aspects which disgust me, others which terrify me. To me, it’s clear that the EU is a club which needs us far more than we need it and that alone is reason enough to leave. So where is my referendum? The one Dave repeatedly promised.

As each day passes, the clamour from the nation calls for it and whilst we are finally seeing noises that it might actually happen at some point, the stumbling block remains the construction of the actual question. But it shouldn’t, it should be a simple in or out question. If the people say we stay in, then fine. But if they say we want out, then it’s a total out.

Either way, it will be a democratic decision and those who voted contrary to the outcome will have to deal with it just as the country will have to deal with the consequences whatever they might be. But the fact remains, we want our say and we should be given it. The fact that we haven’t is a disgrace.

The second issue is the one which not only leaves me baffled, but furious. Indeed, even as I’m sitting here I can start to feel my blood boiling.

Britain is a wealthy country, of that there is little doubt. Yet at the moment we have, thanks to Blair and co’s mismanagement of our finances, a huge debt. As a consequence, the government have been forced to make massive cuts to public spending the majority of which, as I’ve already said, I support.

However, given the fact that we are in such a mess, why the bloody hell are we spending £8.1 billion a year on overseas aid (and that will increase to £11.4 billion in 2014. That’s a 34 per cent rise!)?

Cameron argues that it is essential to spend this money to maintain our status on the world stage and more importantly, that we have a moral duty to help those living what must be awful lives. But whilst I think the former is bollocks and do have some sympathy with the latter, surely as an elected government you also have an even greater moral duty to ensure that you don’t have kids in your own country who live in abject poverty or elderly men and women who, having spent the bulk of their lives paying into the system, are being forced to choose between eating and heating because their pensions are so low.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it made any sense. Call me old fashioned, but does a nation which spends £20 billion a year on defence and £1.25 billion

Tory party giving away our money. Not sexy politics David!
Overseas aid.... the sad reality?

space programme really need £280 million from the British taxpayer? Would it not be better all round if someone were to give them a quick call and tell them to get their priorities right?

And did it not strike anyone at the Department for International Development as odd that many senior officials in Sierra Leone went on a huge spending spree shortly after they handed them a cheque for £1.2 million to aid ‘peacekeeping’ efforts?

I know I’m being flippant but sadly, those are two examples from a very long list of bizarre decisions and whilst the sums involved might not make much difference to the old age pension or child benefit, they would make a huge difference to organisations such as Childline, Cancer Research, Macmillan, the RNLI and even the RSPCA who as it stands, are essential charities almost wholly dependent on public donation. And I for one, would far rather my taxes went in that direction rather than risk them ending up in some African despots Swiss bank account or to countries who wish us nothing but harm in return.

Quite why Cameron and company cannot see that escapes me and that, in essence, is why I will never vote Tory again. Not because they are crap politicians or even dodgy characters, but because after years of Labour destruction and miss-management, they have failed to adhere to the fundamental rule of political life. That as a politician you are elected by the people to serve the people.

To do that, you have to listen to and act upon the will of the majority and the sad fact is that at the moment, at least when it comes to these two issues, they’re certainly not listening to me and plenty like me.

So why on earth should they get my support.

Dougie Brimson – The New Gok Wan?

Mutton dressed as er... mutton

In every list or article written by a male about relationships with the opposite sex, there is one issue which will inevitably receive a mention. It is best described as entrapment.

I don’t mean entrapment in the sense of her trying to find out if you’re having an affair or have actually been out with your mates when you’ve told her you’re at work, I’m talking the really serious stuff. Primarily the stuff about HER! Those questions which are designed to trap you into saying the wrong thing and attracting trouble. The most dangerous of which is the dreaded ‘how does this look?’

Now any bloke with half a brain knows that if a woman asks that question, it doesn’t matter what he responds because it will inevitably be wrong. If we pay a compliment it’s ‘you’re only saying that’ and if we say anything negative…. well, best not to do that anyway. And even if it isn’t wrong at that moment in time, it will almost certainly be wrong later on at which point you will get the blame because ‘you should have said something’.

Worst of all is when this question is posed when we’ve been ‘taken’ shopping.  Never mind the fact that most men hate shopping with a passion and being dragged around the underwear department of Marks & Spencers is the single most evil thing a woman can inflict on her man, our reluctance to show any desire to provide comment on anything from ball gowns to handbags means we are considered either useless or boring or both. All of which adds to the ‘fun’ of course. 

I mention this here because the other day, whilst mulling over what would constitute my perfect job, I finally came up with the answer. You see I actually quite like wandering around shopping malls (it’s a people watching thing) and I certainly like women so it seemed reasonable to think of a way to combine the two activities. So in short, I’d like to be employed as the bloke who passes impartial and honest comment on what women are either trying on or already wearing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not nor ever could be considered, fashionable. I wear clothes which do not suit me, have a body profile which defies any description other than lardy and am as far removed from Gok Wan as it is humanly possible to get (and on that note, if you want to spend all your life dressing women and acting like a woman, why not just get a bloody sex change and have done with it?) but I do have three things going for me. I am a bloke, I know what looks good on women and just as importantly, I know what doesn’t.

Kill me please.

And having sat outside more changing rooms than I care to recall and watched a succession of fashion disasters appear only be told by their long-suffering and bored shitless partners that they look fabulous, would it not be better to have an honest opinion from an impartial male on tap? After all, wouldn’t a woman rather be told that she looks like a pig wrapped in some old pub curtains before she goes to that wedding as opposed to realising it herself when she receives the photo’s afterwards?

But equally, I’d like to be able to tell a woman that she looks beyond awesome. Indeed, I’d encourage any bloke to do that once in a while anyway. I have and trust me, you have no idea of the impact paying a random comment can have, especially at 08.45 on the Piccadilly Line.

The other attraction is that I’d also be able to walk up to a woman and tell that at 50 plus, she shouldn’t have pink hair or a nose piercing because they make her look slightly sad or tell that 25 year-old that men don’t actually find the sight of an exposed KFC fuelled muffin-top particularly attractive.

The more I think about it, the more I think that I’m definitely onto something here. After all, if honesty really is the best policy, let’s apply it where it is most needed, at the proverbial coal face. But equally, think how many cold and frosty nights I could save for my fellow males?

Anyone got a number for John Lewis?

I Blame Telly. Really, I do!

It fucking doesn't!

In all the soul searching and hand wringing that has gone on since the riots that engulfed London, Birmingham and Manchester barely two weeks ago, little has been mentioned about what I regard as one of the major factors to have impacted on the fabric of British society over the last 50 or so years.

For whilst much has been made of the role computer games have played in the desensitisation of violence and the fact that music videos are increasingly portraying women as little more than sexual objects (and where are the feminists in that debate? Gyrating to Rihanna along with their 8 year old daughters perhaps?) little has been made of the most powerful medium of all, television.

Now I love TV. It is an amazing thing and the people who work within it produce some incredible programming. Yet as a weapon, it is unrivalled. For it has the potential to shape public opinion in a way no other medium can and only a fool would deny that it has certainly been wielded plenty of times over the years and for all kinds of reasons.  Some good, most bad.

Never is this more graphically illustrated than in the soaps. Soaps are different to all other forms of entertainment in that they are infinite. Characters come, evolve and go, storylines unfold and die but the essence remains constant. This is of course, one of the great attractions and for many viewers that essence becomes so familiar that it takes on a sense of reality. A place it stops being the product of some writers imagination and is instead somewhere where the characters change from jobbing actors into into real people who actually experience real things. It’s Truman in all but name.

The arguement often put forward in defence of this type of programming is that it’s art mirroring life which would be fine if they showed lives, communities and problems which were actually ‘normal’ in the sense that yours and my lives are normal but they do not. Instead they paint a warped and necessarily condensed picture of a drama. One where hatred, shouting, violence, criminality and dysfunctional families are everyday normality.

And if you’re 7 and your evenings involve sitting in front of some screaming banshee supposedly living in a Manchester suburb and your only datum point is a home life which isn’t that far removed from what you’re seeing on screen, it simply becomes an extension of reality. When that is so destructive (and so repetitive) it can only have a negative impact because if anti-social behaviour is something you witness on a daily basis and it is rarely if ever condemned, how can you hope to learn that it is unacceptable in the real ‘real’ world? 

TV... do your job!

Therefore, those who develop these storylines must be made aware that they too have a responsibility to society to portray life is it actually is as opposed to the twisted vision they trot out for us. Because whilst I’m sure everyone involved with Eastenders is happy to work there, I doubt any of them would actually want to live there in real life.

And that has to be the defining question all producers and commissioners need to ask themselves before they put their signature on that line to sign off that script. Because if it’s not good enough for them, why on earth should it be good enough for us?

National Service – I Think Not!

Sargeant Major bastard
Predictably, the screams for a return to national service have begun to appear on the front pages as journalists up and down the land seek desperately to fill their pages with a new angle on the riots story. Quite why they do this escapes me because as a tax-payer, I’m more then happy to see page after page of mug-shots of the guilty finally getting their just deserts. That can carry on for weeks thanks.
 
However, the fact of the matter is that editors do not see it as I do and so that old chestnut ‘a spell in the Army would sort them out’ has been dragged out and placed in the public consciousness as if it’s a good idea. Well as someone who served 18 years in the Military and is a veteran of theFalklandsconflict and Gulf War one, I speak with some authority when I say that it isn’t. A return to conscription would be a disaster for all kinds of reasons, the main one being that the military do not want it. And given that they are currently fighting two wars and keeping the peace in various places across the globe whilst all the time facing scathing cuts of their own, I think that not only should we listen to what they have to say but in fact to even suggest it is to take the piss.

That said, I do think that there is a very strong case to be made for some kind of compulsory service for anyone between 18 and 20 who is not in full time education. And by education I mean learning something useful such as medicine, teaching, engineering or science as opposed to the impact of 15th Century Peruvian art or the history of Hollyoaks.

My own view is that a scheme based on the military model but dedicated not to the use of weapons or even defence (teaching the use of weapons to individuals who you are trying to stop using weapons is slightly barking even for the British!) but to service in and to the country as a whole would be perfect.

Through such a scheme, not only would this so-called ’lost’ generation be provided with paid employment and be taught a trade, it would also learn the core values of British life generally, many of which are failing to be taught in schools or by parents (or parent) too many of whom seem to regard Jeremy Kyle with more reverence than their local coppers. Most importantly of all, they would discover that everything we do as individuals has a consequence for someone else. Or as it is better known, a conscience.

But equally, working with others would instil a sense of self-worth and that is something which does seem to be lacking in many of those dragged before the courts so admirably by the police this week.

The problem of course is that the adoption of such a system would involve a major sea-change in pretty much every aspect of British life and it would certainly not be popular with everyone under 18 which is why it will never happen. Because that age group also happens to be the next generation of voters and the party who proposes it would be committing political suicide.

And no matter how much hand-wringing and political gesturing we hear from10 Downing Streetor the House of Commons, the simple truth is that most politicians are too afraid of being kicked out of power to risk doing anything which might cost them a vote or two.

Which is exactly how we’ve ended up in this situation anyway.

The Riots…. part two

I don’t really know where to begin with this. Like many people I am both furious and dismayed by the scenes I have witnessed on my television over the last few days.

Equally, I am disgusted by the attempts of supposedly intelligent people to try to justify the riots as some kind of legitimate rebellion against the government. What total and utter bollocks. There is no excuse and there never can be. Because the root causes of these riots lie in the breakdown of the values that this country was founded on; family, respect, right and wrong. It really is as simple as that.

As I wrote yesterday (and as the deputy leader of the Met and the Home Secretary repeated about 12 hours later) all of those involved are sons, daughters, brothers, neighbours, etc. Where on earth did some of these mothers think their children were at that time of night? And when they did eventually crawl home, where did they think they had been?

But equally, the lack of respect for the forces of law and order sends shivers down my spine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the old bill generally (a sentiment forged by years of football and motoring experiences) but they have a tough job to do and deserve our admiration. However, it was clear from what I saw last night that they are obviously not getting it from sections of the community who clearly thought that not only were they untouchable, but that they would never get caught.

Hopefully, with so many cameras on our streets and many already in custody, the majority of them will not only be named and shamed, but hauled before the courts and dealt with to the full extent of the law. However, this does not deal with the most pressing issue.

When people are involved in what amounts to civil disorder, I, as a citizen of this once great country, want the police to wade in and batter those responsible. Not for revenge but to let them know that if they don’t fuck off and sharpish, they are actually going to get hurt.

Sadly, like the military in such situations the police are governed by the rule of minimum force. For the police, what this actually means is that they can use whatever force they feel necessary in a situation but they must be confident that they can justify this in a court of law.

Now as we have seen all too often, that is an incredibly restrictive rule because the risks are immense. And clearly, over the last few nights, we have seen the impact of that with police holding back when the obvious (and possibly best) thing to do would be to wade in and batter a few people to show force and intent to those causing mayhem.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see that rule relaxed in certain situations. It’s not about revenge or anything like it but it is about the protection of the law-abiding individual and their property. That can only happen if we allow the police to actually uphold the rule of law by taking whatever steps are necessary in such situations and if they could do that, then we wouldn’t need to be screaming blue murder for water cannon or the Army.

Because the truth is that the bulk of people involved in these riots –like all people involved in such riots- are cowards and the knowledge that they might well end up on the receiving end of a few batons courtesy of the thin blue line would almost certainly be enough to make them behave.

The Riots….

Looters are scum

Like most people with a brain in their head, I was incensed to see the events in London unfold over the weekend. Looting has to be one of the most despicable of crimes and to see it happen on English streets leaves me disgusted.

Inevitably, the do-gooders have been quick to climb out from under their rocks and indulge in the typically anti-authority tirades they use to apportion blame to anyone but those actually responsible. However, this time even they are starting to realise that there are no excuses for this kind of behaviour and none are going to be accepted. The people who thought it ok to smash their way through windows and steal in pure daylight are vermin, pure and simple.

The interesting thing of course, is what happens next. I know North London , it’s where my family originated, and I have seen how the gangs have all but taken over the streets and brought fear and terror to the area. Yet the stark truth is that this is not as the community leaders will have you believe, the fault of the police, it is instead the fault of the community as a whole because they are the ones who have allowed this cancer to grow from within.

For it is a fact that every gang member is a son, brother, sister, friend or neighbour so why have they not done more to stop this culture developing under their noses? They after all, are the ones most directly affected as we have tragically seen over the weekend.

Instead, they have for years abdicated responsibility which is ironic given that the people they have abdicated it to are the same ones they are currently busy trying to blame for it all going horribly wrong.

Bring back the stocks!
Bring back the stocks!

Only by individuals facing up to their responsibility as either citizens or parents can the people of North London ever hope to rebuild trust and develop genuinely a safe and caring communities. It’s also the only way that those who live outside the borough of Tottenham will ever come to regard the people who live their with any degree of respect. 

Because have no doubt, unless they are seen to act, that will be the long term consequence of what happened at the weekend. The lessons of Broadwater Farm should have shown them that.

Things that piss me off. People with no shame…..

The other day, as the hacking scandal was still in the early stages of unfolding, I became embroiled in one of those ‘what’s wrong with the country’ type debates. Now usually I relish discussions like these because given that I am always right, it’s inevitable that sooner or later people will come round to my way of thinking and so the entertainment value comes in the journey they take to get there. However, in this instance time was pressing and so I let loose my killer point. The one I tend to save until close to the end. Because the simple truth is that the main thing wrong with this country is that the concept of shame has been lost.

Usually when I make this statement, it results in a silence. After all, it’s a fairly simplistic way of looking at things but it’s very rare that anyone can ever provide any kind of argument against it.

How else can you explain politicians refusing to take any blame for the damage they inflict on the population whilst at the same time bleeding us dry by fiddling their expenses blind? Or footballing greats trying desperately to line their own pockets by selling clubs to far-eastern ‘businessmen’? The answer of course is that they have no shame and if caught out, merely fight tooth and nail to escape any kind of justice be it legal or moral. Justice which would almost certainly never come anyway because as a people, we are ruled by apathy.

The irony is of course is that in the past we have relied on the press to fight our battles for us but in light of recent events, can we rely on that any more? I hope so. Jaundiced as I am against certain sections of the media as a result of my own experiences, I know that there are far more honest and decent journo’s than dodgy ones.

But for me, bent politicians, sportsmen, journalists or even coppers isn’t even the worst of it. Because for me the real rot happens nearer home. When I was younger claiming the dole was unthinkable because of the shame it would have heaped on you but more importantly, your parents.

However, that was nothing compared to the idea of falling pregnant outside of marriage…. Christ almighty, that was the stuff of nightmares for entire families who not so long ago would have farmed daughters out to aunties in the middle of nowhere rather than endure the humiliation of having a knocked up (and unmarried) daughter at home.

Yet these days, continuing to pop out kids whilst living off the state or claiming jobseekers or DLA whilst working on the sly are both seemingly acceptable career paths. How the fuck did that happen? How did it become OK to sponge or steal off of everyone else because make no mistake, that’s what we’re talking about here.

I seem to recall once reading that it took 16 taxpayers on an average wage to fund just one single parent who wasn’t working. Now I don’t know how accurate that is but it has to be pretty close and even if you halved that number, it is little more than a national disgrace. Think about that for a minute…. 8 people (at a generous best). That’s you and 7 of your mates. Working your tits off simply to fund one person. Nothing else…. just that one person.

It beggars belief doesn’t it. So why do we allow it to happen? The answer is simple really, because no one understands the concept of shame any more.

Don’t get me wrong, I know enough single mums (and dads) as well as lads out of work to know that we’re talking the exception rather than the rule and I also know enough people with disabilities to understand that they need all the help that we as a society can provide. But the reality is that there are far too many exceptions. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing ‘I’d be £10 a week worse off if I went out to work’ because to me as a taxpayer, what that translates to is ‘if you went out to work you bastard, this country would be X amount BETTER off’. So fuck off out to work!

The government of course, would argue that they are doing what they can to get people back into work and to be fair, they are making the best of what is a shite situation left behind by a shite Labour government.

But until the people of this country decide that they are sick and tired of being taken for mugs by the idle and the feckless and actually start to help the authorities do something about it, nothing is going to change. We cannot afford for that to happen, not just financially but morally.

And maybe that’s where the real shame lies. With us.