London (Sep. 24)
The solons of rat-infested Hamlin town wrinkled their brows on the problem of “who’ll pay the Piper?” In Manchester, the City Fathers are getting creases in their foreheads over the problem of “who’ll pay the police?”
Next Saturday, September 29, the Blackshirts of Sir Oswald Mosley are scheduled to hold a huge rally at the Belle Vue Gardens in Manchester. Unlike the Hamlin officials, the Manchester solons aren’t concerned with driving their visitors out of the city. They are, however, concerned over the problem of properly policing their gathering.
Now who, the question has arisen, is going to pay for the 500 bobbies it is estimated may be required to do the job with English thoroughness?
NOT US, RATE-PAYERS SAY
The cost of that bit of protection for the Mosley Fascists, incidentally, is expected to amount to about Â£600 (approximately $3,000).
The question has been asked by the Manchester Watch Committee:
“Shall the ratepayers be assessed for the sum?”
And the committee with one voice gave the English equivalent of the American “nix.”
According to the Manchester Guardian, the committee then suggested that the Chief Constable be requested to police the meeting subject to the cost being met by the Belle Vue authorities.
This suggestion was received by the Belle Vue authorities with a tremendous lack of enthusiasm.
A Guardian reporter then asked officials in charge of the Manchester branch of the Fascists if they would undertake to pay for the policing. The Fascists echoed the nays of both rate-payers and Belle Vue authorities.
“JUST ANOTHER BOOKING”
An official statement on the problem has been issued by the Belle Vue Gardens, in which it is pointed out that the Fascists have not “taken over” the gardens for the day as frequently reported, that they are merely to hold a rally there, that the public be admitted as usual, and that the booking was purely a commercial one in the same way as political and religious organizations of all kinds book halls at Belle Vue from time to time.
“In the case of the Fascist meeting,” the official statement goes on, “we naturally intimated to the police authorities the fact that such a gathering was to be held. We have not been asked for any special police protection, but if the Chief Constable is of the opinion that such special protection is necessary he will, naturally, take whatever action he thinks fit to ensure public safety and order, and we will welcome police to the gardens.
WILL AID POLICE
“He, naturally, will have any information available as to opposition movements and will be able to gauge the police requirements necessary. We obviously cannot undertake financial responsibility for any number of police brought into the gardens. The prior question of payment, howeverâ€”which is a new issue so far as such meetings at Belle Vue are concernedâ€”will have to be gone into carefully.”
There is some evidence, the Guardian reports, that inquiry is being made as to financial liability in law if Belle Vue is policed as a result of the Fascists holding their meetings in the gardens. The Belle Vue authorities do not consider that they should be liable for the cost of policing the meeting and the Fascists, who, financial considerations apart, do not want the police and consider that the liability should not be on them.