A day after a terrorist attack on a pop concert in Manchester the prime minister activated Operation Temperer and raised the ‘threat level’ to critical.
Protecting the elite
The visible effect of her announcement is the presence of soldiers in Downing Street, at the Palace of Westminster and at Buckingham Palace. That is, the immediate reaction of the Tories to the deaths of children at a pop concert is to rush to protect the elite. The terrorists who conduct attacks like the one in Manchester target civilians in public areas. The prime minister and the royal family are already strongly protected by police and military. It is indicative of the mindset of the Tories that their own safety and that of their associates is elevated way above the safety of civilians.
What are the soldiers doing in Downing Street and at the Palace of Westminster? The latter building is closed to the public at present and is empty of MPs and lords due to the upcoming election. So, the soldiers there are protecting an empty building? In and around Downing Street there are always many police officers including specially trained firearms officers. The same applies to the royal residencies.
It is clear that the Tories are using the soldiers as photo opportunities to try to give the impression that the government is in control and is acting swiftly and decisively. The fact that there is next to no specific purpose to the deployment of the soldiers is a fact that the Tories hope the public won’t notice. The broadcast media is trying to help the Tories as much as it can by repeating the invented narrative that the prime minister is responding strongly (and stably) to the terrorist attack.
Throughout their seven years of destruction the Tories have persistently cut police funding leading to a huge reduction in the number of full-time fully trained officers. The police federation has repeatedly raised concerns about the cuts but has been treated with disdain by the government. Earlier this month Home Secretary Amber Rudd received a very negative reception when she spoke at the police federation conference. The Tories want police officers to be replaced by underpaid untrained private security from G4S or similar. Even Thatcher, who hated all public employees, never attempted to downgrade the police force.
Operation Temperer, designed by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, was created specifically because of reductions in police numbers, reductions made by the Tory government. The Tories knew, and still know, that their dismantling of police forces would require some backup plans at certain times. Each soldier deployed this week is there precisely because the Tories have reduced the number of full-time police officers.
Labour have had an excellent election campaign whereas the Tories have been hiding and so the suspension of election campaigning has been useful for the Tories – Suspension helps Tories.
But, the Tories haven’t suspended their campaign. In fact, they have done the opposite. The Tories have finally started their campaign.
The prime minister and other cabinet ministers have suddenly popped up all over the place, even in public settings. Where were they earlier? However, because the election campaigns are “suspended,” these crafty ministers can still dodge questions about Tory plans in their manifesto and about their previous ineptitude, including questions about Tory policy that led to huge reductions in police numbers. It is extremely crafty multi-layered manipulation:
- Opposition parties’ campaigns are suspended so less criticism of Tories
- Continuous TV coverage of Tories pretending to be in control
- Tories still dodging questions because of campaign’s suspension
The broadcast media’s complicity in this biased presentation is embarrassingly clear.