Dear Editor, I write with some considerable alarm at the recent treatment of former Supt Chris Pretty, demoted to Chief Inspector following a misconduct hearing where he used the words “black man’s wheels.”
It also featured in the Midlands Today programme on the evening of Monday July 28, with what I considered to be yet again biased reporting.
I believe that the comment was made at a private dinner given in his favour as he was leaving Tally Ho for Coventry.
Quite simply this is an example of political correctness gone completely mad.
We have a professional senior police officer who has done sterling work over his career, let alone his former career in the army, where I believe he did two tours of Ireland, and is prejudiced significantly by someone who wants to read into “black man’s wheels” something which it is not.
Just take two steps back from this set of circumstances and consider whether it is reasonable that these comments should result in a career police officer being demoted with the significant financial effect that it will have on his pension in the not too distant future, let alone the ignominy of appearing in the press and on television.
The word proportionate needs to be put into the lives of such disciplinary tribunals.
I believe that in anybody’s language the reaction for the three words said in private at a private dinner is entirely and utterly disproportionate and unfair.
The police force in itself is running scared of our political correctness and it is about time that it took a more robust attitude to fairness and proportionality. What message is this giving to young police recruits who may have a career prospect within the police force and want to progress up the police structure? I suggest a very poor one.
Thomas Guise Solicitors,
Beware of Mugabe tactics
Dear Editor, Your correspondent LJ Shaughnessy is in favour of the EU taking over the role of the UN in areas of world conflict (“Standing up against Mugabe is step forward,” Post, August 6). Read on sir, or madam, and think again.
In a speech on EU/NATO relations, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, “The central objective of our presidency will be to start work on the strengthening of the military and civilian capacities in Europe. Obviously it will not be a question of creating a European army any more than NATO has an army.” He then goes on to just state what will happen, laying out ambitious objectives “for the decade to come,” arguing that the EU should have the capacity to carry out two large military operations for stabilisation and reconstruction, with up to 10,000 men for a period of up to at least two years, two rapid reaction operations using tactical groups of around 1,500 men, an emergency evacuation of European nationals, a maritime or aerial surveillance mission, a civil/military humanitarian aid operation to last 90 days and a dozen civil missions of various sizes.
In order to reach these targets, Kouchner said there was a need for more helicopters and strategic transport planes and that Europe must develop its space and sea surveillance capacities.
He also called for, at the political level, the creation of a formation of the (EU) General Affairs Council. If these proposals had been suggested 30 years ago, would Britain still be in the EU? I should hope not!
Threat from ragwort is very real
Dear Editor, Many supporters have contacted us recently to voice their concerns about ragwort, a weed which is blooming at the moment. As every horse owner and farmer knows, ragwort contains toxins which can have debilitating or fatal consequences if eaten by horses and other grazing animals.
Ragwort has its place in the countryside; it supports a wide variety of invertebrates and is a major nectar source for many insects, but it must be controlled, especially where there are horses and livestock. Land stewardship and animal husbandry are both huge responsibilities and I know that they are taken seriously by farmers, but it is important that the dangers posed by ragwort reach the widest possible audience.
There is a growing concern that some public bodies who own land, such as Local Authorities, are not taking the problem seriously and managing their land appropriately, but there is no excuse; a Code of Practice on how to stop the spread of ragwort is available from DEFRA.
The Countryside Alliance will be writing to all Local Authorities and other bodies in the coming weeks to remind them that they have a duty to control ragwort on their land and must be vigilant, especially where their land abuts farmland.
The threat ragwort poses to animals cannot be underestimated and is something that all landowners, whether public or private, must take seriously.
Are the Tories still nasty?
Dear Editor, So, let’s recap.
Last Saturday, the Conservative leader of Birmingham City Council writes an article appearing to claim personal credit for the assistance offered to Rover workers after the company went bust and for getting the Chinese to produce more cars there.
On Tuesday, the local MP, Richard Burden, writes an article suggesting that as well as blowing his own trumpet, Councillor Whitby should also remember the contribution made by others – including people from the local community and some of Councillor Whitby’s own staff.
In Wednesday’s Post letters column, Mr Burden gets abuse for daring to suggest this from a Conservative Councillor and a Conservative supporter from Sutton Coldfield.
Is this ferocious over-reaction evidence of a party that has changed, or are the Tories still the “nasty party”?
Ryland Road, Edgbaston.