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8 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 9 August 2011 in Diary |

Yesterday saw the second night of rioting in London. It originally started in Tottenham after a policeman had been shot at (and being saved by the bullets striking his mobile phone on his chest) he shot back and unfortunately killed the assailant. This is ostensibly was the cause of the riots in the first instance, however it did not take very long before the criminal fraternity realised that this was a unique opportunity started looting the local shops. Diversionary tactics were employed by part of the gang setting fire to buildings and cars whilst their fellow gang members plundered the shops behind. It did not take very long before other gangs decided to take this unique opportunity and so the riots spread to Hackney and surrounding boroughs as well as other cities such as Birmingham and Nottingham. Clearly in these latter cases they are not local people angry at the death of one of their own merely criminal gang taking advantage of the current unrest…

Throughout these proceedings the police were pelted with rocks and stones and other missiles and occasionally with a Molotov cocktail. They were very long suffering and only engaged the rioters using shields and batons. In other countries they would have been mown down or at least scattered by water cannon or tear gas. Why are we so soft in this country? This is pure anarchy and should have been put down, by the Army i necessary, before it escalated. (That is if we have enough army left in this country to deal with such situations) t well over 100 people have now been made homeless as a result of damaging their properties and a large number of businesses have been looted and completely ruined. This, apart from the innocent police who were injured just doing their job in trying to keep the peace.

Not only are we far too soft on these criminals but even the judicature seem now to impose unreasonably light sentences. There was a case yesterday of a young man being murdered by a gang of four-in fact, they murdered the him believing him to be the person involved in some drug activity whereas they got the wrong man, he was entirely innocent – one of the gang beat him with a golf club until the head came off and then used the shaft to stab him to death. On being found guilty the golf club wielder was given a life sentence of 21 years but the other three were only given three-year sentences for violent disorder. In other words they could be released in as little as nine months. Surely they were almost as culpable as the one who wielded the golf club. Why on earth should they get off so lightly?

On the home front Paul came to babysit me as Jane decided it was about time you try to shear her sheep as their coats were virtually hanging off. Jane brought her nephew, Toby, to help round them up and no doubt assist with the shearing. They achieved the task, of shearing these three sheep, after an hour or so. I could not help comparing this with the Australian sheep shearers, who I watched when I was in Australia, who I believe could shear over 200 or so sheep a day, taking something like 2. mins. per animal. I e-mailed the good doctor in Melbourne and asked him for some statistics. He replied Frank Vearing (his late sister Jenny’s husband) who at one time was “The Australian Strong Wool Shearing Champion”. Most shearers in Australia shear between 150-220 adult sheep per day however in New Zealand there are shearers who regularly shear up to 300 sheep per day. Shearing lambs and small sheep is faster and the numbers might be slowed with some merino breeds (wrinkles) and with rams.

These Australian shearers move around from one spread (farm) to another. I suppose why they don’t call them farms is that vast tracts of land-some over 20,000 square miles -for breeding cattle or sheep. Following the annual shear the young men of the family who have, no doubt, worked their socks off at times of the year are usually given a substantial bonus to go into the nearest town, which may be several hundred miles away, and’ let their hair down’

I recall one occasion being in a bar out-back when a group with these young men turned up and after downing a large number of schooners (approximately half a pint) of beer, the inevitable rough and tumble started, breaking furniture and generally knocking the place about. The landlord reasonably complained and one young man asked him how much the places was worth. He then produced from his pocket and role of hundred dollar bills as large as a Swiss roll, peeled off most of it and handed it to the landlord telling him that he would buy the bar from him. Having completed the transaction the fighting continued under new management! This really was not such an unusual event in the outback where young people can be isolated for months on end just working and when they are let out they go a little mad


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