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Tuesday, March 14, 2006 

"Sir" Ian Blair: Better the devil you know?

The revelations yesterday that "Sir" Ian Blair had recorded phone conversations with, among others, the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, isn't much of a surprise and seems rather hypocritical of the journalists who have since said that he should either quit or be "carefully considering his position". All journalists record conversations - often without bothering to tell the person that they're recording. That was Blair's mistake - he didn't tell them that he had done so, otherwise it seems unlikely that they would have objected. After all, most ministers have civil servants listening into their phone conversations.

What it does seem to highlight is that there are those within the Met and the media are out to get Blair. He hasn't helped himself, it has to be said. His remarks on the Soham girls were daft in the way he explained them. If what he meant was that some cases end up being much more of a story than others, which anyone looking at the Grauniad's special on missing people last week would have realised, which featured a few teenage girls who have disappeared of which has elicited no nationwide attention - then he was absolutely right. He was also right to highlight that he thinks racism is endemic in the media - certainly in the tabloids, for an example. Such statements make him an enemy of the anti-political correctness brigade. Then there are his mistakes over the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, his scaremongering over the terrorist threat and his part in the case for 90 days detention without trial for terrorist suspects - all of which are much more serious than the issues highlighted by the likes of the Daily Mail.

It feels odd to be becoming something of an apologist for "Sir" Ian Blair, but if he does go it seems likely that his replacement may well be a lot worse. Blair is serious about making sure the police reflect the society they secure - something which others in the Met utterly reject. In this case it may well be better with the devil we currently know and dislike - rather than have an autocrat or political appointee who will be even more craven in their support for this government's attacks on civil liberties.

(Sorry about the lack of images the last couple of days - blogger as usual seems to be undergoing problems. The one at the top has been copied from an earlier post.)

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