Sherlock Holmes, I suspect, would have his limitations these days. It is
all very well having hyper powers of logic and deduction. But you also
need evidence upon which to convince a jury beyond all reasonable doubt.
And that is not as easy as it was. But, as a PRO, I remain a devotee of
Holmes’ methods and, not least, of his ear for the dog that did not bark
in the night.
Why, for example, has Lord Justice Scott, of Iraqi arms infamy, remained
unmolested by animal rights campaigners even though I gathered during
his inquiry that he could be seen as often in hunting pink as in a wig.
I would be mortified if they did pursue him because mobbing an
individual is not what protest should be about. But they have not
previously been above harassing prominent huntsmen. So why not even a
Similarly, how can it be that protesters - among them elderly grandmas -
have picketed to prevent the export of veal calves, but have not raised
even a timorous moo against the mass slaughter of their mothers? Is it
all right to slaughter healthy cows by the thousand, but wrong to raise
a single calf in unnatural conditions?
As for Alan Shearer’s record transfer from Blackburn to Newcastle
United, scarcely a disapproving word has has been uttered about the
enormity of his pounds 15m fee or his monumental wages. Yet however many
smart deals our top businessmen pull off - and however many jobs they
create or preserve in the process - their pay, perks and share options
are always derided. ‘Fat cat’ has become a term of abuse reserved for
our wealth creators.
Perhaps Mr Shearer gets away with it because, as a professional
footballer, he is still thin. Or do we like to see our working class
heroes getting on and forget that a lot of so-called fat cats were once
working-class lads themselves?
I wonder whether Holmes would draw the same elementary conclusions from
these silent kennels as I do. But what would he make of a dog which
suddenly started barking in an entirely different way? This is what the
Left-inclined Institute of Public Policy Research has just done. It has
amazingly concluded that the NHS, far from being underfunded, should not
necessarily have any more money spent on it.
Why? I am sure that even Dr Watson would understand in a flash on being
told that a general election was coming and that the Left, if that is
how Tony Blair’s ‘New’ Labour can be described, were expected to win.
The Institute is preparing Labour for the rigours of office. This may be
good politics. But it is appalling PR. Barking differently can be as
significant - and incredible - as not barking at all.
Sir Bernard Ingham writes for the Daily Express