DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Pensioner’s killing shames the police

At four in the afternoon in an unremarkable suburb of west London, an 87-year-old man was stabbed to death on his mobility scooter. It was the sixth murder in the capital in four days – the 59th this year – and arguably the most shocking of them all.

Thomas O’Halloran was by all accounts a kindly man who busked with his accordion, most recently raising money for Ukraine. That anyone could see him as a legitimate target for such appalling violence is inconceivable. That the perpetrator thought they could get away with it is grotesque.

It shows how far the police have conceded control of the streets, emboldened thugs and let down the communities they are meant to protect.

In London, violence is reaching epidemic proportions – accentuated by a woeful lack of leadership. Predictably, London Mayor Sadiq Khan was wringing his hands yesterday over Mr O’Halloran’s death. But his ineptitude is a huge part of the problem.

Thomas O'Halloran Thomas O'Halloran busked with his accordion, most recently raising money for Ukraine

Thomas O’Halloran Thomas O’Halloran busked with his accordion, most recently raising money for Ukraine

He’s happy to swan off to California on a junket to discuss drug legalisation, but when it comes to tackling the bloodbath happening on his watch, he has nothing useful to say. Equally, Scotland Yard too has pussy-footed around the growing problem of gang violence and knife crime.

It has focused far too much on such things as internet hate crime and bogus historic sex offences and nowhere near enough on the crimes that really matter to people – burglary, robbery and assault.

So will anything change as a result of this gruesome killing? There’s no point looking to Mr Khan for leadership but the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Andy Cooke, has at least been making the right noises.

He has rebuked chief constables for their failure to investigate serious crime. Several forces have been placed in special measures and action is being taken to raise their game – but change won’t happen overnight.

The casual killing of a pensioner on a suburban street shows just how far the police have failed in their primary duty to protect the public. Regaining their trust will be a difficult and long-term task.

End union blackmail

Margaret Thatcher showed in the 1980s that militancy can be defeated. Four decades on, Grant Shapps is rightly invoking her spirit by pledging to crush the Marxist-run rail unions.

These malevolent wreckers cannot be allowed to perpetually hold the country to ransom by crippling the train and Tube network with a wave of damaging and politically motivated strikes.

With his 16-point plan to curb disruption, which includes guaranteed minimum service levels during walkouts, the Transport Secretary is firmly grasping the nettle.

Yes, the unions and their Labour puppets will howl with fury. But nothing Mr Shapps proposes is unreasonable. He’d simply make it easier for the economy to function and commuters to go about their daily lives.

As Mrs Thatcher proved, there is only one way to defeat union blackmail. Face it down, unfalteringly.

More graft, less grift

The Left is in another predictable confection of outrage, this time over Liz Truss saying British workers need to put ‘more graft’ into their jobs.

It may seem a harsh judgment, but doesn’t she have a point? Productivity here is below average in the G7 and well behind the US.

Yes, many work exceptionally hard. Others, however, take work-life balance to extremes, expecting a full day’s pay for less than a full day’s work.

Whitehall and much of white-collar Britain have refused all exhortations to get back to normal practice, remaining at home most days rather than getting back to the office.

This lack of ‘graft’ threatens our recovery. Saying so is not offensive – it’s essential.

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