Tag Archives: g20

Smellie verdict shows shocking lack of accountability in British policing

That’s the headline on this interesting piece over on the Our Kingdom site:

In the aftermath of the G20 protests many predicted that no sort of justice could be expected from either the Independent Police Complaints commission (IPCC), the courts or the Met when it comes to holding the police force to account.  The recent ruling that Sergeat Delroy Smellie is not guilty of assault for his attack on Nicola Fisher is yet another indication that there is no accountability within British policing.

You can read the full piece here.

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Dodgy dealings at the G20?

Chris Jordan is Economic Justice Campaigns Officer at at ActionAid and writes about their new campaign – and the opportunity you have to suggest a question to be put to Treasury Minister Stephen Timms.

With the G20 newly anointed as the premier global economic forum, the final Finance Ministers meeting of the year of the in St Andrew’s on 7 November will provide a useful insight into just what kind of ‘G’ the 20 intends to be.

Will they take the path of the G8, making and breaking commitments on an annual basis, or take the opportunity to step up and …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 25 September 2009

Loyal readers, I’d like to start this morning with a quick reminder to complete this online survey – it’s designed to explore the views and activities of the users of four UK Party-related websites – LabourHome, Labour List, ConservativeHome and Lib Dem Voice. The overall goal of the project is “to better understand how and why party members, supporters and voters in general are using the web and blogs to engage with politics and political organisations.”

It’s being conducted by the Hansard Society in association with researchers at the University of Manchester and University of Salford.

To do your good …

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Daily View 2×2: 6 September 2009

Welcome to the Sunday edition of The Voice’s Daily View. And as it’s a Sunday, it’s also time for a multimedia chocolate extra. But first…

Big Stories

Straw admits Lockerbie trade link

Trade and oil played a part in the decision to include the Lockerbie bomber in a prisoner transfer deal, Jack Straw has admitted.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the UK justice secretary said trade was “a very big part” of the 2007 talks that led to the prisoner deal with Libya.

However, Mr Straw’s spokesman accused the press of “outrageous” innuendo. (BBC)

G20 papers over cracks on bank capital, pay

The G20 made progress on Saturday in toughening up financial rules but vague compromises over bank capital and pay curbs indicate that fundamental issues remain unresolved.

The crash of Lehman Bros that brought the world’s financial system to its knees last September was uppermost in minds at the April G20 meeting, which adopted pledges to make it harder for banks to mess up economies in future.

Translating pledges into concrete action is proving to be more painstaking as vested national interests emerge and economic recovery takes the heat out of pressures to reform.

Still, the mood music at Saturday’s meeting contrasted with the tense summit five months ago when fear stalked the corridors of governments and banks were on tenterhooks as to their fate.


2 Must-Read Blog Posts

(Both of these posts have been selected from those which appeared on Lib Dem Blogs on Saturday. To read more from other Liberal Democrat blogs, take a look at the Lib Dem Blogs website and to see what Lib Dems have been saying on Twitter, take a look at Liberal Tweets.)

Sunday Bonus

Men eating chocolate. It’s what YouTube was invented for.

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Met Police to Twitter at protesters

CO11MetPolice twitter screenshot

The Metropolitan Police are trying new tactics to engage with environmental activists at next week’s Climate Camp in London.

The Met have opened a Twitter account @CO11MetPolice (named after its public order unit) which is intended “specifically to inform the Camp for Climate Action of any operational updates relating to the policing of their event starting on 26 August.”

From the Metropolitan Police website:

If you follow us, you can expect tweets covering some or all of the following:

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Clegg on Afghanistan: Government strategy “over-ambitious and under-resourced”

The decision by Nick Clegg to break the political concensus by questioning British military strategy in Afghanistan, combined with further tragic casualties in the past week, has seen the conflict propelled to the forefront of national debate. Today the Prime Minister came to the Commons to deliver a Parliamentary statement on the war in Afghanistan and last week’s G8 Summit. Here’s what Nick Clegg said in response:

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Huhne: G20 report highlights inadequate police strategies

No sooner had LDV reported this morning on the continuing questiuons over police tactics at last year’s Kingsnorth climate camp than Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary’s (HMIC) report on the G20 protests was published showing that police crowd control tactics are ‘inadequate’ and should be reviewed.

Commenting, Chris Huhne, Lib Dem shadow home secretary, said:

Aspects of the policing of the G20 protests clearly fell far short of what this country expects. This report documents not just failures of individual discipline, but inadequate police strategies and training for dealing with peaceful protest.

“HMIC is right to say that

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Inexperienced officers in protest frontline – never again, say MPs

An inquiry by MPs into the 1 April G20 protests has concluded that untrained police officers must never again be placed in the frontline of public protest.

From the Guardian:

The conclusion from the Commons home affairs select committee inquiry into the G20 protests of April 1 follows admissions from senior Metropolitan police officers that some inexperienced officers, who were clearly quite scared, used “inappropriate force”.

The report by the cross-party group of MPs says they “cannot condone the use of untrained, inexperienced officers on the frontline of a public protest under any circumstances”.

The inquiry also calls for the police to seriously

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Opinion: The G20 protests – two months on, what lessons have been learned?

Two months have passed since the G20 and the brutal police operation against protesters in the City of London. Yesterday the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) met for the second time since the operation to question Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

At the first meeting the Met showed no signs of having taken on board the serious and widespread criticism of their actions and at times actively mis-represented what had taken place in an attempt to spin themselves out of trouble. So it was with a fair deal of scepticism that myself and Anna Bragga of Defend Peaceful Protest went down to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Opinion: We need a proper public debate on the future of protest policing in our country

Force is a physical power, and I fail to see what moral effect it can have. To yield to force is an act of necessity, not of will — at the most, an act of prudence. In what sense can it be a duty?’
J Jacques Rousseau

I don’t think I am the only one to have quoted the social contract over the G20 protests earlier this month. 350 years on from its writing, Rousseau’s work is still strikingly relevant. It is clear from the outcry following G20 that many are now questioning the role of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Police who hide ID numbers face the sack

Police officers who conceal their Force Identification Numbers “will face the sack” according to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson. He said it is “totally unacceptable” for officers not to wear their shoulder numbers.

From the BBC:

His comments follow allegation against several officers at the G20 protests – including the man who pushed newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson before he died.

New footage has emerged of the moments leading up to his death, as a third post-mortem examination was held.

Mr Tomlinson, 47, died minutes after he was pushed over during the demonstrations in central London.

The officer at the centre of the allegations

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Opinion: 6 lessons to be learned from the G20 policing

On the 16th February this year, it became illegal to take pictures of police “engaged in anti-terrorist measures” – a legal move widely seen as a prohibition on photographing the police at all, and a power that the police have already taken advantage of to the fullest extent (see, for example, this report in The Guardian).

Notwithstanding this ban, I bravely picked up my camera and set off on April 1st to the various G20 demos, to act as an observer and legal adviser if needed. I was not alone! Lib Dem MP Tom Brake was there (you can watch …

Posted in Op-eds | 4 Comments

Dee Doocey: “Surveillance cuts both ways”

“Never again,” says Dee Doocey AM, Member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, on the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 demonstrations on April 1st.

Writing on the Progressive London blog today, Dee lists six basic principles which should be reflected in future police policy towards protest:

• Demonstrations and other peaceful forms of protest are a fundamental democratic right

• Demonstrations are usually peaceful

• Policing should be proportionate

• It is unacceptable for any officer deliberately to obscure his or her identification number

• The police must exercise due care and attention when making statements to the media

• The police have Britain’s reputation …

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Respec’ to Da Fink: Comment Central apologises to Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems

Straightforward public apologies are an almost extinct species. Such mea culpas are nearly always hedged-about, heavily-caveatted, explained-away with mealy-mouthed phrases (‘the general point remains’, ‘based on information available at the time’, ‘written in good faith’).

So I’m going simply to say well done, and thank you, to The Times’s Daniel Finkelstein for penning a simple and graceful apology to the Liberal Democrats for criticising the party’s monitoring of the policing of the G20 protests.

You can read my articles taking Danny’s original postings to task here, here, here and here.

Today, Danny has posted the following retraction to his Comment Central blog, Mature reflection on the Liberals and the G20, which I hope he’s happy for LDV to quote in full:

The decision of a number of senior Liberal Democrats to be legal observers at the G20 demonstrations prompted me to ask Nick Clegg whether he approved of their decision.

I suggested that for the front bench of a major political party to start monitoring the police was extraordinary.

My two posts on this theme attracted a large number of comments from Liberals with a big and a small L. They expressed disappointment, though not surprise, at my stance.

Well, I have returned from a few days away. I have read your comments. I have caught up with the stories about police conduct. And there is no doubt about it.

You, the critics, were right. I was wrong. And I am very sorry now that I wrote as I did.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Are City police trying to nobble CCTV footage?

Dr Pack of this parish has been tracking the IPCC through various dimensions of reality with the assiduity of a timelord over the past few days. First they said there were no public CCTV cameras in the Cornhill area, then they said there were cameras but they weren’t turned on, then they said the chap who said there were no cameras thought he was right but wasn’t, etc etc.

Well, at least they seem to be getting their act together with regard to private CCTV footage in the area. They claimed yesterday:

Continue reading »

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Ian Tomlinson’s death and the CCTV puzzler

In a good bit of sleuthing, the Ill and Ancient blog (via Wardman Wire) has put together a photo montage revealing that there are three CCTV cameras in place covering the location where Ian Tomlinson got hit and pushed to the ground by a policeman during the G20 protests. You can see it for yourself here.

Why does this matter? Well, it’s because the police and the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission, who are investigating Ian Tomlinson’s death) have both said there’s no CCTV footage of the incident.

I’ve previously blogged about the contrast between the earlier very …

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Police change their tune on G20 CCTV coverage

Regarding the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests, reading this:

Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, gives the first interview about the death of Ian Tomlinson to Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Hardwick said of the assault:

“We don’t have CCTV footage of the incident… there is no CCTV footage, there were no cameras in the location where he was assaulted.”

Speaking to More 4 News, the IPCC confirmed Hardwick’s comment, saying that the CCTV cameras overlooking the incident were not working.

reminds me of how, before the story of the police’s connect to Ian Tomlinson’s death came out, the police

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

One week on, and not a peep from Danny

Cast your minds back to 1st April, and the G20 protests in London. You may recall two trenchant articles by The Times’s Daniel Finkelstein savaging four senior Lib Dems – Baroness Williams, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and David Howarth – for acting as legal observers monitoring the policing of the climate camp protest timed to coincide with the G20 summit.

Let me refresh your memories. Danny accused this “extraordinary delegation” of Lib Dems of an “extraordinary insult” to the police, and demanded Nick Clegg use Danny’s blog to denounce or renounce the activities of his colleagues.

Lib Dem …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

[email protected]: Tom Brake – Five hours inside a police ‘kettle’ was time to reflect on our lost liberties

Over at The Times, Lib Dem MP Tom Brake reflects on his experiences as an independent observer on behalf of Parliament at last week’s G20 protests. Here’s an excerpt:

There is a minority in some protests that does not mind causing trouble, and a smaller number that will actively seek violence, vandalism and aggression, thus stealing the headlines away from issues such as climate change, Third World debt, employment or the world economy. Anyone who has been to a protest, music festival or a football match accepts and understands that crowd control cannot be the easiest of jobs. It is a thankless task, with little praise when things pass off peacefully, but dominating headlines when tragic and appalling incidents such as that of Ian Tomlinson’s death occur.

On the day itself, I was rooted in one of the police “kettles” for five hours. I witnessed the professionalism of many police officers, as well as their final failure to tackle the situation properly and instead fan the flames. … “Kettling” is a tactic that should come under review. At the first sign of difficulty, the police present a wall of riot shields and batons around protesters — the peaceful alongside the problematic — and slowly squeeze them into a tighter space. People are allowed in, but absolutely no one is allowed to leave.

Slowly the number of inmates increases. No access to food. No water. Young trapped with the old. Journalists trapped with anarchists. People, like an elderly couple I spoke to, who simply did not want to be there at all. It is not surprising that under such conditions an otherwise overwhelmingly relaxed and peaceful crowd can become agitated, then angry, and then violent. The tactic proved misguided and counter-productive. It served to alienate a whole mass of peaceful protesters. …

There is now a different public mood to contain — one that wants to know why a man died. And the public will not be silenced this time by backing them into a corner.

You can read the article in full HERE. And you can watch Tom’s 2-minute video from inside the ‘kettle’ here:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Ian Tomlinson – video footage emerges

The video uncovered by the Guardian and apparently shot by a New York banker, shows Tomlinson walking along slowly, hands in pockets, away from a line of police who are handling dogs. They are moving forward behind him, when one apparently gets impatient, lunges forward and sends Tomlinson sprawling to the ground. There is an audible crack at this point, though it’s impossible to tell where it’s coming from.

Tomlinson is then helped by two protestors, and seems to be asking the police what the hell they did that for. One of them appears to answer

Posted in News | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Update on G20 death inquiry

The Observer reports on witness statements taken by the Independent Police Complaints Commission:

Investigators are examining a series of corroborative accounts that allege Ian Tomlinson, 47, was a victim of police violence in the moments before he collapsed near the Bank of England in the City of London last Wednesday evening. Three witnesses have told the Observer that Mr Tomlinson was attacked violently as he made his way home from work at a nearby newsagents. One claims he was struck on the head with a baton.

A police source told the Observer that Mr Tomlinson appears to have become caught between police lines and protesters, with officers chasing back demonstrators during skirmishes.

This possibility is supported by footage of an Al Jazeera reporter being caught in a police charge and pushed into the main body of the protestors while reporting to camera:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Gin-swigging Geldof joins chorus of calls for free trade

A BBC chin-wag with Bob Geldof was a predictable part of the G20 coverage, and culminated perhaps equally predictably, with ‘Sir Bob’ confessing that he’d been knocking back gin. He then peevishly crushed a plastic up and chucked it on the ground.

Sounds like my kind of evening.

Nonetheless, some of his sentiments, if not so predictable, were especially pertinent. On the importance of trade, he said:

Look, probably the great unsung triumph so far of the twenty-first century was the lifting of 400 million Chinese people out of extreme poverty—through trade.”

Furthermore, he urged governments to stop erecting …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

The silence of Da Fink

The Times’s Daniel Finkelstein suddenly seems uncharacteristically shy.

On successive days this week, he has denounced senior Lib Dems – Baroness Williams, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and David Howarth – for acting as legal observers to ensure the freedom to protest peacefully was respected at this week’s climate camp in London, organised to coincide with the G20 summit.

As I’ve previously mentioned – here and here – also on successive days Danny has neglected to mention last August’s Kingsnorth climate camp, after which serious concerns were raised about policing methods.

Nor has Danny acknowledged the concerns noted just 10 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Opinion: The morning after

I walked around the City of London this morning. Sunlight filtered through the banks and sandwich bars of the narrow streets, occasionally reaching the road, more often than not reflected from the acres of glass left gleaming and untroubled the the events of the previous days.

Around the Bank of England I searched for evidence of the violence and anarchy from the hard-core of the idiots who visited the G20 summit only to cause trouble. A rather lonely scrawl of “Fuck Capitalism” could be seen under the Bank’s museum entrance sign, and on the other side, more wittily someone had written “Because we’re evil” under a “No Bicycles” sign.

The small branch of RBS that had made the news as the nexus of ‘public’ anger had two windows boarded up and a rather cheerful offer of 3.5% interest on a cash ISA in the next.

Down Bishopgate where the peaceful Climate Camp had stretched for half a mile, before the Police decided to recycle their tents into environmentally unfriendly shopping bags, there was even less evidence that anything had happened.

The G20 had come, the G20 had gone, some people wanted a bit of a shout about it, and had achieved some commemorative mug shots of being oppressed to share with their mates on MySpace. Somebody accidentally died, and to everyone’s amazement it wasn’t Gordon Brown of embarrassment.

The concrete achievements of the G20 are hard to assess at this stage. Much of the money touted in the ‘historic’ $5 trillion package was from pre-announced national fiscal stimuli, much was optimistic, and much is likely to disappear after the cheerful world leaders go home to do hard sums with their Finance Ministers, several of whom will need to be coaxed down from the window ledges of their Treasuries.

What is clearly new though is the attitude and approach.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

UPDATE: Tom Brake inside the kettle!

Braking news (sorry, sorry) reaches my sofa that Tom Brake, attending the protest as a legal observer, was among those not permitted to leave the City cordon zone operated for several hours by police yesterday.

See the tardily-uploaded CNN report here. (Watch out also for the economically literate and articulate protester on just before Tom – quick, send that man a copy of The Storm and a membership form!)

h/t Will Rhodes

UPDATE: Tom has since put up a video of his experience in the kettle on Youtube.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

A question for Daniel Finkelstein on the G20 protests

Daniel Finkelstein has another of his regular pops at Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems today. (Danny’s an ex-SDPer, and, like a reformed smoker, is obsessively evangelical in his disdain for its successor party).

Today, as he did yesterday, Danny seeks to demonise four senior Lib Dem politicians – Baroness Williams, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and David Howarth – for acting as legal observers monitoring the policing of yesterday’s climate camp protest in London, timed to coincide with the G20 summit.

Today, as he did yesterday, Danny fails to mention the legitimate concerns which were raised – …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Dangerous and intimidatory police tactics made G20 violence inevitable

First let me put this in context, I was not involved with any group demonstrating in the city for the G20 protests. I am not an anticapitalist (I’m a Lib Dem) I work in marketing, for a charity and have never taken part in direct action.

However, I am concerned about climate change, one of the issues on the G20 agenda. I wanted to see exactly what the climate camp contingent were about, and what kind of message they wanted world leaders to hear. Considering the vast majority of scientific opinion believes we are in severe danger from climate change …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

Wild rumour and gossip from the streets of London

…And since I have spent much of the last twenty-four hours clicking refresh on the #G20 twitterstream, I may as well turn it into some semblance of reportage for those with better things to do.

It goes without saying that the Twitterers – including some good work by the Guardian team – were quicker with the news than any other channel. I first learned about the smashed windows at RBS, the police baton charges, and the police dogs from Twitter. “Dogs, horses and water cannon” is the procedure in public order situations, according to a friendly policeman talking to one of the Twitterers.

The consensus for much of the day was that the BBC were being slow and Sky News being sensationalist – the Beeb are always slow but I felt not all the Sky people were slavering with anticipation. “I must stress,” one of their on-the-ground people said, outside the sacked RBS branch, “That it’s a very small number of people causing the trouble.”  Still, they were the first after Reuters to get hold of the ghastly news that a man collapsed and died in the Bank protest at around 7.30 in the evening.

Posted in News | 9 Comments

PMQs: Cameron agrees with Clegg (but does it matter?)

I must apologise, must I not. I spent any spare moment yesterday glued to the #g20 Twitter stream, which says much in itself, not only about my indolence but about the relevance of PMQs to the concerns of the outside world.

It’s the nature of the beast with the G20, I think. It’s hard enough for journalists and commentators with thousands of words at their disposal to say anything meaningful about such a complex, open-ended and uncertain set of negotiations. A half-hour clutch of stage-managed questions and answers frequently interrupted by partisan honking stands no chance.

But before the G20 came up, Cameron opened on the question of the MPs expenses review and, unusually, made himself look like a bit of a tit by demanding a meeting between the three main party leaders. Twice. The second time after Brown had already agreed to one. Brown enjoyed a rare moment of fun with that. Cameron doesn’t often walk into traps that facile, and it makes one realise how much he relies on Brown’s dreadful slowness in debate.

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Is anger against the bankers distracting politicians from “real help now”?

It was inevitable that the economic crisis would dominate Barack Obama’s first year – and probably first term – as President. This month, Obama is reaching a decisive moment in his struggle to restore faith in the US economy. After some shaky starts, he has seen the stock market rally in response to a policy of not nationalizing failing banks. The New Yorker’s recent editorial provides a fantastic analysis of why Obama may be correct to disappoint economists on his left, and how his focus – in the short-term – is less on regulation to stop irregularities recurring in …

Posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds | 14 Comments

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