I CAN only imagine how much it must have cost to stage the massive police operation that brought Blackpool Promenade to a standstill on Saturday.
At a time when police are having to cut every corner to keep up a credible presence on our streets and stem the tide of rising crime, it seems they are now like buses. In this case, you don’t see any for weeks and then suddenly, as soon as a protest heads into town, they are everywhere.
As hoteliers, we didn’t have a say in when the EDL rally was to be staged. We were forced to accept our fate – that nobody would want to spend a leisurely holiday weekend in a town that was hosting hundreds, if not thousands, of demonstrators who, while entitled to protest in our free country, didn’t have to do it on what should have been our busiest weekend of the year so far.
We have suffered a long winter of keeping up the outgoings with very little income and, just when the sun threatened to shine, Nickelodeon was open, and even the gas cloud was keeping people in the UK, we have to contend with a situation where, not only is our potential tourism income affected, but we are helping to pay from our taxes for the policing of it.
If, God forbid, we were to need police assistance, we would have the usual barriers of insufficient manpower to contend with.
All this, while the protesters presumably packed up and left town as quickly as they came in, leaving us to pick up the tab in more ways than one.
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IT was hard to miss the huge police presence for the English Defence League march on Saturday – which dwarfed anything seen during Blackpool’s Premier League Football season.
The car parks by Blackpool South Station are normally, on a bank holiday weekend, crammed with visitors, but were taken over by the police with buses, horse boxes and vans from across the north of England.
Questions must be raised over the cost of such an operation, which has presumably been borne by the taxpayer.
The busloads of officers, brought in to deal with this protest, will not have come cheap. Football clubs are required to cover the cost of policing their events. Should the same not have been required of the protest organisers?
Then, maybe, they might have thought twice about staging their event for which Blackpool has paid dear, not only in policing, but in the loss of trade over a bank holiday weekend.
I HAVE never been prone to get particularly excited by the natural world. Indeed I often wonder if things pass me by in life and I don’t give them the time to ponder they deserve.
I’m not particularly worried about gorgeous sunsets and find stunning landscapes a little on the dull side.
But I have to confess the two minor earthquakes felt in Poulton recently have left me very excited and, for such a card-carrying cynic, slightly embarrassed with the wonder the tremors have provoked in me.
There is something majestic about the world when it’s at its wild best – give me a thunderstorm over a tranquil summer day any time.
In April, a larger earthquake was felt across the Fylde coast but, of the most recent one, it seems I’m one of the only ones lucky enough to have felt the small vibrations caused by the minor “quake”.
So long as they stay that way, I’ll be happy to be woken in the night by a little bit of mystery.
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