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Ben Chu

Ben Chu has been a leader writer at The Independent since 2004. Before that he worked at the paper on the comment desk, letters department and the personal finance pages. He studied history at Jesus College, Oxford between 1997 and 2000.

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Has the mystery of Sir Ian Blair been solved?

Posted by Ben Chu
  • Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 02:34 pm

The career of Sir Ian Blair has long been something of a puzzle. The consensus is that the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner was the quintessential "political" copper, sucking up to Labour ministers. And there was plenty of evidence to support this in the form of Sir Ian's open support for the Government's ID cards legislation and his active lobbying of MPs in favour of 90-day detention.

But then came the cash for honours investigation. As my colleague, John Rentoul, has pointed out, Sir Ian wasn't Tony Blair's favourite policeman after that episode. So how did he go from ministerial toady, to fearless upholder of the law? And why?

At the weekend Tarique Ghaffur, also late of the Met, had an explanation : "The [cash for honours] inquiry gave him [Blair] leverage over the Home Office. He needed its ongoing support as he dealt with the aftermath of the de Menezes affair and, with cash for honours hanging over the Government for a year or more, nobody in Whitehall would want to antagonise him." So the de Menezes disaster was what changed everything. Sir Ian didn't suddenly become apolitical over cash for honours; he was playing a political game for his own survival.

Now Ghaffur is obviously not an objective source, having taken the Met and Sir Ian to an employment tribunal, accusing them of racism. But his analysis would certainly make sense of Sir Ian Blair's switchback relations with his political masters.


De Menezes-murder under trust.
shanghai7 wrote:
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 06:33 pm (UTC)
Blair (Ian) does not have political masters.It is the police tail wagging the Westminster dog.
neil_mcgowan wrote:
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 07:22 pm (UTC)
It's more than obvious that Blair issued a shoot-to-kill order prior to the de Menezes killing - he and that gutless weasel Livingstone were on tv announcing it just 48 hours before the event. Clearly the idea was to have shot dead a "terrorist" and thus saved the dismal reputation of the Police.

But so great was Blair's arrogance that he'd didn't even conceive of the possibility of getting an innocent bystander.

The nobbling of the Menezes Inquiry - so that the jury can't return a verdict of Unlawful Killing, even though that is clearly the verdict which is required - is proof that this vile scum Ian Blair still holds the politicos by the short and curlies over something. Cash-For-Honours might well be it.

Isn't David Miliband in the frame for Cash-For-Honours as the man who actually did the selling?
de menezes killing
simonlevante wrote:
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 at 09:27 pm (UTC)
Is there some media shut down until after the decision? I find it incredible that there is no response in the media to the decision by the learned gentleman leading the inquest that unlawful killing cannot be handed out. Especially as he says that as the police marksman (killer) cried at the inquest and therefore, being a highly trained individual we must take into account what make such a person breakdown. no mention of what would make highly trained indivividuals make statements that a person jumped a ticket barrier? Or was seen running down an escalator? Or that allowed a suspect onto a bus and a tube train - the exact modus operandi that the previous bombings had used. What I read in the press beggars believe that there were not high level and local failures of a monumental scale in this incident. Can they be mitigated by the pressure people were under? From what I read, no. Is anyone left accountable - it appears not. Another whitewash of an inquiry.


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