Tuesday, March 27, 2007

David Davis comes out for an independent inquiry

...in the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend. I don't agree with all of what he says, and I am not a Conservative but I am glad that he said it. Timing is everything. Ho hum.

''America confronted its failure to prevent 9/11 with three formal inquiries. They galvanised a consensus to force through the changes required to prevent another 9/11.''

''The contrast with Britain is sobering. No independent inquiry after the July 7 bombings. No lessons learnt. A lack of political will and resources to tackle the terrorist threat. The Prime Minister's Delivery Unit describes government strategy as "immature, disjointed and weak", lacking the capacity to measure "real world impact".

''...gestures and gimmicks, including ID cards, 90-day detention and control orders, are no substitute for serious law enforcement...''

''The Conservatives will put politics aside [I'll believe that when I see it - RN] and support this Government in taking measures to strengthen our defences against another attack. But the Government must face up to past mistakes. It must be as candid about the weaknesses in our defences as it is about the terrorist threat we now face. It must answer our call for an independent inquiry into the attacks of July 2005. Britain deserves no less.''

Thing is, he's mostly right. Especially about gestures and gimmicks, and about this being above politics, though sadly the only way for politicians to take notice of any genuine concern is if it is political, or in the media and hence an ''issue''. There are hundreds of important issues for politicians to consider. But this is a very important one, because it is not just about the dreadful waste of life and injuries of summer 2005. It's about freedom and liberty and security and fear, foreign and domestic policy, communication and communities and integration and trust and where we go from here, what sort of society we build, what sort of world we live in and it affects far more people than those directly involved on 7 July 2005. It affects us all.

And I wish that the Government would just be honest with us. So there's - what - 3500 - 5000 terrorists, planning a score or more attacks? That's scary, but still dealable with, so let's stop demonising 1 million British Muslims and freaking ourselves out about The Terror That Stalks The Streets (TM) - because the actual percentages of people involved in this suicide-bombing-murder-exonerating-death-cult perversion of an ancient religion is tiny. For now.

These people planning plots are no more representative of UK Muslims than people blowing up animal labs are representative of vegetarians. Tell us the stats. We can do the maths. Fear might sell policies and newspapers and help along stale political careers - but people want to know the truth, not the hype or the sell. We're grown ups too, you know. We can deal with it, however bad it is, however bad you think it is. We got through two world wars and bombs falling on our cities day after day and people dying. Just come out with it, the real situation. You'll probably find that people are already imagining that it's a whole lot worse, because they just don't know at the moment and they don't trust the Government and that, that is far more toxic and destructive than a clear-eyed look at what went right, what went wrong and what the threat is now, after 7 July.

So M15 didn't scoop up all the clues, and made mistakes, and are still scrambling, flat out? So Government policy - especially foreign policy - but domestic economic policy too - and a thousand decisions made over a dozen years have all impacted on getting us where we stand today? Okay. Just. Admit. It.

Then can we all start from a different, better place. It's not making mistakes that's unforgiveable -it's refusing to admit it, and then trying to cover them up, and then refusing to let anyone criticise the cover ups and obfuscations and carefully chosen words, the leaks and briefings and spin, and counter-spin, and the endless avoiding of an inquiry out of what is increasingly starting to look like...embarrassment.

Which is worse than shameful, it's dishonest and disgraceful and insulting.

Come on. Just...help us out here. And help yourselves, while you are at it.
It's not that difficult. And it's starting to look like it's bloody well essential.

UPDATE: Over half of this blog's readers have signed this petition. This is a small blog, and I am asking you to circulate it and pass it around. Now, if you want to look clever and prescient, or in a few weeks or days time. Remember - David Davis has come out, so this is real, and there is no need to be scared. It's a signature. What's to lose?

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Blogger Jane Henry said...

OK Rachel, you've persuaded me, and I've signed too.

I think you are absolutely right, it's not the fact that mistakes have been made - no one can get it right all the time, and it must be incredibly hard sifting through all the stacks of info they have to get through and pick up the vital thing that may or may not prevent an attack - but the lying about it. I think what depresses me so much about this government is that they lie with such impunity because either a) they despise us or b) they think we're too stupid to notice, or c) both...

I grew up with IRA bombs, and commuted through bomb scares. Sometimes it is very scary, but if you don't go to work the terrorists have done their job. Stoking up the fear unnecessarily is no good to anyone.

I think the situation that the Muslims are in now is very similar to that of Irish Catholics in the 70s (I went to school with lots - but don't recall meeting any terrorists). Undoubtedly there were sympathisers, but in the main people had come here to get away from all that. If they became more hardline because of the general population's attitude, can you blame them?

love Janex

March 30, 2007 3:18 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you very much indeed Jane ( and everyone else!)

March 30, 2007 3:34 pm  

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