Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Police do unity and solidarity too - with the military

Police officers with the Met are to be allowed to wear union flag badges to express their support for troops in Afghanistan. The Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has made an exception from the usual blanket ban on police wearing anything that might be seen as compromising their 'independence' (ahem). Read the Guardian's report here.

It's an absurd situation, as evoked by presenter Eddie Mair's pointed question put to a Met representative on Radio 4's PM: could this perhaps undermine the police's independence when they are policing a Stop the War demonstration? Indeed - that's pretty unanswerable. Chris Nineham was also interviewed - on behalf of the Stop the War Coalition - and he pointed out that wearing these badges, though purported to be 'neutral', can only be interpreted as a pro-war, pro-occupation gesture.

He also noted that a majority of British people oppose the occupation and want the troops brought home - the Met's attitude is out of kilter with the public mood. It also, so it seems, is yet another example of the Establishment rallying behind the war effort, as with the endless media propaganda demanding we all drop opposition, "get behind our boys", and limit criticisms to the detail of spending on helicopters.

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