Paddick: Orde should replace Blair

Former top cop turned Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick explains why Ian Blair cannot r

Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair should be removed from his job and replaced with Northern Ireland's most senior police officer, Hugh Orde, says Brian Paddick.

In an interview with newstatesman.com, Paddick – formerly Britain's most senior out gay policeman and now Lib Dem candidate for London mayor – argued Blair is incapable of modernising the Met into an organisation which has the trust of all London's communities.

“Blair's not having any impact at all. In fact he's making things worse,” says Paddick who argues the way the UK capital is policed increasingly disadvantages black people both under anti-crime and anti-terror laws.

“Why do I say Blair's not effective? He promises much and in private conversations he voices support for a much more liberal approach. In particular support for minority senior officers and yet the highest ranking openly gay officer he forced out of the organisation. The highest ranking Asian officer in the country he moved from being in charge of serious crime to putting him in charge of traffic.”

Paddick left the Metropolitan Police earlier this year ending a career in which he had been cast as something of a liberal villain – the Cannabis Cop who wanted a common-sense approach to drug law enforcement. Then he was the victim of a 'kiss-and-tell' Mail-on-Sunday story in which he was falsely accused of smoking dope himself. He won substantial damages.

Now he is going head-to-head with Labour's Ken Livingstone, Tory Boris Johnson, the Green Party's Sian Berry and others in next year's contest to be mayor – due to be held on 1 May.

“This is a completely new venture – this is a non-politician, someone with no track record either as a politician or as a Liberal Democrat.

“I think being a politician is something which is quickly learnt – the dark arts of politics – whereas it's very difficult to acquire managerial experience and the ability to be a representative in very difficult circumstances like when I was in the police.”

Paddick has managed to fall out with quite a lot of people in his long career, was that in some way his fault? He looks surprised by the question.

“I joined the police to make a difference and if you go into a very conservative organisation in order to make a difference you are going to ruffle some feathers which is inevitably what happened,” he says.

“What I was crap at was managing my own senior officers and at the end of the day I was loyal to my staff and I was loyal to my community. Loyalty to my senior officers came third.”

And in the hour we talked, Sir Ian Blair comes up a lot. An awful lot. Paddick turns up with pages of statistics (“I do all my own research.”) about Blair's first year as Met chief.

“Ian has got the right ideas in terms of a more diverse, more inclusive Met that's closer to the community [but] he's not been able to take his own senior officers with him which is obviously a serious problem,” he says.

“The second serious problem is he's not been able to take the rank and file with him either. [His predecessor] John Stevens was a hard act to follow as commissioner. He was a master at winning the hearts and minds and a master at dealing with the media.

“He was a copper's copper and Ian has been accurately portrayed by the media as the opposite – he's seen as politically correct, he's seen as intellectual in a macho, anti-intellectual culture.”

When I start at the use of the word “intellectual” to describe Ian Blair, Paddick adds with a laugh: “There's a difference between intellectual and intelligent.”

So how easily can an ex-copper – albeit a very senior one – turn his hand to wider political issues? What will his programme be?

Well, he starts with policing.

“The main theme of the campaign for me is getting Londoners on the same side. Labour have used this trite phrase the 'law abiding majority',” he says.

“I adopt a fairly liberal approach to law enforcement basically working on the premise that if you don't harm anyone else you should be allowed to get on with it.

“What we need to do is to get the overwhelming majority of Londoners who don't do anything to infringe the rights of other people on the side of the police. Whereas at the moment and particularly the Muslim community, traditionally the Caribbean community, the gay community – significant portions now of London – don't trust and respect the police.

“And if we could get to a situation where all Londoners have trust and confidence in the police and are proud of the police then London would be a better place.”

He sees the mayoral role as essentially giving a strategic lead across the capital over the “big issues affecting Londoners” be they the growing gap between rich and poor, housing, employment or – indeed – law and order. He talks about “best practice” and “sharing successes”.

“I have a track record of running large organisations with large budgets, I have a good track record on listening and acting on what people say, I have a very hard earned reputation for telling the truth, for telling people exactly how it is. What Londoners want more than anything is somebody they can trust.”

Toward the end of our conversation I ask Paddick about the turmoil the Lib Dems have experienced in recent months and somehow we get back to Blair again.

“In terms of the way in which the party's had a succession of leaders and the circumstances in which those leaders met their demise has not done the party any favours,” he says.

“But it's one of those unfortunate things – it's a bit like Ian Blair being commissioner you can't argue with his principles in terms of what he wants to try to achieve, it's very inconvenient that he's made such a hash of it.

“And it's the same with the Liberal Democrats – it's the policies that make the party, you know, I just cannot disagree with them. The democratic basis of the party – the fact that policy is debated by members and voted on and reflects what the membership feels. But it's very unfortunate that we've gone through the internal machinations that we've gone through.”

As for who he thinks should succeed Sir Menzies Campbell, Paddick leaves his options open.

“I've worked with Nick Clegg before because he was home affairs and I was a senior police officer. I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Chris Huhne but that's being resolved this week. I'm having meetings with both of them.

“Clearly they're both trying to court me to their side because for some obscure reason they think it will help their campaign if I'm on their side.”

A lesson, perhaps, Ian Blair could have learned.

Ben Davies trained as a journalist after taking most of the 1990s off. Prior to joining the New Statesman he spent five years working as a politics reporter for the BBC News website. He lives in North London.
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The secret anti-capitalist history of McDonald’s

As a new film focuses on the real founder of McDonald’s, his grandson reveals the unlikely story behind his family’s long-lost restaurant.

One afternoon in about the year 1988, an 11-year-old boy was eating at McDonald’s with his family in the city of Manchester, New Hampshire. During the meal, he noticed a plaque on the wall bearing a man’s face and declaring him the founder of McDonald’s. These plaques were prevalent in McDonald’s restaurants across the US at the time. The face – gleaming with pride – belonged to Ray Kroc, a businessman and former travelling salesman long hailed as the creator of the fast food franchise.

Flickr/Phillip Pessar

But this wasn’t the man the young boy munching on fries expected to see. That man was in the restaurant alongside him. “I looked at my grandfather and said, ‘But I thought you were the founder?’” he recalls. “And that’s when, in the late Eighties, early Nineties, my grandfather went back on the [McDonald’s] Corporation to set the history straight.”

Jason McDonald French, now a 40-year-old registered nurse with four children, is the grandson of Dick McDonald – the real founder of McDonald’s. When he turned to his grandfather as a confused child all those years ago, he spurred him on to correct decades of misinformation about the mysterious McDonald’s history. A story now being brought to mainstream attention by a new film, The Founder.


Jason McDonald French

“They [McDonald’s Corporation] seemed to forget where the name actually did come from,” says McDonald French, speaking on the phone from his home just outside Springfield, Massachusetts.

His grandfather Dick was one half of the McDonald brothers, an entrepreneurial duo of restaurateurs who started out with a standard drive-in hotdog stand in California, 1937.

Dick's father, an Irish immigrant, worked in a shoe factory in New Hampshire. He and his brother made their success from scratch. They founded a unique burger restaurant in San Bernardino, around 50 miles east of where they had been flogging hotdogs. It would become the first McDonald’s restaurant.

Most takeout restaurants back then were drive-ins, where you would park, order food from your car, and wait for a “carhop” server to bring you your meal on a plate, with cutlery. The McDonald brothers noticed that this was a slow, disorganised process with pointless costly overheads.

So they invented fast food.

***

In 1948, they built what came to be known as the “speedy system” for a fast food kitchen from scratch. Dick was the inventor out of the two brothers - as well as the bespoke kitchen design, he came up with both the iconic giant yellow “M” and its nickname, the “Golden Arches”.

“My grandfather was an innovator, a man ahead of his time,” McDonald French tells me. “For someone who was [only] high school-educated to come up with the ideas and have the foresight to see where the food service business was going, is pretty remarkable.”


The McDonald brothers with a milkshake machine.

McDonald French is still amazed at his grandfather’s contraptions. “He was inventing machines to do this automated system, just off-the-cuff,” he recalls. “They were using heat lamps to keep food warm beforehand, before anyone had ever thought of such a thing. They customised their grills to whip the grease away to cook the burgers more efficiently. It was six-feet-long, which was just unheard of.”

Dick even custom-made ketchup and mustard dispensers – like metal fireplace bellows – to speed up the process of garnishing each burger. The brothers’ system, which also cut out waiting staff and the cost of buying and washing crockery and cutlery, brought customers hamburgers from grill to counter in 30 seconds.


The McDonald brothers as depicted in The Founder. Photo: The Founder

McDonald French recounts a story of the McDonald brothers working late into the night, drafting and redrafting a blueprint for the perfect speedy kitchen in chalk on their tennis court for hours. By 3am, when they finally had it all mapped out, they went to bed – deciding to put it all to paper the next day. The dry, desert climate of San Bernardino meant it hadn’t rained in months.

 “And, of course, it rained that night in San Bernardino – washed it all away. And they had to redo it all over again,” chuckles McDonald French.

In another hiccup when starting out, a swarm of flies attracted by the light descended on an evening event they put on to drum up interest in their restaurant, driving customers away.


An original McDonald's restaurant, as depicted in The Founder. Photo: The Founder

***

These turned out to be the least of their setbacks. As depicted in painful detail in John Lee Hancock’s film, Ray Kroc – then a milkshake machine salesman – took interest in their restaurant after they purchased six of his “multi-mixers”. It was then that the three men drew up a fateful contract. This signed Kroc as the franchising agent for McDonald’s, who was tasked with rolling out other McDonald’s restaurants (the McDonalds already had a handful of restaurants in their franchise). 

Kroc soon became frustrated at having little influence. He was bound by the McDonalds’ inflexibility and stubborn standards (they wouldn’t allow him to cut costs by purchasing powdered milkshake, for example). The film also suggests he was fed up with the lack of money he was making from the deal. In the end, he wriggled his way around the contract by setting up the property company “McDonald’s Corporation” and buying up the land on which the franchises were built.


Ray Kroc, as depicted in The Founder. Photo: The Founder

Kroc ended up buying McDonald’s in 1961, for $2.7m. He gave the brothers $1m each and agreeing to an annual royalty of half a per cent, which the McDonald family says they never received.

“My father told us about the handshake deal [for a stake in the company] and how Kroc had gone back on his word. That was very upsetting to my grandfather, and he never publicly spoke about it,” McDonald French says. “It’s probably billions of dollars. But if my grandfather was never upset about it enough to go after the Corporation, why would we?”

They lost the rights to their own name, and had to rebrand their original restaurant “The Big M”. It was soon put out of business by a McDonald’s that sprang up close by.


An original McDonald restaurant in Arizona. Photo: Flickr/George

Soon after that meal when the 11-year-old Jason saw Kroc smiling down from the plaque for the first time, he learned the true story of what had happened to his grandfather. “It’s upsetting to hear that your family member was kind of duped,” he says. “But my grandfather always had a great respect for the McDonald’s Corporation as a whole. He never badmouthed the Corporation publicly, because he just wasn’t that type of man.”

Today, McDonalds' corporate website acknowledges the McDonalds brothers as the founders of the original restaurant, and credits Kroc with expanding the franchise. The McDonald’s Corporation was not involved with the making of The Founder, which outlines this story. I have contacted it for a response to this story, but it does not wish to comment.

***

Dick McDonald’s principles jar with the modern connotations of McDonald’s – now a garish symbol of global capitalism. The film shows Dick’s attention to the quality of the food, and commitment to ethics. In one scene, he refuses a lucrative deal to advertise Coca Cola in stores. “It’s a concept that goes beyond our core beliefs,” he rants. “It’s distasteful . . . crass commercialism.”

Kroc, enraged, curses going into business with “a beatnik”.


Photo: The Founder

Dick’s grandson agrees that McDonald’s has strayed from his family’s values. He talks of his grandfather’s generosity and desire to share his wealth – the McDonald brothers gave their restaurant to its employees, and when Dick returned to New Hampshire after the sale, he used some of the money to buy new Cadillacs with air conditioning for his old friends back home.

“[McDonald’s] is definitely a symbol of capitalism, and it definitely sometimes has a negative connotation in society,” McDonald French says. “If it was still under what my grandfather had started, I imagine it would be more like In'N'Out Burger [a fast food chain in the US known for its ethical standards] is now, where they pay their employees very well, where they stick to the simple menu and the quality.”

He adds: “I don’t think it would’ve ever blossomed into this, doing salads and everything else. It would’ve stayed simple, had quality products that were great all the time.

“I believe that he [my grandfather] wasn’t too unhappy that he wasn’t involved with it anymore.”


The McDonald’s Museum, Ray Kroc’s first franchised restaurant in the chain. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Despite his history, Dick still took his children and grandchildren to eat at McDonald’s together – “all the time” – as does Jason McDonald French with his own children now. He’s a cheeseburger enthusiast, while his seven-year-old youngest child loves the chicken nuggets. But there was always a supersize elephant in the room.

“My grandfather never really spoke of Ray Kroc,” he says. “That was always kind of a touchy subject. It wasn’t until years later that my father told us about how Kroc was not a very nice man. And it was the only one time I ever remember my grandfather talking about Kroc, when he said: ‘Boy, that guy really got me.’”

The Founder is in UK cinemas from today.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.