Police version of liberal democracy

Who will police the police? This question is bound to be raised by anyone watching the mayhem created by eco-zealots on our roads.

Cops seem relaxed on M25

Mobs can get away with breaking the law as long as they riot in support of an appropriately woke cause. In that case they are called not mobs or rabble, but protesters.

And, if the police are in broad sympathy with the cause, they are more likely to join in than to lash out.

Not only that, but they feel self-righteous about doing that, enough to defy direct orders from their superiors. The other day Home Secretary Suella Braverman found that out.

At issue was the M25, London’s ring road that happens to be Britain’s busiest motorway. It was paralysed for four days by Just Stop Oil fanatics who climb gantries, block the carriageway and in general create perfect conditions for fatal crashes.

Whatever you think of the underlying cause, such actions contravene an unequivocal law. The 1980 Highways Act states: “If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence.” The punishment is up to a year in prison plus a hefty fine.

Instead of arresting the lawbreakers and clamping them in prison, police officers are displaying the kind of touchy-feely sensitivity that’s normally associated with psychotherapists. They beg the wild-eyed fanatics to get off the road, in some cases offering them a drink and saying: “If any of you have any questions, or need anything, just let us know.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who is my kind of woman, would have none of that. She told the police to “stop humouring” the band of “radicals, road-blockers, vandals, militants and extremists.” (I told you she is my kind of woman.)

Now, since our police are under the aegis of Mrs Braverman’s department, she is their direct superior, institutional and, in this case, otherwise. Yet Chief Constable Noble explained to the jumped-up politician that the police are driven by higher concerns than just law and order:

“There’s a fair challenge about how effectively we are dealing with these particular protests,” he said, “but we operate according to the law, we work within a liberal democracy and the answer to some of the challenges we face is not a policing answer. We’re part of it, but we’re not going to arrest our way out of environmental protest.”

I don’t think it’s part of a cop’s remit to lecture a cabinet minister on the fine points of liberal democracy. Nor especially to use his interpretation of it as an excuse not to do his job, which is to maintain civic order by stopping lawbreakers in their tracks.

Chief Constable Noble is evidently a man whose conscience is informed by political philosophy. However, engaging him on his preferred ground, someone should explain to him that, though Britain may indeed be a liberal democracy, neither the adjective nor the noun is the defining characteristic of our polity.

It’s the rule of law, not liberalism or democracy, that makes Britain British, which is to say civilised. At different times the country may be more or less liberal or democratic. But Britain will remain civilised for as long as it’s ruled by just law and not by individual preferences of variously placed individuals, including high-ranking policemen.

Our law provides ample legal mechanisms to express grievances and launch protests against whatever it is that any group, or indeed any person, finds disagreeable. But ‘legal’ is the operative word.

Anyone who expresses grievances illegally isn’t a protester. He is a criminal, the kind of wrongdoer that law enforcement is there to protect us from. When facing illegal activities, police are expected to stop them by whatever means available – not to ask criminals solicitously whether they’d like some refreshments.

It was even worse during the BLM riots, when, instead of ploughing in with their truncheons, cops were seen taking the knee. At least, this time around cops don’t unfurl Just Stop Oil flags, nor join the criminals on the M25 gantries.

I suppose it would be unrealistic to expect police officers to be immune to the same total, not to say totalitarian, propaganda that’s poisoning impressionable minds all over the country. The media assist that noble effort under cover of the same liberal democracy.

Cretinous youngsters are given every platform they desire to spread their bilge ad urbi et orbi – that’s freedom of expression for you. They then froth at the mouth and scream at TV presenters.

That’s what happened yesterday to Sky News host Mark Austin. He invited one of those eco-zealots on his show and listened sympathetically as she signalled her virtue by spouting typically inane platitudes. It’s only when she screamed “Do you love your children more than you love fossil fuels?” that he objected: “Stop shouting at me!”

In other words, had she delivered the same gibberish sotto voce, it would have been perfectly acceptable, in a liberal democratic sort of way.

Don’t get me wrong: the rot hasn’t penetrated just the police. The whole justice system is creaking at the seams.

Under duress and after much grumbling the police have made some arrests, about 700 of them all over the country. Considering the scale of the disturbances, that figure is risible. But, even worse, only 15 fanatics have been charged. Our liberal democracy says that the remaining 685 have no case to answer.

Mrs Braverman, even though she is my kind of woman, can’t restore order on our roads all by herself. I can’t quite see her climbing those gantries to drag a pimply youth down. But neither can she or any other home secretary do anything else if the police defy their orders.

The Home Office can’t sack the whole police force, much as Mrs Braverman may feel tempted. Perhaps she should start by sacking Mr Noble and other police officers guilty of open insubordination.

Yet, satisfying though such an action could be, it won’t solve the wider problem: identity and cause politics shoving the rule of law aside. Perhaps we should all remind ourselves that, if Britain isn’t ruled by law, she can only be ruled by hatred, resentments and appetites.

The result would be what Thomas Hobbes called bellum omnium contra omnes, the war of all against all.

3 thoughts on “Police version of liberal democracy”

  1. I’ve pointed this insanity out in earlier posts here , and yearn for the day someone in power has the courage to stop it. VicPol in Melbourne Australia would give the Bobbies a run for their money in wokery .

  2. This blocking the roads is an American import as with the kneeling and a bad import at that.

    These idiots too when they block a major interstate USA are impeding interstate commerce which usually is considered a serious crime.

    That kneeling to is described as an act of solidarity when it is really a sign of submission.

  3. The rule of law is racist. It is also homophobic and a denier of manmade climate change.

    Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thy civilization.

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