Words cannot describe the ghastly murder of WPCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes. Unarmed, they were gunned down on Tuesday in a senseless slaughter, which has horrified the nation. My heartfelt sympathies go out to all their family and friends during these dark days. Inevitably, and understandably, there are renewed calls to arm all the police. I'm afraid I cannot support these calls because I believe fervently that guns breed guns. You only have to look at the US. It is a sad fact that police officers will often find themselves in very dangerous circumstances, but that is the nature of their job, which is why they deserve our respect and thanks. Some constituents want capital punishment re-introduced for serious crimes, such as this one. Personally, I would find supporting such a stance difficult, but am more than prepared to listen to the arguments. What's missing in our present judicial system is deterrence. Serious criminals all too often receive risible sentences and this is an area that I hope the new Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will look at. In the meantime, we should never forget what a huge debt we owe our brave police men and women. Can I make a suggestion. Next time you see an officer walking along the street, why don't you go over and say, 'thank you'.
Posted on 20 September 2012 by Richard Drax
Staying at the helm
At a recent dinner, it was reported that the Prime Minister had called for Party unity, saying he did not want to return to the bad-old days. Mr Cameron's comments imply the fault lies with others, which of course is not the case. The Party and country simply need to see strong leadership, which is lacking. However, other newspaper reports that some MPs 'hate' Cameron are simply not true. Hate is a very strong emotion and does not apply in this case. I think the right word would be 'frustrated', for the reason I've expressed. Mr Cameron's recent reshuffle, where very capable ministers were replaced by the Prime Minister's friends, or to meet the Lib Dem ration, was a clumsy and unsettling affair. And, yes, backbenchers are speaking out, because it is our job to hold the executive to account. I can only suggest that Mr Cameron takes a leaf out of Baroness Thatcher's book and starts selling solid, Tory, common-sense values and principles in order to turn the ship around. That way, he can remain at the helm.
Posted on 15 September 2012 by Richard Drax
I have met many Labour supporters and the majority of them, like any supporters of a political Party, are extremely decent and well-meaning people. But, occasionally, the odd one reveals a rather nasty trait and Jack Straw's comments, linking Baroness Thatcher's style of government to the reprehensible behaviour or the police immediately after the Hillsborough disaster is one such example. It's funny, because in my short time in Parliament, Mr Straw has always spoken well and I hope he apologises to Baroness Thatcher for his unnecessary remarks at such a sensitive time.
Posted on 14 September 2012 by Richard Drax
One columnist referred to Nick Clegg as 'immature' for accusing those who oppose the redefinition of 'marriage' as bigots. Clegg is a silly man, whose principles and beliefs change almost daily, depending which way the wind is blowing. On the issue itself, I disagree with the Prime Minister and will both attempt to speak on the topic if it comes to the House, and vote against it. I was brought up in a Christian family and 'marriage' in my view is between a man and a woman, and always will be. We have no mandate to redefine 'marriage' and it would be an abuse of power to push this through the Commons on the whim of a Prime Minister, whose motives I really do query.
Posted on 14 September 2012 by Richard Drax
Well done Teams GB and well done GB. What a tremedous few weeks we have all witnessed and the memories will stay with us for the rest of our lives. As so many people have said already, let's learn from this whole experience that hard work, dedication and courage not only wins medals but guides us all in every walk of life. Today, the athletes parade through London and soak up the enormous feeling of goodwill these Games have generated. Onwards and upwards GB and let's go where these incredible athletes took us.
Posted on 10 September 2012 by Richard Drax
I'm afraid I'm one of those who believes that David Laws should not be re-instated to the Cabinet, and not because he's a Lib Dem! He intentionally broke the rules on expenses and rightly resigned only a few days into the Coalition Government. He should have stood down as an MP, too. He may well be an intelligent man and a useful asset to the Coalition, but that's not the point. We need to regain the voters' respect and bringing Laws back into the Cabinet will only do the opposite.
Posted on 7 September 2012 by Richard Drax