Tuesday 12 April 2011

Police and the truth

"He was over six foot tall and threatened me with a sawn-off shotgun, Your Honour"

George Monbiot writes a good piece today about the reliance on lying under oath by our police. Anyone who has had dealings with police -- as a juror in court, a witness, a victim, a suspect, a journalist or just a concerned citizen -- soon has the terrible revelation that serious lying is tactic number one for the boys and girls in blue. It has been happening for years and, despite PACE way back in 1984, an avalanche of evidence as courts stop believing coppers, loads of home and justice secretaries and so called "new" policemen like Ian Blair, it's still happening now.

As Monbiot says you can't have justice until the police stop lying. Do read the piece.

Monday 11 April 2011

Delivering Quality First

The late Roy Jenkins pioneered a simple political bullshit test. Once you have learned to use it you find it is not only good for political claptrap but all manner of pronouncements, policies and PR guff.  To apply the Jenkins Test, simply take a political -- or other -- statement and reverse it. That allows you to stand back and see if the original statement really meant anything at all. So if we suppose that Quisling Clegg says: "Here in the Coalition we are fundamentally opposed to murder." Apply the JT and voila: "Here in the Coalition we are fundamentally in favour of murder", suddenly the Westminster Wonder looks even more banal and stupid than usual. He is clearly saying nothing of any substance.

I am instantly minded of the Jenkins Test when I hear BBC executives chanting their new management mantra - "Delivering Quality First". It is everywhere. Does that mean they used to "deliver" quality second, third, or last? What have Thompson, Thomson, Bennett et al (each earning several times the Prime Minister's salary)  been doing all these years -- running a public service broadcaster that doesn't "deliver" quality? Or is this just another piece of meaningless managementese as an attempt to justify said salaries. I think we should be told.