Overnight Cities and Paddick’s Pillory : March 2002.

TOWNS BECOME CITIES OVERNIGHT.

Wales has a new city. Hooray! It joins all the others that are to be found in er!.. guess where; South Wales. I should have forecast that Newport would win. Sadly, awarding the South is becoming a habit. Rude people tell me that the South Wales Maffia rules O.K. Wrexham?s bid was submitted early and the Town rulers had every confidence of putting forward the best case and grasp the shining prize of becoming a city, particularly to celebrate the Queen?s Golden Jubilee. Moving from a run of the mill, bog standard town and burgeoning into a city is good for business, esteem, commerce and all sorts of invisible goodies that being a ?City? attracts. Her Majesty seals the City Goody bag lottery but who advises her? Stand up our Secretary of State for Wales. I guess the Welsh Office would have made the final recommendation to No. 10 based on the views of the All South Wales Cabinet maybe. Who knows and will we ever know? There is no appeal and I doubt that the evidence on which Paul Murphy may have made his possible recommendation, will ever see the light of day. I?m sure that Newport deserves the City status and good luck to them but when will South Wales realise that they must stop raiding the sweetie jar. North Wales folk said that Cardiff would get the lot. Time will tell but as things stand North Wales folk keep getting it right. 

Cardiff is the Capital. OK. Cardiff has the largest population. OK and I don?t begrudge bringing our Capital up to world class status, but Cardiff is now raking it in. All the tax paying public stumped up for the vision of turning mudflats into a huge bay that?s become a real commercial money spinner for that city. But it does not end there. No one seemed to realise that proper transport systems had to be built into such grandiose schemes. Tourist and commercial attractions need the wherewith all to visit ?em! So who could well lose out when the transport links are upgraded? If the choice is lobbing out millions to upgrade the main road through Wales, the A 470, and putting money into Cardiff Bay transport infrastructure, no prizes for guessing the result. The Assembly is a good institution and has come far since its shaky start in May 1999. We can?t all be winners in the lottery, but I must ask, are our tickets even in the hat. Unless there is some positive commitment to giving some of the honey cake to other parts of Wales, then I fear for the security of North Wales AM?s, some of whom seem quite relaxed with the ongoing big spend down south. 

Paddick?s Punishment.

I cannot believe how this senior office is being humiliated. Zillions have been spent on putting bobbies on courses for attitude training and then the Lawrence enquiry grandly labelled the entire Police Service racist and now, senior Scotland Yard Officers have succumbed to the same sin. On the newspaper word of a disaffected partner who doubtless was paid well, Brian Paddick has been removed from his command of Brixton. No confession, no corroboration, really no crime and yet he was moved. Its almost as brutal as being suspended. Now we learnt that a survey showed the public supported his policing style and arrests for heroin and crack cocaine were up. In fact a brilliant breakthrough in a brave groundbreaking experiment. Going soft on hash can save the police millions and free up time for the important work. I reckon we could have done these years ago. Being smug, years ago I wrote an article suggesting the world would not fall apart if cannabis was decriminalised. Its lovely being right. The way Brian Paddick has been treated is not. He should be given a full apology and allowed to get back to his job. I?m no racist but what would Scotland Yard?s finest have done if their commander had been black? Methinks the witch hunt may have been less thorough!

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