Sunday, January 21, 2007

"To begin at the beginning..."

Well, well, says a reasonably-lubricated Malcolm. Let's see what Auntie Beeb is saying:
Police have warned senior Labour figures to stop putting "undue pressure" on officers investigating "cash-for-honours" claims.

Several senior Labour MPs have called the arrest on Friday of Number 10 aide Ruth Turner, who denies any wrongdoing, unnecessary and "theatrical".

But the Metropolitan Police Federation said this was not an "appropriate moment" to make such comments.

The Liberal Democrats said police were acting professionally and normally.


Ms Turner was questioned on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and was later released.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said she was "slightly bewildered" as to why the arrest had happened early in the morning, with four policemen knocking on the door of Ms Turner - who was then released without charge.

"She has fully co-operated and she is a person of utter decency and conscientiousness and I am surprised," Ms Jowell said.

Former Downing Street aide Lance Price said: "It does look a bit theatrical.

"Ruth Turner has co-operated with the inquiry all the way through up until this point. There's been no suggestion that she wasn't willing to give police any help that they asked for.

"So it does seem pretty extraordinary to do the sort of dawn raid that we associate generally with people who are about to abscond justice and fly on a plane to Bermuda or something."

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett said he wanted "thoroughness, not theatre".

Mr Blair gave Ms Turner, who as director of government relations is one of his closest aides, his full backing.

'No-one above the law'

However, Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Glen Smyth told BBC News 24: "You get government ministers and senior members of the Labour party criticising the inquiry, which has frankly not even given a report to the Crown Prosecution Service yet.

"What sort of undue pressure are they trying to bring? If that's not what they are intending, it's certainly the impression that they are leaving for the officers involved and, I suspect, many other people.

"They should wait for the appropriate moment."

Len Duvall, the Labour politician who chairs the Metropolitan Police Authority, called on others not to try to "manipulate or pressurise" officers.

In a statement, he told critics that "no one in this country is above the law".

Liberal Democrat spokesman Lord Thomas of Gresford said: "Once the police had formed a reasonable suspicion of her perverting the course of justice, as they must have, it was their duty to act swiftly and professionally to preserve any evidence.

"That is commonplace, as any criminal lawyer knows.

"Pressure put upon the police by people in high places suggests that they want the investigation stopped."

Oh, yes.

Good show.

Well done.


Four police officers demand entry to your home at 6.30 in the morning. Your property is rummaged. You are taken to the local station. You are interrogated. You are, eventually, not charged with anything. You are released on "police bail" (which actually means that, if they subsequently ask for you to turn up at the station, do so tout suite). You are, suddenly, on every front page.

Who won that encounter? Who had the right of reply?

And yet, and yet ...

The LibDems (the self-proclaimed defenders of truth, honour, individual rights and FREEDOM) believe this is "reasonable" and done "swiftly and professionally". Or, as any Dublin Jackeen might spit, "Mar Ya!"

Any reasonable complaint is met with a response from:
... the Metropolitan Police? No!

The Commissioner? No!

The Officer in charge? No!

Answer: the coppers' trade union, who winge about "pressure", saying criticism must wait until a report is made (or not: when will we know?) to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Oh, shit, says Malcolm. I must have missed something there.

Now, thinks Malcolm: here's an interesting conundrum. It seems that, after any arrest, pretty well every policebod leaks to the local (or national) press. There is, apparently, an understood tariff. At the bottom end, it's worth a drink. If it's a"celebrity" and the Red Tops, then serious money becomes involved. This is "professional". Or is it "pressure"?

So, Malcolm retires to bed early ... just in case he is the next recipient of the Solzenitsyn pre-dawn knock.
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Anonymous said...

Fuck you

Anonymous said...

Again fuck you, you sap. You should be first against the wall.

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