Wednesday 12 December 2007

Ordure, ordure

In the imperial palace of Westminster today, the Brown Stuff was strutted at Prime Minister's Questions. Ra polis were referred to by two questioners, firstly by a Conservative fellow and then by our very own Angus Robertson - as you can read in the exchanges:

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): A police officer in Linlithgow is now paid more than a police officer in Lichfield for doing exactly the same job. Is that fair? Is that right?

The Prime Minister: What is happening in Scotland is this: to pay the police more, the planned increase of 500 policemen has been suspended. I know what my constituents and the hon. Gentleman’s constituents would prefer—that there were police on the streets. We have more police in this country on the streets, helping us, than at any time in our history. I more than anybody would like to be able to say to the police that we could pay their wages and their salary rise in full, but I have to say to them that no policeman and no person across the country would thank us if their pay rise was wiped out by inflation—and no party should know that better than the Opposition, given that there was 10 per cent. inflation in the 1990s. That is why the awards are being staged. Over the last 10 years, police pay has risen by 39 per cent., and by 9 per cent. in real terms. We have managed to combine that with having rises in police numbers and the biggest police force in history. That is the policy of the Government.

Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP):
The police in Scotland are receiving a full pay rise, including back pay, from the—[Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker: Order. Let the hon. Gentleman speak.
Angus Robertson: I will enjoy saying this again. The police in Scotland are receiving a full pay rise, including back pay, from the Scottish National Party Government. Will the Prime Minister take this opportunity to congratulate First Minister Salmond on that fair decision?

The Prime Minister: No. The SNP said in its manifesto: “we will set out plans in our first Budget for Scotland for 1000 more police”. It did not honour its promises; there were only 500, not 1,000. The hon. Gentleman should be ashamed of his party.
Leaving aside the obvious questions about whether we should be pleased that we need the biggest police force ever, can I paraphrase Neil Kinnock about what happens when principle is thrown out of the window?
You end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour Prime Minister - a Labour Prime Minister - hiring a Home Secretary to scuttle round a country handing out refusal notices to its own workers.
One can but hope that Gordon Brown develops a sense of shame in the very near future.

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