Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Friday, 2 November 2007

Power Corrupts

I may be a Londoner by birth, but as I'm living 200 miles away in the land of the flat cap with two offspring whose accents I wouldn't have understood 20 years ago, I hadn't intended to bother with the Mayor of London. It doesn't seem relevant to our lives. Livingstone vs. Johnson ? Couldn't give a monkey's, personally.

But I was listening to Ken Livingstone this evening, talking about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, and I was struck by how times have changed.

Could anyone possibly imagine this man in the 1980s, when he was leader of the GLC, condoning the use by a British police force of a shoot-to-kill policy, deployed against a man because he looked like a foreigner, as part of a campaign against a terrorist organisation ?

This is the man who, it will be recalled, publicly supported IRA hunger strikers and entertained Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams in County Hall at taxpayers' expense when they were still responsible for getting people blown up on a regular basis.

This is also the man who, following the deaths of suspected terrorists in Northern Ireland, accused the (Conservative) Attorney General of being an "accomplice to murder."

And this is the man who has entertained and literally embraced Sheikh Yussuf al-Qaradawi, who has vowed to destroy the Jews.

So what's changed ? How can it be that this man, once a proud defender of the rights of those those who used violence to try to overthrow democratically elected governments, now glibly dismisses the shooting by the police of an innocent man in a city of which he is mayor with the words "At the end of the day, mistakes are always going to happen" ?

Well, it could be that Livingstone has genuinely changed his mind about the relationship between the State and the terrorists who seek to destroy it.

Then again, perhaps, having allegedly been a target of Loyalist hitman Oliver Stone and been rescued by the police, he's simply seen the other side of the coin.

Or, as is far more likely, having been handed the apparatus of the State and all the associated trappings, he cannot now do without them. Suddenly, now that he's in charge, he thinks it's OK for the police to go round killing people, and accountability for that killing is an inconvenience they shouldn't have to bear.

There's a word for that where I come from. Hypocrisy.


Anonymous said...

The man is eveil. You SHOULD care about the mayoral election !

Anonymous said...

Peter Haine?