The cowards of Tottenham: will they always be so?

PC Blakelock's sons (left-right) Lee, Kevin and Mark, outside the court with their mother Elizabeth Johnson

PC Blakelock’s sons (left-right) Lee, Kevin and Mark, outside the court with their mother Elizabeth Johnson


One cannot even imagine what life must have been like for Elizabeth Johnson, the widow of Keith Blakelock, after the savage murder of the police officer during the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. The fact that no one has ever been successfully prosecuted for his murder speaks volumes about the sub-class of human that walk the streets in Tottenham, who even at this stage have no wish nor sufficient self-respect to speak out about this vile murder.

The only thing preventing a successful trial is honesty, but that is clearly a scarcity in those who know but refuse to stand up and say exactly who did what on that awful night. With a triumphant “see you back in Tottenham, brother” the supporters of Nicky Jacobs let the world know how little they cared for anyone else’s feelings, or some morsel of compassion or decency at what had just happened, in particular how PC Blakelock’s family might have felt at that moment. For all we know, Mr. Jacobs may well be inncocent, but then maybe he isn’t? We are never going to know because those involved simply don’t share the same human values as the rest of us. You and I have a sleepless night if we commit some minor transgression, a speeding ticket or become over-heated in an argument at work. These zombies sleep at night, or more likely throughout the entire day, knowing who committed this awful murder.

Worse, yet worse still, there are those who joined in with the slaughter of a man just doing his job who, to this day, still refuse to admit their part, or even, as bystanders, what they know. There was much explanation of this yesterday in the media, that ordinary, decent folk simply weren’t out and about that night: only the feral were on the loose. What does this tell you about their mentality? Have you ever lied to someone and regretted it? Having told the lie, you cannot go back, but your decency tells you you should. In Eminem’s Slim Shady album, the voice of reason in Eddie’s conscience tells him before he tries to rob the liquor store “Yeah but if it all goes through like it’s supposed to. The whole neighborhood knows you and they’ll expose you. Think about it before you walk in the door”. Where is this conscience in the people who really know what happened at Broadwater Farm? Just how many values of decency do they share with the rest of us?

Contrast all of that with the quiet decency of PC Blakelock’s family. After the trial had finished they released this statement: “We viewed this trial as an opportunity to see some form of justice served for Keith. There were many people involved in a murder on that night of 6 October 1985 and it is regretful that no one has yet to be found guilty despite the number of people with knowledge of the events of that night”. They also ventured the “hope that more people are able to come forward so that some of those guilty can be brought to justice in the future”.

Those who do know what happened that night need to search their own consciences and rid Tottenham of this blight – the impression that Tottenham lacks common values such as honesty and integrity. I ask you directly: look what happened in the Stephen Lawrence case: Eventually, because of honesty, justice and decency prevailed. Everyone, well almost everyone, admired the quiet but resolute determination of Doreen, now Baroness Lawrence. How I wish that those who could bring justice for Elizabeth Johnson and her family would take a leaf from Stephen’s mum’s book of common decency.


Doreen Lawrence laying flowers at the place where her son was savagely murdered.

Doreen Lawrence laying flowers at the place where her son was savagely murdered.

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