would you sell this woman a kebab?

As ever, I'm on a train, Metro in hand. Being a Saturday it's a day out of date, but nonetheless I've found something to pass comment on.

It would seem that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has been desparately trying to go back on what she said about Britain's Streets not being safe, and an aide made the point that she recently bought a late night kebab in Peckham without being afraid. But it transpires that she had a Police guard when she did so.

Stephen Crabb quite rightly asked "what's happening on Britain's streets when the Home Secretary needs an armed guard to buy a kebab?"

Furthermore, I'd like to ask why she was buying a kebab in Peckham anyway. I can't quite picture her being on a drunken night out, and the words "shameless publicity stunt" spring to mind.

Obviously with the media discovery of the police guard this back-fired a bit. I'd also like to ask therefore why in a country where we don't have enough police, and apparently don't pay them enough the government can justify splashing on a guard purely to salvage reputation?

Answers on a postcard...


dave said…
You're better than this.

No one likes a pompous, presumptious, prick.
JP said…
Dave, I can't quite work out why you've decided to insult me over this one (at least, I assume that was your intention).

The facts - as widely reported in the media, at least - are as follows:

- Jacqui Smith makes a comment about feeling unsafe after dark on Britain's streets. This causes outrage.

- Her aide tries to quell the outrage by pointing out that she had a kebab late one night "without being afraid".

- She was spotted during said incident with a police guard.

All I have done is raise some questions about this. I've not even made any outrageous claims, unsubstantiated or otherwise...
dave said…
No JP you are not asking reasonable questions.

Name me one woman you know who isn't afraid whilst alone in a British city at night. Is this because of how bad society is? Or perhaps it is because it has largely always been like this and the media plays everything up. This is why I said you are better than this.

Also, there was no intention of insult. I pointed out that your post came across as shit, and that you are above that.
JP said…
OK, sorry Dave. I guess that I responded in haste, but either way no offence was taken :)

I also realise that my suggestions of "shameless publicity stunts" might have fallen in to the 'outrageous claims' category, but never mind. Someone had to say it.

We seem to be at cross-purposes, anyway. I'm not questioning the feelings of safety or lack thereof on Britain's streets. You're right, it's not a new issue, although I've got no way of telling whether it has got worse or not.

What I'm questioning - and reasonably, I feel - is the way in which the Home Secretary and her aides have reacted to the response to her assertions.

She feels unsafe - fine. I don't feel that she needs to justify that. Furthermore, from what I have read in the media (noting your comments re:"playing up") she has tried to quash the impact of what she said, I suspect to avoid making herself unpopular with others in her party. In my opinion she'd have come across better if she'd stuck with her guns, but instead we have this bizarre and seemingly orchestrated scenario of her buying a kebab in Peckham where the discovery that she was guarded negates the point of the assertions made by her aide.

Of course, the problems so arising would be quashed if it were to also emerge that the Home Secretary always has a personal guard when out and about, and that buying a late night kebab in Peckham is not an unusual thing for her to do. Neither of which would be a bad, or unreasonable thing.

Anyway, you may think that this is much ado about nothing - and admittedly it's not the most profound thing I've ever written about - but it's another example of ministers putting perceived image above everything else. I'd rather have some straight talking truth any day.
An admirer... said…
Oooooh JP, I would love to give you a good poke! Do you Facebook?? :)

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