Well, I suppose when your last big idea was the Big Society” (you’ll remember that was, until the holidays, the reason he came into politics), it’s not a bad idea to look around for something else to hang your hat on.
This comes as another day passes with police and Cameron and his minions trading insults. (And parts of the Tory party falling out with other parts).
In a way, of course, the rioters in England have played into the hands of the Conservatives. There’s nothing a certain brand of Tory politician likes better than having a kick at the poor. It’s a breed that they do not understand. Why, they puff, I got on in life; they should pull themselves together, get on their bike, get a job, get over their unfortunate birth, and vote Tory?
Cameron says that to do the job he will bring in a range of new policies (doubtless ill-thought-out, knee-jerk, Daily Mail-inspired initiatives) to stick Britain back together. If his record is representative of what is to come, most of them will be reversed before, during or directly after their implementation, having been found to be impracticable, too expensive, and generally crap!
Apparently he is going to promise to ‘reassign’ policies on schools, welfare, families, parenting, drug addiction and communities, all while saving billions and reducing the deficit (something he has so far singularly failed in his attempts to do without any of this new stuff). Thankfully many of these policies will not affect Scotland...and why should they? It’s not Scotland’s fault he had to come back early from his holiday and his wife is monumentally cross.
In other Tory news Iain Duncan-Smith, one of the huge disappointments of this government, has lectured Boris Johnson for failing to deal with gangs in London. He wants him to harass them on a daily basis...and all with fewer police. Pfffff. Idiot.
Cameron’s new police advisor Bill Bratton (thus appointed because Theresa May stood in the way of him being offered the job as head of the Met... so, no tensions there then) has said that policing has been too soft and sentencing too light. Good points, but, when Bratton ran the New York police, he deployed an extra 5000 officers. Whoever sorts out London’s mess will have to do so with far fewer police, not more. And Cameron’s mistake here is assuming that an American city can be compared with an English city. As Hugh Ord said, Cameron should look to European cities for examples. They are nearer to England than America, no matter how much the Tories hate that idea.
Johnson has said that the reason for the riots was that the police lost control in the first few hours. I think I can see what he is saying, but this is not the reason for the riots; instead it’s the reason the riots escalated so badly. The reasons for the riots are far more complex. But, it is true that once people saw that the police couldn't deal with the totally unprecedented situation, some took advantage of it to get themselves some of the action. It’s hard to see how reducing the funding for policing, and the numbers of police on the streets will assist in efforts to avoid a repeat performance.
However, with the usual amateurism of this government, revisiting the reduction in police funding has been ruled out. Why, in the white heat of the moment, did they not have the wit to say: “We will look at every policy to see what we can do to keep people safe”? Answers on a postcard.
Pic from 2007, when the Tories were hugging hoodies, even if the hoodies weren't hugging back... isn't that assault?