‘Police officers and staff deserve to have pay and workforce arrangements that recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe,’ declared Home Secretary Teresa May.
In the next moment she cut the starting salary of a constable by 17 percent to £19,000 a year. Judging by her pronouncement, she doesn’t believe policemen play a particularly ‘vital role’ or ‘deserve’ even their current modest pay.
One can understand how Teresa feels. Why pay over the odds when neither she nor anybody she knows really needs policemen. Those concrete barriers around the Houses of Parliament and SAS sharpshooters on every roof take care of their safety quite nicely, thank you very much. And being whisked around London in a bullet-proof limousine with bodyguards in attendance gives one a nice safe feeling. Who needs cops?
Well, the rest of us do. We depend on policemen to keep at bay murderers, burglars and muggers. And we do think HMG should pay more to those who every day risk their lives to protect us than it pays in benefits to the likeliest murderers, burglars and muggers.
But you see, we don’t really matter. What matters is that our spivocrats are seen to be sorting out the fiscal mess of their own making. Not that they intend to balance the books for real, God forbid.
That would involve big cuts in social spending, a measure that would alienate the growing pool of voters from which most murderers, burglars and muggers are drawn. On a personal level, this might send all those Daves, Nicks and Teresas on a lecture tour before their time, which is to say after the next election, and this must be avoided at all costs.
I know this sounds harsh and vindictive. However, if our ministers didn’t think exclusively in those terms, they’d know that savings should be made everywhere but in the police and armed forces. They’d realise that protecting Her Majesty’s subjects from external and internal threats is mainly, some will say almost exclusively, what Her Majesty’s government is for.
It’s not as if we were short of areas in which cuts could, indeed must, be made. The most obvious one is the welfare budget, whose principal purpose, on available evidence, seems to be breeding, enlarging and perpetuating an underclass of little Mowglis, who then graduate to become murderers, burglars and muggers. You know, the kind of chaps policemen protect us from.
But it’s not just the social spending. What about all those parasitic quangos, sinecures and consultancies involved in spinning out the wool HMG then pulls over our eyes? Can’t get them for £19,000 a year. That much a month would be closer to the mark.
And how about all those diversity experts, optimisers of facilitation and facilitators of optimisation? The administrative staff of the NHS, which is growing like a late-stage malignant tumour just as the frontline medical services are shrinking? Or administrators of our non-education? Toss most of them out on their ear, and not only our finances but also the quality of our ambient air will be greatly improved.
Or, dare one say it, our illustrious civil service that has learned how to cut out the middleman, otherwise known as Parliament, and deal with the EU direct? Or, and I’m waiting for the skies to open and lightning to smite me, what about whole government departments?
Such as, for example, the Ministry for Equalities, now in the tender care of my flavour of the month Jo Swinson (I commented on her inane pronouncements two days ago). This 32-year-old pulls down £94,142 in salary alone and, I’m guessing here, at least another 20 grand in personal expenses.
The guess isn’t completely uneducated. Jo may know a square root of sod-all about government, but she doesn’t half know how to charge expenses. When she became an MP, roughly at the same age she acquired her first trainer bra, Jo quickly learned how to make the taxpayer shell out for a few meticulously listed items, to wit:
A £1.75 chopping board, a ‘food saver’ for £1.50 and a £2.50 sieve, all from Tesco.
A bottle of Mr Sheen cleaner costing 78p and a £1.19 window cleaner, from Asda.
A £16 lavatory roll holder, along with a £14.10 invoice to have a spare key cut for her cleaner.
Also submitted were receipts for items ranging from a packet of dusters for 29p to a television costing £544.90 (that was a few years ago, so we’re talking a wall-size flat-screen here).
Assuming that our PC (as in Politically Correct) Miss Swinson’s attention to detail hasn’t blunted in recent years, she is costing the taxpayer as much as at least six new PCs (as in Police Constable). Which kind of PC do you think serves us better?
Now, the number of policemen under the age of 26 has already fallen by almost half in the last two years. The cut in their salaries is sure to make the fall even more precipitous – this at a time when crime and social unrest are both steeply on the rise.
So next time you’re in trouble, don’t even think about calling the cops. Call a diversity consultant or an equalities minister. You know, the kind of people we couldn’t do without.