G4S boss is perfect scapegoat for a state-sponsored fiasco

By failing to control immigration, Labour created the conditions that have defeated Nick Buckles

Column LAST UPDATED AT 07:30 ON Mon 16 Jul 2012

NICK BUCKLES, the managing director of G4S, has the makings of the perfect scapegoat for the Olympics security fiasco. The sort of man you would avoid meeting at a greyhound track in East London turns out to be the man put in charge of security at the Olympics by the last government.

Buckles has fessed up on national television, making no excuses, but pointing the finger gently at the current government for being slow in making key decisions.

In some ways his performance in the media over the last few days has been impressive. He seems honest and realistic compared with our low-grade politicians and civil servants. But ultimately you get the feeling (with his vast salary and benefits) he's not losing too much sleep – Bob Diamond without the remorse (and with the hairstyle of a young David Cameron).

It's difficult to understand why ministers didn't work this out earlier. Hugh Robertson, the Olympics minister, was a Major in the Life Guards. He knows how it works. One Sergeant Major using the ‘Mark One' eyeball, plus a clipboard and one sharpened pencil would have been able to tell him that G4S weren't up to scratch. Why didn't he check?

What is G4S? Profile of the controversial security firm

A big political punch-up is underway over this security fiasco. Labour, who secured the Olympics, are keen to portray the coalition government as screwing up their golden legacy. 

The disastrous Labour government of 1997-2010 has a lot to answer for, still. It created the conditions which have defeated Nick Buckles and his company, making it almost impossible for him and his colleagues, however disreputable, to do their job properly.

The fact that this over-the-top security is needed in the first place is because we have lost that precious asset built up over a thousand years – national cohesion. 

From 1066 until the election of Tony Blair in 1997 no one living in our country wanted to blow up their fellow subjects, except for a few Irish terrorists (who frankly had a good historical point even if they pushed it too brutally). Now, every day, we read of Islamist terrorist plots. Until very recently whatever grievances might have existed among Muslims were irrelevant to security in the UK. But not any more. Why? Uncontrolled immigration – a Labour legacy.
 
Few are willing to acknowledge this. The BBC, for instance, gave Buckles a hard time on Radio Four about the number of recruits to his company who couldn't speak English. No acknowledgement was made of the corporation's own relentless ideological opposition to border controls with all the cultural and security implications that the rest of us are having to deal with in our day-to-day lives.

Think how we delivered a secure Olympics 60 years ago. A few trustworthy young men and women in blazers and flannels - the more senior scouts and guides perhaps - all under the strict but benign control of a Captain Mainwaring figure, only too pleased to be of service to their country.  They didn't need vetting or security clearances or instruction in the English language.

Today's fiasco also shows how we now live in a two-tier United Kingdom, separated by the new class barrier - those with snouts in the trough and those without snouts at all. Security for VIPs is not the responsibility of a lowly man-guarding company run by profiteering private sector conmen. David Cameron and his family don't have to rely on Buckles and his £8.50-an-hour operatives. His security, and while we are on the subject, the highly expensive security for Tony Blair, remains the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police. 

If protecting the high and mighty can't be entrusted to the private sector, why should the rest of us, who actually pay the taxes to fund all this, make do with G4S? 

One big question arises out of this cock-up. What should be a state activity and what shouldn't?

Security for the Olympics should have been a state activity all along. General Lord Dannatt, who was head of the army when London was awarded the Olympics in 2005, has said that the military immediately volunteered to run the security aspects of the games, but that this was rejected by the Labour government who preferred a private sector ‘solution'.
 
The British state bosses us around expensively but seems to have forgotten its core activities – indeed its reason for existing. Forget the mantra of delivering a secure Olympics. What about delivering a secure country? · 

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Well, to be fair, we've had a lot of immigrants foisted on us by EU policy. As for "From 1066 until the election of Tony Blair in 1997 no one living in our country wanted to blow up their fellow subjects, except for a few Irish terrorists"...don't the recusant Catholics like Guy Fawkes and his ilk count ?

Good article & true in my lifetime I don't think we have had one decent government full of low grade people on the make who foist their idealogical ideas on the rest of us but the worst ever was the Blair/Brown government most of them should be inside doing time for what they have done to this country.

Flakey, you are not so much not using a Mark One eyeball as blathering with eyes wide shut.
Pray tell, how is it Labour's fault that this spiv, in paying the lowest possible rate, could only attract (and not even then) those on the lowest rung of the new immigrant ladder?
However, your point that security should not have been sub contracted, to the lowest bidder, is correct and applies to many other areas which were once solely a government responsibility - little things like health, education, railways, water & sewage, etc.

Already many potential spectators have been frightened off attending the games by all the hype. Security is a police matter although calling in a few experts could be justified. What matters is that an honest enquiry is held afterwards that identifies the real culprits when and if anything goes wrong. England does not need another 911 cover-up.

"Now, every day, we read of Islamist terrorist plots. Until very recently whatever grievances might have existed among Muslims were irrelevant to security in the UK. But not any more. Why? Uncontrolled immigration – a Labour legacy."
This is one of the stupidest and baseleess acquisation that I read in a long time.
G4S cannot provide security because of Muslim immigrants. Get real for a change.
You may read about Islamic terrorists plots. You may read about vampires too. But that does not make vampires any real than the islamic terrorists. Also, who will have pecuniary benefits of promoting imaginary plots of terrorists? For sure not the immigrants of whatever other allegiance they may have.
Immigrants come to a country not to destroy that country but to build a better life for themselves and their families.
Which company got the contract of £284 millin to provide 13000 personnel? That comes to be about £22000 per person. That is for a monts work? Will the people providing the security will even get £4000 per person? Does our regular soldiers get any salary near that?
So who is making the profit? A company like G4S.
This anti-Islamic hysteria and continuos talking about Islamic terrorists plots make the necessary propaganda work for giving contracts to companies of like G4S who are not even capable to deliver.

As an Ex G4S employee who worked for the company
for 14 years this is a shock, how can you face your Multi National Customers in
the future and sell a service if you have failed on the grandest scale of
all. Personally I think it is long
overdue for Nick Buckles to leave and hopefully David Taylor Smith will be
short on his heals followed by Trevor Dighton and rest of the executive committee.

They did not only fail to control immgration they actively promoted it as a social engineering project mainly to undermine the English middle class and change the face of England. Blair and Brown and their cohorts like Balls were as disgraceful and nasty a bunch as you would ever find "running" a country.

The nderlying message here is that we are heading back to surfdom. It's going to be like the middle ages. The wealthy will be the only ones able to afford to use trains, whilst the rest of us pay taxes to provide these benefits for them. The roads will be empty bar for those wealthy enough to afford the fuel. The ever shrinking NHS will decline to such a small size that the wealthy will have their own private set up. Meanwhile, consecutive governments sell off anything that is profitable to their wealthy pals. Imagine, the government used to own railways and utilities companies. Think how much those companies would now be funding the country for the benefit of the tax payers! If the profits from BP, the railways, gas and electric companies, water companies etc were government profits. There would be no crisis.

Sorry the 'U' in underlying didn't post.

I may be wrong, but didn't G4S provide security for the Diamond Jubilee? If so, alarm bells should have been ringing loud and clear back then. Given their appalling treatment of staff during the Jubilee, it comes as little surprise that many of their staff haven't bothered turning up for the Olympics. G4S is clearly ran by some chancer trying to make a fast buck from the Olympics by providing a cheap and poorly treated workforce, who are probably not even properly trained for Security. The Government should have also realised this and acted sooner. When will this country learn and stop trying to cut corners and do everything on the cheap!