Ian Blair - the politician's copper, not London's.
The position of Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is in effect not only England's most senior copper, but the copper Londoners recognise as representing our great international city's commitment to the rule of law on the streets. Even though responsibility for the Met was transferred from the Home Office to the GLA seven years ago, the Commissioner is still appointed directly by the Home Secretary. London gets the Commissioner the Home Secretary of the day thinks we deserve. Blair was Blunkett's choice.
The IPCC's report on the Met leadership's actions during the killing of Mr. de Menezes makes grim reading. Sir Ian sat happily in his office, poring over 'excel' charts of diversity training targets, the number of parking tickets translated into Vietnamese, approving new equalities mission statements and doodling new management structures or such like activities. Word had got out that his men had wrongly shot a Brazilian tourist; within hours every copper in London, on or off duty, knew the score. Every copper except Sir Ian. Insulated in his fluffy cloud of NuLabour public management performance targets, he was blissfully unaware that anything was amiss.
Yesterday he gave the most crassly risible press conference at which he beamed with pride at having been the most ignorant copper in London at that time, no doubt taking great satisfaction as he did so that his statement was printed on recycled paper.
Ian Blair is to the Met what John Birt was to the BBC; a NuLabour cultural apparatchik, parachuted in to supplant traditional professional values with the nonsense babble of management consultants and the dross of a meaningless and irrelevant performance target culture. He is in every sense a NuLabour political appointee. He is Gordon Brown's chief copper, not London's. Today there can be few Met coppers who have much confidence in a man who sees himself as their chief executive rather than their leader.
Surely the time has come to remove this most important appointment from the sticky and partisan hands of the Home Secretary and put the job of picking a new Commissioner back where it started - with London's magistrates, recorders and judges. Henry and Sir John Fielding, the magistrates who gave us the Bow Street Runners some 260 years ago, would surely approve.