Monday 12 April 2010

The killing of Cornelius Cardew

I see there was a talk last Saturday at the News from Nowhere Club about the radical composer Cornelius Cardew, including a discussion of his involvement with Maoist politics, which may have played a part in his tragic early death.

Oh yeah? There have always been conspiracy theorists who think that Cardew was murdered by MI5 or by neo-Nazis, because of his radical political involvement.

I don’t buy it, any more than I buy the notion that there was a conspiracy involved in the death of Barry Mannakee, a former bodyguard of Diana, Princess of Wales, on Woodford Road.

The reality is that the streets of East London are full of drivers who are untaxed or uninsured or who are speeding or drunk, and who wouldn’t dream of stopping if they slammed into a pedestrian at 1.30 on a Sunday morning, which is when Cornelius Cardew was run down, on High Road Leyton, near the junction with Maud Road (I assume he was walking back to his home on nearby Leyton Park Road).

Simplistic conspiracy theories divert attention from the real political scandal of London’s lawless streets:

More people die on London’s roads than are murdered. Most road deaths are preventable, yet several times more resources are devoted to murder investigations than to road death investigations. The lack of priority given to road crime is demonstrated by the current reluctance of the police to prosecute drivers who injure cyclists or pedestrians, in the absence of independent witnesses . This dismissive approach is not adopted towards the victims of car theft, burglary, assault and other crimes.

Around eighty people a week are injured in collisions involving “hit-and-run” driving, a serious offence.

“Hit-and-run” collisions accounted for 6.5% of all collisions in London in 1985 and 15.2% of all collisions in London in 2004


Extracts from some relevant documentation: