Policing board’s Epaphroditos to Ford’s Nero

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Nero is said to have been killed (albeit at his own request – or he may have committed suicide) by his private secretary Epaphroditos. David Ford’s (aka little Nero) solo run to change the rules for appointing the new Chief Constable has been slapped down by the Policing Board.

From the BBC:

At a meeting on Thursday, board members agreed to formally reject the justice minister’s proposal and told Mr Ford it intends to use the existing rules to recruit the PSNI’s next top officer.

It was unclear whether Ford would have been able to ignore the position of the rest of the Executive. His decision had been attacked by both the DUP and Sinn Fein (the parties which gave him the job outside the normal d’Hondt rules).

From the BBC again:

…the fact that the board has officially told the justice minister that it intends to use the current rules means a change to the recruitment requirements is highly unlikely.

“Qualis artifex pereo” “What an artist dies in me”

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  • Granni Trixie

    Anyone know if the Boards decision is open to a legal challenge given it goes against having an even playing field (and the advice of the Equality Commission).

    Whilst I don’t know the ins and outs of the politics at play (other than it looks from the outside like a sham fight) it does rankle with me that a public body can ignore putting right a wrong, namely that having ’2 year outside NI’ as an ESSENTIAL criteria is likely to impact unfairly on Carers ( who often are women as it happens). Having this criteria as DESIRABLE would make the criteria more inclusive and lend flexibility. Again I return to the question: could here be a legal challenge?

  • Pete Baker

    Turgon

    On the “solo run”…

    Some important background detail here.

    And significant quotes, from the Board’s Chief Exec among others, here.

  • Pete Baker

    To clarify, if required.

    The Policing Board always had the power to set whatever criteria they wanted for the job – as long the mandatory elements are included.

    What Ford proposes is changing one of those elements from being essential to being desirable.

    That would give the Board the option of opening the recruitment to a wider pool of potential candidates. They didn’t have to take that option.

    Quite what effect the Board’s vote to formally reject the proposal, as the BBC gleefully report, is supposed to have is anyone’s guess.

    That change to the mandatory criteria can still go ahead. The Board can ignore it and keep the element concerned as essential for the next recruitment process. But then, they always could.

  • Granni Trixie

    Pete

    If I understand you correctly the PB are at liberty to set a criteria which Indirectly discriminates against sections of the population namely those prohibited say by family responsibilities from leaving NI for 2 years? One rule for the rest of us another for the PB?

  • Pete Baker

    Granni

    Well, someone would have to test that “indirectly discriminates” assertion first.

    There is one more point to note, according to the BBC report

    Northern Ireland’s first and deputy first minister have told Mr Ford that they will make the decision on his proposed changes for appointing the next chief constable.

    I know it’s an easy mistake to make, but what they really mean is that OFDFM have said that the NI Executive will make the decision…

    But – note to the BBC – if you are going to confuse the two bodies, you might as well go the whole hog and identify the alleged decision-makers properly – as the dysfunctional semi-detached polit-bureau.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    N.I. politicians seem to be excessively fond of (usually failed) solo runs. Then there’s the Attorney general.
    Dysfunctionality rules.

  • Granni Trixie

    Mr Joe

    I know the DUP branded it a solo run, but really is it as from another perspective you could call it leadership to put something right when key players consulted such as PB had not reach consensus.
    I suppose my take is based on a firm belief that the present criteria for chief constable is discriminatory regarding Carers and women whereas others don’t seem to think this is a key failing or at least tolerable.

    Put it this way,in a male dominated PSNI one women makes it through the ranks to Assistant Chief yet she is not eligible by the present criteria to apply for Chief Constable. I am not saying that she would be the best candidate, just that it is clearly wrong that someone like her is not even eligible.

  • BarneyT

    The attorney generals solo effort at least sparked debate, which went from initial outrage to a potentially water down version of an amnesty.

    On a simple level, does this mean that SF\DUP want to retain the rules knowing that it limits the options for a binary decision and therefore potential stalemate.

    Dare I suggest it that the status quo places the Scotland based Ex-RUC chap against the ROI female candidate. Names aren’t springing immediately to mind.

    Ex RUC is not going to float in camp SF and imagine the rumblings within DUP ranks if a Garda (…woman of all things) took the reigns….they might as well usher in full scale popery and dissolve the border here and now :-)

  • Son of Strongbow

    The PB of course succinctly illustrates the dysfunction the sits at the heart of things. The Board is supposed to perform an important role within the macro Justice portfolio.

    However given the egos, and the partisan political imperatives, that motivates the PB’s machinations poking the Justice Minister in the eye was just too much of a temptation – and the fact that he’s also the Alliance leader was just icing on the cake.

    I can’t think of any other recruitment body that would want to put in place mechanisms that would effectively reduce the numbers of suitably qualified candidates. (Although SF’s motivation is obvious – ‘RUC’ CC out, out, out!)

    As for the gender question. I don’t think the Patten two-year requirement is in any way discriminatory. Northern Ireland is a small place. At the top echelons of all businesses recruitment, and personal CV building, necessarily means looking, and working, in other places.

    This approach is evident throughout the UK (was there not a female chief executive of NI Water recruited from GB?), and in policing particularly. There are English Chief Officers working in Police Scotland, the Met Commissioner is from the north of England and our own CC is from GB.

    Local police officers at chief officer level spend weeks away in GB already training at Bramshill and Panal Ashe outside Harrogate, and others, both men and women, have been seconded to the teaching staffs of both colleges without much problem.

    The current DCC is the gender equality ‘champion’ within the PSNI. I would expect she would have looked at all aspects of policing that impact negatively on women. It would be very surprising that she would not have challenged the two-year rule if she felt it not to be gender neutral. I see no evidence that such a challenge was ever made.

  • Granni Trixie

    SOS

    I can see that a breadth of working experience can be a distinct advantage. However many
    people with family responsibilities in Ni simply do not have the option
    To go to outside NI for two years. Making the criteria in question desirable rather than optional still means that consideration can be given to the advantage of candidates who have worked beyond these shores AND applicants opportunity to make a case even if they have not worked away for 2 years. A no brainer as far as I’m concerned. I also suggest that you watch this space as I feel sure that next time round the criteria wrong will be righted. One can only guess that this time round some people do not want a broad pool of candidates ?

    So we will have have to disagree and from what I read in newspapers the equality commission in the DOJ consultation exercise also found this essential criteria indirect discrimination.

    Incidentally James Joyce “Dubliners” stories imply that though the writer seems to advocate going abroad as a
    key to self development, he also demonstrates through people who return that some people do not change and grow from experience away from Ireland.

  • Granni Trixie

    Oops thAt ought to have been ofcourse desirable rather than essential sorry.

  • Son of Strongbow

    GT,

    I’ll confine myself to policing.

    The ‘top teams’ (ACPO ranks – ACC and above) number a handful in any police organisation. An individual could of course restrict themselves to only applying for a post close to home, i.e. their local police. However the jobs may not come around all that often.

    Police officers in the top ranks of policing in UK operate in a very competitive environment when it comes to getting jobs. CV building is key and in reality “a breadth of working experience” can only be achieved by moving across force boundaries.

    Senior police officers are regularly flitting about chasing the next career challenge, sometimes unfairly referred to as ‘butterflying’.

    Each police force deals with different policing priorities and if an individual chooses to silo themselves career-wise they will disadvantage themselves.

    I’m sure you’re not advocating that better qualified candidates are disadvantaged, through no fault of their own, by colleagues who cite personal reasons for presenting themselves as candidates with a more limited CV than their competitors?

    Even lower down the police rank structure policing can require personal sacrifices. Take an acquaintance of mine living and working in County Fermanagh offered a promotion based in County Antrim. It was the only vacancy in the Inspector rank she wanted.

    What was she to do other than to move or pass up the promotion in the hope that something closer to home would come along (although it never would as the specialism she wanted to be promoted into was not located in Fermanagh).

  • Granni Trixie

    But the point I do not seem to be putting across or you are not accepting of is that whilst 2 years experience outside NI is likely to enhance ones ability to do a big job in the PSNI this is not necessarily so – someone without that experience in a senior post within Ni could make a case too….if that criteria were desirable not essential whats to be lost. And in my opinion it would be fairer.
    More generally the issue we are discussing is an element accounting for a chill factor for women and Carers in many professions and which to be fair some are trying to address.

    But I accept that you see things differently,

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pete is of course right. Ford’s move was to establish the low water mark. The Police Board are free to set a minimum standard which exceeds this. They have chosen to do so.

    Despite suggestions to the contrary, the Police Board do not have the power to actually overturn Ford’s decision.

    This is a ridiculous political bunfight over a trifling technicality.

    If I was Justice Minister and I was in a bloodyminded mood I’d issue a press release reminding everyone of my powers to reject whoever the Police Board ultimately nominate as Chief Constable. If they want to play stupid political games that destabilize the country, well, two can play at that game.

  • Granni Trixie

    CS.

    Leaving the minor power games aside, is this not an equal Opportunities issue? England and Wales (as far as I remember) did away with this essential criteria in nov 2012 for this reason so Ni Is out of step…again. Methinks there is still more need for equal ops. trainng.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Regarding the question around the power of the Executive to overturn individual ministers – this keeps being threatened but I’ve seen no evidence to date of it actually being used.

    For example Robinson threatened to call in Attwood’s decision to deny planning permission to John Lewis at Sprucefield. What became of that ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    GT,

    If that is the case someone would have to take legal action. It seems tenuous to me, though, that requiring someone to have experience in another police force could be held to be unfairly discriminatory.

  • Granni Trixie

    CS

    I do not agree with your assertion at all that there is only a tenuous link with indirect discrimination which is why doing away with the 2 year rule was one of a number of reforms in England and Wales. And presumably why the NI equality commission found it so.

    I also think that if someone such as Judith Gillespie is not even eligible to apply for such a post something clearly is wrong. Tell you what when the criteria is changed next time round be sure that I will be getting back to you.

  • Son of Strongbow

    As she is lead for the PSNI’s GAP (Gender Action Plan) this indirect criticism of DCC Gillespie over her seeming absence of concern over the two-year rule rule is disappointing.

    Perhaps others have a better grasp of gender issues within the police than does the DCC?

    It is worth remembering that it was Patten who introduced the rule to counter the local police’s “insularity”. This issue was never regarded as a problem in GB; although the London Met has had its own problems with the alleged “Met culture”.

    Perhaps the PSNI are no longer regarded as ‘isolated’ from UK police norms?

  • Granni Trixie

    I was never comfortable with quotas but accepted Patton arguments in favour of short term measures to affect long term change namely by increasing Catholic representation. I thought it said everything that at the same time there was no suggestion of quotas to increase female representation. This would not just be for equality sake but to impact on a male,militaristic culture.

    And so lack of gender awareness continues in Patton tradition.

  • Comrade Stalin

    GT,

    I’m still not quite clear about precisely why requiring any candidate (irrespective of gender, or any other matter) to have experience with an external police force could be construed as discrimination. Clearly, and surely, employers in any scenario are entitled to require experience.

  • Granni Trixie

    Ok,will try to explain. Making 2 years experience outside of NI as an essential criteria can be held to impact unduly on Carers or women with family responsibilities is because these categories of people are likely to find it difficult to get away to do so. Judith Gillespie may be such a case which is clearly ridiculous for instance.

    What I can’t understand is what the fuss is about. Altering the criteria from essential to desirable only widens the pool of those eligible to apply…significantly it does not preclude someone with experience beyond NI from highlighting this as an advantage. It is likely that someone who has experience solely within NI would have to pull something out of the hat to make up for this lack. It also occurs to me that there are other ‘big jobs” ‘ in Ni which do not have this essential criteria …There have been home grown heads of civil service for instance who have never worked outside of NI.

    I imagine that what I describe is the basis of advice to the DOJ by the Equality Commission and why (as reported from a leaked document in bel tel last night) the CE of the PB said not to support the change of this criteria from essential to desirable “would be indefensible” …advice which we now see the PB has chosen to ignore.

    I am not a lawyer but I will look up a book I have later to see if I can find anything more authoritive.

  • DC

    I would like to see the PSNI split in two perhaps the PSNI as it is known today remaining as the regional policing organisation that handles for instance security matters, serious crime and many other things that need a joined up strategic response. As well as the PSNI, a new policing organisation to be formed and entrance made easier for local people to join (i.e. less professionalised in its criteria in regards to asking for degrees in particular and other middle-class type trophies that stifle passionate ordinary folk who want to serve because they believe it is right, not just because they are educated). Something more needs to be done to get local people who are passionate to police their own areas as community police officers. I’ve never been a fan of ‘policing with the community’ because it begs the question – do you not trust the community to police itself? Policing by middle class strangers in uniform from outside and ‘above’ debilitates, it debilitates the community’s ability to fix itself and to sort itself out and servicing such as the PSNI provides will likely be a palliative sort of ‘service’.

    The PSNI has been turned into an employer and a service provider and technically it is neither and shouldn’t operate as such.

    I think the PSNI is a highly politically engineered policing structure that was built to operate as best as possible as neutral for everyone and no one which is why no one from Northern Ireland is wanted to head it up as then it wouldn’t be neutral. As if someone from here got the top job it would probably mean a community background could be identified one way or the other – causing the structure to question itself as to its neutrality.

  • Granni Trixie

    I seem to remember listening to academic papers proposing “a 2tier policing system for Ni I” and fom discussions many pros and cons emerged. This was maybe 20 years ago at the height of the troubles so it was to deal with negative attitudes or to ‘normalise’ policing.

    In the context of today I wonder could we ever return to the idea Of the local bobby as there tends to be a them and us attitude wherever you go in e world it is not just the particular situation in NI.

    Agree about the political engineering but how could it be otherwise given we are coming out of a terrorist security situation? Also, I think it is possible at this stage to have a local person in the top job and who will be given a fair wind. It’s then up to them to show their professionalism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    GT, I see what you’re getting at.

    But there must be some sort of legal test applied to conditions such of these to determine whether they are truly discriminatory or not. A court would have to determine whether or not the condition is effectively a barrier or is really a necessary prerequisite to the job.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Where’s this requirement that peelers have to have degrees coming from ?

  • cynic2

    “it does rankle with me that a public body can ignore putting right a wrong, namely that having ’2 year outside NI’ as an ESSENTIAL criteria is likely to impact unfairly on Carers ( who often are women as it happens).”

    That depends if its justified by preventing the top team being too insular and getting too close to those who are supposed to hold them accounable

  • cynic2

    “In the context of today I wonder could we ever return to the idea Of the local bobby”

    Didnt even the Garda ban members form working in their home area for obvious reasons of alleged favoritism

  • cynic2

    ” a new policing organisation to be formed and entrance made easier for local people to join (i.e. less professionalised in its criteria in regards to asking for degrees in particular and other middle-class type trophies that stifle passionate ordinary folk who want to serve because they believe it is right, not just because they are educated)”

    Aye lest just anyone have a go and then we can have local lawyers defending them and local courts to hear the charges (if we can find enough Kangaroos)

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Degree? When I was a middle teenager I wrote to almost every police force across the islands because I really wanted to be a policeman. There were only 3 criteria; to be able to read and write and be at least 5’8″ tall. I failed the last one by 1/4 of an inch. They did take people with degrees but like everyone else, they would start at the bottom on the beat and would progress only on their merits as an officer.I imagine it’s different now regarding the qualifications but would still think that a degree is not necessary.

  • Granni Trixie

    CS

    As a non lawyer my understanding is that only an individual can go down the legal route to challenge the essential criteria. With Judith Gillespie leaving the stage there is no other person in PSNI eligible to make such a case it would seem.

  • Granni Trixie

    An interesting point Mr Joe (I too aspired to be a cop, innocent days when I was attracted to a role of “helping people”).

    Other professions such as nursing have undergone change too,I imagine for similar reasons. I entered teacher training at a time of changeover from certificate to an all degree profession. T he latter took four years,now down to three.

    I can’t imagine professions going back once they set the standard at degree level entry. It does not stop the public however asking do you need a degree to do much of the work at the coal face. Or even if giving top value to educational qualifications is at the expense of other qualifications such as people skills.

  • Son of Strongbow

    There is no requirement for a degree level qualification to apply for the PSNI. Five GCSEs, including English and Maths (shockingly in this day and age Irish is not required ;( ) is the standard.

    An additional (pretty basic) recognised IT qualification is required.

    Applicants undergo an assessment centre process to have their skillset tested. All scenario based and tailored to the policing role. The ubiquitousness psychometric test also makes an appearance.

  • Seamuscamp

    GT

    “This would not just be for equality sake but to impact on a male,militaristic culture.”
    Isn’t it dangerous to use gender stereotyping to bolster non-discrimination?

  • Granni Trixie

    Stereotype or not I am basing my opinion on an impression I had from experiences in the mid 90s drawn from a job which brought me in contact with the RUC. I remember walking into rooms on occasion when I was overwhelmed by the maleness and deference between ranks. It was so different from what I was used to and I thought then and still do that more diversity in the ranks would be a change for the good. Patton only addressed part of the problem.

    Over the years I spoke to a few female officers With whom I checked out this impression and they knew exactly what I meant.

    Would love to think that I am dangerous,sadly not.

  • DC

    SoS

    Yes you are right the PSNI doesn’t ask for degrees but it’s obvious the ones that make it through are the ones with degrees and are more middle-class and make it past the tests, particularly role play tests and group work, I think more needs to be done to get the PSNI back from certain middle class types.

    You can see this in the two clips of the Kerr and Reynolds family, Kerr and Reynolds were two PSNI entrants that made it through the PSNI system, but sadly were killed, look at the furnishings and so on in the clips, the background and mannerisms and all, looks very middle class to me.

    Philippa Reynolds – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21426869

    Ronan Kerr – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17528413

    Both Philippa and Ronan had degrees and the recruitment section is geared up as all clever recruitment processes can be to weed out the unwashed, GCSEs as min is just a trick. (Besides the private sector recruitment company and its employees running the PSNI recruitment will all be degree educated and will be looking out for talent that fits their own middle class degree, service sector background, behaviours and styles and tastes etc. Those that aren’t like them will be filtered out quite easily.)

  • Son of Strongbow

    Reticent though I am to reintroduce my “maleness” ( ;0 ) to the debate I couldn’t agree with you that the selection process “is geared” to disadvantage people without degrees, or the “unwashed” as you so tastefully put it.

    In reality modern day policing is an IT dependant bureaucratic workplace. Police organisations, in the UK at any rate, are no longer a ‘force’ and are expected to be a ‘service’ that are all about service delivery.

    The police over many years have adopted ‘management speak’ and business norms to define what they are about and how they go about it.

    It may then be that a certain type, call it “middle class” if you will, characterises those who are successful candidates.

    That being said it is surely not beyond the Policing Board’s Human Resources committee to commission work to investigate the socioeconomic background of those candidates who are successful?

    Following on from that, if what you say is true, some work could be done on developing mechanisms whereby those felt to suffer disadvantage could be better prepared for the recruitment process. (Something similar was done in GB to address an under representation of ethnic minority candidates in the ‘successful pool’)

    Of course all this presupposes that degree-educated middle class folks make inherently bad cops unable to relate to their ‘social inferiors’.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Yes you are right the PSNI doesn’t ask for degrees but it’s obvious the ones that make it through are the ones with degrees

    It isn’t obvious to me. Got any numbers ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    SoS,

    I think this stuff about degrees is part of a wider narrative that invokes the old cliché about the PSNI being a shadow of its former RUC self.

    The RUC had pretty tight recruitment standards as well and it’s not my immediate impression that uneducated working class people were strongly represented within the ranks. This is in significant contrast to, for example, the UDR and possibly the Reserves. If anything, PSNI recruitment standards may have had to have been slackened in some cases in order to permit the 50/50 rule.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    DC,

    I take it that you don’t have a degree and were an unsuccessful applicant.

  • Son of Strongbow

    CS,

    The RUC did indeed encourage graduate recruits, certainly more so than does the PSNI. Graduates could be fast tracked for promotion. At one time recruit advertising offered graduates promotion to the Inspecting ranks at six years service.

    I don’t think that standards have necessarily been “slackened” but they have certainly been changed.

    Previously entry was by medical examination, minimum height requirements, and a written examination (English and Maths: academic candidates were excused the test). These steps were followed by an interview board.

    It was much the same across the rest of the UK.

    Times change and now there is an assessment centre process; and no minimum height required!

    Clichés of course always hold an element of truth. The PSNI is different from the RUC but this is not in the main down to some Northern Irish alchemy. Rather it reflects a change in policing style that has developed across the UK.

    However much as this debunks a MOPE view of local policing the RUC approached its work in the same way as many English county forces.

    That of course is not to ignore the facts that the RUC developed counterterrorist strategies that were not required on the Mainland.

    For example look at the propagandised reactions to the policing response to unlawful parades arriving in Duke Street Londonderry in the late Sixties. The RUC is characterised as employing brutal tactics way beyond the norm, yet contemporary disturbances in London and elsewhere surrounding anti-Vietnam War protests saw the police baton charging demonstrators (does anyone remember Blair Peach?).

    Indeed compared to, for another example, the French CRS approach to disturbances in Paris in ’68 the RUC could be said to have been restrained.

    You could also fast forward to the mid-80s and observe English, Welsh and Scottish police baton charging striking miners: still armed with the old 12″ wooden police truncheon used by the RUC in Derry back in the Sixties.

    UK policing changed in response to, amongst many other factors, the introduction of the Human Rights Act, and possibly more so Health and Saftey legislation exemptions being removed. The change in police style has lead to a debate about this ‘softer’ approach.

    Perhaps DC unfairly concludes that the presence of “middle class” people are the root cause of the changes in UK policing rather than the actualité; the understandable evolution of policing to meet a changed society.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Very informative, thank you, SoS. Evidently you have a personal interest in the matter.

    I was rewatching some parts of Chris Ryder’s “Force under Fire” documentary on youtube recently – I must sit down and watch it all the way through. I have Ryder’s book and I seem to recall it being relatively sympathetic to the position the police found themselves in during the troubles (and before).

  • Son of Strongbow

    CS,

    I had the privilege of interviewing several ex RUC officers and was given access to Force papers for a body of work I undertook some years ago.

    The work included material and opinion generated by the other ‘players’ in the tragedy that engulfed NI since the late Sixties.

    I read Ryder’s book and have watched the documentary. It is an accomplished piece of work.

    Unsurprisingly I suspect for those who have read some of my contributions to Slugger my interactions with RUC veterans have left me very much in sympathy with them in the horrendous circumstances they were forced to face, and the manner in which the vast majority of them did their jobs.

    On a personal note, if my own circumstances had been different I would have been proud to have worked alongside the fine men and women I came to know.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    SOS,

    Do you think that the changes in the “type” of policing had anything to do with the rise of 24 hour news programmes with almost instant coverage worldwide of any disturbances no matter where they occurred?

  • Son of Strongbow

    Mr Joe,

    24 hour news is certainly in the mix. At one time ‘police’ stories were written mainly by crime correspondents but that changed and now home affairs journalists and Lobby correspondents put reports on the police on the front page.

    Of course crime stories often appeared on the front page but the story was the crime itself rather than the way the police were investigating it. Now it seems that these two elements get equal billing, with the ‘police’ angle the more prominent story on many occasions.

    Chief police officers themselves carry much of the responsibility for this turn of events. They wanted to interact with the media and were somewhat naive that their public politicking, with a small ‘p’ naturally, would go unquestioned.

    The police initially approached the press in a very patrician way, delivered in a sometimes lecturing tone: they knew best about the business of policing as they felt after all.

    However the old deference in the media was gone and they were I think not prepared for the questioning and scrutiny to be turned back on them.

    This lead to a rise in media training within the police. At one time the local hack would ring up the police and ask for a quote. Nowadays every police organisation has its press office of PR department.

    Certainly in the UK at least all middle and senior rank police officers undergo training in dealing with the media and handling press conferences.

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, the training is delivered by media consultancies who’s other big clients are politicians. Thus you get police officers schooled in soundbites and trying to say nothing much at all.

    The difficulty is that rolling news is an ever hungry beast and if the police do not feed it it will seek fodder from wherever it can. Marry this to the ubiquitous presence of recording devices (who now does not carry a mobile phone with a camera?) and you have all the elements present to make the police very sensitive about how they do what they do.

    However they do still get ‘caught out’, the London Met ‘Plebgate’ imbroglio is an example.

    The police are in a Catch22 situation in its dealings with 24 News. The police are hamstrung because they cannot offer opinion to satiate the media. Facts being what they are about (no such concerns worry their detractors). ‘Holding statements’ are as good as it gets for the cops and they never satisfy the 24 hour space that needs to be filled.

    That all being said the genie is out of the bottle, the beast is out of its cage, and it ain’t going back in.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Thanks for that analysis, SOS.

  • Granni Trixie

    From a story in Bel Tel today you could say that FM and DFM are preparing for a uturn. Now let’s see how all parties get out of this one, including the majority of contributors to this post.