David Cameron tries being ‘cruel to be kind’

October 25, 2012 in Blog

It was truly stomach churning to hear David Cameron on Monday 22 October 2012 unctuously setting out his government’s revised law and order agenda for dealing with the presence of knives and guns on our streets, punishing and rehabilitating offenders and giving private contractors outcomes related incentives for reducing offending.

This was the same David Cameron who in the wake of the massive civil disturbances in London and other cities in the summer of 2011 was encouraging and endorsing the practice of jailing those arrested and charged for their involvement in the disturbances by the hundreds, a majority of them for first and relatively minor offences.

One is often led to wonder whether politicians such as David Cameron, George Osborne and Michael Gove – and Tony Blair before them – inhabit the same planet as the rest of us. For one thing, they would have us believe that they suffer from a type of amnesia which kicks in with a vengeance when, in desperation, they reach for particular policies and make headline grabbing pronouncements. Read the rest of this entry →

The state we’re in 10 years after the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

April 21, 2009 in Blog

In February 1999 Sir William Macpherson reported to the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, on the inquiry he led into matters arising from the murder of Stephen Lawrence almost six years earlier.  The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report, as Macpherson preferred us to call it, was widely seen as a watershed in race relations in Britain.

That was mainly because government, the media and the chattering classes had not been listening to the evidence and to the shrill demands of generations of black people regarding police abuse of their powers, the racism in British policing that was systemic and not just the aberrations of the few ‘rotten apples’ that, so we are told, are to be found in every police force as in other institutions in society; racism that led to preconceived ideas about black witnesses and to the deeply flawed operational decisions that flowed from them. Read the rest of this entry →