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Toulmin Smith

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Big cop, little cop

A figure arrives at Toulmin Hall dressed in a Stetson hat, bandana, cowboy attire and wielding a revolver.

I am about to the call the police when I recognise it as none other than Young Brown.

“Like the outfit pardner?” he asks in an accent picked up from his friend Mr Dubya, “We’s gonna have sheriffs to bring law ’n’ order to these heah parts.”

Brown has decided that the burgesses of Crewe & Nantwich (who for some reason consume his attention) will be impressed by the notion that people should be allowed to elect someone to hold the police to account.

“Ain’t it a gee-whiz idea,” he continues in Texan argot. “Any cop ain’t caught enough varmints they’se gonna up before someone who can subject them to scrutiny!”

I point out that scrutiny holds few terrors for anyone in local government since its conclusions are unenforceable, and inconvenient ones can therefore be ignored.

I also highlight that rozzers guard their independence jealously, and would doubtless ‘coincidentally’ find pornographic images on the computer of any elected ‘sheriff’ who tried to order them about.

Finally, I note that since these police overseers would inevitably be exhibitionists elected on promises to hang hoodies, send muggers to Antarctica and have knife-carriers publicly eviscerated, their proposals would be either political embarrassing or legally unenforceable, and either way pointless.

“Why not give these powers back to councils if you really wish to devolve,” I ask Brown. “’Cos ahm a gonna be on the front of the tabloids with mah idea for sheriffs,” he replies.

Such, I fear, is the way his government makes policy.

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