Peter Rhodes on police mergers, a little victory for Remoaners and the Corbyn view on lentils
DEVON & Cornwall Police are discussing a merger with Dorset Police. This will reduce the number of forces in England and Wales to 42. That's right, 42. We have one Parliament, one law and one court system, but 42 constabularies. All have their own little empires and chief constables, deputy chief constables, commissioners and their deputies. It is madness. The sooner we have a national police force, the better.
AND if you want proof, look no further than the disgraceful "lockdown" in Cromer last month when a gang of travellers brought terror to the seaside town. By common consent Norfolk Police were rubbish. And what makes their performance even worse is that they were warned, by Suffolk Police, that the travellers were on their way. One constabulary was glad to get the troublemakers off its patch, another constabulary was unprepared to deal with them. Fragmented policing betrays the people.
THE waffling goes on. This month's award for dodging simple questions is a Tory-Labour tie between defence secretary Michael Fallon and Jeremy Corbyn. On Today (Radio 4) Fallon ducked, dived, dodged and evaded as the interviewer tried to get a simple explanation of how UK defence policy might be changed by Brexit.
BUT at least Fallon could argue that defence is a complex issue. There is no such excuse for Corbyn, a long-standing vegetarian, who was asked the very simple question, was he contemplating becoming a vegan? He replied: "It's a fair question. I eat more and more vegan food, and have more and more vegan friends, indeed there are quite a lot of vegan MPs actually - not a lot but there are some. I think what has improved so much is vegetarian and vegan food has got so much better in recent years. " So that's 56 words of waffle but no answer. Corbyn went on: "So I'm going through the process, all right?" I may be wrong but I think we can deduce from this that Jeremy Corbyn may be "in the process" of possibly, tentatively moving sort of toward veganism, perhaps - but only between meals.
THE point of the above is, if Jeremy Corbyn cannot explain his position on lentils, how can we possibly expect him to explain his position on the EU?
THE Remoaners won a famous victory. On the Last Night of the Proms they managed to flood the Royal Albert Hall with thousands of blue-and-yellow EU flags, handed out free at the doors. But it was a short-lived triumph. Images of the big-screen event across the road in Hyde Park reveal a sea of Union Jacks. This was the Brexit majority at play, ordinary Brits who buy their own flags and would not be seen dead waving the bland banner of Brussels bureaucracy. Real people with real flags.
AFTER last week's item on atheism, a reader tells me her father, aged 86, has a fondness for wearing a dinner jacket and bow tie. When someone suggested he might be buried in it, the old man was moved to poetry. It is entitled Whither Atheist? "Dress suited,he lay in his coffin / Bow tied,hecould hear people loffin' / He's an atheist, wouldn't you know? / All dressed up and nowhere to go."