Sorry seems to be the easiest word…

You know those weirdos that are often hanging around railway stations? The ones that look like they still live with their Mother and are always scribbling into their little notebooks? Well they’re the British Transport Police (BTP). They’re exactly the same as regular cops. Same powers of arrest, rank structure, pension – everything the same. Actually not everything – they’re not as systematically racist as regular cops because it’s more difficult to stop search a train. (It’s okay some of these are jokes )

On 10th July 2020 the Guardian newspaper printed a story about a potentially offensive T-shirt.

I was going to send this Plod Blog in as a direct response to the article – but I sent in my piece on a police perspective in respect of the death of George Floyd and they wouldn’t print that and so I doubt they’ll consider printing a police perspective on this story either. Quite right too. Who wants to know what those whiny, pointy-headed, flat-foots think?

On June 3rd this year Jessie-Lu Flynn was in Oxford Circus, on her way back from a Black Lives Matter rally in company with a friend, when she was stopped by two British Transport Police officers. Jessie-Lu Flynn is white and so I’ve no idea what they were playing at. (Relax, I’m still joking).

Anyhow, one of the police officers pointed out that the slogan on the T-shirt she was wearing could be considered offensive to some people.

Now the T-shirt had the two-word slogan ‘F*ck Boris’. Which I believe was meant to be an insult rather than one of the goals on her bucket list. I’ve abbreviated the word, because I’m not a sweary type, but have included the picture that appeared in the Guardian for the sake of clarity.

So anyway, one of the police officers pointed out a possible offence under the Public Order Act 1986.

I believe that the officer was referring to Section 5.1(b), which relates to someone who: “displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening or abusive, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

Once this was pointed out to Jessie-Lu Flynn she replied: “I’ve worn it a dozen times before without being challenged by the police”

In my experience that’s quite an unusual defence. When I’ve arrested shoplifters it’s not very often they say “I come in here and steal cheese twice a week every week and no one’s ever complained before.” Neither have I been told “I always drive at excessive speeds when passing primary schools” nor “I’ve murdered loads of people before…” You get the idea!

Incidentally, if Boris Johnson does make wearing of masks in retail premises compulsory I bet all the shoplifters will be shouting a muffled “YIPPEEEEE!”

So anyway, back to Jessie-Lu Flynn and her allegedly ‘offensive’ T-shirt. The cop said “I think you should zip up your top to cover it up” and so she did.

All sorted then? Not quite…

Following the incident Flynn did what any upright citizen would do: Uploaded onto YouTube a video of the incident (shot on her friend’s mobile) to go viral. Followed by features in Unilad, Metro and the Daily Mail. The video shows the officer being very polite and patient. In fact he’s so helpful that he even looks up the specific offence on his mobile device and shows her the exact wording.

Flynn then decided to launch legal process against BTP arguing that the police actions interfered with her right to express her legitimate political opinions.

No one likes protracted political statements, and as a comedian I’m a fan of the editing process to help create incisive satire, but even I reckon that ‘F*CK BORIS’ it’s probably a smidgen lacking in content to be considered legitimate political opinion. In the same way that if the Guardian theatre critic stood up at the end of my performance and gave me the middle finger – I’d get an idea they wasn’t keen but probably wouldn’t class it as a legitimate review.

I’m no prude. I’ve lived through the 80’s which means I’ve seen more risqué Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirts than you can shake a stick at. But if my 95-year-old mother-in-law had walked past Jessie-Lu Flynn wearing the T-shirt in question I’m pretty certain that she would’ve found the swear word displayed to be abusive and it would have caused her some alarm and probably even distress. Regardless of the context, political or otherwise.

With that in mind, Flynn’s legal action struck me as a little over-the-top and all a bit daft to be honest. Perhaps like me, many of you were fully expected Paul Crowther the Chief Constable of BTP, to write a reply something on the lines of:

“Dear Ms Flynn,

Thank you for your correspondence. But you must be joking! It’s my job to uphold the law and help maintain some standards of public decency.

I believe that the officer concerned was very reasonably and sensible in his interpretation of the Public Order Act and was very polite and professional to you. Moreover, as a senior leader it is my responsibility to support my staff when they are acting appropriately and in accordance with their duty, especially so when they are currently under attack from a targeted, cynically motivated, negative media campaign and police morale is at an all-time low.

All things considered I’m backing my cops. I will not cave in to police-baiting and pedantic point scoring designed simply to discredit our organisation. I’ll fight this all the way and if needs be we’ll let the High Court decide on the legal ruling,

Have a nice day,

Paul Crowther

PS Please remember to dress sensibly, especially as it starts to get a bit cooler”.

That’s what we all expected right? Wrong! Instead, one of our fearless leaders reverted to what seems to rapidly becoming their default position and Jessie-Lu Flynn received a letter of apology on behalf of the Chief Constable of British Transport Police. Informing her that the instruction to cover her T-shirt, and the brief detention to give that direction, were unlawful.

His letter also apologised for any distress caused. Because clearly having someone say – “Do us a favour and zip up your top please” is very distressing to a hardened political activist…

I bet when Jessie-Lu got home her Mom asked: “Oh dear why are you so upset? Did those nasty, fascist cops kettle you in Parliament Square for 6 hours? Did the Met’s TSG riot police ram their plastic shields in your face? Did the mounted section carry out long-handled baton charges?”

“No, a BTP copper asked me to zip up my cardie.”

According to the Guardian article the letter from BTP also gives an undertaking that “the wearing of the T-shirt alone will not lead to her arrest or any direction to cover it”.

Looks like I’d better tell my 95-year-old mother-in-law to either man-up and stop being such an oversensitive wimp or stay in her house where she can’t come to any harm?  

Now I have no doubt that Paul Crowther gave his written response some careful consideration. I’d expect that he liaised with BTP legal team and lawyers before sending that letter and my response to that is:

I DON’T CARE! Let the courts make the ruling not you.

Back up your staff when a complex rule of law arises in the middle of them trying to do a good job for you – don’t hang them out to dry. Don’t humiliate them. Don’t help set a precedent that’s just made every street cop’s job considerably more difficult. Don’t cave in and take the easy way out – be a Chief Constable and put up a bit of a fight. (This is me not joking now ).

“Yeah but Alfie what about the expenditure and the responsibility to the public purse?” Yeah well, what about the quickly fading motivation and morale of every hard-working police officer in this country?

Jessie-Lu Flynn welcomed the police apology and admission the police had acted unlawfully towards her. “I’m thrilled,” she said. “Now I can be confident that I can wear the T-shirt without fear of arrest.”

Jolly good then. I’d guess you’re going to be wearing it quite a lot now. I’m sure there’s thousands already on order. People can now point them towards every cop they see and don’t forget to film if you get any more ‘bites’.  

Why don’t you pop into the local Woman’s Institute Meeting – the old dears might give you a round of applause? What about wearing it for church on Sunday and if the vicar objects you can tell him to “f*ck off” as long as you add the word Tory afterwards then he’s not lawfully allowed to be offended. And if he objects you can show him the letter of proof you have from Chief Constable Paul Crowther.

Flynn’s lawyers, Joanna Khan and Michael Oswald at Bhatt Murphy solicitors released this statement:

“This should serve as a strong reminder to police officers that the freedom to express political opinion, and to criticise politicians, is fundamental to a free and democratic society, and that invoking the criminal law to limit that freedom will be unacceptable and unlawful in all but the most extreme circumstances.”

Any perverts out there with a propensity for indecent exposure must be very excited by this news. Perhaps the next time they find themselves walking down a busy street, gripping their genitalia firmly in hand, as long as they remember to shout “Boris is a wanker” it will probably qualify as a political statement. I certainly know of a good firm of solicitors who may be able to assist if they have a run in with the rozzers. 

Hopefully you’ve managed to read this blog quickly before I get a letter instructing me to take it down and apologise for its contents.

In fact I will finish with an apology. To the conscientious, proactive BTP officer who dealt with Jessie-Lu Flynn very courteously and professionally – I would like to say that I’m sorry about the lack of support you’ve received – it’s pretty sad my friend.

That’s all from me. I’m off to order my Mother-in-law a bespoke T-shirt. Let me know if you’ve any suggestions for the slogan?

 

 

 

Policing – as easy as ABC?

On Monday 25th May 2020, Derek Chauvin took the life of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was a shocking thing to see and, like many others, I’ve spent the last few weeks doing a lot of reflecting on what happened – trying to make sense of it…

Did Derek Chauvin intend to take the life of George Floyd? With a street full of witnesses looking on, not to mention audio video recordings and no reasonable defence to be had, there would be no logic whatsoever in him doing so.

So if he didn’t intend for George Floyd to die then why would he casually, hands-in-pockets, ignore a man pleading for his life? The answer couldn’t be any simpler – because when George Floyd repeatedly gasped the words “I can’t breathe”, Derek Chauvin did not believe him.

A police officer not believing someone’s plea for life isn’t a great defence. It means that they are culpable. Very culpable. Maybe not for premeditated murder but there’s little doubt that Derek Chauvin will be convicted of unlawful killing and be sent to prison for a very long time.

For me the big question is why did Derek Chauvin disbelieve George Floyd?

Many people think the answer is that Chauvin is a racist and/or the organisation he worked for is systemically racist. I too feel that those could well be contributory factors to the actions and inaction of the police officers present that day – but I also think there may be other factors at play within the policing world that highlight a deep-rooted culture of institutionalised cynicism.

I was an impressionable 24 year old young man when I joined the police. Prior to that I’d been hidden away as an apprentice in the Sheffield steelworks and had led a pretty sheltered life. After my initial training I can remember turning up at Skegness Police Station all keen, bright and shiny. On my very first day an old-timer frontline veteran took me on one side and offered to give me his sage advice. Of course I accepted – in fact I lapped it up. He leaned forward, lowered his voice to a whisper and said: “If you want to be a good cop always remember the ABC of policing. Assume nothing. Believe no one. Confirm everything.”

This was an early indication that police officers are encouraged to have a suspicious mind-set. All coppers are bastards? Definitely not. All coppers are cynical? Definitely maybe.

Don’t get me wrong, this deep-rooted cynicism is not as bad as it used to be. When I first joined if a woman walked into the police station to report being raped it would not be uncommon for the on-duty Detective Sergeant to put the ABC of good policing into practice by shouting at the victim in order to test the robustness of her evidence. Sounds shocking doesn’t it? But that stuff used to happen.

We have tried to be more trusting. In fact some years ago police policy makers introduced a total turnaround – an investigative policy where our starting point was from a position of believing the victim. That’s another dangerous game to play as Carl Beech highlighted when we rather embarrassingly fell for his fairy stories about the perverted exploits of high level Members of Parliament.  

I believe that the police as an organisation needs to seriously think about how we can encourage a culture of non-judgmental open-mindedness. However, to achieve this utopia of cynical-free policing there is another major issue that needs addressing and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s a massive problem – a street copper’s sceptical distrusting model of the world is reinforced constantly by the public at large because the public at large lie to them all day and every day.

Within a few years of joining the police I had become totally desensitised to hearing lies. Dishonesty and distortion of the truth became my workaday ‘normal’. The constant flow of lies endorse, encourage and validate a copper’s suspicious mind-set.  

They usually came from the mouth of defendants but also sometimes, witnesses and ‘victims’ giving their personalised version of the truth – ask Carl Beech.

And don’t look for racial discrimination here. When it comes to lying to the police there is no bigotry, bias or prejudice – it’s a very level playing field – almost everybody does it. Black, white, male, female, working class, middle-class and well-off Government personal advisors – everybody.

Replies on arrest of “It’s a fair cop guv you got me bang to rights” went out of fashion with Dixon of Dock Green. I’ve shown shoplifters clear and undeniable CCTV evidence of them stealing items and even then they’ve responded “Nah I didn’t do it”. Sometimes it was a nice change to have a ‘no comment’ interview so I could have a break from listening to their lies.

Why do they do that? That’s easy – because they can. There is no penalty, no price to pay. We, the police, instantly forgive and forget all the lies and timewasting we’ve just endured. It’s extremely rare they will be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. But isn’t that exactly what lying to a police officer is?

And if I sound cynical it’s because I am. That’s my point really. I wasn’t at all cynical when I first joined the police. I was full of positivity and wanted to right all the wrongs in the world. So what happened? People lied to me. A lot.

It’s very common for a detainee to feign discomfort, perhaps complaining that the officer is assaulting them. “You’re hurting me” “I’ve got a bad arm/leg/back/wrist/shoulder…” The scale of this behaviour is often directly proportionate to the number of bystanders and number of iPhones recording the event.

Once in a police vehicle it’s common for a prisoner to complain “These handcuffs are too tight”. I would always check by slipping my little finger between the handcuff and the detainee’s wrist. They would usually be properly applied and double-locked, meaning they cannot self-tighten, and if not I’d quickly adjust. I’ve then watched dozens of times as the detainee bends their wrists deliberately against the metal cuff to cause red markings on their wrists. They can then show these marks to the Custody Sergeant to ‘prove’ the cuffs were on too tight. The Sergeant will record the ‘injury’ whilst unconcernedly rolling their eyes because it’s a trick they see every single day and three times every Friday and Saturday late shift. It’s just another form of lie.

But that’s a million miles away from Minneapolis, Minnesota, isn’t it?

No, not really because there have also been occasions when prisoners have collapsed in front of cops here in the UK and the police officers present have nonchalantly watched them die. Because they were cold-blooded psychopaths? No, because these cynical coppers had seen the scenario played out many times before. They didn’t believe them. They’d all had prisoners scream “You’re hurting me” when they hadn’t been hurt. They’d all had detainees say “I can’t breathe” when they could breathe perfectly well. I myself have heard that said many times.

But don’t think for one minute that I’m trying to defend Derek Chauvin. Let me assure you I have absolutely NO sympathy for him. He had had a duty of care to his detainee. A responsibility to carry out a dynamic risk assessment, which means checking he was using the minimum force necessary. Checking the detainee was safe, not in a dangerous position and not showing signs deteriorating health.

I’ve seen plenty of people on social media claiming “If you really can’t breathe then you can’t speak”. I’ve no idea if that’s true but in any case it’s a complete red herring inasmuch as there’s very little difference between someone saying “I can’t breathe” and saying “I’m having difficulty breathing” – both require an immediate risk assessment rather than a grammar check… 

Derek Chauvin failed in his duty of care and in doing so made the job of police officers all over the world much more difficult and dangerous for many years to come.

Do I hold George Floyd in anyway culpable for the events that followed? Absolutely not. Once he became a compliant prisoner he had every right to expect his safety was guaranteed.

However, I do point an accusing finger at every prisoner before George Floyd that lied to Chauvin. Every one that feigned injury, every one that said “You’re hurting me” when they were unharmed and every single one that said “I can’t breathe” when actually they could breathe fine. I hold them all personally responsible for helping create and reinforce the cynicism that Derek Chauvin harboured.

I believe the UK police are the finest in the world. But we do need to address our institutionalised cynicism and the system needs to support us in that culture change. There’s no difference between lying to a police officer and lying to a judge. We’re both servants of the crown trying to uphold the laws of the land. Let’s make lying to a police officer an offence of perjury and let’s use it.

Maybe that’s setting the bar a little high. Busy cops having to prove additional offences to charging standard – that’s a big ask. Could we instead put the onus on our courts? I know that we already have credits given to defendants for early guilty pleas – but what about sentencing guidance to incorporate benefits for being honest with cops from the outset and serious consequences for not doing so?

We need to find a way to change behaviours. We need to stop normalising dishonesty – it’s helping to perpetuate the institutionalised cynicism within frontline policing.

And many will say that cynicism is justified because it’s the most effective way of policing criminality. That could well be true. Maybe that’s exactly what the public want – and we police by consent in the UK . The police are public servants and the community are entitled to have any policing style they choose. But who knows? The choice may be out with the cynical old ABC and instead let’s All Be the Change.

 

 

 

 

 

Corona Lockdown Diary – Week 3

Sunday March 29th

I’m pleased to report that my wife’s ‘fear of running out of bread’ phobia has now been replaced with ‘fear of missing Tipping Point’

‘What time is Tipping Point on?’

‘The usual time’

‘Have you recorded Tipping Point?’

‘Yes’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes’

In less pressing news the police, so far, have been very tolerant of those failing to social distance. The official Coronavirus policing policy defined by the ‘Four E’s’:

  • Engage
  • Explain
  • Encourage
  • Enforce

Personally I think that it’s gone on long enough and if I stopped a driver who said: ‘I’m absolutely fine to travel 50 miles for a daily seaside walk because I’m not showing any symptoms.’ I’d be tempted to give them a three second blast of pepper spray and enquire: ‘What about now?’

I mean it must be annoying for the thin blue line when people are jamming their phone lines with sensible questions like: ‘Can I go out for a second walk if I’m dressed as a dog?’

I tuned in to the daily Coronavirus briefing to see that they’d wheeled out the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick. As usual, salivating number-hunting journos kept repeatedly asking: ‘how long will the lockdown last?’ His co-host Dr Jenny Harris momentarily let her guard slip and actually answered!

‘It might be 3 to 6 months’.…The journalists all responded with frenzied scribbling and you could see in her eyes the dawning realisation that she’d walked into the trap, especially as Jenrick could be seen in the background palm-slapping his own forehead!

Sure enough the very next day….

Monday March 30th

‘6 MONTHS OF LOCKDOWN!’ is the headline news. When did journalists decide their job was to ‘create the news’ rather than report the news?

And it was also time for the mainstream media to stick the boot into the police. It’s really not been too difficult to predict the news cycle:

  • Week 1: Print news about ‘idiots’ breaching social distancing rules
  • Week 2: Demand that the police take positive action
  • Week 3: Print stories about ‘draconian policing’ and/or ‘bungling cops’ (rinse and repeat)

The papers were full of stories of police drones pestering dog walkers and police searching people’s shopping bags for Easter Eggs. You should not be going out for Easter eggs as they are non-essential items.

Should you choose to defy these instructions can you pick me up one of those Cadbury Twirl ones?

Now I’m sure some of this stuff is fake news – although let me tell you that there are a sprinkling of ‘no common sense’ cops out there. Not so much on the streets, to be fair, because the really stupid ones tend to get promoted to senior management and put in offices with their name on the door.

Here’s the thing – coppers don’t want to be the shop police. They’re policing robustly because that’s the order from the Home Office. Instead of hanging our police out to dry let’s have the Home Secretary do today’s Corona briefing to give clarity to public and police. Not wishy washy terminology but clear instruction…

I switched on the Coronavirus briefing in eager anticipation but no Priti Patel, instead Dominic Raab. The most interesting thing was the sudden very abrupt end – he didn’t so much wrap it up seamlessly as suddenly swivel around on the spot and walk away…”hello, hello… Dominic… Dominic…where’s Dominic gone?”

How bizarre!

Tuesday March 31st

Had a nice early walk and returned to find the press still plod bashing for policing social distancing robustly. It seems the UK boys and girls in blue can’t win and they’ll be criticised either way, whilst in contrast social media is full of clips of Italian police singing merrily in the street.

I think that ‘Policing Coronavirus’ would make a great ‘It’s A Fair Cop’ show. It’s got all the required ingredients – everyone’s got a view, there are consequences for every decision and there’s no right answer!

The phone rang and it was the Home Secretary Priti Patel. She’d been made aware of my tweets challenging her to take some responsibility and ordered me to come and see her directly for a bollocking. Fortunately I’ve already had my daily walk and that would not be considered essential travel.

Time for the tea-time Coronavirus briefing and it’s okay – everyone can relax Michael Gove is back! And at this point can I say well done to Robert Peston for the longest question asked in the history of television broadcasts? I’ve had full tour shows that were shorter!

Tonight’s journos were interested in testing or rather lack of and the response was Gove using the term ‘ramping up’ like the needle was stuck.

I’d never heard the term ‘ramping up’ a fortnight ago. I’ve ‘stepped up’, ‘damped down’ and ‘rolled out’ before but I’ve never ‘ramped up’! But all of a sudden everybody seems to be ramping up all day every day!

It seems to be that if you’ve promised to deliver but you’re woefully short of where you need to be and the media are attacking you then you can just hide under the term ‘ramping up’ like it’s a Klingon cloaking shield.

The good news is that today’s Tipping Point was very exciting and a lady won the £10,000 jackpot on the very last counter.

Wednesday April 1st

An email lands from Scotland informing that the iconic Edinburgh Fringe Festival will not be going ahead this year. Great shame, including for me as I was booked to go up this year, but very sensible. Many comedians have been unexpectedly thrown into financial hardship recently and well done to the Fringe for refunding their application fees.

My income comes from tour shows and corporate work all of which has been postponed for the foreseeable future. Thank heavens that I kept my old police badge so I’ve been able to dish out on-the-spot social distancing fines. And for those of you worrying that I’ll be breaching any rules – it’s OK I’m using one of these to collect the cash.

The Coronavirus briefing was a bit of a damp squib with Alok Sharma unashamedly batting most of the questions off to Dr Yvonne Doyle and more of the same wishy washy waffle.

Conversely President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines was much more direct with his ‘ramping up’ policy – anyone in the Philippines that ignores social distancing rules will be shot dead in the street! Don’t panic though, the Philippines are a week ahead of us with the virus – rest assured this tactic will not be rolled-out in the UK for the next 7 days. I suppose we could tag that on as the fifth ‘E’?   

Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce … Execute.

Thursday April 2nd

I realise that it’s wrong for me to dish out unofficial on-the-spot social distancing fines to subsidise my income and so instead today I managed to find my old police jacket and decide to seize Easter eggs from anyone that looks a bit dodgy. (The uniform still just about fits but probably won’t do by the end of the day..)

The first grab went okay – once I’d explained the importance of ‘essential shopping only’ the 9-yr-old handed over his Smarties Egg – although his younger sister but up a bit of a fight…

Friday April 3rd 

Episode 2 of my BBC Radio 4 show, about privacy, aired. I can’t help but listen with a critical ear but I was pleased with it.

On television every man and his dog seem to be doing their own presenting from home. Although I’m tempted to start my own home online broadcast I can’t because I don’t have a bookcase to sit in front of…

In the interests of balance – given that I’ve been critical of some of the waffly rambling bollocks at UK Daily Coronavirus briefings, credit where it’s due, I thought Professor Jonathan Van Tam was superb tonight. Just tells it like it is. More of this please

Saturday March 4th

Today’s news theme is ‘face masks’. Should we? Shouldn’t we? I get the reluctance around advising people to wear them. You know what some folk are like – the sun will come out this weekend, they’ll grab a face-mask, head for the seaside and forget social distancing.

Donald Trump has said that he will not be following US medical advice to wear a face-mask as he thinks the tan lines would look ridiculous.

 

Congratulations to the new Labour Party leader. If the name Keir Starmer sounds familiar to you it’s because he was Luke Skywalker’s uncle in Star Wars.

 

One of the Coronavirus conspiracy theories is that 5G radio signals are spreading COVID-19 and consequently news breaks that 5G masks have been torched in Birmingham and Liverpool.

Can I ask for anyone who believes that 5G spreads Coronavirus to help social distancing measures by wearing this official believer ‘T-shirt’..

 

I switch on the daily briefing but just switched it off again – life’s too short for Michael Gove twice in one week.

And while we’re talking about dafties I think I’ve found someone dafter than Trump: The Belarusian football league has kicked off with more than 3,000 spectators. President Alexander Lukashenko labelled coronavirus ‘a psychosis that can be fought with vodka, saunas and driving tractors’.

Ridiculous! Everyone knows it’s vodka, saunas and Tipping Point!

Until next time… stay safe out there.

Alfie x

Alfie’s Corona Lockdown Diary – Week 2

Sunday 22nd March

My latest BBC Radio 4 series IT’S A FAIR COP re-starts later this week. Hard to believe that this is ‘Series 5’, although I might go all Americano and start saying ‘Season 5’ as that sounds really cool.

I discover that the show is Pick of the Week in the Mail on Sunday and the Times – these posh folk love a bit of rough don’t they? I have to admit in all those years rolling about the pavement with aggressive drunken types outside Club 2000 in Scunthorpe I occasionally doubted that one day I’d be the radio programme of choice in the Sunday Times Culture magazine.

In other news the Prime Minister tells me that I can only have one walk (or other outdoor exercise) a day.

Monday 23rd March

My wife and I start the day with a nice walk. By the afternoon I begin to think I may have a problem with authority as I never have more than one walk a day, but on the very first day the Prime Minister tells me that I can only have one walk a day I now want a second walk more than anything I’ve EVER wanted in my life!

My wife (who also has a problem with authority) and I discuss the pros and cons of flouting the law and going out in disguise for a second walk… (the rest of this paragraph has been shortened in order to avoid incriminating myself)

The PM has taken on board the fact that the daily Coronavirus briefings are getting a bit repetitive and so the rumour is that tonight Theresa May and Michael Gove will be paying tribute to the passing of Kenny Rogers by singing a duet of Islands in the Stream accompanied by Boris on spoons.

Sadly, these were just rumours as there was no singing, no spoons and no Boris…

Tuesday 24th March

People are handling social isolation in different ways and I’ve no idea what the specific phobia: ‘fear of running out of bread’ is called but my wife seems to have it pretty bad.

Consequently I find myself cutting large amounts of mould off the Paul Hollywood part-bake rolls (that I found on top of the kitchen cupboard) before slipping them in the oven – my standards may be deteriorating quicker than I’d anticipated…

I’m bored and so I put the following opinion poll out on Twitter:

‘I have a very energetic dog that insists on going for a walk twice a day – what should I do?’

1: Ignore Govt guidelines?

2: Take a longer daily walk?

3: Eat the dog?

I’m only joking (I think) but I’m contacted by a concerned lady who implores me not to eat the dog but instead suggests that my wife and I alternate doggy walks. I tell her ‘It’s okay, I don’t have a dog………… anymore’. (Let me say at this point that I really don’t have a dog nor have I eaten one lately!)

Wednesday 25th March

Lots of debate in the media about when a ‘cure’ will be discovered and if a cocktail of other anti-viral drugs already available may help. I know that scientists all over the world are working hard for a ‘cure’ and I of course realise I’m no expert – however has anybody considered that green Swarfega your dad used to have in the shed? I think that stuff will kill anything.

Even if it’s not guaranteed to stop infection, if you strip naked and give yourself a liberal coating then if you do get stopped by the cops on your second walk they’ll never be able to grip you!

More stories in the press about people ignoring social distancing rules, including West Midlands Police breaking up more than 20 people at a public BBQ. Is anyone else really surprised that the human race has managed to, so far, avoid becoming extinct?

News breaks that Prince Charles has tested positive for Covid-19. Lots of social media outrage because he’s managed to actually get a test. I wonder if it’s anything to do with him being the 71 year old heir to the British throne?!

Boris gives the tea-time brief but he looks a bit ropey and I start some Chinese whispers that he may have got the Corona lurgy. I discover that Chinese whisper games are less fun when there’s just you and your wife in self-isolation. 

Thursday 26th March

I wouldn’t say that I’m starting to get institutionalised but I’m considering asking my wife to give me a facial teardrop tattoo using biro ink and a paperclip.

The results are in for my ‘should I eat my dog? poll’. I’m pleased to say that a mere 40% of the public wanted me to take that extreme course of action, whereas 50.4% of participants suggested ‘a longer daily walk’.

On the one hand it’s reassuring to know that most respondents are sensible but it has scuppered my planned next poll question: ‘Curry or stew?’  

News breaks that Boris has tested positive for Covid-19. I look to my wife for some crumbs of credit for my impeccable observation skills but instead I just get a tut and am asked ‘how many slices of bread have you had today?’ I’ve had some quiet gigs in my time but this is a really tough crowd!

Rishi Sunak delivers the daily Coronavirus briefing and this time opens his bag of money for the self-employed. They can have 80% to encourage them to stop at home – but can go out and get another job if they like! Might be me but I don’t get that at all…

At 8pm we go outside and clap to say thank you to the NHS workers. Lots of clapping all around us – feels nice.

Fri 27th Mar

I’m up early excited that my new Fair Cop series goes out at 11.30am. I attempt to draw attention to it by childishly scribing on pictures of important people!

The show is well received and people say nice things which makes me very happy.

That afternoon I watch a TV interview where Tony Blair tells the Government exactly what they should be doing to deal with this pandemic. Whenever there’s a crisis these former Prime Ministers become expert advisers – just a shame they didn’t peak a bit earlier really.

Speaking of the politically astute I tune in to the Coronavirus briefing. It’s not very often you’ll hear me say that I’m missing Boris Johnson but having listened to Michael Gove for half an hour…

At 8pm I was outside clapping for 5 minutes entirely on my own – thanks for leaving me hanging ya bastards!

Sat 28th Mar

It’s the weekend but you can’t really tell…

Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business, did the teatime briefing. He’s a little bit Westworld and to be honest I’m missing the Boris briefings, simply because I’m a big fan of random unpredictability – you never know when he’s just going to stop mid-sentence and just blow a raspberry.

At last some good news as the Government announce a special concession that we can all spend an hour less in lockdown – by that I mean the clocks will all go forward an hour.

The next IT’S A FAIR COP episode, 11.30 am on Friday 3rd April, is all about privacy laws – which given the current times and the fact that the NHS is developing a Covid-19 Tracking App, it’s probably a discussion we need to be having.

Anyway that’s all for now, I need to nip out for a loaf…

 

 

 

Brexit – Whose Fault is it Anyway?

Alfie Moore applies his investigative skills to find the person or person’s responsible for the current political farce.  It’s definitely a crime but who dun it?!

Brexit – I’ll tell you who’s to blame….

The country may be catastrophically divided but we can unquestionably agree on one thing ‘Brexit is a shambles’.

Our great nation is in pain and I propose we start the healing process by doing what we always do best: ‘find someone to blame’. Where shall we start?

Johnny Foreigners: They came over here from their war-torn countries, applying themselves, working hard and becoming more successful than the lazy local indigenous types. Some people didn’t like that which created the perfect opening for this man…

Nigel Farage: A true man of the people. Providing that your ‘people’ are a pub full of angry EDL supporters serving out their football banning orders. Say what you like about Nige he could talk, and people hurting from recession then austerity, began to listen. That started to pile the pressure on this man…

David Cameron: ‘Call me Dave’ craved love and of course power. Yes, he was PM but when he saw that Farage was building an audience, he devised a cunning plan to quell the threat in one foul swoop – an EU Referendum! Hooraaaahh!

So, it’s all Dave’s fault then? Well, maybe and then again maybe not, as although Dave was a bit smarmy and over-confident in his remain campaign he should’ve been entitled to expect a bit of back-up from other political leaders, for example…..

Jeremy Corbyn: ‘Jeremy, JERRRRREMMMMYYY! Has anybody seen JEREMY!? Where the hell was Jeremy’s Remain Campaign!? There didn’t seem to be one. There was a rumour that he was a closet Brexiteer – either that or he had a really sore throat for 9 weeks. Shall we blame Jezza (aka Whispering Sid) then? Perhaps, but what about the…

Leave Campaign: Aka ‘Fibs on a Bus’ team. Led by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. Interesting pairing these lads. They possessed the sum total of two charismatic politicians, although Gove had none! Which meant Boris was very entertaining and more importantly, believable…and some of us did believe, or to be more precise…

17,410,742 Leave Voters: That’s a big number but blaming those dozy dafties may not be conducive to national healing.

No sooner was the last vote counted than Dave announced: ‘Bugger this for a game of soldiers I’m off….ta-ra’. It was always going to get very very messy at this point. Surely no one was daft enough to take the job and press their own political self-destruct button? But wait….what’s that running through the corn fields eager to grab the poison chalice with both hands?

Theresa May: Article 50 (soon to be renamed ‘Article Shifty’) was invoked. Now in fairness to Theresa May, and as much as I hate being fair to Theresa May, by now we’d lost the remain battle, but we still had the opportunity to cut some sort of semi-amicable deal with our EU comrades. And so, with all the charm and interpersonal skills of an angry rattle snake with toothache, Theresa skipped off to Strasbourg to make a deal. It was proving very challenging but it takes two to tango and so should we put some blame on this man….

Michel Barnier: Still angry at being given a girl’s name, Michel wasn’t playing ball and his vague responses were like listening to fellow iconic Frenchman Eric Cantona at a post-match press conference.

May repeatedly asking: ‘What’s your best deal please?’ And Barnier just coming out with abstract seagull bollocks.

Although Barnier fell short of delivering a two-footed kung-fu kick he continued the football theme: ‘If you choose to leave the club then go on a free transfer’.

Can we blame Barnier and the EU then? Maybe not. Their club, their rules.

Theresa put her best compromise, the withdrawal agreement, to the House of Commons, three times. And three times John Smircow and the House laughed in her face. So, shall we blame…

MP’s: For not bending? Either way, Theresa was a broken woman and the Tory faithful voted in the only chance to save the day…..Boris! Boris! Boris! Boris!

Boris Johnson: ‘What’s your plan Boris?’ ‘We’re leaving on 31st October 2019’ ‘But what’s your plan Boris?’ ‘We’re leaving on 31st October 2019’ ‘Yes, but what’s your plan Boris?’ ‘We’re leaving on 31st October 2019’

As I write this Boris is in Luxembourg banging the table and telling Barnier and Juncker ‘how it’s going to be’. With all the street cred of a PM who has suffered more first week Commons vote defeats than any other in history. Parliament might be prorogued but that guy could fill the commons benches with inflatable MPs and still get voted down.

The nightmare continues and I’m still not yet sure who to blame…

 

 

Derby date for GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER – venue issues!

We learned yesterday that sadly Derby Guildhall Theatre has had to close until the autumn amid concerns for the safety of the roof. Essential building work is being carried to repair the roof of the mid-19th century Grade II-listed building and unfortunately a number of shows are having to be cancelled or postponed. 

On learning the news Alfie said: “Apologies to those with tickets to my show at Derby Guildhall in April.  We are working with Derby Live to source an alternative venue.  I’m sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your support”.

Derby Live have committed to contact all customers to make them aware of the situation and their options for refunds or potential new dates/venues.  If you haven’t heard anything from them or have any questions you can get in touch with the sales and information team at 01332 255800, boxoffice@derby.gov.uk or in person at the Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby.

IT’S A FAIR COP shortlisted for Best Radio Entertainment Show

We are delighted to say that today it has been announced that Alfie Moore’s IT’S A FAIR COP has been shortlisted to the final 6 nominees in the Best Radio Entertainment Show.

The Comedy.co.uk Awards 2018 have now reached the final voting round – with the Best Radio Entertainment Show having already having been whittled down from over 100 shows to  the final six. Voting closes on Sunday 3rd February 2019 with the winners being announced on Monday 4th.

If you’ve enjoyed IT’S A FAIR COP and would like to see it win Best Radio Entertainment Show category, and even Comedy of the Year if you’re a HUGE fan, then please vote, vote, VOTE! (You can only vote once for each category by the way so don’t get carried away!).

If you can’t wait for more Moore then you can catch him on tour – tickets on sale now….

In the police force, we can never say “no”. Can we?

Tuesday’s Guardian reported the emergency services watchdog’s findings that desperately overstretched police forces are having to “pick up the pieces of a broken mental health system” in addition to their own crime-fighting role.

This comes as no surprise to Alfie who highlighted this very situation in Pass the Person – of one of his recent It’s a Fair Cop episodes.

Read Alfie’s opinion piece on the article  in today’s Guardian.

 

Series 1-3 of IT’S A FAIR COP available to buy!

As the new series of IT’S A FAIR COP gets back on it’s BBC Radio 4 beat fans of the show can now download to own the first 3 series which are available via iTunes, Google Audiobooks and Audible   (where the show has been rated 4.9 out of 5 stars – nobody’s perfect!!)

A number of listeners have requested that the shows be available on CD but unfortunately this isn’t possible at the moment.

Alfie says “Thanks very much for your interest and support and please enjoy the shows over and over and over again!”

Alfie enjoys a Guinness (World Record Attempt) over Easter Weekend!

Alfie Moore is delighted to be taking part in an attempt to break the official Guinness World Record for ‘Longest Running Comedy Show’ this Easter weekend.  The current record, set in America in 2015, stands at 80 hours. This audacious record-breaking attempt is planned to run for 96 hours straight – from 6pm on Thursday 29th March 2018 until 6pm on Monday 2nd April 2018.

Alfie will be one of a diverse range of performers, including ‘TV names’ and headlining comedians from the comedy circuit, contributing to the fabulous line up.  He says “I’m very excited to be involved in this world record attempt for such a great cause. I will be performing 3 completely different one hour shows in 25 hours so if you’ve enjoyed my BBC Radio 4 comedy series ‘IT’S A FAIR COP’ (or even if you haven’t heard of it YET!) then please come along and lend your support to this fantastic effort”.

Alfie’s shows will be at 2pm and 7pm on Friday 30th March 2018 and 2pm on Saturday 31st March.

Whether you want a £15 Weekend pass, a Day ticket for £5 or a Pay as You Go £3 ‘on the door’  just get your laughing gear on and help us make comedy history! Monies raised from the event will be donated to Katherine House Hospice.

For MORE INFORMATION AND TO BOOK TICKETS

 

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