How the man of Straw revisited his finest hour

What the former Home Secretary might have done about policing; the silliness of Melanie Phillips (cont'd); and a bit else besides

Share

He may not deserve a monopoly of our sympathy over Hillsborough, but find a crumb of pity for the heroic Jack Straw. The cause of the 23-year cover-up, Jack explains, was the culture of impunity instilled in the police by Mrs Thatcher. A very fair point, and you could weep from regret that Jack never had a chance to address this himself. When Labour came to power in 1997, he was sidelined far, far from any influence over policing, in the impotent sinecure of Home Secretary.

Yet, even then, his passion for justice led him to ask Lord Justice Stuart-Smith to review the case. In February 1998 Jack, left, wrote to the Attorney General, John Morris, accepting his lordship’s finding that there was no need for another inquiry, and no evidence of police wrongdoing. “It is important that… this report should draw a line under speculation about further investigations… I think the outcome would be a foregone conclusion, and I do not consider that such an investigation should be instigated.” This wasn’t Jack’s greatest triumph (that came as Foreign Secretary in 2000, when he rejected a Saddam refugee’s asylum application with a jaunty: “We have faith in the integrity of the Iraqi judicial process...”). But it does reaffirm that modern politics has known no fiercer foe of nauseating, self-serving hypocrisy than dear old Jack Straw.

***

Quest for justice Brooks no argument

Disturbing signs of lily-livered liberalism among the Oxfordshire magistrates. A friend reports dining with a beak whose faith in the presumption of innocence was trumped only by her disdain for those who disregard it. It’s frightfully unfair how the beastly newspapers are treating poor Rebekah, rued one Caroline Brooks, mother of Charlie and a colleague of Ma Cameron’s as an Oxon JP, when surely it’s innocent until proven guilty? We hear ya, girlfriend, but try telling that to those rush-to-judgment red-top scumbags.

***

A pressing question at the Notting Hill deli

As for the Chancellor’s mater, Felicity Osborne eschewed the bench to open a fabulously chi-chi Notting Hill delicatessen. Another friend recalls ringing her about a serving job at the drolly named Felicitous. Mrs O confined the interview to one question: what qualifies olive oil to be called “virgin”? When he failed to identify the cold-pressing process of extracting the oil, Mrs O bade him a brusque good-day. She closed the deli in 2006, a gleeful Daily Mirror reported at the time, after infelicitously blowing £364,000 over six years.

***

Mad Mel, Gaddafi’s new No 1 fan

Violence in the Middle East coaxes a thoughtful analysis from Melanie Phillips. Refreshed by a break from her riveting blog, Mad Mel returns to blame the leaders of the US, Britain and France for indulging the curious desire of innocents to avoid being slaughtered. “The Arab Winter unleashed anarchy and religious fanaticism,” writes Her Serene Dementedness, “with Islamic mobs hitherto kept under control by Gaddafi and Mubarak now empowered, strengthened and rampaging out of control...” Penetrating any meaning, beyond “Obama lives only to help Iran nuke Israel off the map”, is a challenge. But the best guess is that the Western powers, which she strongly supported as liberators in Iraq, had no business interfering when that noble Gaddafi pledged to “cleanse Libya house by house”. By God, we didn’t half miss her.

***

Message to Dacre is from the heart

An occasional pleasure in this line of work is watching the Daily Mail for red-letter days when the staff show their fondness for editor Paul Dacre, the industry’s Eve Ensler, by giving a story more prominence than perhaps it strictly demands. “Being bossed around at work ‘raises risk of heart attack by 28 per cent’,” ran a page 3 headline about the finding that “workers who feel over-pressured yet powerless” are at heightened risk. Crash team to Associated Newspapers...

***

Losing sleep over Blair’s benefit gig

Distressing news for those prone to insomnia from fretting about the financial security of Mr Tony Blair, pictured below. He has taken a £4.2m mortgage on his house in Bayswater – No. 197 (c)  in the portfolio – from JP Morgan, the bank which rents his contacts book for a reported annual £2.5m. Perhaps Mr T would clarify whether he needs the extra dosh to feed the family, or for reinvestment at the sort of preferential rate known to income tax people as a benefit in kind? The last thing we want is for Geldof to organise a concert under false pretences.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there