Ian Tomlinson - a quick clarification

I have quite a comfortable time here, looking at the tabloids and writing posts on the things that take my fancy when I have time (which is in very short supply at the moment). I type my stuff and bugger off. I sometimes comment on other blogs here and there, but for the most part I stay out of right vs. left blog stuff. Sure I like kicking Richard Barnbrook, but who wouldn't? It's easy and it's fun.

Because I stay out of things, I often think that some things go without saying. In my last two posts, I looked at the tabloids' coverage of the death of Ian Tomlinson. In the first, I said, "That he was wrong about Mr Tomlinson being a protester isn't relevant. Like anyone else, the police should not be allowed to assault people who are not posing a threat, especially from behind," but in the second I just looked at the Mail & Sun's subsequent coverage without saying something similar. Because I didn't think it was necessary. Having a look at this post on Letters From a Tory 'Cowardly left-wing bloggers ignore new Ian Tomlinson evidence', I think that I should probably make some things clear that I assumed people would not need to be told.

In 'Is this the start of the smearing of Ian Tomlinson?' I talked about how the tabloids were trying to remove sympathy from Mr Tomlinson by emphasising his alcoholism and earlier contact with the police and making fanciful interpretations of what is happening in photos that have been released subsequently. I thought it went without saying that none of these things should make us any less sympathetic, or any less horrified at his treatment. Nor do they have any relevance to the fact that he was assaulted from behind in a cowardly and unacceptable fashion.

It doesn't matter in the slightest that Mr Tomlinson was walking around the area over an hour before he was hit from behind while he had his hands in his pockets. It might mean he was doing more than just walking home - but since Barry Smith says he left his position selling the Evening Standard a half an hour before he died, that seems unlikely to be the case. He might have popped away for a packet of fags, some booze or a pee an hour before he knocked off, we don't know. But even if he were wandering aimlessly around the protests, actively taking part in the protests and making a nuisance of himself or singing 'All coppers are bastards' with his pants round his ankles and a traffic cone on his head it is still wrong to attack him from behind while he's not posing a threat and has his hands in his pockets. It doesn't matter how much he 'antagonised' the police. It wouldn't have mattered if he'd suffered no more than cuts and bruises. The attack from behind was bullying and cowardly.

One last thing, to address something particularly good in Letters From a Tory's post. He says, "That said, being drunk during a mass protest is not exactly a wise course of action."

And he's right. It's not wise. Wisdom is a well known effect of drunkenness. I don't know about you, but I turn into Master fucking Po when I've had a few too many.

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