Police abuse of power is shameful: it’s time for a Leveson
Opinion digest: what the Hillsborough scandal reveals about the police, plus Europe’s defence dream
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WE NEED A LEVESON FOR THE POLICE
THE INDEPENDENT ON POLICE REFORM
Hillsborough is not an isolated aberration long in the past, says The Independent in an editorial. It is part of a decades-long pattern of unethical police practices which continues today. The list of cases casting doubt on the truthfulness and integrity of British forces is shamefully long. The cases of the Birmingham Six, Stephen Lawrence, Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson were only the tip of the iceberg. No one doubts that the difficult job of the police force requires a culture of camaraderie and internal strength. The problem is that this all too often results in unacceptable secrecy, closed ranks and obfuscation. It will take more than a few tweaks to crack open the closed culture. A good place to start would be the system for investigating accusations of malpractice, but real reform will require something far more extensive. It took the Leveson inquiry to expose the behaviour and ethics of the media. Surely there is now a case for the police to have their own moment in the spotlight?
BAE MERGER A DREAM AND A NECCESSITY
ALEXANDER NICOLL ON A SAVVY DEAL FOR EUROPE
The merger between BAE and EADS might be a defence dream, but it is one that is born out of necessity rather than choice, writes Alexander Nicoll in The Financial Times. Among other factors, the move is driven by a decline in Western defence spending, and Europe might now lead the inevitable rationalisation that must accompany this reality. A key problem facing European manufacturers is that there are no big manned aircraft projects in the pipeline to replace the current generation of Typhoons, Rafales and Gripens once they cease production. The merger makes structural sense and it is one that will increase competitiveness. Working together, BAE and EADS will achieve greater market clout. They will be able to shelve rivalries and focus on the task in hand: taking on the US market. Difficult to penetrate at the best of times, this is a market that will only grow increasingly competitive as the Pentagon’s budget is slashed.
CAMERON MUST BEWARE THE ORATOR
WILLIAM REES-MOGG ON THE RISE OF BORIS
Disillusionment in the Conservative Party ranks has led to the revival of an age-old battle: that of the ‘practical man’ against the orator, writes William Rees-Mogg in The Times. The protagonists are David Cameron and Boris Johnson. As the PM struggles to boost party confidence through practical successes, the London Mayor is having more success in rallying troops by using his rhetorical gifts. Boris’s popularity as mayor has transformed him into an important figure for the party’s public image. He is the most modern of orators: he can tweet as well as quote, taking his calculated strategy of creating personal intimacy with the masses straight out of the Blair playbook. This savviness has been rewarded with electoral victories. Fairly or not, many believe that the failure in 2010 to gain an overall majority was the result of the leadership’s weakness. As talk of leadership challenges abound, Cameron should be wary of the perception that his rival is a man who can bring the party greater success.