OK, I’ve talked about the dire state of our economy, which is what should really matter to all of us, particularly those in power.
But let’s look at that one incident which has caused so much jabber and the use of so many hours of broadcast time and published pages. An MP, Andrew Mitchell, who has left on his bike through the main exit of Downing Street many times previously, is stopped by a police officer and told to leave by the pedestrian exit. What a petty, jumped-up, officious little jobs-worth! Yes, I mean the police officer, not the MP. What possible justification could he have for doing this apart from asserting his own sense of self-importance? What law was he attempting to uphold? The MP concerned had every right to be angry. But what a waste of time and money over something so ridiculously petty. Endless hours of wasted airtime & pages of newsprint. Yes, police officers deserve respect just like everybody else, including bike-riding MPs going through the gate they’ve always used. But don’t demand respect when you’ve shown none.
Let’s get this straight. The police are civilians in uniform, although they sometimes tend to let the power go to their heads because, after all, power corrupts. In certain cases of course, the very power the police are granted attracts the wrong individuals into the police force in the first place, like Simon Harwood, the one who killed Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protest. They like to see themselves as “The Law” but in fact they are nothing of the kind – they don’t make laws, they don’t test laws and they don’t execute laws. That’s for parliament and the judiciary. The police force I’ve born witness to is a place of a majority of honourable hard working people whose working lives are beset by the effects of officers who get drunk on power, individuals who indulge in corruption or nepotism or violence, and those who engage in rumour-mongering, or coaching & falsifying statements. Worst of all are the ones who protect those guilty of repeated offences, which occurred in the case of Simon Harwood; if he had been dismissed earlier, Ian Tomlinson would be alive today. Although in the minority, these incidents are destroying the reputation of the police.
Don’t make the MP apologise to the police. Make the policeman concerned stand up and justify his own actions, or go and find a new job where he won’t do any more damage. Please… for the sake of the police force and its reputation, as well as for the cohesion of our society. The misuse of power destroys respect, and without respect there is no authority, and in turn no power to effect change.