The Independent Police Complaints Commission – responsible for investigating deaths in custody, public complaints and allegations of wrongdoing – wants the power to investigate all staff who carry out police duties in a move to preserve public confidence in the service. At the moment the IPCC has no automatic power to interview or discipline private staff, even if misconduct or individual failures contribute to a death.
Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the IPCC, told the Observer: "We believe it is vital for public confidence that all those who perform police-like functions and powers are subject to independent oversight.
"It cannot be right for someone doing the same job as a police officer not to fall within the IPCC's remit simply because the police have contracted the job to a private company. But any change in this area requires a change in the IPCC's powers. We have told the Home Office that we believe these powers are necessary, indeed crucial."
Fernández's actions, however clumsy and unfair in their execution, are part of a growing worldwide reaction to the excesses that this proposition has brought. Repsol does not, and did not, have a God-given right to sell control in YPF to whomever it pleases while Argentina's interests can go hang. It exists in a symbiotic relationship with the society in which it trades. The right to trade and to own are privileges that come with reciprocal obligations as the Ownership Commission, which I chaired, argued earlier this year. They cannot exist in a vacuum because companies' actions have profound effects.
Moreover, companies, especially energy companies, need public agencies to help mitigate the risk of undertaking huge investments in a world where the future is unknowable. Across the globe, business and the rich insist on denying these elementary truths. Now they are reaping the whirlwind as a hostile reaction gathers pace worldwide. Capitalism's self-appointed custodians have become its worst enemies.
If more of his party – especially the shadow cabinet – would rally to his cause, there is a phenomenal political opportunity. The mood is changing. It needs to be channelled: the creation of a new and different compact with business, finance and the rich. It is what electorates across the world want to see. President Fernández, in her gauche way, has tapped into a global mood.