December 18, 2008
Only a month ago Vernon Coaker, the Policing Minister in support of direct elections to Police Authorities said that ‘only direct election, based on geographic constituencies, will deliver the strong connection to the public which is critical’ and dismissing fears from the Local Government Association and Association of Police Authorities of the BNP flooding authorities with its supporters he added, ‘The BNP has stood against many of the councillors on police authorities. They have stood against me. How have we beaten them? By persuasion; we have pointed out the racist nature of much of what they say.’
Presumably what Vernon Coaker said a month ago no longer applies as the Home Secretary has dropped plans for direct elections blaming the politicisation of the Police as a concern and the potential for BNP members to get elected. How odd that in an old and established democracy, people fear the outcome of a democratic result.
As far as politicisation is concerned, Jacqui Smith is talking utter nonsense. She seems to think that when Police chase targets and do what Ministers want them to do there’s no politicisation but when there’s a chance that the Police might end up doing what the public demands, they’re being politicised!
It is in the Labour Party’s genes to try and maintain state control over everything. Here, it flirted with local autonomy for Police Authorities albeit based on flawed plans but at the eleventh hour bottled it as it has previously in health and education with plans for Foundation Hospitals and School Academies.
November 28, 2008
While terrorists were carrying out atrocities in Mumbai and most counter terrorist teams around the world were observing and no doubt learning about a worryingly new tactic that these terrorists had deployed, our counter terror police in London were busy arresting a Member of Parliament and raiding his parliamentary and constituency offices for revealing statistics and other relevant information of public interest which the Home Office refused to disclose.
The arrest of Damian Green by counter terrorism officers is a huge embarrassment for counter terror Police and the Government. More worryingly, it represents a dangerous step towards reducing the role of a parliamentarian and especially one belonging to the opposition.
We have long suspected that the Labour Government’s natural instincts are authoritarian. It relied on the Police to support its argument of wanting to hold terror suspects without trial for up to 90 days. It’s created hundreds of new criminal and civil offences and continues to introduce legislation whenever it gets a chance and especially when if feels this might be popular with voters. It introduced the Freedom of Information Act yet does all it can to withhold relevant information citing national interests and other such excuses as a defence. The list is endless. Now we see an attempt to silence and prevent a Shadow Minister from effectively doing his job! If a journalist obtained statistics or data which showed the Government not being totally honest he would be congratulated for getting hold of a major scoop and for effective journalism. A Shadow Minister obtaining and using similar information is ‘conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.’
How can we have confidence in our legislation and in counter terror Police when we read about such behaviour? Surely someone at counter terrorism command would have looked at this and concluded that this case wasn’t one needing counter terror police or any other police for that matter?
Ian Dale has written a couple of excellent posts on this which everyone should read.