The Dissenter's Voice

The ocassional comments, opinions, rambling and rants of a liberal dissenter in New Labour's Britain

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Blair Must Go

Sir Ian Blair’s position as Metropolitan Police Commissioner is untenable. He must resign.

Jean Charles de Menezes was killed as a result of Police ‘shoot to kill policy’ which was implemented as a result of a catastrophic series of failures and incompetence. In their desperate flailing to defend themselves the Police leadership has smeared Menezes’s name by the Police and Sir Ian’s attitude throughout has at best been high handed, insensitive and arrogant.

Despite his being identified as a potential terrorist subject and having had several opportunities to do so the Police totally failed to attempt to detained Menezes from the time he left his house until after he walked to the bus stop, got on the bus, got of, entered the tube, went through the ticket barrier and then entered a packed tub train. He was then shot in the head 7 times despite being pinned down in his seat by a police officers.

The Special branch time who were ordered to kill Menezes say that they never gave a fully positive identification of him as a terrorist, while the Police Commander who gave the order, Cressida Dick says that they did. Someone in the police is lying.

The Police’s main defence was that Menezes was somehow responsible for his own death by his reactions on the day, and that these were caused by his having taken cocaine. This bizarre and appalling tactic is the direct result of Blair’s decision to contest this case against the advice of at least three of his senior colleagues.

Beyond the awful personal tragedy of Menezes’s death there is the disastrous impact on racial and community relations in the local area. At the time of the shooting I was a Councillor in Lambeth, my ward was a mile or so away from the scene of the shooting. I had only recently stood down as the Lead member for Community Safety, having worked for 2 years with the excellent local Police building community relations in a Borough, whose heart Brixton, has long been a byword for tension between the Police and the local community. That work was nearly destroyed by the shooting and the Met leadership’s subsequent actions.

In the immediate aftermath Blair’s reaction was to give wholly inaccurate information to the public and press about the details of the incident and to phone the then Home Secretary and trying to persuade him not to all the independent Police Complaints Authority to investigate the case. Ever since he has been obstructive and unhelpful, he has personally chosen to confront rather than console.

Not only has he has presided over the death of an innocent unarmed man killed in the most brutal & shocking manner. He has shown no sign of comprehending the nature of the public outrage. He personally decided to contest a case which further darkened the met’s reputation and now lead to £500,000 of Police funds being lost. He has totally failed to accept any responsibility as the head of the organisation that has now been found guilty in a court of law. His refusal to resign is not just an embarrassment it is an insult to De Menezes and to Londoners as a whole.

He must go.


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