Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jacqui Smith's Two Big Mistakes

Jacqui Smith's evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committe yesterday contained a rather shrill attack on her Conservative opposite number, David Davis. She really ought to know better. As a Tory MP said to me this morning: "It's like poking a sleeping alligator in the eye."

Talking of Ms Smith, I am still at a loss to understand her strategu regarding police pay. Why cause all this upset for the sake of £30 million? It's already budgeted for and her failure to honour the pay award has done more damage to government-police relations than anything in living memory. Yet another sign of Home Office incompetence.


Anonymous said...

I urge people to read the comments on the sky news really does make it seem like just a wingeing middle class journalist

Anonymous said...

why is the policeman in gordon brown constituency getting a bigger pay rise than the one outside his door at downing st


an snp gov

how long before england demands gov from edinburgh or dunedin NZ:-)



The Hitch said...

It would be nice if all their personal protection officers decided to pull a sickie on the same day.
Tony Blair walking down the Edgware rd without an armed escort

Vienna Woods said...

My son and nephew are serving police officers in London. During the last 3 years both have been attacked by criminals with knives and my nephew shot at. Three times during the last month sudden changes in duty rosters beyond his control have caused him to cancel important family occasions at the last minute. In my memory there have been several scraps with Home Secretaries over pay and conditions, but eventually they have always seen sense, when arbitration has successfully brought things to a satisfactory conclusion.

This time however, this most stupid of Home Secretaries, Jacqui Smith, supported by that sour faced crook of a Prime Minister, have chosen to renege on the deal agreed in arbitration with the police. One wonders how this government can act the way they do at a time when the police are facing some of the worst problems in our history. It's not the fault of the Police that their organisation has been upturned by targets and excessive paperwork. Neither are they to blame for this idiotic government's PC brigade that makes them hamstrung to act against violent youth and habitual criminals.

I am personally even more angry that the Conservative Party, always more supportive of our police in the past, are very, very quiet on this one. Of course this isn't a photo-call or another madcap scheme that would interest the tiny-tots!

Dear God, please save us from this NuLab shower, and the follow-on!

Anonymous said...

They should bring back blunkers I read his book and he had all the answers,he was never wrong its just that people didnt listen to him(yawn!) he would sort this out in minutes.
anyway back to reality perhaps they know something we dont and there wont be the money to pay it?.That is truly scary.

Anonymous said...

Surely this fight has been picked to push the donations scandal down the news agenda?

Anonymous said...

Jacqui Smith doesn't have the power to settle this or provide the money although she's desperate to do so - she has to do as she's told by Brown who for some absolutely crackpot reason has decided to pick a fight with the police over a mere £40 Million(peanuts against all the other Labour Government profligacy)when he and his Chancellor have thrown £30Bn at the Northern Rock debacle

Johnny Norfolk said...

Just shows that Labour is anti police. The arrangements for police pay are fair and reasonable the complete opposite of the Labour government. Labour cannot be trusted with government they have mad a mess of everything they have touched. I can think of few Home Secretaries who would let this happen. To be a Home secretary hated by the police is not a position anyone should want to be in.She deserves it she has let the police down. Not heard much from Iain Blair about this have we.

Anonymous said...

Simple answer ? - Big Gordo is forcing Jacqui Smith to pick the police pay fight. Because Smith and Darling are Gordon's puppets.

And why's he now flying to the European Ministers conference ? - to leave Smith to fight and fail today on her own perhaps ?

As per my previous comment on Wednesday's open thread, Gordo loves this sort of trick. He back-dates when it suits him (eg backdating air passenger tax increases to months before he even made the announcement); but he is happy to introduce the opposite approach (ie 'time lags') when it steals him more money from the UK public eg leaving a whole year between axing married couples allowance and then introducing child tax credits - meaning that for a whole year he didn't have to pay anyone anything !

He thinks he's a master of the UK financial universe - but he's just a duplicitous and devious conman

The Remittance Man said...

The 30 mill may have been budgetted for, but I suspect the government's cash flow is beginning to feel the squeeze and other commitments take precedence.

Despite the general opinion of the wingnuts that the coppers have become a NuLabour tool, I don't think the lefties have ever shaken their belief that the police are the establishment's boot boys. If that's the case Real Nappy Officers, Sith Institute and all the other freeloaders on the gravy train will take priority.

Anonymous said...

Where is the everglade wig-shop?

Praguetory said...

I agree with those attacking the Tory's weakish response to date.

There is absolutely no justification for Labour's failure to pay the backdated pay. RPI (a more complete measure of inflation than CPI) stands at 4.2%, so the 2.5% negotiation was a real pay cut anyway.

Some people are saying that they won't notice if police go on strike, but this isn't the fault of the police. It's the Home Office that's to blame.

Hazel Bridges said...

Well, well, well, a suprising level of consensus. It would make a good pantomime this one. Every time Jacqui Smith appears we could all shout "behind you" at Gordon Brown (cast as the evil puppet master)who was waiting in the wings to dictate her next move. If it wasn't so tragic it would be funny that our so called Cabinet Government has descended to this level of farce.

Anonymous said...

I guess the point about Government is that as soon as you say yes to one group, it becomes more difficult to say 'no' to everyone. But I agree, welching on a deal agreed during 'binding arbitration' is mean, shifty and makes a mockery of Brown's claim that it would cost x hundred extra cops. So why did they bloody well sign it off at arbitration ? Tw@ts.

Although with the 'petrol price protests' about to kick off again, one senses that what goes around will come around...

Anonymous said...

A suggestion for the Chancellor - close down the Regional governments that are soaking up millions to no apparent effect, and use that money to pay the police.

Letters From A Tory said...

As I said on my blog this morning, Jacqui Smith is picking up the pieces of Gordon Brown's decisions from several months and years back. I very doubt she is the one calling the shots here.

Anonymous said...

It does make you wonder how detatched from reality GB has become in the Fuhrerbunker.This will go down like a rat sandwich with the boys in blue and will undermine the whole purpose of having arbitration as compensation for restrictions on industrial action.

Ralph said...

Brown and Jacqui Smith clearly think their is a benefit in attacking the police at the moment. A cynic might suspect that when your party is being investigated by them it is a good time to remind them who thinks they are the boss.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to short-change one group of people, make sure it's a group that can not or will not go on strike (despite the mutterings.)

They've been short-changing the armed forces for years.

It's Gordon Brown demonstrating the classic approach of a bully, once again.

Anonymous said...

"Why cause all this upset for the sake of £30 million?"

Because if you don't the fuss will have to be made over the next £30 million or the one after that. A Thatcherite should understand this.

Vienna Woods said...

The BBC "Have Your Say" on this subject has gone off line due to "software maintenance". So the socialist tool, like Brown, runs away when the going gets tough.

If I were a senior police officer in London right now, I would be making sure that the investigation into "Donorgate" was very successful, but we have to remember the wimp in charge!

Paul Linford said...

Kevin Maguire is reporting an unnamed Labour minister as effectively saying the police have got it coming to them because of the Miners' Strike.

Just thought I would throw that little hand-grenade into the mix...

Anonymous said...

Paul Linford - If that is true then the Minister should be named, shamed and sacked in very prompt order.

Anonymous said...

Talk about "the sins of the fathers"! Half our current coppers probably weren't even born at the time of the bloody Miners' Strike.

Unknown said...

The poor girl is quite clearly out of her depth in the Home Office, its Gordon calling the shots and leaving her to take the flak.

Roger Thornhill said...

What Jonathan Hemlock says.

I suspect this is was seen as a chance to pick a fight with someone who has both their hands tied behind their back so as to appear tough to the other public sector workers.

It will be a disaster. The reputation of the Police has been damaged by the abuse and engineering by New Labour Sociofascists over the last 10 years but I am sure the public know which side their bread is buttered and have more support for the Rozzers than the Troughers.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with much of the comment on this board. The police are well paid for the job they do and have excellent conditions of service. I know of no other industry which permits a full pension after 35 years and a tax free lump sum of 4 times ones pension. In order to keep inflation down, a 2% pay award for all public sector workers remains necessary. All public sector workers are valuable to society - the police do not deserve to be treated differently to an ambulance driver or nurse. The latter would probably wish to have their salary! I am a supporter of the police and say this after reading about corporate credit cards being used inappropriately and also being unaware that a deputy to the Met commissioner earns some £180,000 a year. I find it astonishing that such salaries are paid to senior police managers.

As someone on a fixed income, I do not want inflation to rise.

Further, we can never keep up with police demands for more money. They have had increased central funding over recent years and the precept on my council tax has also increased each year by 5% which is way above inflation. My District and Town Council are also funding PCSO's from their meagre funds. Yet, detection rates are low and fixed penalty tickets are soaring. I must check the latter as I think that they may be included in stats to bolster figures.

Nevertheless, it seems wrong that police officers on shifts and on the streets earn the same income as those working 8 - 5pm in police stations. There appears to be too many specialist/monitoring departments. Why are the ample resources not used better to reward those officers who are on the streets?

An analysis of crime figures over recent years shows a marked fall. I sometimes feel the police try and raise our concerns about safety to obtain more money. When we elect and can get rid of Chief Constables and they are accountable to us I may just listen to arguments. I am not persuaded that public finances should be jeopardised by going above the 2% determined by the Treasury.

Anonymous said...

When the shit hits the fan and people finally realise that we can't afford the vast bloated public sector that Mr Bean has created, they will just use this again and again as an example of how they were 'taking the tough decisions for a stable economy' so any problems are nothing to do with them and in fact are all due to the wicked Tories.

I thought the lowpoint of Jacqui Smith's week was the complete failure to even bullshit an answer to the question of why 42 days detention without trial was now the right number. She had absolutely no idea what to say to that question, which is scary considering the whole ID cards/criminal justice/so called 'anti terror' crap they keep coming out with.

Vienna Woods said...

Anonymous 1.09pm wrote,

"I know of no other industry which permits a full pension after 35 years and a tax free lump sum of 4 times ones pension."

There speaks someone who has a friend of a friend, of a friend who knows all this, but has never been a police officer. Utter bullshit!

A police officer can commute his pension on retirement instead of accepting a standard police pension. He doesn't get the pension as well as the lump sum! Secondly, a police officer, unlike others with contributory pensions, pays 11.5% of his salary each month, not 3% like most other schemes.

Believe me, after 30+ years as a police officer, you deserve a good pension. The other reason for earlier retirement is that a police officers job can be very physical and I'm damned sure I wouldn't like to be tackling a bunch of the young hooligans we have today in my middle 50's.

Anonymous said...

Where the hell is Cameron, Osborne, Davis and Co., or are they in hiding?

Anonymous said...

Quite simple really.
Pick a fight with the cops. Cops react and 'behave badly'

Power and duties can be transferred then to the PCSO system. Cops swear loyalty to the Crown (i.e the people) and not to the Govt. PCSO answer to the Govt (currently through Police Chiefs but can be moved to 'civil' authorities)
Result = Police no longer 'independent' of Govt.

You know, a bit like how the SS got into powe...oh shit there's Godwin

Roger Thornhill said...

Anon @5:07pm.

PCSOs' loyalty: That fact had not passed by old Roger unnoticed, either!

Anonymous said...

paul linford [11.34 AM] Likewise, when the fox hunting bill was going through the commons someone on the Labour benches shouted, "This is for the miners!"

Class warfare is alive and well in some sections of the Labour party.

Anonymous said...

Given that this is an issue of trust and confidence, it would be nice to hear how much trust and confidence the below group have in the Home Secretary as an honest and honourable politician and the extent to which this Government might handle issues around policing of minorities in an honest and honourable way.
We should not forget that the membership these associations have been traduced just as comprehensively as the majority culture. A statement of loss of confidence would demonstrate that the police service is united, irrespective of ethnicity and religion.

The Black Police Association
The Muslim Police Association
The Christian Police association
The Jewish Police Association
The Sikh Police Association

Unsworth said...

Well she's made yet another mistake - that of being interviewed by Jon Snow this evening. By the end of it she was, quite literally, saying nothing. A truly dire performance. She's way out of her depth.

I've seen more coherent High School teachers, let alone a Home Secretary.

Oh! So, she was a schoolteacher in real life? Maybe her performance to date indicates why she is one no longer - she'd have been sacked for incompetence.

Is there anyone at all in the Government who is actually up to the job?

Unsworth said...

@ Vienna woods:

"I'm damned sure I wouldn't like to be tackling a bunch of the young hooligans we have today in my middle 50's"

What? Not even with the Tasers, CS Spray, Batons, H & K carbines, Glocks etc etc? I would have thought you might have enjoyed it...

Anonymous said...

@ Chuck Unsworth

You are refering to Officers like these one maybe?

1994 - Pc Lewis Fulton. Knifed while responding to a 999 call in Glasgow
1997 - Pc Nina Mackay. Stabbed to death in Stratford, east London
1999 - Pc Raja Ahmed. Killed by car thief in Manchester
2001 - Pc Alison Armitage. Run over by a car thief in Oldham, Greater Manchester
2001 - Pc Malcolm Walker. Rammed off his police motorbike in Birmingham
2003 - Pc Stephen Oake. Died of stab wounds during an anti-terror raid in Manchester
2003 - Pc Ian Broadhurst. Shot after stopping a motorist in Leeds on Boxing Day
2005 - Pc Sharon Beshenivsky. Shot dead as she arrives at a robbery scene in Bradford
2007 - Unnamed male Pc. Shot dead in Shrewsbury while attending a domestic incident

Having read your sneering comments here and elsewhere over the last months I can tell you,whilst you sit snugly and smugly in your armchair,that if you were one thousandth the man these Officers were you still would not be fit to lick their boots.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Dave and Co will say goodbye to the Police vote at the next election after failing to defend their back dated pay rise. As pointed out in another thread, this will be about 260,000 lost votes, including the families of police officers. They certainly wont be voting for NuLab so you can use your imagination as to where these votes will go, and with Dave on a knife edge, he can't afford a loss like this. I understand that there are already nasty grumblings from some quarters about the banner of "Conservative Home" which includes a police helmet as part of the design. How can you purport to promote law and order if you don't support the police.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous 8.15 - what r u talking about you prat? I was going to delete your comment as it is anonymous and clearly aimed at causing maximum mischief, but i thought i'd let it through so the world can see what an idiot you are.

Just for the record what you say is balls. The Conservatives have said categorically that they support the backdated payrise and the Police should be awarded the full 2.5%

Unsworth said...

@ Anonymous 10:37

Well you don't like what I say and how I say it then? Ain't that just too bad.

Do you seriously believe the cops are actually worse off than the poor sods getting blown away on this country's behalf in Afghanistan and Iraq? These people are monstrously poorly paid, badly housed, ill-equipped, placed in constant (24 hour) mortal danger whilst in the theatres of war. They don't do their shifts and then go home.

Grow up, and learn that there are some who are more than fit to 'lick their boots' - not that the footwear is going to be too messy - and I include myself in that category. I've served this country in extreme and difficult circumstances. Those of us who have are really not impressed by this constant litany of complaint from the police, their threats to 'hand in their weapons' etc. It does nothing to support their case in the public forum. Many feel that the police have now become an arm of the State, rather than the Law. What is also clear is that many also feel that the police 'service' does not perform at all well. Just ask anyone who has been the victim of the daily low-level crime that affects most communities what their perception of policing is.

Yes, some police do a dangerous and difficult job, but let's not get carried away. It's not all cops who are confronting knives or guns, is it? Take a look at the numbers on the beat and the numbers who are not. Nine deaths in thirteen years (your figure) is grim, but how does that compare with the numbers of deaths in, say, the fire service(s)? The figures I have show that firefighters suffer similar if not greater casualty rates than those you have quoted. How about ambulance personnnel, too?

So I'd contend that their jobs are not half as damn dangerous as some others. In any event, since when did this country reward people for doing dangerous jobs?

And, Anonymous, why not treat yourself and get a name?

Anonymous said...

Chuck Unsworth,

I rather think that your arguments are always meant to be controversial and you never seem to me, at least, to support one thing or the other. I didn't much care for your remarks about the police force either, but then you reveal the old soldier routine in your defence. Many of us have served in the military, have been injured, or at least been in front line situations, yet most of us don't carry on with the poison after we leave the service, injured or not.

Unsworth said...

@ Jazz

...and nice to deal with a name, for a change.

Why on earth should any of my comments be construed as 'support' for anything at all? Let's not be too stupid about this, they are a point of view, no more and no less. I'm not in the business of 'supporting' anything - or anyone for that matter. However I am in the business of contradicting what I regard as hypocrisy and cant wherever possible.

I don't quite know what you might mean by 'old soldier routine' or 'poison' - care to elaborate a little?

Anyway, that aside, your point is what?