Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘intelligence

Britain’s Elder Statesman

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In A Proud And Honourable Tradition

William Hague is a British politician we can be proud of.  I agree with almost every word he says.  The only subject on which we diverge is Trident.  I see no point at all in this massively expensive white elephant.  Everything that can be achieved by possessing a nuclear weapon is achieved by just one warhead capable of use on a variety of delivery methods.  Our generals don’t want Trident.  We should listen to their advice.

Hague’s time as PM was an unhappy one and it is true that his judgment can be a little wobbly at times but only on trivial matters such as dress code.  His presence, intelligence and dignity endow him with a magnificent stature that commands not just the conference platform but the world stage.  He makes Labour politcians look either like spiteful, spotty schoolboys or grumpy old codgers with dinosaur attitudes and medieval manners.

He is the perfect foil to David Cameron.  Truly, this is a wonderful partnership which will enable Britain to regain its place as a world leader.

Home Office Backtracks On Cannabis

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A fortnight ago Sir Ian Gilmore, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians, famously denounced drugs prohibition as a failed policy.   He said “”Everyone who has looked at this in a serious and sustained way concludes that the present policy of prohibition is not a success.”  He then went on to advocate decriminalisation and regulation.

The Home Office immediately issued a statement saying “‘Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”   This statement was reproduced on the Home Office website and has sat there for the last two weeks in direct contradiction to the governments own scientific advisers.  Anyone who has even the smallest knowledge of the subject knows that the idea that cannabis is “extremely harmful” is absurd and a lie.

Within the last day or two the Home Office website has been quietly edited to remove the word cannabis from the statement.  See here.

Charades, Fibs And Porkies

This correction is very welcome.   However it calls into question the honesty, competence and intelligence of the Home Office and the government’s drugs policy.  James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime Prevention has been looking increasingly ridiculous in the last few weeks, contradicting his advisers, spouting pre-Reagan “war on drugs” propaganda and conflicting terribly with the wise words of both David Cameron and Nick Clegg, both of whom have called for drug policy reform consistently over the last 10 years.   Young James has made himself very unpopular with the country’s six million regular cannabis users and embarrassed the government and the Tory party with his antics.

Whoever was responsible for this smart and very discreet editing, let’s hope they get to have a look at James’ Drugs Strategy consultation document too.  It needs some intelligent correction and adjustment as well.  See here for more information on what’s really a very silly game of charades, fibs and porkies.

Was Tony Blair A Force For Good?

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My Non-Appearance On Sunday Morning Live

Since Wednesday the BBC had been in touch every day.  This morning they started calling me and testing my webcam and sound from 8.30am.  They had me sitting at my desk from 9.45am, 15 minutes before the programme started.   I was warned I could be in shot at anytime.  I drank too much coffee.  I did get a little nervous and jittery.  I was desperate for a cigarette even though I gave up six months ago!

Who was that suave, debonair, good looking chap in the crisp white shirt on the background screens?  Yours truly of course, waiting patiently for my big moment, trying not to sneer or laugh too raucously at the ridiculous first discussion on animals.

I had my notes blu-tacked to the window frame right behind my webcam, adjusted so that viewers would never lose deep, seductive eye contact with me.

“We’re coming to you now Peter”

“Stand by”

I fancy I can see Susanna Reid flushing slightly in anticipation of introducing me…

“Uh, sorry Peter, we’re not going to be able to come to you.  Out of time I’m afraid.”

Such are the trials and tribulations of my life!  Suddenly the programme was over.

You'll Get Your Chance, Gorgeous

Turning to far more important things, the dogs and I set off for the hills.  My mobile rang and it was Anna from the BBC, apologising and promising me dinner and a hot night with Susanna all at the corporation’s expense.  “No, sorry, I can’t be bought off.  Call me tomorrow. I’m too busy now.”

On the panel in the studio had been Mary Whitehouse’s successor, frumpy Anne Atkins and the utter jerk, Francis Beckett.   What a prat?  Why would anyone want to listen to his obnoxious, ill considered views, delivered with all the grace of a blind, three legged rhino?

Was Tony Blair a force for good?  This was the question I was supposed to be answering.  The BBC had come to me as a result of this article.  I had, of course, considered my response and this is what I intended to say.

Was Tony Blair A Force For Good?

I do not count myself as a Tony Blair supporter.  I never voted for him.  In fact, at all those elections I deliberately spoiled my ballot papers writing “no suitable candidate” across them.  I am an admirer though.

I think you have to give him credit for a number of things.  He rescued Labour from its madness and turned it into a credible and electable political party.  That was good for democracy.  He finished off the good work that Margaret Thatcher had done on the unions.  He was her true successor.  Now the only nutters that we have left are Tweedledum and Twitterdee from Unite and the mad and bad Bob Crowe from the railways.

You have to give him huge credit for Northern Ireland, for Kosovo and Sierra Leone.  I think he was also responsible for a fundamental change in British politics in that he reconciled caring with competition.  For the first time it was accepted that you could have a social conscience but still believe in business and the free market.

On Iraq, clearly it is a good thing that we got rid of Saddam Hussein although, personally, I think we should have assassinated him.  If there was a moral justification for war,  for shock and awe, then there was for assassination.  Even if we had lost thousands of special forces that would have been better than hundreds of thousands of innocents.  I do think that Blair became carried away with George Bush and that was a mistake.  Bush will be forgotten long before Blair.  He was not of the same calibre.  All he had to offer was the might and power of America.

Fundamentally, what you have to ask is did Tony Blair act in good faith?  I believe he did.  I believe he is an honourable man.  Look backwards from Blair to Thatcher and there’s noone else until Churchill and then Lloyd George.  That is the company in which Tony Blair will be remembered.  He is a great man.

I Was There For You Tone!

The one thing I really don’t understand in this man of vision and intelligence is his conversion to Catholicism.  I can just about accept his Christianity although why a man with his intellect needs organised religion I don’t know.  I really can’t understand why he wants to be allied to the institution that has been responsible for more evil over the last 2000 years than any other.  I think it demeans him.  He has far, far more to offer the world than that stupid old bigot the Pope, for instance.  It seems to me the Catholic Church will benefit far more from him than he will from it.   That’s his business though.

How Can the BBC Get It So Wrong Again…And Again

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You’re going to be sacked now aren’t you Mr DG?  What are you – some sort of Zionist Nazi collaborator?  Your judgement is so poor, so out of touch, so utterly incompetent.  Move on and let someone with some intelligence and wisdom take the helm of this great organisation that deserves so much better.

Written by Peter Reynolds

January 26, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Charles At 60: The Passionate Prince

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This was a gem of a TV programme.  I have always been a fan of our Prince Of Wales.  I remember his investiture vividly as a major event in my childhood.

It is also worth saying that I am one of the silent majority who, I believe, as well as loving and admiring Charles also felt the same way about Diana.  The two points of view are far from incompatible and Charles himself is the best example of this.

I was tempted to title this post “Supreme Intelligence” because that is how I would sum up what I saw.  He is a man of great wisdom, insight, patience and vision.  It was good to see his mother’s endorsement of him yesterday too.

One of the issues addressed in the programme was how, when he assumes the throne, he will be have to abandon his “hands on” involvement with issues.  This, I believe, is wrong.  In fact, this will be his contribution to the modern monarchy.  He already treads a difficult tightrope between involvement and detachment.  I believe he has the ability to continue to do so in a way that will be to the great benefit of our nation.

Watch it:

Written by Peter Reynolds

November 13, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Plod – the truth about our wonderful police force

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I admit, I am not a 100% law abiding citizen.  I park on yellow lines.  I exceed the speed limit.  I smoke weed.  BUT I would describe myself as a strong supporter of the police.  Any society has to have rules and that means there has to be someone to enforce them.  I don’t envy the police in their responsibilities and I admire the way that many of them are fulfilled.  If you’ve ever been in a traffic accident and seen the way they deal with such chaos amidst the confusion, fear and danger, you have to admire their training and focus.  If you’ve ever lived in central London and experienced the little shits, wasters and a***holes who plague the streets then you have to admire their patience and persistence.

I think “institutional racism” was probably a fair criticism but then it was born out of the fact that the majority of street violence and crime was carried out by young black men – and still is.  If I was a policeman I’d probably be “stopping and searching” more blacks than whites.  It wouldn’t be my job to worry about the causes and the social whys and wherefores.  My job would be to protect the public.

There is another institution in the police though and its been there for years.  You can call it cynicism.  You can understand it by realising that they see themselves, inevitably, as separated from the rest of us – on another side.  You can appreciate how the ridiculous administrative load they are placed under grinds them down. BUT they can be their own worst enemies when they deal with people in a way that alienates and antagonises those that want to support them.

I had an experience with my local police in Havant recently that, at the end of the day, just makes me sad.  It’s a leadership issue really and whilst I feel pretty sore at the rather stupid young policewoman who tried to stitch me up, I don’t really blame her.  She’s a foot soldier, not gifted with huge intelligence and steeped in this destructive culture of “us and them”.

I had some property stolen from me in what you might call a “domestic” context.  In fact it wasn’t mine.  If it was I’d probably have let it go but I had to get it back and I had no option but to look to the police to do their job and enforce the law.

So, knowing all too well that if I telephoned it in or even went to the police station to report it, I’d just be brushed aside, I made a written complaint.

After two weeks I’d had no response at all so I managed (with extreme difficulty) to find an email address and sent a reminder.  It took several further emails and a number of telephone calls before, nearly six weeks after my initial complaint, a crime reference number was allocated.

Another week later I attended at Havant police station to make a statement.  I very much had the impression that the policewoman was just going through the motions and she was much more interested in any detail that would enable her to write the matter off as a “domestic” rather than deal with the real issue.  I did say to her that I felt I was entitled to rely on the police to take action but I didn’t think that was unreasonable.

Nevertheless, she took my statement and was pleasant enough.  She made some small talk and casually enquired how I had travelled to the police station and where I was parked.

As she showed me out of the police station we met two of her colleagues in the corridor who I held the door open for.  I returned to my car, drove less than 25 yards from my parking space and was suddenly and violently intercepted by a police van driving across in front of me.

The two colleagues I had met in the police station emerged from the van and told me that they proposed to breathalyse me.  They called another car in and I found myself on the pavement surrounded by four police officers being made to take a breath test – which I passed.

Draw your own conclusions.  Mine are that I have no confidence in Havant police at all, in their bona fides, good intentions, integrity, intelligence or even common sense.  I don’t blame the policewoman involved because she’s just a victim of the police culture that creates this sort of stupid, dumb, “us and them” culture.

In the higher echelons of the police force there are clearly some very clever people doing fantastic work on matters such as anti-terrorism and thank God they are.  Amongst the footsoldiers, as well as the heroes and those who understand their role as a public servants,  there are undoubtedly inadequate individuals who choose a uniform to bolster their own self image and who enjoy wielding authority that is beyond their ability.

It is a leadership issue.  If you antagonise, offend, upset and deal shabbily with those you are supposed to “protect and serve” then where do you expect your support to come from?

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 15, 2008 at 11:20 pm