Friday, 28 June 2013

Shall we just cut to the chase and make Doreen Lawrence Home Secretary?

There have been allegations that the Metropolitan Police sought to smear campaigners following the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. On Monday, Stephen Lawrence’s father, who lives in Jamaica, called for an inquiry. On Wednesday, Doreen Lawrence – the murdered teenager’s mother - spent 45 minutes with the Home Secretary, Theresa May, after which she demanded a public judicial inquiry into the allegations. (King of bleeding-heart lefty lawyers, Mike Mansfield QC, then suggested that such an inquiry needn’t take more than a year. A year!)

I think it's worth stressing that these are currently no more than allegations: nothing has been proved.

After tying up the Home Secretary for the best part of an hour (lucky Mrs. May doesn’t have anything else to be getting on with, really) Mrs Lawrence described the meeting as “promising”, which was jolly nice of her.

Today I read that Mrs Lawrence is to hold a meeting with the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, in order to quiz him about the activities of the Met’s Special Demonstration Squad back in the 1990s.

Don’t know about you, but I suspect many people – myself included – are beginning to suffer from compassion fatigue on this issue. I’m still trying to figure out why it was thought appropriate to include Mrs. Lawrence in the Olympics opening ceremony (unless to keep non-specific white guilt alive) or why it was thought necessary  for the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister to attend a memorial service on the 20th anniversary of her Stephen lawrence's death last April – I thought these blokes had a country to run.

Stephen Lawrence – a nice young man, by all accounts – was murdered by white thugs in London in 1993. The police did a spectacularly lousy job investigating the murder and the criminal justice system undoubtedly let the Lawrence family down. But those thugs are now behind bars – not before time – and the police have suffered years of criticism for their failures, and have acted on them (over-zealously, in my opinion). Personally, I think that’s probably enough. As I’ve written (here), I’m worried that the lionisation of the Lawrences has at times blinded the authorities to the fact that black-on-black, black-on-white and black-on-Asian violence are of far greater concern (especially to those of us who are the parents of teenage boys) than white-on-black violence, which (correct me if I’m wrong) isn’t really that much of a problem these days.

On Wednesday, David Cameron told the House of Commons that, when it came to investigating these allegations, nothing was “off the table”. I think it's time that some things were taken off the table - for good. Might I suggest, for a start, that these latest allegations are investigated in the standard way, that we don’t have an enormously expensive public inquiry lasting up to a year, and that Mrs. Lawrence is asked to go through normal channels rather than being granted instant access to top people who really have enough on their plate already?  I want the Home Secretary and the head of the Metropolitan Police concentrating on keeping me and my family safe rather than having to be at the constant beck and call of a woman who seems determined to cling to to the limelight despite concerted (and ultimately successful) efforts by the authorities to make up for past failings. Justice has now been done.

Enough really is enough.

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