“The Met does not spin information”

30 03 2010

At the meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority the other day the Civil Liberties Panel presented its report on the policing of last year’s G20 protests. Most at the meeting were pleased with the report and praised its contents. Dave Hill has a couple of interesting stories about the meeting, the report and the Met.

Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin, filling in for Sir Paul Stephenson, took exception to suggestions that the Met had spread of disinformation about its handling of the events during the G20 protests. “The Met does not spin information,” he declared with feeling, conceding only that “sometimes we make mistakes.”

Cynics should remind Tim Godwin about the misleading press release issued by the Met three hours after Ian Tomlinson’s death and the days of evasiveness that followed. They would surely alight too on Commander Simon O’Brien remark that “all officers performed very well” and Commander Bob Broadhurst’s that “I am happy with the way the day progressed,” both made to Jane’s Police Review.

Perhaps Deputy Commisioner Godwin would care to explain the £40 million that police forces spent on ‘PR’ (or spin to you and me) in 2008.

Perhaps deputy Commisioner Godwin should also read Climate Camp’s legal team’s report of the G20 fiasco:

Police spin is overstepping the mark.
The police briefings start before the protest making it hard for the protestors to be heard 
on the issues they actually want to protest about. Once again, in the lead up to the 
Climate Camp and the G20 protests, there was increasing concern that the police were 
talking up the potential for violence in their press briefings. Justly, there are significant
concerns about the motivation for such activity and its appropriateness. Interestingly, 
at the Climate Camp the satellite TV vans were moved on before the significant escalation 
in police violence occurred. The next day embedded camera crew entered with riot police 
during police raids of two places where G20 protesters had been sleeping (many because they had not been allowed to leave the Climate Camp until after the 
Underground closed). The police reports on Ian Tomlinson’s death are typical of the 
disingenuousness of police briefings. Police media spin is not compatible with any 
reasonable notion of institutional accountability in a democracy.

Lets not even mention the Metropolitan Police’s outrageous lies and spin over the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes which the doctored photo below is ample evidence of:

Metropolitan Police Manipulation of Jean Charles de Menezes photo

When will the lies, deceit and spin end, when Deputy Commissioner Godwin, when?


Dispatches from Tower Hamlets – in the thick of it

16 03 2010

Never a dull moment in Tower Hamlets…

For months Private Eye Magazine has been reporting on the Labour led council in Tower Hamlets about corruption, poor planning and cronyism in its Rotten Boroughs column. Private Eye also warned in July 2009 of the influence of an organisation called IFE – Islamic Forum in Europe.

On the first of March this year Channel 4 Dispatches and Neo Labour’s favorite investigative journalist Andrew Gilligan produced ‘Britain’s Islamic Republic’ about a ‘fundamentalist’ Islamic group headquartered in Britain, and its claims to have placed its ‘brothers’ in positions of political power in Tower Hamlets. Using undercover recordings,  Gilligan reveals the group’s ambitions to create a worldwide ‘Islamic social and political order,’ and the concerns of a mainstream party that they are being ‘infiltrated’; and talks to the Muslims who want to stop it.

In a separate report, International Crisis Group reports on how the danger from homegrown terrorist organisations in Bangladesh such as Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh is exacerbated by its links to other Bangladeshi and international jihadi groups and to members of the Bangladeshi diaspora in Britain. New information has revealed operational ties to LeT and to al-Muhajiroun, the groups whose members took part in the London underground bombings of July 2005

The programme has caused quite a stir in the Borough as you can imagine… Labour candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow (currently held by George Galloway’s comedy vehicle) Rushanara Ali, hit back at comments in the programme by neighbouring Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, for ‘amplifying community tensions’. The ruckus is almost as vicious as the spat over proposals by the same Council for a series of sculptures on Brick Lane- there’s already the modern silver tower next to the Brick Lane Mosque, and now the proposed ‘hijab gates’ have residents up in arms – especially cuddly/rabid local Tracy Emin. 

Who needs satire when we have local politics? Well… along with ‘would be funny if it wasn’t true’ politics, we also now have  ‘could be true and is very funny’  political satire. If you have ever wondered what British Politics in the Neo Labour era was like from the inside, you must watch Armando Ianucci’s excellent ‘The Thick of It’ it is a comico- realist dissection of the way in which politics and politicians operate in 21st century Britain. Malcom Tucker – the policy enforcer / communications bully is terrifyingly funny as he fires off insults and combinations of expletives hitherto kept under wraps for exclusive use at 10 Downing Street (not for the faint hearted).