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The Scourge of the Culture Wars
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has taken aim at the Police Force recently, writing to the nation’s police chiefs to tell them to re-focus on law enforcement rather than getting involved in political issues.
She said that painting police cars in rainbow colours or apprehending people who express disagreement with transgenderism makes the police look biased, and hints that in turn makes them less capable of dealing with hardened criminals. Ms Braverman has therefore commissioned a report into activism and impartiality in the police so we’ll wait and see what comes out of that. The Home Secretary did manage to remember to praise officers for their bravery and dedication, but she said that public confidence in the police force is shaken when officers appear to take sides in the culture wars.
They should leave that to the politicians!
I’m not saying it’s a bad idea for our police to concentrate on keeping us safe and tackling crime, particularly if it protects our children from county lines. But the likes of the Daily Express howls at (exaggerated) stories of ‘woke’ coppers hammering down doors to arrest someone who has shared a YouTube clip of a Catherine Tate sketch on their work WhatsApp.
Does Ms Braverman ever wonder whether her words give oxygen to the ever growing band of young people following the likes of unsavoury influencer Andrew Tait, who makes accusations of misandry in the media and society to help fuel a growing tide of misogyny.
In the light of the Home Secretary’s latest intervention; one of the said police chiefs has defended his force and has praised efforts to welcome further inclusion. Paul Fotheringham, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association told police at a conference: “She (Braverman) references ‘dancing and fraternising with political demonstrators’, which we assume relates to police attendance at Pride. She talks about displaying the progress flag and wearing of badges. These are deeply personal and passionate matters for our staff and our communities.”
Fotheringham rightly points out that trust and confidence starts with how the police treat its own people, including those who want to promote inclusion. And since the beginning of policing time, coppers have relied on public cooperation, so how can they garner support unless they engage with the communities they are supposed to protect?
Ms Braverman has form for making incendiary remarks of course, talking about a foreign ‘invasion’ to our shores when describing the boats of migrants arriving daily from across the English Channel. And for every compassionate soul shaking their head at the demonization of migrants, there will be another blurting: “She’s got a point you know.”
How did we get here?
Well, Social Media, while a useful way of keeping in touch, is a forum to spread whatever disinformation you choose, from whichever political flank you come from…with the only caveat that it can’t take a moderate stance which dares to suggest there is more than one valid opinion in any argument. And social media spreads suspicion at a frightening pace.
So how nice it is to hear from a former Home Secretary who wasn’t, and isn’t, embroiled in the divisive culture wars which have become so popularised in 2023. Theresa May, who sometimes seemed like a decent sort (for a Tory) and who was dealt a near impossible hand as Prime Minister, has written a book; The Abuse of Power, in which she says that some in the Conservative party viewed social housing tenants as ‘second class citizens’ when she reflected on the Grenfell Tower fire, which she said happened despite tenants raising concerns for years about their safety. Mrs May also talks about bullying and sexual misconduct at Westminster.
“Some in the Conservative party would have particularly taken this view that somehow those in social housing, were not as economically dynamic, not as willing to be out there working and not improving themselves, ” she said.
Oh for the days of a senior politician without a one-eyed view.
MPs in days gone my were often friends with those across the chamber and there was pretty much always mutual respect between the parties. That still happens, but to a lesser degree and, if the people in the highest profile jobs continue to wage a culture war, things will only get more fractured.
Why should the rest us in society expect to get on with each other if our leaders can’t? Particularly when they seem hell bent on making things worse.
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