Don’t cough nothing

An anonymous ‘senior Conservative figure’ (Theresa May?) has questioned the position of a colleague, party chair Sir Patrick McLoughlin, after a ‘comedian’ called Simon Brodkin (stage name Lee Nelson) got close enough to the Prime Minister to hand her a P45 during her key address at the party’s Manchester Conference.

Oct 11, 2017

An anonymous ‘senior Conservative figure’ (Theresa May?) has questioned the position of a colleague, party chair Sir Patrick McLoughlin, after a ‘comedian’ called Simon Brodkin (stage name Lee Nelson) got close enough to the Prime Minister to hand her a P45 during her key address at the party’s Manchester Conference. He told her “Boris told me give you this”. The prank was not really that funny, and we must hope that the rest of his act raises an occasional smirk. Mrs May accepted the form graciously, and appears not to know what a P45 is – yet. The intruder was led away after being arrested for a ‘breach of the peace’, which sounds like thin grounds even by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) standards, as it was not peaceful, and only security was breached. Another anonymous senior figure (how many do the Tories employ?) has announced that “heads must roll… those responsible must walk the plank”. This is a shockingly mixed metaphor, for those who have been decapitated will inevitably struggle to walk planks, and it is both difficult and inefficient to try to behead those who have walked planks. Sir Patrick’s response has been less than enthralling. Perhaps he knows what is coming. He has announced that: “It is being looked at. There will be an investigation into what happened… There will be an inquiry. I knew there was sufficient security around the Prime Minister.” Did he? It does not sound like it. Was there? It didn’t look like it either. Any investigation will surely explore whether the prankster gave the Prime Minister the cough that helped ruin her chaotic speech, this would provide a better reason for his arrest than a breach of the peace, and might save GMP from getting sued. Again. Mr McLoughlin has apparently been planning to quit his post before the end of the year so falling on his own sword (to continue with the violent metaphors) will not be much of a punishment. Perhaps Mrs May should hand him her P45, unless she needs one first. While the Tories seem intent on punishing one of their own for this incident, higher echelons of GMP have merely confirmed that Brodkin was an accredited delegate, which seems worrying given his previous stunts with Donald Trump and Sepp Blatter, and at Goodison Park, Glastonbury and one of Sir Phillip Green’s yachts. Close protection officers around the conference will be making very careful pocketbook entries to explain what happened here. Theirs is a terrible role, part of a hallowed tradition of standing about for hours and occasionally being taken by surprise. There was no sign of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. Perhaps GMP managed to uphold a ban on one protester at least, or perhaps he was too busy negotiating the signing of his latest junior reporter for the London Evening Standard – Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. The Metropolitan Police Service’s Head of Comms is apparently first to read each edition of the daily newspaper, probably to see if the sub-editors at the Standard can correct Sir Bernard’s spelling any better than his team managed to do, rather than being concerned that he will follow the tone of the editor and launch a series of attacks on his former employer. Without Cressida Dick to explain the meaning of longer words, Sir Bernard’s contributions may well be sparse. Perhaps one of his first commentaries will be about why chief officers are being accused of bullying and how you can avoid succumbing to the same fate. Yours, Stitch stitchley@policeprofessional.com @SOStitchley

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