Good may come from Charlene documentary
Last week it was very disturbing to watch the three-part Channel 5 documentary made about the disappearance of teenager Charlene Downes in Blackpool 2003.
The investigative documentary highlighted the dangers of seedy grooming gangs and in many ways raised awareness for parents.
In 2003 social media was in its infancy, so it’s fair to assume that this kind of indecent grooming behaviour was easier to ‘cover up’.
Watching the documentary, I held some sympathy for the police officers back in 2003 who were heavily criticised. In reality they were faced with a very difficult task of investigating a missing child or murder inquiry.
Over the past 20 years or more Blackpool has been placed in a disadvantaged position, inheriting a transient population. With that comes its above average level of deprivation and social problems.
The police force, paramedics and social services face tough challenges on a daily basis due to problematic families many of whom have escaped to Blackpool arriving from all over the UK.
With the noticeable increase of poor mental health cases, police officers, emergency services and case workers are at times probably on the job doing the work of a psychiatrist or mental health nurse .
The police are often placed in the unenviable position of being ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’. To get results, the police need public support as much as the law abiding public need the police on their side to protect them from all kinds of crime.
I very much hope that several positives can be gained from this upsetting documentary. It could well put a stop to the grooming gangs operating in Blackpool. It could also bring the answers and evidence needed to finally bring those responsible for the disappearance of Charlene Downes to justice. RIP.
A vote to leave the EU... again
Well, the earthquake prophesied by Nigel Farage has shaken up the political landscape in the UK. The issue of Brexit has brought this about but a shake-up to the two-party system in this country has been long overdue. And this is confirmed by the reaction of Labour and the Conservatives to the EU election results here, still refusing to listen to the people.
The Lib Dems are cock-a-hoop about their results, but if they think that will be translated into MPs at the next General Election, I think they will have a rude awakening. They are neither liberal nor democratic and have acknowledged that traditional Labour and Tory supporters only lent them their vote for this election. Interesting times lie ahead but Brexit must be delivered - the people have spoken again and again voted to leave.
North West MEP, (Brexit Party)
Easy to destroy, harder to create
Thank you to everyone who supported the Liberal Democrats in the European elections. We know that many usual Labour or Conservative supporters gave us their votes because for Britain to remain in the European Union is a cause that supersedes usual party loyalties. We have a democratic mandate now to champion Remain.
The Brexit Party has done well too. Its leader, Nigel Farage, says what he is against but has yet to give any idea what he favours. Those who want Britain to leave the partnership of nations that is the EU must now tell us how they will deal with issues that no one country can tackle alone.
What will they do about the climate crisis? What will they surrender in negotiating a trade deal with a superpower like China? It is easy to tear down and destroy, much harder to build and create.
Chris Davies and Jane Brophy
Liberal Democrat MEPs for the North West
The problems have not gone away
The merry-go-round continues but faster.
We will soon welcome a new Tory leader and Prime Minister while Jeremy Corbyn decides which part of the fence to sit on next .
Both main parties resemble a child’s kaleidoscope. Tap them daily and a new different picture appears. Labour are desperately trying to square the circle and convince the faithful that what is best is both Leave and Remain.
Soon the farce of ditching Theresa May will be manifest because changing the negotiator is not going to change the issues or the hurdles. The European Commissioner, along with the PM of four other member countries of the EU, has made it abundantly clear that ‘ the negotiated deal will not be altered’. The game remains the same.
So whoever draws the short straw has a big shock coming. Exaggerated promises by the likes of Boris Johnson will soon be seen as truthful as his claims about the NHS during the referendum campaign.
Dr Barry Clayton