South Yorkshire Police Commissioner Adam Spillings went on record today as saying his force would no longer be arresting tree campaigners for doing nothing wrong ‘under trade union law or any other law’.
He stopped short of saying that the law, used to arrest 13 people, was being perverted by such usage. However, the Rochdale Herald later caught up with him not far from the City Sauna in the leafy Sheffield district of Attercliffe.
We first asked Mr Spillings whether it was true the law was framed to stop unionised labour from stopping non-union labour (or ‘scabs’) from carrying out the same work that the striking workers were employed to do. He confirmed this was the case.
We then asked whether those arrested in fact included retired people, a university lecturer, a stained-glass artist, a self-employed joiner, a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker. Mr Spillings agreed this to be so.
We then questioned whether it was possible that a stand off between a gang of private sector tree fellers and the group of tree campaigners as previously detailed might actually not involve anyone at all who was a member of a union. Mr Spillings admitted this was indeed possible.
We pressed Mr Spillings further asking if there was any real prospect that a lecturer, a stained glass worker etc would be stopping the tree fellers from doing work they themselves were employed to undertake. “Highly unlikely”, he replied.
We finished Mr Spillings off by pointing out that if anyone was unionised, it would be those protested against, rather than those protesting. As such, the police had implemented the law in a manner which could technically be described as ‘arse about face’; and this represented the most absurd use of law since Winston Kodogo’s arrest for ‘possession of an offensive wife’. At this point, Mr Spillings curled up into a ball and started whimpering.
Council spokesman Clr. Drying Splodge said “Now the police are no longer acting as our bouncers, we will be calling for ‘civil measures’ to be employed to deter protesters. I hereby call on any sane local residents who loathe and fear trees (as I do) to form bands of semi-feral hooligans to chase away these hippy-dippy tree-fancying weird-beards. I would, however, stress that this is in no way an incitement to violence, although flaming tar-barrels are notoriously difficult to control.”