Stirring it up

I see the normally quite sensible Iain Macwhirter is getting his boxers in a brouhaha about Police Scotland. We have to assume he isn’t aiming for measured tones when he declares that Scotland’s police service “seems to have abandoned any concept of natural justice”. Or when he accuses Police Scotland of “institutional dysfunctionality”. And when he likens Scottish law enforcement to the Cosa Nostra the thought occurs that he might usefully have switched to decaff a while back.

Nobody really expects Gordon Brewer to be sensible. Over on the broadcast arm of the British state’s propaganda machine, he was intent on outdoing Macwhirter in terms of undergarment turmoil; and frantically trying to provoke Kenny MacAskill to join him in a bout of histrionic outrage. But, much to Gordon’s very evident frustration, the former Justice Secretary declined to play along. His knickers were not for knotting.

Mr MacAskill is to be congratulated for so ably demonstrating how to handle an interviewer aggressively determined to define the narrative and bully the answers they want out of their subject. It was a superb performance. Iain Macwhirter would be well advised to take a peek at the video. This is how to stay calm and reasonable. This is how to provide context. This is how to put things in perspective. This is how to maintain a sense of proportion.

MacAskill managed to be both forthright in his criticism where this was justified and utterly determined not to let Brewer inflate and exaggerate the issue. With steely determination, he resisted every effort to use the undoubted problems in Police Scotland’s upper echelons to paint the entire service as an organisation in crisis.

Iain Macwhirter is just as guilty of this. He too conflates the upper management and the whole organisation in an effort to justify his moral panic. “This is no way to run an amusement arcade let alone a nation’s police force,” he proclaims. In doing so he fails to make the essential distinction between the bosses and the beat cops. He fails to recognise that it’s middle and junior management that actually run things while the brass deal with the bean-counters and the bureaucrats and the back nine.

Let your undies be untroubled. Police Scotland is working just fine.


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