After getting on for 7 years, the Inspector Gadget blog had become an institution in the Blogosphere. A window on the world of ‘canteen culture’; the real personalities behind the bland politically correct sound bites that emanated from the ‘high command’. It was always eminently readable, regardless of whether you agreed with the sentiments expressed.
You could literally feel the frustration of the rank and file as they came off duty, after a night of peeling the newly liberated ladies of their parish out of the gutters, without ever daring to comment on the wisdom of getting that drunk, whilst wearing that outfit; or according the possessor of a ‘cut here’ tattoo, with rings through his nose, ears, and upper lip, the full dignity of ‘If you could step this way Sir’ and ensuring that he slept off his skunk and alcohol imbibement in safety and security before being interviewed to ascertain whether the CPS would even entertain charges of gouging out the eyes of his best friend for calling his ex-girlfriend a slag on Facebook….
Yes, the Police can get it horrendously wrong on occasions, but in the main, the rank and file display a humour, patience, and professionalism in the face of provocation above and beyond the call of duty. ’Gadget’ gave them a place to let off steam that dare not escape within their place of work. He also attracted one of the most motley collection of trolls, would-be coppers, and utter fools on the Internet. Sometimes it was difficult to tell one from the other.
Sometimes subtle, sometimes whimsical – and sometimes blatantly biased; he was at his most vulnerable when he voiced opinions on ‘live’ cases – as he did in the Alfie Meadows case. Alfie, now legally innocent of any wrong doing, in the words of Gadget, voiced before the juries verdict, was injured by ‘friendly fire’ from other demonstrators. It was a phrase totally understandable from the ranks of the Police, forced to stand in a line whilst those who would run an Olympian speed mile from having to do a job which includes finding the head of a baby decapitated during a road traffic accident, hurled blocks of concrete at them – apparently incensed at not having their ‘wages’ raised to the level they thought suitable. The fact that the Police were having to do this whilst their own wages were decimated must have made the frustration even more intense. That phrase, ‘friendly fire’, incensed the leftie commentators, for whom a violent demonstrator can do no wrong.
When Alfie Meadows was cleared by a jury of his peers from any wrong doing, and Inspector Gadget’s blog closed, with all posts removed, in the same week, there were many who sensed a connection. I don’t think so, though.
There was another campaign, with a far higher profile that may have proved to be the ‘end of the road’ for Gadget. That of ≠Plebgate.
Over the past ten days, coinciding with the end of Gadget’s blog, The Independent Police Complaints Commission has implicated a total of ten senior police officers in a ‘complex conspiracy’ to oust Andrew Mitchell from his Ministerial role. The ten officers come from four different police forces; the Metropolitan police, West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire. One of those is Ken Mackaill, chairman of West Mercia Police Federation. The Police Federation, vocally supported by Labour politicians, and media savvy thanks to the Gaunt Brothers, were at the forefront of the Plebgate affair.
I am not suggesting that Inspector Gadget is one of the ten senior officers, on whom Keir Starmer is expecting to make a decision re: charging this week, but he certainly headed the on-line media publication of plebgate, gleefully marketing a series of mugs illustrated above. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the Federation’s new tactics, having often voiced the opinion that they were not forceful enough in their handling of negotiations over police pay and conditions. With deputy assistant commissioner Pat Gallan following all leads and connections in ‘Operation Alice’ as the Plebgate inquiry has been termed, hosting the blog that made more noise about Plebgate than any other, may just have been too hot a potato to sit comfortably with pension entitlements due in a fairly short term….
E-mails from the Police Federation will have been followed up; who knows ‘who’ they talked to, or how Gadget became so well informed? It is not only Gadget that has gone quiet in recent times, the Gaunt Brothers megaphone Twitter account must qualify as the quietest media communication company on the planet. Not a peep out of them since 4th February.
If it is true that there has been a major police conspiracy to malignly discredit a senior politician for political gain, it will be a sad day for the rank and file police. It is they who will take the flak on the street – the Federation hierarchy and the senior officers will be insulated from it, safe behind their desks.