More than one Police force has faced condemnation in the recent past: the Met over Blair Peach, Jean Charles de Menezes, Ian Tomlinson, Stephen Lawrence and the still unsolved killing of Daniel Morgan, South Yorkshire over Hillsborough, West Midlands also over Hillsborough, Surrey and Sussex over the Dowler killing, while West Yorkshire’s failings over the Yorkshire Ripper were legion.
Don't mess with me, copper
And, with Plebgate, the Tory Party began to take notice: Police corruption could even affect them, and not just all the little people who didn’t really matter to them. So it was that Theresa May presented herself before the Police Federation – classed as a Trades Union when the right-leaning part of the press wants to kick the cops – and delivered a stern warning to the assembled delegates.
The Mail was suitably pleased with her stance: “in Theresa May – herself the target of the Fed’s disgraceful personal attacks – they appear to have met their match. Yesterday, in stony silence, she told the Fed’s annual conference it was losing all government funding. Crucially, she also ended the closed-shop deal where all police recruits are enrolled as Fed members”
Yeah, personal attacks are right out – that’s the Mail’s job. The cops need to know their place, which is to clobber anyone who has the audacity to laugh at those decent hardworking Daily Mail readers, provide a reliable stream of information to the Mail’s hacks (no questions asked, know what I mean, nudge nudge), and otherwise behave like good and grateful boys and girls.
But here a problem enters: not only does the Police Federation agree that it should be subjected to significant reforms, the Home Secretary going in with both stilettos runs the risk of needlessly alienating the very people that any Government needs to have on side when Supermac’s “Events, dear boy, events” come along and bite those in power on their collective jacksies.
Put it this way: there is one former Tory PM who would not have dreamed of alienating the rozzers: Mrs T made a point of keeping them sweet. There may no longer be a coal mining industry to speak of, but don’t forget the Poll Tax riots, the fuel protests and blockades faced by Tone, and the increasing need for the cops to help out when another bout of flooding happens.
There’s stuff all use in taking any notice of the Mail – they’re the power-without-responsibility brigade, remember – and if the Police aren’t there, there is nobody else. The corruption may have been jaw-dropping, the misbehaviour disgraceful, and the excuses unconvincing, but no Government can lose the Police, who, if push comes to shove, will support the Police Federation over the Coalition.
After all, the Daily Mail doesn’t govern the country, whatever its editor may think.