Posts Tagged ‘Bill Bratton’

Left-wing populism is not the answer for Labour

07/05/2014, 10:51:28 AM

by Renie Anjeh

Energy price freeze, scrapping the bedroom tax, rent controls, 50p tax rate – all part of Labour’s offer to the British people next year.  No more Old Labour, definitely no more New Labour – it’s all about Radical Labour.

The party is beginning to set out its popular, and increasingly populist, stall for the British electorate in the run up to the election next year.  Those who are arguing for Labour to ‘shrink the offer’, are losing the internal debate in the party – the radicals have come out on top.  It’s unsurprising that there are those who want the party to go even further by promising to renationalise the railways, introduce a graduate tax, abolish zero-hour contracts and borrow more to pay for spending commitments.  However, this strategy could hinder, rather than help, the Labour party.

Look at the Tories in Opposition. In 2001 and 2005, both William Hague and Michael Howard championed rightwing populism.  Hague – a fervent Eurosceptic – campaigned against the prospect of Britain joining the euro, saying that there were ‘twelve days to keep the pound’.  Although his policy on the euro was undoubtedly very popular, Hague lost the election and became the first Tory leader not to become Prime Minister.

Howard, having given up on his early attempts to modernise the Conservative party, campaigned on tougher controls on immigration, a tough stance on crime, more stringent discipline in schools and lower taxes.  These policies were also very popular with the public but he lost the 2005 election.

This was partly because the Tories were simply not trusted with public services, they looked uncomfortable with modern Britain and people felt that some of its policies reinforced the ‘nasty party’ label.

Labour’s critical weaknesses are on the economy, welfare and leadership and if the party fails to address these issues then, like the Tories in 2001 and 2005, it could end up in opposition for another five years.


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Revealed: Cameron supercop’s company mired in bugging and hacking allegations

19/08/2011, 09:51:43 AM

by Atul Hatwal

In the week that newspaper hacking exploded back onto the front pages, it has emerged that the company run by David Cameron’s American crime tsar, Bill Bratton, is mired in a British court case accused of illegal bugging and hacking.

Bill Bratton, a former chief of the LA Police Department is chairman of the private detective agency, Kroll. In June this year, Kroll were accused in court papers by Dr. Martin Coward, a leading city investment manager, of planting covert surveillance devices in his house in Steyning, West Sussex.

Coward claims that Kroll agents illegally broke into his property last December and hid bugs and video cameras in the kitchen and in the fireplace of his study as well as a GPS tracking device in his car.

Evidence referenced in the court papers included the surveillance devices and, most extraordinarily, a video made inadvertently by the bungling snoopers on the surveillance cameras as they were planting them.

Following the hacking allegations against Andy Coulson, these accusations involving David Cameron’s latest appointment will raise new doubts about the prime minister’s judgement.


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Tuesday News Review

16/08/2011, 06:25:56 AM

May on collision course with senior cops

Police in England and Wales are to be given new guidance on dealing with outbreaks of disorder on the streets, in the wake of last week’s rioting. Home Secretary Theresa May has asked for new advice on use of officers and tactics after several cities were hit. She has said police initially deployed too few officers and that some appeared “reluctant” to use robust tactics. In a speech later, she is also due to say last week’s riots make the case for police reform more urgent than ever. Mrs May’s speech in London is expected to provoke further conflict with senior officers over the government’s planned 20% police funding cuts and plans for directly elected officials to oversee police forces. – BBC News

Cameron’s families

As part of the “social fightback”, Cameron had a tough-love message for 120,000 of the UK’s most “troubled families”. He set himself the rigid target of the next election to put all of them through some kind of family-intervention programme. In a speech setting out his analysis of what led to the riots, Cameron highlighted those families across the UK who were dealing with multiple complex social health and economic problems. Lifting them out of extreme worklessness would be regarded as a measure of his success in his wider agenda of fixing Britain’s broken society, he said. Cameron said he would put “rocket boosters” on attempts to rehabilitate those 120,000. He said would ask the chief executive of an organisation called Action for Employment (A4e), Emma Harrison, who he appointed his “families champion” in December, to use her experience in dealing with troubled families in three pilot areas to overcome the bureaucratic problems that have prevented the rapid expansion of Labour’s similar families intervention programme, running since 2006. – the Guardian

Bratton hired, not fired

David Cameron might have to re-think the appointment of US supercop Bill Bratton. The Prime Minister has turned to the tough-talking American to help tackle London gang crime. But Bratton cleaned up the crime-ridden streets of New York and LA by HIRING thousands of cops not FIRING them. Cameron is planning to axe 16,000 frontline police officers from forces across Britain. And some believe Bratton’s record in crime-fighting is solely down to him increasing numbers on the force. According to a book written by leading economist Steven Levitt, the NYPD was boosted by around 45% under Bratton’s leadership. Bratton hired 7,000 more police in New York – a policy that President Bill Clinton successfully expanded nationwide by funding 100,000 extra cops. When Bratton arrived in LA as police chief in 2002 he announced his first priority was to hire officers. – Daily Mirror

I’d bet my house on him

Stephen House, the chief constable of Strathclyde Police, has been confirmed as the favourite to be the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, according to reports. Mr House, the former Met assistant commissioner, applied for the job after Home Office officials contacted him. Sir Paul Stephenson resigned from his post at the height of the phone-hacking scandal, and applications for the coveted post close tomorrow. Acting Met deputy commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe is also seen as a front-runner. Mr House, 54, was born in Glasgow and moved to London in the 1960s. He became a police officer in 1981, serving in uniform before taking on operational roles with the Sussex, Northamptonshire and West Yorkshire forces. He joined the Met in 2001, and led the specialist crime directorate, before taking over as head of Scotland’s largest police force in 2007. Whoever does take over will be appointed on the recommendation of the Home Secretary. – the Scotsman

Downing Street finally agree to an inquiry

No 10 has conceded to Labour demands for a formal commission to investigate the causes of last week’s riots after behind-the-scenes cross-party talks coordinated by the Liberal Democrats. Nick Clegg is said to be close to “brokering” a deal between theConservatives and Labour into a commission that would go into every neighbourhood affected by the disturbances to ask community members why the outbursts of violence occurred. David Cameron had previously ruled out a full public inquiry in the short term claiming that the parliamentary select committee inquiries were adequate but the government has now signalled its intention for a “public engagement exercise”, with an independent chair, to establish the causes of the riots and looting. A No 10 source said: “We are coming to the view that there is a case for community engagement about what happened and why. It would involve getting someone to go into the communities and find out why this all happened. It would be likely that it would be chaired by someone outside government. We’re coming to the view that some sort of engagement exercise would be useful.” – the Guardian

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Monday News Review

15/08/2011, 06:49:41 AM

Real politics returns

Ed Miliband will today accuse the ­Government of resorting to “gimmicks” as David Cameron pledges a “social fightback” against the rioters. The PM will promise to reverse the “slow motion moral collapse” that has taken place in parts of Britain. In a speech, Mr Cameron will also accuse some parts of Government of being de-moralised and will blame the breakdown on a ­bureaucratic society that twists human rights laws. Meanwhile, Work and Pensions ­Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has vowed to make “life hell” for those responsible for the violence. He wants a war on gangs and says that their leaders must be “harassed” by tough policing. As part of the zero-­tolerance policy, boot camp-style academies could be introduced for young offenders. Other plans would see police work with the Driving Standards Agency and TV Licensing to check gang members have paid taxes and motoring fines. But in a sign the political truce on the riots is over, Labour leader Mr Miliband will warn against knee-jerk reactions. – Daily Mirror

The prime minister will go head to head with the leader of the opposition as the two make speeches setting out their competing analyses of the riots and looting. The pair make similarly emphatic condemnations of the rioters, but in a speech at his old school in Camden, Ed Miliband, theLabour leader, will denounce Cameron’s ideas to deal with rioters, put forward over the weekend, as “gimmicks”. Miliband will also link the behaviour of the looters and bankers, phone hacking and MPs’ expenses scandals, saying: “It’s not the first time we’ve seen this kind of me-first, take-what-you-can attitude. The bankers who took millions while destroying people’s savings: greedy, selfish, immoral. The MPs who fiddled their expenses: greedy, selfish, immoral. The people who hacked phones to get stories and make money for themselves: greedy, selfish and immoral. Let’s talk about what this does to our culture.” Today, Cameron will push his long-held opinion that parts of Britain are broken, despite opinion polls that show the public believes he has not handled events well. He will say today that government ministers from both parties will audit their portfolios for policies aimed at mending the “broken society”. – the Guardian

Named and shamed

The Crown Prosecution Service is to order prosecutors to apply for anonymity to be lifted in any youth case they think it is in the public interest. The law currently protects the identity of any suspect under the age of 18, even if they are convicted, but it also allows for an application to have such restrictions lifted, if deemed appropriate. Theresa May has revealed that she wants as many of the young criminals identifying as possible. She said: “When I was in Manchester last week, the issue was raised to me about the anonymity of juveniles who are found guilty of crimes of this sort. What I’ve asked is that CPS guidance should go to prosecutors to say that where possible, they should be asking for the anonymity of juveniles who are found guilty of criminal activity to be lifted.” – Daily Telegraph

Theresa May said guidance should be given to prosecutors that juveniles found guilty of criminal activity may lose their legal anonymity. She was firing the starting gun for the “zero tolerance” approach advocated by David Cameron to make life impossible for gang members. The Home Secretary also backed up actions by some councils who have threatened to evict the families of those found guilty of being involved in rioting. Wandsworth council became the first to serve an eviction notice after an 18-year-old man appeared in court following rioting near Clapham Junction, south London. – Daily Express

Bratton widens the rift

In a new low for relations between the police and politicians, senior officers ridiculed the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint American ‘supercop’ Bill Bratton to advise the Government on gang warfare. And in a new broadside about plans for 20 per cent budget cuts to the police, the Mayor of London insisted that crime will come down only if there are more police on the streets. Senior policemen angrily denounced Home Secretary Theresa May for suggesting that it was politicians who turned around the initially sluggish police response to last week’s riots. Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, complained that commanders had their hands tied by human rights laws. The increasingly acrimonious relationship between politicians and police gained new impetus yesterday when Mr Cameron signalled his support for Mr Bratton’s zero tolerance approach to cleaning up crime when he ran the police departments in New York and Los Angeles. Mr Bratton was initially mooted as the next Metropolitan Police Commissioner – a positions in which he said he was ‘seriously interested – but the idea was blocked by Mrs May. Instead, Mr Bratton will join a taskforce on gangs. – Daily Mail

Osbourne shows his true blue colours

George Osborne has confirmed he wants to scrap the 50p top rate of tax because it is not raising significant amounts of money for the Treasury. The Chancellor branded the 50p rate “uncompetitive” and said there was “not much point” in having taxes that brought in little revenue. “I have said with the 50p rate I don’t see that as a lasting tax rate for Britain because it’s very uncompetitive internationally, and people frankly can move. What is it actually raising? It’s only been in operation for a year this tax.” The Chancellor’s intervention will cheer Conservative backbenchers but puts him on a collision course with senior Liberal Democrats, who have said cutting taxes for the poor should be a priority. – the Independent

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