Diane Abbott gave a poor interview to LBC radio this morning on Labour’s police numbers pledge. We all have our off days and Ms Abbott appears to have lost her train of thought after being rudely interrupted by a host with more than a bit of form in that area. These things happen.
Meanwhile, in actual news, Tory Home Secretary Amber Rudd refused to rule out further cuts in police numbers – which the Tories have already reduced by more than 20,000 since 2010, resulting in the reversal of long-term downward trends in crime figures:
In fact, the Tories have already flagged cuts in police funding equivalent to a further reduction in police numbers of over 13,000 – and may, as Rudd refused to rule out, cut further.
But of course, Ms Abbott’s poor interview is the news today and not the Tories’ plans to make us all far less safe. That’s how it’s done – the sleight of hand that says ‘don’t look here, look there’.
The right-wing glee over Diane Abbott’s stumble this morning is based on their desire to claim that Labour’s election promise is ‘uncosted’ – along with ‘magic money tree’ and ‘unsustainable’, it’s their favourite mantra. It’s also equally wrong and idiotic.
Labour’s pledge to add 10,000 community police officers (CPOs) is fully costed – and the money has not been ‘spent twice’ or whatever nonsense right-wing pundits are coming out with today. Here’s how it will be paid for:
Savings over 5 years by reversing Capital Gains Tax cuts: £2.75bn
Cost of 10,000 extra CPOs: £300m/year or, over 5 years, £1.5bn
Left over for other spending commitments: £1.25bn
It’s not rocket science – and the pundits, politicians and interviewers claiming Labour’s promises are uncosted are more than capable of doing the arithmetic. It just wouldn’t suit their preferred narrative to do so.
Diane Abbott had a bad day today – but she’s not Labour’s leader. The person who is Labour’s leader, one Jeremy Corbyn, is having a towering campaign. Here’s what he had to say about Labour’s police pledge:
Cutting police numbers especially when there is more crime to deal with is unacceptable. That’s why Labour will put 10,000 new police officers on our streets.
The safety of our communities is vital to us all. Community policing means uniformed officers being visible, local and accessible. They engage with the public, have a detailed local knowledge and build a network of relationships
That’s why Labour will reduce crime by putting more police in the community to make sure policing works for the many not the few.
By contrast, today Theresa May locked journalists in a small room to avoid scutiny during her ‘appearances’ and her whole campaign has consisted of either hiding or brief appearances in settings so stage-managed that she’s now being called Kim Jong May by social media wits.
— The Agitator (@UKDemockery) April 28, 2017
— ☮️ John Fielder 🇺🇳 (@JohnFielder1) May 2, 2017
Diane Abbott may have lost her notes or whatever and made a hash of an interview – but at least she was at an interview and actually answering questions.
Labour’s actual leader, meanwhile, is drawing huge crowds and receiving a spontaneous welcome more typical for a rock star – even when the crowds are head teachers.
There are some in the media who would like you to think about nothing else but Diane Abbott today – if only because it distracts from Theresa May’s car-crash of a campaign and the Tories completed and planned police cuts.
But the real question is, do you want to feel safer on the streets or less safe? If it’s safer, vote Labour.
It’s that simple.
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