Monday, September 26, 2005


Let it never be said that the Lighthouse is not democratic. By way of response to my ever-so-slightly hystrionic Friday posting below, the view from a very good friend fo mine from the opposite end of the political spectrum. (I should point out, he hates New Labout as much as I do.)

Take it away, John:


It is difficult to know what to make of this story.

There are two key issues here. First of all, the police have to make sure that they do everything possible to safeguard the British public in the face of the threat caused by the unprecedented, and horrifyingly brutal, attacks on the tube network in July. The fact is that there is no real way to stop a suicide bomber. By definition, they have nothing to lose. They are planning to die. The horrifying truth is that the shooting of de Menezes was the only way in which they could have stopped him from detonating his bomb. It appears as if they did not shout a warning. But had they done so, and had that unfortunate young man been a suicide bomber, then Stockwell tube station could have been a re-run of 7th July. The arrest described in the article is actually a large risk. Overkill is the most effective way to deal with that sort of situation, and the only way to identify suspects is through a system of profiling that will be biased against those who are dressed unseasonably and those carrying rucksacks. Had this happened to me or you is would be unsettling, upsetting and I would struggle to hide my indignancy and rage even with the police. But I think in retrospect the mistake would be unfortunate as long as the police act correctly. Which brings me onto the second point. The UK police have been very good at fighting terrorism – the IRA mainland campaign was a training that the US can only dream of. But they have made high profile mistakes before, the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and of course the Stockwell shooting. When they make a mistaken arrest it should be very clear very quickly that an error has been made. The lack of a bomb being a good indicator for a start. Then they apologise, release the person, offer counselling, offer compensation, expunge all records other than the record of the police mistake and return all possession. To continue to treat the innocent person as a terror suspect is utterly unacceptable.

It also ignores the fact that you would not have had to search very hard to find evidence of the intentions of the July 7 bombers. They had nail bombs in their cars for God’s sakes. They were not hi-tech…

We are now on a watchlist for putting nail bomb in an e-mail.


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