Sunday, 24th February, 2002
I have had many requests for my viewpoint on two main news items of recent days. One is on the astonishing statements by Metropolitan Police Commander Brian Paddick, who is responsible for policing of the sprawling area of the borough of Lambeth. The second is the failed robbery at the Millennium Dome. Thank you for asking for my views.
Due to pressure on time my Viewpoint on the attempted robbery at the Millennium Dome will appear at a later date. Regards, Frank.
A PERSONAL MATTER IS ABOVE JUDGEMENT BY OTHERS
It is no secret that the police Commander of the large South London area of Lambeth is gay.
In my view the sexual orientation of any person is very much a private matter, and I don't believe that any of us has the right to sit in judgement on such a personal situation, always providing that it remains personal or, if with a partner, consensual.
It has always been my belief that the cruel incarceration in prison of the genius wit and playwright Oscar Wilde was a death sentence by an evil establishment merely because his homosexual behaviour was considered to be unnatural. For me this ranks as one of the worst deliberate crimes of the 19th century. Today the sexual activities of Oscar Wilde would be perfectly legal, and would not raise an eyebrow.
If I do have a problem with a section of gay people it is brought about by those who give the impression, deliberately or otherwise, that we 'straight' people are the 'odd couples'.
The fact that I have always been 'straight' does not mean for one moment that I am a superior being or for that matter inferior. I am just a person who has accepted his right to freedom of personal choice.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH COMES WITH CONTROL
With that said I also believe deeply in freedom of speech. However, like any freedom there has to be reasonable control. No right thinking person would for one moment condone paedophilia; the deliberate stealing of an innocent person's precious liberty; the violent abuse of blameless people; the forcing of the vulnerable in society to walk with fear on the streets, and so forth.
Therefore when the 43-year-old Commander Paddick declared: "The concept of anarchism has always appealed to me. The idea of the innate goodness of the individual that is corrupted by society or the system.
"It is a theoretical argument but I am not sure everyone would behave well if there were no laws and no system."
I was astonished, and to confine myself to polite language this was a seriously irresponsible statement. It is difficult to believe that a reasonably intelligent person would have difficulty in knowing the answer to such a situation.
The Oxford English dictionary describes 'anarchy' as meaning: "absence of government, disorder, confusion. For a police officer of any rank to advocate a state of lawlessness is absolute nonsense, and could even be dangerous.
I was a front-runner lawbreaker, but an anarchist never. The precious safety of my loved ones when I was not around was far too important to contemplete the disaster of a complete breakdown of law and order.
SHOCK TV ADVERTISING
Commander Paddick is also responsible for the near lawless area of Brixton. Vulnerable people who are forced to live in this area are literally too frightened to leave their homes because of the fear of violence and street robbery. Murder is now relegated to another incident.
Therefore Commander Paddick has an overriding duty to seriously consider any statement or behaviour that could exacerbate this totally unacceptable state of affairs on the streets.
By his irresponsible statements he has failed miserably to recognise his obligation to the innocent citizens of Brixton, and for that matter elsewhere.
Young people are besieged daily by wrong messages from commercial enterprises. One has only to look at the degrading depths that some advertising agencies that produce advertisements for TV and billboards will go to shock and blitz consumers into remembering the products that they are commissioned to make highly saleable commodities.
As a private citizen Mr. Paddick has the right to his opinion. However, to criticise is the easiest of pastimes. Criticism that does not offer a suitable alternative is, to my mind, pointless.
THE POLITICAL TALIBAN
For some 70 years communism was vaunted as the perfect replacement for capitalism.
In theory it was near perfect. In practice it was a complete failure. The extreme danger that was posed by those who did their utmost to convince us of the perceived wonders of communism is that Russia would today be a capitalist country, and we could be enslaved to a failed communist ideology.
Nowadays the communist fundamentalists of yesterday are often referred to as misguided souls, buffoons. Believe you me they were far from being buffoons. They were brainwashed fundamentalists. A political Taliban.
They cleverly stalked the corridors of power, and wherever democracy allowed them to gain power they did so by fair means or foul.
Many of the social problems of the young people of today are a direct fault of brainwashed fundamentalist left-wing teachers who scorned formal teaching methods. Instead to ensure future generations of anarchistic Marx's and Leninist's they opted for dressing-down, and preached political dogma rather than do their duty, and teach their pupils intellectual and moral training. Of course, there were left-wing teachers who reserved their political beliefs, and, quite correctly, kept them out of the classroom.
The ardent left-wingers championed political correctness, which has proved to be runaway incorrectness.
The fundamentalists were determined to have world domination regardless of the cost in human terms. Their number one leader Josef Stalin was a monster who was far worse than Hitler. China's Mao Tse Tung was mooted as another Confucius, except his confused wisdom came with far too many idealistic flaws.
Of course capitalism has serious faults, not least that ruthless people have established its keyword, which is greed.
Of course, we could do with another system that ensures that people are placed above greed, but at the present time there is no such alternative, and even if a fairer system were designed how long would it be before this was too would be corrupted by human greed.
THE COMMANDER IS IN THE WRONG BED
Commander Paddick, the architect of the softly-softly police approach to cannabis smokers, reveals his forthright views on a radical website. As a very senior police officer he was badly advised by his own mind, or that of another, to choose this web site to air his controversial views.
One article that is given prominence on the web site, and thereby makes this outlet for his views unacceptable to me refers to carjacking. This is the crime where people are shot dead merely by highway robbers merely for their car. It has reached epidemic proportions in South Africa. Unfortunately, it has now hit this country, and is spreading nationwide rapidly.
The author of the article on the anarchist web site attempts to find shallow justification in this country for the dragging of a woman from her car, brutally punching her so badly that hospital treatment is necessary; the driving away of two young terrified children; and using guns to rob car drivers of their cars. He also blames people who are able to afford a Rolex watch for wearing their expensive timepieces in public places.
That which he fails to appreciate is that an overwhelming number of those who wear a Rolex watch are able to do so because they have worked very hard to earn the privilege. A Rolex is also an investment, and is not a bauble.
Ask any number of decent people who would they prefer to take-up cell space in Belmarsh top security prison: Ronnie Biggs or the violent attacker of a woman, or for that matter a man, merely to steal a car? If the answer isn't the violent carjacker by a unanimous 100% verdict then I would be very disappointed.
THE FOOL AND THE MORON
At first I dismissed the author of the article as a fool. That was a mistake. This person is a moron. The fool is Commander Paddick for electing to share space on a web site with a moronic anarchist.
Without regard to responsibility the article plays down the danger to society of this terrifying crime upon people who have every right to travel unmolested.
Today it is the expensive car. Tomorrow it could be the family saloon, or the moped, merely to allow the carjackers to have a joy ride.
THE COMMANDER GOES WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD
Commander Paddick took over the policing of Lambeth 13 months ago. He hit the headlines last July when he dared to go where angels fear to tread, and ordered his officers in the so-called drug capital of London, Brixton to issue warnings to people caught with cannabis instead of arresting them.
It is said that he took this decision without first referring it to Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. This indicates that Commander Paddick has the courage of his beliefs. Home Secretary David Blunkett took particular interest in this controversial experiment, and demanded frequent updates on the experiment.
Brixton has a terrifying reputation for street crimes. Many locals are now too scared to go out at night. The run-down part of Lambeth borough is plagued by mugging, burglary and car crime. Drug dealers openly sell heroin and crack cocaine on busy streets.
Street robberies in Lambeth rose 46 per cent to 4,691 last year, and a robbery was committed every 73 minutes in December. Drug-related crime rose by 25 per cent.
In six months, the softly-softly approach is said to have saved 2,500 man-hours and £4million in court costs by not prosecuting 400 people caught with the drug.
Arrests for possession of harder drugs rose by 19 per cent.
As a result, the Government is downgrading cannabis from Class B to Class C from May.