Since Labour has an election to win, and since if it doesn't win it Jack Straw will probably be a candidate to pick up the poisoned chalice of leading the party, it is little wonder the Justice Secretary has jumped on the police-bashing bandwagon. He knows most people only encounter the police when being stopped for a minor motoring offence, or when the police are failing to clear up a deeply distressing crime. He knows how dismayed the public is by stories in the media about the police pursuing people who (for example) express disapproval of homosexuals, while failing to pursue burglars. So, in the words of one senior officer who disliked Mr Straw's remarks, this was a cheap shot.
Do 'most people' only really encounter the police when being stopped for a 'minor motoring offence'? Does Simon Heffer never go outdoors, to his town centre, where he can see police officers at work? He may not approach them, that much is true; but that's not their fault. You could just as easily say "Most people, of course, do not encounter doctors when being treated for some minor illness, or when they are failing to clear up a very serious disease."
The police, though, do not pursue people who have 'expressed disapproval of homosexuals'. (see comments - sometimes they do, if it's possible someone could be breaking the law. But burglars, unlike writers of things denouncing gayness, don't generally leave signatures saying "I did this" unless they're particularly stupid; and police don't make the laws up, they simply enforce them. If a law exists, it's there to be enforced, including things that Heffer might disagree with, like traffic offences or saying gay people are bad; or other stuff, like burglarly or murder) It's Heffer's cunning way of introducing the classic 'PCgonemad' gambit into his article. Poor old middle-class man, driving at 85mph outside a school, for some reason gets stopped by PC Plod, yet burglars smashing into a nearby house are sent on their way with a cheery wave - but look what happens when you try and write "Gays must die" in dogshit on someone's car, then for some reason everyone makes a big PC song and dance about it and for some reason that's a so-crime in Bonkers Britain... Heffer really isn't even a notch above Littlejohn and the like. He's worse. He's not even trying to be funny, which Littlejohn does (and admittedly fails at, but hey, he has a bash); he's being deadly serious.
What's his evidence for police pursuing people who 'disapprove of homosexuals' but not pursuing burglars? Is there any?
They ceased to be a crime-fighting operation and became instead an instrument for the imposition of political correctness. New Labour came in to power with a set of beliefs about minorities of all sorts, and sought to make the police the enforcers of that creed. The wheels fell off at that point.
Examples? Oh, there are none. It just happened, therefore it's true. Cheers Simon, I don't need examples, if you could just make the aeroplane noise while you're forcing the spoon into my mouth... actually, fuck it, just ram it down my throat like Robert Morley being force-fed his dogs in Theatre of Blood. I'd much prefer that, then I wouldn't even bother having to think about it. Could you do that, Simon? Could you? I mean, you don't have any evidence that 'minorities of all sorts' (can't you feel the seething stench off the words?) and beliefs about them drove New Labour's policies - but no matter. Let's carry on. Wasn't it all better when all coppers were like Gene Hunt?
The unlamented Sir Ian Blair was the high priest of this form of policing. The way in which he had Scotland Yard pussyfoot around the question of Islamist terrorism after the horrific attacks on London in 2005 exemplified his priorities: appease minorities first, fight crime second.
I'm sure everyone noticed how Sir Ian Blair 'appeased minorities first' when an unpale-skinned man was shot seven times in the head on the Tube. Ah, it must be wonderful in Heffer's world, where criminals are only not caught because of that damned PC Brigade chasing the cops in their big pink diversity van, ensuring that no-one is offended. Oh! If only the police weren't so busy being PC about everything - obviously I don't have any time to put in any evidence at all, just decide that I know best about everything, and you, solemn reader, will just believe me because I am a respected journalist and not a second-rate hack stitching together a stinking load of old cobblers with no substance to it whatsoever, essentially so I can say that no-one should vote Labour.
Didn't the Telegraph used to be better than this? Or don't we need any evidence for any arguments any more? Shall we just all give up and all shout a bit louder?