The Tories are considered the party of law and order. That in its self is interesting as the word Tory is Gaelic and means outlaw. Nevertheless, Robert Peel’s changes to policing and their willingness to lock people up and throw away the key is responsible for the image. Still, jailing criminals is not the same thing as protecting the public. Making Britons safe from crime and terrorists needs more than sound bites and austerity measures. The Tories should not be crowned the party of law and order without question. It is high time to challenge that dominant narrative.
The first duty of government is to safeguard its citizens. However, our protection has been subject to austerity cuts. Since 2010 there are 20,000 fewer soldiers. Downsizing has also affected the RAF and Navy by 10,000 personnel. On the home front the fire service have seen 10,000 firefighter jobs axed. There are also 20,000 fewer police officers.
The last Labour government reduced crime by 40%. Before then, the crime rate was rising. That is the position again. Nonetheless, the police service has had budget cuts of more than 20%. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary says the cuts have left the service in a ‘Perilous state’.
Neighbourhood policing is critical to good community relations and intelligence. Without it, the National Federation of Police says policing is reactive and puts National Security at risk. Theresa May as Home Secretary chose to ignore those warnings from the Police Federation. Instead, May accused the Federation of scaremongering.
It will always remain an unanswerable question whether more police would have prevented the Manchester attack. However, it is inarguable that police cuts affect national security and local communities.
The military presence on our streets is no coincidence. Cuts have affected the police’s ability to protect us. Steve White from the Police Federation says ‘The police, simply do not have the resources to manage’ the terrorist threat alone. That was not the case during the 7/7 terrorist atrocity.
The cuts have compromised our safety and it daunting that the Home Secretary has refused to rule out further police cuts. The Tories are prepared to leave our protection to privatisation.
However, Labour pledges to increase the number of officers. Moreover, Jeremy Corbyn is promising to provide additional resources to security services to better manage terrorism.
Corbyn recognises there is a link to terrorism and British foreign policy. Many eminent people agree, including Eliza Manningham-Buller, former chief of the MI5; Sir Richard Dalton, former ambassador to Libya and Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary.
So, Corbyn has made a commitment to give careful consideration to events that will take us into war. He also wants our soldiers properly resourced, and plans for lasting for peace before we deploy our troops. They are sound requirements.
However, the Tories and the establishment media are labelling him a ‘terrorist apologist’. Their criticism comes at any cost, including their embarrassment (video below). It’s not surprising as Corbyn is eroding the Tory lead.
Law And Order
The Tory’s austerity and privatisation agendas drive law and order. The rise in crime and terrorist attacks disproportionately affect everyday people to those in wealthier areas. So, it’s feasible the Tories are the party of law and order, but only for some. After all, this is the party that hindered the investigation into the suicide of one of its party workers.
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