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A non-political view of Sue Gray


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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A non-political view of Sue Gray

30 Jan 2022 2:15PM   Views : 595 Unique : 329

One of the silly Sunday posts today suggested that a figure was a senior civil servant disguised as Mary Poppins to deliver her report to Downing Street. I couldn’t refrain from comment, as I’ve had some professional dealings with almost equally sensitive material: after a career in internal audit in the public sector, I have a lot of sympathy for Sue Gray, and none for the subjects of her investigation.

It's all very well to talk about 'speaking truth unto power' - but when it comes to it, power is often uninterested in the truth, nor in the rules that govern getting rid of those entrusted with being the conscience of an organisation. It doesn't make the job impossible, but it means that it requires a level of integrity and courage that is way beyond the pay. An additional problem is that civilians don't understand the level of evidence she'll be after. So many people 'know' what happened from a position of ignorance.

Sometimes, the critique gallery feels a bit the same! We get posts from people who do not actually appear to want an objective critique of their work. They tend to take an adversarial view of any comments, and rather than saying what they were trying to do believe us to guess. By us I mean by members of the critique team and those other people were kind enough to add to their thoughts from time to time. It feels like deliberate testing, and occasionally an attempt to sucker us in so that the photographer can ridicule or comments. This feels rather like a detective story that hinges on some previously unrevealed fact, in a way that was banned by British thriller writers back in the 1930s. It brings me joy that the formal statement of these rules was penned by Dorothy L. Sayers author of the Lord Peter Wimsey books.

Going back to Ms Gray, she’s facing another problem that I remember well: the desire of the police to have an open field of action for their own investigation. My view, shared by one or two far more experienced investigators, is that the internal investigation should forge ahead and get the wrongdoers off the payroll as quickly as possible. If they’ve done anything really serious, we’d hand all a material to the police afterwards. Makes you think, dunnit?

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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
30 Jan 2022 2:17PM
If i'd had more time, I could have looked out the pictures of our 'evidence room' for the defining investigation of my career: a mirrored ballroom with rows and rows of removal boxes full of documents...

Maybe another day?
cooky Avatar
cooky Plus
19 7 11 United Kingdom
30 Jan 2022 4:34PM
Hopefully the real truth will out John but maybe not for years! Sue Gray is renowned for her impartial integrity and that seems to be an issue for some.

What's that quote:
'The mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind exceeding fine.'

janeez Avatar
janeez Plus
15 1.8k 8 United Kingdom
30 Jan 2022 4:54PM
Agree entirely with all you have said and certainly food for thought from someone who has seen so much from the 'inside'.

My greatest fear is the lapse of time. People in our instant world of information get bored and move on to the next big story and appear to consider this historic law breaking can be dismissed as simply a bit of frivolity in the light of current events. This apathy to rule breaking then sets a dangerous precedence for both present and future governments. If our Parliament is not law abiding, honest and open with it's electors then sadly the very fabric democracy suffers.
DicksPics Avatar
30 Jan 2022 5:30PM
An excellent account John, thank you.

All I desire is to be able to trust those in power and for them to abandon their vainglorious and self-preservation motives!

ugly Avatar
ugly Plus
15 9 58 United Kingdom
31 Jan 2022 10:42AM
Who to say that if any other groups have been in downing street that they would not be doing the same thing. As we are going more transparent we are more and more thing that government do that not to our liking. A new thing in the news is the aircraft that the government use and it coast a lot of money. Money that people do not know is being used that way. Strange the queen given up her aircraft her boat to keep people on her side. So my thoughts are some people who want power of get to use there power want things and hide it away when they get it. Other people do not like it and will anything to bring them down and take it away from the. As people who say it is the circular of life.
af1 Avatar
af1 Plus
10 1 United Kingdom
31 Jan 2022 10:59AM
Hi nice comment Sir, sadly in these days of big brother..l cannot comment any further as my son is a police officer at No10 !
chase Avatar
chase Plus
18 2.6k 684 England
31 Jan 2022 11:10AM
The truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow but, as the saying goes, the truth will out at some point in time, someone will slip up somewhere along the line.
JuBarney Avatar
JuBarney Plus
12 36 7 United Kingdom
31 Jan 2022 5:39PM
Regarding the Critique Gallery, perhaps some might just want suggestions to improve their image without forethought that the Critique Team might need leading down the path! I realise it might make their job easier but the individual photographer might not have the expertise to know what is necessary. However I understand that it is not pleasant if the "suggestions" are not appreciated.

pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 451
4 Feb 2022 4:16AM
Good morning dudler. Have you watched a film called "Z" by Costa Gavras? The protagonist is a judge who's investigating a politician's assasination; it's based on a real story.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.2k 2063 England
5 Feb 2022 12:47PM
Thanks for the suggestion, Pablo.

I haven't seen it: I shall see if I can get hold of it somewhere. It's quite bad enough investigating fraud and bullying: you never know if it's a joke when someone says 'maybe I ought to have you kneecapped' to the auditor interviewing him. (The interviewee was sacked for gross misconduct: the interviewer reached his 40 years and retired peacefully. It's important to note that in all of the work I was involved in, we got the outcomes we sought, usually dismissal - which was upheld at both appeals and industrial tribunals, which is quite an achievement. Working as part of a good team matters more than I can express.)

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