28 November 2008

The Arrest Of Damien Green Is A Triumph For Democracy.

***UPDATE 3***- Unity over at Liberal Conspiracy makes same point as me -
"the arrest of Damian Green could, and should, turn out to be a good thing for Britain’s democracy"
**UPDATE 2** - Tory Crocodile Tears *UPDATE* Unity over at LIberal Conspiracy delves deeper - in particular why Cameron and Boris were informed of the arrest but not the PM and why Official Secrets Act offences are dealt with by terror police.
Nobody should be above the law, least of all politicians. The Tory howls of 'stalinism' over shadow immigration minister Damien Green's arrest would have more force if...
they had done the same over the 1am storming of cash for honours Lord Levy's home (and others).

I doubt anything will come of this arrest or the search of 'several' of this shadow minister's homes and offices (the fact a shadow minister can afford several homes tells us something more interesting).

The 'moles' in the Treasury and Home Office and other departments have been feeding the Tory press and front bench advance information on government behind the scenes discussions on policy now for many months - the government has finally got tired of tolerating what is an offence under the Official Secrets Act, and who could blame them - no government could carry on with such distractions and destabilising an influence.

The Tories led by George Osbourne's immature disregard for conducting themselves honourably have shown utter disrespect for etiquette and even the law. It is time one of them (at least) goes to jail for their crimes!


  1. Mike Brighton28/11/08 5:09 pm

    Clearly you think it OK for anti-terrorism police to arrest opposition front-benchers for er, doing their job.

    The comparison with Lord Cashpoint and Ruth Turner is (as you know) utterly false. They were being investigated for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

  2. Mike: If Green has been purchasing documents for party political advantage then what is the difference from Watergate?

    Do you think it ok that 'moles' are leaking budget info and home office info and that no-one should be prosecuted?

    How can any government be expected to do it's job if every discussion they have about policy is leaked and sensationalised in the press before they even make a decision?

  3. Dig out Tony Benn's inte4 news this evening. He understands the issues and impact oin our parliamentary democracy.

    As a fellow left winger he can hardly be called a Tory apologist.

  4. GS: I haven't seen the interview (as yet) but Tony Benn thinks 'first-past-the-post' is democratic. Do I need to say more?

    Benn has some strange ideas on democracy and mostly he misses the point. It's strange how closely the extreme right and extreme left can agree on these things and both get it completely wrong!

  5. Neil,

    "How can any government be expected to do it's job if every discussion they have about policy is leaked and sensationalised in the press before they even make a decision?"

    The public has a right to know.

    One simple question:

    How would you have reacted if a Labour front bencher had been arrested in similar circumstances during the last tory administration? I cannot believe that you would have called that a 'triumph for democracy'. Sure, and was is peace, freedom is slavery...

  6. TT: Not sure how I would have reacted - maybe I would have been as outraged as the current Tories, maybe not. If it was political espionage like Green has been upto - I hope I would have condemned it just the same.

  7. Neil, the thing that I loathe about party politics is the way those who buy into it, such as yourself, will defend the indefensible if it's your side doing it.

  8. Neil,

    The metod of electing MP's is irrelevant. Benn points out that the role of an MP and the sancticy of Parliament is crucial in our democracy.

  9. TT: I often criticise the Labour party - if you read this blog you must know that.

    As Blair once said 'its worse than that...I actually believe it'.

    I really do believe that the Tories are odious rats ruining this country - sponging off its very fibre and charging the poorest for their lavish lifestyles while at the same time claiming the moral highground. They are scum and 10 years prison for Green would teach them they are not above the law - just as they sent civil servants to prison for revealing stuff that really was in the public interest back then. How many Labour MPs are on a rebel list in Labour HQ is political espionage and not genuine public interest. This is a watergate situation and yet you defend it.

  10. GS: Benn points out rightly the importance of an MPs role and the sanctity of parliament - sadly he doesn't see the root cause. Having a bunch of clowns largely elected in safe seats is not democracy - it is the seed for the erosion of real debate that we now see.

    This is a much bigger problem than police questioning a Tory MP who has been undermining the home office and immigration services by paying civil servants to break the official act. If the info is really for genuine public interest they have a defence - but this is just about party political advantage through corrupting officials into espionage.

  11. Neil,

    I think you may be jumping the gun somewhat - unless the government has held a speedy show trial and I missed it.

    I know you criticise the labour party, but it is always within the context of when push comes to shove you will dutifully vote for the pig with the red rosette, no matter how bad they are, because (sigh) "they're not as bad as the tories".

    Sadly even this weak justification is not true. Labour are worse in so many ways, certainly more authoritarian and more prone to fascism, and because you will remain loyal, no matter how bad they become, you will close your eyes to it, as you are now as they use 'anti-terrorist' goon squads to intimidate opposition politicians.

  12. TT: You think I am deluded to prefer Labour to the Tories, yet you seem to really believe that the UK is a 'fascist' state - you obviously have had a very easy life - try going abroad sometime - perhaps Burma, or even your beloved USA - take a walk through south central Los Angeles at night and see how free you feel.

    Ok, I don't know all the facts - but the guy is being investigated for a conspiracy to aquire information and seems to have overstepped the law and the 'public interest' defence seems dubious to some of the stuff he has bought - that much is clear. But no-one is suggesting this guy won't get a fair trial - indeed he probably will get off even if he is guilty - which no doubt will please you (or perhaps it won't).

  13. Neil,

    "You think I am deluded to prefer Labour to the Tories"

    I guess so. As far as I'm concerned they're like two gangs of hooligans, each convinced they are opposite to the other, but indistinguishable to anyone on the outside.

    I didn't say that we lived in a fascist state, only that labour is prone to fascism. They love the control grid, the ID cards, the face scans, the new police powers, anti-terrorist cops raiding opposition offices in Parliament, people randomly searched in the street etc.

  14. TT: All this stuff about 'terror police' gives the game away about your warped sense of reality. They are just special branch - that is all. It is just a re-organisation of special branch that gives them the anomolous title of anti-terrorist police. Its the same police investigating official secrets act offences as it always has been. It seems from this that Damien 'i hate gays and love religious schools' Green is not so sqeaky clean after all (let alone has a libertarian bone in his body).

  15. Neil,

    two ad hominims in one post; well done!

    Firstly, your government uses 'anti-terrorism' legislation to spy on people walking their dogs and applying to secondary schools, not to mention arresting Walter Wolfgang for daring to criticise Jack Straw. I didn't re-brand Special Branch, they did, I didn't claim that ID Cards would protect us from terrorists, they did, because terrorism is the joker they play whenever they want to justify their authoritarian (fascistic) tendencies.

    As for Damien Green, what's your point? He wasn't arrested for his opinions on homosexuality or religious schools (like the one your glorious leader Blair sent his kids to), whatever they may be.

  16. TT: Firstly, it is Tory councils spying on dog walkers, people's bins, etc and secondly Walter Wolfgang was never arrested and is still an active member of the Labour party who would tell you to vote Labour over the real fascists - the Tories.

    The 'point' I was making about Green is that - this guy is no campaigner for freedom like the media are trying to portray. Most people would find his views abhorrent and he will be part of a Tory government that really will erode people's liberty.

  17. Neil,

    there won't be any liberties left to erode!

    In any case, they will carry on where Labour leave off.

    Tory councils use the powers which the labour government gave them. Walter Wolfgang was detained under anti-terror laws. The point stands: anti-terror laws are used against the public for things which are nothing to do with terrorism.

    You have different political instincts to a rank-and-file tory. I accept this. What you need to realise is that this doesn't change the fact that in government, tory and labour do the same things, and use the other party to excuse their sins. What do you think the tories will say when they're back in power and your front-benchers are getting arrested?

  18. Frankly, in terms of civil liberties I don't see too much to choose between the Tories and Labour. Each party consists, largely, of a bunch of nasty authoritarians who essentially aim to prosecute people that they don't like. The only difference is the choice of people on the receiving end.

  19. These Tory crooks deserve to go to jail - but you and me both know they won't, especially now Cameron and his bully boys have put the frighteners on the police.

  20. In fact the Tories attitude (and some from other parties and media) that MPs are above the law is the REAL threat to our democracy - not the arrest of someone who kept buying up juicy press stories from an eager corrupt and foolish civil servant with Tory leanings.

  21. "Former Labour minister Denis MacShane yesterday dubbed it 'a mammoth breach in the core democratic doctrine of parliamentary privilege'."

    (quoted in the Mail)