While Theresa May has characteristically responded to the terror attack on London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday night by mouthing platitudes - “Enough is enough”, which ranks with “Brexit means Brexit” for sheer vacuity - and her most ardent admirers in the press grovelingly lap it up, elsewhere the question is being asked as to whether we have sufficient Police and security force numbers to combat the threat.
What resources does the PM propose to use in pursuit of her allegedly new and tougher stance towards terrorist attacks? Why does she, once again, deflect by ordering the gullible of Grubstreet to “look over there” at the Web? And, most importantly, why is it not her, but anyone else in the cabinet, who is being pushed forward to appear before the inquisition of the broadcasters, even those on Breakfast TV?
Her hapless Culture Secretary Karen Bradley was volunteered to appear on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, where she failed more than once to answer a straightforward question from co-hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on the number of armed Police officers (this was cut by more than 1,000 between 2012 and 2016, on Theresa May’s watch). Matt Chorley of The Times helpfully provided a graph to assist her next time.
All Ms Bradley would tell GMB viewers was that there was a choice when the electorate went to the polls on Thursday. So there is. And Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has - perhaps not inadvertently - showed the force’s frustration at the succession of Tory cuts by suggesting that she favours choosing a party that is not the Conservatives. The evidence could not be more compelling.
Paul Harrison, senior news editor for Sky News, relayed Ms Dick’s comments, which will not make comfortable reading for The Blue Team. “#LondonBridge Met Commissioner asked if the the system is buckling under pressure, incl 3 attacks: ‘I would like more resources, yes’”. Ouch! Perhaps we could have a second source for that?
We certainly could, from ITV political editor Robert Peston: “‘We need more’ resources and power, says Met Commissioner Cressida Dick”. And what reason did the Commissioner give for her response? Peston again: “[Ms] Dick says we needs more powers and resource because terrorist threat intensifying”. As Karen Bradley kept on saying to Morgan and Ms Reid as she desperately tried to avoid actually answering the question, voters have a choice on Thursday. They have a particular choice on Police resources.
That choice is for more of the same under the Tories and Theresa May, with fewer Police officers available over time, or for an increase of 20,000 officers offered by Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. The Red Team is also committed to increasing manpower in the security services, the people who have to obtain and utilise intelligence on terror threats, and then ensure those who may be planning attacks are monitored and, if necessary, stopped.
So this morning the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has effectively told anyone capable of deciphering her straightforward message to Vote Labour. No surprise there.