Snooper Force


The Thick of It


There was always gonna be a Snooper Force policy. Definitely. It’s too good to have been invented by a disgruntled civil servant.

Despite Snooper Force not being in any way real, it’s certainly something you could see any British government of the past century enforcing. Basically, informing on your friends and neighbours about what social benefits they may be claiming. While I’m not condoning any form of fraud, I just kind of put myself in the mind of someone who would be in a position where they’re thinking it would be a viable option. Plus the amount they would actually be getting. I can’t think it would be much. And let’s be honest, there are people who would be doing the enforcing getting away with a lot more. Remember that lad who got us to pay for a moat round his country estate? All part and parcel of the great class divide in this country. Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

This is actually from the very first episode of The Thick of It, so it kind of throws you in at the deep end. The Snooper Force is approved, then not approved, then approved again and it’s a right sorry old mess. The undoubted strength of TTOI (which probably nobody calls it) is that you don’t really need to have any knowledge of how Westminster works. It’s excruciatingly funny, regardless. Sadly, Hugh Abbot (inventor of the SF) only lasts for the first series before being ousted and forgotten about. Actually, not that sadly, given what happened in real life.

The design is half mine and half not. In that the DoSAC (the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship) logo is fully visible in the show, whereas the Snooper Force is entirely done by me. Correct, magnifying glasses all round. In the show, the Force never gets off the ground, but be assured, the government would be spunking shedloads of your money on logos, branded stationery, letterheaded paper, stickers and Christ knows what else, even if the thing never came into fruition.

I mean, Hugh Abbot is so incompetent, he does a radio interview and erroneously calls it it ‘Scrounge Avengers’. So it was pretty much doomed from the start. All of the cost, none of the impact. Just the way we like it in Britain.

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