Monday, March 15, 2010

Bash Baggott!

There's a small head of steam building over Matt Baggott, the in-coming Chief Constable for Northern Ireland.

Mark McGregor, on Slugger O'Toole, lays out his stall thus:
God is his co-pilot. Will he prevent a crash landing?

Seems our latest English Chief Constable, Matt Baggot, has decided on policing by easy sound-bite or completely lacks any understanding of dissenting republicanism.

Describing armed republicanism as ‘the same as street gangs in Brixton’ indicates serious naivety or a penchant for media spinning over addressing the situation he faces.

That's it. No more. No explication. Just light the green touch-paper and stand clear. Sure enough, the regular window-lickers piled in. Equally ill-informed. Equally careless of the detail.

Malcolm skims lightly, but contemptuously, over McGregor's inability even to spell correctly the name. McGregor's antipathies come down to these:

  1. McGregor believes deism is a disqualifier.
  2. McGregor is hardline Anglophobe.
  3. McGregor believes there are differentiations of violence. His thugs are tougher, more brutal, more motivated than any others.

On the contrary, Malcolm believes Baggott has it right: the "dissident" republicans, and their parallels among the Proddy hard men, are murder-gangs seeking to impose their authority on their petty parochial patches. "Useless" Eamonn McCann, in the Daily Mail of all places, is allowed, at some length (presumably because he is paid by the line) to polish the same McGregor turd:

The RIRA may be tiny (perhaps 200 members) and with marginal support even in alienated, Catholic working-class areas. But the gunning down of Cengiz Azimkar and Mark Quinsey at the gates of Massereene Barracks will have confirmed Chief Constable Hugh Orde’s assessment that they pose a military threat which has to be taken seriously.

The occasional, and pathetic attempt at a "spectacular" (last month's revisit of the Newry courthouse, for an example) owes more to the need to recruit fresh muscle than any serious political gesture.

So, Malcolm went on record:

Baggott is not an “English” policeman, per se. He is a good, professional copper. He proved himself in the front line: Brixton, Tooting and Peckham are where the lads come as well-tooled up and brutal as any of Derry's or Ballymena's local boyos. The Stephen Lawrence inquiry was no doddle, yet Baggott was one of the few officers to emerge with anything like a clean skin. His work in Leicester (now there’s a divided community!) won applause on all sides.

In itself policing NI should be no different from anywhere else in these islands. Agreed? Which is why the interchange of senior officers, across the North Channel and with the Garda, is a “good thing”.

Baggott, then, arrived with a very particular mandate: to bring policing to the people (for the first time since the RIC days), and slashing an over-inflated budget.

Quite how deism and Baggott's Sunday mornings affect the issue is beyond Malcolm.

Unless, of course, one is terminally blinded by prejudice.

Or has a very alternative agenda.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Subscribe with Bloglines International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites