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Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 12 Jan 2013, 1:55pm
by thirdcrank
In the meantime, I forgot to mention that if Matthew Parris had been out indulgng his strange sense of humour, the chief patrician might have been splitting his sides, and not with laughing.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 7:40am
by skidd

Could you point us too the forum guidelines please? Hope I'm not missing the obvious again. I know there will have been some before I ticked a box to sign up, but like lots of people I don't always read these things. perhaps we should.


Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 1:37pm
by Vorpal
skidd wrote:Vorpal,

Could you point us too the forum guidelines please?


Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 14 Jan 2013, 8:59pm
by Vorpal
This thread has been trimmed. Please don't revisit the posts that have been removed.

Thanks for understanding.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 1:07am
by skidd
Vorpal. This is ridiculous. By taking down the good and bad points which all contributors have made you have belittled the time and thought that they have made, but perhaps more sinister, denied readers the right to be informed, bored, upset, whatever, critically form opinions which might make the world a better place. That that coincides with cycling is particularly counter productive.

The title of this thread is Andrew Mitchell MP, and you have reduced it holiday anecdotes that may be insightful and hilarious, but have nothing to do with the topic.

Rest assured, Unless the posts, offensive or not are put back up (providing they do not contravene any of the stated rules, and, if they do, those stated rules are applied consistently throughout the entire forum) I will cancel my life membership of the CTC, and you will lose one of your few members actually qualified in Transport.

I would ask any readers fresh to this to be assured that all my posts were fair, and that some by those I argued with were not.

It is most disheartening to try to illustrate a point with people, to propose it without swearing, without shouting and without threatening, who block their ears and started humming. This is the written equivalent.
Shame on you.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 6:24am
by Vorpal
The thread had long since ceased to be about Andrew Mitchell.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 8:32am
by skidd

How do we know?

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 9:42am
by Si
The situation is this: the forum has a set of rules that everyone signs up to when they join. If the rules are broken then at the least the post containing the offending material can be removed, and if the rules continue to be broken then the offending poster can be removed. I'm sure that you'll agree that this is fair enough so far.

The problem comes when the rules are broken over a number of posts, which may or may also contain information that does not break rules and could be interesting to other readers. In the ideal world a moderator would just go through it all, line by line, removing the offending material and leaving the potentially OK material. But this is not an ideal world... the moderators are all volunteers that do everything on their own time, and you would not believe how long it takes to sort through a thread and dissect it in small detail to make sure that only the offensive bits are removed, and then to record what has happened, archive the changes, let people know why things have changed, field the complaints by those that have a different interpretation of the rules, etc etc. A thread like this can easily see half a day of someone's time disappearing just on the first pass...time that could have been spent earning money to keep your family fed and sheltered, or even out on the bike.

Thus, quite often there is collateral damage....things are removed that might not have broken rules but are in the same post as offensive material or associated with it. Doing this means that the moderators waste less of their time. It also gives forum users the incentive not to break rules in the future...don't risk having your whole, long, carefully crafted post removed by including something in it that breaks the rules. Go out of your way to make sure that you stay within the rules and it'll save everyone time and effort. If in doubt then err on the side of caution or ask before posting.

As for cashing in memberships - well that's the individual member's choice, but I'm thinking that they must be a member of the CTC because it brings them some benefit so it would be a bit like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face if anyone leaves over something like this. As far as the forum staff are concerned, we are, as stated, volunteers (with no link to the membership department) so it's not going to have any impact on us.

Now I'm sure that someone will take issue with some of this post, but I've read through the posts that were removed and I have to say that the forum hasn't lost anything of great value but there was plenty of pettiness and game playing in there. I believe Vorpal has been very patient considering the complaining, some moderators would have just binned off the whole thing :wink:

The moderators have discussed this and are happy with the moderation that has occurred. As DMC said, "It's like that and that's the way it is". Complains may be addressed directly to National Office. Can any further additions to this thread be about the original topic please.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 2:37pm
by TonyR
I'm amazed that anyone thinks posts here and in other fora are other than ephemeral and deserve preservation for posterity. Will people really go trawling back through the archives to enlighten themselves on Andrew Mitchell or will it be like yesterday's newspaper, read by a few at the time but soon forgotten?

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 3:22pm
by skidd
Tony R.

Bit off topic, nevertheless, both threads on censorship have been closed, and I don't want to start a third one so - apologies for using this one, if anyone could direct me to a more appropriate place for answering your questions I would appreciate it

You say

Will people really go trawling back through the archives to enlighten themselves on Andrew Mitchell..



or will it be like yesterday's newspaper, read by a few at the time but soon forgotten?

Yes and No. It will be read by a few, it will be soon forgotten by most. People may wish to reference it in the future. Newspapers are preserved by the proprietors and the local libraries to enable this, and provide a resource valued by many. I would like that to be a further communality between the two media.

Hope that answers your questions, although given the latter's analogous nature it may be considered a little fuzzy.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 4:13pm
by BeeKeeper
As Si has asked we return to the original question I will give it a bash - albeit I may be adding fuel to the fire.

Why would the police prefer a cyclist to leave Downing St by a pedestrian gate rather than a vehicle gate? I would suggest because of the threat from suicide car bombers. If they open the gate for a car the car leaving or entering will act as a buffer if someone tried to ram their car past it. However, a cyclist would be no obstacle and the bomber could simply run over them and even if the gate was not fully open the speed of the ramming car would soon open it and then the bomber would be inside Downing St. It wouldn't matter if they didn't get very far before being taken out because even if they only managed to get in a few yards before setting off their bomb it would achieve the effect they would be after.

The way to stop this is to use a double barrier - open the first one, let vehicle in and then close it before opening the second, but I don't remember seeing anything like that the last time I was there - which was so long ago the encumbent PM smoked a cigar and liked a tipple IIRC.

Even if there are little magic bollards sliding out of the ground to act as obstacles (which there probably are) it does not alter the fact that when you are guarding a high profile target as a rule of thumb you only open the defences as far as they need to go to achieve entry or exit - hence bikes should use the pedestrian gate in Downing Street. The idea of controlling access by the use of narrow sections to avoid an enemy stampeding in dates back to medieval castles and beyond. It is a principle which has stood the test of time.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 4:37pm
by Graham
Downing Street - there is a vehicle barrier between the gate and No.10 . . .. . . . .. ... th-it.html

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 4:51pm
by thirdcrank
It's a long time ago now (based on the saying that a week is a long time in politics) but I first posted about gategate on this thread about armed police (before this thread was started.)


BeeKeeper wrote: ... dates back to medieval castles and beyond. It is a principle which has stood the test of time.

An important point which fits in with one of the things I've been trying to say all along. If it's necessary to turn Downing Street into some sort of stronghold or fortified place, then let's be open about it. Castles have sentries - or they did in medieval times and providing sentries is a military job, especially if they are going to be armed. I've read at least one article from a military/ security pundit about gategate explaining that the conduct and demeanour of sentries is a pretty good indicator of the discipline and morale of a regiment or whatever. By his reckoning, the sentries in Downing Street were a slovenly bunch. Fair enough but if you want armed guards doing the "Yes, Sir, No Sir" routine, then the police of England and Wales won't be the best place to turn. If you want bobbies on bicycles two by two, you can't have changing guard at Buckingham Palace.

If we don't want terrorists (or even people disturbing the prime minister's photo opportunities) getting anywhere near Downing Street, then the general public won't be able to stand for souvenir pics on the steps of No 10 either. My understanding is that legislation is in place to allow streets to be gated for counter-terrorism purposes. Let's use it here, and within the needs of confidentiality to prevent terrorist attacks, let's have clear rules for the sentries.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 5:18pm
by meic
Times may have changed since I was in the military but actually we were not very good at doing civilian things. I never had the joys of Northern Ireland but where interactions with the civilian population at secure premises were likely on the mainland, it was generally given to the MOD Police rather than soldiers.

I think this is Police work not Army work.

Re: Andrew Mitchell MP

Posted: 15 Jan 2013, 5:59pm
by thirdcrank
Mention of the Ministry of Defence Police (which isn't a "Home Office" force, so a lot of things are different apart from the police uniform) takes me down memory lane (It happened well over 30 years ago, so I don't think I'm threatening national security.)

I had to drive my boss - the sub-divisional superintendent (silver braid round neb) - to a liaison meeting with the police officer i/c at a local MOD establishment. When we reached the gate, the MOD policeman there was very respectful, with plenty of the "Yes Sir, No Sir" but as my boss remarked to me after we had been allowed in, "I'd better start wearing larger earrings."

Although she tended to promote the battle-axe image, my boss at the time was very obviously a woman.

I've no doubt there's some constitutional problem with my army plan. Also down memory lane, I remember even further back when the former Viscount Stansgate, none other that Mr (An)Tony (Wedgewood-)Benn, in his capacity as minister i/c nuclear energy created the Nuclear Energy Authority Police (I may have the name wrong) to guard all the toxic nuclear stuff, including movements of waste etc. In an age when arming the police was a lot more controversial than it is today, IIRC, its members were routinely armed.

In the best political tradition, I'll propose the Third Way. A separate police force for all those protection jobs. I'd still say that if we are going to treat Downing Street as a castle along the lines suggested by Beekeeper, then it needs to be on a statutory basis.