This week the relatives of those mudered in a massacre by British troops in colonial Malaya lost their High Court battle to force the British government to hold an inquiry into the killings.
In 1948 a squad of Scots Guards killed 24 Malayans in the village of Batang Kali.
The massacre was part of the "Malayan Emergency," when Britain fought to keep control of the colony.
During World War II the Communist Party in Malaya had led resistance to the Japanese.
A grateful Britain awarded its leader Chin Peng an OBE.
Chin's comrades expected the newly elected British Labour Party to also grant Malayan independence as a reward.
But the British wanted to hang on to Malaya's lucrative rubber industry.
The Labour government unleashed a wave of repression to stop the independence movement, interning thousands and hanging hundreds of trade unionists and communists.
The communists formed a National Liberation Army (NLA) to fight for independence.
The British responded by imprisoning Malayans in "barbed wire villages" and by torture and murder.
The army did not believe the Batang Kali villagers were NLA fighters, but did believe they had given them food.
So they rounded up all the men in the village and killed them.
Sir John Thomas, the judge in this week's case, said that a new inquiry would be too hard because "most of the contemporary documents are missing and most of those who were engaged are dead."
But some of the soldiers bravely came forward in 1970 to give sworn statements to The People newspaper, which was investigating the massacre.
Sir John said it was too hard "to determine whether the use of force was reasonable or proportionate" or if these were "executions."
But the 1970 statements are very clear.
One guardsman says his captain "told us that the villagers were feeding terrorists and that every one of them should be killed."
Another soldier called it "a needless killing that was like murder under orders." The men's testimony makes clear the villagers were not shot while trying to escape - the official story - but instead were deliberately murdered.
One man recalled: "We opened fire on the men. Once we started firing we seemed to go mad."
Another said: "It struck me we must all be out of our minds to do a thing like we had just done.
"The man with the Bren [light machine-gun], I can't remember his name, boasted he had cut one of the Chinese in half with his bullets."
Which suggests the shooting wasn't "reasonable and proportionate."
There are two main reasons for an inquiry.
First, it is overdue. There was an inquiry in 1948, but the soldiers were ordered to lie.
One soldier remembers his sergeant telling them in the barracks "that we would all be in serious trouble if the truth came out and that when we attended the inqury we should say that the men where shot as they tried to escape."
Another was warned he would "face 14 years in prison for the truth."
Following The People newspaper's published articles exposing the massacre in 1970, the then Labour government began another inquiry.
This inquiry was cancelled by the succeeding Tory government.
Judge Thomas said this week that it was "very questionable" whether "much can be learnt" from an inquiry.
This points to the second reason to hold one - since Iraq the US army has very explicitly said that the "Malayan Emergency" is their model counterinsurgency.
They apply lessons from Malaya in Afghanistan, as they did in Iraq.
So we need an inquiry to show them the real lessons of Malaya.
In fairness to the judge, holding an inquiry should be a political, not judicial decision.
So the solution is simple. The Labour Party should commit now to finishing the inquiry it started in 1970 as soon as they are returned to government.
Boris Johnson has put in an order to buy 5,000 riot shields in what looks like a preparation for a repeat of last year's riots.
The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime put out the tender to buy 5,000 riot shields on August 1.
The mayor's office wants to buy 3,000 long shields and 2,000 "short (round) shields."
Johnson's people expect to pay around £400,000 for all the shields, buying them over the next four years.
The specification shows that the mayor's office fears large numbers of people will be throwing bricks and petrol bombs at police as well as trying to hit them with sticks and stab them with knives.
The supply of "both long and short public-order shields are to be issued to police officers for use in public order and training operations.
"The general design criteria are for shields that shall provide appropriate coverage and protection from non-ballistic missiles, hand-held blunt and bladed weapons, chemical solvents (including petrol), heat and flame."
Johnson said in August: "What the riots revealed was, I'm afraid, a deep social problem which requires lots of different solutions."
It looks like the mayor doesn't believe any of those social problems are going to be solved soon, so the police had just better kit up with some more riot gear.
The shields are being bought for the Metropolitan Police but there is a strong indication in the contract that Johnson's office is helping to set up a national riot shield supply business, suggesting police forces across the UK are also worried about reruns of the 2011 riots.
The contract is called the "national framework for the supply of public-order shields" and contains references to "other contracting authorities" wanting some of the shields.
Environmentalists will be pleased to note that Johnson wants police riot kit to be as green as it can.
The contract says "importance will be placed upon the ability to recycle, refurbish and dispose of the long shield."
Follow Solomon Hughes on Twitter @ SolHughesWriter
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