Friday, 3 October 2008

Ill met

So, Commissioner Ian Blair has resigned. I know this because I saw and heard him say so on the TV and in news broadcasts. He gave his reasons as, broadly, that he felt he did not have the support of Boris Johnson, the Conservative Major of London.
Now, we have the Labour Home Secretary saying that he was sacked for political reasons and that procedures were not followed. These say that the Commissioner cannot be removed except with the agreement of the Major and her. She did not just point out that no such process had been attempted - she was furious and more animated than I have ever seen her in the more important aspects of her role. She says he was sacked. And sacked for political reasons.
I am fully aware that those about to be pushed sometimes jump. Blair could have carried on regardless and basically challenged Boris to go see Smith and agree to sack him. We see what the likely response to that would have been. He could have asked to see Smith and seek her support and intervention with the Mayor. He did neither. I cannot dismiss the fact that there are matters other than support or non-support in front of him. He has three, possibly, four areas where he may well turn out to have been in the wrong.
My other concern stems from Smith assigning a political element to Blair and to the position of Commissioner. In his position, he is required to be apolitical and to exhibit a colourless stance. His relationships with the departed Major Livingstone and his priorities and statements suggested he was a Socialist. He who lies down with wolves gets up with fleas is something in the back of my mind.
For a Labour politician, Smith has overlooked one of her parties war cries. "It was in our Manifesto". Johnson discussed the Commissioner in his election campaign. A campaign he won.
The Guardian has a neat resume of his career and style.

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