Friday, September 22, 2006

The latest 7/7 report in the news

The report is out at 9.30am and should be available from either the Home Office or the DCMS website. (The promised letter from Tessa Jowell telling victims when to expect it and how to find it has not arrived, as predicted.)

UPDATE: A copy of the report has arrived in the post, hurray.
The lead story on Sky is '7/7 Victims let down' and on BBC news it is also a top story 'London Bombing Victims 'let down'. The Government is trying to bury this bad news on one of the quietest political weekends of the year, but we're doing what we can to get it talked about. See links at end of post.

For me, the point is two-fold: one, yes, they need to improve the planning so the response can be improved next time. Members of the emergency services, hospital staff, member of LU staff and many members of the public were heroic on the day: nobody could criticise the bravery and compassion that was shown by so many ordinary people on July 7th and after. But poor planning, and a response hampered by inadequate equipment, let them down.

Secondly, we know all this already: all this, and more was said by the London Assembly report published in the spring. They had the single remit to investigate how London coped on the day, and they did so by interviewing responders ( emergency services, police, telephone operators) and survivors. It was the first public, independent investigation of SOME of the facts.

And it caused an uproar: for the first time, the public heard the real story of the chaos after the carnage. They heard all that back in June.

This latest report, from what I can gather, ( and I'll read it as soon as it is out) simply reiterates what has already been said by the London Assembly: it talks about victims, the effects of 7/7 on them, how London coped, but it misses the opportunity to talk about causes. It misses the chance to look at what led up to July 7th, and to look at why it happened and how it happened.

So what is the point of this report? I am grateful that John Reid and Tessa Jowell listened to us, but it's not about making me feel better. I simply want to do what I can to stop this happening again. I'm sure everyone does. So why can't we have a proper independent inquiry? All these reports, internal reports, official accounts, some of which even partially contradict each other, many of which are notable for what they don't cover as much as what they do, are no substitute for an independent inquiry, and having all the information in one place for the public, who are told daily they are a target, to look at and understand and discuss.

Yet again the Government misses a golden chance to bring understanding, healing, to lance the widespread anger about the refusal to discuss foreign policy's part in the roots of radicalisation. If we did that, maybe we could look to a safer, calmer future together. It misses the chance to have a sane, grown-up debate about the issues that affect all of us, every man and woman and child in the UK. For me, it's not about being a victim, it's about trying to save future lives. It's already happened to me: now how can we stop it happening to YOU?

It looks to me as if the Government will have any number of difficult private meetings, even say sorry to our anxious faces, admit that victims anger is 'justified', rather than have an independent, public investigation about the causes of July 7th. It misses the point, yet again.

It will pass dozens of authoritarian laws, sanction raiding houses, disrupting holidays, arresting people and holding them without charge, even the occasional shooting of innocent people in the name of the war on terror, but it won't talk about how we got to this point, how safe we are, and whether there is anything we can learn about the causes of homegrown terrorism in the UK.

It is a great shame and a sad scandal, and a missed opportunity, because if we did look at the causes, rather than just the effects of July 7th, we might all have more of a chance.

I am completely fed up with this; fed up of being asked to stand up and make these obvious points over and over again. I want to plan my wedding, get on with my life; I am sick of 7/7 still being in my life, but at least I still have a life. I am just a random person who got on a train, and got blown up, and who ended up trying to help herself and others deal with it by sharing information and helping each other in the absence of official support and help, and asking questions that I am not alone in wanting answers to. How safe are we? Why did this happen? What are we doing to stop it happening again?

These are obvious questions. I can't believe I have to push and push like this to get sensible answers. And that we're all still waiting, fourteen months on and here I still am, exhausted, still going on about it.

But this is important. So I've taken the day off work as a holiday and in between going to the dentist, I'll be talking to journalists, with other survivors and bereaved families. Sky Sunrise, BBC News 24, C4 12pm news, BBC Radio 4 World At One, BBC 1.30pm London News, ITN 1pm News, BBC Asian Network, ITN London Tonight, BBC 6.30pm London news, and the papers. I'll try and report back during the day, once I've read the report, due out in an hour.

UPDATE: Blimey, I am knackered. All news channels done, with further testimony and support from Kirsty, Michael and Jacqui who are doing the rounds too, well done them. Okay, coverage round up, now I'm back from the dentist...

Channel 4 report ( video)
BBC News ( includes link to report)
Times
Sky News
Watch Sky news report
Listen to BBC Radio 4 World at One
ITN website ( & report, which I can't watch on this PC, curses)
BBC London news ( will show tonight's prgramme later this evening)
Telegraph ( has video)
Independent
The Mirror
The Sun
Guardian( includes link to report)

Look out for a special report on the BBC's The Politics Show this Sunday 12pm

UPDATE 2: Bloggers on the subject. Please let me know if I've missd you out.

Obsolete
Bloggerheads
Ellee
Not Saussure

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel

Your frustration really shows in this posting where you ask a number of questions.

However, may I ask you some questions?

Why do you think they won't discuss the causes?

Why do you think are they so scared of the truth (whatever that may be) coming into the public domain?

Why do you think, in the city with the highest density of CCTV in the world, have they not released footage of the whole journey the bombers took that day? (After all the investigation is a done deal isn't it? All the bombers are dead?)

Why do you think information is being recycled in report after report? (Say something often enough and loud enough it becomes fact perhaps?)

In my opinion, everything I have read from the government about that day, the stonewalling, the repetition of the same information over and over is like a magician, distracting an audience's attention to carry out an illusion.

September 22, 2006 9:56 am  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Rachel, it seems your observations were right, what can you do next? I have posted on this too.

I'm watching BBC lunchtime news and there is nothing about it on TV because the report had no new lines in it, presumably. Very disappointing, but I expect that would please the Government.

Btw, do go ahead and plan your wedding, I'm sure you will make a beautiful bride.

September 22, 2006 1:24 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Rachel, it seems your observations were right, what can you do next? I have posted on this too.

Btw, do go ahead and plan your wedding, I'm sure you will make a beautiful bride.

September 22, 2006 1:25 pm  
Anonymous Gill Hicks said...

Dear Rachel
I have just seen you on BBC news - YES! This is the voice that I want to echo a thousand times over! As a fellow survivor, you are right - there is nothing else that can be done, rather than reflecting on what the emergency services did or didnt do is somehow missing the point - the government and WE are citizens need to find out the EXACT causes of why this happened and together to NEVER allow this to happen again. I'm with you! -
Gill xxxx

September 22, 2006 1:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yet again the Government misses a golden chance to bring understanding, healing, to lance the widespread anger about the refusal to discuss foreign policy in the roots of radicalisation. If we did that, maybe we could look to a safer, calmer future together."
We also would have to stop the pope making speeches: http://catholiclondoner.blogspot.com/2006/09/very-rushed-post.html
In fact saying/doing anything which might offend our Muslim friends. Perhaps in the interests of public safety you can start to compose a list and put it on your blog.

September 22, 2006 2:56 pm  
Anonymous Chris King said...

Anonymous,

What the government are desperate to avoid is any kind of report that links the motives of the bombers with the attack on Iraq. Minister's conflation of motive with justification whenever this is raised shows how scared they are.

Chris

September 22, 2006 3:43 pm  
Blogger alanisayetti said...

An excellent summation. Intriguing. Not another pointless report!

September 22, 2006 7:17 pm  

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