As we await the results of yesterday’s election (but at the same time learn that the turnout was a woeful, and predictable, <15%) a political irony occurs to me.
Imagine, if you will, that the post of Police& Crime Commissioner existed in 1984. In Derbyshire, with David Bookbinder at the height of his powers, it is probable that the incumbent would be the Labour party candidate. The same, as a matter of absolute certainty, could be said of South Yorkshire. That being the case, I don’t think it is too far-fetched to say that we would live in an entirely different world today.
Obviously we can’t predict what else may have happened in the interim, but the likelihood is that the power of the PCC would have outweighed the influence of central government in terms of how police were deployed to deal with NUM pickets. That would likely have been sufficient to affect the outcome of the miners’ dispute – at least in as much as it is often cited as the catalyst which led to the vastly reduced trade union power of today compared to the 1970s & 80s. Would this have also stymied the Thatcherite headlong drive toward unregulated capitalism that, ultimately, led to the banking crisis of 2008?
Either way, I think it is a lesson from history that in its rush to implement a flawed and dogmatic process, the current government have completely failed to see.