Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bloggin fi Peach

31 years after Blair Peach was killed on Beechcroft Avenue, Southall, on St George's Day 1979, the police have finally published the report written by Commander John Cass, along with other material they collected in the investigation. The release of the documents is a victory for Celia Stubbs, Peach's partner, especially since, as was always suspected, the report more or less confirms the widely-held view that Blair Peach was killed by a member of the Metropolitan Police Special Patrol Group (the SPG), a quasi-military outfit who had been accused of excesses against minorities throughout the 1970s.

As a boy the famous Wanted For Murder of Blair Peach poster was up in the front hall, and my mum told me that they knew who had done it, and that the SPG had got away with murder. But I had never read the reports of the police riot that day in Southall until now. The shocking events and even more shocking inquest and cover-up make me angry even today. And when you hear David McNee, then Met Commissioner, quoted as telling a black journalist: "If you keep off the streets of London and behave yourselves you won't have the SPG to worry about," it makes you wonder how people could stop from rioting themselves. (Oh, they couldn't.)

Nowadays there's hardly any riots, the police don't wade in quite as much, but of course they still kill people. You'd hope they pay a bit of attention to this report now. It's not the moaning minnies of the left that's accusing them this time, it's one of their own. There won't be a murder prosecution but it would be nice if the police taught their recruits the history. I'm not hopeful - when I met the riot squad guarding the G8 anarchist camp, they told me they'd never heard of the Battle of the Beanfield, and they did agree that it might sometimes be helpful to know a bit about why in particular people already think they're a bunch of cunts.