There is a character in LA Confidential called Rolo Tomasi. One of my favourite books, a nice counterbalance to Daphne Du Maurier, it’s a brutal crime story of police and political corruption, and a triumph of the broken and flawed over the venal. It’s very much a tale for our age.
Rolo Tomasi doesn’t exist. he is the name Ed Exley, in order to process his grief and rage, gives to the anonymous and unfound purse snatcher who killed his father. The guy who got away with it.
Rolo was a purse snatcher. My father ran into him off duty, and he shot my father six times and got away clean. No one even knew who he was. I just made the name up to give him some personality.
I think about this scene a lot. I often wish I was more Samuel L Jackson with his great vengeance and furious anger but I wear my rage quietly.
I run around the village and try to think about what it is exactly that I am so angry about. I am angry that my beautiful boy died, I am angry about the things that he suffered. I’m angry about his funeral, and the fact that we had to grieve in isolation. However all of that, whilst true and unfair, is unavoidable. It is what it is.
I’m angry about the Downing Street parties, although maybe not so surprised. There is a part of me that thinks Fred would find all this hilarious. I’ve always been a stickler for the rules. Fred was not. It wasn’t so much about crossing the line, but deftly running with one foot either side of it. He didn’t obey rules he didn’t see the point of, and liked to crash test them. Like Dick Dastardly, he would go to extraordinary lengths to set traps for me to expose the glaring loophole in my instructions and tie me in knots with his logic. He was the kind of boy who, when told not to run in the corridor would do that annoying really fast walking. He would drive me, and his teachers, to distraction on a daily basis and then be so charming that you couldn’t help but forgive him. I think he would find the ‘I didn’t realise it was a party’ inspired and rolled his eyes at my indignation.
So what makes me more angry with this shower of charlatans running the country?
I have taught my children about choices and consequences. You can break the rules, but there will be consequences to that, and double trouble if you are then caught lying about it. This is Parenting 101. Also I taught my children to be kind. I never cared about the paper aeroplanes, or the thrown rubbers or the ‘banging his head on the desk for the amusement of others’ but woe betide him if I found out that he had been unkind to someone else and, as he got older, that he had failed to call out unkindness with his friends. I think the grown ups call it moral responsibility.
We are supposed to be governed by grown ups.
And yet here we have the most powerful people in the land, being the guys who think they can get away with it. They refuse to answer questions, hiding behind reports and official investigations, when they know full well what they’ve done. They smirk like naughty school children outside the headmasters office because the ‘girly swots’ are trying to call them out on it. They make excuses about how hard it is been for them and how gruelling the work is, because for the first time in their career they’ve been snapped out of their drinks receptions and ‘fact finding missions’ abroad. And they are unkind, hurling abuse and lies at people who call them out, minimising people’s grief and fury, telling us all to move on.
The callousness shown both in the actions and their blustering denials and delays has left an impotent rage with nowhere to go. People are angry, and it’s not enough just to be heard. I have spoke on television, and radio, and magazines, and Twitter and to start with, it felt cathartic, but now not so much. Fred is still dead and those who partied and lied are still in power.
Rolo Tomasi is the reason I became a cop. I wanted to catch the guys who thought they could get away with it. It’s supposed to be about justice. Then somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that. Why’d you become a cop?
I don’t remember.
I hope MPs also think about Rolo Tomasi, and the rest of the scene and ask themselves why they went into public life. What morals and values they thought they were there to uphold, as they trot out their ‘gruelling days’ and ‘waiting for the report’. Every MP who has not stood up to condemn the rule breaking, the lies and the unkindness, condones it.
There is a strength in grief and I am lucky to have an army of bereaved mothers alongside me. We won’t move on. Emma, from Live Kindly, Live Loudly and Penny have both ensured that Ruby and Ollie have been talked about in parliament, and we will continue talk about until we have leaders that we can justify to our children.
We fundraise for CCLG in memory of Fred, but all opinions on here are personal and do not reflect the opinions or policies of CCLG.