|Terry Spence of the Police Federation|
Since the chances are you’re not a total fool, you’ll know that the performance of the southern media – not all but a large section – has been warped to a shameful degree during this election. The fact that they put on a gentlemanly/ladylike act by having an election moratorium for the day or half-day before the polls open should deceive no one. It’s the posturing of hypocrites. That said, you’ll get people that believe they weren’t warped enough. Yesterday’s Indo had a column lambasting RTÉ for being too gentle in their treatment of Martin McGuinness. I’m going to have to hide that last sentence from our cat in case he takes a seizure.
But let’s park the election and the Indo, and turn our thoughts to Terry Spence. He’s the chairman of the Police Federation here and he’s all over the front of the News Letter this morning, calling for the withdrawal of benefits from parents of children/teenagers who riot. I was on the BBC’s Stephen Nolan show this morning with him and you could have got a more reasoned discussion out of Frank Spencer. If Terry Spence’s unspoken assumption that rioting and poverty are linked is true, would we not be better to treat poverty rather than cut benefits? Pass. Is cutting the family’s benefits not like the teacher who punishes everyone in the class because one person did something wrong? Pass. Is there any connection between rioting and the coat-trailing of an anti-Catholic organisation, to wit the Orange Order, in places where it’s not wanted? Pass. What parent ever created by God was able to control their child/teenager’s actions all day and all of the night? Pass. Wouldn’t withdrawing benefits encourage other teenagers in the family to be hung for sheep rather than lambs and join the rioting as well? Pass.
People like Frank Spen – oops, Terry Spence, should confine their attention to seeing that the police service here, with its ghastly record over the past forty years, conduct themselves in a manner that’ll win public trust on all sides. They should also resist the temptation to mouth populist platitudes – “Hit them in their pockets!” “I blame the parents!” Leave that to the tabloid rags on both sides of the border.