Night of the Long Batons
"His position is unsustainable, I think he should resign," he said. "I was removed from my job when the 'kiss and tell' happened and the reason I was given was that I, rather than the policing of Lambeth, had become the story. Ian Blair has become the story. London would be safer with someone else in charge."
Reported in the Torygraph, this has come from the controversial former policeman Brian Paddick, now shamelessly courting the media in an attempt to become the first Liberal Democrat mayor of London in place of "Ken le-Rouge". I know he's not in harness any more, having now handed in his warrant card on retirement, but Mr Paddick has been showing unseemly haste to stick the knife into his former Governor, Sir Ian Blair, whatever their differences.
One would have thought that the very reason he himself was moved post, in rather a shoddy way, would have given him some empathy for Mr Blair - surely to resign or be moved purely on the basis that one has become the main story in the witless cacklings of the press and TV media is the very reason why it would be such a dangerous precedent? The media, who are - of course - just looking for headlines, sales and ratings rather than making editorial decisions on any moral or ethical basis, would be foaming themselves with joy if their recent bullying actually scored a scalp in the person of Mr Blair. Now Mr Paddick himself is encouraging such knee-jerk behaviour. Shame on him.
If gives me no pleasure to say this - I've never been much of a fan of Mr Paddick, being as he is a bit of an embarassment to many gay officers - he's set our equality back years - but I am no fan of Mr Blair either, and suffer a wonky warrant card on the basis that it's still got Mr Stevens' signature on it (mature, I know) and I don't want it changed.
However, for Mr Blair to resign on the basis of a witch-hunt, and the moronically skewed hind-blindness of a lot of civilians who know nothing about duty and life-and-death pressures, because of the tragedy of multiple unfortunate happenstances that ended in the shooting of J-C de Menezes, would be a (further) gross error for the police service.
The Metropolitan Police Authority's Libdems and Tories have - predictably - tried to exert pressure to give him the elbow, in a blatent blurring of the separation of justice and politics (inasmuch as we can say that separation ever really existed!). With his usual paucity of thought or originality, David "Dave" Cameron has stated he wants police "chiefs" to be elected as in the USA - great news for short-term, knee-jerk policing goals! Not such great news for justice! No surprises then that Mr Paddick, now leapt onto the political bandwagon himself, should embrace any views that increase the influence of populist politicians into this morass.
Let's not make any long-term policing plans at all any more - let's just massage the egos of whatever politicians have been elected to rule us, with no more sense of duty than they have integrity and transparency in their expenses returns, and enact their vanity projects instead of striving constantly to protect the people we're appointed to, and have sworn and avowed to, protect!
Listening to the views around my nick in the London BOCU of Happiness is an interesting experience nowadays. Never have I heard so much, grudging, unwilling, reluctantly enthusiastic support for our Commissioner.
I still wouldn't be upset if he retired tomorrow. He'd have been hoist on his own petard, having himself encouraged too much of politics into policing already - and look how that's bitten him on the nose. But not for this, and not because a disloyal former officer with a personal grudge and political ambitions has wished for it.