Sunday, November 28, 2004

They're Called That For A Reason

In a stunning rebuttal to the image of Conservative intellectuals as a bunch of out-of-touch, Metropolitan elitists, the Speccie exclusively reveals that the Polizei are pondscum. See ? All that time spent at Oxford was worthwhile after all. The Speccie is as yet undecided on the question of whether the Pope really is Catholic, but at least they've got something right.

Not to blow my own trumpet, but some of us have been saying this for years. Meanwhile, it was the Spectator that ran a leader article last month ridiculing S******* for complaining about police misconduct at Hillsborough. Hey - at least Nicky Samengo-Turner is still alive.

You will note, of course, that the Hillsborough Creative Writing and Evidence BBQ Society first convened under You-Know-Who. That's one reason why I'm sceptical about the attempt to lay all the blame on Princess Tony. Yes, Nu Lab has undoubtedly helped to screw things up further, but there are other forces at work.

Equally, the proposed cure for the Police sounds like more of the same. Samengo-Turner, ex-Guards officer that he is, proposes that the Police really need to organised more like the Guards. It's a tempting thought, but it misses the point that the Police have already been developing their own 'officer class' over the past decades, with systems such as the accelerated promotion scheme for graduates and the like. If anything, the development of an managerial elite has been one of the main factors in getting where we are today.

What's happened to the Police is what's happened to Britain writ large. Take the question of morality. Liberals hate the idea of the law being based on morals, yet without that vital compass, what is the law ? Just a set of arbitrary rules. Is it any wonder that we live in an era both of lawlessness and ever-expanding legislation ? Once the law has been hijacked by pressure groups and posturing politicians, who really cares ? Once a police officer could take pride in his job - he understood that there was anarchy and there was the Law. The lawman stood between the predators and the vulnerable, holding the line between the forces of chaos and those of order. Now ? They're just a bunch of hired guns, offering their loyalty to whosoever holds the whip hand today. When an organisation has no morals, why expect moral behaviour from its members ?

Of course, there are plenty of other factors. Take, for example, the politics of envy and petty spite that Labour has done so much to promote. Add in the dumbing down of the education system, with the parallel obsession with building self-esteem even in those with every right to feel like trash. You can even factor in the 1980s obsession with managerialism and efficiency. To the point: if Blair dropped dead tomorrow, that wouldn't be enough to fix the Police.

Yet, saying that the Police are merely an extreme product of our society, does not mean that there are not special problems which affect how we should deal with them. Here's the truth: governments (of whatever stripe) like the idea of well-armed, amoral thugs at their beck and call. So don't expect Michael Howard to save you. Fortunately, being a Conservative, the answer is obvious to me. We don't need government, we can rely on social pressures - in short, we need to bring back the idea of shunning.

What we do need - to coin a phrase - is to 'understand less and condemn more' (if only that guy had become Conservative leader!). Yes, I'm aware that (say) the Chief Superintendent will manage to strong-arm his way into the golf club with a few threats, but that doesn't mean he should be able to find partners. Und so weiter.

So, I suppose I do have to give some credit to The Spectator after all. The more people who know how the Police operate, the closer we are to the day when it is as unacceptable to be a police officer as it is to be a filthographer (As unacceptable ? At least when you order some 'artistic' material, it actually arrives). Or to put it another way - if you're quite happy to associate with a man who arrests people on bogus grounds, then beats them senseless in the back of the van, you can't really complain when you eat a baton.

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