The Independent has a story today quoting senior police officers in criticising the Tories for seeking to take credit for the police response to the looting of recent days. One senior officer is reported to have described Dave as 'idiotic' and the report states that he had to be 'talked down' from putting the army onto the streets. Thank God for that.
The report also considers the role of the new adviser to Dave, Bill Bratton, formerly of Los Angeles in the USA, where he is credited with achieving much in the wake of riots there. This seems to be another role for the 'Common Sense Czar', my fantasy government adviser who is given the role of sitting down with Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister and considering all their ideas from the perspective of the world outside a few narrow streets in Westminster. In this case, the Czar would doubtless point out to Dave and to Mr Bratton that London is not LA and that whatever the problems in London, they are dwarfed by the violence and racial tension in the USA, a country which proudly allows its citizens and police to bear arms and which is thus the scene of hundreds of shootings daily.
The Tories always set great store beside their commitment to law and order and they have failed miserably in recent days. A rift with police must be like drinking hemlock to the average Tory.
This of course does not acquit the Lib Dems of responsibility and I have made clear my deep disappointment at the lack of any senior Lib Dems decrying the Tory approach to unrest. My wait continues and the longer it does the more we seem to be in agreement with the Tories on this matter, which I trust we are not. I just wish this was being demonstrated loudly and publicly.
That does not mean that Nickers needs to walk out of the Cabinet or slag off Dave but there is surely no harm in him as the leader of his own political party setting out our view on the looting and our disdain for the violent tactics which other politicians have advocated, against the wishes of the police and anyone who doesn't read the Sun. What's the point of being a Lib Dem if you can't speak out at a time like this.