The riots : who’s the boss here?

Well over ten years ago, the message came through to the NHS consultants: you will adhere to the government imposed (arbitrary) waiting times limits, back then a very modest 6 months to get your operation. We were usually well over that. We moaned and huffed and puffed. How dare the government tell us what to do with our clinical service? It was virtually destroying the sacred inviolable bond between us and our patient patients.

However, we were wrong.

It didn’t actually take too much to meet that target, and most of the subsequent ones, although the current 18 weeks referral to treatment is probably pushing it a bit far.

That was a Labour government, and as readers may be able to discern, The Knife loathes the Labour party and most of its works. Nevertheless, shorter waiting times are obviously preferable, and there was no way that the consultant body was spontaneously going to bring them about. This has nothing to do with pay, terms and conditions, or other contractual issues, it is about the right of the government to determine strategy in a taxpayer funded service.

The armed forces are the same. If governments don’t determine strategy, then the numerous generals will continue fighting, overspending and demanding more and more. Human nature really.

Teachers too. Contrast the momentum of Gove’s schools policies, a real success, with the shrill squeaks from the professional bodies and unions, clutching at straws.

Which brings us to the police. The high minded Association of Chief Police Officers, ACPO, lead by Sir Hugh Orde, a man who seems excessively pleased with himself, is opposing the various Dave suggestions regarding policing, notably the appointment of Bill Bratton, whose CV is rather more impressive than Sir Hugh’s. Sir Hugh of course, is not a disinterested party in all this.

Even worse, he is making the ludicrous claim, as are various camera-hungry police spokesmen, that the police got the riot tactics right. Really? Did we not watch it on TV? Did we  all applaud the let ’em nick it we’ll hopefully round them up later school of policing? I think not.

It seems a lot of frontline police think it was a cock-up too. Particularly in London, where the Met has successively been lead by Ian Blair, a wet social theorist in thrall to political posturing, and Paul Stephenson, a man who goes to a dodgy health farm to recover from minor surgery. Health farms are bad enough, being designed for coked up pop millionaires and middle aged ladies, never mind the fact it was on a you-scratch-my-back freebie. What kind of man is he? No wonder the Met is functioning so badly, and no wonder outside help is badly needed.

Sir Hugh is gathering some heavyweight support however, the latest cri de coeur is from a retired former deputy chief constable for North Wales and recently failed Lib Dem candidate. Phew!! He makes Brian Paddick seem like Mike Tyson.

Whether or not Bratton is the answer is not the issue here. The public need reassurance, and it’s the government’s duty to provide it. The existing model has failed, just like the NHS waiting times of 10 years ago, and the vested interests of the service deliverers are not capable or willing to make the necessary changes themselves.

Hoy Bratton! The job's mine.

ps: Over at the Coffee House, a similar theme emerges. Read the comments.

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