Papal visits and public money
There is a choreographed piece of lazy journalism you'll have all seen or heard of late. Almost every discussion of the Holy Father's coming visit to the UK on TV or on the wireless will include a talking head from the NSS, usually Terry Sanderson talking about the use of 'public money' on the visit. They have ">an internet campaign that's raised 28,000 signatures (although to put that into some context 35,000 punters signed up in support of the late Raoul Moat).
Now in the past year I've run a half marathon and three 10ks. I've completed a couple of (mini) triathlons. I've been to a dozen or so rugby matches (international and Magner's League) and a one-day Test match. At every event - many of them, like the Holy Father's visit, with tens of thousands of people attending - there were scores of police to deal with traffic and crowd safety. This used public money - it used public money because these were public events and the public who participate in them require safety and protection and that includes the public services. This money does not belong to the civil authorities - it belongs to you and me because we gave it to them to administer as taxes.
So if the NSS or Johann Hari or Polly Toynbee don't want 'public money' expended on the Holy Father's visit, they had better be prepared to ban every 10k run, every Premier League football match, every Orange walk, every trade union rally and protest march. After all, how can we justify the use of 'public money' on these fripperies at a time of economic constraint?