Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hannan misses the point

Everyone's favourite neocon fruitloop and John Redwood wannabe, Daniel Hannan, thinks that The Wire is a reality TV best-practice guide to running a police service that is responsive to the electorate. He hasn't understood the series at all, has he? Magnificent though the series is, at the heart sits a grossly dysfunctional and failing city where the police commissioner is at the mercy of the elected mayor and becomes embroiled in labyrinthine internal politics focussed on keeping his job rather than on delivering effective policing to the people. The political needs of the mayor are not necessarily the needs of the electorate, who still suffer crime and violence. The one occasion where a local police commander actually uses initiative and cuts crime - by creating a zone of tolerance for drug dealing away from inhabited residential areas - ends with that officer being forced out and the scheme shut down because it is politically untenable.

If Mr Hannan wants to find out more about the reality, I can recommend the thumping tome 'Homicide', also by David Simon, which is the result of a year spent with the Baltimore PD Homicide Division. Bleak doesn't even begin to cover it. Whatever else The Wire is, it isn't a celebration of the democratic influence over policing, any more than it is a paean to the quality of the dock facilities in Baltimore, the public schools or the media. Chris Grayling had a better handle on the series than Dan Hannan, even if he was wrong in comparing parts of the UK to the meanest streets in Baltimore.

Watching American TV series and films might explain Hannan's political outlook. I mean, who wouldn't want to be treated by doctors like those in Grey's Anatomy or ER?

If the Wire is his vision for policing in the UK, then the future is clear.

So, which is it to be - Robocop or Bladerunner?

No comments: