As Janet Street Porter pus it in the Independent on Sunday today:
One columnist has said that the “steady drip” of information about [Ian Tomlinson’s] background is designed to denigrate an ordinary man.
The drip drip has been of information following his death, such as Ian Tomlinson having a drink problem and living in a hostel. It’s intended to appeal to that authoritarian agenda, so beloved often by some tabloids, traditional Conservatives and New Labour politicians, which thinks, “Drunk? That’s all his own fault then.”
Leaving aside the absurd idea that just because someone has been drinking alcohol, it is okay for the police to hit them and push them to the ground, the irony for me in all this information is that – despite the problems he faced – he had a job.
Isn’t someone who faces personal problems and still sticks at it with earning a living behaving just the way that right-wingers and New Labour authoritarians are repeatedly lecturing us about?
Far from seeing these personal problems as an excuse for police behaviour, they should be seeing them as all the more reason to give credit to him. He was doing just what they lecture others to do all the time. Far from being seen as an excuse to diminish the tragedy of his death, they should be seeing his life history as a reason to find it all the more tragic.