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mike Meehan

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Everything posted by mike Meehan

  1. Strange really but it is something I have noticed before, sometimes, I'm not sure if it is all but Watford appears to get by passed by the worst best effects of storms but last night the activity started off to our south, then it perked up to our north which would have been St Albans with quite a number of bright flashes. I have just checked our fish pool and there has been no real appreciable increase in depth. A bit different to a sudden storm we had at Capestang in Southern France. It occurred during the relatively early morning and in fact I had slept through it. But in the garden there had been an empty bucket and when I checked that it was half full. I guesstimated that some 6 inches had fallen. Somebody had taken a video of a water channel designed to take flood water away - this measured something like about 5 metres across and 5 metres deep and it was virtually full of 'angry swirling water.' It does remind me of back in June circa 1984 - I had been transferred to Victoria Street in St Albans and during one afternoon there was a cracker of a storm. One bright flash of lightning was immediately followed by a very loud crack, so that must have been extremely close. Sadly that storm caught a number of young lads who had been playing football in a park - when the rain started, they sheltered under a tree and that tree had been struck, killing the lads. Afterwards you could see the damage to the tree, then an irregular track across the ground which had obviously been caused by the lightning. We have double glazing and tend to keep the windows shut at the front because we are on the A41 - I had also taken out my hearing aids, so didn't really hear the thunder. I think the topography makes quite a difference - St Albans is slightly higher than where we live and referring back to the south of France, we have the Pyrenees about 60 miles to the south and about 30 miles to the north we have the Massif, then combine that with the higher temperatures we get some real crackers of storms down there often accompanied by really torrential rain. The worst I ever recall was a bit further south - we had flown to Barcelona then picked up a car to travel north and had just picked up the motorway when I could see heavy clouds ahead, almost with a greenish twinge. It was obvious we were driving into a storm but the intensity of it took me by surprise. It rained and hailed so hard that ours and the car in front stopped altogether. All I could see of this car was just the flashing of its hazard lights and although in lane 1, I could not see the hard shoulder.
  2. We've had lightning mainly to the south of us for the past 1 to 2 hours, now it is becoming more widespread, surrounding us a bit more and the heavier rain has just started, sounding a bit more solid as I write, so I reckon there is hail with it. However not much thunder as yet, so that part must still be a way off but we are getting flashes every few seconds.
  3. How and why? You must have meant that post 'cos you submitted it twice.
  4. However Dave it would be nice to know, especially in today's climate of violence - perhaps he used the knife for picking his nose.
  5. You're right Kent, we all have to laugh, especially when we see what the Express and the Mail print on a virtually daily basis. Isn't it very much the same as the different nations of the United Kingdom speak, or rather Mrs May talks at, to them. Just what is this world coming to?
  6. I am not aware of any problems cause by the horses per se, though there was a suggestion that cigarette burn marks were found on the coat of one of them. I agree, the rank and file acted well and did what they could under very trying circumstances and no doubt they were gutted as much as the other emergency services were. It's not very pleasant at all seeing other people die, something you never forget. It's sad but armed police officers are needed at football matches now, or any other large gatherings - we don't always know when or where the suicide bombers are going to strike. That's the world we live in now - Nil illegitimi carborundum. But in essence I think we are on the same wavelength.
  7. To be honest, I am now quite thankful that I am retired even though we did get some days like that back in my time, it is much worse now, thanks to Mrs May.
  8. Earlier today whilst musing in the shower it occurred to me that Rees Mogg is a modern day Robin Hood but with a difference. Whereas Robin Hood robbed the rich to give to the poor, Rees Mogg would rob from the poor to give to the rich.
  9. The polls showed a consistant slight majority in favour of remain, I agree, right up until the last moment when leave started to creep ahead - that was an Achilles heel on the remain side as you will see later. I doubt that it would be the same - I did see another report which indicated the numbers of voters in the more aged, the majority of whom voted leave bracket who have now already left to meet their maker and the number of new voters coming on line who were more likely to vote remain. In addition there were quite a number who did not vote at all - I have read suggestions that most of them would have voted remain but many thought that a win was already in the bag - I doubt that many of them would make that same mistake again and also suspect that if the referendum were to be re-run a lot more effort would have been put into the remain argument than previously. Add to that the fact that brexit is not going well and the leave side will not be able to repeat the same lies - on the other side the tory right press will still be pumping out their propaganda which will keep some faithful but there will be others who will no longer believe it. As the lady indicated in the video, this brexit is becoming more trouble than what it is worth and there are likely to be many more like her and many more are getting shirty about the leavers not delivering what they promised. On the chart shown, the only positive to still leave is Wales and the North shows a pretty large turn around with the overall perception that Brexit would have a negative effect on the British economy. In any case it will not take much of a swing to reverse the result, so if a further referendum is allowed it could put the 'will of the people' in a new light.
  10. Errors were made all round at Hillsborough - first it was the wrong ground for a match of this type, it was too small for the numbers of the fans which could reasonably be expected - secondly the officer in charge of policing the game made a decision to open the gates without properly assessing the effect it would have by letting in the additional fans to the fans already in the stadium. Thirdly allowing ambulances and para medics into the ground far quicker would have saved lives. I think here the senior officer misjudged the mood of the crowd and quite probably thought that the ambulance personal would have been at risk but at that time the object of saving life should have been his priority. Thirdly the officer in charge should never have been promoted to the rank he held, he was clearly promoted beyond his capabilities - this was often a sore point with me during my service - unfortunately the police service is an organisation where like promotes like, something I never agreed with. I believe this happened because the 'Yes men' were easier to control whereas those with real ability could show the more senior officers up and that is what they were afraid of. But that is a crying shame really because it means that the police service as a whole does not develop the full potential of latent leadership qualities. However sometimes they made a mistake and the odd good one got through now and again. Fourthly the attempts by senior officers to cover up their own failing was reprehensible. There would have been far more credit to the force if they had put their hands up and accepted that they had made a mistake. No doubt the officer in charge would have gone to the scaffold but the reputation of the force would have been more intact. Once the order had been given to open the gates, I don't think that the presence of police horses would have made any differences because the problems arose inside the ground. It may be that if that order had not been given horses could have been used in controlling the fans who were disappointed in not getting in.
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jan/26/britons-favour-second-referendum-brexit-icm-poll Slowly but surely public opinion is swinging towards remain. It means effectively an improvement of 3% since the referendum. An example below:
  12. Yes, as you say a tragic accident but by their very nature out of control crowd disturbances have a risk - as has been reported, missiles were thrown, they could have caused a serious injury or even death. The purpose of the police attending, sometimes with dogs and sometimes with horses is to try and restore order as soon as possible. There is no telling what could happen if the crowd disorder is allowed to continue to escalate, when it could be possible that more serious incidents could occur. Historically I don't think there have been that many such incidents otherwise a public clamour to prevent their use would have arisen. In this incident there does not appear to have been any criticism of the rider of the horse, nor the force for employing such methods and traditionally where forces do keep horses they are often used for crowd control. Previous experience of using horses for crowd control have shown that such use is very effective and one rider with his horse can do the same job as umpteen officers on foot. It must be appreciated that horses and dogs also have their own minds and can sometimes can get spooked despite having been well trained, though for the vast majority of the time the handler or rider keeps his animal under control and such incidents are rare. It must also be appreciated that the individuals concerned in these incidents also have minds of their own and as such they can decide not to participate in unruly behaviour, though there is a risk that by just being there they can get caught in the 'crossfire' when such events are caused others. A balance has to be made between the advantages of such methods and the rare incidents such as this.
  13. Ideally Pete, we should have a good combination of front line staff, backup services, dogs, horses and helicopters, plus a road traffic police. How often do you see a police vehicle on the motorways these days, when was the last time you saw a police motorcyclist, when was the last time you saw a proper bobby on the beat? Meanwhile the crime rate is continuing to climb. Then in addition lessen the pettifogging rules and paperwork they have to deal with - the majority of the police are professionals, they know what they are doing (as with any organisation we do get bad eggs from time to time but anybody who disgraces the uniform gets short shrift from the rest of us) - You pay somebody to do a job, so you should let them get on and do it and to do it properly they need to have some room to use initiative - that's what catches the bad 'uns - most of us would not dream of telling the plumber we called round how to do his job. On the other hand our prime minister and some of the ministers of her government have permanent police protection which they expect as their right but beggar everybody else.
  14. Ciel, the strange thing is that as far as I am aware the UK has the highest prison population in Europe, why, I am not totally sure but other countries appear to handle the crime situation better, perhaps it may be that we have more recidivation, or we are just so arrogant that we don't find it easy to learn from others. I can only comment from my own experience of police dogs in this country - their purpose is to assist in police duties but although not used to intimidate per se, they can be used for public order situations in order to convince those who misbehave to think again quite effectively and they do provide protection under these circumstances for police officers and others. When needed they can certainly be aggressive but that is their job - a toy poodle would not have quite the same effect somehow. Very often police work does not mean always dealing with people of sensitive sensibilities and some can be very bad, nasty and violent, so we had to adapt ourselves to the circumstances in which we found ourselves, often with only a second or so to make decision which courts and academics can muse over for endless periods of time and come out with 20/20 hindsight. Police officers are also human.
  15. It's a shame really, I still think that police horses are a marvellous asset in crowd control and recall reading the story of the Pc who rode his horse up the Edgeware Road, back in the 20's, I believe, and played a large part in bringing a riot under control which had developed at the Wembley Stadium. They are also useful in searching large areas of open land, cheaper in this case than the two legged variety. Unfortunately they are too expensive for the smaller forces to maintain.
  16. You are partly right but not totally Ciel, you speak of poverty, poor education, poor health, poor housing being contributory to the causes of crime but it is a lot more involved that that - some criminals come from good affluent back grounds where there is no need to turn to crime. For myself, having worked at the sharp end for three decades, I believe the answer lies in a mixture of nature and nurture, though for many it is a case of kids growing up with no direction, no leadership, no satisfactory role models and lwo self esteem in the normal sense. Not necessarily poverty per se because in my formative years we were all poor with many items still needing ration books with it being just after the war. However we had the advantage that many just a few years older than us had done their thing for King and country, beaten the Bosch, learned the value of good team work, discipline, self respect and respect for others and as a result made good role models, despite not standing for any nonsense but that was an advantage also. At the same time kids thrive on adventure and they are naturally curious, so what we need to do is to channel these constructively. If you look at what we call a lot of primitive societies they do this with their youngsters as a matter of cause. To an extent we live in an artificial environment which precludes the sort of adventurous activities I spoke about but they can still be provided. Through education and extra curricular activities these can be provided together with the guidelines for developing into a good citizen but we have to capture the natural curiosity and desire for adventure to the extent we give the youngster an aim in life which is suitable for his particular aptitude, hopes and aspirations. All this will cost money but I will repeat what I have said before, the youth of a country are that country's future, so it would be worth investing in them.
  17. In say, an urban area where there are other people about a police dog handler will rarely let his dog off the leash unless there is a very good reason, so it is under close control the whole time, so other problems are unlikely to occur. However, once it starts to pull at the leash, is barking and snarling it has a remarkable effect on troublemakers. In the words of Corporal Jones, 'They don't like it up 'em', figuratively speaking. It would be the handler who would have to face a discipline hearing, not the dog.
  18. Never, Nick as far as I am concerned.
  19. This isn't South Africa Ciel - our police dogs can be friendly as well - I have often given a police dog a stroke and they react well to it - mind you I've always made sure that I have asked permission off the handler first. Sometimes after a dog has retired, as you can imagine a strong bond develops between the handler and his dog, they take them home to keep as a family pet, so they can't be all bad and they are well trained to boot. It does remind of a story from many years ago one of our local villains decided he was going to hi-jack a lorry with a valuable load. The police got wind of it and the crime squad stuck one of their own people in as a driver to replace the normal one with other officers strategically placed but in the rear of the lorry was a dog handler with his dog. The villain approached the driver who had pulled into a layby and threatened him with a heavy spanner (this was before the days of firearms being habitually carried by the bad people). At this point the handler let his dog go, the villain saw this and tried to run away, then the next thing was the villain crying out, 'Ooh, me rowlocks'. The dogs are trained for a purpose and on this occasion it performed its job exceedingly well. Normally there is no hazard to the members of the public to these dogs particularly if they are behaving themselves, although occasionally it has happened that when things have got a little lively another police officer on the scene has been bitten but dogs will react on behaviour rather than if somebody is wearing a uniform or not and if a police officer is trying to subdue a suspect, to him they are both fighting and the dog is not to realise the difference and probably acted too quickly for has handler.
  20. Bojo - he is doing it all the time - you can tell by the size of his stomach.
  21. Quite frankly I cannot - sometimes chief officers of police seem to get some weird ideas - some time ago the Chief Constable of Essex decided to disband his heavyweight motorcycle section on grounds of health and safety - I know that motorcyclists are amongst the highest sections of fatal accidents, if not the highest but a large proportion of the riders involved are youngsters on their 'pop pops' thinking they are bullet proof. The heavyweight police riders on the other hand are trained to an advanced standard and the accidents they are involved in are few and far between. Not only that they are a great asset, especially in congested urban areas where they can get to the scene of an incident far quicker than anything else. If I had my way I would replace some of the patrol cars with MP3's, these are the medium sized machines with two front wheels which lean and can be ridden as a normal motorcycle but are so much safer because of the extra adhesion of the two front wheels. The rider is open to the public and not cocooned within a metal box, so he is more approachable and when the weather is inclement the rider may well be tempted to get off his machine and speak to people. The other plus is that they are cheaper to run and buy than the 4 wheeled metal boxes, and they too would be able to get to a scene relatively quickly. Let's get back to dogs - they are very versatile - they can be trained for normal tracking of criminals across country, for searches of say a largish building, sniffing out explosives (I'm surprised that the GMP decided to reduce them in view of the event of a year ago) and drugs and in public order situations the snarl factor is usually enough to put any 'I wannabe a hard man yob', right off his stride. They invariably have boundless courage and at times have saved their handlers' and others' lives. In short they more than pay for themselves and the fact of the matter is that you never know when you will need them. As far as the tory cutback on policing is concerned, they have spawned an unpleasant and dangerous element in our society - the scrotes know the police are under staffed and under resourced and this encourages them to make hay whilst the sun shines and I am sure that this has led in part to the explosive increase in violent crime, including many homicides up to now this year. In order to police efficiently a good police/public partnership needs to be developed where the police get to know their public and the public get to know the police - properly done confidence between the two can be developed and intelligence about the ne'er do wells can be gained. Unfortunately police public relations at the moment is more akin to ships which pass in the night but this has been the legacy of the tory government in recent years and it is the public which suffers. They simply have no idea in this respect but the idea is relatively simple - it is boots on the ground, speaking to and getting to know people.
  22. The EU referendum must rank as one of the biggest confidence tricks ever played on the British public. Let’s look at the different points put forward in the campaign by examining two main points of their argument: TAKE BACK CONTROL AND SOVEREIGNTY: The reality is that have always been and still are a sovereign state and our lawmakers consist of our MPs who sit in Parliament and not the government. Yes, the EU are constantly pushing out regulations for the benefit of maintaining a level playing for the whole of the EU mainly for the protection of its citizens, which currently we all are. Those regulations have to be ratified by our parliament before they are brought into UK law and if by chance the EU try to bring in a regulation which is detrimental to our people or country our Parliament would have the option of rejecting it and quite rightly so. I cannot think of any case where EU regulations have adversely affected the every day lives of anybody. In fact, they have been to our benefit, as protection for workers, for consumers, for travellers, for students, for retirees and for the disabled, just to mention a few. Yes, the EU are fighting against people who do not wish to pay tax and wish to spirit their money into off shore tax free accounts but who does this affect? Just those amongst us who are already rich enough and greedy to be able to do these things but isn’t it only fair that they should pay their share of tax the same as the rest of us? It does not affect the average working person, most of whom are employed and pay their taxes as a matter of course through the PAYE scheme. Those who are self employed are required to submit yearly accounts and there are quite severe penalties for those who get found out for indulging in creative book keeping. How does this situation change with brexit? We have already seen that the government have attempted to wrest control from Parliament, our own law-making body, in attempt to try and gain what is known as Henry VIII powers. That is losing control, not gaining it – it would be going from our elected representatives who are supreme in this respect, to an elite, who consider themselves to be the government, where by a stroke of the pen could repeal any of the law which was enacted to protect our rights. So far, we have prevented them from doing this but that does not mean to say they will stop trying and they may see benefit in removing what are seen as workers rights in an effort to attract inward investment. The allegation that we are ruled from Brussels is a popular urban myth fostered and spread by the right-wing press and the die hard brexiteers who are hoping to profit personally from our leaving the EU. That is why they have invested such large sums into their endeavours. TAKE BACK CONTROL OF OUR BORDERS: This is the leavers and those who have a vested interest in leaving the EU having a laugh at our expense. We always had control of our borders – the fact that that control is inefficient has nothing at all to do with the EU but a lot more to do with ineptitude of our own governments. They leak like a sieve and as with all our public services there has been too little investment. Even though whilst be in the EU we are committed to free movement of persons it is also realised that to permit ‘welfare immigration’ would be an unfair burden on any state and as a result specific conditions were included with this which related to a stay being limited to three months unless the person was a student, working or otherwise able to be self-supporting. We were also given a right to refuse entry in the first place to those who we considered may do harm to our country, which could have been applied to criminals. The 3 month rule was never applied in the UK and I am not so sure whether the barring of entry of EU criminals is being effectively used. So when we complain of people coming here and claiming off our welfare, or criminals coming here to commit crime we only have ourselves to blame. But of course, these matters were never mentioned in the referendum campaigns – it suited the purpose of the leave campaign and I dare say that that Cameron in his campaign to remain would have been too embarrassed to mention it. As it was by far the greater proportion of EU nationals who came here did so to work and by so working were of benefit and many were skilled workers. The claim that the EU nationals worked here for very much lower rates, thereby lowering renumeration generally has been examined and found not to hold water. There was little effect but what did happen is that many came here and did jobs which most of our indigenous people were unwilling to do to the extent that some would rather sit at home existing on the state. Now many are leaving through the changed atmosphere and devaluation brought on in our country we are feeling the pinch, especially in the NHS which depended on the import of trained staff – it was easier and cheaper to import them than to train up our own people. Which leads me to another of the planks of the leave campaign – that being that the EU nationals were a drain on our NHS. If anything, it was quite the opposite, on average the EU nationals were younger and fitter than the indigenous people here and as such had less need of health services. For the EU nationals here on a temporary basis there was and still is a reciprocal health agreement in place where the cost of treatment could be claimed from their home countries. However, through lax administration this does not appear to have been done as it should. Again, this is another area which became adopted by popular urban myth.
  23. He is expecting us to respect the telling of lies and shoddy tricks which is how the referendum was won. Obviously a man without ethics, integrity, honesty of honour not deserving of any respect but he still has his nanny.
  24. The problem here is that nursing is not just a means of earning money, it is a vocation which people go into because they really feel they want to give something, or it is something which really interests them. Unfortunately our country has a habit of taking such people for granted and not valuing them as they should. As a result this is reflected in their pay and conditions of work. The majority of nurses are females, the majority of whom have children and then it becomes necessary to achieve a work/family life balance. The result is that many join the professions with the best intentions, only to become disillusioned through the general conditions of which they have to work, the result being that they leave the profession altogether, or they join agencies, which often gives them more pay for a specific period of work, together with more control over their personal lives but this system costs the NHS a small fortune, which could be spent on patients. I would have thought that in the long term it would have been well worth the NHS revising the career structure of nursing to provide more attractive pay and conditions designed to attract, train and retain staff.
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