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Sleuth 19/09/2008

Policeman eats Gordon Brown, William Roache on Crimestoppers, the accents of northern parrots and Charles Darwin on Peter Street

Written by . Published on September 19th 2008.

Sleuth 19/09/2008

Policeman eats Gordon Brown
The police security operations ahead of the Labour Party Conference have been fascinating in their overwrought intensity – already satirised on this site (click here). Sleuth was passing Manchester Central (G-Mex) the other day when he saw this police officer contemplating his navel. He was very big. Gordon Brown hasn’t been seen for a while, Sleuth hopes this Police officer hasn’t eaten him. In fact let’s hope he hasn’t eaten all the other police officers too. He seemed to be very much on his own.

Manhole manoeuvres - The Movie
Sleuth has also been wondering about the police’s almost smug handling of Conference security. One press release came with: ‘for moving footage and more stills of the search operation please contact GMP’. Do they mean ‘moving’ as in emotionally engaging? Why would we want to watch footage of the police opening manholes to make sure there aren’t squads of baddies down there? Sleuth also finds it interesting that the security for this private event for the Labour Party is paid for by the Home Office (in otherwords, us), the Conservatives get theirs paid for too. The Liberal Democrats don’t. Apparently they aren’t significant or unpopular enough to be in danger.

PR gone mad
Government PR on police and crime is getting giddy, confused and plain wrongheaded. Last week, there was a media invite to a ‘celebration’ of the millionth ‘actionable’ call to Crimestoppers (the anonymous phone line for tipping off the police about criminals). The party took place on the Coronation Street set with actor William Roache - well who else? Sleuth wonders why this was a cause of celebration? Surely it should have been mourned. What next? Maybe press releases reading, ‘Police baton charges up 20% this month!’ There are plenty of other stories as well. Sleuth finds it curious that the Guardian ran a piece about gun crime a couple of weeks ago. Hidden away in a table was a surprising stat. It showed the UK has less gun crime than every major Western country including France, Australia and, of course, the USA. What about a press release on that.

Lots of roads closed – let’s celebrate
Speaking of the Labour Party and the chaos the tank traps surrounding it are causing Sleuth finds this internal communiqué from the council interesting about tomorrow, 20 September. ‘If it's the end of September, it must be time for ‘In town, without my car!’ day. Manchester and Salford will join hundreds of European towns and cities in promoting walking, cycling or using public transport by closing at least one road to traffic and using the space for something else instead.’ One road thinks Sleuth? What about all the road closures around the Conference? That should give us some carbon footprint brownie points. Athough then again there’s all those dangerous emissions of hot air during the event.

Conference comedy
Sleuth hears that the only non party apparatchik in the Radisson Edwardian Hotel is Eddie Izzard. Sleuth's pretty sure that he won't be the only comedian in there.

Bridge fun
Actually the ‘In town without my car day’ (see above story) seems like it might be pretty good fun. Victoria Bridge in Salford and Cateaton Street will be closed and there’ll be a 'spacehopper style derby-day racetrack and a gyroscope'. Plus the safest way to get around town ‘virtual bike rides’.

Obvious signs
Sleuth loves obvious signs. This one below is at the splendid Victoria Baths. Yes there certainly is no water in this pool.

Sad SleuthSleuth was at the Victoria Baths' party to mark the end of Restoration Stage One. Present were Andrea Miller (Head of Factual, BBCScotland), Carole Souter (Chief Executive, Heritage Lottery Fund), Steve Bee (Director of Planning and Development, English Heritage), Mike Amesbury (Executive Member for Arts & Leisure, Manchester City Council), and enjoying a little light relief from government rows, The Right Hon Andy Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (nice fella). Sleuth networked rigorously giving out his Confidential business card. The last one was to a charming elderly lady who looked at the card and said, “but this isn’t your name.” It wasn’t, it was Gordo’s. Sleuth weeping hard made an emergency call to the Confidential critic, “You behave if the Minister of State rings up, do you hear.” Sleuth still has nightmares about the larger than life food writer’s laughter.

Eh up, pretty Polly
Sleuth was in Ramsbottom the other day and encountered this shop. Northern Parrots, interesting. Are there tropical forests in the West Pennines? Or maybe they’ve just been trained proper Lancashire? “Hiyah luv, by eck, who’s a reet pretty Polly, then, bag’o’chips?”

Transport Innovation fund unlocked
Sleuth was cycling around town the other day. He locked his bike up outside John Rylands Library and when he returned he had a leaflet tucked into the spokes. It was from the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign which supports the Transport Innovation Fund. The leaflet said, ‘revenue raised from congestion charging will add 200km of new or upgraded cycle routes'. It also mentioned that we are going to have more than 2500 extra bike parking spaces at 250 locations – costing a couple of million quid probably. How very interesting thought Sleuth as he unlocked his bike from a lamp post: a lamp post which is already one of 2 million informal bike parking spaces in Greater Manchester along with railings, drain pipes, benches and the legs of pensioners who might be standing around for a while. Sleuth broadly agrees with the Congestion Charge idea but what an entertaining waste of money more bike spaces would be. Let’s just buy extra buses.

Bikes, soapy water and cars
Sleuth was troubled about his bike being flyposted – see above story. He wasn’t keen on it being leafleted like a parked car gets carpet sale promotions stuck under the windscreen wipers. What next, thought Sleuth? He’ll draw up at a traffic light and some Bulgarians will start washing his bike down, giving that sad face look they’re good at.

Evolution to de-volution
It was intriguing to hear that the Church of England had decided to apologise to the long-dead Charles Darwin over initially doubting his theories on evolution. Reading between the lines this was clearly a measure taken in response to the crazy Creationists who believe the world is about 4000 years old and began with a man and a woman in a pretty garden, a talking snake and a row about an apple. Sleuth now hears that the long-dead Charles Darwin has also issued an apology. He only got it half right, evolution can act in reverse. Sleuth was out drinking with Charlie the other night in Squares on Peter Street and found the bar filled with these characters below.

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2008.

I think Sleuth needs to tak a closer look as the 'police officer' that they refer too as having eaten the Prime Minister and other police officers is actually a security guard.... saw them there the other day, police officers do look a little different!

BabySeptember 19th 2008.

Why does every bloody thread end up discussing Steve Pilling??

GS,September 19th 2008.

Re cycle improvements: I'm all for this inc. allocated the parking areas. If the facilities are better, it should encourage more people to cycle & there's enough street furniture & clutter without bikes adding to it, particularly as I find many of the pavements (too) narrow in our City Centre.

IHATECHEESESeptember 19th 2008.

That's sort of said it really

AvoSeptember 19th 2008.

Destino isn't anything special either. Just the usual sandwich and coffee place. Not bad for a toasted panini at lunchtime.

I HATE SLEUTHSeptember 19th 2008.

Does Sleuth have a girlfriend? I doubt it?

Richard AdamsonSeptember 19th 2008.

Bloody hell Sleuth, I used one of your bike parking spaces the other day and it got stolen. The lamp post that is my bike was so knackered they left it behind.

mark mSeptember 19th 2008.

he's had it for ages

what one earthSeptember 19th 2008.

Have I missed something or are we at war with another country or town, cause all this road blocking for some fat man that thinks a recession is spending over £6million of tax payers money to police the event.... sure my Aunt Bess will appreciate that than having the heating on for winter!! It is a farce! and I cannot even use my Gym through these delgates taking home in the hotel gym I use.... What do I get in return the use of a gym that does not provide towls, opens later, and has no swimming pool, wonder if the fat man would reimbuse my for my LOSS of adequate lesiure time... GRRRRRR

Frank the Taxi DriverSeptember 19th 2008.

If they're so worried about Gormless Gordon's safety, why don't they hold their hot air fest on Lundy Island? That way the millions of Mancunians who WORK for a living could carry on doing so! And GG's bull**** would go well with the bird****.

ClifSeptember 19th 2008.

The place was busy and the service was excellent, 17/20

johnthebriefSeptember 19th 2008.

Actually guys, the security is vital prevent any of our elected leaders accidentally coming into contact with any member of the public, er....

mark mSeptember 19th 2008.

Is better than most of the coffee blands on the high street though

James BannedSeptember 19th 2008.

The fact that security staff and police look the same is part of the problem. Too many paramilitaries in this country these days. Too many uniforms. The Police should be substantially dfferent to security staff - untrained ones, substantial untrained ones. Although as a ps I think chubby here looks like a copper to me.

TrevorSeptember 19th 2008.

Steve Pillings new place is called Destino and its off King St

GarySeptember 19th 2008.

The level of security is ridiculous - if the security risk is so high - why bring the risk into the 3rd largest City in the country? Also - the average gut on a British police officer is a disgrace. Judging by the members of the constabulary on duty in Manchester today, obesity is part of the new Uniform. Lets just hope that any security risk doesn't include the requirements for our 'protectors' to run.

CliffSeptember 19th 2008.

I had a superb meal in the Angel yesterday......!

I LOVE SLEUTHSeptember 19th 2008.

Long live Sleuth! With humour like this, his girlfriend must be a diamond. As for having eaten Gordon Brown? The entire cabinet more like.

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