Posts Tagged ‘England’

So, Michael Owen when known footballer, apparently, wonders why football PLAYERS are being dealt with unkindly by some sections of the public.


To quote the great? Man;


“I turned to my wife, Louise, while sat in our lounge at home watching the Olympics, and said, ‘just you watch footballers get hammered once this is over’.


Well let me see if I can think of any reason why overpaid prima donnas may be the object of scorn from some people. They are normal human beings with an extraordinary talent … aren’t they? If this were the case then perhaps they could win an occasional game, and I don’t mean against a team from Tristan da Cuhna.


Footballers, with a few notable exceptions, behave appallingly on and off the pitch. They expect mere mortals to fawn and toady to their every whim. The sums of money they demand are obscene and not in any way, apparently, linked to performance. (Who do they think they are, bankers?) The attitude has driven some clubs to bankruptcy, players demanding ever more money without necessarily returning the performance the clubs pay for.


Players are often loutish, boorish, mean spirited and far from being the ambassadors of sport Olympians like the brilliant Jessica and the marvellous Mo. They are no longer hungry for success because, along with most of society apparently, they are consumed by greed.


This can be established as a truth, I believe by reference to another sport, Rugby Union. Now, being of a certain age, I recall with no difficulty at all the ‘amateur’ years of greats like JPR and Billy Beaumont. I am sure they were not angels, indeed characters like Jason Leonard have admitted as much. However, in the days of amateur competition there was no real publicity around the players. This can only be because 1) they were gentlemanly and discreet 2) saved their worst excesses for ‘safe environments’ or 3) the press weren’t interested. This is in stark contrast to the behaviour and press coverage of the current England team.


Is it money that makes the players monsters, or that attracts the attention of the media?


Whatever the answer, money is at the root of the problem. I am quite happy for the sports people to earn a decent wage but the obscene amounts are counter productive.


It has just been drawn to my attention that the Pigpen is not allowed to express ANY views that may be considered political in any sense. Apparently I am in breach of statute and several disciplinary codes if I so do. I quote in full from the superintendents association article;

‘As a regular user of Twitter and a former Head of Professional Standards, I have become increasingly concerned with comments from a number of serving police officers, whether anonymous or clearly identifiable, expressing through tweets or blogs what could be perceived as either ‘political’ views or comments that ‘cross the line’ in terms of the what is expected of a police officer.

We live in a democratic society of which free speech is at the heart, however police officers are fully aware of the fact that they have certain restrictions on their private lives, indeed this is one of the things that makes us unique in terms of our professional role. These restrictions are laid out in Schedule 1 of Police Regulations 2003 but I wonder how many officers have ever really looked at them or thought about what they really mean. Here is an excerpt:

“A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression amongst members of the public that it may so interfere; and in particular a member of a police force shall not take any active part in politics.”

For the most part, this is not usually a major issue for officers, however because ‘politics’ here is not restricted to party politics but means politics in its widest sense, some officers could be at risk. The increased use of social media combined with the current debate around police cuts, policing reform and in particular Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) is presenting opportunities for officers to offer their views in a very public forum.  On some occasions, those views include ‘political’ views or views about current Government policies, which could potentially be in breach of Schedule 1.  This situation is likely to get more difficult for officers as the interest in the elections for local PCCs increases over coming months. I think it’s timely, therefore, for officers to be reminded of Police Regulations and to bear them in mind when commenting on political policies or the views of PCCs.  

In addition to the above scenario is the fact that two of the Standards of Professional Behaviour for police officers as outlined in the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008 set positive standards of expectation in terms of conduct when dealing with others, and both of these can relate directly to the use of social media:

  • Police officers act with self control and tolerance, treating members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy
  • Police officers act with fairness and impartiality

It is inevitable that many police officers feel frustrated and angry about the changes that are happening to the service and their own pay and conditions at the present time, but does this ever justify breaching these standards? I don’t believe that it does. One of the statements that police officers are often heard saying is that they are professionals. On 99% of occasions I believe they are, however some of the conduct I see via social media sites does not give that impression, and if that’s how I feel, then what impression is it giving the public?

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a great fan of the use of social media in policing, providing it is used professionally, and I don’t want to stop police officers from expressing their views and feelings. This blog isn’t about threatening officers with the full force of regulations, it is simply about reminding officers to do the right thing. Have your say, but please don’t let yourself or the service down by doing so in an unprofessional manner. Be professional, play within the rules and you will play safe. ‘

So, it seems that a literal reading of this piece of state sponsored propaganda means that I cannot comment on anything to do with Government, Politics, decisions made affecting me directly and the greater British public indirectly. I cannot respond to comments made to others on those topics. Indeed it seems that the only safe subject for me to write about in future is the state of the weather once that topic has been vetted by the powers that be.

I have just realised that this post is in breach of the regulations, … I canm hear footsteps drawing nearer and n

Greetings to the world. Another strange and less unhappy / moody / grumpy blog from the pig pen this morning. Well, let’s face it, the sun shines on the patch of our green and pleasant land and the birds sing from outside my window. Who could be glum?

I am trying, in my own inept way to give The One a tutorial on WordPress, that’s a laugh too as I don’t really know what I am doing myself.
In fact the day is so nice so I am off to the great outdoors now, I may even take a photo for later.

Following on from my post here:

I have just been informed that the Police Service that I work for, we can no longer say Force due to its negative connotations, saved £22 million by the end of 2011/2012, a term vague by design I believe. Apparently the service will save another 8 million by the end of this financial year. In total the service in this area have to save £50 million by 2015. So from April 2013 until April 2015 the service needs to save a further £20 million.

In order to achieve this it seems that 400 Officers and 450 support staff will have to go.

We are told that the second phase of the operation to save money, yes it has an operational name and a team to match, is not just about saving money. Yes, that’s right, my Chief Constable has said so. Just because he earns £145,000 (November 2011) does not mean that he can treat his constables like idiots. This phase is apparently about modernising, with less money to cost less money at the same time as saving £20 million. But, of course, it is not all about saving money.

The chief opines that by 2015 ‘… we will look and feel like a very different organisation.’ He goes on to say that he cannot describe the plans in detail, probably because the May fairy hasn’t told him what they will be yet.

I CAN envisage our service in 2015. There will be fewer Police Officers. There will be fewer Police Stations. The Police Stations that do exist will be open for fewer hours. There will be less staff to manage ‘front offices’, custody and scene’s of crime officers.

We will modernise. That probably means another set of computer programmes that cost the earth, do not talk to other system’s within this service never mind those with common borders. No maintenance contract being taken out to save money so no updates provided. A change of personal equipment, different baton’s, … again. In all probability Cheaper handcuffs and less training in Home Office Approved Techniques for restraint.

To shed the 400 officers it is likely that the older more experienced officers will be shed because they are expensive, being at the top of the pay scale. The experience will be gone. The officers will, in all likelihood, be shed because they cannot complete the soon to be introduced fitness tests. I can run all day, I cannot complete the ‘shuttle’ run because this requires constant turning and after an active life my knees don’t like the strain. My job does not entail chasing people. I am a detective. Unlike Chief Superintendent Boyd (‘Waking the Dead’) Inspector Frost and many other TV Detectives, in the last 7 years I have not had to run after someone. I have arrested people, interviewed them, investigated serious crime and never once had to break a sweat. Some would say that is what experience does for you.

I joined the Police at a time when they were recruiting more mature people because there were so many youngsters ‘in the job’. Now, as a cost cutting exercise the more mature among us are likely to be targeted for removal. My pension has been worked for. I have paid 11% of my salary into the scheme. As a consequence of the contribution, in the early years, my family suffered financial hardship. Now, if I continue to work until I am 60, which the government will allow me to do, I will be forced to accept reduced benefits for increased contributions.

If the government do not want me to continue being a Police Officer, pay me off. I have already previously blogged about where money can be found. To the good people of England I would say, do you want a Police Service comprised of students, or would you like some experienced people. I appreciate experience does not equate to good, but new does equate to mistakes. Mistakes lead to wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals.

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa,

Roughseasinthenmed has written a blog which I just could not ignore. The comments are what got me going as the topics veered from WordPress cahnge to politics. I love this blogging thing.

The comments recommend the need for change in Politics to avoid ego-dictatorship (thanks Andrew made me think). Of course I agree. I mean who would want Cameron / Brown / Blair / Mugabe to preside over our daily lives forever? Our current parliamentary system is the result of many years development from imposed foreign rule (sorry talking UK and her institutions here). William the bastard came to these green and sceptered Isle’s with a trumped up claim to the throne. Why? Because at the time England was a very desirable piece of real estate. It produced far in excess of its own requirements and was therefore able to export. It art and metalworking was the finest in Europe. Politically the country had reached a stable and benign form of quasi democracy. Administration was locally based. Laws and punishments were recorded and developed locally, overseen by the king and his retinue. Claims in law could be settled efficiently. Land was shared and the populace lived in relative harmony with Lords and masters.

Service was part of life and owed to each souls individual master and ultimately to the king. The country was stable and all was roses in the garden.

Following the glorious victory at Stamford Bridge, the Aenglish force marched south to meet the bastard. It was not the pick of men who faced William that fateful day but the King’s retinue and those who he picked up along the way to replace the exhausted and battle scarred. At this point our history and political institutions changed, forever, for the worse.

Had William not invaded, had Harold not lost we could have continued with our benign political system. Our blood would not be diluted by Norse blood and Cameron and his cronies would not be where they are. So, … change is not always a good thing. But as we can’t turn back the clock we are left with voting someone in every five years or so without actually knowing anything about them. Bring back the  witenagemot I say.

Saturday 5th May, Pickle, The One and your ‘umble servant made our way to Brighthelmstone (changed to Brighton because the name was too long for the Railways!) to have a fun day wandering round other people’s houses looking at art.


The houses were of all types, from the ridiculously large Edwardian detached mansion to the small terraced property (I far preferred the latter we visited complete with Victorian cast iron range!!)

The rain didn’t dampen our enthusiasm although the cold troubled Pickle who had ridiculed our heavy winter coats on leaving home. Experience winning over beauty and youth.

Not much more to say really except if you find yourself in Brighton this month, at a weekend, pick up a map (free) and go see.

In the first house we went to there were loads of these driftwood sculpture’s, a theme which continued through the day.

Quirky stuff to remind us where we were,

and one of my favourite pieces because the Green Man always makes me smile,


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And finally, nothing to do with the Artists but Spike is a hero so had to post this …

I was recently watching Horizon here in the UK. A TV documentary programme. Being a cheerful soul I was drawn to the title,

The End of the World? A Horizon Guide to Armageddon

Fantastic stuff, some of the historical footage quite took me back to my youth. The soundtrack included Barry McGuire‘s Eve of Destruction. I had quite forgotten this song until I heard the opening bars. I was transported on one of those magical mystery tours that occur from time to time. A scent, a sound, a familiar place will all weave their magic.

The link to a version of this can be found here

Of course, Bazza and the sentiment turned out to be less than prophetic, or did it? We may have survived the days of the Russian Bear, the fear of a Tupolov TU95 appearing overhead may have diminished to the point where it is not the first thing you would think of on hearing a flood siren but …

The nuclear red button has been replaced by the red ‘on’ switch at each and every coal fired power station, etc etc etc.

Before this post becomes too depressing by far (as you hopefully listen to Baz) I should like to draw your attention to the permaculture position of finding solutions not voicing problems. There is a man who epitomises this view, Mike Reynolds. Some may already have seen Garbage Warrior.

If you watch the film you can understand why people like Bill Mollison began their personal voyages by disappearing from society. Both Bill and Mike decided that rather than adopting such a shortsighted position they would challenge the establishment.

I have been to the Brighton earth ship, several years ago now. It is a wonderfully organic structure which is so tactile in nature that everyone on the tour found it hard to stop stroking the walls! I found that a company in Brighton had managed to obtain planning permission from Brighton and Hove council for 16 Earth Ships to be built near Brighton Marina. I have been tryng to find details as I would be interested in living mortgage and utility bill free for my remaining days. I can find no details. It would appear that the trials of obtaining consent and approval for the materials must have been too much for the company, or maybe they ran out of funding.