With thanks to the "Retired and Angry" blog for this one. Reposted from http://retiredandangry.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/guest-blog-from-chris-hobbs/
The holder of one of the UK’s great offices of state is sitting at her desk typing on her computer. There is a knock at the door.
Home Secretary: Enter.
Jeremy, a youthful looking civil servant enters.
Home Secretary: Ah Jeremy. I’m working on my speech to the Police Federation tomorrow. I’ve just drafted the nice bits.
Jeremy: Nice bits???
Home Secretary: Yes, you know. Naming dead officers, talking about bravery.
Jeremy: Oh good Home Secretary. You are going to offer an olive branch. The boys and girls have been through a rough time lately….. (Voice tails off as he receives an icy stare from the Home Secretary)
Home Secretary: No Jeremy. After that I want to kick them in the balls, grab a few headlines, teach those plods who’s boss.
Jeremy: But police morale Home Secretary. It’s on the floor already.
Home Secretary: Jeremy, I want a list of every plod transgression that’s hit the headlines over the last few months from Hillsborough to Plebgate and throw in smearing the Lawrence family and oh yes, stop and search is always a good stick to beat them with.
Jeremy: But Home Secretary
Home Secretary: No arguments Jeremy. Ah rigged police crime figures. Add those to the list.
Jeremy: Excuse me Home Secretary, you’ve already included the fact that crime is down in your speech and that’s surely based on those rigged crime figures.
Home Secretary: Jeremy, Jeremy. I’ll just keep them a few paragraphs apart. The British public will never notice and every newspaper has got it in for the old bill so they won’t bother printing anything.
Home Secretary: No buts Jeremy. Tell me what’s the name of that latest lot we’ve just got up and running, you know that organisation that’s even more secretive than MI5.
Jeremy: Oh yes Home Secretary. The National Crime Agency who were set up to be more effective that the Serious Organised Crime Agency who were set up to be more effective than the National Criminal Intelligence Service.
Home Secretary: I want them to obtain the full identities of all those behind those troublesome police blogs. If they’re serving officers get them sacked and if they’re retired, shut them down and get their pensions stopped. There’s no point in emasculating the federation if that lot continue their sedition.
Jeremy: (puzzled) Sedition? Forgive me Home Secretary, haven’t we got other problems. You must have seen that report I left on your desk which shows cocaine and heroin seizures at ports are down by 76%. Customs officers are complaining that they are kept on passport controls stamping passports.
Home Secretary: Now now Jeremy, there’s no such thing as customs officers. They are all now one effective, efficient and flexible UK Border Force in nice uniforms that make them look more like police officers than police officers. And I have the perfect statement ready if this gets out.
Jeremy: Yes Home Secretary.
Home Secretary: We simply say that seizures are down because our border controls have become so effective that the drugs networks have given up. Oh Jeremy, can you get me another bottle of water. I don’t want to drink any of that stuff which comes out of the taps that’s contaminated with cocaine.
Jeremy leaves returning with a bottle of Evian.
Home Secretary: Anyway Jeremy, you know the maxim of government. If your department is in trouble create a separate firestorm that attracts everyone’s attention and diverts them from other er….little difficulties. So an attack on the Police Federation followed up perhaps by a spat with a Cabinet rival …..
Jeremy: Isn’t that what General Galtieri did with the Falklands; (mutters) that worked well.
Home Secretary: Pardon Jeremy.
Jeremy: That must have been hell Home Secretary, the war that is.
Home Secretary: Quite so. But such strong leadership from a great leader; the one and only Iron Lady. (Looks wistfully at a photo of Margaret Thatcher that adorns her desk). None of this hug a husky or I’m greener than you rubbish. Strong leadership Jeremy, to stop this UKIP nonsense.
Jeremy: But Home Secretary, Mrs Thatcher loved the police. She used to make the DPG officers tea and invite them in for a chat. She got very upset whenever a police officer died in the line of duty.
Home Secretary: Even great leaders have faults Jeremy. She thought the miners were the enemy but little did she know it was the police.
The Home Secretary goes back to her computer while Jeremy shakes his head sadly and leaves.
After spending five minutes typing, she leans back in her chair and rehearses some of her speech;
Home Secretary:(loudly) That’s why, if there is anybody in this hall who doubts that our model of policing is at risk, if there is anybody who underestimates the damage recent events and revelations have done to the relationship between the public and the police, if anybody here questions the need for the police to change, I am here to tell you that it’s time to face up to reality. (pauses, yawns, leans back in her chair, shuts her eyes and dozes off).
Home Secretary; Snores, snorts and opens her eyes staring at the blank wall opposite her which is becoming shrouded in mist.
Emerging through the wall into the mist is a translucent, wispy ghostly image of what appears to be a female. As the figure floats across the room towards the Home Secretary’s desk, the form becomes clearer and the image can be seen sporting a royal blue outfit and hat and carrying a large handbag.
Home Secretary:(gasps) Margaret. Margaret Thatcher. How wonderful.
Mrs T: (sharply) Prime Minister to you. I’ve always said just like the US Presidents we former Prime Ministers should retain our titles.
Home Secretary: Yes Prime Minister.
Another shadowy figure smartly dressed in a three piece pinstripe suit emerges from the mist and stands just behind Mrs Thatcher. It becomes clear that he is distinguished educated man.
Home Secretary: Who’s this Marg….er Prime Minister?
Mrs T; This is Lord Edmund-Davies who, back in 1978, under a Labour yes Labour government reviewed police pay and conditions which we all, yes all, Labour and Conservative, accepted. You have just trashed that beyond all recognition. (Turns to the distinguished figure)
Mrs T: Thank you Herbert. You can go back to writing the History of Wales now and I look forward to reading it.
Edmund-Davies; My pleasure Prime Minister. (Turns away and then turns back) Just try and talk some sense into this Muppet.
Distinguished figure turns and vanishes into the mist.
Mrs T: So Home Secretary, you’ve managed to turn an entire police force against my Conservative party and in four years have completely destroyed their morale.
Home Secretary: Well, the corruption, the deaths in police custody, the racism, the mistakes.
Mrs T: (icily). Do you know how many 999 calls police deal with a year.
Home Secretary: No Prime Minister.
Mrs T: More than four million and of those one million are real, nasty emergencies.
Home Secretary: I didn’t realise.
Mrs T: So isn’t it inevitable Home Secretary that amongst those one million calls there are going be a few cock ups, excuse the phrase, and very occasionally will not be dealt with well by those few poor performing police officers or even by good officers rushing from call to call who make mistakes because of the pressure they’re under. .
Home Secretary: Well yes.
Mrs T; And do you accept that most of those one million calls are dealt with capably and professionally.
Home Secretary: Yes Prime Minister but I’m only trying to improve….
Mrs T: If you were, you’d be offering a lot more carrot and much less stick. There are those who are saying you are trying to emulate me.
(Leans across table and puts her face menacingly within inches of the Home Secretary’s now pale features).
Mrs T; Love me or hate me, and I can see why people may hate me, there will only ever be one me. Do you understand?
Home Secretary: Yes Prime Minister.
Mrs T: Look at this (stands away from the desk and points to the blank wall as a picture slowly emerges). This is London four years from now.
Picture forms of Parliament Square. A riot is in progress. Police are being pelted with missiles and petrol bombs as they struggle to keep the rioters out of the square. The picture changes to the House of Commons which shows Parliament is in session. The scene reverts back to outside and police lines are broken. Police retreat to the railings outside Parliament as rioters swarm into the square.
Mrs T: Just look at what happens now.
Police lines now have their backs against the railings and they desperately use their shields to fend off a hail of missiles. Groups of rioters armed with staves repeatedly rush the police line, deliver a series of blows and retreat. Numerous officers are going down injured are being helped towards Westminster Bridge where lines of police carriers and ambulances are waiting. The scene switches to the House of Commons chamber where the Home Secretary can be seen talking to the house. It is not clear what post she holds but she is on the front bench.
Home Secretary: What am I? Have I made it?
Mrs T: Watch carefully.
The scene is back outside and the shot closes in on two police officers crouching behind their shields. Their conversation can just about be heard.
PC 1: I’m beginning to think I’d rather be doing something else Reginald. We are even less popular than Millwall supporters as far as that lot(points behind him to Parliament with non shield holding hand) are concerned.
PC 2: I couldn’t agree more Rodney. I was quite happy as manager of the Gravesend Branch of Tesco’s but they told me I’d be a Chief Superintendent in two years if I transferred.
PC 1: If we were defending something worth defending then I wouldn’t (pauses as concrete slab hits his shield) mind but defending this corrupt shower who all hate us (voice tails off).
PC 1: Reginald, there’s looting in Brixton and the EDL are marching in that direction. If we stay here we’ll have to baton charge and then we’ll all be accused by that lot in there of police brutality.
PC 2: Rodney, lets bugger off and look after Brixton. Pass the word along.
Camera pans out and the message can be seen being passed from officer to officer to both the right and left of the police lines. Officers begin moving slowly behind their shields to their right towards Westminster Bridge. A couple of Chief Superintendents make a half hearted attempt to stop them. The scene again focuses on the two police officers.
PC 1. Hey up. Listen to that. (PC2 leans towards his Radio)
Police Radio; (in a voice displaying a distinct lack of enthusiasm) All units from GT. Remain where you are. Repeat all units outside Parliament remain where you are.
PC1; That’s old Jason who use to work with us. He’s as pissed off as we all are.
Scene pans out to show police still moving towards Westminster Bridge then zooms in on the two officers.
PC1; (ear inclined to radio) Wait for it, wait for it.
Police Radio: All units from Gold Commander. All units from Gold Commander. You are to remain exactly where you are. Repeat you are to remain exactly where you are. This is a direct order. You vill oops sorry, will obey this order,
PC2: Who’s that?
PC1: That’s Flashman, the Commissioner’s hatchet man. You know, the Assistant Commissioner who goes around shouting, swearing and sacking Borough Chief Superintendents who don’t bring their crime figures down.
PC2: Which is why everyone lower down the ladder is still fiddling them. Am I not correct Rodney?
PC1: You are Reginald. At least this’ll put paid to his chances of a knighthood.
As the officers withdraw, the missiles stop and the mob begins cheering. Hundreds of police congregate on Westminster Bridge and form up behind their carriers. The carriers reverse and slowly cross Westminster Bridge protecting the officers retreating behind them.
Home Secretary: My God. They’re deserting us. They can’t. We’re their leaders.
Mrs T: They obviously have a greater regard for the people of London than for politicians who have rubbished them for years. The worm has turned after you shot their morale to pieces.
Back outside Parliament the rioters are swarming over the fence while others are battering their way through the doors. The view switches to the House of Commons chamber. The Home Secretary is still speaking but stops as shouting can be heard from outside the chamber. Suddenly behind the speaker’s chair masked youths appear pushing their way inside the chamber before pausing as if to take in their surroundings. For a moment everything seems frozen in time as MP’s stare in horror at the mob. Suddenly there is a roar from the rioters who swarm into the chamber. The Home Secretary can be seen screaming and placing her hands across her face as if to shut out the sight of the rioters rushing towards her.
The scene fades.
At her desk the Home Secretary awakes with a start as Jeremy enters.
Jeremy; Home Secretary are you OK? You’ve gone very pale.
Home Secretary; (in a trembling voice) I’m fine Jeremy.
Jeremy; I have that list of transgressions Home Secretary.
Home Secretary: No need for that now Jeremy. Tell me is there a police officer on duty outside today?
Jeremy; I believe there is a DPG officer stationed outside.
Home Secretary walks across to the window, opens it and leans out shouting.
Home Secretary: Officer, officer. Yes you. Would you like to pop up here for a cup of tea?
Jeremy watches as the Home Secretary turns away from the window and returns to her desk now looking a little pink.
Jeremy: Home Secretary?
Home Secretary: He told me to piss off.
Home Secretary: No matter. Leave me now Jeremy. It’s time to rewrite my speech.
Scene: The Police Federation Conference.
The Home Secretary makes her way on to the stage to a smattering of half hearted applause. She begins:
Home Secretary: I stand before you knowing how easy it would be and indeed what a cheap shot it would be, to denigrate you all by listing all the blips that have been alleged and in many cases just alleged, over the last few months. But I know that is just a very tiny fraction of the truly outstanding work that is carried out by you and your colleagues on a daily basis. I am truly proud that every day you and your colleagues undertake thousands of daunting tasks on behalf of your public and are rarely found wanting.
There is murmur of surprise from the delegates who can be seen looking at each other somewhat bewildered. Older officers remove their hearing aids and tap them vigorously.
Fifteen minutes later:
The speech is drawing to a close and the atmosphere has lightened to the despair of the various TV news producers.
Home Secretary: And I promise you this. I want to sit down with you all, with all the rank and file. I want to listen and I want to learn. I want to hear the truth from the sharp end, from the front line. If anyone attempts to impede me from hearing the truth from you then believe me the consequences will be grave. I will set up mechanisms in consultation with yourselves to ensure the protection of sharp end officers from those who may not wish to hear the truth or who may wish to cover up poor operational decisions or wrongdoing. On this you have my word.
Finally may I, on behalf of the British public pay tribute to you and your colleagues who do such a magnificent job with professionalism, restraint, kindness and compassion. I salute you all.
She steps to the front of the rostrum and begins applauding the delegates. There is a stunned silence and then a roar of approval as the delegates leap to their feet and begin cheering her to the echo.
Scene: The Pearly Gates.
Mrs Thatcher stands just outside looking down at the scenes at the Federation conference. Husband Denis waits just inside the gates a few yards away from St Peter.
Denis: Everything alright old girl?
Mrs Thatcher: (turns around) It seems to be Denis, thank goodness.
Denis: Excellent. Fancy a nice cup of tea.
Mrs Thatcher: (entering the gates with a smile and a nod to St Peter). I think a snifter or two after that Denis don’t you.
Denis: Oh rather.
Mrs Thatcher: Sadly the job may well be a lot harder in the other universe Denis. I’m afraid that woman has already made that speech. Even I might not be able to fix that.
Denis: Damn that bloody woman.
Mrs T: My goodness Denis, I made some awful mistakes but destroying the police is just beyond belief. (pauses for thought) If she doesn’t change, I’ll make sure that she’s got as much chance of passing through these Pearly Gates as the Argies had of holding on to the Falklands.
Slips her arm through Denis’s and the two walk off towards a spectacular sunset.