Friday, 9 December 2011


In the December 8 edition of The Times, page 34, Anatole Kaletsky writes:

“Germany, France, Italy and the other countries will have to merge into a single European State, from which Britain, of its own volition, is certain to be excluded.”

We were right, then, to retain the single currency and we are right, now, to have exercised our veto.

Much is being talked about us now being on the outside, not able to exert influence, that it will even adversely affect our position as a global power. No, I think not. I believe passionately in Europe. But we have demonstrated that we are still an independent people, both politically and geographically. We are a large island and group of islands comprising four nations and with an island mentality. We fare well, albeit under great hardship, when a great cause is put before us, or when our sovereignty is threatened.

Are we seeing the break up of the Euro? It is too early to tell. But here is a glimpse of a lunchtime meeting on 16 November 2004, 7 years ago, to which I had been invited when I was in the legal profession. It was a rather small group, just twelve, gathered together to hear a presentation by Professor Patrick Minford. Because our hosts were accountants and I was a probate lawyer I had niaively assumed we would be look at accounting as it affected our work on a daily basis. In fact, the twelve of us found ourselves listening very attentively to an exposition of global markets, the future of currency worldwide and, to my shock, the speaker’s quiet and categoric statement that we would in time leave Europe and before then would never enter a single currency.

It is interesting to see how things work out. And it is times like these that I am glad I retain my notes.

Lunch Presentation

100 Old Hall Street Liverpool

Tuesday 16th November 2004

I had the pleasure of representing the Partners earlier today at a luncheon on the tenth floor of Rensburg’s suite of offices overlooking the Mersey and Sea. There were twelve of us in all, and I am pleased that we were included on Renbsurg’s list as there were no other legal firms represented. I am grateful for being given the opportunity to prepare this brief.

Professor Minford provides regular reviews and audits to both public and private sector clients but perhaps more importantly to Central Government.

His review was general – aimed at an overview of financial policy, both domestic and foreign.

Salient Points

1. We have never had such a period of growth and we have been able to sustain a recession free economy now for 12 years – unprecedented in our history.
2. Behind the scenes Central Government acknowledges that it inherited a strong economy.
3. The next election will undoubtedly see the government returned but there is a strong indication that the Conservatives will recover much lost ground.
4. However, they are not going to be in a strong enough position to assume government again until probably the election after that
5. Our history shows a tendency by the population to swing the pendulum about every 12 years – and this is probably healthy because the present government will have become ‘tired’ and unable to introduce radical new policies that will capture the electorate’s imagination
6. On the international scene, China is going all out to buy US dollars to secure its own economy. By doing this, it ensures that the dollar remains high and therefore allows its own products to be sold very cheaply – and the UK is taking huge advantage of this at present.
7. We have more Chinese Students in our Universities now than at any previous time in our history.
8. On Europe, there are some rough times ahead. We joined the EEC as a manufacturing economy – the other EEC countries also being manufacturing economies. It was akin to joining a club of like-minded people where we would all feel warm together and protected.
9. Unfortunately, successive governments until Mrs Thatcher failed to spot that the EEC was changing us from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. The upshot of it can be likened to being asked to pay £1,500 per annum golf membership when you don’t play golf. For the first year you might well think it is good. But the novelty wears off when your wife asks, but what are we getting out of this?
10. The economic prediction is that the electorate will eventually realise this and be confident enough to insist on leaving the European Union and aligning itself once again with United States and the Commonwealth of Nations.
11. One should not underestimate the behind the scenes influence of the Commonwealth in international affairs – central government, including the United States, have a tacit agreement to downplay this for public relations purposes but to fully support its very influential position in world affairs.
12. The nation is once again becoming very confident and the government too is confident – and this is due largely to the success of Mr Brown. He is widely recognised as the most successful Chancellor this country has had
13. How the next government will fare will depend on the Blair-Brown factor.
14. It is difficult to gauge what a Brown Premiership would bring about but one thing is quite certain behind the scenes at Cabinet level – a deep suspicion of Europe and evidenced by the Chancellor’s very effective and confident stance over the five tests for joining the Euro currency. Only a very strong and stable government could have taken such a stance.
15. Europe is very worried about the close relationship that has once again been established between the United States and Great Britain.
16. In Liverpool we see the return of container ships and lorries – even five years ago this was not envisaged.
17. People are beginning to wake up to the fact that we ARE a manufacturing nation – but the question is whether we have the expertise to rebuild and recapture that manufacturing economy.
18. The Unions had a crippling effect on our economy in the 1960s and 1970s. This government has had no problems at all in continuing the conservative policy of keeping the unions at arms length. However, we are faced with the problem that the European Parliament will now cause unions to regain that power under the European Constitution and which will be rigorously enforced by the European Judiciary. That judiciary will be similar to the United States Judiciary, able to have considerable influence over governments and heads of government.
19. During the last decade government took the view that if enough money was thrown at a project, then a solution would be found e.g. the railways. This proved to be disastrous. When the government attempted a similar initiative with the NHS, they ran into very strong opposition across the board from a highly intelligent electorate that knew that such a policy does not work.
20. So there is a pendulum swing back to privatisation and with it the charge that New Labour is Old Conservative in disguise! Neither should it be forgotten that the first official visitor summoned to Ten Downing Street the day after the prime minister was first elected was Baroness Thatcher, which many at the time regarded as an act of betrayal. And behind the scenes she has often advised the PM at his request.
21. Pensions – this is a very volatile market. There is a feeling amongst younger people that there is no point in pension planning. Spend now and sort the mess out later. It is our responsibility to educate young people into continuing to make pension provision. Yes, we acknowledged that the pensions market is a fiasco and all predictions pf the 1970s have failed. But until we find a way of dealing with the matter efficiently, we should still plan pensions and encourage the younger generation to do so too.

End of Paper

Let us see how things continue to pan out.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Superb summary and many thanks for bringing to the public attention David Testo's testimony which I fear has gone widely unnoticed in the UK Sports Press. It highlights the up hill fight but each, Justin, Anton and David all coming out is, behind the scenes, most surely resonating with, and helping, gay professional footballers to cope; not to mention players at every level whether or not professional.

It is good too to see the old fashioned attitudes vis a vis Sepp Blatter and others being spotlighted.

To the whole Justin Team I would say this. Don't lose heart or feel you're not doing enough. You are doing an amazing work. Based in Brighton, you are reaching out globally. THIS is the way forward.

Have no fear, other players will follow in due course, and of the level of profile that will be a clarion call to all, not just in football, but throughout all sport.

I am so proud of what you are all doing guys, girls. It's a brilliant team that you have. Be strong, be resolute and know that you ARE making the lives of many much better, behind the scenes, by giving hope where previously there was hopelessness.

Ian Bradley Marshall
6 December 2011

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


It is now 66 years since the end of World War II and there comes a time to move on.

Watching the brilliant Channel 4OD Series "Apocalypse" brings home the stark fact that regardless of who or what caused World War II, every family on every continent, in every country lost loved ones.

We must never forget what has happened, for that enables us all to keep that 'check and balance' on ourselves and prevent such a war ever happening again. But let us also be truly reconciled to each other, and move on.

Let us deal with the wars, insurrections and conflicts of today and the last 15 years. Sometimes I think, 'Should I dare say this?' But in that distant corner it is as if I hear the voices of yesterday speaking quite distinctly:

"Yes. Of course you should. That is precisely what you should be thinking. Remember the past but live in the present and build the future. Then you will prevent those terrible things recurring. Live and let live. Take care of each other across boundaries, religions and political divides. Embrace and work together to the common good of humankind."

I suspect I will come in for some criticism for writing this. But it is not out of disrespect. Not a day goes by without my recalling those in my own family who made that terrible sacrifice and we still keep in mind all those on all sides who died. But neither do I forget how my parents have taught me and my sisters the importance of this principle.

This, I confess, really did come home to me this last week upon learning from a German friend that his own Grandfather had been arrested by the Gestapo and then forced into exile from Germany and into two neighbouring countries, which, given that most of Europe was occupied by the Nazis must have made life dangerous in the extreme. And it is why I am so glad that when I wrote They Came in the Night (1) on January 13 this year, it was also a fitting tribute to the many people who, behind the scenes, made up the German Resistance Movement.

In statistical analysis, it has been reported this year that in any Cause it only takes ten per cent of a vociferous group, community, or nation to somehow induce the silent ninety per cent to presume that the majority view is that of the ten per cent minority.

We see this time and again when history lets the cat out of the bag, showing rather starkly that the vociferous minority arrogantly presuming itself to be the silent majority and acting accordingly, intimidating the silent majority into presuming that it was now just a vociferous minority and had therefore better quieten down and go with the others!

What a different world we would be in if all of us had realised that a few decades ago!

Ian Bradley Marshall

(1) Meanderings published by Spiderwize ISBN 978-1-908328-31-7

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I understand Libya’s desire to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Libya. They want and need to prove their ability to exercise restraint, self-control and maturity as a fledgling democracy after 42 years of ruthless dictatorship.

Regardless of the crimes committed by Colonel Gaddafi, there was no right or justification to meet out to him the horrifying end to which he and his other son Mutassim Gaddafi were subjected.

In the western democracies it is incomprehensible to imagine the general public having the ability for a free for all at an airport to literally swamp the aircraft in which their captive is held, immediately it has landed.

No. Try as I might I cannot believe that Saif Gaddafi would not have been in grave danger had the country’s security not been able to contain the situation, a matter perhaps made slightly easier for them in achieving, knowing that the great democracies looked on and would not hesitate to express collective disapproval.

The right venue for the international charges laid before Saif Gaddafi is the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. This will not detract from Libya’s status as a young democracy.

The Libyan Government is resisting this. They have permitted an inspection by the ICC this week, and the ICC has made an earnest recommendation to be allowed to conduct proceedings in Libya.

In The Times today, 23 November, there is much speculation about the nature of the injury to Saif Gadaffi’s hand, heavily bandaged. On his capture, he was quoted by the captors as saying that the injury was from NATO bombing a month earlier. That may be so. But now we read that the injury is not necessarily consistent with bombing. Rather, the fingers appear to have been amputated. The article surmises whether Saif Gadaffi’s belligerence earlier in the year when he gesticulated repeatedly with those fingers as to what would happen to those in uprising, is nothing more than yet another example of Middle Eastern Peoples applying their own very literal and medieval form of justice.

The Guardian reported yesterday, 22 November, on a separate article about Syria, that Syrian children have been castrated, whilst others have had their fingernails removed.

All I know is this. The Middle Eastern Peoples have a very, very long way to go before they can stand alongside the great democracies on the matter of not applying “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, which to apply literally in this 21st Century is an abhorrence.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Life on the Wirral Peninsula! That little principality on the north west coast of Britain over the water from Liverpool, surrounded on three sides by water, and leaving the occupants with the idea, proudly, that whilst they are “in England they are not part of England”.

Liverpool and the Wirral are famous and infamous and this week we are fully in the latter with the pilot project centred upon a Primary School on the Wirral.

Six drivers caught for speeding outside the school by the police were given an option. Rather than receive fixed penalties and licence points, they could instead accept “appearing” before a “children’s court” comprising four 10-11 year olds selected by the head teacher.

It is wrong! And I will say it again. It is absolutely wrong! No matter how desperate the head teacher is in alerting an apathetic community to heed the warnings of the dangers of speeding outside the school.

It is sending out the wrong signal to these children – who, Liam Murphy reports in the Liverpool Daily Post today, 16 November, extraordinarily managed to reduce one driver to near tears. Reading that, as a former primary school governor, caused me to entertain but one thought – unless the head teacher could adequately explain himself he would not remain in his post for much longer.

What are these 10-11 year olds going to be like at 15? How will they react to adult correction at, say, university or in apprenticeship?

It reminds me of the terrifying Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and vividly portrayed in the film The Killing Fields 1984 and which I suspect the head teacher, council road safety officer or the local councillor will know little of. But I lived through that time and watched the news each evening as the ‘killing fields’ unfolded. We did not believe the reports of ‘children’s courts’. This was where adults would be lined up each dawn, usually bound and kneeling, and then children aged 10-11 would systematically single out those to be beaten, those to be tortured, those to work and those to be executed. All part of the state’s anarchical return to ‘Year Zero’. Often, the adults were the parents or aunts and uncles or grandparents. It mattered not in Year Zero.

Yes, a very harsh comparison. But when we saw this scenario re-enacted in the film in 1984 it sent a chill through millions but which we all quickly dismissed with the comforting antidote, it would never happen here.

I fully understand the head teacher’s concerns about speeding and the danger of injury or even killing a pupil outside school. As a former police officer I know too well the horror of attending the scene of a fatal road traffic accident. As a retired probate lawyer I know too well the trauma to the family of administering an estate following a fatal RTA, more so an estate of a minor.

But he is wrong, absolutely wrong, to apply this as a way to tackle speeding. So too is Wirral Council. Oh, sorry. I mean Wirral Council Cabinet. Are we really to believe that this new concept of council cabinet carries the same gravitas, the same respect as that of ‘The Cabinet” in 10 Downing Street?

The road safety officer for Wirral Council reports that the scheme has proven successful and they hope to repeat it each year at different schools.

These three people have done this country an enormous amount of damage in the long term by ‘empowering’ eight 10-11 year olds with this misguided concept of acting as judge and jury over adults. Where a child can subject an adult to near tears, a very dangerous precedent has been set. I hope the head teacher will not take offence when he finds that these same jurors decide to ignore his role as head teacher when he has to bring them back into line when, as mere kids, they go temporarily off the rails!

At the very least this is a stupid exercise. Law enforcement lies with the police, not with misguided head teachers and town councillors. And where is the Chief Constable in all this? What is he and his chief officers playing at?

When you reverse the status quo you are heading for potential disaster. When you put children in charge of adults, you head for catastrophe. Today, increasingly, children question why they should not call their parents by their first name when their friends are permitted to do so. I just wonder what the mindset is now of those eight children that acted as so-called ‘jurors’. I wonder even more on the mindset of three misguided, ,albeit, very well-intentioned adults.

This, reader, is the flip side of my earlier dispatch, ‘Our Young People – Our Future’, and had I been told on 4 November that within 12 days I would be writing this article, I would have replied, “Don’t be so stupid. Get a grip. This is the UK.”

Ian Bradley Marshall

Thursday, 10 November 2011


The current political scene shows an alarming development. Create disharmony, spread malicious gossip, i.e. lies and distorted truth, and have two aims - bring down the government by concentrating on taking as many scalps as possible. Force resignations and with complete contempt for public conscience, play on that conscience to stoke up the fires and have another soap opera scene.

Politics has always been a very dirty business. Today it is downright foul.

A month ago the BBC aired a series about the private offices of Whitehall. It was interesting and I was amused to hear politicians bowled over by the loyalty and support they receive from their private office staffs. Yet where do all these leaked ministerial emails and memos come from? The secretary of state or minister under siege?

In Liverpool we had the spectacle of the Shadow Home Secretary giving her, so say, career raising speech to the party faithful. Watching it was like attending some prize-giving at the school's final year when "Miss Moneymarple", the class brat, gets up to give her speech beyond her years. At 17-18 yes it would be. It remains so despite Miss Moneymarple now being the shadow home secretary. Miss Moneymarple was still at her school prize-giving. As a retired police officer, her wooing of the police moved me not in the slightest. I do not like being patronised. None of us do.

And of course, reading today's i (8 November 2011) report by Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor, I see the Unions are at their worst again, concentrating not on furthering the interests of their members but intent on undermining central government.

Another Labour MP, on live interview today, showed clearly his one objective - to force the resignation of the Home Secretary. And how do we know this? Because the BBC newscaster dared to ask him that very question, a question he did not expect judging by the flicker of surprise on his face, but which, to his credit he at least did not deny.

No. Politics is a very dirty business. It is easy to wax lyrical about freedom and democracy but look closely at the politicians at all levels and it is not such a pleasant sight. But better this than a one party state or dictatorship.

Ian Bradley Marshall
8 November 2011

Friday, 4 November 2011


My generation and the senior generation can sometimes feel that everything is falling apart, and we have a real fear for the future. But that happens in every generation.

Young people have tremendous resilience and an excitement and thirst for life that we too experience. We must remember that they are demonstrating their capabilities no less than we did at the same age, and our parents before us, and our grandparents before them.

The media tends to concentrate on negative aspects of national and international life and, with social media enabling us to communicate in a way that even fifteen years ago was incomprehensible to most of us, it seems that the very fabric of society is falling apart.

Not so.

Go into any town or city and just look at the number of young people who are working in all of our stores, retail outlets and technological centres. Listen in to just some of the vibrant conversations amongst our students, the level at which they are speaking, the passion about matters confronting all of us, and the way in which they work to, what a few years ago we called, the common good. It sounds old-fashioned today, but it still underpins society, and is still very much part of young people's thinking and motivations.

And not just in our towns, cities and villages. It is our young people who are bearing the brunt of a vicious war and, bluntly, making that ultimate sacrifice, and they are representative of our young people generally who, if the occasion arose, would be just as resilient and ready to do the same.

We saw this in August. Let us not forget that the majority of people who responded to the riots by turning out all hours of the night and day to immediately clean up the mess, even as the riots were taking place, were not so much my generation, but the young generation. It is they who, by their very presence, spoke with one very defiant voice to the rioters and made it clear that their rioting was not going to be tolerated. I saw this for myself here in Liverpool and, as I've previously written on.

It's a pretty ambitious thing to say, but we probably live in the most exciting and far-reaching century in humankind's history. Tremendous demands are being placed upon us, and our young people are, as always, right there, in the vanguard. Sure, they wind us up, and cause a headache; sure, we lie there at night only half asleep because we're waiting to hear the door click, announcing their safe return home, albeit sometime a bit noisy, missing the last step on the stairs or just deciding they'll bed down in the hall by the upturned umbrella stand! But come on, we've all been there and done that when we were that age. Well I know I did!

In fact, living at home then, I remember returning home one night after 2am and really getting a severe ticking off from Dad (a police officer) about being out so late, irresponsibly leaving my car door wide open and even worse, the front door while I decided, on a whim, to go and post a letter (as you do!), and rather lamely replying, "But Dad! I'm sober and I'm a constable!" But Dad's Dad! And it wouldn't have made any difference had I even been the chief constable, not that that is possible at the tender age of 23! Many times do we all laugh on that little family story. And to this day Dad still touches the rudder occasionally, and quite honestly I love it!

Watch young people work together. See how they interact. See how they project all the good and great things you've taught them and which, for some reason, they annoyingly decide not to demonstrate at home, but which, amazingly, they lean heavily upon at work.

You see this none more so in the Apple Store Liverpool One. Being used to police and RAF command operations or control rooms, there is an exciting buzz in such places, so I sense this same buzz every time I go into the Apple Store. And I know that this is equally so in all the other stores that makes up Apple's front of house image.

Watch the interaction between the team of blue shirts and the occasional black business shirt as they work on literally hundreds of complex enquiries, many of them unscheduled footfall visits, an hour. See the manner in which they deal with every visitor. Watch the excitement with which they approach their work, the pride they have in their product, and the confidence they have in demonstrating to older people just what it is that we now have in the way of technology.

See how one person in one hour can be tasked to deal with up to half a dozen complex problems with technology, of which they have no prior warning, so must immediately analyse and throw that lifeline of reassurance to an often stressed-out customer who fears the loss of all their work. Listen to the very complex and searching questions that each member of the Apple Team has to field and answer correctly.

Note the calmness, the diplomacy, the quiet efficiency, and the friendliness. This doesn't just happen. It is taught and nurtured by managers who are bringing their teams together, orchestrating individual strengths. Talking of which, remember, that without exception, we all have weaknesses. But our strengths will always eventually outweigh our weaknesses.

Realise that here is the UK's future.

Without realising it, we ask much of our young people and give them a hard time.

Never begrudge a young person asking a question about something that, to us, is obvious. Be happy that you have exuded an air that gives them the confidence to ask that question at all. Don't belittle them. And when peers decide to do just that, quietly override, signal in some way that your confidence in their work, in their ability, in their standing, remains undiminished.

Every young person is priceless to family and to society. Each person is unique and has a definite contribution that she, he or they will make to the benefit of us all. These young people have undergone apprenticeships, degrees, masters and PhDs. Remember this the next time we're at the supermarket till point.

The Apple Store is becoming an essential meeting point throughout the UK as Apple Products become more popular with all of us. And don't be frightened at being taught something new by young people. All of us have something to contribute. I was talking to someone yesterday who spoke about the Vietnam War. It caused me to shift my focus from my area of thinking, namely, the excellent teaching I received at school on the Second World War, to a war we all followed daily as it became ever more violent in the 1960s. Here was a young man with a more up-to-date perspective of modern warfare.

That too served to touch the rudder.

To the managers at Apple Liverpool One, the Genius Team, the Customer Services Team, the Business Team, the Technical Support Team (the back room boys and girls), the administrators, I say thank you for all the work you are doing for us here in Liverpool and, indirectly, for the UK. I can assure you that many, many people are very proud of your achievements. You are a beacon light, and, a delight to the City Fathers.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Saturday, 29 October 2011


Written 26 October 2011

The last time the great doors of St Paul's Cathedral closed, reluctantly, was at the height of the London Blitz.

To younger less informed readers the London Blitz was the terror bombing and attempted destruction of the Capital, and with it, the will of the People; to us up here in Liverpool, a much bigger version of the eight day Liverpool Blitz in May 1941 which had the same failed intent.

Some may ask the reason for the last paragraph. Good question. In town the other day several young people thought it was the name of a bar of chocolate - and attempting to describe reality was even more frustrating, mainly because of the yawning indifference and boredom in reply.

So to any teachers reading this: note well. Regardless of what subject you primarily teach, each and every teacher has a duty to underpin all teaching with the lessons of history.

Ironically, I bet the response would have been different again had the kids been told the Blitz was a new and exciting computer wargame. Ermmm. Maybe I should create that and make a lot of dosh in the process. But I won't!

So, the great doors remain closed. Services are held in private with no congregation. By day the comfortable dysfunctional middle classes encamp about St Paul's, talk of the evil of capitalism, the need for its overthrow, the demands for sacrifice - camping out on the freezing streets of London.

Laudable. Except that these dysfunctional people, these irritants, these malcontents, promptly return home to baths, showers, hot meals and beds and the chance to make up flasks and packed lunches for the next great strike against evil. Oh, and jobs. Oh, and spouses, partners and young families, the school run tomorrow.

To every man and woman is the right to protest, and I guard that right jealously. But with it comes the need for common sense and consideration for others.

Have I made a valid protest? Yes.

Have I achieved my aim? Actually, yes. I've inconvenienced the establishment (of which secretly I'm quite happy to be a part) and made the authorities consider my point of view.

Am I right to continue? No.

Am I right to inconvenience everyone else? No.

Am I being selfish? Yes.

Am I falling into that most dangerous trap of all - hypocrisy and double standards? Most definitely.

So, go home, get on with your work and work for the good of everyone. We are not interested in your airy-fairy pontifications. We've listened. We've taken note. Now let London, our Capital return to normal. Or as we up here in Liverpool would say:

On yer bike, beat it, tent n all!

Or, as the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, puts it rather more eloquently:

"The time has come for the protesters to leave, before the camp's presence threatens to eclipse entirely the issues that it was set up to address."

Ian Bradley Marshall
26 October 2011


written 22 October 2011

Something very dark and sinister is in our Island as one listens with increasing alarm at the plaudits and open demands for independence by Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond. Such plaudits interest me not. What concerns me is the raptorous applause of his audience, albeit the party faithful and not necessarily representative of the Scottish People, the British People.

I like to be optimistic. But on this subject that is not easy. I do not trust or respect a man or a people that hangs upon his every word as if he's some modern messiah. What we are witnessing today is the first crack in the Nation's Act of Union of 1701. Are we any different to former Yugoslavia? Of course we are not. Look at how we killed and bludgeoned each other before the Act of Union. Look at our history of civil wars and insurrection. Look at the cruelty inflicted upon each other both sides of the border, long before Mel Gibson's noble attempt to rewrite Scottish and English history!

No! These are very dangerous times. It angers me greatly that politicians can sway communities and nations within the UK to desire their own prime ministers, foreign secretaries, defence secretaries, their own armies and so on. It is pathetic. But Mr Salmond has much to answer for if he brings about the collapse of the UK. Perhaps he would have been more suited to living 300 years ago than in this 21st Century.

Ian Bradley Marshall
22 October 2011


26th October 2011

What does one say? Nothing? No. We stand with the Libyan People, a burgeoning democracy still undergoing a traumatic birth. But as truly established flourishing democracies we have the right to advise and warn.

I imagine the vast majority of Libyans will today be revolted by the way in which their deposed leader was dealt with in his last minutes.

I was born in 1953, 8 years after the end of the Second World War. And my first 10 years were dominated by the aftermath of war. I played on bomb sites and presumed everyone did. I watched all the TV newsreels, very often in a state of fear, even once or twice, abject horror. No. Actually, quite a few times. The catalogue of cruelty by people on each other was never-ending. To this day I recall the sense of physical shock. The numbness. I'd watched Benito Mussolini in his rise to power, his bellicose speeches, pompous raising of the sword seated on a horse. I watched his defeats. But nothing prepared me for the newsreel of seeing the dead bodies of him and his mistress hanging from lamp posts by their feet. At least they were dead.

The Libyan People must embrace freedom and democracy and not taint it with their own peculiar version. Either one has a democracy or an autocracy. There can be no mix. Attempt to go down that path and the Great Democracies will simply say, "we want no part of this".

The NTC must show its commitment; its resolve; its determination. Start by bringing to justice those who have inflicted these barbarities on Gadaffi and his son Mutassam Gadaffi.

Until they do, they cannot expect to sit easily, and with that sense of welcome, at any international conference table.

Ian Bradley Marshall

26 October 2011


21 October 2011

He called himself 'the king of kings'. It reminds me of that scripture when another self-styled king of kings loftily stood before Him and proclaimed "I will be like the Most High. Indeed, I will ascend the very stars of heaven".

And then a brief report in another scripture several millennia later - "I saw satan fall from heaven to earth in a lightning flash". One goes goose-pimply at the realisation that the report of this is an eye-witness account. That character was given due notice that at the appointed time his end would come. Not good for him. A triumph for humankind.

And so to the 21st Century and the 21st day of October. A chilling reminder of summary justice.

As a former police officer, summary justice brings to mind the air-conditioned but slightly oppressive rooms of our magistrates courts - the modern seat of justice. None of us likes a literal example of summary justice. We grow uneasy when we read literal accounts in the history books. But in less tolerant regimes throwing off the yoke of despotism, of evil rule, that is what we get.

Let us not rejoice in the manner of a man's passing, even though we rightly rejoice in his regime's end. In retrospect I wrote rather niaively in August 2011:

Conversely, there should be no negotiation at all about bringing Gadaffi before the International Criminal Court. He must be tried for crimes against humanity, and I suspect he will receive a far fairer trial than any he would give to any who opposed him during his tyranny. But as with all despots, his days are numbered. For his own sake, I pray that when he is found, that the international media are also present, as well as observers, to safeguard him.

There must be no room for summary justice. An emerging democratic people must remember this, for in so doing, they will earn the respect and admiration of all peace loving people, and that in turn will lead to greater immediate aid being given to the Libyan People.

Alas, this did not play out and we, the human race, showed just how cruel and vengeful we are in the moment's heat.

Nevertheless, we must not look upon this terrifying spectacle through the ease and comfort of our western eyes where democracy is taken for granted and we put up with a sea of tents around St Paul's Cathedral, a bunch of malcontents, endeavouring to create an "arab spring" against capitalism here.

We must remember that the Libyan People have been ruled and subjected to brutal terror for 42 years. Most people can remember no other way of life.

In the Middle East there is a different, more literal and generally very cruel interpretation of what we proudly call the Rule of Law. And it is intolerant, literal and violent.

Ours used to be but, thankfully, our own democracy has slowly evolved. And this gives a glint of hope that in the Middle East too this will one day be the case; but many, many years, even several centuries must pass before that is fact being lived out. Regardless of our own views, theism or atheism, it is not a bad thing to live to one principle - "vengeance is Mine, says the LORD, I will repay."

In other words, whether one believes or not, don't take justice into your own hands. Leave that to Me. I guarantee in due time this person will be judged and I will deal with the matter accordingly.

Ian Bradley Marshall
21 October 2011

Monday, 10 October 2011


In the world of business there is a seismic shift brought about by the Legal Services Act that came into force last week.

The new alternative business structures (ABS) introduced by this Act will enable non-lawyers to own or part-own law firms. An inbuilt safeguard requires that these ABS must still employ lawyers to practise reserved and regulated activities. This is an important distinction, for it means that a non-lawyer who wishes to open a firm and provide, for example, conveyancing, litigation and probate services, still requires a solicitor to be employed to undertake this highly specialised work. Not to do so would be a disaster for consumers!

Remember the thousands of opticians up and down the country, on every high street? That was only a decade ago. Today, the result of deregulation is that we go to Boots, Vision Express or Specsavers for our glasses or to the local newsagent to buy non prescription glasses for £1.99. Certainly that's the cost here in Waterloo, Liverpool. Rather different from the £199 we used to pay. And can I see adequately? Yes. And if I break my glasses? No problem. I can simply buy a replacement pair for less than an Americano coffee in Cafe Nero.

When I did have prescription glasses and broke them, the hassle that followed in trying to repair them, to make an insurance claim that sidestepped the insurance company's many exceptions to valid cover, wore me down.

When the Legal Services Act received Royal Assent, the writing was on the wall. It was not nice to read. Many firms will go to the wall, some have already, and many sole practitioners will call it a day, or hastily regroup together. Some succeed, some fail.

But why this change?

The demand of the consumer is paramount. For too long consumers (all of us) have been at the mercy of various industries and commerce that seek to make money - no bad thing - but which is not then ploughed back into the business, and thereby the community, to indirectly benefit the consumer.

I always smile at business conventions and seminars at the size of the waist lines of the many and varied successful entrepreneurs gathered. It is a smile vaguely contemptuous.

I suspect there is quite a storm approaching. And the legal profession did itself no favours with its own last week when, in a onesided article by Russ Thorne in the Independent on Monday 3 October 2011, the reader could be forgiven for believing that the term 'lawyer' still only means barristers and solicitors. For over twenty years it has also officially referred to Fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives.

And not to put too fine a point on it to those dinosaurs who insist that Fellows are clerks, look at the Judiciary and see the number of Fellows sitting now as Magistrates or who are being appointed to the bench as either district judges or high court judges. When I joined the legal profession in 1981 that was unimaginable.

Times are changing, and for the better. Whether traditionalists like it or not, the day of the Co-op Will and the Co-op conveyancing and similar legal services is upon us. And if it brings greater wealth and national prosperity to all of us, as well as easier access to legal services, then let us ring in the changes with vigour.

Ian Bradley Marshall


It is a very great shame that after all the hype, PR and financial investment poured into the England Rugby Team over the last few months, that our performance was nothing less than shameful.

And I do not hold the players to account. Individually we saw massive commitment and devotion. Sure, lessons are to be learned by each and every player. But that is the norm.

No. The fault is in the leadership, or more accurately, the lack of leadership.

Martin Johnson was a brilliant player and will always be remembered so. But as a manager it requires a different kind of leadership. He will always be respected as a former player and captain.

But the art of winning lies in perception, foresight, planning and ruthless implementation of individual and team spirit. It is time for Johnson to hand in the towel and with him his entire coaching team. Start afresh.

We need leadership of Churchillian proportions. We have the players - outstanding - every one of them. But the business of management off the field and captaincy on the field is a team effort that requires very strong interpersonal relationship. It is not right that Tindall should leave Johnson to just get on with the job, and thereby, for Johnson, inadvertently creating an autocratic style of leadership that fails to take advice. And that is not Johnson's fault. That lies firmly at the door of Tindall and his colleagues who just presumed that a former captain could take them to glory.

And whose decision was it to take on the new team colour? If ever there was an affront to the "All Blacks" then surely, we affronted them and New Zealand. That was a very bad decision.

Martin Johnson opined that he has no massive regrets, nothing jumps out at him and says that may be we should have done things differently. Ummmm.

That is not what one wishes to hear of one's trainee officers at Sandhurst, Dartmouth and Cranwell. An inability, after defeat, to see where the mistakes were made and then to see how not to make the same mistakes again, is crucial on the battlefield. It is no less so on the sports field.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Saturday, 24 September 2011


This week the President of Iran made a great public show of bringing about the release of two Americans, Shane Bauer (29) and Josh Fattal (29) who have been held in single cell custody for the past 26 months, but not of course before securing bailment of $1 million (£644,000).

This was meant to coincide with the Iranian President's speech to the UN General Assembly where, as is his practice, he castigates the West and seeks to belittle all who oppose Iran, but usually singling out the USA and the UK.

For a few moments, one is left to consider the possibility that this people is perhaps trying to come to terms with living in the 21st Century - a task rendered almost impossible by its insistence that its religious creeds must be read and acted upon in exactly the manner in which they were written and laid down 1,500 years ago. To them this is the 'will of Allah' and they cannot comprehend that western civilisation sees this as utterly barbaric and repugnant, and most definitely an affront to the current Arab Spring.

Strong words?

Yes, but deliberately chosen.

In this same week we read the international reports of the public execution of a 17 year old boy, Alizeera Molla-Soltani, for the murder in July of Ruhollah Darlashi, an athlete and who, "The Times" of London reports in an article by Martin Fletcher on Thursday 22 September 2011 as "Iran's strongest man."

We read that Alizeera Molla-Soltani was hanged before dawn in front of a crowd of thousands, in the town of Karaj, a few miles from Tehran. Martin Fletcher writes that eye witnesses reported that this boy was crying aloud, calling for his mother and begging for forgiveness before being hoisted by a crane by means of a noose around his neck. As can be expected with this benighted country, some in the crowd cursed him, while others chanted Allahu akbar [God is greatest].

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has denounced this execution, in the words of the FCO Minister Mr Alistair Burt, as "inhumane' and 'abhorrent'. I would have said it was inhuman. Mr Burt commented that death by suspension strangulation was a punishment with no place in [this] modern world.

That, I think, is putting it mildly.

I meet Iranians here. They are pleased to be living in the UK. It is why they are living here. Others worryingly surmise that such methods should be adopted here. Thankfully, the one or two who say such things are too few to warrant serious consideration, though that does not stop me from giving them some good old-fashioned advice.

Let us be in no doubt that Iran remains a very serious threat to global peace, as too does Syria.

Whether or not this young man committed murder or was, as has been suggested by some, acting only in self-defence and happened to get the better of a popular public figure is irrelevant. Simply put, you do NOT execute people who have not even attained the age of 18. Neither do you use different calendars, in this case the lunar calendar, to overcome that problem. In short, you do not execute people.

A society that goes about justice in the barbaric manner that we have seen this week is unfit to occupy a place at the UN General Assembly. It is a pariah state. It is putting into effect methods of killing that the Nazis used; but of course its president denies that there ever was a Holocaust.

No. Any nation that allows itself to be ruled and dictated by religious leaders of whatever religion is a nation that is unfit for involvement in international affairs, international trade and international assistance.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Friday, 23 September 2011


Earlier this week, it was reported that The Royal British Legion was being forced to agree not to attend certain areas and main street shops because members of those particular communities found the concept of our national Poppy Appeal not in accord with their own stated beliefs and outlook on life.

No part of the British Isles, and certainly no part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, should be a 'no go area' for the Nations' Poppy Appeal. Whether we recognise it or not, we are fighting a vicious, lethal and ruthless war against terrorism. All of our Armed Forces are engaged in this war. We, at home, in the safety of these islands, have little comprehension of what active service means. Military families know only too well what this means. And they demonstrate every day a resolve and stoicism that is the embodiment of the British People. We are a peace-loving people, and with a remarkable ability to help less fortunate communities in far off lands, whether in the Middle East or in Eastern Europe, to build up their own democratic freedoms but that dovetail with their own, not our, culture. That last point is vitally important to understand, and indeed has been highlighted by the Prime Minister over the last two days, both in Mr Cameron's Inaugural Address to the United Nations General Assembly and also to the Canadian Parliament.

The National Poppy Appeal is one of the most important charity events of the year. And it always will take precedence whilst we remain a Nation at war (and I refer here to the Nation in the singular i.e. the United Kingdom); and when the Nation is at peace, the National Poppy Appeal moves back but one pace to second position, never further than that, because we remain indebted to our armed forces all our lives. And this indebtedness is reflected through the way in which we care, as a people, for those who have lost limbs or suffered other wounds which totally change their lives, but also for the families of the Fallen.

Silly people will poppy around with silly ideas. They will look at the situation in the heat of the moment, make a judgment and take a course of action that, if they had but paid a little attention to history, had been a little more investigative, a little more searching in their reasons for making that judgment, they would have come to a different conclusion.

In my last article I came down very heavily upon the Military in respect of the use of torture. I reported the shame I felt that I had held the Queen's Commission. As I carried on through the week it quickly became apparent that it was not right to apply that shame across the board, across all of our armed forces, because the criminal behaviour of a small group of soldiers did not accurately reflect our Services.

The National Poppy Appeal must be allowed to go unhindered. If you happen to be sympathetic with the causes of the Taliban, then bluntly, the UK is not the place where you should expect to live. If you are angered, and rightly so, by those few soldiers who participated in torture, then make your representations, but do not attack all the servicemen and women who collectively have guaranteed our freedom here since World War One.

If you are one of the politicians who has decided to support a poppy appeal no go area, then I respectfully ask that you re-examine the facts, keep your own thoughts to yourselves and apply the lessons of history.

And if you are still not sure, then get on the Internet, look at the programmes by the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Channel 4 etc about the incredible bravery of those soldiers who have lost limbs. Be inspired by them. And let your children see them.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Thursday, 8 September 2011


Followers will be well aware of my unstinting pride in our Armed Forces. In my forthcoming book, "Meanderings", out this month, one of the anchor points is the opening piece - "Helmand".

In my last dispatch I wrote of the difficulties our troops face as they try to return to Civvy Street, especially when that comes about through defence cuts and forced redundancy.

I held the Queen's Commission, and my military service is one of the most prized parts of my life. This morning's judgment in the Iraq Inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa and conditions and treatment of those who were held in captivity with him, is an indictment upon our Armed Forces.

I grew up in the long shadow of the Second World War where, as each year unfolded, more evidence of horrendous atrocities by evil regimes around the world (the Axis Powers) was released and leaving us all feeling that we had been absolutely right in fighting that war and being uncompromising in making it clear that surrender was without negotiation. It was unconditional surrrender of those powers on all fronts and in both military and civil life, or otherwise face annihilation. I well recall reading Field Marshal Montgomery's uncompromising response to the Germans when they attempted to negotiate terms.

70 years on I now read and see first hand evidence of atrocities inflicted upon hooded and hand-cuffed prisoners by young soldiers, those set to guard their captors and charged to keep them in safe custody.

It is simply unacceptable, and youthful age is no excuse. These soldiers must be brought to justice. But it does not stop there. It is clear that there has been a major breakdown in service discipline by the Officers and NCOs who have an absolute duty to ensure the safety of those held in safe custody.

It is totally unacceptable to use physical force to exact information.

These officers and NCOs too must be brought to justice. Let them feel the full weight of the law, not the protective law of the Courts Martial, but the full weight of the civil law, the awareness that the population is taking matters to the highest degree - bringing these people to trial before the Crown Court.

Today, I am thoroughly ashamed that I held the Queen's Commission and that I have been granted a courtesy rank in retirement.

It is now for Parliament and High Command to take action.

There is one comforting thought. In our democracy, the military, regardless of rank and status, answer directly to Her Majesty the Queen, through Parliament. It is Parliament that has the final say in constitutional and military matters.

The Chiefs of Staff of all three Services must now take the most robust action to restore the Nations' confidence in our Armed Forces, send a message to those on the front line to maintain the highest democratic standards, and to understand that most important legal principle of our judicial system, the anchor point if you will, of which we were reminded by the Late Lord Denning 30 years ago when he quoted Thomas Fuller's ruling in 1733:

"Be you ever so high, the law is always above you."

Ian Bradley Marshall

Friday, 2 September 2011


This week has seen the deaths of two more soldiers in Afghanistan.

This week has seen the Union Flag lowered for the last time over the soon to be Royal Town of Wootton Bassett and handed to Royal Air Force Brize Norton which has once again become fully operational and will receive the repatriation of the Fallen.

This week has also seen yet another tranche of defence cuts with 2,000 RAF and Army personnel losing their jobs and, bluntly, their careers. All of us I think understand that the defence deficit inherited from the last Administration is unsustainable. It has to be dealt with and that means reducing our armed forces to the smallest it has been in living history.

Wars and insurrections will continue, and the UK will be expected to make its full contribution to helping the trouble spots of the world to be returned to peace, good order and, above all, freedom. Some of those trouble spots have not experienced the freedoms we enjoy, in several hundred years. So it will be tough, and the brunt will be taken by the dedicated men and women of all our Armed Forces on Sea, Land and Air.

It is widely presumed that because our forces are so highly trained, then the defence cuts will not really greatly impinge upon them. They will return to civilian life and be immediately welcomed with open arms by employers desperate to take on people with such high levels of dedication, motivation, discipline and expertise.

Sadly that is not the case.

Leaving the Services, especially when it was not even envisaged, comes as a huge shock to the system and it often brings with it the break up of the family unit, broken marriages, broken homes and single parent children who suddenly wonder why it is that the protection they naturally felt when 'dad was in the army' has suddenly stopped, and why 'I can only see dad now every other weekend', and 'I only know that when dad lost his job in the air force, he and mum stopped talking and instead started fighting.'

I do not exaggerate.

I remember too in the legal profession 12 years ago being taken aside by a bumptious partner to be told that my method of management was upsetting the department. He explained in a very pious, priestly way that "here we are all one happy family and we like to work together." This solicitor was well into political correctness - big time! I understood but argued that I am working with my department. We were a team. But I didn't suffer fools gladly, especially secretaries who were taking their employers for a ride.

What made me laugh was that the very principles he told me to not apply, he applied himself.

Civvy Street is naturally suspicious of people who have served in the armed forces. It is now 66 years since the end of the Second World War, and as a Nation we are no longer used to military service. As a civil population we have had 66 years of peace within these islands, excepting of course the Troubles in Northern Ireland and most recently the Riots in England.

I do not like listening to a report, last evening on the main BBC news, that an RAF officer, having learned yesterday that he was being made redundant, had to be taken from his office because he was in a state of shock and could not be left alone, for fear that he might try and harm himself.

In the same week we demand that our armed forces give exemplary duty on the battlefield. Reader, they are!

We must help them to acclimatise to Civvy Street again. And it's tough.

In Civvy Street the camaderie and team spirit of the company, platoon, squadron, deck or ship's company is frankly non-existent.

In Civvy Street it is more like the scrap on the international trading floors of self-seeking investment bankers and traders who think only of number one.

In the armed forces you are taught not to think of number one but of everyone of whom you have now become an inextricable part. You think of everyone else around you. Then and only then do you think of yourself. And if you are an officer then you darned well set the highest example and lead from the front, never asking those within your command to do that which you wouldn’t hesitate to do yourself.

And we see that constantly in the reports and dispatches from the front line; from the reports written by the officers, NCOs, colleagues and friends following the death of a colleague in their Unit.

We are a great Nation and a great people. But let us not forget the demands we make of our armed forces, nor mistreat them when they try to return to civvy street. For in civvy street we are a very poor substitute for how a community should live, work and play together, something that our armed forces know and value only too well.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Here, it is August Bank Holiday and there is revelry and happiness in the streets all across Britain, with the beauty of the Notting Hill Carnival and the air of multi-culturalism throughout the land. This is how it should be. Inclusive of all peoples, races, genders and persuasions.

We have a newfound confidence too, in dealing with corruption and down facing those who would seek to exploit and to blackmail. As a democratic people we are going about that in an orderly, albeit sometimes, hazardous fashion, but hey ho, we get there in the end.

In Libya, as I have said so many times in these dispatches, the democratic freedoms that we take for granted, others have paid the highest price - their lives.

As the BBC goes about its business reporting to us all just what is going on in Tripoli and Libya generally, the terrifying reality of mass executions, of people being gunned down where they stand, of up to 50,000 prisoners unaccounted for, and the realisation that a tyrant who gave himself an army rank, not only used his country's wealth to build himself palaces, but more ominously underground tunnels and compounds and prisons.

The problem, one of many, that the new Libyan Government faces is pinpointing these underground sites. Furthermore, in time to prevent those incarcerated also losing their lives.

There is much pressure upon the new government to deal with 'unfinished business' in the form of the Lockerbie Bombing. Let us ease up on this. Neither the US or UK Governments are requesting the return of the convicted terrorist. He was lawfully tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Scottish Parliament exercised its humanitarian powers and allowed the man to return to Libya. That is that. That he is still alive 2 years after he had been expected to live for only 3 months is neither here nor there. The requests or demands for his return and retrial come from organisations, not governments. And the Libyan Government should not have to worry about being pressured on this.

Conversely, there should be no negotiation at all about bringing Gadaffi before the International Criminal Court. He must be tried for crimes against humanity, and I suspect he will receive a far fairer trial than any he would give to any who opposed him during his tyranny. But as with all despots, his days are numbered. For his own sake, I pray that when he is found, that the international media are also present, as well as observers, to safeguard him.

There must be no room for summary justice. An emerging democratic people must remember this, for in so doing, they will earn the respect and admiration of all peace loving people, and that in turn will lead to greater immediate aid being given to the Libyan People.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Monday, 22 August 2011


As I write this, the Prime Minister has just made a statement from outside Number Ten, and all of us can clearly see that the Gadaffi Regime swiftly but violently comes to an end.

For me, the important and crucial part of the PM's statement was his expression of gratitude to the British Military. Our Armed Forces and supporting services have excelled themselves, and continue to do so in spite of defence cuts that put ever greater stresses and strains upon them to still perform at their best and more.

Let us never overlook the vital role that our Armed Forces carry out in maintaining peace and good order and facing down tyranny in any part of the world in which it rears its ugly head.

Let us also pray that Colonel Gadaffi, even at this eleventh hour, when his remaining sons have now been placed under arrest, will step down and relinquish what remaining presidential powers he has.

People have a right to live in peace and harmony. They have the right to live their lives openly. These factors are taken for granted in the West because we have had them for so long. But history recalls that these freedoms came at a great price.

It is for the peace loving nations of the world always to step forward in support of those nations yearning for peace and openness under dictatorships. It is an international duty that is enshrined within the Constitution of the United Nations and the whole purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Let us now do all we can to assist the Libyan People.

And as the Prime Minister emphasised, let us recall the incredible bravery of our pilots, air staff and ground crews - in short, the Royal Air Force.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Friday, 12 August 2011


As a retired police officer I sometimes find it difficult to understand the problems that the police have today in enforcing law and order, and in particular public order.

I talk to police officers on the streets and realise only too quickly that an era separates us. Most of them were not even born when I policed the streets, walked the beat, and occasionally became involved in very ugly demonstrations in the 1970s and very early 80s.

We were of course at an advantage. Technology was on our side. We had the radios. At the most, an organiser of a riot might have a telephone line, but more often it was just word of mouth.

The blunt events of the last week have shown the whole Nation, and by this I mean the United Kingdom, and also shown the world that social networking, media, blackberry messenger and so on, have all put the police on to the back foot. In my day, technology put us as a police force many steps ahead of criminals and rioters.

Today, there is nothing more sickening than watching media reports, a bunch of hooligans and also 'not so hooligans' standing behind the commentator, phones to ears, laughing and giggling as the voice on the other end tells them to move to the left or right a bit to get their pathetic mugs on camera. These are mindless people at each end of the line and, in extreme moments, one can feel that they are the face of future Britain - Britain in the making.

Not so.

All of us have on our minds particular images that will stay with us forever. Some of them we would rather not have. But others show a rather different Britain.

Being on the front line, as a police officer, as a firefighter, as a paramedic, is terrifying. The adrenaline rushes, the stomach churns, and there is no joy when the Inspector gives the order to his constables to charge. There is fear. And there is fear too at the thought of an army of lawyers, rubbing hands at the thought that there will be human rights abuse and a lot of dosh from the public purse; the possibility of being charged with serious criminal offences, of being brought to trial even; or if not that, then internally being reprimanded and seeing a career ruined when all one was trying to do was to maintain the Queen's Peace.

Thankfully, that problem was well and truly nailed by the Prime Minister outside Number Ten and then again in his statement to the House.

Thirty years of political correctness has done immense damage to the confidence of the police on the ground and to those in high command. As I say, I come from a different era, a different uniform, straps down and the very likely possibility of being put on a charge for allowing the truncheon strap to be seen below the tunic because that was provocative. Even the handcuffs were secured in a closed leather pouch. In those days of course we saluted.

I remember one night getting involved in a vicious fight between youths outside a nightclub. When men and women fight and draw blood it is horrible to watch and even more unpleasant to then have to somehow sort it out. So we ended up with a pitched battle; having the radio of course meant I could summon for assistance, and the fight carried on. Then the Inspector arrived! That was always a sign that matters were serious. I remember grappling with this thug - actually, later a quite pleasant lad - and holding him to the side I instinctively 'threw one up' i.e., saluted the senior officer; I remember his brown gloved hand even returning the salute.

Several other constables and sergeants were having similar fights all around outside what is now Cafe Rouge in the Cheltenham Promenade, and then within about 2 minutes we had regained control. The fighting stopped. On the way back to the station I asked this lad why, when just as they seemed to have us beat, did they all stop fighting. This rather bloodied face squinted and looked at me, my mate and then his mates - the others were in other police vehicles - and he replied, and I'll soften the language - Kaw, effin 'ell mate. That was a 'effing bad un. We 'ad you licked. But then you saluted and we just knew you lot have a lot of effin discipline.

That lad, and the others, went down for short terms, and in the years that followed we'd often chat on the street when I was walking my patch.

The sight of police officers this week standing back when apparently they are fully equipped to deal with disorder has shaken the nation. It has pulled us up short. It has exposed for all to see the damage that political correctness has done. It has shown us too the incredible discipline and fortitude of the police and all the emergency services. And it is that discipline that has stopped these riots from getting any worse.

The British Police are renowned throughout the world. They are second to none. For example, constables went out to Bosnia to teach that country's police a more democratic way of policing, and as a guest of the UN I saw that fully in operation. I remember my friend, the local police commander and constable, insisting that his officers wear the British police helmet, and it was a welcome sight after having seen the atrocities in the streets of Bcko only a year before.

The core values of British policing are still firmly in place. They've taken a terrific hammering these past 30 years because of political correctness, human rights legislation being used and abused to make money in so many cases, and a police force thus denuded of its ability to exercise its powers.

The general public has paid a very heavy price, and the fact that the riots have resulted in deaths says it all.

But there is a curious resurgence throughout the land. Sitting in Cafe Nero yesterday in the heart of Liverpool One which only the day before had been shuttered up one could not help but notice the quiet defiance of a law abiding public.

People of all ages, all groups, all communities, showing a body language that I have not seen for a long time. And as I walked through the teeming streets which only 24 hours earlier were eerily silent at 4 in the afternoon, there was a confidence in the air. It was palpable. It was a challenge to every idiot, every criminal, every thug - you just even think of causing damage and we will personally take you out.

That is the spirit of this great people. It is what always happens in the UK when a great cause is put before the people. We unite as one. We saw this in the packed House of Commons, we saw this in the fact that the Welsh, Scottish and Irish Parliaments all made their police forces available to the UK Capital and the English Cities; we saw it in the fact that the 3rd Rifles based in Glasgow were on standby. We see it in Northern Ireland, ready to come to the aid of Great Britain.

It is this that gives confidence to the world at large, to the English Speaking Peoples. Yes, we've had a bad week and we are now dealing with the problem.

We are an incredibly restrained people. It takes a great deal to get us motivated. But once a great cause is put before the people, we will not rest until we have dealt with the matter and found the solution. And we do so in a democratic way. But we will do it robustly. And this term deliberately used by the prime minister in his first address to the nation is now being carried through with over a thousand arrests thus far, and that great bastion of the people, the Magistrates Courts, sitting 24 hours round the clock.

We must listen to the justifiable grievances of people, but we must also temper it with realism - spotting those who are nothing more than criminals who hope to make out that they've had a hard time, a hard upbringing and are owed much.

One young woman was caught on camera two days ago rabbiting on about respect from the police; that when they show respect, she'll show respect. She was the classic example of the X Factor Brigade, the Celebrity Brigade, the Big Brother house syndrome. I say to you young lady. Don't waste my time with your petty arguments. Respect earns respect. So earn my respect by showing me that you are a capable young woman and able citizen. Thus far you are not. So get on your bike.

I commend, as I believe does the nation, the planned National Citizenry Service. It is what is needed.

And let us not forget that these rioters do not reflect the thoughts and attitudes of the majority of young people. Recall just how many young people throughout London and Liverpool, Manchester and Salford, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Nottingham, Bristol and Gloucester, all turned out because of twitter and facebook with their brooms, bags and dustpans.

Let us not forget the cafes and restaurants that then opened up and provided them with free coffee, tea and meals. Let us not forget the thousands of volunteers who made their way in to the areas even when the rioting was taking place, an open act of defiance to the thugs and the criminals orchestrating them, an open act of defiance to the gangland culture that has seized hold of our cities at night times.

And let us take comfort too at our approach - to be understanding and ready and able to listen to the grievances - by taking our lead from the young Malaysian who was robbed by the very people pretending to help him and which has gone round the world and shocked everyone - to see how he responded in an interview at the Malaysian Embassy. I have spent a lifetime working with young people and most surely, he epitomizes the best in what the majority of our young people here can and does give this Country.

Yes. Justice will prevail. Peace will return to our streets and with it a new resolve. As a People we will prove to the world that the Olympics are quite safe here and we will protect all - we will keep the Queen's Peace.

Ian Bradley Marshall
12 August 2011

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


When the world watched with horror and shock at the unfolding events in Oslo and Utoya a week ago, I remember distinctly asking myself how the dictatorships around the world would be reacting. In particular, I remember asking myself what would be going through the mind of the President of Syria as he goes about his daily business, suppressing those who have a different view, and trying at the same time to present to the West the image of a gracious family man.

This morning's news shows civilized peoples what that man is up to. He has been weighed in the balances and found wanting.

On the day that Norway holds its National Memorial Service in Parliament in the presence of the King and Crown Prince of Norway and of the Parliamentary President of Norway, a ruthless regime attacks its own people, kills them on the spot either by use of tanks or by snipers.

Here is the very reason why the people of Norway defied aggression, would not be put down and have demonstrated to us all the crucial importance of parliamentary democracy; moreover, that this democracy starts even in childhood as the older generation teaches its young ones how to live and how to continue to improve its democracy and freedom.

When Norway was occupied by the Nazis in World War II, the general population did that which no other occupied country did in like measure. People showed their total contempt by walking out of any shop or restaurant the moment a Nazi walked in. In the street they did that which was incomprehensible to the occupying power - the people turned their backs or walked to the other side of the street. They made it clear. The most evil regime had become a pariah in a very part of its short-lived empire that Hitler himself regarded as his "zone of destiny".

There has always been a warmth between this country and Norway, and to this day, the Christmas Tree that stands in Trafalgar Square is a gift from the Norwegian People as a mark of gratitude to the British People who tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to repel the German invaders.

The Norwegian People have set us all a tremendous example and which will serve for generations to come, as a reminder of just what democracy means, the way in which some people just cannot cope with the idea of freedom and democracy and the fact that regardless of how long the night of suppression is in any society, the light of dawn will follow and subjugated peoples will be encouraged to win back their freedom and democracy.

In the dark and evil days of 1940-1941 when the whole of Europe lay under the domination of "the most monstrous tyranny that has ever darkened and corroded the human breast", subjugated peoples in the concentration camps and elsewhere would whisper in defiance to each other the only English word they knew... 'Churchill'...'Churchill'.

Today and throughout the world the people of Hama are quietly whispering the only Norwegian word they know...'Utoya'...'Utoya'.

And just as the name Churchill filled an evil regime with dread, so too today will a small island's name Utoya fill an evil regime with dread.

For its days are numbered and there will be a reckoning. The Arab Spring will in time break out into full and glorious summer.

Ian Bradley Marshall
1 August 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011


To the CEO and Directors of Apple

I write urgently and in respect of Apple's continued support for Christian Values Network (CVN).

I work entirely on Apple products.

I am a Christian and I am gay, and I respectfully invite Apple to view my website and which stands on its own merits.

I am about to publish a second, very comprehensive anthology, which draws together Scripture and the gay lifestyle i.e. both being practised by an individual, to show that they are entirely complementary and not, as CVN would misteach, have us believe that homosexuality is an affront to GOD and "an abomination in the eyes of the LORD".

I have been delighted at the way in which Apple has been a very positive and active supporter of LGBT rights; indeed, Apple's stance on this issue has assisted me greatly in finding my own way through what was once a very oppressive and objectionable form of teaching and consequently sad life.

As a lawyer I can see that Apple has probably been caught on the backfoot. That is understandable.

Nevertheless, now that Apple has been alerted through this Petition by the All Out Campaign, it is imperative that the CEO and Directors review their policy and withdraw all support for CVN.

I note that Macy’s, Delta and Microsoft have already promptly withdrawn support, so I am a little puzzled as to why Apple is not in the vanguard on this occasion.

I note also CVN’s assertion that the Holocaust was caused by gay people. I respectfully invite Apple to view the link and which obtained full support of none other than the Yad Vashem Memorial, Jerusalem, Israel as well as Holocaust Memorials in the UK and Europe.

May I also invite Apple to view the link and my letter to President Medvedev of the Russian Federation. That letter, sent through the Russian and British Embassies, will be published in the forthcoming Liverpool Dispatches in 2012 and because I am publishing all such Dispatches, I am considering posting this letter as a Dispatch and which will therefore be included in the publication.

May I respectfully request that Apple reviews its policy as a matter of urgency, for it would be foolish to ignore the size, professional standing and influence that the worldwide gay community carries.

My decision to move over to Apple was one of the best I’ve ever made. Do please not let me down at this eleventh hour. Millions of LGBT people put their faith, trust, hope and confidence in Apple.

Please do not sell them short merely to satisfy some rather bigoted opinions, or because one’s eye is on the daily share index.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Bradley Marshall

22 July 2011

Monday, 11 July 2011


Many have asked me why I have not written during the past week given that we have had so many revelations that, to put it plainly, has shocked the Nation far more than the MPs Expenses Scandal.

A week ago my mind was more concerned with the loss of another soldier in Afghanistan, bringing the total number of men and women killed in action to 375. But I was watching events regarding the News of the World, BSkyB and of course the outrage of a private detective in the employ of the NoW hacking into the phone of a murder victim whilst the police investigation is still trying to establish whether or not the victim is still alive. Furthermore, that it was likely that over 4,000 victims had had their phones hacked into, and moreover, that there were corrupt police officers within the Metropolitan Police who had been paid large sums of money for allowing this to happen.

Then we learned of the same tactic being used with the families of those killed on active service. On top of that, another family, whose twin daughters had been murdered. It became clear to the public that which still seemed to be escaping the minds of those involved, the owners, the editors, the journalists, the protagonists, - that the News of the World had to go - and to go immediately.

This morning we now learn that emails handed to the Police by News International Corp revealed a corrupt royalty protection officer providing the NoW with detailed information regarding members of the Royal Family and, as the BBC News soberly pointed out an hour ago, bringing into question the security even of the Head of State.

The General Public have shown their disdain, a fact not lost on most politicians. Can the Government really now expect the public to endorse the Secretary of State's decision to allow Rupert Murdoch to buy BSkyB?

It matters not whether the niceties have been covered; that the Secretary of State is following due process of law. The public are in no mood to watch politicians make a botch of such an important decision. For too long, politicians at all levels have been in the thrall of the media and at times seem to act like rabbits caught in the headlights of a car.

The public do not wish to see politicians appearing on celebrity shows, secretaries of state and other MPs making an absolute fool of themselves and then getting above themselves because they think they have somehow become celebrities. Yes they have. Media Celebrities. And every politician should ask themselves one simple question: Have I become a media celebrity? Which in lay terms read as "Have I become a media stooge?"

I have been brought up to have respect for Parliament, our Institutions and the people who govern us, on both sides of the House.

But I will leave readers with this one sobering thought.

The House was packed last Wednesday for Prime Minister's Questions. The PM had returned from Afghanistan in the early hours. At 10.29am the BBC interjected to advise viewers that with PMQ about to finish, in one minute the Prime Minister would be making a very important statement to the House on Afghanistan and "so we ask you to please stay with us". I did. The House was packed of course. The camera went straight back to the House. The Speaker announced the Statement and the Prime Minister stood up and began to address Parliament.

Quite a few MPs also stood up. More than a hundred I would say from all parties and promptly walked out. Their demeanour and body language was clear. "This doesn't involve me. I'm not interested."

Anger? Is that an adequate description of how I felt? We are a Nation at war. Our troops from all four nations within our Kingdom are paying the ultimate sacrifice. As an ex serviceman I can assure readers that our troops do follow events back home very closely; not a few do watch PMQ. This ability to stay in touch with home is vital and essential, and something that in earlier wars, was well nigh impossible except for letters and food parcels through the Red Cross.

So if there are any Whips reading this, may I respectfully suggest Ladies and Gentlemen that you consider the impact upon the general public and upon service families in particular of MPs showing such blatant disinterest.

Blatant? Yes. Blatant! For how else can such behaviour be looked upon when the camera not only catches this episode, but also shows us MPs sending texts or tweets even as the prime minister or the opposition leader are speaking, when, even 5 years ago we would have been laughed out to suggest that there would be phones on the Floor of the House even when the House is in Session?

Let us hope that somehow the Government can hold things together; that the Prime Minister can stay in office, that an adequate explanation be given on the employment of chiefs of staff and that, just as the Nation does, Parliament reflects the mood of the People with sound, practical judgment.

Ian Bradley Marshall
11 July 2011

Saturday, 11 June 2011


I write today with very particular pride and on one of the very, very few occasions in the rank that Her Majesty the Queen saw fit to permit me to retain by way of a courtesy title, for life. This is indeed special to me, for it is only senior officers who are normally given this honour,and I am indebted to my then Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Ian Todd, for exercising his right to make the recommendation without my knowledge after I had relinquished my final command and resigned my Commission after 21 years incredibly enjoyable service.

I remember to this day, the arrival of the embossed letter signed by the Secretary of State for Defence and having to actually go and sit down at the long breakfast table to gather my thoughts before driving straight over to Mum and Dad.

It has therefore formed that umbilical chord to this day with all of our Armed Forces, regardless of rank, and to feel such pride and emotion for all the men and women currently serving in the Afghanistan War. On land, sea and air, our servicemen and women are exemplary in their duties and undaunted by the savagery of the fighting; fighting that has seen 77 men and women killed in action since the Trooping the Colour 2010 and a total of 371 since the war started.

I urge all readers to take a brief look at the incredible spectacle that this annual parade denotes, as each year one of the Regimental Colours is paraded before our Sovereign. For me it is doubly special this year, for it is the Colour of the Scots Guards. Yes, I might be English, but I am also British, and it is this curious phenomenon that few can understand beyond these shores, that as an Island People, putting aside the usual family squabbles, we are able to stand as one when the Colours of the Four Nations are paraded.

In watching the Parade through BBC iplayer, let us remember too that off the parade square, these men and women, of all ranks, are in active service. The horses are replaced with the Warrior Tanks; the scarlet red dress uniforms are replaced with full combat battle armour; the officers dismount and take up their commands in the field. Some have not returned.

On parade today were men who had been severely wounded in the last year, but having made full recovery, one for example having been shot in both legs, march once again to the Colours and before their Sovereign.

This is why I attach so much importance to the page on my website - War in Afghanistan. Whether it is realised or not, we are a Nation at war. There is a determined enemy that would have all the values that we hold dear, wiped from the board.

To our teachers around the world I would say this. Take your subject seriously and educate young people as to national and world history. It is disconcerting on the day of the Queen's Birthday and this vitally important parade, that I found myself talking with young people and peers who have bought into conspiracy theories and who seem hell bent on seeing the United States of America as 'the great satan'. When outlining some very basic points - points that to be frank I take for granted - the reaction was thus: why have we not been told these things?

To young people particularly I counsel and urge you to read widely; be investigative; do your research. Learn to advocate. Above all, be mindful of the sacrifices that our troops are making for the sake of freedom, and not just our troops, but the troops of all the allied nations who are assisting us in this war. Those killed in action come from all the nations, but by agreed convention, each nation reports only its own fatalities and casualties.

Ian Bradley Marshall

Kenneth T Webb
Flight Lieutenant RAF VR(T) Rtd

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Human Nature

We people really do get our lines crossed at times. We hurt each other because we put commitments before people, or fail to understand the importance of the work being done that puts commitment before relationships.

For 30 years I have chaired family squabbles on a daily basis, often three or more, as I watch families tearing each other apart over the reading of the Will or the imposition of Intestacy; acted as the go-between for siblings sitting either side of me just feet away from each other; grown men and women who have somehow allowed a lifetime of resentment to build up and then threaten to destroy everything.

Given the extreme exceptions that we see on the media reports, the vast majority of us should always remember to honour, love and respect our parents. Already they have lived a lifetime before we've even started; and it is they who have put us on the starting block. They have made sacrifices that all too often we learn of only after they also have departed.

Many a time I have received the question from children who are suddenly bereft - "I never knew that Mum or Dad had done this. They never said. I never realised they'd suffered this trauma."

Come on! Look beyond our own immediate world view and look back over the years and decades. Discover who we are by looking up our history; not by genealogy, though that certainly is to be commended, but by asking questions direct. Has it ever occurred that Grandma at 85, looking at the beautiful photograph of herself at 25 in fact feels absolutely no different inwardly to the day that photographer attended the house or, if it could be afforded, she attended the studio?

Let us think beyond our own immediate world. Let us think beyond ourselves and be thankful that we breathe the air and live the life and freedom that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents have done so at a cost that most of us will never have to pay.

Let our grandchildren know these things. It is never too late to teach them or to gently remind them.

Ian Bradley Marshall
10 June 2011

Friday, 3 June 2011

An Open Letter to President Medvedev of The Russian Federation

110 Waterloo Warehouse
L3 0BQ

2 June 2011

President Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev
The Greater Russian Peoples
Via His Excellency
The Ambassador
Embassy of the Russian Federation
6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens,
W8 4QP

Dear Mr President,

I write to introduce myself and to draw most urgent attention to the plight of my people in your Country, and which has been reported in the media during the past week.

A petition has been raised and signed by many and sent to you by one of the UK’s important social institutions, “All Out”.

In light of the subject I am taking the unprecedented step of writing to you personally, Sir.

I remember watching live the BBC News 24 coverage of your investiture and inauguration as President of Russia in 2008. I watched it in full because here was history in the making, and something that even in 1991 when I stood talking with East German and Russian guards at the Berlin Brandenburg Gate ‘checkpoint charlie’, I could not have comprehended.

I remember our journey across East Germany in the British Military Train; our own armed guards patrolling the carriages and the East German guards standing to, fully armed, at every siding and junction whenever the train stopped, to ensure that none of us alighted the train.

I recalled the sacrifices of your people in one of the most horrendous wars in history and the brute savagery of Nazism on the Greater Russian Peoples.

But your people prevailed. Somehow you withstood the dreaded Einsatsgruppen; and whilst military victory became the stalemate of the Cold War, nevertheless, justice and commonsense prevailed. The cause of the people became paramount and the voice of the people was heard and in time revolutionised Russia and thus eventually led to your own appointment as this Great Nation’s head of state.

A few days ago I was reading afresh President Nelson Mandela’s speeches; one in particular registered and is his address from the dock of the South African Supreme Court in Pretoria on 20 April 1964 as the First Accused.

He quotes the then South African Prime Minister Mr Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd during an earlier debate on the Bantu Education Bill 1953, about which Mr Verwoerd had declared:

When I have control of Native education I will reform it so that Natives will be taught from childhood to realise that equality with Europeans is not for them. . . . People who believe in equality are not desirable teachers for Natives. When my Department controls Native education it will know for what class of higher education a Native is fitted, and whether he will have a chance in life to use his knowledge.

I confess, Sir, that that pulled me up short! It was difficult to comprehend the mindset. But I recall also being taught about the War of 1939-1945 by my parents. Mum and Dad both lost brothers over Germany. But it was Mum’s comment one day that really stayed with me. “We suffered but nothing like the Russian People. They went through hell, and you must never forget that!”

For me it made your victory even more important.

Every nation, every people, every community on earth gets it wrong occasionally. But we also have the ability to stop injustice, and none more so than now Mr President.

My people have as much right to breathe the air and drink the water of life, to give to the greater good of our nation states and for the benefit of humankind, as the next man or woman.

I cannot accept that the Greater Russian People are acting as one as did the Nazis. That just doesn’t add up Sir.

I am a lawyer, and served as a police officer and in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. And I learned that when bigots (and believe me, the UK has its fair share of bigots) start trouble, it is the duty of the nation state from central government down to the local police station, to step in and protect those who are being victimised and bullied. It is the duty of every police officer to protect all people and to bring the bigots to justice where they have committed criminal offences.

There are some who argue that to even ‘think’ a hate crime, should be a criminal offence. That is a dangerous precedent for obvious reasons. A crime is a crime, regardless.

But I ask you to use your executive powers to give guidance and leadership to those communities who might still be a long way back in entering our 21st Century.

May I ask that you step forth, Sir, and protect my people in the same measured way that you stepped forth as you walked with determination and confidence through the Palace to your inauguration and to one of the most important global roles and international offices of state that anyone can ever hold.

I have the greatest admiration for the Russian People. I recall the amazing conversations with the Russian Guards at the Brandenburg Gate in 1991 and the pride I felt in actually meeting your people in the embassy gardens later that day in East Berlin.

Let us all move forward and be determined to bring freedom to all, and the sword of justice to those who seek to impose upon a section of its people the same twisted logic that President Nelson Mandela identified on the basis of race, and which we now see repeated in the current situation – one’s sexuality.

I have the honour to be,
Mr President,
Your obedient servant

Ian Bradley Marshall

Cc: His Excellency, the British Ambassador, Moscow

Thursday, 26 May 2011


One of the most important principles taught to us two Millennia ago is that enshrined in Matthew 22:39 when The Lord quietly reminded us all that it is incumbent upon us all to love our neighbours as ourselves. In contemporary society - don't just think of yourselves but think of those around you.

"Oh no. That was then. And that's just Jesus outlining a principle which was okay for then, but in the real world, today's world, is not practical."

We have the Ten Commandments from the Old Testament. We also have the principle referred to above and which, upon closer inspection of the passage that we find The Man Christ Jesus referring to as being none other than the Scripture outlined in the Scroll of Leviticus, or what we today refer to as the Book of Leviticus 19:18.

Look it up for yourself. He was quoting a Scripture that was already a couple of millennia in standing.

I've been brought up, as all my generation have been, with that as the cornerstone; and even if not a Christian, it will be found as a cornerpiece of every organised religion or system or belief and faith. It is practical. It is streetwise. It is a principle by which we should all live. When we ignore it, we have injustices which are bad enough when they stand alone. Heaped together, they eventually add up to a Holocaust or two. Exaggeration? Yes, if you do not bother following history. If you do follow history, you'll probably be saying I'm not stressing the point strongly enough.

When we ignore this principle, however we look at it, we do so because we put into place the cornerstone of selfishness.

In September 1939, even though we could do nothing immediately practical to assist the Polish People, we nevertheless acted as we had promised. We 'dared' to declare war on a monstrous tyrant who had not, until then, experienced such a kick up the backside of his pomposity and evil. History reports that Hitler was as one turned to stone, and further reports Herman Goering, that tyrant's Head of the Luftwaffe, remarking "May God have mercy upon us if we lose this War!"

When we realise that something is amiss; that our next door neighbour might be going through some hassle, it is late 20th and current 21st century thinking to utter those detestable words, 'it is not my problem', resting as it does on that equally irresponsible premise: 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Being ex police, ex military and of course being a probate lawyer for 30 years, has emphasised the importance of Matthew 22:39 and Leviticus 19:18. Many a morning starts off with two or three death certificates being placed on my desk and an instruction to my secretary to call out the last will and testament and then for me to make that fateful call to the next of kin.

I recall, at 16, being called out on parade at RAF Locking at 11am one Friday and the Squadron being informed by the Padre that Colin, with whom Don and I had been playing putting shot on Wednesday night on the green in Weston-Super-Mare, had died that morning after collapsing on military exercise on Thursday morning. I recall too the heroic efforts of Mike Barnett who eventually received a commendation for doing all he could to save Colin. He too went on to a very distinguished military career.

I recall the lady who died as I knelt by her in the middle of the Tewkesbury Road dual carriageway and not one car stopping to assist me, then a 20 year old policeman, whilst I and another pedestrian attempted resuscitation pending arrival of the ambulance; on another day another lady who had decided it was all too much for her, and pulling her out of the icy waters of Pittville Lake, Cheltenham; I remember the 'suction' caused by my shin length belted gaberdine over my tunic making movement difficult; I remember the young Mum trying to keep her children in order as she too pulled this very gracious lady to the bank, all the time apologising for the problems she thought she was causing. She too later that day succumbed, but in every incident that I have attended I remember, without exception, the extreme courage of the ambulance crews, A&E staffs, the incredible resolve, kindness and decisive precision of the nurses, doctors and registrars - "all in a day's work" as they would humbly respond if it was ever commented upon.

If something appears amiss, respond, don't pass by on the other side.

Two passed by on the other side; the third was a Samaritan who was expected to pass by but stopped and saved a young man's life.

Every single one of us, from the highest to the lowest, from the most senior to the most junior, has a responsibility to our immediate neighbour. If our neighbour appears to be in some sort of trouble, and we respond by trying to hide, obscure or deaden any sound, then there will be a reckoning. If we ring that simple number that has sirens on the horizon within minutes or less, well done. It matters not that a door might be broken down in the process. A door might be broken but a life will be saved.

Responding to help is something that comes very, very naturally to our armed forces and emergency services and those who used to serve. To the older generation, those who are over 30, likewise. To those who work in restaurants, coffee shops as managers, waiters, baristas, etc, likewise. It is always wonderful to see how young people interact and learn this vital principle. To other young people such responses are the stuff of TV Soaps - "Oh, I didn't realise this stuff happened for real. But even if it does, it's not my problem."

I've learned much over the last four weeks. As I look about the library of my mind and see the windows blasted, and slowly go about putting all the books and files of memory neatly back on the shelves, it makes me realise what a privilege it was to serve with the people I did, the way they came to my rescue and even in these past few days to talk with friends who themselves served in the Royal Navy, who have that instinctive understanding; to have that reassurance from all those young people in service industries, the laughing and joking and putting books and files back in place.

The other week I was sat down quietly in the City and thinking about, of all things, the Liverpool Blitz. For the briefest moment there was a flash. Luminescent. In my mind's eye I stooped and placed the file on the shelf of my mind. What did it say?

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13.2

I report only an incredible sense of peace, and an absolute certainty about our origin and future and our individual responsibility.

Ian Bradley Marshall
May 26 2011