Peter Rhodes on releasing prisoners, awaiting blitzkrieg and getting your expiry date

A new ID pass has arrived. It carries a photo of me with the words: “Mr P Rhodes. Expires January 22, 2032.” We shall see.

Russian tanks - preparing for another Blitzkrieg?
Russian tanks - preparing for another Blitzkrieg?

Learning Together, the programme that enabled the freed terrorist Usman Khan to stab two young people to death at Fishmonger's Hall before he was shot dead by police on London Bridge, has been scrapped. Not before time. It was a product of the belief that no matter how wicked some people appear, they can be rehabilitated with support and understanding. But the bloody lesson of history is that trying to guess who is safe to release and who is not is often impossible.

It was reported last month that about 100 convicted terrorists are currently being considered for release from prison. We can only hope that the parole boards bear in mind six words of warning from a former prison governor who led a review of Islamist extremism in prisons: “Another Khan is in the pipeline.”

Boris Johnson chose his words carefully this week when he warned Russia that a “lightning war” would be painful, violent and bloody. For “lightning war” translates as the German word blitzkrieg, the horror inflicted on Poland, France and Russia in the Second World War. It may not have dawned on Putin and his generals that history may judge them not as patriotic Russians with a genuine grievance but as the bloody-handed heirs of Hitler and Goering. Let that sink in.

Tory MPs who are patiently waiting for the senior civil servant Sue Gray's verdict on partying in Downing Street may now have to wait much longer while Scotland Yard carries out its own, separate inquiry. The rest of us can merely watch in wonder at how the system works.

From May 2020 “gatherings” of civil servants were going on at Downing Street. The Civil Service knew about it, the Government knew about it, the cops knew about it, every political hack in Whitehall knew about it and even the Opposition must have known about it. But nothing happened. If it matters now, why didn't it matter then?

Perhaps part of the explanation is the seriousness of the offence under the law and the penalty applying to Covid regulation breaches. The penalty for the alleged crime paralysing our entire political system is a £60 fixed-penalty ticket.

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