Friday, December 16, 2005

My dad asks for a public inquiry

Dear Charles Clarke

My daughter was 7 feet from the King's Cross bomb. She survived, 26 others didn't. We all deserve a public inquiry so we can understand WHY this happened and what we can learn from it. My daughter has written extensively about this and set up a support group for over 90 survivors. To our knowledge not one member of Parliament has been in touch with a survivor to ask what the Government can do for them or even how they are coping. An inquiry would alleviate the sense of outrage we all feel when politicians presume to speak in the name of survivors and their families.

Yours sincerely

Rev. Phillip, [Rachel North's dad]



Blogger R said...


You're in a unique position to press home this argument, but of course you speak for thousands of us. This government may believe that right and wrong, truth and falsehood are all just a matter of opinion and spin, but personally I prefer your take on things. The truth has a nasty habit of sticking around and causing embarrassment to the people who want it to go away. The more excuses they give for not having this public inquiry, the worse they look. I don't think this is an argument the government can ultimately win. Please keep up the good work in helping them to understand this. If there isn't one already, I'd suggest setting up an online petition (eg. urging a public inquiry - I think you'd quickly get thousands of signatures.


December 16, 2005 9:35 am  
Blogger R said...

PS - if you can suggest some "we the undersigned..." petition text, I'd be happy to do the fiddly bits (they aren't really that fiddly but I've done it before so I could whizz through it) to get an online petition set up demanding a public inquiry.


December 16, 2005 11:16 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Great, thanks RW.

How about...

'We, the undersigned, call for a fully comprehensive Public Inquiry that will provide us the information we need as to what actually happened, how it happened and why it happened so that we will be better prepared to prevent such tragedy happening again. We, the public were attacked. We, the public have questions. We, the public want our questions answered, independently, transparently and honestly'

What do you think? Will that do?

December 16, 2005 1:45 pm  
Blogger R said...

Sounds pretty good to me - may I suggest just a couple of "twiddles"? - The closing sentences are really powerful so I thought we might link them in by modifying the opening sentence slightly.

"We, the British Public, call for a fully comprehensive Public Inquiry into the July 7th 2005 London Bombings.

Only this can provide us with the information we need as to what actually happened, how it happened and why it happened so that we will be better prepared to prevent such a tragedy happening again.

We, the Public were attacked. We, the Public have questions. We, the Public want our questions answered, independently, transparently and honestly"

Is this alright - any further thoughts?

The only further question is who we address the online petition to - Is simply "To the British Government" OK?

December 16, 2005 2:58 pm  
Blogger R said...

PS - I'm not dead set on "capitalising" the word "Public" in the final parag, but thought it might make it a bit clearer. By the way, Military Families Against the War, have a petition here on a related issue:

December 16, 2005 3:03 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Fab, let's roll!

Big thanks!

December 16, 2005 3:03 pm  
Blogger Dr. Deb said...

What a great Dad you have!!!!!!!


December 16, 2005 3:22 pm  
Blogger R said...

1 signature, and counting...!

December 16, 2005 3:23 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Ace, let's go!

December 16, 2005 4:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi rachel,

i agree with your dad 1000% not to have an enquiry is scandalous...and it proves the governments contempt for its citrizens.


December 16, 2005 4:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"An enquiry would alleviate the sense of outrage we all feel when politicians presume to speak in the name of survivors and their families."


Would an investigation into the causes of the 7/7 stop politicians from making contentious policy decisions based upon the events?

With all due respect to the victims of the bombing, and I was close - but not that close - to one of them, and evacuated on that day, I don't see how a public enquiry would do anything at all - other than serve as a lightning rod for opposition to the government (particularly amongst those that suspect the bombings were linked to the war they opposed in Iraq).

March 27, 2006 2:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tom here again - last one I promise!

OK, why a public enquiry? In the Sunday Times article you list some reasons, all after the fact/emergency response measures. So, the enquiry would be on how the capital should respond to emergencies?

But then you link to an article with some security "expert" promoting his book by saying the bombings were "preventable" because at some point MI5 tracked one of them for a bit. And then *another* Sunday Times article reports that MI5 agents want an enquiry (just none of them will say so in public ...).

But then the game is given away by linking to lame Chomsky-lite writer Milan Rai who "exposes" the link between Iraq and 7/7.


Why do I feel uneasy about those that blame the government for 7/7? Is it because of the dangers of conflation? Where one element gets linked to another and then gets linked to another?

Can Islamic extremism really be solely blamed on the actions of governments of the west?

I don't think a public enquiry would ever resolve that question. Limit the enquiry to technocratic questions of emergency response and you've got my support.

Try to link it to SWP-inspired claims about the war in Iraq or claim that an enquiry will give the victims 'closure' and I really don't see the point.

March 27, 2006 2:42 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

My reasons are given in the Sunday Times article: broadly, to save lives and spare future suffering by learning lessons from what happened.

Others want an enquiry for other reasons.

It is not for me to set the terms of a public enquiry, that is done by the minister commissioninng it - and only ministers can commission them now.

I do think - like the majority of the UK public - that our misadventures in Iraq have increased the risk of terror here - and that is not a controversial view - even M15 think that, the Joint Intelligence Committee warned of this in 2003.

But my main reasons for wanting a public enquiry are:

to find out why 7 July happened, to find out exactly what happened ( there has still been no official version) , and what happened afterwards anmd to see if we made mistakes that we can learn from
( clue: we did) . The survivor testimony about, for instance, ambulances response times, aftercare and the chaos of the day should give some indication of the mess it was and that people suffered and were not looked after properly, that there were multiple failures on the day.

And as we, the public, run the risks each day on the streets and public transport, then it behoves the Governemtn to answer the questions and anxieties we have, about the risks that we run and if anything can be done to lessen them.

It is not about closure, for me. And I doubt it will cover foreign policy; but it could look at why young British men have been attracted to an ideaology that advocates mass murder, and how many young men feel this way.

March 27, 2006 2:54 pm  

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