Bob be Nimble, Bob Be Quick. Resign from the Enquiry Now

December 22, 2008

Although THUS promised to stop wittering about the Damian Green arrest and various attempts to paint the Tories in the unlikely role of supporters of terrorism, yesterday’s ‘revelation’ that Bob Quick, Head of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Unit, coincidentally leading the investigation into the Home Office leaks which resulted in the arrest of the Tory Shadow Minister is running a car hire firm using ex-police officers marks a new low in malicious spin.

The story of Bob Quick’s (wife’s) sideline business hiring luxury executive cars, run from the family home has now been well-documented. The unwise outburst from Quick, who accused the Tories, Shadow Home Office Minister Dominic Grieve in particular, of ‘corruption’, endangering his family safety and undermining the Police enquiry into the earlier Home Office leaks is now common knowledge. His subsequent ‘grovelling apology’ to Cameron and the Tories is now also in the public domain. The giveway clue in the advertisement from Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick’s undercover limo service might have been ‘police officers at the wheel’. In itself, this is unenticing, unless the newly-weds wish to be driven at high speed, dragged from the vehicle with a blanket over their heads and bundled up the aisle by ex Plod. Good for shotgun weddings, I suppose.

It appears that Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick may have compromised the integrity and impartiality of the ‘enquiry’ which he is leading by his rash slander of the party and parties accused by Labour (Thus passim) of encouraging Home Office leaks of allegedly sensitive immigration data which led to the dramatic arrest of a top Tory. On this basis alone, he should resign as head of the enquiry and pass the job along to another department or (preferably) another police force entirely.One way to discredit and spin an investigation which might severely embarrass the government is to throw a large spanner into the spokes of the enquiry, add a spice of ‘Terror’ and hope that the resulting muck and bullets will smear everyone, especially if it is timed for the festive season, when not much news reporting happens. A version of this tactic may have been at play here. Bob Quick may have blindly lashed out at what he considered a mischievous attack by the Tory-favouring Mail on Sunday, but history shows that this influential right wing middle class tabloid has been used to great effect in the past by elements of New Labour, especially when there is a ‘Terrorist threat’ angle to the story.

This is largely irrelevant, since we already know the ‘outcome’ of this enquiry by the Met Police into the Met Police. We will hear that the Police acted completely independently of the government. Even though the Home Secretary and Prime Minister were informed of the raid on Damian Green’s parliamentary office and had it in their power to mitigate or halt the breach of parliamentary privilege that occurred, they ‘chose not to’ since to do so would compromise the ‘integrity and independence’ of the Police. The leaks, we will be told, were and are too sensitive to be revealed to the public and possibly exposed the entire nation to Terror on a massive scale. It will be conceded that neither David Cameron, Dominic Grieve nor Damian Green actively conspired to encourage the junior Home Office civil servant to leak information, but it will be acknowledged that he had an ulterior motive in so doing – to curry favour with the Conservatives.

What possibly won’t be acknowledged is that the Police acted disingenuously in searching Green’s offices without a warrant, that it is possible that covert surveillance techniques were used which may have required authorisation from the Home office, that Jacqui Smith and the leaky Immigration Office department had prima facie motive for suppressing information relating to a breakdown of information relating to the number and whereabouts of illegal and overstayed immigrants, some of whom may be nationals of countries with whom Britain has a parlous diplomatic relationship (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, for example). Neither will it be acknowledged that Gordon Brown and his advisors, principally Mandelson, had no right or justification to publicly intimate on national public media that the Leader of the Opposition and his Front Bench played an active role in colluding to leak information of this nature.

Nobody will be prosecuted (Scotland Yard have already conceded as much). Nobody will be brought to book. Bob Quick wedding car hire will operate from another premises (and frankly why not – good luck to him and his wife) – unless unkind – and possibly jealous – ’sources in the Metropolitan Police’ leak his new address too. Please prove me wrong. And tell me I’m not a Tory. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not. I’m fed up of defending the poor lambs. But independent or not, I wouldn’t fancy my chances when they sweep to power, Superintendent Quick, so I’d keep the car hire business ticking over.