During the dying days of the Brownshirts, Baroness Scotland of Illegals had this to say about the Crown Prosecution Service:
When one has a human rights lawyer in charge of the Crown Prosecution Service, it is perhaps only to be expected that the league table of justice priorities will be entirely upside down. In October 2009, the cps chief Keir Starmer launched a spirited attack on all those who had suggested that perhaps some of the folks driving a horse and six through the Human Rights Act might be ‘at it’, as my Liverpool landlady used to say. During that month, I was being told by a former senior member of Devon Constabulary that the CPS was, effectively, insolvent….and that this was why it never prosecuted anybody. You see, when it comes to defending the ordinary Brit’s right to have the police recommend a persistent public nuisance and serial fraudster be banged up, Mr Starmer has been operating at a 125% level of uselessness. Far too busy, don’t you know, with the chap to whom Gadaffi has taken a perhaps entirely justified dislike.
If, however, at one and the same time we let a former draper in to run the Treasury – a man who understands how to cut a suit according to one’s cloth, but not to put a fly in the trousers – then between the two of them, Fluffy Starmer and Little Osborne are very likely to render the UK’s prosecution service A Complete Waste of Time & Space.
The only useful thing Will Hutton has said so far this year is that the new Government must recognise the difference between a wasteful expenditure, a controllable cost, and an important investment. So as one who has A-level CPS via bitter experience, it does disturb me somewhat to discover that George Osborne’s approach to the need for reinvestment in the Crown Prosecution Service has been to treat the place as if it was the Haringey Bus Shelter Air-Conditioning Commission.
In the two fiscal years before the one we are currently enduring, the CPS has cut its budget by £19M and £12M respectively. In these times of noughts-series longer than the names of Welsh railway stations, this may not seem like a lot, but that’s only because the Service never had a lot to play with in the first place. The budget for an organisation being asked to prosecute and fund action against the bad guys across the whole of the UK had a 2008 budget of just £635M. In that year, the diversity experts in blue were awarded just over £11 billion to spend on large boots and penny whistles.
Now fair enough, I know that the police employ lots of folks, and need their riot gear for hitting innocent news-vendors and their Sierras for decimating line of schoolkids, but let’s face it people – they are the foot-soldiers here. Barristers charging the gdp of Zimbabwe to take a case are going to rip through a budget of half a billion faster than Tony Blair can cancel a book-signing. The police may well employ a thousand times more Bobbies than Mr Starmer has bleeding hearts in his humble offices, but briefs cost two thousand times more a pop.
The risible amount given to the CPS does of course reflect the utter contempt New* Labour’s elite had for real people coping with their lives by ignoring them; and in turn, it confirms their delusional belief that voter moaning about a knackered justice system was ‘not their impression on the ground’. But that is the very last reason why the Chancellor should be honouring a long tradition of tertiary stupidity.
My Dad always used to say “Yer know what’s in the papers is junk, because every time they print summat you know about, it’s always complete nonsense”. I have the same feeling right now about the degree of discernment being applied to George Osborne’s programme of cuts. If the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer – a role that often precedes a Premiership – lacks even the commonsense to know that equality before the law and the maintenance of a proper infrastructure for maintaining law and order is one the top three things every stable society should have, then he shouldn’t be in the job. And if he thinks saluting Plods are more important than skilled prosecutors…..well, he’s obviously a Tory Minister.
Is that a gratuitous political reference? Not a bit of it: it’s a reference to unearned privilege – the one thing above any other in this country we should be cutting back down to size. Labour Minister, LibDem Minister, Prime Mnister – there’s no difference. George Osborne has long left behind the life during which some clown will make his life a misery, after which the police will come round to say sorry, nothing they can do….on their way to bang up the vicar on a charge of homophobia.
But there is a broader issue here: the bankers have already given some credibility to the bleatings of Union agitators – and natch, the police – about the consequences of cutting ordinary living standards while others carry on as before. In his approach to cutting costs in the process of UK policing and prosecution, Osborne is handing the Left a target even they couldn’t miss. He should think again.
*New Labour is now an unterm, expunged by senior History Adjudicator Ed Miliband, working in his capacity at the Ministry of Truth – Director, Harriet Harman.