Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Spare A Copper, Guv'?

“Tell me the old old story, of unseen things above…”, there is nothing to beat an old hymn in times of trouble. For something less celestial you could try the Gracie Fields hit “Wish Me Luck As You Wish Me Goodbye”. The business is bad, but we have seen it all before and the performances put on by the protagonists are less than convincing.

This time however, heads have rolled at the top unlike in the past. They have been brought down by a few disgruntled backbenchers in league with a handful of journo’s who scented blood probably on the basis of some searching and asking by interns and researchers who knew where to look.

Yet in the valedictory speeches made by Ministers above the police officers who have gone to live off the meagre pensions, consultancies and media contracts make them out to be the presiding geniuses who have guaranteed our national security and ensured our abidance of the laws. Theresa May’s was perhaps more redolent of the Mark Anthony speech “Brutus was an honourable man…” but omitted far more than it said.

If this short sighted, disorganised, witless and bungling group have been in charge of all our security then we should cancel the 2012 London Olympics now. The enemy are not outside the gate they are inside the bailey and the London Met’ has probably handed them the keys to the keep.

Possibly, notably under Blair and Brown, the Met’ could be seen as the Last Redoubt of the Scottish Raj and the resignations as a sort of latter day Masada. If during the days of Empire we had the British Raj, then the influence of key Scots and Scots-Irish over much of London meshed with those running the colonies and possessions.

In the 1890’s, Charles Booth in his London surveys noted the number of Scots at all levels in the police. The explanation is a simple one. In the latter part of the 19th Century the standards expected were made higher and in general the Scots and Scots-Irish had a much better basic education to offer.

For the senior ranks, many were recruited from the military and the colonies. One source was India, especially after the fall of the rupee seriously affected salaries and pensions there and income tax was imposed by Auckland Colvin despite the protest of the Rudyard Kipling factions. London became the better option.

So the TV George Dixon of Dock Green, above, and his TV son Andy will have had counterparts in reality who were from a family of Scots. The TV programme which began in 1955 displayed the Met’ as a beacon of hope, honesty and justice. The reality was rather different.

Probably, as a result of the dislocations of World War 2 and after during rationing and the widespread criminality that occurred in the supply of food and ordinary goods, the Met’ had a number of officers who were on the take and this occurred high up on the ranks as well.

Sir Robert Mark was appointed in 1972 with a brief to sort it out after the Kray and a number of other scandals had resulted in public and media protest. After an active career he retired and took part in TV Commercials for Goodyear Tyres. So what will our departing police chiefs be advertising?

Personal fragrances?

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