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