Strangely, the past 30 years of police abusing their powers have passed the Tories by. Now, all of a sudden, they are sounding like radical students from the 1970s. Tory MPs will start making speeches in Parliament that go: "Mister Speaker, would the honourable member for Wilmslow not agree that, in the light of recent findings, the pigs are out of control, man? And would he not draw the conclusion, accepted by all decent citizens, that the only remedy is to fight the filth, fight the filth, fight the filth, they're FASCISTS, man, FASCIST SCUM, FASCIST SCUM."
Maybe they'll start turning up to protest meetings called against police behaviour, where they can make statements such as: "I think we can forgive them for lying to convict the Birmingham Six. And laying siege to the nation's mining communities was the sort of over-exuberance we have all taken part in when spirits are high.
And who among us can honestly say we haven't, from time to time, shot dead an innocent man on the Underground and rewritten evidence to cover our arse? But CHECKING THE COMPUTER OF A TORY MP??!! ASKING HIM QUESTIONS??? WHAT IS THIS – CAMBODIA UNDER POL POT????!!!!!"
Several MPs, including Michael Howard, have told us the intrusion of the police into Damian Green's office was similar to the attempted arrest of MPs in 1642 that led to the Civil War. They've got a point, because if it turns out the police were acting on orders from the Queen, who wants to regain total control of Parliament so she can rule by divine right, and Mr Green heroically uses his computer to mobilise the common people to stop her, then yes, it's exactly the same. Soon they will tell us the arrest was identical to the imprisonment of opposition leaders in Nazi Germany.
Michael Howard is the MP who has undergone the most spectacular conversion to anti-police activism. When he was Home Secretary, he was notoriously stubborn about refusing to refer cases to the Court of Appeal, even when it was obvious the wrong people were in prison.
For example, he was "not minded" to refer the case of the men convicted of killing the schoolboy Carl Bridgwater, who stayed in jail another year before their convictions were overturned. So maybe he is unsettled because this time the police have got the right person. His full statement will say: "The police have disgracefully breached legal procedures. What they SHOULD have done is arrested a dustman from Ipswich, yelling, 'Don't lie to us, we know you're the shadow Immigration spokesman', and not let him out until 2021."
Howard also insisted he would not implement the recommendations of the Macpherson Report, which he called "sociological mumbo jumbo" – whereas the arrest of Damian Green is clearly far more serious than bungling the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.
So now they do want a thorough investigation, which presumably will expose the scandal of institutional anti-Tory MP-ism within the force. And maybe it will turn out that every day, as Tory MPs innocently hang around at garden parties, officers taunt them, sneering: "I know you. Prospective candidate for Epsom and Ewell, isn't it? Come on then, let's have a look in the boot of your car; I suppose it's full of leaked documents, is it? Right, which one of you called me 'Babylon'? Get in the van."
First published in The Independent on 10th December 2008