The top right hand corner of page 4 of Thursday’s Times had a short piece about John Prescott – Two Planks Prescott as he is known – who is withdrawing from his Hull constituency at the next election.
Immediately abutting it, in the top left hand column of page 5, was a story about an old man from the north, someone much younger, and an incident involving a cocktail sausage. I am sure there is some connection between these stories but I can’t quite bring it to mind. Perhaps a chemical stimulant of some kind would help get it up there.
Even on its own, and without any connection with Mr Prescott (I wish I could remember what links these stories in my mind), the cocktail sausage story (the recent one that is) makes one wonder if the police have got their priorities right. It appears that a 12-year-old boy in Manchester had a row with a man which culminated in the boy throwing said cocktail sausage at the man.
The full force of the Manchester Constabulary fell upon the boy and he was dragged off to the cells and put before the court at a cost to the taxpayer of £2,000. The judge was less than impressed with those who brought the prosecution.
Now, I yield to none in my wish to see minor yobbery punished, and I am a strong believer in catching them young before violence becomes second nature. I would have thought, however, that Manchester’s finest – to say nothing of its courts – might have had better things to do. Even without any research, my brain’s internal search engine can dredge up a story of a Manchester father murdered last year by a street gang where the police blamed the parents, and one from the year before about a Manchester school-teacher who resorted to using a gun on the yobs who terrorised her family because the police ignored her desperate calls for help. Isn’t South Manchester known as “Gunchester”? They can’t be that busy if they have time to haul pre-teen boys into court for throwing cocktail sausages.
What is it though which connects John Prescott and a little cocktail sausage in my mind? Let’s try Google. “john prescott” + “cocktail sausage”. Oh, yes, of course.
A small tribute, while we are on the subject, to Roland White for his suggestion in the Sunday Times of 19 August that Prescott’s forthcoming autobiography is to be called John Prescott: My Part in His Downfall.