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The Villages

Date: 2007-10-05 22:08
Subject: the terror continues
Security: Public
Music:north sea radio orchestra
I'm all for accountability, but at the BBC things are starting to get out of hand. I see why Peter Fincham felt he had to resign and I applaud his honesty in doing so, but I'm even more worried now about the culture of terror at the BBC. And isn't there a double standard at work here? If all the members of Blair's government who made a mistake or were economical with the truth had followed Peter Fincham's example, there wouldn't have been any of them left by the time Blair resigned. If we're now to expect such standards of draconian rigour from our broadcasters, is it unreasonable to also expect it from the politicians who demand it? Like, say the Culture And Media Secretary, who was mentioned a little while ago. Or our esteemed Prime Minister, who recently staged a photo-op as he `opened' a hospital which had already been open for four months and had already had an official visit from the Health Secretary.
So what? I hear you cry. Well, Best Beloved, is there any substantive difference between faking a competition to name a cat on a children's television programme and faking a hospital opening or having yourself photoshopped into a photo-op?
Just sayin', that's all.
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Date: 2007-10-05 22:28
Subject: jean charles gets his day in court
Security: Public
Music:peter gabriel
And here I have to recant some things I said a few months ago when I spoke about the death of Jean Charles de Menezes at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, who had mistaken him for a terrorist. And it gives me enormous delight to be able to do so.
I had thought that the de Menezes case would be quietly and carefully folded up and put away and that he wouldn't be granted any kind of justice. I was rather scathing about the fact that the only legal action that was going to be taken was under Health & Safety legislation and I concluded that the whole thing was a farce.
I was wrong.
The Health & Safety trial began this week and it's already becoming a nightmare for the Met. No matter what the outcome of the trial - and the Met could conceivably be fined millions of pounds if found guilty - the picture that's emerging of the day Jean Charles died is one of confusion. The image presented in court of his death - sitting calmly on the train at Stockwell Underground Station as two armed police officers dashed aboard, standing up, being grabbed and forced back down into his seat by an undercover officer while the two armed policemen leaned over, put their guns to his head and fired seven times - is not one I will forget in a hurry.
I don't take any joy from seeing the Metropolitan Police hauled over the coals this way. They do a tough job with inadequate manpower and - though they're the richest force in the country - inadequate funds for the peculiar demands of policing the Capital. But they cocked up big-time in July 2005 and I'm glad to see them called to account for it.
The family of Jean Charles de Menezes, for whom the evidence presented must be painful beyond belief, deserve some kind of closure. I'm not sure if seeing the Met called to account in this way will go some distance towards that closure, but to my knowledge it's unique to see a police force stood up in court like this. I certainly hadn't expected it to be like this; I'd expected something discreet like a coroner's inquest, rather than a full-blown trial in the full glare of the media - who I also accused of forgetting about Jean Charles de Menezes, and for that I apologise.
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Date: 2007-10-05 23:23
Subject: in which ann coulter reminds me, yet again, why she annoys me so very, very much
Security: Public
Music:peter gabriel
If any of you heard a distant and dull thudding noise a few days ago, it was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor as I caught up with Ann Coulter's latest words of wisdom. (Just in case you can't work out what I'm referring to, I draw your attention to `On Women.')
I don't know why Ann Coulter should annoy me so much. I mean, for one thing, she's an American commenting on American politics and I'm a Brit living in Britain, so really she has about as much relevance to me as a political commentator in New Zealand. But I'm starting to become morbidly fascinated by her. Every time I type her name into Google News I find she's said something else completely stupid. And people respect her views. What in the name of humanity is wrong with her and with America that she can say stuff like this and get away with it?
I know, free speech and all that - and you all know I'm in favour of that. But free speech has a Darwinian component. If someone talks bollocks for long enough people stop listening and you never hear from them again. That doesn't seem to work for Ann Coulter; she just keeps talking bollocks and people just keep on listening.
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