It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.
We went to the Countryside Alliance Family Day at Ascot Racecourse yesterday. Great fun for the Bomber with a shooting gallery, climbing wall, crazy golf and a falconry demonstration etc. as well as the racing itself. He is - it must be admitted - a lousy tipster when it comes to nags.
It struck me when I was there that in the long and appalling record of the Met's egregious policing of demonstrations there is probably no more disastrous example than the hiding they gave the Alliance in Parliament Square in 2004. (You can read the subsequent whitewash at http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/Pages/parliament_square.aspx.)
Confucius told his disciple Tsze-kung that three things are needed for government: weapons, food and trust. If a ruler can't hold on to all three, he should give up the weapons first and the food next. Trust should be guarded to the end: "without trust we cannot stand".
Do farmers trust the police these days?