UK Politicians of all three major Parties have at various stages over the last fifteen years ‘vowed’ to do many things to make life fairer for, and easier on, the citizen. Vowing is what politicians do when they’re through hailing and insisting. By and large, the result has been much talk and almost no action. Among the highest profile subjects for this mouth-and-trousers treatment have been unethical banks, corrupt policemen, and tabloid journalists working for Rupert Murdoch amongst others. Today I bring you evidence as clear as the morning horizon outside my window here that all these vows are utter bollocks.
But first let us dwell on she who would be Maggie2 – Theresa May-Ormaynot, depending on which way the wind’s blowing. She’s especially good at the vowing, because she has spotted that from the vows comes the votes. Which must explain why there have been so many vows since she landed, ludicrously over-promoted, at the Home Office. She has, in turn, vowed to crush the Judges, put police killers in jail for the rest of their lives, make the police name suspects they arrest in the media, get tough on Islamic extremists, clear away mobs in the streets, take Britain out of EU justice agreements, and most latterly, to purge the Met of its bad eggs.
This serial vowing has established, respectively, that Ms NutisinMay wants to destroy the independence of the judiciary, deny the existence of redemption, dump the right to anonymity until charged, club to death extremists she can’t (as yet) even find, abolish the right to free association, defy the EU, and clean up our police force. But all the vows came to nought – unless you count slashing police numbers as a clean-up, which I suppose you might if you were desperate. ‘Clean sweep of the bobbies’ might be nearer the mark: all the scrambled bad egg is sitting precisely where it was – at a big desk, on a fat pension, and on the phone to every top Hood in town.
Yesterday a major British newspaper, the Independent, showed with clinical conviction how accurate that last description really is. Crooked private investigators working for underworld gang bosses compromised a Met Police witness protection programme, and thus were able to intimidate witnesses who had agreed to give evidence in high-profile trials. ‘Incredibly’ as the Indie reports, Plod found out….and did nothing. Sadly, these days I would more readily write ‘predictably’: except that even I in this case would have to therefore conclude that very senior Met officers must’ve been bunged to turn a blind eye. The story also suggests, he joked, that once you’ve turned a blind eye, you become a private eye.
But we have to do some dot-joining-up here to appreciate the full Cinemascope of interconnected corruption involved. For starters, these revelations come just days after the Met was stunned by claims that officers took part in a smear campaign against the family of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. As I’ve seen that at work first-hand, it doesn’t surprise me. They have a busy schedule, senior Met cops: yet somehow they manage to squeeze in both dinners with Newscorp, smearing murder victims and killing witnesses. They certainly earn their money: what they don’t deserve is their salaries.
Think that’s a cheap shot? Well, the private investigators working for the criminal hoodlums also worked for….the News of the World.
I keep on saying over and over that the cultural values and ethics of those running a system will always be far more important than the system. Listen up if you will to several audio clips of senior Anglo-Irish bank executives discussing how to sucker in the Irish and EU governing class to best effect. There are terrific technical jargon examples such as “We’re f**ked”, and “I asked for seven billion, I picked the number out me arse but actually we need far more” and “Once their skin’s in the game, they’ll have to keep on writing cheques”. De little tinkers.
What all of us with good heart and sound mind need to remember here is that these guys were in self-created sh*t, yet they show only amusement (rather than remorse) about how innocent citizen taxpayers are going to have to bail them out…and rapidly bankrupt the Irish Treasury while they’re at it. And it was the citizens who did it – not the corporations: the multinationals were all busy hiring legions of tax lawyers and bean-counters to avoid 97+% of all tax they were due to pay.
But surely, I hear the ageing colonels in Surrey ask, at least the Leveson Enquiry put those nasty tabloids back in their place? Er, no actually: it ended up trying to wipe out the blogosphere….and was then largely ignored by the political class, just fancy that. Newscorp faces a series of federal charges relating to gansterist business tactics and phone hacking in the US once again. James Murdoch got away scot-free. Piers Morgan is still sitting pretty on his chat show seat at CNN. No investigation into Trinity Mirror so much as got off the ground, and nor did the mysterious embarcation of various Daily Mail boat people en masse to the Daily Telegraph…the captain of which ship is now the Telegraph’s esteemed editor.
As for the pols involved in it – and the dinner guests in Wapping – none have been collared. The Prime Minister got away with 13 denials of something we all know to be true about Boxing Day lunches. Jeremy Rymeeng-Slange said in the Commons he had done no wrong, although it was clear he had withheld incriminating emails from the House. Ed Minigland arrived late on the scene to insist on resignations, and failed to get any.
A vow from a politician – and don’t fool yourselves, of whatever hue – is worth roughly one strand of hair in the former crew-chopped account of a Laika Bank depositor. The requirement is not to replace one tired political ideology with another one almost as knackered: the need is for a cultural regeneration. All systems start potentially equal: but feral humans will always propagate evil.