Friday, November 28, 2008

Outrage Of Heavy-Handed Political Police

A top Tory MP is paying the price of public interest after the heavy-handed tactics of the political police were exposed with the arrest of a senior opposition minister over alleged  home office immigration leaks. 

The shameful arrest of shadow immigration minister, Damian Green, makes a mockery of the liberal facade of the government. Once again it exposes, the hidden workings of powerful institutions of political and social control. 

The arrest raises some chilling questions for MPs and chilling parallels with Mugabe's Zimbabwe. 

Green was arrested at his home in Kent by counter-terrorism police officers, follows a series of leaks to the Conservatives about government policy. Yet he was bailed, not under anti-terrorist laws but under common law, until February.

Downing Street is claiming this is a matter for the police and the prime minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest but Conservatives point out a police investigation into a high-ranking politician would have to have been cleared at "the very top".

As news of Green's arrest broke last night, the Orange Party smelt a big political rat at work  and some scary heavy-handed Big Brother tactics. The Conservative leader, London Mayor and House of Commons speaker had been officially informed in advance but not, apparently, any government minister.

The arrest of a senior opposition MP was made by counter-terrorism police and only came to light after parliament had gone into recess, so no awkward questions could be asked in the House, a point not lost on The First Post's Westminster Mole, who reckons the whole charade was set up to allow the prime minister and home secretary "deniability".

It also raises serious questions about how the State deals with individuals, let alone an MP, who disclose matters in the public interest. 

Both shadow chancellor George Osborne and Conservative leader, David Cameron, have condemned the arrest. Cameron is said to be extremely angry, accusing the government of "Stalinesque" behaviour

Green, a former journalist, denied any wrongdoing and said: "I was astonished to have spent more than nine hours today under arrest for doing my job...I have many times made public information that the government wanted to keep secret - information that the public has a right to know."

He added: "In a democracy, opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account ... I was elected to the House of Commons precisely to do that and I certainly intend to continue doing so."

Green was arrested in connection with the earlier arrest of a suspected home office whistleblower who was suspended 10 days ago over a number of leaks. He was arrested but not charged.

Last November, documents from the private office of home secretary, Jacqui Smith, were leaked to the opposition showing ministers had known for four months that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work as security guards but had not told Parliament.

Further revelations in February included information about an illegal immigrant working at House of Commons, a list of Labour MPs preparing to vote against the government's anti-terrorism measures and a letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

In a statement the Conservative Party said: "Mr Green has, on a number of occasions, legitimately revealed information which the Home Office chose not to make public ... Disclosure of this information was manifestly in the public interest." 

Faced with a serious challenge to its power and authority, the government has responded by using the political police as its tool and using the law against its citizens and elected members. Green's arrest is a further sign of the deeply worrying trend towards a more authoritarian police state. 


Anonymous said...

It has been hinted, suggested and evidenced all along that there is something "different" about this (New) Labour government.

Its actions are authoritarian to the core, only its denials are couched in the language of liberalism. Well, liberalism in the sense that is generally accepted amongst hard left statists of a neo-marxists persuasion.

From the very start, and throughout their entire time in office, they have mounted a tireless campaign to establish for themselves a system of "rule by decree". Cross party oversight has been undermined at every conceivable turn. Parlimentary enquiries into the most serious matters are responsible to, and must defer to the interests of, Ministers. Bills which redefine the most fundamental rights to fair and equal treatment under the law are either so vaguely worded as to allow arbitrary interpretation or gifted with the magical property of being retrospectively rewritten or extended in scope by ministers without the need to consult Parliament. The "Civil Contingencies Bill" provides for the suspension of Parliament in an "emergency", where "emergency" is itself only a matter of minsterial opinion. Total and utter clowns are appointed to the highest offices of government, parliament and the civil service for the sole reason of future compliance. Every notion of the integrity of the system as a worthy goal in and of itself is held in the most mean-spirited, autistic contempt.

All this in the name of acquiring sufficient coercive authority to deal with problems which they are largely responsible for creating in the first place, either by their own actions or by neglecting to act with the more than adequate powers they possessed at the time.

There is a theme to New Labour which, in retrospect, can be charted from its very inception.

A cheap, ugly government of cheap, ugly people.

Blair, the eternal salesman. Glib, shallow, fatouous, strangely and suspiciously in thrall to American interests to the point of hand-to-mouth inconsistency. A toxic cypher. Murmers that the Yanks "have something" on Blair are steadily rising in volume (I think it's pretty obvious what Blair's vice is and that, in all probablity, it will become public knowledge in a year or two at most).

Brown, the wishful, credulous, dogmatic amateur. It is not a requirement that a Chancellor be a qualified economist (economists disagree violently enough with each other to disprove any claim to precience on their part) but it is a requirement that they act with a cool and critical mind. No such disposition can be detected in Brown's character.

And all the rest of the of the party, who's support has been instrumental in bringing about the aforesaid "progress". Few have spoken against the grain, even fewer in the face of tenuous threats to their standard of living (those Sky+ subscriptions aren't going to pay for themselves you know).

And now this latest outrage. A foul climate doth pervade.

Mitch said...

Gordon brown built his career as shadow chancellor on leaks from the treasury why was he never arrested?