Read part one of this article here.
The Inspectorate of Constabulary (which now includes Fire and Rescue Services for some reason never explained but one assumes the holy grail of ‘cost cutting’) has, as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, the lawyer and former rail regulator Sir Tom Winsor, who was appointed in 2012. The Inspectors include only one retired Chief Constable Phil Gormley the remainder being Zoe Billingham (formerly a senior official in the Cabinet Office); Matthew Parr (formerly a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy); Drusilla Sharpling (formerly Chief Crown Prosecutor for London) and Wendy Williams (formerly Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Direct).
How or why it was deemed effective to have an Inspectorate that only includes one person in its senior level personnel with experience of the organisation they are inspecting beggars belief; but then so does the fact that there is now direct entry into the police service at senior management levels. It could explain why the police service seems to be losing the confidence of the public – many would say have already lost confidence. All of which is a long way from when the Inspectorate comprised mainly of retired senior police officers, did in depth inspections of all forces on a regular basis and in fact at one stage the now defunct certificate of efficiency was refused to Derbyshire Constabulary, coincidentally a force again in the news, this time for what has been reported as oppressive policing of covid regulations, again with little comment by local politicians.
You may think we can all rest easy in our beds, in the sure knowledge that the media is investigating on our behalf, rushing in with headlines about this that and the other, but you are likely to be disappointed. The tabloids this weekend include an ambivalent article by Andrew Neil on President Elect Biden. Not hiding what seems his dislike of President Trump, he suggests that we in Britain must pray that Biden holds fortress America together. Well, that’s his opinion but a quick look at the readers’ comments indicated that most of the people don’t agree. Either way I don’t remember being asked to or having a vote in any elections being held in the U.S.A., although the way postal votes seem to be managed in countries that have them, these days you never know.
But the point is that although the election will have an effect on what happens in places around the world that most citizens of the U.S.A. – or here for that matter – will never have or wished to visit, let alone heard of, surely an eminent and experienced journalist such has Andrew Neil would have been better writing an article about the attack on culture, democracy, or the power of the new internet social media giants. He was, after all, in his younger days in the 70s and 80s never slow in investigating, commenting or being controversial. Particularly when he reportedly told one Rupert Murdoch that the Times was ‘stuck in a 1960s-time warp.’
Now there is a thought, although not that for one moment am I suggesting that he or any other commentators are stuck in a time warp somewhere between the time of David Cameron and the present, which could be why they find it hard to accept that the intrigues to be found during Cameron and May’s time and reporting the views of ‘sources’ in Brussels have long since gone.
In a week when very many people are terrified about the effect that the ‘virus’ is having on them and their families, all we see is government sourced news, mostly of the doom and gloom we are all likely to die variety, reported faithfully and unquestioned by the mainstream media. There is, as far as I can see, little investigation into claims being made by officials or dissenting professional views of which there are many. Are NHS staff for example still being warned about speaking to the press? What do the rank-and-file police officers think about the way that resources are being managed? Are army personnel still being used to crew ambulances? What happened to all those new ambulances that we were told about last year, have they been used? Is anyone out there in mainstream media land interested in how people are coping on universal credit? There are quite a lot of people out there who are unable to obtain any assistance and are reliant on the help from the bank of mom and dad or relatives.
Another tabloid is carrying a story about the length of a girl’s skirt, which I suppose does make a change from stories about Trump’s Wall on the Mexican Border, thirty-two inches of snow about to fall on the United Kingdom, the latest story about some celebrity that most over the age of 20 will never have heard of, and so it goes on, broadsheet or tabloid, they continually read like a 1980s copy of one of those weekend and weekly magazines.
Local or regional newspapers appear very much the same. Do we really want to read about the political situation in Washington in the Wormington News? Or that this or that union official has decreed that his ‘members’ want this or that? Not really. I would like to hear about how local postal workers are faring in the current situation, or how many local businesspeople are struggling to make the best of the situation as so many are and so on. What we seem to get is edited and localised slants on national events, all pushing the agenda of their often national or these days international owners with their green and leftish agenda. A friend called me the other day, enraged, for want of a better word, on how his local paper has now moved far away from its audience and just carries national or regional stories. It’s still the County Observer he says, but actually reads like a regional edition of a national.
Is it that many of our fellow citizens have become so demotivated, so demoralised and so dumbed down that they will accept anything? The number of people still paying the BBC License runs into millions, so one assumes that the majority are still quite happy with what is provided. One thing though is evident, just moaning about the BBC in the comment sections of click bait tabloids won’t change anything. The new appointed chairman is apparently in favour of the licence fee continuing. I bet he is.
Not much changes then, does it? Lockdown three continues to suit the wishes of the chosen. Apparently they are quite happy, as is the case here in St Mary on the Wold, to spend their accumulated lockdown savings.
The place at the moment resembles a building site as essential home extensions continue, the essential new paved drives are laid, along with new essential walling and landscape gardens. In several homes new kitchens and bathrooms are being installed. It’s an interesting phenomenon, how many people are content to be locked down, while expecting others to build their extension, repair the T.V., deliver their essential shopping and clean even their windows. Most odd, it’s almost as if working people have some magic immunity to the virus.
Once again, it’s a very middle-class lockdown, rather smug hectoring ministers and officials quite content that what they do is good enough, when actually good enough was long ago seen to be not good enough.
There is a small business takeaway coffee shop near our park, which, in the main, has elderly clients. They come, often with an elderly dog in tow, on their daily exercise, stand in outside an orderly line and socially distanced, often they have a short conversation with others or the café staff and then off they go. The owner tells me that it’s often these customers’ only outing and conversation and contact with others as many live alone. As far as most can see they are not a clear and present danger to themselves or anyone else.
How do government ministers respond? Well, with another propaganda advertisement seeking to stop even this little pleasure for many, this time featuring a queue outside a takeaway and the message ‘Don’t let a coffee cost lives’. Maybe a good idea if someone in government circles, and to paraphrase David Cameron, actually woke up and smelled it.