INADEQUATE and overdue are the kindest assessments of the Scotland Yard “apology” to women deceived and abused by Metropolitan Police secret agents.
However much was paid to the women concerned, it cannot assuage the harm done to them and the children that some of them bore to the police spies.
Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt made all the right sympathetic noises, absolving the women of blame for their mistreatment and recognising that they had been victims of manipulation and gross violation and that their cynical abuse probably epitomised contemporary Met attitudes towards women.
However, he persisted with the Met line that the top brass was unaware of how the Special Demonstration Squad, which existed as a unit of Special Branch from 1968 until 2008, was gathering evidence.
It beggars belief that none of the undercover cops would have been asked for 40 years what they were doing, where they were living and with whom.
Hewitt insists that senior officers would never have authorised their agents to embark on sexual relationships as a means of securing information.
Of course not and we can be totally confident that there is nothing in writing in the Met archives that acknowledges the grubby depths to which its officers were ready to descend to infiltrate and disrupt legal organisations of peaceful protest.
Police Spies Out of Lives, the body that has provided legal support to the women, refers to a “level of deception perpetrated by state agents seeking to undermine movements for social change” (that) is more akin to that of the Stasi in East Germany.
The scandal actually smacks of FBI tactics used in the US to infiltrate the Communist Party after the second world war when spies married party members and had children with them before coming out as state agents during the judicial persecution of the CPUSA.
The scale of betrayal experienced by women who believe themselves part of a loving relationship before being abruptly abandoned and learning later that it was all a sham to root out information cannot be overstated.
The psychological effect on children born into these relationships can only be imagined.
At a time, in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, when politicians are falling over themselves to agree new powers for state intelligence organs, some consideration should be given to the victims of the security state.
Once again, a mealy-mouthed “apology” and financial compensation reflect the price of failure to hold to account those responsible at the highest level for criminal acts against innocent citizens.
CHUKA UMUNNA has always been a polished and plausible performer, which is why he encouraged, anonymously, internet chatter portraying himself as the “British Obama.”
He ducked out of the Labour leadership contest in favour of Liz Kendall, after first accepting nomination, and then flounced off the front bench, opting not to serve under Jeremy Corbyn.
His advice to Labour MPs yesterday that they should put their principles above party loyalties sounds very high-minded.
But it merely marks the latest stage in a campaign on which he, Chris Leslie and other prominent front-bench refuseniks are engaged to undermine the democratically elected party leader.
Suggesting that “each individual MP has a mandate from those who elected them” has a democratic ring to it, but every MP was elected on a Labour ticket and Labour Party conference took a united stand towards the conflict in Syria.
It would be bizarre in these circumstances for Corbyn to allow a free vote in Parliament whenever David Cameron proposes Britain’s involvement.
The labour movement will make its own judgement of those who cannot bring themselves to accept that their candidates and policies were rejected in the leadership election and that they should unite behind that decision.