Wednesday, 17 June 2009

They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There...

...that damned elusive Nightjack.

We now know who he is.

All thanks to Daniel Finklestein, and his little trainee journalist Patrick Foster who both write for what I had believed to be the only truly reputable newspaper one could refer to for accurate and impartial opinion. No longer do I hold this view.

Mr Foster revealed the true identity of Nightjack, a detective in Lancashire Constabulary, as a result of his 'investigation' to provide assurances that the author of the blog was in fact a police officer, or that it was not actually written by Sir Ian Blair (who many had cause to doubt was a police officer). Subsequently, DC Nightjack has received a written warning from his Force, which is actually of little to no consequence for the officer. It appears to merely be a token gesture from his Senior Management to show that they have dealt with the matter, just in case the content of his blog caused offence to anyone.

Whilst I can't say that I believe the law should be relied upon to protect my anonymity, the reasons Mr Finklestein gave for this exposure is duplicitous at its core and reveals, in my opinion, nothing short of professional jealousy. Once Mr Finklestein had satisfied his own curiosity that Mr Nightjack was indeed a bona fide police officer, which he alleges was his intention, why did he then feel the need to publish his details?

He goes on to say further that whilst a journalist has a duty to protect the identity of their sources, a person publishing via a blog is quite different and will naturally lead the inquisitive journalist to seek the identity of the author. The point is, police bloggers do and have provided a 'source' for journalists over the past 4 years or so, educating them and the public on the pressures officers are under due to the intrusive direction of the government. We don't feel good about not being able to provide you with the service you expect, but the politicians won't listen to us. They won't listen to you either, but it's better than saying nothing.

Look at PC Ellie Bloggs, an exceptional writer whose postings have been used as material in all aspects of the media. Do we really want her, Inspector Gadget, Twining, Constable Confused, Hog Day, Disgruntled, PCSO Blog, Police Officer's Blog, ATNS, PC Pinkstone, Stressed Out Cop, Toy Town and all of the others who have contributed so much to blogging to have their identities revealed, discipline procedures instigated, and their blogs deleted?

Nightjack won the Orwell Prize for the quality of his blog and the exquisite manner in which it was written. He is evidently an outstanding officer with a flair for literary writing, and I am sure that he will succeed beyond measure once he writes the novel he dreams of. He has the respect of the public, colleagues and critics.

The same will never be said of Mr Finklestein or Foster.

Will I continue blogging? Yes, of course. Am I concerned that other journalists will try to ascertain and reveal my identity to the world?

Not really, my private life isn't really that interesting...
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  1. One thing the establishment journalists cannot stand is a challenge to their quality and reliability. The mainstream media are piss-poor at writing accurately and in an engaging manner. This should not be a surprise, for they do not get to the heady heights on merit. A guy I went to school with writes for the Times. Whenever I see his by line I chuckle, because not only is his prose terrible and poorly researched but I know that he only got the job because his dad shoe-horned him in.

    The internet is breaking apart the establishment's strangehold on the dissemination of information and projection of world-views. It is no surprise that the lowest quality of the extant writers are afraid of the competition.

    Long live blogging. I hope DC NightJack survives and prospers. Perhaps one day he can get his own back.

  2. How remarkable. I know a goofy little fellow I schooled with who writes for The Guardian. The same circumstances as well, Daddy got him the job. Oh, and he's a terrible writer.

  3. No need to repeat yourself Guv, you already told us he worked for the Guardian.

    As you say, it looks like a token ticking-off; perhaps there is some residual decency in the upper echelons of Lancs plod?

  4. Probbie - very good! It took me a couple of reads to get the comment about him writing for The Guardian and being a naff writer. First time in ages I've had a laugh. Which is sad really, isn't it?

  5. LH - the blogosphere should not be cowed by this unfortunate incident. I really think this could come back to bite the Times and its very poor decision.

    Whats this about you not having a laugh in ages? That sounds worrying you know.

  6. I might ask you to sign off my PDP for that; there has to be a social-behaviour-competency-core-framework-diversity-structure thingy I can use your chuckle to evidence?

    I lost what little faith I may have had in The Grauniad when I read their articles on a few institutional disturbances and UoF incidents I was present for. We all joke about the media printing lies, but it's when you read them about yourself that you really clock quite how shameless they are!

    I wonder if the Tories will implement their 'elected sheriff' idea - Nightjack would be a shoe-in, along with yourself and IG of course!

  7. With 24 hour news channels and the internet, who really needs to buy a newspaper for the news anymore?
    That is why they are full of scandal gossip and 'opinion'

  8. Probbie is right - whenever you see something you know about in the papers it is rubbish. The papers treat their readers like fools, just as the rest of the "establishment" does.

    That is a good point about elected sheriffs - I would love Night Jack to come and run London.

  9. I believe the elected Sherrif's idea was proposed under IDS's leadership of the Conservatives. I couldnt find anything more about it when i looked on the Cons website the other day.

    With Dave Cameron being the leader now I am not sure if this idea is still being planned or not. I will try and find out.

    However, it would all be in the small print anyway. If an elected Sherrif had no powers to override Whitehall's reporting structure, the Policing to get sanction detection thing and whatnot, then I am not sure what good it would do. It could just be another election for another politician.

    Also the problem with an elected Sherrif is that you will likely get someone in who has been in the job and therefore doesn't have much of a clue really.

  10. Last para of last post- meant to say 'hasnt' been in the job...

  11. Jeremy Farshore Swimwell18 June, 2009 16:36

    In the late Nineties The Guardian featured a league table showing the number of direct lies the main newpapers had published on the topic of the European Union. All the usual suspects, of course, but the only paper on there with a count of zero was the Financial Times.
    I stopped reading the Guardian and switched to the FT, reasoning that if they were going to lie about things... then first on the list of things to lie about should be whether or not they lie. If they're too stupid to figure that out then they're not getting a penny more off me!

  12. Cogigator - I think you were right first time "someone who has been in the job and therefore doesn't have a clue".

    Mr Simwell - I used to buy The Times everyday. Not anymore. Gosh, I hope this doesn't make Pindick Foster so angry he comes after me.

  13. I shall explain why boss and er thank you for the mention. Some time ago I had some interest generated in my blog from the far right, and they linked to me identifying me as a Black officer vehemently tackling racism. If my anonymity goes me and my family could be placed at some risk I guess.

  14. Twining - I appreciate your concern on that front, and our family's welfare must always come before our desire to write about the job we love. Nothing could pain me more than to lose that job, it's a vocation in fact. That's what is so disgusting about what The Times has done - targetted a passionate and dedicated officer and ruined his career.

    We, not just the police, all of us, need black officers such as you to tell the story from your perspective. It would be a great, great shame if you packed it in. Any way, I get the impression you're harder than any far right thug, and could easily kick their asses whilst smoking a fag and having a beer at the same time.

  15. Boss, I am on the inside, I don't pander to the wishes or lack of understanding of our bosses, as you have seen, nor do I write for any gain, career or otherwise, I write what I see.

    You do understand that there will be Black colleagues that do pander, and they won't agree with me.

    My aim - simple - I don't ever want to see another police officer murdered because of race.

    As for the right wing, my late mum did say, there is only one person I must fear; God. And I must try and remain true. Our Chiefs are not Gods, despite what they may think.

  16. Det Con Richard Horton of Eastern & Pennines Division come on down! I bredrin would like to ask you about fitting up, extrajudicial killings (de Menezes & Tomlinson to start with) and one law for the rich one for the poor.New Scotland Yard delenda est.

  17. Forgive me for asking, only just caught up with all this carrying-on courtesy of some breathless reporting in our local media (Murdoch owned of course). I think Nightjack's blog has been taken down. Has he been Gitmo'd?

  18. They'll be outing Banksie next.

  19. Oh, if anyone's interested, I'm archiving Nightjack's posts here