Last night I got a phone call around 6pm to say that Channel 4 are screening the program – 30 Minutes on Sir Ian Blair – that I was interviewed for. Being the day of the bombings I felt a pang of anxiety. I am not a Sir Ian fan – albeit he is not all bad. However, the interview had lasted at least an hour if not more and I had been pretty robust about Ian’s ups and downs in his first year of office. But the interview was some time ago – and they certainly hadn’t mentioned screening it on the first anniversary of 7/7 – which for obvious reasons is an ultra-sensitive moment. So, as ever, I was trying desperately to remember what I had actually said – and wondered what amongst it all the media would chose to use (normally it feels like only a nano-second actually makes it on to the screen).
In the event, they didn’t use the bit on Soham, or on his media gaffs, nor my view that he has politicised the police unforgivably. They didn’t use my questioning of his wisdom in partaking in Question Time nor his inappropriate and inaccurate public statements on the shooting at Stockwell. They actually used quite a positive bit (in fact the only positive bit) in which I call him a ‘progressive’ and say that his real problem is that the good stuff he has delivered like rolling out Safer Neighbourhoods is negated by his mistakes because they have been big and public.
It’s a tragedy really, as Ian I think desperately wanted to be the best and most respected Commissioner ever – and it all went so horribly wrong. We will see what the two IPCC investigations say in their reports. If he is found ‘guilty’ there is no way forward for him; if he escapes – then he had better learn from what has been a pretty disastrous first year.