Thursday, 24 March 2011

Bonfire Of The Vanities, UK Edition…

Hugh Muir watches as the flames are fanned:
There was anger, there were tears and it was standing room only in the Karibu Centre. Not everyone knew Smiley Culture, the reggae artist who died last week during a police operation to arrest him at his home, but everyone knew his music.
He was a musician? Oh, well, clearly a normal, non-psycho type. Just like Phil Spector.

Oh. Wait.
Now he is dead, in questionable circumstances.
Really? What sort of ‘questionable circumstances’ are those, then?
The authorities say Smiley, who faced drugs charges, stabbed himself through the heart while officers conducting a fresh drugs search were in another room.
Yes, and..?
His relatives insist that is highly unlikely.
But it’s perfectly likely that the cops decided to stab him to death, right? A two-bit coke offender?

When cop-killers and child-molestors no longer fall down the station steps?
They intend to fight this all the way and they'll have help. Hello again Lee Jasper.
Oh, gawd!
Remember Lee Jasper? He was a streetwise race activist, then equalities director during Ken Livingstone's London mayoralty.
Indeed. And then we remember why he isn’t any of those things any more.
He was hurried from office by hotly contested allegations – personal and professional – relentlessly pursued by the Evening Standard.
Yup, it was the media that did for him. Poor Jasper, just can’t catch a break, can he?
Smiley's relatives contacted Jasper, and he chaired that community meeting at the Karibu.
Because nothing says ‘We just want the truth!’ like hiring a known race-provocateur, does it?
It looked like something out of the 1980s I told him the following morning. But surely things are different now; black officers, black investigators on the police complaints body; all the things you campaigned for. Why are we back to this?
‘Because it’s a great paying gig!’ Jasper didn’t say…
"There was small-scale, incremental progress," he concedes. "We don't have the horror of black men being murdered and the police doing nothing. But it's a mixed bag. Look at the deaths in custody; look at stop and search, up by 70%."
You really can't trust the system, Jasper says. Not without community pressure to keep it honest – it's likely to be a three- to five-year battle. "But Smiley's relatives are extraordinary in their strength and dignity. They are certainly not naive."
If you’re eliminating the possibility that they aren’t naïve in hiring you to ‘get at the truth’, then they are complicit in whatever follows, right?

On their own heads be it, then…
So here comes a campaign, similar to those before, but boosted now by social media. Stand by for leaflets, meetings, the poignancy of a funeral. Testimony in favour of Smiley Culture; headlines spun against. And expect to hear quite a bit more from Lee Jasper.
I think we’ve already heard enough…


Anonymous said...

As far as I know it's black mums campaigning for stop and search, because it's one of the few things that might protect their kids.

It's the professional racists like Lee Jasper who are against it.

Carbon copy said...

Indeed, here comes a campaign.

But increasingly we see 'campaigns' like this being built on volume and pressure. I have no idea of the truth of what happened with this man, but sheer noise and intellectual nagging will ensure those running it will get media time as well as the reinforcing of the twin aims of all narrow aim interests: the growth of 'reactions' and polishing of 'public opinion'

None of all this will guarantee anyone gets to the truth but will certainly result in more regulations, new forms and extra boxes to be ticked.

All of which doesn't come cheap as pencils have to be bought, forms in triplicate stored somewhere and new figures or league tables issued.

Edwin Greenwood said...

No comment threads under the "Hideously Diverse Britain" section then, Hugh? Even though it's clearly op-ed, not news. Afraid of something, are we, Sunshine?

Ah, Lee Jasper of beloved memory. I wonder if he's still dipping Karen Chouhan in honey, or can he no longer afford that now the funding from Ken (and the council tax-paying population of London) has dried up?

This bollocks is going to be quite entertaining, innit?

David Gillies said...

"…everyone knew his music."

I'd never even heard of the useless waster. I imagine "music" is a highly plastic term in this instance.

I'm listening to Sheherezade at the moment (heard a bit in a taxi yesterday and realised it had been a while.) Now that is music. And Rimsky-Korsakov never stabbed himself while being done over by the Okhrana for drugs. Not even once.

Captain Haddock said...

Like David ..

Until this drug using/dealing waste of DNA did his bit to clean out the gene pool ..

I'd never heard of him either ..

So, there are no feelings of loss on my part ..

PS .. didn't Rimsky-Korsakov once get a caution for molesting Bumble Bees ? .. ;)

JuliaM said...

"As far as I know it's black mums campaigning for stop and search, because it's one of the few things that might protect their kids."

Well, quite. But Jasper knows best.

"...sheer noise and intellectual nagging will ensure those running it will get media time..."

It'll be a circus. And the media does love a circus.

"No comment threads under the "Hideously Diverse Britain" section then, Hugh?"

I noticed that. Thought they might open one later, but no..

"This bollocks is going to be quite entertaining, innit?"

Right up until the moment it all goes a bit PC Keith Blakelock, yes.

JuliaM said...

"I'd never even heard of the useless waster."

Me neither! But to listen to the 'Guardian', he was a veritable music maestro.