Tuesday 30 August 2011

Robert Peston's Who Runs Britain

Normally on holiday I like to infuse myself in books of gore death and destruction. Lee Child'esque for me.
However, for a while I have had a copy of Robert Pestons Who Runs Britain.
I like his comments and not least of all he is someone who does actually respond on Twitter so I think reading his book is a polite way of saying thanks for being so obliging
It is clear at the start why its a best seller. To the point, frank, easy to read, lively script and rather enjoyable style. But, hey, I'm no literary critic.
The book describes a range of interesting folk who dominate the financial landscape but also how they do it. From the straight talking Green and his war over M&S through to Allan Leighton from the Post Office with plenty in between. The mysteries of Hedge Funds explained in simple non Economic theory terms, make this read all the better for a wide audience.
I could pick out loads of anecdotes throughout the book but that would spoil it for others.
What I want to pick out is on page 183 (soft back) which to me epitomises the difference between some Public and some private sector ideals. I am not sure that was the intention but hopefully with the highest regard to quoting 
In describing Goldman Sachs he points out " There is an esprit de corps which is second to none. .......no one is permitted to hide information. There is a team culture of sharing wisdom, insights and information......that is unlike that of any rival firms"
Many years ago I undertook a short attachment to a large bank. What absolutely amazed me was how, at a particular level, the key players were all in competition with each other, effectively lining up to challenge each other rather than looking for collaboration or cooperation. 
The purpose of the police National Intelligence Model has always been to ensure that information and intelligence is shared and not squirrelled away for personal use. It strikes me that an organisation that does not value and share it's internal assets could fail 
For the bank I worked with I suggested that the NIM could be adapted to accommodate  the needs of bankers. Politely listened to, but with little likelihood of acceptance would probably be the best description of the outcome. 
There are times, despite what some leaders suggest, when the public sector has the answer that can help the private sector. 
Notwithstanding this diversion the book is an excellent read and a most enjoyable introduction to the vagaries, risks and dangers of unfettered capitalism. Within the text there are plenty of signs of hope however. 

Saturday 27 August 2011

Tour of Mt Ventoux. Cycling around it

Having done the annual trip up the Mt Ventoux, I thought I would try out a route I have favoured for some time but not completed. The Tour de La Mt Ventoux. Basically it’s a ride around the mountain. Sound simple. Its not.

Starting at Bedoin there is a relatively easy ride through Flasan to Villes Sur Auzon where the start point for the Gorges de la Nesque is found.

The Gorge is simply an exhilarating ride. Plenty of ups and downs to enjoy. Keeping your eyes peeled on the road is challenging however a necessity not least of all following the thunder storm last night the road is littered with rocks. So extreme caution.

Kicked a few out the way for other cyclists and a couple of rather large ones for everyone to avoid

So the Gorge is a few miles of bliss. You are rewarded with a descent into a beautiful village called Monieux. Well worth a diversion but not for me. On to Sault.

As you approach Sault you pass through numerous Lavender fields. Whilst the smell is still there the flowers aren’t as they were harvested a few weeks ago. But a great sensation to encourage you on. Sault has some fantastic views from the centre of town. But to balance that out there is a steep climb into the town. Great shops for gift BTW. Good supermarket for replenishing oneself

After the compulsory views I headed north to Aurol. This is supposed to be down hill bliss. Unfortunately the wind decided to prevent that and I had to cycle again a strong breeze.

After Aurol turn left along the Tourenlenc Valley or the D72 towards Brantes. I managed to find one field with some remaining Lavender. Lucky me.

Then continue along passed Brantes and take a turning down the D40A towards Veaux. This is one of my favourite places on earth. The great river walk. Brilliant fun for a family. Lots of pools to get soaked scramble over or swim in. Magic.

However on this ride, no larking about so its off back up the hill towards Maeucene. A tough climb but challenging. The ride down into Maleucene was worth the effort. As was the sight of some old WW2 US Army jeeps etc. A bit out of place. But interesting.

Then the usual climb out to the Col De Madeline and back to Bedoin.

About 65 miles.

Start at any point and go either way.

So this mountain has been climbed and circum-ridden.

Job done.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Sky Eating Man Mountain

Every year to check I am still relatively healthy and not been spoilt or rendered unhealthy by copious pies I do my annual physical. Mt Ventoux by bike
And so it was this morning I set of across the marked line at about 6.45 and headed forth up the hill. The Mountain is a constant up. Unlike many such as Alpes D'Huex which provide a short stop or at least a level part at every turn. Ventoux is about Up Up and more UP. Physically its demanding, but mostly its mental. For me its about constantly being overtaken by whispish French Dutch German and other European riders replicating the greats of Lance and the rest of the Tour. Signs adorn the route, Wiggo, Lance, Schlecks etc. None for me today though, the Hyde support wagon will just have to do.
So back to the mental struggle, coping with the overtakes is one thing, constantly looking for the magic 800M to Chelet Reynard. A sure sign that its nearly done. But Ventoux will always surprise you. After a water fill at Chalet Reynard you think you have only a short distance to go. Its only 6K left. But its not any 6K, this is an M&S 6K. It gets steeper. The sun is out full on even at 9am. And the last bit actually is steeper.
So finally to the top and the bliss of knowing the best is yet to come. After the obligatory pics and the purchase of a badge to go on the bike (alongside the Manx) its off downhill. Wow Wow Wow. Always great to be going 30+ freewheeling for 20 Km. Especially (and this is not the nice bit, sorry) seeing everyone about to start climbing up. But knowing their pain, is I suppose a way of sharing it.
A coffee and chill in Malecene and back then ride back to Bedoin and hit the pool, waming it by several degrees.
So worthwhile, absolutely. Did I pass the medical. Yes, personal best. So I should be good to go for another 12 months. And retain the 100% attendance since I joined.
Is it a fast time. Absolutely not, many people I know, especially the Cyclists within Cumbria Police could eat it in that time and probably much less

So a great start to the hols.

Pics are on the site opposite under Piccassa Albums but more to come.

Thanks also to support from my Higher Authority and for the pre holiday encouragement from Steve Sharkey at Elite Fitness Penrith.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Looking Abroad

Looking Abroad

After a week of turmoil in English cities we now roll into a period of questions and answers. Why What Who When Where and How along with creating action with expected and unexpected outcomes.
Yet already the answers seem to be created with some haste, alongside the opportunity to blame and to challenge.
One such move is to bring Bill Bratton in to solve our problems.

It is somewhat surprising that the solution to all the issues relating to policing seem to be capable of being solved by one individual. Bill is a very respected ex police officer who has had an extremely impactive career. His ability to challenge and to revitalise is evidenced aplenty. Equally his relationship with his political masters has been a carefully crafted one.

So a good choice one might think. I met Bill at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham a few years ago. Unassuming, polite and committed to a cop led policing service. He has inspired many police leaders and equally has learnt from them. 

I know of no one who would not be interested in his perspective, perceptions and views. BUT, and it's a big BUT, it needs to be balanced with the cultural difference between UK and US policing. It also needs to be considered against other policing experts or those whose achievements may not be as visible. 

Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand, SouthAfrica, and many others, have people who may be able to offer ideas and suggestions that may be of value as well as US cops from the other 10,000 forces there. 

If we are looking externally for new ideas, new impetus then let's at least look wide and deep, and resist any suggestion that we have found the solution before we have even resolved what the question is.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Haystacks Walk

Here are some pics from today's venture up Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike

In order to get the most out of the Lakes you need to understand the weather. Start with the Met Office mountains section. It's very good and tells you which bit to explore to minimise (not remove all risk of) rain. It is the Lake District after al,l and it doesn't get that name without water falling from the sky to create the said Lakes.

So having driven through torrential rain in the East Lakes we entered the West and South to find lots of cloud but little rain. In fact today we had rain coats on for only a short time.

So the start was from Gatesgarth car park. Straight up Hay Stacks

Some great views down to Crummock and Buttermere lakes (Enjoyed a fantastic swim at the end of the walk).

From the top of Haystacks follow the path to the Inominate Tarn. The tarn with no name. Technially you could argue that the title Inominate is in fact a name. But lets not go there

From the tarn carry on towards Fleetwoth Pike. Some stunning views unravelled
You will pass a small Slate mine with a really interesting little house that you can rent from the Honister Slate Mine http://www.honister-slate-mine.co.uk/

Then up to the Pike

Stunning views

On the way down there is a massive standing stone. I suspect the creation of years of endevour to get it into place. A religious relic or sacrifice site

Or the result of some trick pics


The other pics are uploaded on the album to the right

Takes about 4 to 5 hours including lunch

Great day out.

Thoughts however shared throughout with the challenges facing my colelagues and peers in London. Just amazing how beautiful this place is.

Last nights events

Having experienced a range of public violence in Btistol Bradford Birmingham and Harmondsworth I feel enabled to comment in support of the vaste majority of people who were so shocked by the images of last night in Tottenham.
It is very easy for armchair critics to start blaming "the police" and ignore all the wanton acts of aggression and violence that took place.
My thoughts are with colleagues and the local people who had this foisted on them.
There will no doubt be many critics who will pontificate about the actions.
Questions will be asked about who did what when and why. Identifying the truth will be a challenge to say the least.
However officers in the Met and those forces supporting them, know that they have the support sympathy and empathy of all other police officers, staff and our families in tryig to bring this to a conclusion.
It is a most testing time for police leadership. We can only hope that those who will influence our future as a public service take into account that whilst we accept this challenge, we are also human beings as are the officers injured during the disorder last night. We remember them in our thoughts and wish them a speedy recovery.

Friday 5 August 2011

Conferencing ourselves for cash

Just about everyday I, like many colleagues, receive invites to all sorts of conferences, summits and the like. And gradually its starting to annoy me that most involve people who are essentially within the public sector or work next door to the venue.

This one I use by way of example: Transformation in the Police - Driving Change, Collaboration and Shared Services

The people in it are very good people, I know many of them. They have made massive contributions to policing.

Yet in order to "keep up with the Joneses" it is suggested that I pay £400 plus travel, (which for London means overnight from here) to listen to them.
The venue, of course is London, and no doubt a nice place with excellent buffet lunch.

BUT we already have our own venues at Ryton and Bramshill that, whilst challenging to get to, are already being funded. Instead we invite Capita or some other organiser to put this together to make it work.

I like listening to some of the people on the agenda, but can we anymore justify attending at such an exorbitant rate.

And why can’t we provide it via video link. Last year I chaired and delivered at a conference in Vancouver from my desk in Penrith. We have the technology to do this.

As a responsible public sector that is in the media for all sorts of things its about time we started to think laterally about these events and started to push the digital boundary.

Please don’t take this as a criticism of Capita or any of those speaking. They are all good people. However, as the 5th invite in 2 days, it’s the final straw.


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