What's All This Then?

commentary on the passing parade

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It’s a continuing saga on this blog - the demise of the Britain I once knew - and particularly its capital city. . Such things as bobbies in turbans - and usually polite English people being beastly.

And on and on it goes. There will be no more Routemaster Double Decker buses traversing London’s winding streets. They’ve given way to more modern vehicles - more accessible for the handicapped.

No more running to catch a moving bus and being able to grab a pole and leap aboard the open entrance. No door to open or close. No more using the learned skill of jumping off a moving bus. (You hold the pole, stand facing the direction the bus is traveling and push off backwards , landing first on your left foot, then your right.) At least that’s the way that I did it. No more conductors calling out "plenty of room upstairs." No more smoking upstairs. Though that disappeared in 1991 when smoking was banned on London’s buses. Maybe I should have known then that their demise was already well under way.

And now we have an American bobbie - if that isn’t an oxymoron - urging that the Metropolitan Police become the gun toting Metropolitan Police!!

Instead of "hello, hello, hello, what’s all this then?’ - officer Ben Johnson wants the London bobby to approach someone who may be involved in criminal activity with "reach you varmint or I’ll fill you full of lead!!!"

Now I’m not saying that Johnson doesn’t have a point. For decades, there was no need for bobbies to carry guns because the type of criminal that they had to face in the course of their duties rarely carried a gun. The bobby’s truncheon, handcuffs and physical strength and skill was usually enough to subdue anyone resisting arrest. And there was that unwritten law that bobbies represented the best of what Britain was all about and were thus deserving of instant respect from everyone. Even the grudging respect of criminals. That may be changing. Despite having one of the most stringent gun laws of any nation, more and more criminals are acquiring and using deadly weapons. Maybe more police should carry guns. Maybe all British police should carry guns.

But there’s more to this story of a "The Yank who Became a Bobby" than his complaint about feeling more at risk on the streets of London than he felt policing the streets in Texas. If he doesn’t get a gun to tote through Westminster or Covent Garden or the East End or whatever part of London he is assigned to protect - he’s going to quit being a bobby and put an end to this fairy tail before Steven Spielberg acquires the rights to the story and signs George Clooney to play the title role. And well he should because he has determined that his fellow bobbies are not just improperly armed - they’re improperly trained!!

Johnson is described as six foot three inches and "razor thin" - but from where I sit, his words and deeds describe him as an "Ugly American" - something that poor old London, which is going downhill anyway - doesn’t need on its streets to hasten its decline. He should take his British bride and go back to protecting the good citizens of Texas. That is if his wife is willing to give up London for Garland, Texas!!!