Only the hardest-hearted of us would begrudge anyone their wedding. And in spite of the over-£20 million bill for Wills and Kate's do today, it isn't the royal couple's fault that so many nutters might be out to destroy their day. Any couple getting married who faced the same level of risk as they, would have the right to expect that level of security.
Nor is it theirs, or David Cameron's fault that protesters could choose to make the issue political, that extremists might see it as an opportune moment to strike, or that people will take to the streets in their thousands and no doubt raise crime and disorder levels nationwide. Well unless you count Cameron's anti-establishment if-you-want-a- street-party-you-can- have-your-street-party speech.
What IS David Cameron's fault is that the 5000 officers required for the wedding security alone will be being paid double, as will every other police officer on duty everywhere else in the country. The bill for making 29th April a bank holiday is estimated at £5 billion, about the same amount owed by Britain in PFI deals
set up in the Blair/Brown days. In what universe should bosses have to pay people bank holiday rates for turning up to work in Yorkshire, or Cornwall, because someone's getting married in London?
In the weeks after police officers have been threatened
with the removal of their compensations for anti-social working, for Cameron to put this burden, not just onto the Met police who have to staff the occasion, but every other police force, and employer, is outrageous. A Prime Minister's role in such situations is not to announce a transparent gimmick to garner support and good feeling, but to represent the country's interests by perhaps suggesting to William and Kate that their wedding might take place on one of the four bank holidays occurring anyway around this time.
In the light of Winsor and Hutton, this latest faux pas shows the Coalition Government's proposed reforms to the police have nothing to do with saving money. Instead they intend to continue the drive by the last government and the European Court, to gradually erode the offices of public sector workers to prop up the sovereignty of Parliament.
Once constables have no privileges, no perks, and no special status - whether in their pay and conditions
or sworn office
- the ability to think for themselves and disobey unlawful orders will be a thing of the past. The great British bobby is on its way out.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.