Saturday, November 03, 2007


Blair Must Go

Having just listened to Any Questions on Radio 4, I'm more than ever convinced Ian Blair should resign as Met Commissioner. The farcical absurdity of trying the force under Health and Safety legislation was bad enough but, given the severity of the many mistakes made, combined with the tragic outcome, someone should pick up the tab of responsibility.

No doubt Blair has been a good copper-the arrest of the failed 21-7 bombers was exemplary- but there are plenty of replacements waiting in the sidelines and one of them should be called upon now to take over. Interestingly only Charlie Falconer agreed with the Home Secretary while Huhne, Rifkind and Ann McElvoy wanted him gone. Oddly the London audience on a show of hands was narrowly in favour of keeping him.

I can recall being furious that the policeman's namesake did not, as far as we can tell, even consider resignation after the Hutton and Butler reports revealed the government's guilt beyond much doubt in sexing up that infamous dossier. To renew public trust in the political system ministers and public officials must take responsibility when things go badly wrong. We know Blair was not personally responsible for the death of the Brazilian but as the man in charge of those that were, he should do the honourable thing and stand down. Just as he took the credit for the arrest of the aspirant bombers, so he should take the rap when his boys messed up.

More than ever we are living in a society where accountability and responsibility are missing from leadership.

Very shortly after Jean Charles was killed they must have known that they had pursued the wrong person. A quick check in his wallet for ID would have sufficed.

Rather than be open, honest admit errors and seek a full inquiry to establish what went wrong, the police deliberately prevaricated and lied to cover the truth.

If not for blinding incompetence, then surely for abject dishonesty and deceit should the head of the organisation go.

Then again, if you can go to war on lies, other deceptions pale into insignificance.
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