Monday, December 22, 2008

The Quick Apology Should Be the End Of it

Half an hour ago I got a call from BBC South East asking me to go on their lunchtime show to talk about Bob Quick's allegations against the Tory Party. "He'll have apologised by then," I told the researcher. Well, whaddayaknow.

He's just issued an unreserved apology for the remarks he made yesterday.

And that should be the end of it.

He said something he shouldn't have to a reporter on the spur of the moment and at a time of high anxiety. We've all done it. People will no doubt wonder whether a man who reacts so emotionally should be heading the Counter Terror unit, but that's a matter for Sir Paul Stephenson.

The Conservatives should accept his apology and not seek to take matters further.

UPDATE: Danny Finkelstein thinks he now understands the Quick stance.

41 comments:

yellowbelly said...

But fundamentally it still calls his judgement (and impartiality) into question, doesn't it?

Dick the Prick said...

Yeah, you're probably right. I've not got kids but that's every parent's Achilles and he just went off on one. Act in haste, repent at leisure.

He needs to clean up his personal life though - shouldn't be hard. Get a shadow address for company stuff etc.

Not good and quite damaging to him but shouldn't necessarily require sacking. Foolish, foolish boy.

Anoneumouse said...

"The Conservatives should accept his apology and not seek to take matters further"

That will be for political reasons then and not becuase it would be the right thing to do!

North Norfolk Blogger said...

Well said. Now let's make sure that Politicians as a "breed" learn to accept apologies.

Or is that the same as a snowballs chance in hell

trevorsden said...

How can he publish his address on the internet, use his own personal car for his business (letting it out to any Tom Dick or Harriet and THEN blame the Conservatives for damaging his security?

Someone else who made the big mistake of shackling his wagon to the new labour train.

Shaun said...

While yes, blah blah, the Police do sterling work blah blah fabric of broken society blah blah, the simple fact is that they have become increasingly politicised. Ian Blair was one of the worst examples, but we saw the way the Police came under pressure during the Levy inquiries and all the rest. And now we see that the Police have either embraced, or become influenced by, a political culture where not only is it acceptable to arrest and harass Opposition MPs but that they feel justified in using Counter Terror specialists to do it. Hell, its not as if they have nothing else to do when their Home Secretary reports ongoing Islamist plots.

We don't live in Zimbabwe, this is not acceptable behaviour and while the matter may be rested in public, it absolutely needs to be revisited in Government.

Time for PACE II!

Unsworth said...

Well, apology notwithstanding, he's paid by us to act rather more sensibly and professionaly than that, isn't he?

Another example of the Peter Principle - sadly reflected amongst most of his senior colleagues, too. When will they learn simply to button it?

Raedwald said...

There are very good reasons why coppers are told not to run businesses on the side, and this is one of them.

Others include compliance; do the Quicks have planning consent for a potential material change of use of their home? Are their tax and VAT affairs in order? Are they complying with employment and workplace law? A failure to maintain impeccable standards of legal probity could leave Quick open to blackmail.

Then there are questions of the demands on his time and efforts of a business against his contracted public duties; a conflict here could leave him open to the same misconduct in public office charges as he's attempting to bring against Damian Green.

And then there are the problems faced by all small businesses in dealing with bad debts, damage to the vehicles and the like, and leaving himself wide open to accusations of using his position to 'intimidate' debtors, or getting tied up in County Court actions whether as claimant or respondent.

The fact that the business is apparently in Mrs Quick's name is of little import and I suspect any PC whose wife was doing the same would be 'counselled' to see it ended.

It does indicate a sort of misplaced cocksureness that may not be entirely appropriate in a senior police officer.

Praguetory said...

I disagree. The genie is out of the bottle. When you're a senior in the criminal justice system you can't blurt out such serious allegations and simply retract them.

As a minimum, he must be removed from the Damian Green case. GIven the misuse of terrorism legislation (Iceland anyone?), I remain uncomfortable with him being in his role at all.

trevorsden said...

Norfolk -
Times reports
"Dominic Grieve, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “We accept Assistant Commissioner Quick’s unreserved apology and this draws a line under the matter.” "

Tom said...

I take it you won't be going on BBC South East to talk about it, then.

Colin said...

I'm not sure I agree with you Iain.

What matters for people in public life and especially for senior people in positions of influence or in positions where they have the capability to exercise executive or operational power, is judgement...

Bob Quick has shown poor judgement here. Firstly in relation to the substance of the MOS story and secondly for losing the plot and trying to take on the Tories. What on earth was he thinking?

Also, is it me, or does he look remarkably like bob crow, the fat cat union baron?

Niccolo Machiavelli said...

Perhaps it should be a matter for the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, rather than the temporary Commissioner.

Iain Dale said...

Tom, I shall indeed be going, unless they drop the subject. I shall say exactly what I have said here.

Tom said...

So by "should be the end of it", you mean "should be the end of it, apart from giving me the opportunity to talk for a bit about how there's nothing more to say about it".

Iain Dale said...

Oh sod off! That should be the end of it clearly meant just that. That the Conservatives should accept the apology and not take it any further.

Mr Mr said...

If the top anti-terror cop in the land is stupid enough to publish his address in promotional literature, what does that say about those serving under him?

Obviously that is meant to be a flippant remark and I would imagine that his juniors are fumimg and will now have little confidence in their boss. Quite why he was blaming the Tories for making his address known beggars belief.

Unsworth said...

Well Iain I hope you're not suggesting that the matter should be forgotten. This hint of the onset of a collective amnesia is dangerous.

I'm afraid I see this episode as yet another instance of politicisation. The police are far too ready to mouth off to the Press. They are also far too ready to adopt the position of injured party. I think they have have lost most, if not all, of their professional and personal integrity - that is if they ever had any, of course.

So, forgive - maybe. Forget - absolutely not - to do so would be very foolish indeed.

strapworld said...

Iain, Like yourself the Conservative Party have, graciously, accepted the apology.

But it just cannot end there. As a former police officer and one who represented many officers up and down the country facing disciplinary charges (before legal representation) I can tell you that Quick should be facing a charge, at the very least, of Bringing the Police Force into disrepute!

Many junior officers have lost their jobs, been demoted or fined heavily for saying and doing much less than this.

But, as he is the Home Secretaries favourite copper (allegedly), and the IPCC is stuffed full of Labour Appointee's I doubt very much that anything will happen.

One rule for the bosses another for the workers! Strange that, in a Labour Controlled Society!!

Weygand said...

Except that being gracious has nothing to do with it.

The Conservative Party cannot afford to have a public falling out with the forces of law and order, as Labour would start shouting that the Tories were tough on the rozzers and soft on terrorism (42 days/ID cards).

I've no doubt that DC feels very ungracious in private, but consoles himself with the knowledge that Quick has as much chance of getting Blair's job now as I have.

Unsworth said...

@ Weygand

So when do you start? Before or after the interior designers have finished with your new premises?

strapworld said...

Weygand.

You are obviously a young person and cannot remember the long, long years when the Labour Party hated the Police!! Would have nothing to do with them. Blaming them for the trouble with the miners etc. etc. etc.

They were in opposition then and it was Kinnock and Hattersley that made the first moves to create a dialogue with the Police.

Then came Blair...and the rest is history. The Police, like everyone else, were seduced by this prince of the dark arts!!!

So do not put the police on a pedestal. They should be the servants of the people they serve. Never, as it appears to have become, the other way round.

As a former police officer I welcomed the concern expressed by Boris Johnston about Sir ian Blair - I shared that concern. I welcomed the disquiet of many politicians about the Green arrest - I shared that disquiet and I also was disgusted at the way The Countryside Alliance Protesters were treated outside Parliament by the police.

Just like I was disgusted at the way Jack Straw and his rabble assaulted the police at grosvenor square--- as I was there that day.

So get it into perspective. The day that a political party or the people are afraid of having an argument, or public falling out' with the police is the day democracy is dead!

Actually I believe this will do the Conservative Party well!

Praguetory said...

Tactially, the Tories made a mistake in calling for an apology. They should have made the same comment as Quick - namely that they would speak to their solicitors. And then call for the Met to take appropriate action.

Jess The Dog said...

Agreed, the Tories should accept the apology. They have the moral high ground and have scored a victory through Quick's blunder. Plenty of others will put the boot in over his fitness for high command and the political nature of the Green arrest.

Weygand said...

@ Strapworld

There I go making an accurate, apposite comment and you can only be bothered to half read it and wander off on a demented frolic of your own.

Leaving aside my age (which is well past a half century), my point was nothing to do with anyone being afraid to criticise the police, but that Tory HQ had sensibly decided it would be disadvantageous to do so for party political reasons.

With Boris having been the one to give Blair the boot, it is important not to make this seem like a war against the Met. That might appeal to you but would not generally be a vote winner; notwithstanding the general public lack of confidence in the police.

On a general note, I thought it showed the inappropriate cosiness existing between Labour and the Met when Ms Smith commented on what 'Bob' had said and without even feeling the need to mention his surname.

not an economist said...

It isnb't good for the Tories to be seen to be at loggerheads with the police over this, esp as Mandy/Campbell are likely to spin it to look like the Tories have sthg to hide and, given their skills at such things, cause the Tories some damage.

For the above reason I agree with Iain that the apology be accepted and the party move on.

Elby the Beserk said...

http://tomcharris.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/anther-cameron-sleight-of-hand/

Mr. Harris all hot and bothered about this. No sign of him since the apology was issued. Whoops. Wonder if he will apologise as well.

What this has confirmed is that it is now public that the police have been politicised, and very thoroughly at the top, by New Labour.

Thanks Bob. Not too smart are you?

strapworld said...

Just back from my demented frolic, watching the Llangollen Steam railway Santa Special! --Highly Recommended.

Wegand I have re-read your comments and can fully understand why I took the line I did. Learn to express yourself a little clearer please.

David Lindsay said...

So great is the "terrorist threat", for the sake of which we must abandon every liberty, that those employed to police it have the time, not only to pursue Damian Green of all people, but also to run a wedding car hire business from the boss's house. It puts me in mind of the stories that I have heard of yesteryear, when Councillors got their extensions built by Council workmen, on Council time and from Council materials.

Oh, well, Bob Quick has interfered (not for the first time) in politics. He has only himself to blame.

Weygand said...

Strapworld.

That would be "a little more clearly".

At least you have explained up why you didn't understand my post, even if unwittingly.

Sceptical Steve said...

Frustrating as hell listening to the BBC narrative on this, referring to the "sacking" of Ian Blair by Boris Johnson as a sign of the creeping politicisation of the police.

They obviously understand that BJ had no authority to dismiss the head of the Met, and did not do so. Blair went to Jacqui Smith to tender his resignation, citing the breakdown of his relationship with BJ as the reason.

Of course, as we now know, the Menezes inquest verdict would have forced an honourable to man to resign anyway.

The constant repetition of a deliberate untruth is a classic rule from the Nulab book of dirty tricks. Welcome back Mr Campbell.

Forlornehope said...

The biggest question on his judgement is why he thought it was sensible to have a car hire firm operating from his home. This is the person responsible for all our security? Could he safely be put in charge of on-street parking or litter collection.

Jimmy said...

A sensible approach Iain, sadly it would appear some of your colleagues just can't help themselves:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2008/dec/22/police-damian-green

trevorsden said...

Dear Jimmy -

The facts rather than hearsay. The facts are the issue was just the Mail ferreting. Just Mr Quick being an idiot.

Why do you want to defend this pillock?

Oh I see - you just want him to carry on doing the labour Party's bidding.

Jimmy said...

The Hitler on Sunday is engaging in a smear campaign. Even the Mafia tended to treat family as off-limits. He was wrong to suggest the Conservative Party was responsible, but it was plainly done in support of the Party and if they have any objections to the being the intended beneficiary they've been pretty slow in dissociating themselves.

Labour spent years engaged in pointless pissing matches with the Old Bill. It's a dead end.

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

So it's mandatory that they should 'disassociate themselves' from an article printed in a newspaper over which they have no control now is it? Just how much of a Stalinist are you? The Conservatives don't 'have' to do anything at all. They've made their point. As to 'smear campaign' - prove it. You're offering 'opinion' as 'fact' - yet again.

Jimmy said...

Unsworth,

Where did I say they had to?

I merely pointed out that they hadn't.

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

So why bother mentioning it at all? What's the point? They haven't disassociated themselves? Yes, and? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

They also haven't denied that the moon is made of blue cheese (yet), either. But maybe we should get the journals to hold the front page, just in case there's a sudden hot news-flash denial.

The art of conversation and debate, eh?

So anyway, where's your evidence of this 'smear campaign'? Who is mysteriously orchestrating this 'campaign', then? Who's the Mr Big behind all this nastiness? Is anything which is printed in newspapers which you do not like to be regarded as a 'smear campaign'?

How do you think newspapers actually work then?

Jimmy said...

Unsworth,

I find it genuinely hard to decide whether you are wilfully obtuse or genuinely stupid. Either way it's equally tedious.

Vienna Woods said...

Fact is that Quick should be facing a disciplinary hearing as any "working" police officer would, but it's one rule for the Bramshill clique and another for the real thief takers!

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

I hope it's exceedingly tedious. True, and like most others, sometimes I am thick and sometimes obtuse, but not in this case.

You repeatedly put up allegations about the Daily Mail and the Conservatives, then you eventually discover that it's the Sunday Mail, then you cannot substantiate your allegations and then you seem to find it all 'tedious'.

Well ain't that just too bad - we're not here to entertain or inform you. You'll just have to take the rough with the smooth, same as the rest of humanity.