The contest for the Tory leadership - and by default, occupancy of 10 Downing Street - has been re-ignited by a series of highly creative claims by the two candidates, Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary) and London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. And as he is One Of Their Own, it is Bozza’s pronouncements that have hit the headlines today - especially on Police numbers.
A complete Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
So it is that the Murdoch Sun - the Telegraph pays Bozza all that money, but his ultimate loyalty is to the people who have the Kompromat on him - told readers “No 10 Favourite Boris Writes To Sun Readers … MY UNITED KINGDOM … I’ll heal nation with good Brexit … Then I’ll get on with beating Corb … And I’ll bring in 20,000 new cops”. New cops, eh? That has been picked up by other right-leaning titles.
Take, for instance, the joke newspaper pretending to be the Express. “BORIS: I’LL PUT 20,000 EXTRA BOBBIES ON BEAT”, along with a photo of Carrie Symonds, who it is stressed is “Johnson’s girlfriend”, except the two are not shown together. The Mail goes totally OTT with “NOW FOR 20,000 BORIS BOBBIES … He pledges to reverse Police cuts and fight back against Wild West Britain … but he’ll have to find £1bn”.
Now call me cynical, because I am cynical, but this is total crap. Bozza has been a byword for cuts, ever since he got his feet under the table at City Hall. Consider some numbers.
In 2001, the year after Ken Livingstone became Mayor of London, the Metropolitan Police had approximately 25,000 officers. In 2009, the year after he left office, that had increased to around 32,500 officers. But by 2017, after eight years of Bozza, that number had fallen to around 30,800. Tory-led Governments imposed cuts; Bozza nodded along with them.
If you then look at the national picture, as Full Fact has told, “The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by over 20,000 between March 2010 and March 2018 … The number of police officers in England and Wales is the lowest recorded level since the early 1980s”. We are being asked to believe that, with all the Brexit uncertainty, a Tory Government that just cut 20,000 Police officers will reverse those cuts under Bozza.
They won’t. Worse, we know that this is another exercise in deflection - the really nasty surprise in the Bozza package is not more cops, but the caving in to lobbyists. After the BBC told “Boris Johnson has said he wants to examine whether levies on foods high in salt, fat and sugar are effective, and has vowed not to introduce any new ones until the review is complete”, it was the Murdoch press that let the cat out of the bag.
The Sun ranted “BORIS Johnson is of course right about scrapping ‘sin' taxes … The answer is not for hysterical politicians to run around flapping that ‘something must be done’. That led us to the idiotic sugar tax, which will cut no one’s weight … There’s zero evidence it works … It must stop. And Boris has seen the light”.
All of which plays into the hands of Big Sugar - Brexit and lower sugar tariffs are what the folks in places like Belize can only dream of. And apart from Tate and Lyle, I’ll leave readers to fill in the rest of The Usual Suspects themselves.
Don’t be deflected by “20,000 cops”. Follow the money. That’s what moves Bozza.