Monday, 12 September 2011
The Favourite Is Usurped
Spare a thought - or maybe not - for Stephen House, the head of Strathclyde Police who was repeatedly reported to be the favourite in the search for the new head of Britain's biggest police force. He must have fancied his chances when so much of the MSM was doing its best to promote him so surely we can sympathise when he drowns his sorrows in coffee rather than Cristal tonight. I like champagne although I've only once ever tasted Cristal, the champagne of choice for the British elite I believe, and therefore try hard not to associate it only with happy occasions, but I doubt if I'll be able to substantiate a couple of bottles a year once the Scottish government has passed its proposal for a fixed unit price for alcohol. That's another story.
Mr House has been usurped by Bernard Hogan Howe.
Mr Hogan-Howe - I have a dislike of double barreled names in business as I find it slightly pretentious - is the former Merseyside chief constable. Boris Johnson and Theresa May supposedly agreed that his performance was outstanding.
What now for Mr House? He certainly has good connections and he covered his back by saying, when he applied for the Met job:
"I have always been committed to Strathclyde Police and to keeping people safe in our communities. That commitment has not wavered. I look forward to continuing to lead this outstanding organisation and to being fully engaged in the process of establishing the new Scottish Police Service."
When I was a child a neighbour was the chief constable of what was then known as Dundee and Angus. He put the fear of God into us children with just a look or by a parent saying 'I'll have a word with Mr X'. That same man was extremely kind and when I returned to Scotland, I often visited him in the home he shared with his daughter who is a dear childhood friend. Mr X by then was virtually stone deaf and it was difficult to communicate at times but I could see the fairness in his views when he insisted upon discussing Scottish politics. As he explained he'd had to be impartial for his career years but, knowing I had an interest in politics, he was always intent upon hear my opinions my . Perhaps he was more patient with my attempts at shouting or maybe he was able to read my lips as he'd learned to do that over the years. I was very fond of Mr X and his determination to ensure youngsters were put back on the straight and narrow instead of being labelled criminals for the rest of their lives.
Mr X was honest. He didn't permit his staff to waste time pursuing issues which barely count as crimes. He intended to keep the people of Dundee safe from criminality and he did. Henot to persecute the person who innocently committed a breach of legislation. Ah, those were the old days.
So what for Stephen House now? I wouldn't place a bet against him being the leader of the new Scottish Police Service. Would you?
Mr X died four years ago at the age of 89 and continued to collect his favourite car, the Morris Minor, right to the end. He was regularly seen round and about the area in one of his vintage cars and abhorred travelling in his daughter's 4 X 4.