The Flaws of Identity Politics: Cressida Dick – Conservative Article
Cressida Dick is a name that has undeniably pervaded the British media over the years. The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has hosted a string of controversies throughout her career, with the most recent being the chaos that ensued at the Sarah Everard vigil. The irony, however, is that it is the very same women’s movement that has supported Dick in her controversial career!
The media throughout Dick’s career constantly applauds Dick for her gender and sexuality, completely missing the reality of the ‘work’ that she has done. Mayor Sadiq Khan described Dick’s appointment as Commissioner as a “historic day for London”, with another media source focusing on her same-sex relationship, arguing that “diversity [is] at the heart of her role”.
The overwhelming focus on Dick’s identity takes us away entirely from how unsuitable she truly is for her role. She represents anything but diversity. Dick is certainly historic amongst those who have assumed the role of Commissioner, but for all of the wrong reasons.
From the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes to the recent chaos of the Everard vigil, it is evident that Dick has no regard for diversity. Yet, we still find ourselves disregarding her incompetence in favour of her gender and sexuality. The idiocy of prioritising identity politics is placing the public in serious danger.
In 2005, Dick ordered officers to wrongfully pursue and surveil Jean Charles De Menezes – a Brazillian electrician who she believed was responsible for the 7 July bombings in London. As a result of Dick’s orders, de Menezes was shot “seven times in the head at Stockwell tube station”.
This kickstarted the murder investigation of the innocent man that was murdered at the hands of Dick’s misidentification. Yes, mistakes happen. But when an innocent man is murdered because the Gold Commander cannot do her job effectively, I do not see how she could possibly be promoted to Commissioner in good conscience.
The misidentification of De Menezes goes against the very same principle of ‘diversity’ that the media has claimed Dick represents in her role as Commissioner. De Menezes was an innocent immigrant who was trying to make a life for himself in the U.K. Dick’s orders are undeniably threaded with prejudice and exclusivity, displaying her indifference to promoting diversity.
Moving forward in time, Dick has expressed a worrying desire to give police more power in controlling protests in London. This stems from the increase in Extinction Rebellion protests in London in 2020. Whilst I question whether the approach of Extinction Rebellion is effective, this does not take away from the human right to protest.
Protest is a fundamental right. Dick’s push to update public nuisance law is a removal of that right. I find it extremely challenging to associate Dick with the image of ‘diversity’ that the media has pushed over the years when she advocates for these changes in legislation.
This brings us to the recent vigil for Sarah Everard. Innocent women who were simply paying their respects to Everard were attacked by the police. Fundamentally, Dick is responsible for this as the Commissioner.
What continues to disgust me, however, is how Dick herself has used her identity to deflect the blame. Dick stated that “What happened to Sarah appalls me. As you know, I’m the first woman commissioner of the Met – perhaps it appalls me, in a way, even more because of that. What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation.”
Why is Dick’s identity as a woman deemed more important than the numerous mistakes that she has made throughout her career? She has put public safety at risk over and over again, leading to serious and even fatal injuries.
It is the very principles of the women’s movement at the Everard vigil that supports Dick in her role. The irony is that she is the cause for their mishandling.
When will we realise that identity politics is a very dangerous game? That this game leads to the death of innocent people such as de Menezes? Yes, inclusivity in roles such as Commissioner of the Met is important. We need growth. But surely the lives of the public are more important than the image of ‘diversity’ that she supposedly represents?
Written by Junior Conservative Writer, Rebecca Selt
Point of Information
Cressida Dick is no longer fit for office, if she ever was in the first place – A Liberal Response
I agree with Rebecca, Cressida Dick is certainly no longer fit for office. Some might argue that she never was.
She said that the death of Sarah Everard made her more determined to lead her organisation. But perhaps another candidate for the role might have handled the women remembering her better, rather than allowing them to be tackled to the ground and arrested. The deflection of blame due to her being a woman and in a same-sex relationship is no excuse.
If it were a straight white man with this list of controversies, the public would be calling for his resignation too. The death of Jean Charles de Menezes; the Sarah Everard vigil; seeking more authoritarian police powers when protests arise; the racial disparities in stop-and-search powers. How does anyone’s career survive this list of issues?
Of course, we need more diversity in the police, particularly to help address problems we have been facing with the police in the last few years. But perhaps these can be worked on through other means. Schemes to promote the entry into the police of people of more diverse backgrounds; engagement with underserved communities to help enable trust and the rebuilding of relations where they have been so damaged by previous actions of police officers; these all would be better.
The solution for diversity is not to place someone who has a questionable record as the Commissioner of the Met so that you can claim you are a more diverse organisation.
Written by Junior Liberal Writer, Emma Hall
The Identity Crisis of Cressida Dick – A Labour Response
The series of events that a human goes through leaves a great imprint on the personality. Winnie Mandela said that the years of imprisonment hardened her so much that she no longer had any emotion of fear.
Likewise, the series of events over the years shaped the personality of Cressida Dick; a strong, assertive police officer. Her life, however, cannot be compared to Winnie Mandela. Mandela suffered through every possible pain and trauma, regardless of her gender. When you don’t have anything like a ‘gender card’ to guard you, this is when the real self of the person is revealed and the Identity developed after such events are actually worthy of playing the Identity card for.
Gender is one of the most abused tactics to seek attention or develop identity. If we start giving special status to every social group, we will be left with only white, cis, heterosexual men as the only category that would be considered ‘normal’.
There is no denying that most of the social groups are still struggling in many parts of the world to secure their rights. However, no one in a privileged scenario should have the right to play the special identity card to receive special treatment and get away with their blunders again and again. In fact, this is actually blasphemous for those who are actually struggling for their basic rights.
Keeping gender aside, the early childhood and background influences a lot upon the personality of the person. Vamik Volkan in the book Blind Trust discusses how one’s early upbringing psychologically impacts and shapes the personality. Dick has a strong background behind her. And that has definitely played a great role in developing her career. A strong background builds confidence, brings assertiveness in your tone and pretty much makes you a leader.
However, it seems absurd to use the gender card, yet after having enough privileges. This can conclude to one certain thing. That is; that when you have enough privileges, you develop assertiveness and love to lead and rule. But whenever you are pointed a finger at or questioned for your mistakes, instead of taking the blame like an actual leader, you pity yourself and play the victim card. And in a nutshell, this is what Cressida Dick’s whole personality is.
Written by Junior Labour Writer, Shamamah Dogar
I am a third year student studying English and Film Studies at the University of Exeter. After completing my degree, I will be converting to law to begin my journey of becoming a commercial lawyer. As an avid reader of the Financial Times, I have begun to understand how important the commercial market is in forming global politics.