Thursday, October 02, 2008

Con-Watch: Sticking Plaster and Law-and-Order Policy

Yesterday we mentioned the extraordinary policy-by-anecdote nonsense that is Conservative Party speech research. With particular reference to one of Dominic Grieve's have a go heroes.

Would readers in York perchance be able to furnish any background as to why Wendy Challis-Jones (above) has become a gardener rather than pursuing her 20 year career as a professional law-upholder?

Perhaps she has got fed up with the explosive violence that seems to follow her around? Perhaps she has trodden on a few toes in her 20 years working alongside the police in York?

And is this magnet for trouble in fact a card-carrying Conservative?

Ms Challis-Jones is only about 40, so that has been half her life and most of her working life laying down the law.

Now she is reported by by-standers in York for brutally punching a petty thief to the ground, she is arrested and investigated, and she becomes a Conservative Party have-a-go poster girl. A band-aid on a wounding lack of distinct policy. Can this be right?

Speaking of posters, bandaids and policy-by-anecdote my thoughts on Cam's supposedly "marvellous" speech, praised by Iain Dale, and Tim Montgomerie at Conservative Home, and no doubt many others, hats off to Richard Lawson's Mabinogogiblog who has caught Cameron "at it", knowingly parading a persistent urban myth as the truth.

Teachers and other responsible adults are of course allowed to apply plasters to children's scraped knees. The suspicion must be that as with the majority of the anecdote-rich, fact-free Conservative rhetoric there will be other examples in this oration of careless twaddle passed off as truthing.

Have you spotted any yourself?

UPDATE 12:33: A better graphic of HSE poster will follow. Done 12:42. And here's an enlargement of the small print.


Anonymous said...

Forgive me Chris, but if the HSE are producing a poster saying that there is no rule that meets the myth it rather suggests that some people have acted in the manner of the myth ... and it is this excess of zeal amongst others that is being targeted.

Anonymous said...

Another piece of nonsense that Cameron came out with was

"If you’re a police officer you now cannot pursue an armed criminal without first filling out a risk assessment form."

In reply to Evan - it doesn't necessarily follow that some people have acted in the manner of the myth but that enough people have believed it and complained to the HSE. It is probably the excesses of the myth makers such as the middle brow tabloids that is at fault.

However, on the subject of Wendy Challis-Jones. I don't know about the merits of her case, but according to the local press while working as a traffic warden she was attacked by an irate motorist and suffered quite severe back injuries.

I don't know for sure, but maybe this explains why she has taken either a voluntary or enforced change of career. I think it is very snide of you to suggest otherwise before checking the facts.

Chris Paul said...

Cameron delibereately supported this ridiculous meme Evan. He supported the myth rather than the truth. It's the good old dog whistle deja vu all over again.

Just as Grieve supported the ridiculous meme that those citizens helping maintain law and order almost always end up in trouble.

Just as EHC catches Cam joshing about HandS form filling. In fact one of the few things that has been banned by the HSE is Cyril Smith's favourite mineral, asbestos.

These Conservative anecdotes just will not do. And they're all at it. Stark Raving Horlicks.

As for the Wendy Challis-Jones anecdote EHC I have included a link to the local press story from 1999 which relates the issue of 1996 too. That (96) was when she had 49 days off her role as a Traffic Warden following injury in an incident. Interesting the motorist concerned does not appear to have been charged for assaulting her or the like. Just £250 fine and 5 penalty points. Doesn't really add up that well.

I posted this following a root around online. As I can do no more from my desk I am simply asking the questions that spring to mind. Why is this woman no longer a law and order professional?

She would probably get more as a PCSO than as a gardiner and she is clearly still excited by the battle against crime. Why is she not a PCSO or store detective or traffic warden? Did the Mail pay her?

I don't call this "very snide" by general blogging standards. And certainly not by mine.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I may have just changed my view on this.

The reports I read said that she had received quite severe back injuries after an incident with an irate motorist that objected to a ticket she had written out. That would seem more than enough reason to opt out of that profession or to be invalided out.

But to take up gardening instead?

I would have thought a bad back was a reason to give up gardening and take up traffic wardening.

Chris Paul said...

But she did not leave after the more serious incident anyway. She was still there 3 years later to get into another scrape. My twitching nose tells me something's not being told on this one. And that when it is Damien Grieve may be sorry he relies on The Mail for his research.

Anonymous said...

That's the first time I've ever seen 'Daily Mail' and 'research' in the same sentence.

Chris Paul said...

Indeed. It was hard work to tap that.