Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Will Moat make a break for the border?

'This has gone too far' - the words of Paul Stobbart, father of Raoul Moat's former partner.

And he's right in so many ways - do we really need this constant media frenzy dropping gobbets of pointless information into the public's gaping maw? At least the BBC have removed from their news website the invitation to 'Watch the hunt for Moat LIVE'.

Oddly enough, the BBC files this story and the police operation exclusively under the heading 'England News'. If the Met are involved - as last night's reports said - then is there any help coming from Lothian and Borders?

Rothbury is only about 12 miles from the Scottish border as the crow flies, yet while Northumbria Police's website carries live updates of the manhunt and contact phone numbers, Lothian and Borders' homepage has only a warning to watch out for a festival tickets scam.

Once upon a time, the forces cooperated fully; in the 1980's, when a child went missing from Cornhill, a village close to the border, search parties were immediately organised to cover both sides of the Tweed in a joint operation coordinated by radio and telephone.

But thing have changed since then, as residents of Carham, Northumberland have found to their cost. The nearest ambulance is based 6 miles up the road in Kelso, but that's in Scotland - anyone falling ill in Carham must wait for an English ambulance to come from Berwick, 17 miles - 27 minutes - away.

With ambulances, traffic news, flood alerts and local information all on different websites, computers have ensured that the geographical line dividing England and Scotland is more solid now than it has ever been before.

One just has to hope that, should Moat decide to make a break for the Border, it doesn't work to his advantage.


  1. It he does and then shoots someone and the Scots have sat on their hands the fallout could be interesting.

  2. We can only hope it doesn't happen - it could get very nasty indeed.

    There's a lot of open country up there, including the vast MOD range at Otterburn - the words needle and haystack spring inevitably to mind.

    Perhaps all those optimistic police spokesmen should read 'Rogue Male' for an account of how a man can go to ground undetected.

  3. I seem to recall that the lead character in 'Rogue Male' hid underground, which this chap seems to think is a likely prospect:

    "The builder, who would give his name only as Jason, said the circular pipes are big enough for a man Moat's stature. And he said the pipes may have worked as a shield against heat detectors used by police during the week-long manhunt."

    Although, on second thoughts, he's probably thinking more of Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo...