YOU can’t argue with our Police and Crime Commis-sioner’s call for fairer funding for the Wiltshire force.

Hang out the flags, I agree with Angus Macpherson!

It is criminal that a True Blue county such as ours is rewarded for its loyalty by being given a measlier slice of the cake than others - £20 per person less than the national average, in fact.

It’s because the government knows it can get away with it. Precisely because it would be unimaginable for a majority of Wiltshire’s population to vote anything other than Conservative.

In a democracy, we get the rulers we deserve. It’s a cliché because it’s true.

And as further exemplified by education spending, ours aren’t treating us well, right now.

Except when a crisis such as the Novichok affair means they have to actually do something.

But just think. The cost of policing the pointless badger cull in the county last year was £474,727 – a suspiciously precise figure, but anyway, not far short of half a million.

And that’ll rise as the killing spree (let’s not mince words) continues.

Comically, 20 grand of this was on sending out 4x4 vehicles that their drivers were not allowed to take off-road, according to Wiltshire Badger Group protesters, who got the figures from a Freedom of Information request.

I can’t help wondering why officers weren’t permitted to go bouncing across the fields at dead of night in pursuit of the cull disrupters – maybe in case some trigger-happy hunter mistook them for poachers and took a pot shot at the wrong target, or maybe because all those headlights might have scared the badgers back underground. That’d be a bonus, wouldn’t it?

According to Malcom Clark of the protest group: “The police operation is necessary because the farming community is running round the countryside after dark shooting at every badger that moves.”

Well, that’s what the government wants it to do. The same government that appointed Michael Gove as Environment Secretary to brag about a ‘green Brexit’ when he’s just signed off the death warrants of thousands more of this ‘legally protected’ species by expanding the cull zones.

There’s something of the Keystone Kops about the protest group’s description of these nocturnal goings-on, but actually, there’s nothing remotely funny in the slaughter of our native wildlife for scientific reasons that are unproven and remain disputed to the extent that the National Trust advocates a programme of badger vaccination instead, combined with better TB testing, and keeping badgers and cattle apart.

So whilst I really do sympathise, Mr Macpherson, with the force’s straitened circumstances, you are a Conservative political appointee and if all you can do is accept the diktats of Westminster, what hope is there?

When the head of the Met Police has described the latest paltry pay rise for officers as “a punch on the nose”, I don’t see any signs that those at the top understand or care.