The Plastic Hippo

November 3, 2016

Once bitten

Who let the dogs out?

Who let the dogs out?

It is a source of constant delight and unexpected entertainment that a news agenda varying between the absurd and the terrifying should provide a story that requires no less than Michael Heseltine to vehemently deny that he killed his mother`s pet Alsatian dog by strangulation. Quoted in the Tatler magazine, the former Deputy Prime Minister originally claimed that the dog Kim had started to exhibit irrational violence so my Lord Heseltine “took Kim`s collar – a sort of choke chain – and pulled it tight. Suddenly he went limp. I was devoted to Kim, but he`d obviously had some sort of mental breakdown. There was no choice.” Tarzan might have been on safe ground with the readership of the Tatler, but animal lovers and the RSPCA took umbrage at this conservative approach to dealing with canine mental illness and Heseltine changed his story to claim that Kim was later taken to a Vet and mercifully put down.

As hilarious as all this might be, unless of course you happen to be the dog in question or Mrs Heseltine Senior, the story only briefly distracted attention away from more serious issues. Over the course of just four days, the government announced that there would be no public inquiry into perjury, miscarriages of justice and the use of the police force in breaking a strike and a few heads at the Battle of Orgreave; there will be no follow up to the Leveson Inquiry, the Chilcot Inquiry was a waste of time because Tony Blair had compete executive power, the prison system is in a state of chaos and air pollution contributes to 40,000 deaths in the UK every year. The government has also expressed “disappointment” and an intention to appeal against a High Court ruling allowing parliament and not the Prime Minister to decide on the terms of the UKs departure from Europe. But look; there is Theresa May at the dispatch box being incandescent with rage that swarthy foreigners have banned the poppy and in so doing have besmirched the memory of our brave ancestors who died saving us from fascism. And look over there at MPs and others who have demanded a return to UK parliamentary sovereignty and British laws for British people complaining bitterly that the UK parliament has been granted sovereignty by UK judges. That is even funnier than strangled dogs because no dogs are involved. Thank goodness for the European Court of Justice appeals procedure.

Government simply hates public inquiries, referenda and the rule of law unless the results are compatible with government doctrine, interests or secrecy. The very idea that something approaching the truth should be made public sends a shiver down the spine of the guilty. In former days, any investigation into wrongdoing, incompetence, gross misconduct or corruption would result in a complete whitewash but, as the recent commemoration of the Aberfan disaster has reminded us, sometimes inquiries tell the truth. Sadly, the truth that the National Coal Board was directly responsible for the loss of life and the then Labour government took the money raised by a public appeal fund to cover their tracks and Lord Robens enjoyed a full and long life after the disaster unlike the children who died, is largely forgotten.

Since then we have had the Saville Inquiry (no, not him) and Widgery Tribunal into the events of Bloody Sunday; the Laming report into the death of Victoria Climbié and the Cullen report into the Dunblane killings. The Hutton Inquiry concluded that the government under Tony Blair and his boss Alastair Campbell did not invent non-existent missile threats from overseas and did not commit to an illegal war. The Chairman and the Director General of the BBC were forced to resign and the BBC has never been the same since. Nor has Dr David Kelly. The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war took five years to publish before damning the Blair government as liars, cheats and idiots. Inquiries into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the Al-Sweady allegations of inhumane treatment of Iraqi detainees by British soldiers has resulted in politicians without any evidence still inventing tales of dehydrated patients drinking from flower vases and an end to “left-wing human rights lawyers” bringing cases of war crimes against the UK military. No “lessons” have been learned and there is nothing in place to prevent further tragedies and the length and cost of various public inquires set up to establish facts and culpability are now being cited as reasons for not having public inquiries.

The result of the Hillsborough Inquiry, after years and years and years of struggle and inspirational tenacity on the part of grieving families and years and years and years of obstruction, intimidation and illegality on the part of the police and other security services frightened the life out of the establishment almost as much as the prospect of a public inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. No action, however, has been taken and nothing has changed. When an old attack dog of the ferocity of Norman Tebbit is wheeled out of retirement to claim that Orgreave was “a long time ago and nobody cares anyway” you can bet the bottom scrapings of the barrel that he was not referring to Michael Heseltine`s dog grooming skills.

With Theresa May stamping her stilettos in the general direction of FIFA over the display of a poppies on footballers and thereby allowing some of the more insanely racist press to further reduce the name Leveson to a new definition of meaningless hypocrisy, a Murdoch “journalist” becomes a press regulator, the Murdoch tabloid bullies the BBC and a television presenter who dare to show a little bit of compassion and another rabid and racist tabloid suggests foreign lorry drivers are out to kill us all. Little wonder the woeful government will have no more truck with Leveson. As Home Secretary, Theresa May was keen to ban from these shores ghastly old men who preach hatred, intolerance and dogmatic ignorance. Perhaps as Prime Minister she should ban Murdoch for the same reasons and the other billionaire media proprietors who preach hatred under the false flag of warped patriotism yet keep their money stashed away offshore to avoid paying taxes. But she, like her predecessors, is unlikely to bite the hand that feeds her.

It now seems that more people are dying as a result of air pollution than those dying as a result of smoking. The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution was an independent standing body set up in 1970 to advise parliament and the public on environmental issues. It was abolished in 2010 along with Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards, the Advisory Committee on Carbon Abatement Technologies and the Renewables Advisory Board in the so-called “bonfire of the quangos” instigated by Cameron`s disastrous coalition government. Other notable scrutiny bodies scrapped include the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council, the Courts boards, the Legal Services Ombudsman, the Victim`s Advisory Panel and the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

If this strategy in dealing with crime were not idiotic enough, the now air-brushed from history David Cameron stated a year ago that the prison system brought “shame to us all” yet made things far worse by appointing the extremely strange Michael Gove as Justice Secretary who, in a previous appointment, made a complete dog`s breakfast out of UK education. His successor, Liz Truss has announced that 2,000 additional prison officers will be in place by the end of 2018 and prisons will be judged by league tables which, no doubt, will provide criminals with a choice of the best prison to be sent to. There was no mention of the 30 per cent reduction in staff under the ridiculous Chris Grayling.

Bitten once by an unexpected referendum result and bitten again by the Hillsborough Inquiry and now bitten again by the High Court, the government have shied away from any more investigations to address public concerns and will avoid any further referenda like the plague. As for High Court judges, some of the more barking mad little Englanders displaying nothing short of hysterical pack mentality would have them set upon by dogs along with any traitor who dares to not wear a poppy.

Fortunately, Michael Heseltine is still with us to dispatch the canine hoards back to Hades.


1 Comment »

  1. Nice on the Orgreave Inquiry and on the disgraceful affairs at Stafford Hospital.

    Comment by Rob — November 3, 2016 @ 8:27 pm | Reply

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