Run silent, run deep.

The Swamp Thing

What horrors lurk beneath that fetid water?

So it has begun. The stench from the political swamp suddenly intensifies as even more MP’s crawl out from the murky depths on their yellow bellies, their forked tongues flicking in and out as they dip-test public opinion and gear up for some major shouting and posing before the next election.

In fact, the only thing noisier than the MP’s is the ever present whine, like a jet turbine steadily increasing in pitch, as the spin machines spew out untruth after twisted untruth in an effort to make the other party look like the worst option to the voters.

What does this mean for the custodians of society?  It means we get to practice avoidance; we’re not allowed to speak to the media without following extremely strict guidelines, designed so as to prevent accidental photos of us being taken with MP’s or prospective MP’s from any party or from giving an opinion as to which party is best, or doing or saying anything that may prejudice our impartiality or could be used by the media to imply that we are siding with any particular group.

The fact that we have opinions of our own (strictly not representative of the Force as a whole, all rights reserved, no semblance to persons living or dead implied, etc) is, naturally, not something that we’re allowed to talk about whilst on duty.  Visit any police blog site, however, and you’ll find any number of reasons why the current government are perhaps not favoured by any sane, thinking person.

Our Force, amongst others, is currently saddled with the task of shaving millions off its budget as, over the next couple of years, we’re facing something like a 10-15% cut in our budget.  Don’t let the spin doctors tell you otherwise – with £70m being taken out of our overtime budgets (how else do you think special operations like Op Stack are funded?) and departments being told they’ve got to save 5% before April and another 10% for the next financial year, courses are being cut, operations are under-funded and under-staffed and recruitment has all but dried up.  That’s right – where we’d usually be recruiting between 200-300 PC’s a year, this next year we’re looking at 30-100.

PCSOs, originally funded by the government when they were first introduced as the cure-all panacea, will shortly have to be funded by police authorities.  Naturally, recruitment for them is drying up too.  In fact, it doesn’t take a genius to start working out that numbers will start falling due to natural wastage.

So whatever the spin doctors try to tell you, don’t believe the hype – police numbers are being directly and negatively affected by the government.  Will a different government be any… different?  Who knows?

But I can’t express an opinion, really – all the while we’re in ‘purdah’, we’ve got to run silent, run deep…

Submarine

Don't express an opinion, don't even make a noise...

Note: ‘Purdah‘ is a term used to refer to social exclusion/isolation – for the police it is a time from when an election is announced to when it takes place.  It’s the time of party sabre-rattling, exchanges of insults, mud-slinging and general ‘point-scoring’ against the opposition in an attempt to get the voters on their side (whichever side that may be.)  For the police, it’s a time to keep shtum, be drawn on nothing political, express no preferences either way, for fear of appearing to favour one side over the other and thus lose our impartiality.  It feels like a gagging order and perhaps not accidentally also refers to the practice in Muslim and Hindu communities of keeping women in seclusion, usually via certain clothing (veils, etc.)
N.B.:  I found out today that our projected recruitment figures for the next two years have now dropped to less than 10% of our normal recruitment figures.  This is partly to do with staff who are reaching retirement age wanting to stay on thanks to the recession, but you can guarantee that budget cuts have a huge part to play too.

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4 Responses to “Run silent, run deep.”

  1. Tony F Says:

    Ah Party politics…We Must win no matter what the odds..Sod the country. I want my nose in the trough….

    Our Finest leaders, the theives of wesminster.

    I wish that spoiled ballots counted, ‘cos I reckon if they did there would be about 90% turn out. I may not vote this time, not one of them is worth my time. But then, what?

  2. Tired and Fed-Up Says:

    Always struck me as a bit odd; I would expect in the build up to a general election that the various political parties woud try to persuade the voter by emphasising the excellence of their policies and sound statesmanship. Instead, we get the equivalent of a school play ground slanging match when they mostly rubbish each other’s claims, trade petty insults and act, well. not unlike the chavs and pondlife that I get to bang up.

    Hardly inspiring or confidence building, not that I’ve had any confidence in this shower of common thieves for several years now. I genuinely fear for the future as political fiscal miscalculations (or negligence, take your pick) mean the public sector must make up a sizeable chunk of the public debt. In other words, the Police, NHS, prisons, Fire and Rescue, Armed forces…………draw your own conclusions as to how this will affect public safety domestically and abroad. I suspect the debt that such incompetence has caused will not only be paid in pounds sterling but in the lives of decent people and those of public servants, frantically struggling to make an increasingly broken system work against a backdrop of Governmental self-satisfaction, believing that they have once again rescued the economy and country. Scum.

    Sorry, kKop, I’ll get off the soapbox now.

    • kkop Says:

      No, no – don’t apologise, T&FU. Actually you’ve mentioned a point I meant to write about in the post – the fact that party pre-election practice is so negative.

      As you say, why on earth do they just try to slur the opposition and sling as much mud as possible when they should really be showing the populace how their party is whiter than white, has a faultless and reliable record, clear and sustainable policies, a hard line on crime and the causes of crime etc. etc.

      Oh, hang on…. there isn’t a single party that can do any of those things, is there?

      As Tony F has already alluded to, when all the options are rotten, what alternative is left? I suspect this is a key reason why voter turnout is falling – I don’t think it’s necessarily because younger generations are bored of politics per se, but because all of the parties have shown that they are corrupt, self serving and utterly untrustworthy.

  3. Tony F Says:

    Self serving. Exactly. The parties only exist so that they exist. In the past each party was a fairly loose collection of similar minded people with the (mainly) good intention of getting the best for their voters and the country at large. Now, all they are are a bunch of sycophantic toadies doing the best they can for the party and themselves.

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