Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Damian Green (Half) Dozen

1. Matthew Parris is on the money as usual
On the whole, and in the main, and everything considered, you do not in a democracy go around arresting the Opposition...A Prime Minister otherwise known as the Big, Clunking Fist will struggle to dissociate himself in the public mind from an astonishingly heavy-handed police operation against a critic.
2. Financial Times editorial
Governments must be jealous of giving the police too much power and of vague, open-ended offences. Unaccountable police forces with such loosely defined prerogatives are a menace to liberty. But there is little reason to hope that this administration will recognise this...The government must stop making free with civil liberties.


3. Andy Grice in The Indy says Gordon Brown made his name on receiving leaks.
In opposition, Mr Brown was a regular recipient of leaked documents, which he deployed with devastating effect against the Tories. Now the boot is on the other foot.
4. Nick Clegg in The Telegraph

When opposition politicians heard about Damian Green's arrest, many of us asked ourselves the same question: "When did it become a crime to hold the Government to account?"
5. Richard Littlejohn in the Mail
Interviewed by Adam Boulton on Sky News yesterday, the Prime Minister gave not the slightest inclination that he was in any way troubled by this outrageous arrest of a fellow Honourable Member or the invasion of Parliament by the heavy mob. He merely denied any 'prior' knowledge and repeated ad infinitum that this was solely a matter for the police. I'm surprised he didn't add that this raid began in America.
6. The Sun editorial
Ms Smith and Gordon Brown insist they knew nothing. Is it likely a Shadow Minister would be seized without the Home Secretary or PM knowing? MPs from Mr Brown downwards have used leaked documents to grab headlines. It’s part of politics. Mr Green’s arrest stinks.

23 comments:

Colin said...

If you believe that no-one in government, including mandleson knew about this AT ALL, the very idea that the police would go down this road without any form of political top cover is mind blowing. If this is indeed the case, then the government urgently needs to do us all a favour and take some coppers down a peg or two.

Whatever Green's been up to, this is a once in a parliamentary lifetime gift for the Tories, if handled correctly.

The Tories should announce that, if elected, they'll immediately repeal the sinister law used in this instance.

Dick the Prick said...

It's a funny day when I find myself completely agreeing with Tony Benn. Very strange circumstances indeed.

Tom said...

So, okay, enough of the lies from ministers that they knew nothing of this. Enough of letting them get away with telling us it's a matter of the "independence of the police" (if this were true they are apparently accountable to nobody, which is an utterly frightening prospect). Why hasn't a single government minister offered their opinion on this vitally important matter, even when asked? Regardless of whether the police is independent, do they really think it is appropriate for them to raid confidential files pertaining to constituents? How would the counter-terrorism police feel if their most important files were taken from them and pored over (and probably lost) by MPs?

Eddie said...

I wonder why the police felt the need to advise David Cameron and Boris about this, but not the Home Secretary or the Prime Minister?

This was not the FA pressing charges against a footballer for foul play, so advising his club.

If it was felt that constitutionally the police should advise the leader of the opposition of their intended move, it is beyond belief that they did not advise the Government first.

Man in a Shed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Man in a Shed said...

Interesting that Matthew Paris refers back to the mood in the blogsphere about Labour.

Credit to Nick Clegg for standing up to be counted.

The public just don't believe Brown, and almost nobody has heard from Smith.

The words they use are lawyers denials. We have grown so used to being lied to by Labour that we wouldn't know an honest answer if it ever came out ( of course no danger of any answers at PMQs ! )

Jimmy said...

Hasn't this been answered?

The Perm Sec was advised at about the same time as Boris, i.e. about five minutes in advance. Presumbaly the Ministers found out when he got hold of them. In each case my understanding is that the notification was a courtesy. No-one was being asked for their opinion. Politicians should not insinuate themselves into criminal investigations for reasons which should be obvious. If Mr. Green feels the police have behaved improperly, there is a complaints procedure he is fully entitled to use.

Ministers are very properly not commenting on a pending criminal investigation as Mr. Green is entitled, as is any suspected criminal, to the presumption of innocence. Tempted as they may be to speculate on why the Old Bill want to see his bank statements, it would be wrong as long as the matter is sub judice.

Jabba the Cat said...

Richard North makes an interesting point here...

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com
/2008/11/not-what-you-do.html

Paul Pinfield said...

Mr Paris: "A Prime Minister otherwise known as the Big, Clunking Fist will struggle to dissociate himself in the public mind from an astonishingly heavy-handed police operation against a critic".

I think Matthew vocalises the central problem with any government who has been in power for more than ten years.

There have been so many lies and so much spin that after all this time, every time a Labour minister opens his/her mouth, the majority of the population do not believe them... In essence, it does not matter whether the government are behind the arrest of Mr Green. The public believe that they are, and this is the end of it.

All the Tories need to do is play it safe... I am a natural LibDem voter, but I will, without doubt, vote Conservative just to get rid of this contemptible administration.

norman said...

Jimmy

Nothing answered. Ministers, particuarly Mugabe Brown, the worst control freak and that dreadful and most inefficient colleague of his Ms Smith sound so unbelievable that people know that they were lying. No use in defending Mugabe Brown and his colleague brown shirts. Sounds like a carefully archestrated event with ministers in the know but executed so inefficiently like
Brown's economic stimulus that it backfired. Now as damage limitation exercise Blunket and Labour MPs lament about police excesses. Cameron, Johnson and Speaker were told but not control freak Mugabe Brown and the dreadful Ms Smith. The Labour thinks that we are all one-cell brain humans. Brown has to go taking with him the stinking Labour. Remember they did not do when all knew how Campbell sexed op WMD report, Blair and his hideous coteries drove Dr Kelly to suicide (?) and arranged Hutton to exonerate them. Dreadful imbeciles.

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

You really do not have a clue, do you? Define 'sub judice'.

What charges have been laid? In which court is this trial?

For your edification:
http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snpc-01141.pdf

Good Grief!

Colin said...

Jimmy said...
Hasn't this been answered?

No Jimmy, it hasn't been answered.

Damian Green isn't some political bag man / bag woman, suspected of helping to hawk peerages. He's a shadow cabinet member. I think the lawyer like replies from smith and brown and the silence from the government has more to do with a dawning realisation of a massive blunder, rather than any desire to respect the legal process.

Lola said...

What exercises me is just how did such a liberal and fair minded people end up with such a bunch of unconscionable shits running the country? This is nothing to do with the duration of their tenure, they've always been like this - deceitful, arrogant and without a shred of shame about the cavalier way in which they have deliberately written down our long held and hard won liberties.

I am now seriously pissed off.

Jimmy said...

Norman,

Blah blah Mugabe blah blah Brownshirts blah blah Stalin

Do you people ever listen to yourselves? Get a grip. Soon you will be audible only to dogs.

Unsworth,

It's a common misapprehension that the risk of contempt of court can only arise after a charge has been laid. This is not the case. For purposes of contempt criminal proceedings are deemed "active" from the date of arrest.

Colin,

Ah yes the "don't you know who I am?" gambit. Do you really want to go there?

Alex said...

There has been a common line from ministers that the knew about the arrest before it happened, but none of them have said they knew nothing about the investigation before the arrest.

The words used by Brown and Smith are the same and have come from the same spin doctor.

Cameron should be pushing the question of whether Smith Brown and other ministers knew that Green was being investigated by the police.

Under New Labour we are moving towards a totalitarian state. See if you recognise this from Wikipedia:

Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a concept used to describe political systems where a state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life. Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of an official all-embracing ideology and propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that controls the state, personality cults, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics

African Mum said...

Alex has defined the way ZanuLabour is controlling schools and teachers at the moment. Meanwhile, Mail on Sunday says Damian Green was entrapped in the way information was offered to him via repeated phone calls. And Independent on Sun reckons Tories are being bugged.
Enough said, really.
Meanwhile, Jimmy, whoever you are, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. So shame on you, Jimmy.

Lola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adamsmith1922 said...

I drew upon the Times editorial in my comments

http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/10670/

Just what kind of country has Britain become in the last few years? It is not the country that I recall from my youth

Lola said...

Akex. Yes. Quite. But will Cameron - if he wins - dismantle all this apparatus?

It's tragic that Socialism always trends to totalitarianism. I don't think it's endemic in the philosophy itself, more that it is a character trait in those people attracted to socialism. They seem to be absolutist and arrogantly certain that they have a special talent that empowers them with the ability to run everyone else's life better than they can themselves. Or they are just latent totalitarians seeing the opportunity that socialism gives them to implement their agenda. I also concede that some are genuine in their belief that socialism creates a 'fairer' society with compassion for the unfortunate. They're wrong mind you, but they are honest in their beliefs. Some others, like Blair, see the opportunity for self advancement and can see how they can manipulate the socialist agenda for their personal gain, but that class also exists in righty parties.

Again I quote 'the only difference between socialism and totalitarianism is time'.

African Mum said...

Other news - a hairdresser has been arrested for offering a customer a glass of wine, in breach of ZanuLabour rules.

Jimmy said...

African Mum,

Thanks for the hat tip on the MoS story. For anyone who hasn't seen it it turns out that the civil servant is a tory pary member and ex-council candidate (quelle surprise) who had been angling for a job with the party. After his arrest he called Green several times. Green (I assume, although the allegations against the police are anonymous) alleges the police put him up to it. No word on how he got Green's number. Perhaps it's in the book?

That martyr's halo's starting to look a bit ragged don't you think?

Unsworth said...

@ Jimmy

"Criminal"? Not according to reports to date...

There's a world of difference between 'contempt of court' and 'sub judice' - but perhaps you actually do believe them to be one and the same.

More work need here.

DespairingLiberal said...

Lola, it isn't only leftist parties that trend to totalitarianism, unless you think that Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Evita Peron, Galtieri and Pinochet were "of the left"?

I think once people are in high office they spend a lot of time thinking "how easy things would be if I could just give an order and..."