May 2006 Archives

Sainsburys England Foam Wig

Why are Sainsbury's selling such "Foam Wigs" as alleged England World Cup football merchandise ?

Why have they got such contempt for the public, their customers ?

This report in the Sunday Telegraph almost beggars belief. It claims that Sir Ian Blair misled the Metropolitan Police Authority meeting last Thursday, about the cost of the removal of long term peace protestor Brian Haw's banners and posters etc. from Parliament Square last Tuesday morning. On Thursday the costt was reported to be a staggering £7,200 - £3000 for overtime, £4,200 for transport and catering, for an incredible 78 Police Officers to deal with one protestor at 2:45am in the morning.

However, it now appears that the sum wasted on harassing this lone protestor is an astonsihing £27,754 !

Sir Ian told the Metropolitan Police Authority on Thursday that the cost of removing a peace camp from Parliament Square, which involved 78 officers, was £7,200.

The following day, the issue was discussed by the Met's management board. Within hours, details of the meeting were passed to a journalist, who contacted Scotland Yard for a comment. That afternoon, Sir Ian admitted that he had misled the authority, as the true cost of dismantling the anti-war protester Brian Haw's placards, including officers' pay, was £27,754

£27,754 represents about about £60 an hour for 6 hours for the 78 Police Officers involved - 50 on the raid itself, with 24 on standby elswehere, presumably with some senior officers milling around as well.
Why were they not raiding a drugs den or a human trafficking sex slave brothel instead ?

Even if you accept that the Metropolitan Police are in a cleft stick with regards to the draconian and illogical Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Section 132 Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond, this excessive, heavyhanded and wasteful Police operation must be strongly condemned. We want our money back !

Londoners should demand an explanation from the Metropolitan Police Service, via a complaint to their local member of the Metropolkitan Police Authority about this misleading report on Thursday, and on the utter waste of public money.

David Mery. who was falsely arrested and had his home searched last Jully 2005, although entirely innocent, is due to ask the Commisioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair a Question on this Thursday 25th May 2006, at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority

A meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) will be held in meeting room 1 (ground floor), 10 Dean Farrar Street, London SW1 on Thursday 25 May 2006 at 10.00 a.m.

The public and the media are allowed to attend, but space is obviously limited..
The nearest Tube station is St. James' Park - see the MPA location map

David Mery's Question and the Proposed Response:

‘To be a Londoner these days is to feel one is considered guilty until proven innocent. The overreaction of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to the horrific terrorist attacks of last July has resulted in many innocent Londoners suffering from the long-term effects of having been arbitrarily detained and/or arrested. Another consequence of this worsening policing of London is intimidation, increased mistrust and even fear of the MPS. This has not enhanced our security, to the contrary.

What is the MPA doing to ensure that police powers are more balanced and checked so they are not further abused against innocents Londoners? Is the MPA actively consulting with the innocent Londoners that have been arrested and released without further action? What actions are taken by the MPA so that Londoners can stop being paranoid about which aspect of our behaviour or clothing, or which picture we take will be used as an excuse for detainment, arrest or shooting by the MPS? How does the MPA plan to restore trust in the police?’

There is already a Proposed Response to this Question:

The start of the Planning Inspectorate Public Inquiryy into a proposed £200 million water de-salination plant in Beckton, has kicked off with a press release war between the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Thames Water.

Neither side is entirely convincing - it must be insane to waste ever more expensive electricity on producing drinkable water, when, as Ken points out so much is wasted through leakage.

When Thames Water talk about the "cost effectiveness" of infrastructure investment decisions, they really mean "still leaving us with a fat profit". Where exactl;y do they get their estimates for population growth from ?

However Ken's vague handwaving plans and estimates do not add up either.

This is not suddenly a new problem and it is not just a London problem either, but one for the whole South and East of England.

It needs a Central Government national strategy and the investement in some national water grid pipelines from Wales and Scotland, where there is plenty of water. Plans for such a system have existed since the early 1970's, well before the dubiious privatisation of the water companies.

If the Romans could build long gravity fed aqueducts over 2000 years ago, today's civil engineers can certainly build a national water grid.
There are many irrigation schemes around the world which cover much larger distances than any required in this small country.

The BBC reports that

'No confidence' in police chief

London's most senior policeman has come under fresh pressure after the chairman of a group representing 24,000 officers said they had no confidence in him.

Peter Smyth, of the Metropolitan Police Constables Board, said a series of "embarrassing gaffes" by Commissioner Sir Ian Blair had undermined the force.

His comments were made at a Police Federation annual conference, attended by new police minister Liam Byrne.

[...]

He told the conference in Bournemouth: "On behalf of the 24,000 constables in London, and at the request of my branch board, I am telling you that we have no confidence in this commissioner."

Sir Ian has featured prominently in the headlines in recent months in a row over secretly-taped telephone calls with ministers, comments made about the Soham murders as well as remarks about the police shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.

Within the force he has also met opposition for introducing community support officers, labelled by some officers as "plastic policemen".

Speaking later to BBC London, Mr Smyth said there were concerns police would be based in call centres while the streets would be patrolled by community support officers.

[...]

There was also this politically biased and technologically inept TV interview with Sir David Frost, right in the middle of the General Election campaign, when, as a senior appointed public servant, he should not have been making any party political comments at all.

Who would be the best person to replace Sir Ian Blair ?

How will there be any benefit yo Londoners, from the "private visit" to of the controversial Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías", the former failed military coup leader and now increasingly autocratic President of Venezuala, to meet Mayor of London Ken Livingstone ?

The fact that Chavez is refusing to meet the British Government seems rather peculiar.

Is he trying to buy some sort of influence with the windfall profits from high oil prices, which are high, ironically, partly because of the policies of the USA, which Chavez is in political conflict with ?

What has social reform in Venezuala or the international oil market got to do with the office of Mayor of London ?

What right has the Mayor of London to pretend that he speaks for us Londoners on matters of international foreign relations ?

Will Ken Livingstone demand that Hugo Chavez pays the London Congestion Charge during his visit ?

Sky News seems to have better coverage of the London Local Council results than the BBC.

So far there are reports of perhaps 5 seats for the BNP (out of 51) in Barking & Dagenham, at the expense of Labour.

The Tories are talking of gaining control of Hammersmith and Fulham from Labour for the first time since 1968 (little Liberal Democrat presence there).

Talk of Liberal Democtrat gains from the Conservatives in Richmond on Thames.

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MayorWatch - commercial news site about the Mayor of London etc.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID - opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID - opposition to NuLabour's plans for Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

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ASBO Concern - alliance of organisations and individuals who are concerned about the abuse of NuLabour's Anti Social Behaviour Orders.

MI5 encrypted contact web form use 999 or 112 to report immediate threats
Encrypted MI5 web response form NuLabour's "Climate of Fear" is not the same as the real fight against terror.

gamesmonitor_logo_150.gif Games Monitor - "Games Monitor is a network of people raising awareness about issues within the London Olympic development processes. We want to highlight the local, London and international implications of the Olympic industry. We seek to deconstruct the 'fantastic' hype of Olympic boosterism and the eager complicity of the 'urban elites' in politics, business, the media, sport, academia and local institutional 'community stakeholders'. "

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area resticting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill Act

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