Izzy and I went to see The Boat that Rocked
last night.It was great; Richard Curtis definitely still has it was full of everything that makes British films great. It even had a male-bonding scene over tea and biscuits. Ruined, sadly, by the same-as-everything marginalisation of female, gay and chromatic characters. It passed the Bechdel test with one line, but failed to show the relevant characters as anything other that support to the straight white men.
Then I came home to the news that police in my city attacked a innocent man without provocation
and caused his death.
In my city. In my country.
I can only echo what Penny Red
Men die in London every day. But this death was different. This was unprovoked murder, at police hands, and I didn't know this man in life but I am sitting here in tears, because, you know what?
I genuinely trusted them.
That's what bites: I trusted them. I didn't trust them to behave altogether decently, because I'm a frothing little paranoid Red, but I did actually trust the police not to assault unarmed old men with heart conditions, at least until I had concrete evidence to the contrary. I read the reports and I thought: that's dubious, but it's probably an accident. I mean, we should investigate it and everything, but I'm sure it's going to turn out to have been an accident. A man with a weak heart gets caught in the crowd. Tragic, but not police murder. The police don't target innocents without provocation, they don't beat people to death with sticks, not in my city. Not in this country. We don't do that here, I mean, especially not since that cock-up with De Menezes. The police wouldn't do that, would they? Not in this country.
Well, now they do.
I'm not sheltered or very naive; I've travelled and I watch global news and I read, but I've only ever lived in London and the home counties, and I'm conditioned to trust the police
. They're not model citizens by any means, obviously. They're famously racist and misogynistic when dealing with suspects, victims or their own colleagues. They sometimes protect their own interests. They make horrendously tragic and avoidable errors in judgement. Some of them are arseholes. They're flawed, and human, and have room for improvement.
But this - I do not expect police officers in Britain to hit an innocent bystander - who even then didn't look well, shove him to the ground and then stand around menacingly while he stays down. Then lie about it and say they tried to help.
Ian Tomlinson was murdered by police.
In my city.
[Coverage on Liberal Conspiracy
: Follow up protest this Saturday
which I won't be able to make