It's time to end two-tier policing

Woman knocked down by police at an anti lockdown protest in September (Getty Images)

By Derek W Gardiner

The Conservative government's new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill is a serious threat to liberty, it has the potential to impose 10-year sentences on those who merely cause "annoyance" at protests. I am glad the Labour opposition has finally grown a backbone and is voting against it. I, like many others, was appalled at the way the police treated the women who gathered to remember the murder of Sarah Everard and it has raised many questions about the policing of protests in this country and highlighted the fact that we now have a two-tier policing approach.

If your cause is considered worthy by the powers that be then the police will leave you alone but if you are protesting an unworthy cause then the police will come down hard. It's been established in the past 12 months that an exception to the tyrannical rules against mass gatherings can be made if you want to protest for Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter or celebrate your team winning the league and I wholeheartedly support their right to peacefully gather under any circumstances, however, those who protested for the return of their fundamental freedoms for several weeks back in the autumn were charged at by police with batons. When news of this spread on social media, many people on the political left sided with the police and branded those who protested as "covidiots" who "knew the risk", one commentator even said they were glad to see "gammons getting some sense knocked into them" if they had said something similar about a black lives matter protest it's likely their account would have been permanently removed and they may even have been investigated under hate crime legislation. The more extreme commentators suggested they be sprayed with permanent dye so that they could be denied NHS treatment if they needed it.

What those who cheer on the police dispersing anti lockdown protests found out on Saturday was that it wouldn't stop there you don't get to pick and choose how the police will respond and their treatment of protestors on Saturday shows they do not regard a peaceful gathering to remember a murdered woman as a worthy cause. There must be some accountability for the police, I am not someone who believes the police should be defunded or abolished but I believe they must be localised and accountable to their community as they were in the past.

The metropolitan police has turned into a politically correct bureaucratised machine that has lost touch with the community that it is supposed to serve. Not only should Dame Cressida Dick resign but the metropolitan police should be broken up and each of the 32 London burghs is given its own independent constabulary, the same must happen with Police Scotland which should never have existed in the first place.

The source of all this is the governments emergency powers under the Coronavirus Act and Coronavirus Regulations 2020 which again come for review at the end of this month, if Labour is serious about protecting the right to peaceful protest them they will vote to repeal these hated and draconian laws. This should be a wake-up call to all those on the left and right that if you give the government power it is much harder to get them to give it up. We, as a society, need to put our foot down and send a message to the government that these restrictions on gatherings must go and the right to peaceful protest be restored pandemic or no pandemic.

The last quality journalist has left the building

Piers Morgan storms out of a debate on GMB

Piers Morgan is a political oddity in that he doesn't really fit into any tribe. On the one hand, he supports hard lockdowns and draconian restrictions for coronavirus and the black lives matter protests last year but he also stood up for the legacy of Winston Churchill against Green MSP Ross Greer and brilliantly dismantled the arguments that there were one hundred genders by self-identifying as a "neutriod penguin" as well as opposing the illegal Iraq war. But it seems he crossed the line by questioning the narrative of a multi-millionaire attention seeker named Meghan Markle, someone I have little time for when she is trying to discredit the royal family. After storming out of a debate with the weatherman on the subject he decided to quit the show rather than apologise for something people found offensive and good on him.

He was the last bastion of good journalism on mainstream television, all that's left now are woke non-entities, so is it any wonder that GMB viewing figures have sunk through the floor and ITV has reportedly lost millions. I remember growing up watching and listening to excellent presenters and journalists on the BBC such as Andrew Neil, David Dimbleby and Sir Terry Wogan, now all we are left with are a small circle of elite presenters who I couldn't name because they all look and sound the same and propagate the same woke narrative.

The launch of GB News can't come soon enough and since Piers Morgan and Nigel Farage both quit their jobs in the same week, it looks like they could be joining Andrew Neil in the lineup of presenters and perhaps they can make TV presenting great again.