FAO: Sir Peter Fahy  cc. Tony Lloyd

Dear Sirs,

Having watched Dixon of Dock Green from 1955; been thrilled by the antics of Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Lockhart in No Hiding Place, practiced with my ‘Dinky Toy’ Ford Zephyr police cars whilst watching Z-Cars, avidly followed A Touch of Frost, marvelled at Barlow at Large, sympathised with Tom Nettles as the recovering alcoholic Detective in Bergerac, and was mildly shocked when Commander Clare Blake (Amanda Burton) as a member of the detective murder squad in London, willingly slept with suspects so that evidence could be gained from them, in The Commander.

Those early police shows encouraged me to set the TV planners so that I wouldn’t miss an episode of Dalziel and Pascoe. Then there was Adam Dalgliesh, who rose from the ranks within Scotland Yard from Constable to Commander, which contrasted enormously with the themes portrayed in The Gentle Touch. Then there was Gideon's Way, starring Liverpudlian John Gregson. I also went on to enjoy Heartbeat, set in 1960s Yorkshire and Inspector George Gently, set in the same era, but this time shot on location in Northumberland and County Durham. Then there was the studious Inspector Morse, which was followed by Lewis. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, was another fine example of complex police work, while I thought that Inspector Wexford, with George Baker, was a bit plodding.

Another favourite was Juliet Bravo; the story of a female police inspector who took over control of a police station in the fictional town of Hartley in Lancashire.

That was followed by the enigmatic Midsomer Murders, New Scotland Yard and New Tricks featuring the fictitious Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) Then there was the entire Prime Suspect Series 1 to 7, Rebus, Rockliffe's Babies, Scott & Bailey, Softly, Softly & Softly, Softly Taskforce, Special Branch and The Sweeney, starring John Thaw as Detective Inspector Jack Regan, and Dennis Waterman as his partner Detective Sergeant George Carter. 

Other block busting series featured Taggart, The Bill, The Chinese Detective, Thief Takers, Van der Valk, The Vice, and who could forget the dower Jack Shepherd in Wycliffe!

So, Sir Peter, having laid out my credentials, I would like to apply to be a Senior Detective in the Greater Manchester Police ‘fast-track’ scheme at the rank of Superintendent.

I realise that credibility built at street level can be a crucial factor when dealing with dangerous and critical incidents, that’s why the rank of ‘Superintendent’ would suite me best as I understand that most senior police officers are now simply bureaucrats and performance managers, whose policing experience is mostly from decades ago and as such, is now considered outdated.

Therefore to that end, I would submit that 40+ years in Advertising and Marketing where I was responsible for introducing many ground-breaking ideas and introducing phrases like “Thought leadership“, “Stakeholders’, “Taking an action-orientated approach” and “Walking through open doors” in conjunction with 55+years of watching Police Drama’s on TV, makes me eminently suitable to carry out today’s senior policing duties, - besides I need a better pension!

I understand that entry level pay is in the region of £70 grand, with a company ‘unmarked’ car (with the usual ‘dee-der’ and blue lights hidden in the grill) plus I believe there will be an automatic invitation to attend the ACPO Christmas Party, with overnight stay in a top London Hotel, for me and the misses!

I can start immediately; please advise where I can park at HQ. and pick-up my day-glo jacket.

Yours faithfully,

(Prospective Detective Superintendent)  CURMUDGEON


Even though Andrew Marr was not in the chair after suffering a stroke, the show still went on and a couple of weeks ago the main guest Ed Miliband (young Wallace) was interviewed by BBCs James Langdale. 

During the interview, young Wallace was answering questions on the NHS and the question of nursing numbers once again raised its ugly head.

As you might expect, young Wallace claimed that thanks to the Coalition’s planned reorganisation of the NHS there were 4000 less nurses working in the Health Service than the previous year.

Now on its own that figure sounds dreadful. However it also reveals how practiced politicians manipulate statistics to add weight to their own political arguments.

What he didn’t say was this figure of 4000 was 9000 less than the number of nurses Labour announced was to be slashed if they had been re-elected in 2010. Official plans at the time showed that Labour Ministers were not planning to replace large numbers of staff who were to quit over the next five years. 

Had Labour been in charge, the number of qualified nurses would have slumped by 13,409 - after years of increases under Labour - By 2014, the total would fall from 329,372 in 2008 to 315,963. 

At the time, this revelation was a blow to Labour's election promise to protect frontline services while reining in public spending.

However, according to the latest NHS official figures, in 2011 the NHS employed 143,836 doctors, 370,327 qualified nursing staff, and 38,214 managers. There are also 1,788 more practice nurses employed by GPs in 2011 than ten years earlier.

This means that since Labour left office, 40,955 more nursing staff are working in today’s NHS!

There were 49,982 more NHS nurses in 2011 compared to ten years earlier, although there has been a drop over the last two years, where nurses leaving the service in various parts of the country have not always been replaced.

It’s also interesting to note that the overall NHS net expenditure has increased from £49.021 billion in 2001/02 to £104.333bn in 2011/12. The planned expenditure for 2012/13 is £108.897bn.

Sort of puts young Wallace’s statement back into context, doesn’t it?



I’ve just visited a website called, “Artists Against Fracking” It was started apparently by Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon, who were compelled into action by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that fracking might soon begin in New York – directly impacting their home in upstate New York.
It is stated that in less than 10 days after hearing the announcement, they contacted and signed-up nearly 150 of their fellow artists to join them in a campaign to stop fracking in their area.

On their web-site they explain that with a membership of more than 200 members, “Artists Against Fracking” are working to expose and stop the harmful and contaminating practice of fracking for natural gas and oil through mass awareness and peaceful democratic action. 

They claim, “That at its core, they believe that fracking for shale gas is a danger to New Yorkers. Inevitably, the process leads to the release of toxic chemicals — many of which are unknown and unreported — into our air and water”

Now call me cynical, but if fracking is releasing ‘toxic chemicals’ – many of which are unknown and unreported, how on earth do they know that they are harmful? Oh, hang on; I forgot that she’s an expert on toxic substances isn’t she? After all we are talking about the same Yoko Ono, who along with husband John Lennon became addicted to heroin when they were in London and were arrested several times on charges of possession, aren’t we.

Now not being a qualified Chemist, Engineer or Seismologist I really cannot say whether Ms Ono and her group of ‘Artists’ are right or wrong because there is always more to the story than environmentalists or the self-interested gas companies will tell us; there are most likely both good and bad points, benefits and problems, as there are with all aspects of the energy industry. The question regarding  shale gas exploration in Britain is – what will bring the most benefit to the largest number of people, and what is best for us here in the UK as a whole?

One thing is undeniable, if fracking produces safe, cheap natural gas it will make uneconomical electricity sources like windmills, solar panels, etc. even more uneconomical. And a greater supply of energy means cheaper energy and higher economic growth.



I don’t know if you are aware, but as we speak,members of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority are considering MPs’ pay. 

Recent submissions by MPs to the review, suggest that members believe that ‘ordinary backbencher’s’ salaries should be increased from £65,738 to more than £86,000 a pay rise of almost 33%!

Now I don’t know about you, but in my opinion these MPs must be made to remember who their paymasters are. It’s us, the tax payer and they seem hell bent on draining off every penny they can get from us. 

Have these people forgotten that many private and public sector workers have had no pay rise for 3 years?

To even consider giving MPs a pay rise at this time would be utterly repugnant and would fly in the face of public opinion; if these pay rises are accepted by politicians, especially following on from the parliamentary expenses scandal, it would cause irreversible damage to the fragile reputation of MPs and Parliament.

Let’s face it, when the average salary in the UK is still only around 25K and in Tameside, much lower, the current 66K for an MP doesn't seem like an unattractive deal, especially when you factor in the 22 week yearly recess, the perks, the generous subsidies, the expenses and the fact that it's not even enforced that they turn up.

Paying them 80+K is just wrong and I can't see the public standing for it.

However, when you compare the salary of an ‘ordinary backbencher’ to what is being paid out to local council bigwigs, their salaries do look tiny, but that just shows just how overpaid local council officers are!

When this story broke, it was interesting to read that when reporters from the M.E.N. contacted the region’s MPs to ask whether they thought the pay rise was a good idea, Jonathan Reynolds, Labour MP, Stalybridge & Hyde said, that he didn’t think salaries should go up when there is a pay freeze and that MPs pay should be linked to other equivalent jobs in the public sector such as Head teachers, and should only go up if theirs did. 

Andrew Gwynne MP, Denton & Reddish said that he too didn't support a rise in MPs pay. The suggestion of a 32% increase is frankly bonkers. The average wage in my constituency is around £18,000 a year. Effectively telling people that £66,000 isn’t enough pay wouldn’t find much support on the doorsteps of Denton and Reddish.

Strangely though, Andrew Stunell, Lib Dem, Hazel Grove and David Heyes, Labour, Ashton-under-Lyne, chose not to comment!



I haven’t written on Europe for some time, even though regular readers of my column and visitors to my blog know my opinions well! 

But now the question of the ‘in out’ referendum has finally been dragged kicking and screaming out in the open; I feel that comment is overdue.

I must say, in a very unifying part of David Cameron’s speech, the PM said, “We have the character of an island nation – independent, forthright, passionate in defence of our sovereignty. We can no more change this British sensibility than we can drain the English Channel.” Well, for once he was right, but our nationalism goes much further than that as far as the EU is concerned; yes we are a nation who looks outward but, not purely to the nearest landmass; we look out to the whole world. 

One answer to our basic economic problem is that we need to trade with everyone, not to be stuck in a declining, protectionist trade block that sees everything outside of itself as a threat to trade rather than an opportunity.

I think this is what most of us wanted the first time! In fact that’s exactly what our parents & grandparents actually voted for in the first referendum – a free trade agreement!

But over the years we have been lied to, deceived and misled. So much so that the British public have all but lost interest in politics, which ironically has led some politicians to finally realise that the British public have had enough of the EU and its interference in our everyday lives. Whether its immigration, the control of our own borders and the ability to deport unwanted people, law, social policy, or any of the thousands of other diktats they’ve imposed, means the public have reached the tipping point where they are increasingly at odds with the entire EU project.

But let’s not get too excited, if this referendum ever comes to fruition it will not be until 2017 at the earliest and that depends on whether the Tories win the next election. Therefore, with no serious negotiation on the repatriation of powers going on before the next election, the chances of Cameron fulfilling his promise are at best, remote.

My problem is that although I saw his lips move, I didn’t believe a word of it! People know very well that Cameron is pro EU! A fact confirmed by the Prime Minister himself. You may have noticed that at the end of his speech, he made a rather strong case for Britain staying in the EU. But in questions afterwards he refused to be drawn on whether if the 'renegotiations' failed he would vote to stay in.

That together with his bogus green agenda; the hike in taxes to pay for it, his big state, more regulation, no growth soft form of Blair’s socialism and with the economy continuing bouncing along in and out of recession  – why on earth would anyone vote for more of that? 

So basically the choice is 'vote Tory at the next election and I will give you an in/out referendum two years after that'.

On the other side of the coin we have Red Ed, who stood up at PMQ’s and said, quite categorically  that if Labour was elected, he would not give us a referendum.  However, hours later, his spin-doctors were dodging that remark, saying he never meant never, as situations in the future may change!

However, coming up on the outside rails is UKIP ridden in by Nigel Farage, who having already made significant inroads into grass root Tory support, are picking up plenty from Labour too because of Red Ed’s ‘No’ referendum stance. 

As a result, with Labour policy planners fearing that they may lose many protest votes to this political ‘dark hours’ it seems most unlikely that Red Ed will be able to maintain his opposition to the idea without suffering political loss.

So this entire EU referendum speech was not as the PM said, to be in the best interest of the British people; it was made purely to shore up his personal position as party leader and prevent UKIP from siphoning off even more core votes, which could guarantee the return of his party to the opposition benches.

So, at the moment Labour are happy to sit in a position where they can fudge the issue all they want, but at some point over the next two years they are actually going to have to produce some policies, at which time the public will get a real sense of what’s in store should the Red Ed’s be installed. In the meantime Labour proceed as normal with their heads firmly inserted where the sun don’t shine! And hide behind their holding position which, in diplomatic terms is, “it’s important to be in the room.”

Mind you we should not be surprised at that as it was Labour who gave away most of our bargaining powers in the first place with Blair signing away a substantial portion away in return for CAP reforms. Which, as it happens, never materialised and Labour hate being reminded of it!

However, all this could be total speculation because I for one would not be at all surprised if the financial crisis affecting the EU destroys it way before we get our promised vote.
However, if we do, I envisage that David Cameron after acquiring a small set of concessions, will campaign vigorously to get a 'yes' vote to stay in. Personally, I say 'no' and I'm voting UKIP. I used to be a Tory voter, but, I just don't trust him.

Oh, if only we had a real Conservative leader at the helm who would hold a referendum before the next election,  offer cheap energy, small taxes, a smaller state, free trade with Europe, fewer regulations and real growth.