Friday, 28 November 2008
I meant to rant about this a little while ago, but forgot; Hazel Blears doesn't want people to blog any more. Or, rather, she only wants properly-vetted, state-appointed people to write blogs; anyone else is deemed irresponsible. Blog away, I say, blog away; the more the merrier; and, if you can smear Ms Blears, so much the better.
Following the arrest and 9 hour detention of Damian Green, the Telegraph commented that
"A political row has broken out over the incident. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary was not pre-warned about the arrest and the Government has categorically denied that the Prime Minister had any prior knowledge. Yet Mr Cameron, the Tory leader, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and the Speaker and Serjeant at Arms of the House of Commons have confirmed they were all informed.A political row has broken out over the incident. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary was not pre-warned about the arrest and the Government has categorically denied that the Prime Minister had any prior knowledge. Yet Mr Cameron, the Tory leader, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and the Speaker and Serjeant at Arms of the House of Commons have confirmed they were all informed."
A pretty bold statement, that: the Home Secretary was 'not prewarned'. Upon whose authority were these anti-terrorist officers acting, then? By whom had they been briefed; by whom had they been deployed? How is it that the Tories knew about the situation but the Home Secretary, who is directly responsible for anything terror/'national security' related, did not? Were these officers acting arbitrarily? Had they taken the law into their own hands, not only in holding Mr Green for nine hours without charge, but in breaking into Commons offices and ransacking them? By violating the sanctity of Parliament? Who is answerable?
Considering that much of Labour - sorry, NuLabour, an entirely different beastie - policies during the late 90s arose from 'leaks' (usually, but not entirely, carefully orchestrated by Blair's PR machine), the swaggering bravado not only of Brown's government but his own party members and the BBCin this matter is audacious on a breath-taking scale. Mr Green had every right to those figures. They were indeed politically sensitive: they demonstrated further that the Government's immigration policy is an absolute cock-up, and that citizens are being put at risk because permits to work have been given out to over 6500 people who've smuggled themselves into England illegally. If a minister can no longer demonstrate that the opposition is doing a bad job - if they are deliberately withholding such information from him under the banal cliches of 'national security' or 'intelligence' - then there is absolutely no need for a Parliamentary, or an electoral machine. If the Government's mismanagement is 'politically sensitive' and thus any exposure of it is deemed worthy of calling in the anti-terror squads, then to hell with democracy altogether.
What we're living under is not Socialism; it is the creeping, insidious totalitarian nightmare of 1930s Germany which, as I recall, in one propaganda reel stated 'we want our citizens to enjoy great freedoms; freedoms decided upon and carefully regulated by the state.' If we consider that Brown has passed more laws during his brief (non-elected) time in office than any other PM in history, and that there's not a single instance of human behaviour that has not been legislated for in this country, the arrest of Mr Green should be considered a relatively normal occurrence; as normal as giving someone a police record for overfilling a bin by six inches, or arresting a pensioner who swore at a burglar, or introducing fingerprinting schemes at pub doors, or lobbying to take DNA from newborns and add it to a database.