On Jeremy Corbyn, “shoot to kill” and stopping terrorists in the act of murder

Jeremy Corbyn, in the cross hairsYou can understand the thirst for vengeance. On Sunday night, France flew sorties over Syria to strike IS targets in Raqqa, the capital of their ramshackle semi-state. They reportedly hit a recruitment centre and munitions depot. Other facilities on the receiving end of French ordinance were a hospital, a museum, a stadium, and a chicken farm. Still, “something” has been done. IS have had a taste of fire, even if civilians every bit as innocent as the murdered in Paris lost their lives in the French bombing.

Whenever there is an appalling outrage on Western soil, or mass civilian casualties mount overseas, as per the Tunisian beach murders or the bombing of a Russian airliner, politicians and media outlets combine their outrage with simple non-solutions that paint one half of the world in saintly white and the other in sinner’s black. The complexity of the situation, of the drives that fuel IS support here and abroad, which few establishment figures are normally interested in anyway, are painted out. They’re against us, so let’s kill ’em. Alas, turning Raqqa and parts of Sinai and Yemen into the Moon will kill terrorists, but does nothing to address the causes of terrorism. Such is the folly of dressing ourselves in saintly white as against their sinner’s black. Continue reading

30 years of foot-dragging over Orgreave must end

OrgreaveIt is bizarre that the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now spent 18 months dancing round the maypole trying to decide whether to launch a full inquiry into police corruption surrounding Orgreave in June 1984. With a typical establishment euphemism they are engaged in a ‘scoping inquiry’ (for which read: time-wasting) as to whether police officers fabricated statements – it is clear beyond any doubt that the police did collude in preparing testimony for the court.

After 18 months they have still not even interviewed key witnesses to the alleged corruption. The IPCC has either grievously failed in its duty to take the issue seriously or has been leaned on to spin out its deliberations an absurdly long time in order to frustrate a full public inquiry into police corruption since it has been ruled that this is shelved pending the IPCC conclusions. Continue reading

Boris Johnson’s decision to buy water cannons is misguided and bizarre

o-TURKEY-WATER-CANNON-facebookWhat is Boris Johnson frightened of – apart from losing the Tory party leadership (for which he is a racing certainty loser already)? He says he needs to be ready for trouble on the streets in the summer. But there’s not the slightest evidence for this – more’s the pity considering what Tory austerity has viciously (and unnecessarily) imposed on ordinary people and particularly the poorest.

Is this the normal Tory hankering after suppressing protest in all its forms? He says he can get them on the cheap by buying 3 German secondhand water cannons. But that doesn’t justify the principle of this development which has national implications. Furthermore every other argument tells against the rashness and folly of this decision. Continue reading

Duggan decision is bad for everyone: new system needed to deal with police violence

This is a sad, bad day for British justice. It seems impossible to combine the view of 8 out of the 10 members of the jury in the Duggan inquest, on the one hand, that he did not have a gun in his hand when he was shot with the decision reached by 8 out of the 10, on the other hand, that it was a ‘lawful killing’ by the police. Moreover there remain far too many unanswered but deeply troubling questions, as Mark Duggan’s mother has herself made clear: Continue reading

If proven, G4S executives should face prison for embezzling huge sums of public money

The exposure of G4S and Serco for stealing from the public purse on an industrial scale is symptomatic of privatised Britain. The findings of an initial inquiry that G4S had ‘overcharged’ tens of millions of pounds on electronic tagging contracts for offenders who had moved abroad, died, returned to prison so they were no longer tagged, or had never been tagged in the first place, are so blatant and so extensive that it cannot conceivably have been due to slip-ups or clerical errors. Of course it remains to be proven, but if confirmed as expected, this is fraud on the grand scale. Yet the way it has been handled by the government with kid gloves tells a very different tale.

Why were the two companies given the option of a voluntary forensic audit rather than the Serious Fraud Office being immediately involved at the outset? If a trade union had been found with its hand in the public pocket on a similar scale, would it have been granted the lenient option of a voluntary discovery of the facts? Second, why has it taken so long for the government to notice such rampant cheating at the public expense? Continue reading