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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

I am going to betray my age now by alluding to a famous running joke from Monty Python. In particular the way that the Spanish Inquisition used to crash into every joke as follows:

The door flies open and Cardinal Ximinez of Spain (Palin) enters, flanked by two junior cardinals. Cardinal Biggles (Jones) has goggles pushed over his forehead. Cardinal Fang (Gilliam) is just Cardinal Fang)
Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise ... surprise and fear ... fear and surprise .... Our two weapons are fear and surprise ... and ruthless efficiency .... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency ... and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope. ... Our *four*...no ... *Amongst* our weapons .... Amongst our weaponry ... are such elements as fear, surprise .... I'll come in again.
(Exit and exeunt)

And so on. You get the idea. What brought this to mind was the announcement by the Home Secretary that a national "respect squad" is being launched to help in the battle against anti-social behaviour. Local councils, MPs and police chiefs will be able to call in the squad to help tackle cases of "yobbishness":

Mr Reid said it would offer the chance of swift resolution to challenging problems where other means appeared to have been exhausted.

It will also intervene where there is evidence of insufficient action being taken by local agencies.

Mr Reid said: "Anti-social behaviour ruins lives and fragments communities - particularly those in some of the most deprived areas of our country.

"We should and will be unremitting in our efforts to drive up standards of behaviour and enforce a culture of respect, for the benefit of all."

Each squad's recommendations will be passed to the chairman of the local crime and disorder reduction partnership.

A copy of the squad's assessment will be made available to the public to reinforce residents' power to demand action.

It just seems so gimmicky. Although the spread of best practice and support is to be encouraged, this squad will hardly have the time or the resources to really deal with the complex problems facing many communities. If the Home Secretary is serious about tackling Anti-Social behaviour he should increase the resources available to Crime and Disorder Partnerships and start funding more frontline Police Officers. It might also help that if this squad is going to deal with Wales that it includes somebody who has knowledge of what it is like to live here, especially given the Home Office's past record on these matters.
Peter you dont have to be an old man to apprecitate Monty Python. Some young people where brought up properly and love it.
It doesn't necessarily show your age, it was still in useage when I was at school in the mid-nineties... (all it required was a few pupils to have parents who showed it to them I think).
I certainly knew of the sketch long before I ever saw it (don't think I've seen it in full yet, even now)
peter you know that photo has been doctored
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