Saturday, April 01, 2006

What a lovely letter

Dear Holly

Forgive me for not writing to you immediately after our Committee hearing. I needed to take time out to mentally assimilate all that you told us, to re-run the hearing in my head and to assess the response of the media.

You and your fellow guests certainly made a massive impact. I do not believe that I have seen, read or heard such consistent reporting of an issue in all the years I have been involved in local government. Even the tabloids were totally responsible and really got your message accross.

I know from the phone calls that we have received that the 'powers that be' are being made to sit up and listen. They heard what you said, how it was reported and are clearly worried about what we shall put in our report. They will try to manipulate events so that when we report they can say 'We have taken this into account'. Whatever!

May I give you this assurance: the report will be written without fear or favour and we will tell the truth as we see it and as we have been advised and learnt. To do anything else would be a total betrayal of you all and that I will not do, under any circumstance.

Please accept my unbound appreciation to you and your 'fellows' for coming to the hearing and speaking out in public, telling us your story. I can empathise with you and the challenge it must have been jumping that hurdle. What a testament!

What really came across was that you are all ordinary people caught up in extra-ordinary events, your humanity and dignity shone through.

If there is ever anything I or any of us can do to help you, should you need it, you have only to ask. London and all vulnerable cities are truly in your debt.

My very best regards.

Richard Barnes AM
Chair of the 7 July Review Committee