This is undeniably good news. Sir Ian Blair's conduct after the shooting Jean Charles de Menezes only served to muddy an already messy situation.
While controversial, the (always hyphenated) shoot-to-kill policy seems proportionate to the threat of a suicide bomber. As shown by the de Menezes case, mistakes happen but this should be a spur to more effective intelligence. The Economist put this point best with the headline "Excuse me, are you a suicide bomber?"
Incidentally, I realise the vacuity of the above suggestion. 'More effective intelligence' must be the most proposed and least well understood solution to the terrorist situation; especially as those putting it forward often furiously protest when attempts at giving more powers to the intelligence services are put forward, perhaps the best way of making intelligence more effective. 'Be more like Jack Bauer' is probably the most helpful that we armchair critics can be. Highlighting this paradox, however, does not mean that intelligence should not be more effective. However, like a Hummer through an emissions target, I shall leave these point in its shoddy form and return to Sir Ian.
Following the Stockwell shootings, Sir Ian pedalled so many different excuses in an attempt to confuse the public that he was telling the truth (same Blairism, different Blair). We were told, variously, that de Menezes had run from the police when asked to stop, that he vaulted a barrier, that his coat looked unseasonally warm. All of these claims have been discredited since. The claim that has yet to be overturned to my knowledge was that de Menezes was illegally staying in the country after his student visa ahd expired - and this was meant to be a mitigating factor.
Of course government enquiries usually play down offences by public officials, especially one that is so cosy with old Tone. If justice prevails, however, the Met chief will be discredited and forced to resign. But as a full member of the cronyship, I doubt it will be the last we see of him.
Liveblogging World War II: March 8, 1944
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