Monthly Archives: October 2008

“unfathomable heights” ?

The email trailer for tonight’s BBC2 Newsnight begins:

FROM EMILY MAITLIS

Hello,

BBC Comedy

“I only do the radio show to make people laugh and given the subsequent coverage I will stop doing the show.” – Radio 2 comedian, Russell Brand.

As the Ross/Brand furore reaches unfathomable heights, Russell Brand announced this evening he would be resigning from the BBC. In his statement he took full responsibility for the ill-fated comedy sketch and said he hoped Jonathan Ross and the BBC would endure “less forensic wrath”.

There are a couple of expressions there that enrich our language. The one that intrigues Malcolm is his headline here.

  • Is la Maitlis being (perhaps) a little over-clever with her oxymoron?

or

  • Is it an ill-considered mixed-metaphor?

Will Malcolm arouse himself from his pastoral torpor to sit up beyond an early bedtime in find out? Well, actually, no: he’ll catch the programme on iPlayer later.

OK: for the slow on the uptake, “unfathomed” derives from the use of a sounding line. When the sea was too deep for the leadsman to find bottom (in usual practice, that meant over 25 fathoms or 150 feet), the ocean was “unfathomed”. That’s down, not up. One would not want to chuck a sounding line and its 14-lb lead weight upwards, above one’s own head. For obvious reasons.

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The rest is silence

Two weeks later: absolutely no response from the Met Police or the Mayor’s Office about how one is supposed on-line to report dangerous driving.

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Evenin’, some of you (continued)

The previous posting (see below) had a response, some 18 hours later:

On 15 Oct 2008, at 13:24, Yvonne Peart wrote:

There is an online crime reporting service on the Metropolitan Police Service website: http://www.met.police.uk/reporting_crime/index.htm#online

You can use this service to notify the Metropolitan Police of the following crimes committed within the Greater London Authority area.

Theft – excluding:
Robbery (where you or the person you are reporting for was subjected to violence or the threat of violence.
Burglary (a building has been broken into).
Criminal damage
Theft from a motor vehicle
Criminal damage to a motor vehicle
Hate crimes and hate incidents

For any other type of non-emergency incident please call your local police station to report – telephone numbers are also available from the link below. If you are unable to call your local police station, then you may visit the station during its opening hours.

Yvonne Peart
Information Officer
Metropolitan Police Authority

In other words, Malcolm is vindicated. More intriguing, if it’s not covered by that list, and it’s not reported, then it’s not considered a crime.

Does this have any relationship to “targets”, by any chance?

There is no way of reporting on-line a potential killer-driver without strolling down to the local Nick, hanging around while somebody becomes available to listen, making a complaint (it used to be called laying evidence) and hoping someone else feels motivated to take a bit of notice.

So Malcolm has responded to Yvonne Peart:

Yes: I have read and understood the Metropolitan Police website listing you quote.

I particularly noted and commented that there was no, repeat no reference to car crime, except theft (and I am sufficiently old-fashioned to regard dangerous-to-the-point-of-murderous driving as criminal). Hence my posting to the MPA site.

So, my original query remains:
[Last] evening I witnessed (and noted details) of a particularly
outrageous example of dangerous driving.

As far I can see, there is no means of reporting this event on-line.

If so, where and how?

If not, why not?

Watch this space.

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Evenin’, some of you

This evening, at about 6.10 pm, Malcolm witnessed one of the most execrable examples of dangerous driving he can remember.

It involved the archetypical swarthy unshaven young man, inevitably in an aging V-registered BMW 5-series.

Malcolm noted the registration number and a quick jot of what he could recall.

He then went to the Metropolitan Police website, intending to record the event.

This is what he found:

Online reporting

Certain categories of crime committed in the Greater London area can now be reported over the internet, as long as an urgent response is not required.

This service can only be used for reporting certain types of crime, including:

Theft – excluding:
Robbery (where you or the person you are reporting for was subjected to violence or the threat of violence.

Burglary (a building has been broken into).
Criminal damage
Theft from a motor vehicle
Criminal damage to a motor vehicle

Hate crimes and hate incidents
(Do not report Road Traffic Accidents, collisions or lost property on this site.)

That’s it.

So what site might be a good place to notify a would-be homicide on its way to happen?

Contact Boris?

So Malcolm, fully appreciative of the caring, unsharing approach of the Mayor of London, Chair of the Met Police Authority, etc., etc., has sent the following email to the Great White Wonder:

This evening I witnessed (and noted details) of a particularly outrageous example of dangerous driving.

As far I can see, there is no means of reporting this event on-line.

If so, where and how?

If not, why not?

And now we wait.

Any response or developments will, of course, be reported here.

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And all for the want of a proofreader

Malcolm urges any reader to attend with scrupulous care:

5. A PRINCE NO MORE

The second bit of history was the ennobling of the Prince of Darkness, Peter Mandelson,  who from heroin in shall be known as Baron of the Black Arts. Or, as he would prefer, Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham.

Indeed.

That’s Nick Assinder’s wind-up (in more senses than one), otherwise “Closing Prices”, for today’s Politicshome. Catch it before the re-edit.

By the way, Malcolm sees that the bitmap header (as above) is entitled “Closing Pirces”. He hopes that the accuracy of the site’s stories transcends the carelessness of their presenting.

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The unshot messenger gives it straight

Robert Peston has acquired national treasure status in recent days. That prompts three Malcolmian thoughts:

  1. He has been doing what only great journalists can do: telling the story, explaining the details, without promoting his own personality.
  2. For that, he has been consistently abused by the right-wing media and blogosphere. He was causing the flight from capitalism, it was alleged by the vox pop rubbish on the likes of conservativehome, Iain Dale and (to dredge the Mariana Trench of bottom-feeding) Paul Staines’s Guido Fawkes.
  3. This morning’s posting, eight quick-fire points in just 275 words, telling the overnight story so far, is a classic of compression.

Respect!

Postscript:

Malcolm’s admiration owes nothing to Robert being the son of Maurice Peston, socialist economist and peer, and ornament of many Hornsey Labour Party dos.

Nor to Robert Peston attending the same comprehensive (Highgate Wood School), although over a decade apart, as Malcolm’s two daughters.

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Now here’s an interesting thing

It’s 11.30 pm on a Saturday night.

There hasn’t been a single posting on conservativehome since the half-time footie scores went up at 4 pm.

Not even a mention of the Sunday Times YouGov poll (1,900 quota: Labour up 7%; Tories down 3%).

Not a word. Not a whimper.

Curious that.

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