Happy New Year fellow bloggers!

I say fellow bloggers, but the truth is that so far I have been a pretty feeble blogmeister.

The real wizard behind this site, as you all know, is Melissa Crawshay-Williams, and I have for some time been consumed with guilt that I am not helping her by supplying more of my own stuff.

So here’s my New Year Resolution – try to get down to the blog at least once a week.

And here is my opening thought for the New Year. It is unashamedly political, but so what.

This here feud between Blair and Brown – what is the voter supposed to make of it?

We are now barely 12 weeks away from a general election, at which Tony Blair will offer himself to the British public, once again, as a candidate to be Prime Minister for the next five years.

But how on earth can we believe him?

If we believe Gordon’s account, as relayed through Robert Peston, Blair ratted on a promise to go by November of last year.

The Labour benches, indeed parts of the cabinet, are now populated with those who want Blair out and Brown in.

Blair simply hasn’t the guts (or the intellectual self-confidence) to sack Gordon, not least since he would be a focus for constant mutiny on the backbenches.

It is therefore a racing certainty that at some time in the next parliament – if there is a Labour victory – Blair will finally honour his promise and make way for Esau Brown, he who was robbed of his birthright at Granita.

The logical moment to do this would be after Blair’s (very likely) defeat in the referendum on the European constitution.

If all that is so – and I am confident that it is – then the voter is entitled to ask what exactly he is voting for, at the next election.

Blair or Brown?

It makes a big difference, because I believe there are many voters who were attracted by Blair, but who would be leery of the gloomadon-popping, high-taxing old miseryguts of a Chancellor.

Apart from anything else, he sits for a Scottish seat, and it is infamous that the people of England should accept laws made by Scottish MPs when we English MPs have absolutely no say over corresponding issues in Scotland.

So which is it?

We need to know!

Unless Labour clear up this problem in the next three months – and explain clearly and unambiguously which is their candidate for Prime Minister – the party should be done for a false bill of sale.

If it’s a case of vote Blair, get Brown, then they need to be honest enough to say so NOW.

75 thoughts on “Happy New Year fellow bloggers!”

  1. GREAT to hear from you Boris – a natural blogger!

    >We are now barely 12 weeks away from a general election


  2. A blogging Boris nice to see you learning new skills. HUZZAR HUZZAR. Hmm…the dark hand of the election…..and in the blue corner….

  3. I can’t imagine that Brown would make a charismatic leader. He has several fingers in old-Labour pies, and that ideology is what Blair had to shed to win his premiership.
    By the way, great to hear that you’ll be bloggin more frequently, Boris!

  4. By the way, I would hope that Boris is being consulted by the Tory leadership on the strategy for the Tory election campaign – he is the most in touch MP they have…

  5. The whole thing seems uncharacteristically off message. Have the pagers packed up, or has the Labour party decided it is time to wash its dirty linen in public?

  6. Under normal circumstances surrounding an impending election, the whole Blair/Brown fiasco would, of course, be detrimental to the Labour campaign; as would the Iraq situation, the Blunkett affair and a host of short-sighted domestic policies. Unfortunately, however, as the opposition have completely failed to create a viable or credible alternative, it will have little or no effect on the outcome of the election. The public will reinstate Labour, no matter who’ll be ‘leading’ them in its wake, and the Conservatives only have themselves to blame.

  7. Hello Boris. Actually, I’d be more likely to vote for Brown than Blair, I don’t trust Tony as far as I could spit him.

    As for the Tories though, I don’t like Michael Howard either, so I am in a dilemma. Floating between the two as they say. If only the Tories had a leader I could believe in 😉

  8. ‘The whole thing seems uncharacteristically off message. Have the pagers packed up, or has the Labour party decided it is time to wash its dirty linen in public?’

    Are we seeing the end of spin? Or have we at last seen through the spin? I think we have..

  9. Hooray for Boris!

    An announcement that gives me great pleasure… Boris Johnson – Happy New Year fellow bloggers!: So here’s my New Year Resolution – try to get down to the blog at least once a week….

  10. Glad to hear you’re going to be blogging more often, Boris! A good resolution to make.

    I’m in the same boat as Wifey. I actually prefer Brown to Blair. Can’t really see me voting for either, though. And, yes, I’m not too fond of Howard either.

  11. Happy New Year.

    Is the blogging negotiable? I am not sure how my fellow bloggers feel, but perhaps we’d settle for twice a week as a reasonable commitment in support of Melissa.

    I’d prefer Brown to Blair for many reasons, but I don’t agree with the scenario. This is not an amiable H Wilson/J Callaghan situation. A lot of New Labourites – Milburn, Reid, Blunkett, Jowell, Byers etc. – are now firmly in the anti-Brown camp. If Blair goes, they will want their own man as leader – presumably Milburn. Would this be acceptable to the Brownites? I think the Labour Party is heading for a split.

    This is not a situation that the other parties can exploit directly. The Tories need to put on a good show of loving each other and loving the people and hope the electorate notices.

  12. Glad to see you’re back Boris, ’cause it’s better than your front… nah just joking.

    Did you get my Christmas card? I think I might have sent it too late to arrive by Christmas, but I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

    So… Gordon and Tony… in my opinion, our only option, besides disband the Labour party completely, is for Gordon to take over the leadership – at least then we will know who out of the two is most competent for the position.

  13. Hey Boz cat, nice to see you blogging at last. With regards to the Blair/Brown debate I agree with the charismatic and strangely sexy Mr Hislop – however bad you think the Labour party you have an ineffectual opposition letting him get away with it. If ever there was a chance for the Tories to get back in government it’s now but no, they vote in Howard who just seems to suck up to Blair and couldn’t lead a blind mans dog. He got rid of the most popular thing on the Tory front bench now didn’t he?!

    Look at hard facts: how many people actually voted last time? Why? Why are people going to bother this time when they see no reason too? Oh yes all the usual arguments but when THEY see no reason too. Even dyed in the wool tories are voicing thier intention to vote lib dem. The only clear opposition right now. Why should Labour do anything right when they haven’t so far and still stayed in power.

    It’s all a bit sad really.

  14. On the whole, I agree. However, I would like to put one of your comments to bed, as it is starting to annoy me as more and more people are spouting it parrot fashion.

    Re “infamous that the people of England should accept laws made by Scottish MPs when we English MPs have absolutely no say over corresponding issues in Scotland”. I would like to point out that 1) English MP’s imposed the poll tax on Scotland 1 whole year before they tried it out in England. The result of which is many people still homeless after the “can’t pay won’t pay” campaign. 2) It is English MP’s that are currently sending many Scottish soldiers to Iraq to die.

    Just a thought..

  15. Wee Jock is right to put the Scottish point of view forward, especially as there are a whole range of issues where English MPS do decide things for Scotland. Devolution is limited.

    However the present constitutional arrangements are a mess. We need comprehensive reform: a Scottish Parliament with full powers, an elected House of Lords – and a corresponding English Parliament.

    Why is it so difficult for anybody in Westminster to think it terms of logical political structures? Do they put something in that dreadful tea you all seem to drink down there?

  16. Without wishing to lower the tone, I wonder, would Boris ever consider being a participant on ‘celebrity big brother’?

    I can’t thing of a more interesting, entertaining person to be in the house.

  17. It’s a shame, but Michael Ancram’s pussy-footing around the Jerry Spring fiasco this weekend, reminded me for once and for all why I can’t vote Tory: “Careful now. Down with this sort of thing.” Stop pandering to the Daily Mail readers, man – say what you really think!

  18. Yes, Boris puts his finger on it once again. This is what’ll worry the electorate: vote Blair; get Brown.

    And that’s partly why Labour doesn’t want the whole business aired in public. That spectre must raise itself, and it can’t but lose them votes.

    But I don’t think the story of Jacob and Esau makes an appropriate parallel at all. Jacob takes the birthright through trickery and that’s that. The birthright is Isaac’s blessing and it isn’t defeasible and capable of being reassigned once it’s given.

  19. >…..and in the blue corner….

    the pom poms of course Nick – if they aren’t too squished!

    we’ll be in a South Cal mood!

  20. Suppose, Bozza, that the Tories were swept to power at the next election, and then we find out that Michael Howard was a Soviet spy or something else that would prevent his continuing as PM, and you were elected on massive tide of popularity as new party leader, would you be forced to decline on the moral grounds that you had written the above article?
    Just supposing?
    Vote Howard get Johnson? Or any other third rate hotel chain for that matter.

  21. Boris Johnson makes blogging resolution

    Boris Johnson has made a pledge to write on his blog at least once a week. You should read it.

  22. So, no rift between Blair and Brown, then. Just the natural differences that occur between normal human beings. And you should ignore the people who are just out to sell their books:

    So says Honest John Prescott who gets wheeled out for an early-morning session on Radio 4 every time a Big Lie has to be sold.

    So the rift is healed (or not a rift at all) and the economy is central to election strategy.

    Fair enough. It worked in the US and in Australia.

    Everyone’s making money, and the other guys will make you poor. Or quite possibly dead.

  23. Vicus Scurra…dont joke , I was hoping Boris’s new year resolution would be to create his own party and at least give the voters a reasonable alternative to the vote Blair/Brown/Bush and Howard fiasco.
    Would be worth it just to see the look on Grumpy Browns face.

  24. ‘>…..and in the blue corner….

    the pom poms of course Nick – if they aren’t too squished!

    we’ll be in a South Cal mood!’

    Well Melissa we certainly will. I don’t think the pom-pom’s will be too squished. But everything seems to be place to build up a ra ra sweat in a blond south cal style. Of course the fashion for this spring means that the skirts are going to shorter then last year. And we all know that shorter skirts means don’t we. Yes you got it means more votes for the blues. Although we may not be fighting the reds, we have handed the boxing gloves over to Blair and Brown. Blunket has been K.Oed, but one has to look out for Preser’s left hook. I’d keep the guard up if i was you. But as of Blair And Brown – maybe labour should now be called, ‘the black and red party,’ after all one can see the bruises on their faces. South Cal all blue pom pom girls in short short skirts go ra ra yeah yeah.

  25. Blair has said he would serve a whole term so whats the big deal. The opposition don’t exactly have a good recent track record for sticking with a leader throughout a parliament do they. As for “But how on earth can we believe him?” – How on earth can we believe any of you ?

  26. The Labour strategy is entirely sound. Firstly, people with real lives (as opposed to chaps like ourselves that spend our days and nights blogging) are most unlikely to vote for anyone as dull as Gordon (sorry Gordon, but best to be honest). So, Tony wins the election by default (as there is no-one else standing with a cat-in-hells chance of success (sorry Michael, but best to be honest)), has a few photo-shoots and steps aside in a wave of glory.
    Enter Gordon stage-left, who then bores the British public to such an extent that only the authors of the comments above bother voting at the following election, giving him a racing chance of winning against whichever skeleton the tories have rather unimaginatively dug out of the Thatcherite cupboard for that inglorious occasion.

    Happy New Year!

  27. Nick – fantastico

    Such a unique and revolutionary thought, feel like practising right now!

    the more the merrier…any slogans – rip roaring and fun chants? we mustn’t be in submarine mode at election time

  28. “it is infamous that the people of England should accept laws made by Scottish MPs when we English MPs have absolutely no say over corresponding issues in Scotland.”

    Do I take it then that Boris supports the repeal of devolution in Scotland & Wales? Or would he perhaps advocate English succession from the Union … probably the only way the tories are ever likely to get back to power in his political lifetime!

  29. That’s a bit pessimistic isn’t it, Michael? I’m sure we’re not the only ones that vote on something more than which candidate is the most interesting.

    And thanks to you lot I now have visions of the entire House of Commons jumping up and starting to wave pom poms in the air. Eeep!

  30. 12 weeks? Is that all it is? … Scary. I do hope my request to help with canvassing etc. was registered.
    Of course, that also means there’s not much over 12 weeks until my 18th. Which is 7th May. Which I really hope will be BEFORE the election … Or else. *shakes fist menacingly*

    Monkey – Boris on Celebrity Big Brother? Now there’s an idea. It might actually make reality television watchable!

    Vicus Scurra – I think you may find that the differences between Michael and Boris are a lot less that Blair and Brown.

    Dave Collins – A repeal of devolution in Scotland? Why of course! Just crown Boris as King of the World and be done with it!

    Incidentally, does Gordon Brown remind anyone else of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz?

  31. Cant wait to see what the election posters are going look like , Blair can just borrow a page from the cover of ‘Mad Magazine’ and use ‘what me worry?’ as his campaign slogan … hee hee hee.

  32. Nick – I can see your point, but I would rather see posters telling me what the tories are going to do that’s better, than just take pot shots at labour.

    This is what I hate about politics, the parties spend more time talking about the oppositions problems, than sorting out their own problems. A party that actually spoke about themselves and ignored what the other side was up to would be really refreshing.

  33. Interesting debate. I take we are not all Tories (I am not anyway) but we are all united in a distaste for New Labour.

    Blair has involved us in the worst foreign policy mess since 1945 and yet we are all expecting (with Michael “The Labour strategy is entirely sound etc.” ) that he will win the next election etc.

    We can go on and speculate that after the election Blair will get rid of Brown, and any other non-Blairite ministers, and eventually install a successor of his own choosing, when he is sufficiently enamoured of his position in history. That is the normal pattern. We can anticipate that New Labour will become even more authoritarian and right wing, not because they are trying to outmanoeuvre the Conservatives any longer, but because they are corrupt.

    But is this all inevitable? Are the Tories completely washed up? Are they incapable of communicating with other opposition parties? Or developing a credible agenda for modernization? Or developing and communicating positive foreign policies, economic policies, environmental policies etc. etc.?

    The Conservative party has become a kind of repository for voters in alienated social/age groups who would prefer to be living twenty years ago. It has to break out of the retirement housing and nursing homes of the south of England, and talk to engage in a real debate about the future.

    [Sorry no jokes]

  34. ‘The Conservative party has become a kind of repository for voters in alienated social/age groups who would prefer to be living twenty years ago. It has to break out of the retirement housing and nursing homes of the south of England, and talk to engage in a real debate about the future.’

    I totally agree with you Simon. But at the heart of this I don’t think the generation of the 1980’s such as myself who are now in our thirties will ever really vote for the Thatcherite rooted wing of the party that is mainly examplified by Micheal Howard. Talking with freinds I find that Thatcher has left a scar that will never heal. But on the other end of this I know that we are willing to listen if the party was willing to explain it’s policy’s, what it stands for, and change it’s leader. The bottom line is this I think the idea of conseveratism has changed, especily for my generation,. But the party within itself has not noticed.

  35. “Nick – I can see your point, but I would rather see posters telling me what the tories are going to do that’s better, than just take pot shots at labour.”

    No way. Negative campaigning works big time.
    Just look at the impact of the swift boat veterans for truth. They totally and utterly destroyed John Kerries image beyond repair. Take a look at the ads they ran, they’re on their website. The one showing kerries congressional testimony and ‘remniscent of Ghengis Khan’ speech basically sealed Kerries fate.

    Before the European elections Labour kept running an attack ad against Howard, with simply red ‘If you don’t know me by now’ in the backround, listing “Introduced the poll tax, lost 1,000,000 jobs as employment secretary etc etc”.

    I’d love to see the Tories do the same to Blair, listing all of the labour sleeze on screen, with bad pictures of Blair and Brown scowling, with depressing music in the backround. Very effective.

    And another with facts about immigration, the EU, crime, the economy etc.

    It is a simple fact of politics, that before you present your manifesto (ie your solutions to problems) you must first make the public fully aware of the problems. A few ‘eyecatching’
    HARD HITTING commercials to whip up hysteria would do nicely.

  36. It’s interesting though. The very same people you see critquing the party (on TV, for example) on this moving on and changing thing, are often the very same people who will go on to comment on how the Tory-esque policies of Labour are so wonderful.

  37. So many interesting and gripping comments

    – best read of the day!

    Nick – *peals of laughter* This campaign could be fun…

  38. ‘The Conservative party has become a kind of repository for voters in alienated social/age groups who would prefer to be living twenty years ago. It has to break out of the retirement housing and nursing homes of the south of England, and talk to engage in a real debate about the future.’

    I don’t agree, Nick. that’s just insolence on the OP’s part. It means very little except on a platform to the undiscerning converted and could just as easily – and perhaps more accurately – be applied to the liberal democrats.

    The Conservative party has a darn good idea of what the voters want – which is much more to the point. This applies particularly to voters in the areas that matter. The Tories have very efficient, and very expensive, ways of finding this out, as you’ll know if you’ve been reading Boris’s informative magazine regularly. What it seems too me they lack is a charismatic and authoritative team that can convince the public they can deliver. Much of the time, you’re not even aware they’re there; and much of the rest, they simply fail to impress. They may be working hard on the doorsteps and the phones in the areas they’ve targeted, but nationally they are simply not coming across.

  39. I disagree. I think the electorate are sick of hearing about sleaze and are adult enough to know that all parties are as bad as each other in the sleaze/lying when it suits them department. What the public want are answers to the issues that matter to them, not more mud-slinging.

    Give us the policies so we can make our own, informed choices about who to vote for.

  40. all I hope we agree on is what a ‘nice cup of tea’ can do to lower the temperature

    *sips soothing tea from Nicey & Wifey’s mug*

  41. Wifey –
    “I think the electorate are sick of hearing about sleaze and are adult enough to know that all parties are as bad as each other in the sleaze/lying when it suits them department. What the public want are answers to the issues that matter to them, not more mud-slinging.”

    Unfortunately, this electorate of which you speak is the minority. The majority are The Sun readers, who live off this kind of stuff.

  42. Nick points out ” . . . Thatcher has left a scar that will never heal.”

    True, but the Conservatives also have a long and great tradition of excellence in government and prudent economics, linked to commitment to democracy and respect for individual liberties.

    It’s all there in the history books for anybody who is willing to read them, take a deep breath and make a determined stand for better standards/norms/values: Disraeli, Baldwin, Churchill, Macmillan, Heath etc.

    [P.S. The Wikipedia page
    could do with a bit of amplification – it doesn’t mention any Tory politician between Baldwin and Keith Joesph, and that includes Churchill! Any volunteers?]

  43. Melissa – Mmmm, tea would be nice.. Milk, no sugar please.

    Aaron – you’re probably right, but I live in hope that one day, we can forget all the petty crap that goes along with politics..

    Now, must go, it’s nearly time for Celebrity Big Brother. John, what a grumpy Bugger, and Germaine has gone?? And look at the state of that Jackie Stallone! Now there’s an ad for never having plastic surgery.

    /hypocrit 😉

  44. Oooh, I agree with the tea suggestion. I think I’ll go and make a nice cup myself.

    (Now there’s a policy someone ought to take up – if they gave out cups of tea I’d vote for them. heee)

  45. Well, a good start to the New Year would also be to add a normal blog archive section to your sidebar (you know, like everyone else has with months and so forth). I was, I admit, wanting to look for slightly salacious tidbits from your past entries but nevertheless, to be confronted only with the categorized archive entries was rather annoying. After all, when the Guardian references you writing about being fired on your blog and then I can’t find the damn entry it’s pretty ridiculous!

  46. Although Wifey says she disagrees with Micheal I agree with both of them. The Tories do just seem to stab at Labour instead of getting on with the job at hand. Critisise them if you will but in the business of electioneering Labour are tops. They are slick, professional and Tony Blair is a successful leader. Conservative really need to get thier act together and NOW. I like Lord Strathclyde is it? Leader of the conservatives in the house of Lords? I’d like to spend a day with him I can tell you and hear just what influence he can bring to bear on his stalled party.

    There is one comment I take issue with: “‘The Conservative party has become a kind of repository for voters in alienated social/age groups who would prefer to be living twenty years ago. It has to break out of the retirement housing and nursing homes of the south of England”
    Living 20 years ago wasn’t that bad actually. In fact it was better than living in todays society for a whole raft of reasons. I agree Conservative need to “engage in a real debate about the future” but in a way that will win votes not just waste breath. Looking back to when Labour was in power in the 70’s: ahh those nostalgic days of power cuts and social unrest, when the rights of the common man totally buggered up society and shot the common man right in the foot. Oh, and look around the world; communism didn’t work either.

    It’s about time we all stopped squabbling and faced the real question: when we vote in the election, how long will we have a country for? A vote for Blair is a vote against Britain. Vote for your country, vote vampire!

  47. Tim and Melissa,

    Thanks for info. on links.

    By autolinking I assume you mean using a plain URL as you would on a browser. Is that right?

    By the way the URL for the Wikipedia article is not as I gave above. it should be:

    Their biography of Howard is at:

    Interesting that his real name is Hecht – good for ‘hechtling’ in the Commons – ‘Hey, Hecht’. ‘Clever Hecht’ etc.

    Did anyone know that the Boris Johnson article is currently under review for deletion! See:

  48. Blair is a slimy toad, who no one in their right mind would trust. But we’ll still vote for him in droves. What does that tell you, Bozza?

  49. So, Michael Howard has jumped on the Harry Bashing Bandwagon and wants him to apoligise in person for wearing a swastica to a fancy dress party. Am I missing the point here? Surely the idea of these parties is to be shocking and ‘pretend’ to be something you’re not. Are the royals not allowed to dress up as anything vaguely controversial now for fear of offending? It’s ridiculous, and for Michael Howard to be jumping on it too just to get some publicity is laughable. Especially when he’s already said sorry for offending people through Clarence House.

    BTW, I do not particularly like Harry, but I think he should be allowed to wear whatever costume he likes to a fancy dress party. This is, after all a free country, or does the Tory leader not support that view any more?

  50. Wifey, that is the point. Hazza went dressed as a representative of an unacceptable, totalitarian and authoritian style of government. Hardly fancy dress for the British monarchy.

  51. I entirely agree that Harry’s attendance at a fancy dress ball as a not particularly accuarately dressed nazi has been blown out of all proportion. I think most of the fancy dress parties I have been to (not many) have included someone dressed up a as a German solidier, airman etc. Of course i suppose someone should have warned him that the media would slate him for it but give him a break.

  52. ‘A vote for Blair is a vote against Britain. Vote for your country, vote vampire!’

    Jaq – Vote Vampire – I’d rather vote for Buffy!?! Hubba, Hubba, Or would that be a mis-stake?

  53. I have to agree with Esbonio on this Harry issue. I really don’t see what the problem is. We need to embrace these situations in our past and learn from them, not make them such a taboo. It just leads to repetition in some form if you shy away from things like this. Ridiculous.

  54. It was bad enough but predcitable for Labourite Doug Henderson to opine that Harry was not fit for Sandhurst. But yet again Michael Howard walks into an elephant trap and misjudges it by calling on Prince Harry to make a personal apology. Now I hear !0 Downing Street has made an announcement to the effect that Harry has rightly aplogised and that we should move on. Yet again Blair gives the appearance (if not the reality) of being statesmanlike whilst outmanoueuvring Howard who lays himself open to the charge of opportunism.

  55. Regarding the tory campaign, I’d also love to see them making use of the image of Blair shaking hands with Colonel Gaddafi. A powerful propaganda tool indeed.

    And sack that guy with the weird glasses. Lord Satchi or whatever, he totally sucks. Tory propaganda has been rubbish under his watch.

    I hope all of the gossip surrounding the tories and karl rove isn’t true. He’s massively over-rated.

    If you really want to win then you should hire American strategist Dick Morris. The man is an absolute bloody genius! He was the mastermind behind the success of Bill Clinton, Victor Yushenko, George Bush (in part), and dozens of republican senators.

    I think he did a little bit of work for UKIP before the Euro elections. (you can bet that he probably wrote all of their speeches and ads). He’d certainly be worth his fee.

  56. ‘And sack that guy with the weird glasses. Lord Satchi or whatever, he totally sucks. Tory propaganda has been rubbish under his watch’

    Monkey – it was Saatchi & Saatchi who provided all the tory propaganda for the past 25 years! So I don’t think think he’s done that bad. And from the point of view of the 1980’s when it comes to the media and innovation Saatchi & Saatchi were innovoation, at the cutting edge: the prime example of the advertisers art.

  57. Gentlemen, start your engines!

    I think we can look forward to the announcement of an election date shortly. We’re at the stage of last-minute manoeuvres. Speaking of which, you may recall that Labour sent two last-minute text-messages before the 2001 election; one mocking the…

  58. “But yet again Michael Howard walks into an elephant trap and misjudges it by calling on Prince Harry to make a personal apology.”

    Would there have been the same outcry if Harry had dressed up as Che Guevara? Somehow I doubt it. Never mind that the communists killed tens of millions of people and imposed fascist dictatorship wherever they prevailed.

    In fact, virtually every university dorm is adocked with images of che (a man who once shot a child in the head)

    There is a strange double standard in the judgement of the 2 murderous ideologies of the twentieth century.

  59. Originally posted on the Clive Soley MP blog. Posted here FYI

    Dear Clive.

    As someone who works with male victims of abuse I thought you may be interested (some hope!) in a very recent experience I had with our caring, sharing police officers here in Lewisham after a recent nasty encounter with my ex wifes abusive family. Finding a slot on your site to place this was difficult so I put it here under “festive greetings” to remind you that for many men, this New Year and Christmas period will be anything but festive.

    These comments are in the form of a letter I have sent to a friend who, as an ex police officer, is well aware of the way the police in the UK fali to live up to their public “gender neutral” PR stance. I thought you should know the kind of things that the police really get up to when its a man who suffers abuse…

    Dear John

    I had an interesting development in my own abuse saga yesterday I wonder, if you have time, if you would give me some advice about handling the police side of things?

    At 03:45pm on Sunday 16th Jan 2005 I went to my local Co-Op supermarket to get some food. When I entered the supermarket I noticed my abusive Ex common-law wife was in the store shopping. I was careful to avoid her and did not talk to her. When my shopping was done and I had been through the check out, I was walking towards the exit door when I was approached by three youths. At first I did not recognise any of them. As they passed me one of them called me a “c**t” and muttered something I did not catch. I continued walking and the same youth hissed at me loudly. I stopped walking and looked back towards the three young men. The same one that had spoken to me earlier said something else I did not catch so I walked back towards the group. When I was about 20 ft away I called out, “Do you have a problem with me, son?”
    He replied, “Yes. I have a problem with you.”
    I put my shopping down on one side and approached nearer to the group. I wanted to know what was going on. As I got close I saw the group had gathered around Tracey, my abusive ex wife, at the checkout. I understood there to be a connection between the group and her so I looked closely at the man who had been calling me names and getting aggressive. It was then that I realised it was her son, Gary.
    Gary left the checkout area and walked up to me. He was very close with his face almost pushed into mine. He said, “I’m going to kill you.” I noticed the other two youths with him also began to walk closer. At this point I realised that there may be a conflict with all of them. I said to Gary,
    “If you are going to hit me son, do it now or go away.”

    I was aware that this entire episode was probably being filmed by the stores internal security video.

    He replied again that he was going to kill me. At that point an older man appeared who I have never seen before. He walked up to Gary and said something to him. Tracy began shouting, “Leave it Gary. And, “Gary, stop it.” When I looked towards her she was smiling at me. I realised that I had been set up. I saw the older man pulling Gary away from me and towards the exit. Gary was still shouting threats. The three youths left with the older man and went outside. I picked up my shopping and said to Tracy, “It runs in the family doesn’t it, Tracy?” Meaning, abusive behaviour runs in the family. I said this because when she had abused me for 3.5 years during our relationship, her father and brother had also joined in. Now her son was following the same pattern and I knew she would understand my meaning.

    Even though this was a relatively minor incident it was the first time in 7 years that there has been any contact of any kind between myself and her family, or Tracy herself. When I reached home I decided that if her family were going to become abusive and violent again I was not going to tolerate it this time around.

    I called the police at Lewisham to report the incident. I was eventually put through to a female who did not give her name. She was very sympathetic and told me that a police officer would come and see me. I asked if I could give my statement in the car outside. She was very understanding and said it would not be a problem to do so. She explained that when the police were outside of the house they would call my house phone and I could go out to them. She gave me a crime ref number of CAD 5971.

    About 10 mins later my phone rang. It was a female. She called me Mr Rolly. I advised her of my correct name and she asked me to come into Catford police station and make a report. I said I was reluctant to do this and she said, “OK. Someone will come to see you soon.”

    About 5 mins later the phone rang again. This time it was a male officer. He gave his name as Mr Powell. He asked me to come into Catford police station on Monday and make a report in person. I asked him why no one was coming to see me, as the other lady had said that someone would be here soon. He replied, “We are too busy.”
    I then said, If I were a female someone would be here by now wouldn’t they?”
    He then said, “That kind of talk could get your report stopped.”
    I replied, “Are you telling me you will stop my report?”
    He said, “Yes. I am telling you I will stop your report.”

    He then went on to say that I should come to the station on Monday and make a complaint. Someone would then go to Taceys house and give Gary and her a “first harrassment warning.” They would be told that any further actions by them would result in arrest.
    I asked the officer what I should do if an attack came from these people at my house. He told me to dial 999.

    At this point I thought it best to tell him a little about myself. I explained about No More Silence and told him that I do many TV and radio appearances. I told him that I write articles and I often appear in the press. After telling him this his aggressive attitude changed a little and he seemed in a hurry to end the conversation.

    What worried me about the aggresive police responce was the threat to “stop the report” for complaining that I wasn’t being given the same priority that a female would get and their refusal to come and talk to me at home, as my first contact with the female officer had indicated would happen.

    For men calling the police in this area who may be feeling shattered by their abusive experiences and who may be worried about children etc, such a non-responce in both inadequate and disturbing. For someone like myself, that expects very little in the way of sympathetic action from police officers for male victims, it was not very shocking to be treated this way. However, for other members of the public, taken in as they may be by public police PR statements that they are gender neutral and always sympathetic to anyone who calls for their help, this poor responce could leave a victim feeling isolated and without help. Worse still, It could lead to severe injury or even death. I feel therefore, that these attitudes must be challenged. Any advice you could give me on the way to handle this situation and given your knowledge of police procedures would be very welcome John.

  60. I do feel for you in this situation and hope that the police respond in a more caring way another time – not just to you – but to any other victim too.

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