Tuesday, May 29, 2007
This week I blew the chance to tell Alan Johnson MP what I thought of the Iraq war and hung out in a cafe with a Secretary of State for something or other. I'd blog about it, but I might have burnt my cornea so I'm staying away from the computer (as you can tell).
This Bank Holiday Weekend I have found comfort in crisps, cake and icecream because it has rained non-stop. The sky is black. I've gone no where. Done nothing. I might have finished grouting the kitchen tiles but for the fact that the thought of another trip to B&Q made me want to scream. That and the fact that I've got another cold.
Now West Brom lose to Derby at Wembley.
Oh that this too, too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew, because I can't be arsed with all of this anymore.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
You couldn't make it up.
Here I am, on this very blog, saying that if white people are turning to the BNP because of anxiety over immigration, asylum and multiculturalism, then we should examine why they feel the need to do that, but that that is not the same thing as including the BNP in the debate. We need to be talking to the people who feel the need to vote BNP, not the BNP itself.
And here we have Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking in East London, which until recently used to be a white neighbourhood and is now multiracial, saying in an article in yesterday's Observer entitled a message to my fellow immigrants that for social housing:
"We should also look at drawing up different rules based on, for instance, length of residence, citizenship or national insurance contributions which carry more weight in a transparent points system used to decide who is entitled to access social housing."
And just to make it absolutely clear, she even provides an example:
"We prioritise the needs of an individual migrant family over the entitlement others feel they have. So a recently arrived family with four or five children living in a damp and overcrowded, privately rented flat with the children suffering from asthma will usually get priority over a family with less housing need who have lived in the area for three generations and are stuck at home with the grandparents.
We should look at policies where the legitimate sense of entitlement felt by the indigenous family overrides the legitimate need demonstrated by the new migrants."
Yes, read that last bit again. We should look at policies where the legitimate sense of entitlement felt by the indigenous family overrides the legitimate need demonstrated by the new migrants. And just to remind you, this is a Labour MP saying this, not a BNP candidate.
And let us be absolutely clear in what this means. By Margaret Hodge's suggestion, the couple bunking in with the grandparents get a place over the four or five sick children crowded in insufferable conditions? And it's OK to let those children endure because they are not British? So we want to create, if there wasn't one in existence already, an underclass of immigrants, whose children's health are not considered as important as those of the "indigenous" white population?
Margaret Hodge, you make me want to puke.
We do not treat the immigrants and asylum seekers as lesser human beings than us. We do not consider them more suitable for suffering. We do not put their distress on a lower priority than our own. We no more deny them the decent housing they need than we would deny them medical care by putting them at the bottom of NHS waiting lists.
If there is a strain on our social housing, then here's an idea, increase the bloody social housing. It is simply not good enough to state that stocks are low because of the right-to-buy. What have you been doing in the government for the last ten years whilst this open sore on society has been growing bigger and bigger?
And it is disingenuous to hide behind the skirts of immigrants when confronting the resentful indigenous population. Just who has been allowing economic migrants to come here in such numbers that the racial demographics of some places were forced to stand such speedy anxiety-inducing transformations? Think you'll find that's the government. The "population change is a feature of the modern world" says Margaret, and "the period of transition can be disturbing and painful... As ever, the people who face the greatest changes tend to be those who live in the poorest communities where migrants can afford to settle."
Yep! You betcha! So why did this government let it happen? Why are they only now catching onto the fact that rising migrant populations in areas where resources are already scarce will cause suffering to all and racial tension? Why have things been left to get so bad that the previous racial harmony we all benefited from is threatened?
I'll give you a clue why. Because the poor immigrant families weren't settling into Henley-On-Thames or Chipping Campdem, they were coming to places like Barking and Dagenham. And the towns of the Urban Working Classes do not matter as much as pretty villages, and neither do the people, or the local traditions, or the social networks that have spanned generations. And poor immigrant families don't take away lucrative jobs in banking or the media from the middle-classes, but are a constant source of cheap labour to wait tables and mop the floors of the middle-classes.
And just why am I watching housing programs on my TV in which the rich London middle-classes are being shown six bedroom farm houses with 20 acres of land to buy as a second home, when young couples in poor working class towns can't even afford to rent? Just who was it who was responsible for making sure that this country had a good supply of affordable homes?
It is both callous and dangerous for a Labour Minister to ignore the glaring fact that the government had a hand in creating this mess at the same time as endorsing the view that immigrants are to blame for it all. If the social housing in such places as Barking and Dagenham are under such tremendous pressure, then may I suggest that is more Margaret Hodge's fault than an immigrant family surviving in crowded and damp conditions with their four or five children.
It makes me sick to the stomach for a Labour politician to be pointing the blame at such a vulnerable group in our society, when the finger should more rightly be turned inwards.
A message to your fellow immigrants, Margaret? You are the daughter of a millionaire. Don't insult these people any more than you already have by pretending you know their pain. Pain you've just added to by stabbing them in the back you despicable excuse for a politician.
"Life On Mars was snubbed by the judges despite being hotly tipped to scoop Best Drama Series and Best Actor for John Simm."
"Jim Broadbent beat John Simm to the Best Actor prize for his performance in Channel 4's Longford, in which he played the prison reform campaigner who befriended Moors Murderer Myra Hindley."
Saturday, May 19, 2007
I'm getting a few hits from my BNP post and I don't seem to be very well understood by it from some. And so to further explain, my problem with the BNP, as previously stated, is:
"These people, whose political plan is to peddle fear and mistrust in order to feed on the hatred that arises, have no place in mainstream politics. Their policies are unworkable and immoral. Nothing good can come from them, and good is what politics is for."
That is it. They are a stinky stain on the political landscape of this country. They have nothing to offer this country. And if you need reminding, this country fought a war sixty odd years ago so that we didn't have to live with this kind of "politics".
For some reason however, this view point has lead some people to believe that I am ignorant of the general anxiety in this country surrounding immigration, asylum and multi-culturalism. I am not.
(And long term readers of this blog will know that for two years now I have charted the danger posed by the extremist sections of the Muslim community in particular, and how they insult the core values that this country holds dear such as equality and freedom of expression.)
But to think that the BNP should be in any way included in a debate about these issues is just plain idiotic. I'm no more going to turn to Nick Griffin to help solve these complex and critical cultural issues than I am Omar Bakri. They'll both give you solutions, but they'll be unworkable, immoral and extreme.
If white people are turning to the BNP because of anxiety over immigration, asylum and multi-culturalism, then we should examine why they feel the need to do that.
But that is not the same thing as including the BNP in the debate. We need to be talking to the people who feel the need to vote BNP, not the BNP itself. The BNP are part of the problem. They are not the answer.
Friday, May 18, 2007
... I can't say better than Skipper, with his "Two Prime Ministers' furore is a row Without Substance" post.
Really, the media just needs to shut its moaning about this. They're only trying to cause trouble because the smooth and orderly transition of power that's happening does not a good headline make.
And the Tories and Lib Dems can shut their gobs as well. No one wants a general election right now, least of all the electorate. Most of them couldn't be bothered to vote in the recent council elections.
Gordon has written to me anyway, something to do with how I think he should run the country, but I've not had time to read it properly yet.
Ohhh, now he's e-mailed me. He feels very humble, apparently.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Remember last year when I got some specs for my suddenly crap eyesight? Well, i've been suspecting for sometime that my eyesight was getting crap again, even with my glasses on.
Naturally, I did nothing for a while, but spent my time wisely by squinting at everything and moaning about not being able to read.
I've just been to Scrivens and yes, I was correct, my eyesight has got even crapper. I asked optician man if this was just old age and he said no, he doesn't know what it is, which is very reassuring.
The good news though is that i've picked out some really dinky specs that I like much better than my current specs, and I've had transition lenses which means no more blind-by-sun episodes. I'm also having some prescription sunglasses for driving, but they are cheap and not to be seen by the general public.
Monday, May 14, 2007
BBC1 NEW TRICKS Mr Scribbles watches this, so chance for cuddle on the settee.
BBC2 POWER TO THE PEOPLE A group invades Islington. Don't care why, just think Islington should be invaded.
ITV1 DRIVING ME CRAZY Someone slags off 4x4s! Yay!
C4 MIND YOUR FUCKING LANGUAGE Prog about swearing. Fuck yay!
C5 THE MAN WHOSE ARMS EXPLODED I can never get enough of exploding limb programs.
I can't watch all of them, people! what to do?
Wish someone would hurry up and invent the TV recorder.
The Chav family swap matriarchs with The Labour Councillors family.
Mrs Chav says that her son can't get a job because of all the asylum seekers in the county. Mrs Chav's son, meanwhile, is hanging around the street corner, hood on, smoking and drinking with his gang of mates and then getting arrested for stealing a quadbike. After the police have taken his Chav son away, Mr Chav, his step-dad, says he can't see what the fuss is about and goes down the pub.
Mr Labour Councillor can also be a slack dad too because sometimes he puts other people before his own children. These other people call for his help, mostly, because of the yobs who hang around on street corners smoking and drinking and stealing things.
Chav son talks to Mrs Labour Councillor about how his mom and dad drink a lot and argue when they get drunk. It turns out he doesn't get on with Mr Chav, his stepdad. Later we find out that Mrs Chav has had to keep her distance from Chav son to stop accusations from Mr Chav of favouritism.
Those asylum seekers, they're the cause of so much trouble aren't they?
In the meantime, Mrs Labour Councillor has booked Chav son some studio time because he likes to create music. Chav son turns out to be quite an articulate shy sort of boy. And Mrs Chav starts to show Mr Labour Councillor a good time, and Mr Labour Councillor starts to like it rather too much. (Mrs Labour Councillor gets a bit upset when she finds this out).
In the end, Mr and Mrs Chav carry on the same as before, but Chav son starts an IT course, and Mr and Mrs Labour Councillor carry on the same as before, but probably Mrs Labour Councillor keeps a keener eye on Mr Labour Councillor.
It has been raining now for seven days.
Having been sunburnt just last week, I had put away all my jumpers and started to wear sandals. I made an appointment with my opticians in order to get some transition lenses. I got out my flip-flops.
But the rain has been so relentless that the country has become one big soggy mess. Today it has been dark all day like the depths of winter.
I'm getting mightily fed-up with weather that cannot make up its bloody mind.
It makes me ache.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
At a recent pub meet-up with other local Labour MP employees, I was delighted to note just how many people concurred that they would be hard-pressed not to slap Margaret Thatcher on the face should they ever meet her. I suppose that most Tory haters who originate from the Thatcher years would say the same thing (although I have an aunt who used to insist she would just pretend that she didn't know who she was, the idea being to try and humiliate her).
I doubt actually that any one of us ever really would, because to my knowledge there has never been any sporadic outbreaks of slap-the-Thatcher activity despite that existing mass of enthusiasts
During the Thatcher years I would have found it inconceivable that I would ever shake the hand of a Tory politician, but today in my job I have done and I do. They are still the nasty party, but they are not in power, and in the name of professionalism I don't mind so much. I am a grown-up now after all.
I think however that I can state without any misgivings that I will never knowingly shake the hand of a BNP member, nor enter into polite conversation with them.
The only BNP people that I have ever knowingly met were the small group who were at the local election count the other week. They dressed all in black, including black shirts, and had shaven hair and very shiny shoes. Two thugs accompanied them, muscly stocky men with tatooes and bald heads, who wore tight fitting knitted jumpers and jeans (turned up at the bottoms), and boots laced up their ankles. An exceptional devotion to their stereotype, I think you'll agree.
I was pleased to note that they were outcasts. No one engaged with them. These people, whose political plan is to peddle fear and mistrust in order to feed on the hatred that arises, have no place in mainstream politics. Their policies are unworkable and immoral. Nothing good can come from them, and good is what politics is for.
As this is a democracy, they can run for election and they can take up their seats if the people vote for them. But to be cordial towards them would give them a legitimacy they should never be given. They should never be made to feel welcome.
And whilst treating them as political outcasts, we should always work to wipe away the fear and mistrust that they spread amongst communities with the good clean cloth of truth. In particular, we must stop the malignment of refugees and try to foster good feelings towards those who come to this country seeking our help.
That is what the Left should be doing. That is how we should tackle the BNP; by drying up the mistrust that they draw and thrive on.
And to that aim we can talk all we like about white working class racism and the Daily Mail readership, but the Left shouldn't become quiet when people of a particular race and religion try to use race and religion in a divisive manner. Because whilst we stay quiet, the BNP will be shouting from the tower blocks.
And what the Left also shouldn't do is ever suggest that the BNP have a point. A recent poster on Harrys Place suggested that "removing the 'carcinogen' of immigration" is the way to tackle the BNP. I don't know why the writer didn't just go the whole hog and suggest we make all people of a dusky skin colour leave the country, because that would have the BNP well and truly beat.
I do of course appreciate that we cannot afford to ignore the BNP, that we must always be alert to their activities, but that is not the same as treating them or their policies as things of worth.
"HOPE not hate"
THE BNP:PART TWO
Thursday, May 10, 2007
It was a problem. I only found out the day before that Tony Blair was making a constituency visit, so there was little time for shopping for something new. And sworn to secrecy about the visit, I couldn't solicit advice. Thrown upon my own judgement, I decided that a suit was too middle management, but that a fitted jacket with my usual plain ensemble of trousers and jumper would signal me as the no-nonsense, functional and neat employee that I am.
As soon as I got into work on the day of the visit, I realised one mistake. My shoes. I'd decided against wearing heels because I am always taller than everyone in the world I ever meet anyway, and I didn't want to draw attention to myself by making myself even taller. Fade into the background was my plan, melt into the crowd. So I had worn my usual flat black casual-smart pumps. My flat black casual-smart pumps this morning, however, suddenly looked unworthy of meeting a Prime Minister. Heels would have made me look like I cared. Heels would have elevated me from looking like a scruffy and possibly dangerous anarchist to smart employee and cool-headed professional.
As the morning progressed and I took various calls from people from Downing Street, from councillors, from special advisors, I became more and more convinced that not wearing heels was going to be the biggest mistake of my career. My black flat pumps, I decided, would be the talking point of the visit. How awful, they would say, she came to meet the PM in black flat pumps. Possibly the press would pick up on it too and it would wipe anything that Tony Blair said or did off the front-page.
MPS ASSISTANT IN WRONG SHOE CHOICE DISGRACE
The community centre where the PM was due to visit is a wonderful building. Red-brick, Victorian. I think it was probably once a school. It has a very long corridor. I was to walk that corridor many times that day in my black flat pumps waiting for the Tony Blair to turn up.
I spent a lot of my time checking out other women's footwear. Most women, it was true, were wearing heels. But most women are a lot shorter than me. I told myself. As I noticed too that all the other woman were also dressed a lot smarter and more professional than me.
I had a sudden impulse to leave by the back door, run out into the fields and woods beyond and live forever a solitary existence surviving on nuts, berries and mushrooms.
The PM was late. Fifteen minutes. Half and Hour. An hour. Always, we were told that the Prime Minister would be here shortly. I wandered around and chatted to various to whittle away at the time. Being assistant to an MP in such situations is a little like being Dr Who with his psychic paper - it lets you get in anywhere and talk to everyone.
A team of security staff walked purposefully up and down the aforementioned corridor. Tall fellows, dressed in black, carrying serious expressions and talking moodily into mobile phones; people would fall out of their way as they passed as if they were royalty. They watched everybody, checked rooms, stood around being important. Occasionally one of them would ask people who they were. It happened to me. The tallest, most serious and best looking one stood in front of me half raising a finger to point at me. "Who are you?" he demanded. I felt a little like I should stick my hands up in surrender or else curtsy or something. Instead, I used my psychic paper and told him I was with the MP. He nodded unimpressed and walked away purposefully. It was damn sexy, I can tell you.
Time rolled on. And just when I was beginning to think the whole thing was some elaborate joke, he arrived.
Black cars rushed up the drive. I stood inside, waiting. Loud voices outside in the porch. Tony Blair swept in. He shook hands with people and cooed at babies from the nursery. My boss had given me a digital camera to use. I got some fine shots of the back of his head.
He swept on down the corridor, shouting hello at people who came casually out of their offices to see what the noise was. His entourage followed him, my boss followed him, various random people followed him, and right at the back I too followed him.
He was taken to a room at the furthest ends of the earth. The room was small. Tony Blair was lead into a circle of people who were going to talk at him about something. The main room was full by the time I made it in and I was stuck at the back of the crowd behind some stupid wall that stupidly divided the room serving no discernible purpose.
As I couldn't hear anything, I spent my time trying to take photographs over the tops of people's heads and considering what being a Prime Minister might be like. The first thing you'd have to get used to, I decided, was that people might try and kill you. That's why you had to have men standing around you with a cold glint in their watchful eyes and a hand on their Walther PPK's.
The second would be that you would have to put up with people standing on wobbly chairs taking photos of you (me) whilst men in suits shoved cardboard at you (various).
The third would have to be attending community centres and meeting normal people whilst things like Iran holding some of your sailors hostage were happening.
When the circle meeting was over I poured out into the corridor with everyone else. The PM disappeared somewhere with some of his men. I hung around behind my boss feeling tired and thirsty.
I had realised by this time, with some regret, that I wasn't going to get to meet the Prime Minister after all. There were too many people, he was too behind schedule, I was too insignificant. No one cared what shoes I wore. My experience of meeting Tony Blair would be confined to taking a few shaky and undignified photographs, mostly of the back of his head or over the tops of the backs of other people's heads.
The PM came back out and was having a word with my boss as he walked by. I trudged behind them both wondering if I could get home before the end of Deal or No deal.
Then, I heard my boss say something like, "Oh Tony, I'd like you to meet Scribbles, who works for me". It was a low-key moment. The corridor we were in was fairly gloomy and quiet. Tony turned to me looking amazed somehow (why? why?) and we shook each others hands and exchanged a few words.
Then, he was in another room and with another circle of people.
Members of his entourage seemed to be agitated. I could hear them out in the corridor and distinctly heard the words "we've got to go". It was then that my boss whispered in my ear that he wanted me to take a photo of him, the PM, and "some people" who had apparently been rounded up and were waiting at the top of the corridor. I was dispatched to brief the group that the PM would be here with them soon for a photo opportunity, but that we would have to be extra quick as he had a train to catch.
Quick as a fox, I scooted up the corridor and approached the group. I tried to explain that the PM had a train to catch and could we all please be ready to pose for the photo. Who was I though, to speak to them? They were busy and important people. They didn't have to listen to some whippersnapper wearing black flat pumps and a plain ensemble of trousers!
I had to resort to my school-mistress act (think Joyce Grenfell after assertiveness training) to get them to pay attention to me. I had only just managed to take a practice shot of them all, when I noticed to my right that the PM was on full charge towards us down the corridor.
I reviewed the practice shot I'd taken on the digital camera and noticed that my hands had started to shake. One of the group looked over my shoulder and pronounced the picture "too blue" and went on to instruct me to use his camera instead. Then everyone was asking me to take pictures with their camera too.
Outer reaches of the PM's entourage were breaking upon us as I beat people and their cameras away from me.
Then the PM was in line with the group and I heard one of his men say to me "quick as you can" and so I help up the camera and then my heart nearly gave out when all I could see on the camera screen was a blurred mess. I think I squeaked in fright.
I fiddled desperately with what I thought was the focus, but it didn't work. Nothing worked. The flash hadn't gone off, so I couldn't even fake that it had worked. I lowered the camera in defeat and heard a general groan from everyone.
Trying not to think how I was standing in front of both my boss and the Prime Minister and failing at something very simple, I tried to rescue the situation.
"I think I'm going to have to use this camera" I said attempting to sound like I wasn't mortified, whilst shakily switching back to the camera I had been using all afternoon whose pictures were not in any way shape or form too fucking "blue"!
(I do hope I broke that other camera. Would serve the man right)
Having taken the shot I was ready to collapse with relief, but then everyone seemed to be shouting at me. I realised I was being told to take another one, apparently because for the first picture someone - who obviously thought more interesting things were going on elsewhere - was looking the other way. Hate that someone.
Then, as if in a puff of smoke, the PM and his entourage were gone.
So, all in all it had gone very well, apart from the me making the Prime Minister late for his train bit, which is the sort of thing that can and does happen to everyone.
I have no amazing observations to make about the man other than that I was surprised to see that he was no taller than me in my black, flat pumps, and possibly even a little smaller. He seemed maybe a bit tired, at times distracted. Otherwise, he was as expected. Confidant without seeming arrogant, friendly without being overly familiar, centre of attention in a crowd, attentive when being spoken to. So familiar, yet so unknown. His shoes were fine, but I thought he could perhaps do with a haircut.
He announces his retirement tomorrow. I will miss him.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Have you ever laughed at a joke that wasn't funny just to be polite? Good, me too. Probably everyone has.
Painful isn't it? And trying. Not easy to make a false laugh sound or look real.
Imagine then, dear reader, my pain as at least eight minutes of my life were hijacked in the telling of not only unfunny jokes, but increasingly dirty and eventually sick jokes.
It was my own fault. We were in the hall where the votes were being counted. There was a tortuous delay before the postal votes could be counted because of a computer glitch. We were all overly tired, a little tense, and prone to bouts of hysteria.
One of the Labour activists, a portly older gentleman, announced he was going to tell us all a joke and said that it was a clean one. "Don't bother then!" I joked "I'm only interested in dirty ones". Fatal error. He refused then to tell the clean joke, and I mean refused. At first I thought he was joking about refusing, but he wasn't. He declared himself hurt and said that joke would never pass his lips again. The group fell silent and I became a destroyer of social interaction.
I was feeling quite bad about that, when, a short while later he sidled up to me whilst I was sharing my Starbursts (nee Opal Fruits) with a colleague. He said he had some jokes on his mobile to show me that I would like. I felt instantly better. I was forgiven. This elderly gentleman had singled me out to share his special jokes with. I was his confidante.
At first the jokes were a bit dirty, but had a smidgen of humour about them. So I wasn't too bothered about having to do a false laugh. Anyway, I was riding the euphoria of having been forgiven for refusing to listen to his clean joke. But this provided him with extreme encouragement. He excitedly kept looking up more and more text jokes.
My Starburst colleague began to stare into the middle distance and I felt him emotionally detach himself as the full horror of the situation began to unfold. I was alone. Trapped in an endless world of bad and tasteless jokes. As I started to feel more and more uncomfortable the question whirring in my head was "at which point are you going to refuse to read anymore of this shit?" By the end I was reading jokes about Alzheimer's and murdered prostitutes.
But he was an old man, and he'd chosen to share his special jokes with me. I'd changed my laugh from what I hoped looked like a pitying smile, but I did nothing to display my true discomfort or disapproval. I cashed in my pride so that this dirty old man could enjoy the experience of sharing his sick jokes with a young woman. I was trying to be kind.
To my relief, the postal votes arrived and there was a sudden scurry of activity throughout the hall. That put an end to my ordeal. We all began moving in the direction of the vote boxes, but my Starburst colleague put his hand lightly on my arm and said quietly, "hang back".
I did so and we stood together and watched the Leader of the Parish Council walk away still fiddling with his mobile.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Over the next few posts, readers of Small Town Scribbles can expect:
Hilarious anecdotes of election night.
Why Scribbles thinks that the BNP are not the towering political intellectuals that everyone seems to think they are, but scum.
And find out which really famous person Scribbles met recently (and made late for their train)
Stay tuned Small Towners!
2am, Friday morning. It doesn't look good for Birmingham at the moment. But quite to my surprise I have come home from a count in Brum to find the BBC telling me that things do not seem as catastrophic for Labour nationally as predicted and not as astoundingly good for the Tories.
That's probably the thought to hang onto as I now retire to bed.
Cause, could be a lot worse when I wake up.
Hmmm. Is now 23:08 4th May.
I will spare you any election analysis because, really, by now, I think you've probably got a handle on it all by yourself.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
(I know someone in the Guardian picture by the way. She says "you can just about see my huge nose next to john, am wearing bright red, john is in blue suit and shirt")
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
"You have betrayed this country that has given you every opportunity. All of you may never be released."
So says Sir Michael Astill, the judge in the trial of the men who kept huge vats of fertiliser and had wet-pant conversations about plans to blow up nightclubs and shopping centres.
I was rather glad to learn that this lot were connected to July 7 London bombers. The less terrorist cells (nutter groups) that exist the more chance MI5 have of smashing them.
I find however my celebratory mood out of sync with the British media. What is, apparently, the real story here, is that Sidique Khan was known to MI5 before he committed his act of terrorism. Khan was buddies with these men whilst MI5 had them under surveillance and was obviously down with the whole jihadi scene in a serious way.
It is a matter of great sadness that Khan was considered a peripheral figure and that his every waking moments were not tracked and his murderous act not discovered and stopped.
Jonathan Evans, Director General of MI5, issued a statement in which he said: "The attack on 7 July in London was a terrible event. The sense of disappointment, felt across the service, at not being able to prevent the attack (despite our efforts to prevent all such atrocities) will always be with us."
In the rush to create a story though (as if a story needed creating here) the Media are acting like mad dogs let off the leash on this one. Obviously, they have been privy to the knowledge that Khan was involved with this group, that he was obviously known to MI5, and now that they are able to talk about it they are running after their quarry, foaming at the mouth and gnashing their teeth.
And, to my mind, it got distasteful on C4 and especially ITV. Dragging onto the screen a father of a young man killed in the July 7 bombings, heavy with sorrow, and gently prodding him to prop up their angle that the attacks could and should have been stopped. The ubiquitous Rachel North, a July 7 survivor, claiming there had been a "catastrophic failure of imagination" by MI5 and repeating her oft made calls for an independent enquiry.
It feels vengeful. It feels like the Media are trying to say that there was something deliberate about how MI5 let Khan give them the slip. As if they couldn't be bothered to do things properly and didn't much care that he might set out to kill people. And therefore they must be hauled up before the public, stripped bare and flogged.
Perhaps it's a need to punish, really torture someone for what happened. Can't punish Khan and his band of macabre men because they dead. Next best thing then, get John Reid. It's happens with a lot of things. It's safe to go after 'the authorities'. The Media sniff a story and come running. Most people will believe a conspiracy theory over the truth these days. No matter how bizarre the conspiracy theory and how straight the truth.
But the truth is empty calories in this case. The truth provides little meat for the Media to throw to us all to let our emotions feed on. A government cover-up and a campaign for an independent inquiry however can be feasted on for months and years. If you've the stomach for it.
The truth however is that MI5 made a judgement call and got it wrong. They didn't mean for people to die. They didn't.
And today, five men are behind bars and will never be able to hurt us as they intended. Today, the trial bore the fruit of good MI5 work.
BBC1 night-time news covered the story much better. The fact that Khan and Tanweer were known to security forces was kept a secondary story and then fully explored and put in context somewhat. Good old BBC.