I must say, I'm looking forward to the 2012 Sun Police Bravery Awards even more than usual. Which is saying something. Who is not moved when the Currant Bun books a grand hotel ballroom to congratulate Britain's finest for what is known, in the bemusing lingo of the academic criminologist, as "doing their jobs"?
"It's a great honour for us to have this unique opportunity to recognise Britain's exceptional police service," declared Sun editor Dominic Mohan last July at the Savoy. "All of us owe them a huge debt of gratitude..."
And so we do. Well, not quite all of us. One who begs to differ is The Sun columnist and long-term Murdoch mouthpiece Trevor Kavanagh. Until recently as slavish a fuzz fan as Dominic, Trevor had an epiphany on Saturday when officers woke five colleagues, searched their homes, and invited them down the nick to help with their enquiries into the bribing of public officials such as their exceptional selves. Or, as Trevor put it in his columnar cri de coeur, "needlessly dragged [them] from their beds in dawn raids".
If it did sound absurdly melodramatic, so did the 2007 dawn raid on Harry Redknapp, when a Sun team was on hand to record his arrest in words and photos. If Trevor kept his disgust to himself then, doesn't that make his courage in speaking out now all the more impressive?
Although barely the half of his suffering, his sudden realisation that our police are now a political weapon targeted at a free press must be painful enough. To think of the halcyon days when he once rejoiced at Mrs Thatcher unleashing the police on Wapping strikers in freedom's cause. Shall it ever be glad, confident morning for police independence from political influence again? Heaping agony on agony, the poor lamb suffered a second dawn raid on his consciousness. It suddenly struck him, on noting his company's willingness to lay down its aberrant staff for its life, that he might be working for some fairly ruthless people.
The other night, I watched The Firm on one of Mr Murdoch's movie channels. Tom Cruise gets a job with what appears a most respectable Memphis law firm, but with crescendoing horror comes to realise that, in fact, it is effectively an offshoot of the Mob. In Monday's cri de coeur, Trevor appeared to have reached the same conclusion, with his chilling reference to "the News International family". Now the thing about crime families is that they only do it to their own. What they don't never do, nor nuffink, nor not, is grass no one up, capisce? Which brings us to Richard Littlejohn, Trevor's leading compadre in this counter-attack against police brutality and News Corporation itself.
Apart from likening our exceptional service to the Stasi, Littlejohn took space in yesterday's Daily Mail to attack the Management and Standards Committee – as set up by News Corp to remove the bad apples from the Wapping barrel before the Feds smash the entire empire to pieces – and, specifically, for one Simon Greenberg. "In the interests of disclosure, I should reveal that I know Greenberg slightly," Richard wrote. "But don't expect me to defend him. I'd rather sell The Big Issue than take a job grassing up fellow journalists." (In the interests of disclosure, I should reveal that I know Greenberg well, though he remains absolutely and despicably discreet about his work.)
This expression of tribal loyalty does Richard credit. Long ago, he had a friend write a letter for publication to The Evening Standard claiming that my review of his inaugural LWT talk show was motivated purely by jealousy of his professional success. Whether that technically qualifies as grassing up, I cannot say. Few of us speak gangland argot as fluently as Richard. But, much as with Trevor, one can only doff the cap at his mastery of ironic self-awareness.
Meanwhile, touring the studios to parrot Trevor was another whose line on law and order once tended toward the hard. But then Jon Gaunt, who lists Rolf Harris among his top 10 living Britons, has a supremely flexible intellect. Gaunty's the genius who, having built a career on railing against human rights legislation, responded to being sacked by TalkSport for calling a local counsellor a "health Nazi" and plain "Nazi" by seeking redress under human rights legislation.
Over the Newsnight appearance of another old Sun hand, the string-em-up shock jock Nick Ferrari, let us swiftly skate. Intruding into private grief may be a tradition at The Sun, where Kelvin MacKenzie ran a front page picture from the funeral of Anne Diamond's baby son, but it has no place here. Nick apart, what a fearsome gang this is. If you can judge a cause's merit by the quality of its advocates, let every one of us march on Scotland Yard. Kelvin will be reprising Richard and Trevor in Saturday's Mail, and we look forward to that. But not as much as to the 2012 Sun Police Bravery Awards. Perhaps the bash might begin this year not at 7.30pm, as usual, but with nominees raiding the ballroom in formation as dawn breaks over the Savoy?
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