The Guardian is on a roll. For my American readers, I’m talking about the newspaper. You know, the one that broke the Edward Snowden case. Yes, that newspaper. It’s my trusted source of information (even as I’ve learned to distrust most so-called sources of information including, on occasion, the Guardian itself).

Anyway, the Guardian is really on a roll. They’ve had so many exclusive stories of late – the Snowden case (which is turning into a true-life Bourne Identity saga as the days tick by), and now revelations that the police were trying to ‘dig up dirt’ on the victims of a racist murder (this is the seminal case of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager who was stabbed to death by racist thugs in south London in 1993; his case launched a major inquiry into the police investigation of his murder, leading to the damning conclusion that the police were institutionally racist).

Police spies

Now it turns out that the police planted undercover agents among groups campaigning for justice in the Lawrence case – to find evidence against the Lawrence family and anyone trying to support them. All this while famously botching the investigation into Stephen Lawrence‘s killing. Further revelations show that the police planted operatives within activist groups who were campaigning for justice for the relatives of victims who had died in police custody. And only a few days ago, it was revealed that an undercover policeman had co-authored the leaflet at the centre of the McLibel furore – the longest civil trial in English history. Wh-whaaaaat?

As the wife of an alcoholic, I know a thing or two about trust – how long it takes to earn it, how quickly it can be eroded, how virtually impossible it is to rebuild. When trust is broken, there is not much left to a relationship. In my case, I can say, it was the drink that made him act as he did. There is some rationale there that I can steady myself with, even if I can’t quite make it to forgiveness. 

But this – this bald duplicity. This arrogant abuse of power and trust. This I cannot rationalise. I am not naive. I am not even really that surprised. No, I’m simply disappointed that the authorities continue to live down to our cynical expectations of them.

When I look at it this way, I can accept the personal betrayal visited on me by my alcoholic husband a little more easily. It’s the other, much bigger betrayal of all of us that I can’t and won’t accept.


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