Lawyers: They're a Blight,not a Solution

Daily Mail (London), March 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Lawyers: They're a Blight,not a Solution


Byline: PETER MCKAY

SINCE Sir William Macpherson's report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence has descended into a cynical farce in a matter of days, shouldn't we have an inquiry into the inquiry?

Who is the true author of the Lawrence report's contradictory findings? Why did the exposure of the witnesses go unnoticed, and uncorrected, for weeks?

Why was the Lawrence family's QC, Michael Mansfield, allowed to get away with suggesting at the outset that Sir William was 'racially insensitive' and should stand down?

If we're obliged to accept that Scotland Yard is 'institutionally racist', that racist behaviour in our own homes should be monitored, that suspects in racist crimes should be tried twice, shouldn't those who came up with these historic conclusions be questioned further by MPs?

Otherwise we may conclude that the Home Office decided in advance what the report was going to say and stacked the deck accordingly.

Sir William was regarded as an odd choice as inquiry chairman because he's a retired judge with a castle in Perthshire and little experience of inner-city problems.

But might that have suited the Home Office?

No one would suspect him of being in cahoots with the social engineers and race relations zealots clamouring to dictate the report's conclusion.

Mr Mansfield's attack on Sir William's credentials could be seen as a means of putting the

72-year-old judge on his best behaviour. If he came to the conclusion Mr Mansfield sought, fine. If he didn't, Mr Mansfield had already undermined his standing and the row would have gone on.

Since it was lawyers, and not 'racism', who devised the bent criminal justice system which failed Stephen Lawrence's parents, why have a retired judge chair the inquiry in the first place? Why not a company boss, an eminent surgeon or a newspaper editor?

Perhaps because Home Secretary Jack Straw, his deputy Paul Boateng, Sir William Macpherson and Michael Mansfield are all lawyers.

GIVE US NEWS, NOT VIEWS, TREVOR ...

AS NEWS At Ten moves to 6.30pm this week and becomes the Evening News, newscaster Trevor McDonald promises he will continue to speak for 'the persecuted and the dispossessed'.

He declares: 'If we all do our job in the news properly, people will never again be able to say, as they did of the Holocaust, "we didn't know''.'

Warming to his theme, Mr McDonald says ITN cannot force the Prime Minister to act 'or make President Clinton listen as we show bodies in the snow in Kosovo or people being butchered to death in Rwanda ... but they can't claim they did not know about them'.

Using memories of the Holocaust and citing modern-day savagery to plug ITN's new slot is in poor taste.

It's also nonsense. Plenty knew what the Nazis were doing but not enough of them cared. Neither will ITN coverage deter modern acts of barbarity.

TV pictures of killings and mutilations often encourage even greater cruelty, or draw outside governments into making commitments which lead to far greater loss of life.

Expecting a bit more from Girl Power

HUGELY pregnant and naked apart from a few ethnic jewellery adornments - Scary Spice Mel B poses for a colour magazine. Posh Spice (also expectant) and her fiance David Beckham turn their forthcoming marriage into a media feeding-frenzy.

Why these attention-seeking stunts?

Obviously they fear fans have drifted Expecting a bit more from Girl Power away during their confinement. There's also the need to compete against former Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell as she relaunches herself as a solo performer.

In Spice affairs, as in all trade, competition is the thing.

Neither pregnant, nor married, Baby Spice and Sporty Spice, above, are hardly pulling their weight.

DOES Channel 5 have a regular audience? A flickering picture appears on my own set and, out of curiosity, I watch it sometimes. …

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