I arrived home this evening having heard the radio (BBC 5 Live) spouting almost non stop about Ken Clarke’s comments regarding rape and sentencing this morning, and also about the Queen’s state visit to Ireland. There was it seemed very little other news – even the prospect of justice regarding the murder of Stephen Lawrence seemed to be a minor issue.
However on arriving home I found the television tuned to Sky News – airing a story which I hadn’t known about at all up to now. It was showing footage of Home Secretary Theresa May at the Police Federation conference, and unflinchingly gave us vivid coverage of her getting what can best be described as “a proper mauling” – delegate after delegate queued up to offer difficult and critical questions, all of which were supported from the platform. The chair introduced a clip from the officer blinded by Raoul Moat, who asked “Am I worth £35,000 ?”, and was asked before she took the podium “Home secretary, can you sleep at night ?”
As she stepped up there was no applause, there was nothing, just a deafening silence, which continued throughout the speech, and after it.
This was huge news, well covered by Sky News.
Coming to the computer a few hours later though it seems that Sky have removed the story almost entirely from their headlines, and the story when it is covered now only contains video of Theresa May’s speech Govt Police Cuts Are ‘Revenge’, Not Reform – the report does contain some description of the anger on display – but it lacks the stark reality which was presented on the earlier broadcast clip.
Undeterred I turned to BBC News where once again I find that the story has slipped down out of the headlines altogether. A quick search found the clip – which was again reduced to only the Home Secretary’s speech. After some exploring I eventually found this – which does cover the story in greater detail Home secretary refuses to back down on police cuts . I think it’s fair to say though that the casual reader would not be likely to find this clip easily.
I have to say that I find it very worrying that the two major television news outlets in the country choose not to report this as a major news item – and in Sky’s case appear to be back pedalling rather quickly.
For a great many years the Conservative party have been seen, and have tried to encourage the view of themselves, as the “party of law and order” – The Police Federation, similarly has been more or less unique in being a Conservative supporting trades union.
That the NUT should pass votes of no confidence in Education Secretary Michael Gove, is newsworthy – but is true to form – one wouldn’t particularly expect anything else (and yes I’m an NUT member) – but for the Police Federation to put Theresa May through the mincer like they did today, is not far short of Hell freezing over.
It’s a highly significant story which should in all usual circumstances be dominating the headlines.
However Ken Clarke has been shooting his daft gob off, and the Queen’s down the brewery knocking back the Guinness.
There is a more nuanced report of the activities at the Police Federation conference here in the Guardian : Police greet Theresa May’s speech with complete silence – I confess that I’d feel more comfortable had this article been in the Telegraph – who could only manage a clip of her speech – complete with the usual rubbish about “the mess that Labour left us” Theresa May: police cuts have to be made . Hopefully they’ll add to this as time passes. Print though does not have the impact of TV pictures – and the ones earlier on Sky really were quite remarkable. Such a shame I can’t find them any more.
So Theresa May comes away relatively unscathed.