Sunday, August 21, 2005

Calling All MPs

Michael Crick pointed out something on Newsnight (about 19 minutes in, should be online till Monday evening), and it's been nagging away at me ever since. It's about the people behind the Justice4Jean campaign. One of the spokesmen, Asad Rehman, is a paid political adviser to George Galloway, and a founding member of the Stop the War Coalition. Now, I'm not going to say anything unpleasant about Georgeous George, certainly not without a huge quantity of substantiating evidence anyway, but is it really wise for Mr Galloway's adviser to become involved in this campaign?

I'm not questioning Mr Rehman's motives. He says that his activities in relation to the Justice4Jean campaign are completely unrelated to his work for his employer. Before joining the good ship Galloway, he worked for 10 years as an Amnesty International activist, so it seems quite understandable that he'd want to help Jean Charles' family with this case. As such, I'm inclined to believe that his intentions are entirely honourable.

That's not what's been bugging me. It's just that the mere mention of Georgeous George tends to provoke certain automatic responses from sections of the media. The Stop the War coalition also suffers from this problem (although to a lesser extent). I'm not hugely enamoured with either at the moment myself. The result is that we end up with comment pieces like Don't exploit a tragedy, which distracts attention from the legitimate campaign to find out exactly what happened. It's not Mr Rehman's fault, (unless you think it is his fault because he chose to work for George, suit yourself) but it's definitely something he has to live with. Because of this, I'm not sure he's the right person to lead this campaign.

Wouldn't it be better to have an explicitly non-partisan campaign, perhaps led by a cross party group of MPs? Just what do our elected representatives think about this incident and the recently leaked documents anyway? I've basically no idea at the moment. OK, so they're on holiday, maybe I should give them a break. It's only the accidental execution of an innocent man by those sworn to protect us. Such trivialities are hardly likely to trouble our MPs at a time when there are holidays in the sun to be enjoyed.

I should mention that Charlie Safety Elephant has found time to poke his head above the parapet.
I'm very happy with the conduct not only of Sir Ian Blair but of the whole Metropolitan police in relation to this inquiry.
Charlie seems to be a tiny bit guilty of prejudging the results of an enquiry that won't be publishing its conclusions for another three to six months. (OK, I've done that too, to some extent anyway, but then I'm not the Home Secretary.) I wonder if he knows something we don't? Leaving that aside though, "happy"? He's "very happy"? That's surely the worst choice of phrase in the entire history of stupid political utterances. There's absolutely nothing here to make any decent person use the word happy. But then, it would appear that Charlie just isn't a decent...

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