"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" - James Baldwin
Thursday, 9 April 2020
Poacher Turned Gamekeeper
Sir Keir Starmer (“I never liked titles”) Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and Leader of the Labour Party.
a barrister in 1986 Sir K represented striking print-workers at Wapping
and four years later gave free legal advice to poll-tax protestors.
his appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Head of
the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2008, Sir K oversaw the
prosecution of MPs and Lords who were accused of abusing their
parliamentary expenses. He also initiated the successful retrial of the
killers of Stephen Lawrence. At this time he notably defended the Human
Rights Act against Tory hostility.
a DPP’s main role is about exercising state power and he was happy to
oblige. He promoted prosecuting people for protesting, and introduced
the term “domestic extremist”.
K was DPP when the CPS was accused of covering up evidence about the
‘spycop’, Mark Kennedy. He had infiltrated environmental groups between
2003 and 2009. In 2011, a CPS approved trial of environmental activists
accused of breaking into Ratcliffe power station collapsed. The
Defendants produced recordings of Kennedy attending protestors planning
One Over the System” was how he referred to those people who fail to
declare a piece of information to the Dept of Health & Social
Security (DHSS). For example, when part-time workers on housing benefit
fail to tell the authorities that their hours at work have increased
they were ‘getting one over’.
played well with Sun headlines about ‘benefit scroungers’ and when Sir K
called for the prosecution of demonstrators with scarves around their
faces, he was supplying them with further copy.
Sir K was DPP in 2009 when Sussex Police referred four cases of child abuse by Sir Jimmy Saville to the CPS. They were dropped with the claim that there was “insufficient evidence”.
is quite possible to read all this and think “The system’s the system.
Maybe he was doing his best even when his role was compromised.” Maybe,
but it's something that could never be said about Jeremy Corbyn.