Twenty-three years is a long time. You should be able to get a lot done like, I don’t know, invent new things, build cities, go to Mars and back, grow up. There aren’t many things that actually take 23 years, unless someone in your family died at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989. Then you’ll find it takes 23 years to get the truth.
The Paralympic Games have been amazing and to many people, including me, something of a revelation. Of course, I knew about Dave Weir, Ellie Simmonds and Oscar Pistorius, but I had no idea that there were blind long jumpers, one-legged high jumpers and wheelchair rugby.
Tony Nicklinson, who last week lost his fight for the right for doctors legally to end his life, has died. As well as finally giving him some peace, it must be something of a relief to his family who have had to watch him suffer for too long. I cannot even imagine what life was like for him, although I suspect he would have hesitated to describe it as a ‘life’.
On Monday night, just after midnight, the police and bailiffs moved in to evict the anti-capitalist protestors from the Occupy London camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral. The protestors stressed their action wasn’t over but most did not resist the arm of the law. And so, the steps of the cathedral are once again the province of tourists, lunching city workers and the occasional worshipper. It may look a bit tidier, but have we lost something in insisting our landmarks are protest free?
I could have been a lawyer. I don’t mean in the way that anyone could, in theory, become a lawyer if they wanted to. I mean because I went to Oxbridge and I came from a family who could afford to support me through some unpaid internships or work experience to help me get a foot in the door. In fact, I did attend one milk-round event to find out how to become a human rights lawyer. Who knows what would have happened if it hadn’t been Linklaters?
It looks as if the assault on freedom of information is underway. According to Ministry of Justice research, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has not improved decision-making, has failed to increase understanding of government and may even have reduced trust. Civil servants have also called for higher fees for those making requests under the act because the current costs do ‘not adequately reflect the total amount of time spent…in compiling the information’.
Despite my previous post, it turns out good things can happen in 2012. It is a qualified good, however, as the convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence in South London in 1993 have taken 18 years and followed one of the most notorious crimes and bungled police operations in living memory. That said, there can hardly be a person in the land who wasn’t relieved to hear that, at last, two of the racist thugs guilty of the killing have been sent down.
Sometimes things happen that really make you stop and think. Often it happens when normal people are just going about their normal business and then something extraordinary happens to them. Sadly it’s not normally anything good. But it’s striking because it could happen to anyone, it could happen to you or someone you know. And you can’t even begin to think what it would be like if it did.