14/09/2012 08:16 BST | Updated 14/09/2012 08:26 BST

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Policing The Police

** Senior cop takes potshot at Hillsborough victims ** Ming slam Vince over Ed M texts ** New tuition fees row ** QE forever ** US-Muslim Brotherhood twitter spat ** Obama-Romney fist fight poll **


If you were a senior police officer accused of being involved in the Hillsborough cover-up, would you use your "apology" statement to take yet another pot shot at the alleged "behaviour" of dead Liverpool fans?

No? Nor would I.

But Sir Norman Bettison, the current chief constable of West Yorkshire Police who was involved in a now-discredited internal inquiry into Hillsborough held by the police in 1989, said in his statement yesterday:

“Fans’ behaviour...made the job of the police, in the crush outside Leppings Lane turnstiles, harder than it needed to be."

Sorry "Sir" Norman, did you read the same report that the rest of us read? "He's still blaming the fans," screams the Mirror on its front page this morning.

The police have taken a beating in the press this week. I wonder whether politicians will now reassess their constant need to appease top cops - have we moved on from the days when Tony Blair would remark: "We asked the police what powers they wanted, and gave them to them"?

Incidentally, we haven't heard much from the home secretary Theresa May since the report came out. Her Labour shadow Yvette Cooper has urged her

"...to set out a proper separate investigation into the cover-up and what happened in South Yorkshire Police, including looking at criminal offences."

"Now put police liars in the dock," agrees the Mail.


Who's not said sorry yet? The prime minister David Cameron, Sun editor Dominic Mohan and former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie were quick off the mark in offering their apologies in the wake of the Hillsborough report. Yesterday they were joined by the former Tory MP for Sheffield Hallam, Irvine Patnick, the Football Association and the London mayor Boris Johnson ("very, very sorry"), who infamously signed off on the 2004 Spectator editorial accusing Liverpudlians of "wallow[ing]" in their "victim status" and failing to acknowledge "the part played in the [Hillsborough] disaster by drunken fans"

By my count, that just leaves Mail columnist Simon Heffer who is believed to have penned the Speccie editorial. Oh Simon, where art thou?


Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell has warned (his potential successor-but-one?) Vince Cable to stop flirting with Ed Miliband via text and, basically, making Tory MPs jealous.

In an interview with House magazine, Ming opined:

"The truth is that the thrust of this coalition depends upon everyone who participates in it being a full subscriber, and I don't think it helps a partnership to suggest that you may already be looking for another partner.

"If you were a Tory backbencher hearing of these things, especially one who's disaffected, who wishes there was an unrestricted Tory government, what would you make of it?"

Strong stuff - Lib Dems, it seems, have to be "full subscribers" to the coalition. Hmm. Remind me Ming, how you voted on the tuition fees bill?

(On a side note, Ming, a former Olympic sprinter, also reveals how he was used to be "the fastest white man on earth" and once beat OJ Simpson in a 100m race.)


Talking of tuition fees, remember how the coalition tried to convince us that a trebling of fees wouldn't put students off going to university? Well, how's that argument holding up? Not so good, according to the Telegraph splash:

"Seven out of 24 institutions in the elite Russell Group are still advertising vacancies on more than 1,000 courses days before the start of the academic year.

Thirty thousand more places have been made available through the clearing system than at this time last year, increasing suspicions that £9,000-a-year tuition fees have put off many school-leavers."

The paper also notes how more places are going unfilled "because fewer pupils have achieved the entry requirements for leading universities...following a drive to make exams harder". Nice work, chaps. Look out for more "betrayal" and "war on young people" headlines in the coming days and weeks.


Watch a video of the world's most embarrassing uncle.


"Military plans early Afghan withdrawal," says the Guardian splash. To which the only appropriate response is: YAY!


You want "unconventional" monetary policy? US Fed chief Ben Bernanke will give it to you. From the FT splash:

"The US Federal Reserve has launched an open-ended effort to spark recovery by injecting an extra $40bn into the economy each month through purchases of mortgage-backed securities."

That's $40,000,000,000. Every month. Forever and ever and ever.


Forget QE. Here in the UK, ministers' latest bright idea to kickstart the economy is to make it easier for firms to sack workers without offering proper compensation. Oh Ben B, where art thou?


It's Friday which means It's-Protests-Against-Islamophobic-Movie-After-Friday-Prayers-Day across parts of the Middle East. Relations between Egypt and the United States ain't looking so good with President Obama saying he no longer considers the country "an ally" (but he doesn't "consider them an enemy" either so he's not sending in the drones...yet.)

Meanwhile, there was a geopolitical Twitter spat after one of Egypt's top Muslim Brotherhood officials tweeted, in English, how "we r relieved none of @USEmbassyCairo staff were harmed"; on the Brothers' Arabic account, however, messages of support were issued for the protesters outside the US embassy in Cairo. This prompted the US embassy to issue the following sarcastic tweet from its own account:

@USEmbassyCairo .@ikhwanweb Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too.



Brothers beware: 58% of Americans think Barack could give Mitt a physical beating, according to a new poll.


Yesterday, MPs debated whether parliament should have to close because of the need for urgent repairs to the building. But where would it go? One East Midlands MP suggested - surprise, surprise - Birmingham; one east London MP suggested - shock, horror - the empty media centre in the Olympic village.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Ann Clwyd told the House that she was fed up of returning to her Commons office to find "men in white coats" waiting for her. As MPs chortled and sniggered, she had to explain that she wasn't going mad - she was referring to parliament's asbestos problem. Oh.


@StewartWood When @frasernelson complains "Labour's poll lead is unfair & undeserved", I realise Tory angst runs very deep indeed.

@campbellclaret Not fond of praising Tories but well done @GavinBarwellMP for his mental health discrimination bill and @drwollastonmp talking openly

@BorowitzReport The Dow Jones just hit a 4-year high, which means Obama is the crappiest socialist in history.


Fraser Nelson, writing in the Telegraph, says what’s "most terrifying about the looming Age of Ed [Miliband]" is that "no one, the party leader included, has the first idea about what it will mean".

Simon Jenkins, writing in the Guardian, makes the case for elected police commissioners: "A Sheffield police commissioner would have at least some local case to answer after Hillsborough."

Philip Collins, writing in the Times, says winning elections is all about leadership but "as the conferences begin, all three parties are weakening leaders whom they need to be strong".

Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan (mehdi.hasan@huffingtonpost.com), Chris Wimpress (chris.wimpress@huffingtonpost.com) or Ned Simons (ned.simons@huffingtonpost.com). You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @chriswimpress, @nedsimons and @huffpostukpol