Wednesday, 4 January 2012
SOCIETY: THE STEPHEN LAWRENCE MURDER AND THE DAILY MAIL
I'm a regular critic of the Daily Mail because of its right-wing reactionary attitude but sometimes it gets it right and when it does it deserves due credit.
The Mail's response to the initial acquittal of those accused of Stephen Lawrence's murder is an example of when it got it absolutely correct. Unlike every other newspaper, it published the names and photographs of the killers and accused them of the murder. They could have been taken to court for libel but they weren't. It may be that, at the time, the editor also saw an opportunity to raise the paper's profile but I also have no doubt that it was primarily sparked by genuine outrage at this vile racist murder by five scumbags who seemed to have gotten away with it.
Ever since they have consistently maintained their position, actively supporting the campaign for justice by Stephen Lawrence's mother. Due, in part, to their efforts the law on double jeopardize was repealed. In the years since the murder and as a reaction to it, if racism has not gone away it has certainly gone underground. The institutionalised racism of the police force has to a large extent gone, though I suspect not completely. Attitudes to racism most definitely have changed for the better.
And two of Stephen Lawrence's murderers have today been been given long sentences. Some justice has finally been seen to be done. If the other three can't be brought to justice, I hope their lives are as miserable as possible. This result certainly won't help them.
The Daily Mail, of course, is taking as much credit as it can and playing up its role as far as it can. For once, I can't find it in my heart to criticise the paper for it. What they did, as they claim, was in the finest tradition of British journalism.
Happy New Year everybody.