PETER HITCHENS: Football attracts thugs? The police are useless? Well WHAT a surprise!


Did we really not already know that football attracts some of the nastiest people in the country, including racial bigots? 

Did we really not know that our police force, which has lived for years on a reputation won by others long ago, is a colossal, expensive failure in desperate need of reform?

Yet as a country we react with seeming shock and anger to the discovery that there are racialists on the football terraces. 

All the soupy pieties of the sainted Gareth Southgate will not change that. The adoption by London Blairites of football as a sort of religion will not alter it either. There’s a nasty side to soccer, and it has a lot to do with the way it is played nowadays.

Did we really not know that our police force, which has lived for years on a reputation won by others long ago, is a colossal, expensive failure in desperate need of reform?

And we seem surprised by the police. This is the organisation that turns up mob-handed to wallop the wrong sort of demonstrators, but which takes the knee to the woke and caresses the approved protests of Extinction Rebellion, which bangs on people’s doors for expressing uncool opinions about the transgender issue, which patrolled the green spaces of London for illegal sunbathers, and surveilled the high moorlands of England for hikers and picnickers. 

This is the outfit which long ago abandoned any pretence of interest in marijuana possession (the likely cause of a huge amount of other crime) burglary, vandalism, car theft or keeping the streets safe. 

This is the ‘service’ which was so quick to search the home of Field Marshal Lord Bramall on the say-so of a blatant fantasist, so slow to respond to the misnamed riots of August 2011, really a festival of lawlessness and looting. 

So why would you expect them to notice that the biggest football match of a generation is about to take place in London, and to be prepared for all the predictable things that happened at it or because of it?

This is the outfit which long ago abandoned any pretence of interest in marijuana possession (the likely cause of a huge amount of other crime) burglary, vandalism, car theft or keeping the streets safe

This is the outfit which long ago abandoned any pretence of interest in marijuana possession (the likely cause of a huge amount of other crime) burglary, vandalism, car theft or keeping the streets safe

People ask angrily: ‘Where were they?’ They were where they almost always are when we want them. Elsewhere. 

The appointment as London’s police chief of that embodiment of modern Left-liberal thinking, Cressida Dick, was a clear sign that we have nothing to hope for from the police, as long as the country is run as it is. 

Remember, she was chosen by an allegedly Conservative government, though she was quite obviously the candidate of the politically correct Left.

How many times do we need to be surprised by the obvious, until we do something about it? I suspect there is no limit. We have truly become the country of the gormless.

People ask angrily: ‘Where were they?’ They were where they almost always are when we want them. Elsewhere

People ask angrily: ‘Where were they?’ They were where they almost always are when we want them. Elsewhere

Well, I now have to praise the BBC’s Nick Robinson for saying this on the Today programme on Wednesday: ‘The evidence is that the masks that most of us wear, the one I have got here in my pocket, a sort of cotton mask that you either make yourself or that you buy, gives you no protection at all, absolutely none.’ After ages of assuming that loose cloth masks are effective, this must be the first time a major BBC presenter has stated the experimental truth. Yet nobody seems to have noticed.

As we wonder how to cope with the fact that we live in a civilisation where, for the first time in human history, the poor are fat, we never seem to want to think about how this has come about.

This is because we do not want to. The reason for this change is the abolition of the full-time mother, the husband and father and the close-knit family that sat down to eat proper meals together. Instead, children graze on sugary, salty, processed fast food. I suspect that taxing salt and sugar will not end this.

Ultra-feminists despised the decent, honourable tasks of motherhood, claiming that the only road to fulfilment lay in wage-slavery outside the home. Any fool could have told them that paid employment is not the road to freedom, but they did not want to hear this. And nobody has yet devised a way of getting men to embrace the tasks wage-slave women no longer have time to do. So they don’t get done.

And, as in almost all the other aspects of post-Sixties liberated society, it is the children who suffer.

Cuba’s real rebels take to the streets

Lots of idiots still admire Cuba, believing the propaganda of its nasty, despotic junta. I think this is because so many of the former student revolutionaries of the 1960s imagine themselves in beards and fatigues riding at the head of a triumphant revolutionary parade into the fallen citadels of conservative, Christian civilisation.

The truth about Cuba – that it is a miserable, rationed secret-police state that even has first-class money for the elite and second-class money for its ordinary people – has always been unwelcome.

So has the fact that this potentially wealthy country is run by dreary middle-aged bureaucrats, fearful of their subjects, with brains of solid Marxist concrete, about as rebellious and romantic as a public lavatory. Yet the youthful, barricade-storming image must still be maintained. Its official radio station, a conduit of weary, censored propaganda, is called Rebel Radio.

But now a real rebellion against these self-styled rebels has broken out on the streets of Havana. It looks to me like a proper uprising from below, not orchestrated by anybody.

And the admirers of Castro’s squalid state – who still litter the BBC, the universities, the schools, the media and the Civil Service – don’t know what to do or say. For they do not want to admit that, like the man they long admired, they have themselves become an intolerant, inflexible ruling class.

Get your skates on to outlaw e-scooters

You really are going to have to get your skates on if you want to stop the legalisation of e-scooters. A very rich lobby, aided by slick PR men, sees a huge chance to make a fortune by selling millions of these nasty, bone-smashing adult toys.

This is despite last week’s news that 206 crimes involving a suspect riding an e-scooter were recorded in London in the first four months of this year. E-scooter-linked crimes include robberies, assaults, shoplifting and drug possession, plus escaping arrest.

They are also dangerous to riders and the public. We still wait for MPs to discuss the problem and I urge you to write to yours now.

Lady Ludford last week protested in the House of Lords against the Government’s apparent support of e-scooters, when it claims to be just giving them a trial.

She said acidly: ‘This Government claim to represent the party of law and order, and certainly they often talk about crackdowns, but, when it comes to e-scooters, they have allowed, even encouraged, de facto legalisation without the necessary legislation to protect riders and the public. This has caused problems to escalate out of control in a wild west of lawlessness, where riders are terrorising pedestrians, especially those with disabilities and visual impairment.’

Lord Morris of Aberavon joined her, saying: ‘Our streets are becoming a nightmare for the young, the old, the blind and the disabled.’ Lady Randerson pointed out: ‘Retailers are not being held to their legal obligations and pilot schemes are so numerous that it is effectively back-door legalisation without any of the rules.’

But the Government Minister, Lady Williams of Trafford, declared in response: ‘I do not think there should be an outright ban on them.’ 

Since there is such an outright ban, outside the areas which have had ‘experiments’ inflicted on them, isn’t she prejudging the outcome? Protest while there is yet time.

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