The Spectator

Feedback | 4 December 2004

Readers respond to recent articles published in The Spectator

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I was horrified at the outright lies that got both the U.S. and Britain into the invasion of Iraq and said that if G.W. were re-elected (not that he won the popular vote the first time) I would leave the country. However, after reading this article, I cannot envision returning to Great Britain.

My God! What has happened to the land of my birth? So resolute and fearless in time of war (I was a child during WWII and not once did I witness hysteria from any adult, whether parent, aunt, uncle, neighbour or teacher) and the same resolve to not be deterred from going about the daily business of living was again displayed during acts of terrorism by the I.R.A. It seems to me that Big Brother government intruded as little as possible.

Have the fear and paranoia that Bush & Co. have instilled into the hearts and minds of the Americans who returned him to office (in the mistaken belief that he would protect them, when in fact his actions have spawned terrorists where there were none) infiltrated British government thinking? Please tell me that it is not so.

No living American had experienced an attack on American soil before 9/11, so one can forgive the resultant shock to the psyche of a nation that thought itself immune. Here, 9/11 is still seen as the ultimate offence, with scant attention being paid to the thousands of Iraqis who have died since the invasion who had nothing to do with 9/11 in the first place. This should not be so in Britain, a nation that has already proven itself unflappable when threatened. The thought of Brits losing their basic rights because of an overreactive and incompetent bureaucracy fills me with anger.

Come on, Brits. We may no longer rule the waves, but we never, never, never shall be slaves!

Valerie Luevano

I agree with your writer's view that we are seeing the emergence of an increasingly overbearing and unnecessary police state. I am a serving police officer myself and must say that we have coped perfectly well in the past without all these new powers.

On the other hand, your writer was certainly committing one criminal offence in having the baton with him in the car. However, I believe that this matter could have been handled much better by the constable in question. Certainly the language used to the writer and the battery at the police station are inexcusable.

I do think, however that the personal comments made about the police officer's appearance (particularly the remark about his weight) were unnecessary and detracted from the objectivity of the piece.

David Keates

I could barely contain my anger at the article about police behaviour on the embankment.

A campaign by the Spectator to fire these uniformed thugs would be well received. It would also send a powerful signal to the many other aggressive, lazy, arrogant and incompetent scum of which the metropolitan force appears to be largely constituted.

I am City-based investment banker, and am furious at having to put up with chippy, swaggering chimps searching my car, simply because they will never be able to afford to buy one like it.

As an ex army officer, I also concur with the point made about the absence of leadership. I can only assume that management of the Met is drawn exclusively from the pond life which it employs to harass tax-paying motorists.

Anyway, here’s a tip for your readers that I've used to good effect in the past. I exaggerate my Scottish accent to ludicrous proportions when stopped. When they react to this (as they invariably do), you simply scream at them for being racist. The Hendon programming then kicks in, and they let you go. Remember, it’s racist if you ‘believe’ it is. The look of terror in their brain-dead, jobsworth eyes when you use the R word is as enjoyable as it is predictable.

Michael Donnelly

Please don't think matters are any different in Amsterdam - under similar circumstances I had the experience of spending the best part of the night in a police cell, being physically assaulted and threatened - when my wife who happens to be a solicitor arrived, she was treated to threats concerning her further career. Later I spoke to an Amsterdam magistrate I ran into at a Christmas party and he had scores of anecdotes like this one.

Should you consider a European project on police behaviour deterioration since 9/11 or such a date I'm your man.

Pieter Kievit
Amsterdam