G20 “murder cop” to face misconduct charges over Ian Tomlinson death

November 29, 2010

Doubtless some of you will remember that on 1 April the G20 meeting of the world’s economic superpowers was held in London.  Such an event requires heavy policing, to protect the delegates and their cronies from evil demonstrators.  And on that day, a man named Ian Tomlinson died as a direct result of police action.

Unfortunately for the police, a couple of circumstances surrounding the death quickly came to light: the entire episode was caught on CCTV; and Tomlinson was not a demonstrator, he was a newspaper seller trying to get home after a hard day’s work.

The police officer who attacked Tomlinson, PC Simon Harwood of the Metropolitan Police’s infamous Tactical Support Unit, is not going to face criminal proceedings related to the killing of Ian Tomlinson – this despite the fact that Harwood’s unprovoked attack on Tomlinson from behind is clearly visible on the many videos that have been posted on the internet (for example here.  There are plenty of other examples online, as even a cursory Google search will find).

But even though Harwood isn’t going to see a court room from the “wrong” (or should that be “right”?) side of the dock, it has been announced that he will face a Police Complaints Commission into his alleged misconduct during the attack.  During the brutal attack, Harwood wore a balaclava to hide his face, and had concealed his badge number – all signs that he knew he was doing something wrong.

The PCC decision to accuse Harwood of misconduct equivalent to manslaughter is likely to place additional pressure on Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, who controversially decided the officer should not even be prosecuted for assault.  Now Starmer will have to explain why he decided that Harwood should not be punished for what was undoubtedly an illegal attack.

The way Harwood has been protected up to this point has sent a very clear message to other coppers: they can be as brutal as they want, even up to the point of murder, and the establishment will protect them.  Now I just hope that the misconduct hearings are held in a properly transparent manner, so other bully-boy cops will learn from this experience.  No one is above the law – especially the police.

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UK government say unemployed must do “unpaid work”… but where’s all this work going to come from?

November 17, 2010

For years the Conservative Party have wanted to force unemployed people to “earn” their benefits by doing unpaid work.  And finally (in a coalition government with the Lib Dems, strangely enough) it seems they are going to achieve their goal.

The Work and Pensions Secretary (and failed former party leader) Iain Duncan Smith has announced in a white paper that he wants the unemployed to undertake unpaid work or lose benefits, dressing up these draconian plans as a necessary step to cut welfare costs as well as to break what the government is calling the “habit of worklessness”.  The government are trying to suggest that people prefer to live in poverty on the derisory Jobseeker’s Allowance (£51.85 a week for those under 25 and £65.45 for those over 25 – what riches!)  rather than take a job.  And this crazed plan is apparently going to end the “culture of dependency”.

What IDS has neglected to tell us is where exactly this unpaid work is going to come from.  The plan glosses over this detail, saying that “charities, voluntary organizations and companies” will provide these jobs.  This totally ignores the fact that voluntary organizations don’t want people to work for them reluctantly – people who volunteer to work for nothing do so because they want to help the organizations in question and the quality of their work is therefore much higher than what will be done by those who are there under duress.  And as for the companies who will provide the unpaid jobs: if there is work that needs to be done, why haven’t these companies already employed workers to do them?

This plan is an outrageous attempt to provide the Tory Party’s corporate allies with a way to get around the minimum wage.  Instead of advertising these jobs to willing workers who would, by law, be entitled to a living wage, these companies will fill the posts with people who will have to work for nothing.  How the hell can the Tories and their corporate friends get away with this?

And why are the Lib Dems going along with this?  After the destruction of the traditional Labour Party by Blair and his “New Labour” lackeys, some of us thought that the Liberal Democrats were the only progressive party left.  But now they’ve joined the Conservatives in coalition government, we can see Nick Clegg and his colleagues for what they really are: just Tories under a different name.

Democracy in Britain has been dying for many years.  Now it has been shot in the back of the head and buried in an unmarked grave.  We desperately need to take back the power that is rightfully ours.  But the ballot box will get us nowhere.  We must use alternative methods to rid ourselves of the greedy and evil men and women who claim to rule in our name.

 

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