Yesterday’s Daily Politics opened with the ever-lovely Jo Coburn sitting beside Nazir Afzal, who, we were told, was not only the former Chief Prosecutor for the North-West of England (be still, my racing heart) but would also be with us for the whole programme.
Then Jo winked at us, as if to say: “You lucky dog”.
The chief stories of the day were the furore surrounding the latest meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Cameron’s push for bombing in Syria and better funding for intelligence services, and the somewhat off-message announcement that another round of cuts were in the pipes, including, erm…the jobs of 5000 police officers in London.
First was Yvette Cooper, bearing her usual look of some kind of affronted poultry, descending into incessant head-wagging with every syllable as she grew more at ease. As far as disagreeing with every Jeremy Corbyn stands for, and yet avoiding directly disowning him, she did a terrific job. I feel I may have misjudged her during the leadership election.
The producers of the show presented a trio of troublemakers on the screen: three circular frames with the grim earnest face of Dan Jarvis, the stretched avuncular beam of Hilary Benn, and the concerned Yvette Cooper. All had challenged Corbyn at the latest meeting of the PLP; in what many MPs had called the most “discontented” session they had ever witnessed. Now, I’m no more than a political babe, but it amazes and shames me that the meeting of the PLP that discussed the Iraq war was apparently more amiable than this one: which after all was focused on a single comment Jez had made, regarding his discomfort with the shoot-to-kill policy.
Yvette Cooper told us that it was not politicians’ business to interfere in the work of the police. This is alright, I suppose, but it’s not a rule that can be extended very far. Parliament can, always has been and God-willing alwasy will be able to legislate on the methods of the police force. To introduce an “anything goes” policy now seems rather weird, and certainly more deserving of controversy than Jeremy Corbyn’s discomfort at police shooting to kill.
Yvette touched on the need for solidarity and unity, although apparently didn’t feel the need to extend this principle to her own party.
More ridiculous than anything was Jeremy Corbyn’s assertion that the killing of ‘Jihadi John’ was illegal- that really, if you’re going to do it properly, he should have been arrested.
We suddenly had an image of a crack team of out-of-work Metropolitan police officers, parachuting into war-torn, Isis-held Iraq and detaining Jihadi John with as little violence as possible, “You do not have to say anything…” they would intone, as JJ’s blood-crazed friends simply stood by and let justice take its course, like the good British chaps we all know they are.
Next we had a clip of George Osborne at GCHQ, discussing the threat posed by ISIS cyber attacks, and contrasted the use of the internet to spread liberal values (he was grinding his teeth here) with the use of the internet to spread terror, propoganda and brutality (here he was visibly aroused).
The Chancellor had announced his latest round of cuts, on what departments they would fall, and alluded to vague details about where the money would come from; as usual, based on his unshakeable faith that wherever there is public endeavour, there is waste, profligacy, and barbarians at the gates. So nothing new there.