One week on, and not a peep from Danny

by Stephen Tall on April 9, 2009

Cast your minds back to 1st April, and the G20 protests in London. You may recall two trenchant articles by The Times’s Daniel Finkelstein savaging four senior Lib Dems – Baroness Williams, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and David Howarth – for acting as legal observers monitoring the policing of the climate camp protest timed to coincide with the G20 summit.

Let me refresh your memories. Danny accused this “extraordinary delegation” of Lib Dems of an “extraordinary insult” to the police, and demanded Nick Clegg use Danny’s blog to denounce or renounce the activities of his colleagues.

Lib Dem Voice took Danny to task for ignoring serious disquiet about previous policing of protests on three occasions last week, here, here and here. So, too, did the vast majority of the 71 comments left on the Comment Central blog.

Danny’s now-not-so-trenchant response? Total silence.

Clearly he’s been too busy reading up how to win $1m spotting ghosts, musing how Obama’s car got to the UK, reprinting lists of irrational people, and other such earth-shattering stories.

On Tuesday the news broke of the Guardian video showing a police officer launching a vicious and unprovoked attack on a non-protesting G20 bystander, Ian Tomlinson, who subsequently died of a heart attack. Did Comment Centrral – Danny’s “rolling guide to opinion on the web” – find anything in this shocking story worth commenting on? Not so far.

Total silence.


So come on, Danny, why not break your G20 silence? Surely you owe your readers an explanation? And Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems an apology. (Don’t worry, we won’t hold our breaths).

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Doesn’t this rather pale in comparison to someone’s death? Sure, Danny shouldn’t have said what he did, and he was proved wrong, but dragging this on seems a bit insensitive when the IPCC are investigating Mr Tomlinson’s death, especially when compared to the considerate coverage made by LDV on this matter.

by Thomas on April 9, 2009 at 8:07 pm. Reply #

But given that Finkelstein is criticising scrutiny of the same police tactics that may have contributed to Mr. Tomlinson’s death, isn’t there a legitimate question of whether we should unthinkingly back the police or constantly guard against abuse of the substantial power our society has delegated to them?

This isn’t about scoring points on a Times columnist; it’s a serious debate about whether authority and state power should always be questioned and scrutinised to discuss whether they are reasonable and proportional to the alternative harm.

As a conservative-in-liberal-clothing Danny Finkelstein should be called out on this one.

by Richard on April 9, 2009 at 8:41 pm. Reply #

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