It’s being called the greatest miscarriage of justice in British legal history: the Court Of Appeal has just quashed the convictions of 39 subpostmasters. In the years between 2000 and 2014, the government- owned Post Office falsely accused over 900 of its employees of fraud and theft, forced them to pay back money they never had, put them on trial and then sent them to jail. By now, many have served lengthy prison terms, lost their livelihoods and some were even driven to suicide. Yet so far, the Post Office has offered derisory sums of just £20,000 in compensation for what, on its part, really is criminal.
The initial convictions were made because the Post Office lied about the reliability of its Horizon IT accounting system, supplied by Fujitsu. The Appeal Court found that the Post Office knew all along that there were serious issues with this system, but pursued the convictions regardless.
Now the Labour Party is calling for a "proper inquiry". Just as it’s calling for a “proper inquiry” into the “refurb” of Johnson’s flat, as if anyone needs proof that Johnson is corrupt and a liar. Anyway, it is “standard practice” for MPs and prime ministers to fiddle their expenses.
But what do these official inquiries achieve, even if they do ask questions which need answers? Certainly the government should, for instance, be held accountable for the Covid deaths - starting with what happened in care homes - yet it is the person who was ultimately responsible, i.e., Boris Johnson, who appoints the lead investigator! How much will that inquiry reveal?
In fact, which inquiry has ever told us anything we didn't already know, or actually made any changes? The ongoing Grenfell Tower inquiry into the fire, has still not resulted in the de-cladding of hundreds of other blocks with the same inflammable coverings. The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, as well as coming more than a decade later, did not put Tony Blair in prison. But that, in fact, is the very point of these pointless exercises.
They are there to protect a murderous system, defend the indefensible and bury the truth.