THE BIGGEST story this week is Hurricane Katrina and the wave
of death, destruction and misery she has wreaked on poor Louisiana.
Which probably means that for our dear Prime Minister, this
is an excellent week to start back at work after his long
summer holiday in the hope that bad news can be buried under
someone else's disaster.
Well, it can't. Because most of us don't live in New Orleans
and we have a disaster of our own in the making here, in Britain,
the country where we live.
In London, hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding Zainab Kalokoh
was gunned down as she held a baby at a christening.
The people charged with the attack are in their teens. Up
in not-so-bonny Scotland, the body of 11-year-old Rory Blackhall
lies in the public mortuary, apparently murdered by a man
who was on bail for sex attacks against children.
In Newcastle, young mum Danielle Wails has been arrested
on suspicion of murder, after her four-month-old baby died
in a fire at their home.
And that's only what's happened this week. Over the past
month we've had a baby attacked in her pushchair, a farmer
run over and killed by a car thief and a young man who remonstrated
with yobs on a bus, knifed to death.
And then there's the killing of black Liverpool teenager
Anthony Walker, and the London terrorist attacks. On top of
the usual muggings, rapes and domestic violence.
What part of "enough is enough" doesn't Tony Blair
When is he finally going to be reduced to the tears of despair
and the burning anger that so many feel when we consider the
tsunami of violent crime and yobbish behaviour engulfing this
More to the point, when is he going to realise his party's
utterly shameful part in all this? When are Tony and his bunch
of toadies and wannabes going to get the full, hideous picture?
When are our ministers going to realise that it was their
decision to incorporate the unwanted, unworkable European
Human Rights convention into our laws that has allowed the
preachers of hate to remain in this country to corrupt the
youth that end up on Al-Jazeera, justifying suicide bombing?
When will they twig that the reason violent, drunken behaviour
and all the crime and misery that accompanies it, has rocketed
because of their crass decision to allow every boozer in Britain
to stay open all hours?
When will they realise that decent citizens are appalled
and sickened to read that hate-merchants like Abu Hamza are
living off the state, while the people who fought for this
country in World War II are told to sell off their homes to
pay for their personal care?
Join up the dots and the picture that emerges is grotesque
and is of a country that fewer and fewer of us now recognise.
I don't recognise a country where we rush to deport the blameless
asylum-seeker Williard Chinhanhu to a place where he runs
a grave risk of being tortured, but refuse to turf out terrorist
suspects in case someone tortures them.
I don't recognise a Britain where the teenage scum who chucked
Dave Berry to his death in the River Stour are only given
sentences of eight and 18 months, or where people who molest
kids are frequently not even sent to jail.
But, it appears, this is the Britain we now live in and it
is a Britain of Blair's making.
As the nightmare of New Orleans unfolds in all its horror,
let's not kid ourselves that, given similar circumstances,
it couldn't happen here.
In some places, it's already started.