Monday, 8 August 2011
Lack of leadership
I write this as riots have now spread to Croydon and even Birmingham. No doubt this is copycat actions and has no other link than that to the original incident in Tottenham.
What is needed now is leadership, community support and parental control.
Community leaders are right to highlight the poverty, lack of opportunity and the feeling of being outside society but they must also be brave enough to see that most of these incidents are just occurring as they wish to copy other area's, get a quick buzz and line their pockets with looted goods- all damaging their own communities.
Parents need to know where their sons and daughters are, get them home, keep them at home.
Leadership is what is needed most, I have just watched on BBC as an ex Senior Police Commander from Fulham criticise the Government and senior management in the Metropolitan Police. I have then seen the acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police show true leadership in asking for the support of the people of London.
I have seen and heard controlled comments that show a true understanding of his community by David Lammy the Labour MP from Tottenham. I am at this moment hearing measured comments by Simon Hughes the Lib Dem MP. But where are those who pull the strings? Those who control this country?
Cameron, Osborne, May and Johnson all on holiday at the same time. we are told it is OK as William Hague is in charge. Third day of riots and not heard from him once.
Boris Johnson said yesterday there was no need for any one to cut short their holiday, less than 24 hours later the Home Secretary, Theresa May does come back. Johnson then back tracks and will be back by lunchtime Tuesday!
Theresa May was hard line in her words but as the police stated, the yobs are not worried about being caught, they know the jails are full, they will be out in a few hours. In the days of football hooliganism, the thugs knew that in London they were unlikely ever to end up in court. so strong words from Mrs May but no real substance. No show of unity with the police, OK to praise them, but not sure many would have felt any elation when hearing her comments as the same Home Secretary is making thousands of them redundant.
Then we have Cameron and Johnson - the real lack of leadership by staying away the true Tory meaning to - "We are all in it together"
A Tory blogger from Ipswich asked me why should they come back? Maybe he should ask the leader of Tottenham Tories who has criticised Boris Johnson for his (chosen) absence.
Gavin Maclure has even blogged that Cameron may not be the leader he thought he was but even he states that the PM and Osborne deserve and need their overseas breaks.
Brigadier Radford - true leadership
But when I was in Afghanistan in 2009, under the command of 19 Brigade we were facing the bloodiest Summer of fighting the British Army had seen since Korea in the 1950's. What did our leader do? Brigadier Radford refused to take his two weeks leave, he spent the whole seven months in Helmand Province. More than that he knew that his men needed the rest and recuperation so he made them all take their R & R but he chose not to take his - true leadership in what was a difficult time for many of us.
So Cameron and Johnson may be able to keep in control from Italy (and where other Boris is)but there is no way they will get a true feel of the fear that London is living under. The PM wherever he is would be spending time in contact with Downing Street what ever was happening but what about the extra cost that Johnson is running up by constantly being on the phone with London, especially at the time when the Met Police has only a stand in leader. He needed to be on that plane home on Sunday.
When I was in the army, we had to sort out our leave that meant that leaders were always in place, this meant that none of the leadership ever took leave at Christmas or New Year. Even last week, the leader of our own Ipswich Borough Council informed us that he would be away for a week but whilst he was away (he would still be contactable by phone or email) that his deputy would be in charge. So if IBC can do it, why couldn't the Government - so I ask again where is the leadership? How can it be that one of the leading countries in the world can allow the PM, Deputy PM, the Chancellor, the Home Secretary (and London Mayor) all be on holiday (and out of the country) at the same time? Answer- Incompetence.
At 4 this afternoon both Cameron and Johnson said there was no need to end holiday earlier, by 6 we heard Johnson would be on a plane and home by lunch Tuesday and now we hear Cameron (9.20) is coming back- trouble is for mamy it is not when he should have come back- incompetence