The Outrage Express
JB writes: Police officers are not at their best with “sensitivities”.“Sensitivities” are what the MSM, particularly the creepy BBC, invented to enable a yeast-like, self-generating, gooey ball of “outrage”, “hurt” – and particularly the all-purpose “fury” – about anything whatever to replace news reporting.
Observant readers will have noted that the number of pubs has dropped catastrophically in the UK over recent years, a result, it is widely reported, of the tobacco ban. Up to a point, Lord Copper. An equally important reason is the growth in “sensitivity awareness” and the subsequent risk that unguarded talk about sensitive subjects – which these days means all subjects – risks having some repulsive eavesdropper reporting you for crimes against snowflakes, such as mocking gay rugby.
The pub was always where British people talked unguardedly among themselves, with alcohol and fags reliably fuelling both the loud conversation, the indiscretions and the highly enjoyable gossip. That is no longer possible. Such talking still takes place but in homes, or other private areas, safely away from thought-grasses. A great pity - was there ever a better, freer, buzz than that in a good pub?
In this climate a policeman’s – yes, I know* – lot is not a happy one. Most of them come from the same domestic and educational background as criminals and, like them, are unworried about using violence where necessary. Violence is the heart of their job. If you want a social worker, go to the council: the police are there to protect the public, detain criminals by force and, if necessary, as it frequently is, kill them. That’s what they do and it gives their lives significant meaning.
In the current climate, however, they have to pretend: which is why police officers don’t go to pubs like they used to. But the attempts of officers like Andy Hayman to imitate tender custodians of the sweet public rainbow have sometimes reminded me of waiters in British Rail restaurant and Pullman cars a generation ago, when the unions ensured that catering work went not to those who understood food or liked serving people (and certainly not to women), but to time-served men no longer able to carry out track-laying, sledge-hammering or the removal of human ordure from between the rails.
BR Waiter Swelter with Kitchen Car Assistant
Thus one was confronted on the Glyndebourne specials by huge, gnarled veterans in pretty aprons looking much like Mervyn Peake’s Swelter – waddling along the gangway, their giant hands encompassing five soup plates at a time as they grunted, “VICHYSOISSE? Ooze the vichyssoise?” Dear, dear.
Officer Andy Hayman at Leveson giving his opinion
Officer Yates giving his. It looks like there was a jovial disagreement about the size of a child's coffin
But now we have the Balliol educated M/S Dick as Scotland Yard Commissioner who will ensure, for example, that the next time the police gun down an innocent Brazilian with hollow-charge bullets, as they did under her command some years ago, (his body was “unrecognizable”) she will at least be able to utter the correct soothing and sensitive noises, possibly in elegant Latin verses, to the relatives and the public.
Still, it wasn’t the nature of previous officers that guaranteed they’d be out of their depth in Operation Grange's media quicksands but the task itself.
“We should not have to explain or justify how many times we are going to Portugal," a Yard spokesman said to the Sun ten days ago, “Whatever we do, and we are doing our very best, someone always wants to criticise the actions of the police regarding Madeleine McCann. If we make two trips people say that’s not enough. If we make more that’s seen as being too many so whatever we do we can’t win!”
Personally I found that both true and a breath of fresh air. The media job was impossible. All the sensitivities were there like IED tripwires – tots, parents, guilt, outrage, grief, innocence, tears – these, of course, modern Britain being modern Britain, supplied in positively Lake Victoria quantities – all stirred up by an MSM that now feeds off synthetic emotion and synthetic outrage, as if on a life-support drip. And all watched by the McCanns’ very own team of media lawyers, PR people and pet journalists ready to reach for the phone.
Nor, contrary to rumour, are most UK police officers politically aware – like Gamble they get replaced PDQ if they are – so the extremely delicate politics involved in the setting up of the review added a further layer of difficulty to their task.
So, the effort to resolve the intractable question – essentially how do we get the clever bastards without being dropped in the shit ourselves? (old smokers’ pub version) or how do we handle the media bastards? (newer bar version, whispered) or how can we protect an innocent and grieving couple against unfair and untrue rumour? (public version) – has led to greater and greater difficulties.
It’s easy to blame Redwood but there we are. Older and wiser heads above him took refuge in the “since the beginning of the operation we've filled 1700 metal waste paper bins marked MP, eliminated thousands of
Brazilians suspects, drunk 423 gallons of PG Tips tea and eaten 9211 meat pies and we are determined
to succeed” stuff; Redwood decided to play the McCanns at their own game and
use the media as an arm of the investigation.
The result has been that Scotland Yard has ended up sounding as reliable, truthful and honest as the grieving parents – because both sides have used the same dodgy PR methods but the McCanns are far better at it and pay more. The Yard’s greatest failure, for which Redwood carries the collective can, was to muddy and conceal the exact status granted to the couple for the duration of the investigative review and then evade all questions about it.
The good news is that, as the Sun quote above demonstrates, that period is over. Who knows – perhaps it’s over because the job is largely complete, which is what the Bureau thinks, rather than because the previous approach had become unsustainable. Whatever, Rowley, clearly by agreement, has for months now been releasing bits of information hitherto withheld, risking the consequences. And making no preparations whatever to soften us up for bad news.
All without public explosions. That is partly because the final destruction of the McCanns’ case against Amaral has left the parents, supporters and media alike with neither energy nor motivation to mount an assault. The Yard can take credit for that as well because, despite the tangles it has got itself into with media problems, it has slowly and quietly bled the pair into semi-helplessness by providing nothing but deep foreboding for them and fine, “sensitive” words for the public.
*and also a policelady's and, no doubt, also a policetransitioner's - but life is short.