While we're on predictions, another side-bet of mine is 'how long before principled Lib Dem liberty fans realise that the Tories are merely authoritarian Blairites in blue ties?'. Well, consider this wake-up time. Recent developments around the rozzers don't suggest that reining in the police state is going to be a goer in this Parliament - Teresa May is apparently convinced that the proposed elected police commissioner plan, intended to bring democratic leadership and accountability to the fuzz has been successfully trialled in London and therefore can go ahead to national rollout despite minor things like, er, there not actually being an elected police commissioner in London - Johnson was elected under a manifesto commitment to 'chair the Metropolitan Police Authority', which he has since given up in favour of appointing his deputy Kit Malthouse to the post, who is thus in pole position to become the country's first unelected elected police commissioner after the leglslation has gone through.
Worryingly for Teresa, the state of policing in London under Kit'n'Boris is not necessarily one which qualifies for the adjective 'successful':
Firstly, we had the unfortunate incident where a senior Met officer, Commander Bob Broadhurst, gave incorrect evidence to a Commons committee about the presence of covert officers at the G20 protests, and subsequently had to set the record straight.
Secondly, a Met officer, PC Simon Harwood, is now facing prosecution for a violent assault on Ian Tomlinson, after his death was ruled an unlawful killing by the inquest jury. The successfully piloted police commissioner has been rather quiet on the subject, although PC Harwood may be heartened by reports that the Home Secretary is considering handing prosecution powers back to the police, presumably because we've all evidently forgotten why they were taken off them in the first place.
Thirdly, it now emerges that junior Met officers reported the assault but the message was not passed on to the IPCC, resulting in the false claims that Tomlinson was drunk/fell/was assaulted by protestors/police medics were pelted with bottles being widely distributed in the media. Again, not a lot of comment from the political leadership of the Met.
Lastly, the Met (prop. Boris Johnson) has forked out £237,000 compensation to the inhabitants of a London squat raided with extreme prejudice and reportedly with a certain amount of batoning, the day after the G20 demonstrations. Note that the same squat raiding tactic has been used again since, ostensibly to ensure that the Royal Wedding passed off without a hitch, and it'll be interesting to see if that ends up costing the London ratepayer another few thousand in the compensation stakes. Nice little earner, that, but since the wedding policing was run by Commander Bob Broadhurst, I wonder if this is more than just a coincidence in tactics.
Of course, the whole G20 debacle followed on from inflammatory articles in the press such as this one that talked about 'orcs':
In student bedsits and in terrace Kensington houses, the alienated children of the middle classes are planning to subvert the G20 summit. Across the desolate wastes of the Leftie internet, their wrathful campfires are already burning, and when April dawns they will surge like the orcs of Mordor in the general direction of the Bank of England.
This was written by one Boris Johnson, whose record should allay fears that putting the police under a politician's control will lead to an upsurge in politically-motivated policing. Or, indeed, politically-motivated prosecution.