Thursday, 19 November 2015
Corbyn's critics shoot to kill
The Labour MPs who didn't support Jeremy Corbyn as their leader seem determined to fulfil their prophecy that the party is unelectable under his leadership.
Corbyn makes the perfectly sensible statement that he he would be unhappy for the police to operate a "shoot to kill" policy. So would I and so would most of us. A paragraph in yesterday's Guardian reads:
The number of people killed by law enforcement officers in the US this year has reached 1 000 after police in Oakland shot dead a man who allegedly pointed a replica gun at them.
Well, we're a long way from that in the UK, but in 2005 our police shot and killed the unarmed and totally innocent Jean Charles de Menezes and in 2011 provoked a riot by shooting dead Mark Duggan who, if he had a gun, had probably thrown it away.
The present law is sufficiently flexible. Police may use such force as is "reasonable and proportionate" to prevent harm to themselves or anyone else. If necessary this includes shooting, preferably to "neutralise" rather than to kill. As a senior police officer has commented: "We are not soldiers. . . .Our job is to arrest people."
Corbyn has also provoked hostility from some of his own members by stating that he cannot see how additional bombing of Syria by UK forces will help to solve solve the problem. This is a view held by many and is in my view absolutely absolutely right. As Nicolas Hénin, a Frenchman who was held hostage by IS for ten months, so has a deeper understanding of the terrorists' mentality than most, writes: "IS longs to provoke retaliation. We should not fall into the trap."
Corbyn is in my view a breath of fresh air. He has the attention of the public and, rather than the pompous macho sound-bites so typical of Westminster, speaks what many of us feel is thoughtful common sense. Labour's MPs, both front and back bench, should thank their lucky stars for him and get behind him to support him, not knife him in the back