Friday, November 28, 2008

"We didn't know" from the Government is not credible

It's typical that I should be out at the theatre when the Damien Green story broke and then, by the time I got home, it was a bit late to be posting. However, having been listening to Today this morning on the way into London I was astounded to hear that the the Government is saying it was not made aware of the arrest and knew nothing about it.

Strangely the Police thought to call the Speaker, the Serjeant At Arms, David Cameron and Boris Johnson, but though not to call the Home Secretary at the very last and the most the Prime Minister? What a complete crock of bullshit that is.

After all, it would have been the Home Office that would have instructed an investigation to start in the first place I would've thought given it was dealing with leaks of embarrassing information. Add to this the use of counter-terrorism officers on a day when the security level in London must have been pretty high because of Mumbai and it all just stinks.

I really can't add much more comment because more than enough will have already said the same thing. It does however seem that wherever this was directed from in government it was meant as a signal to those who seek to embarrass and hold the Government to account. Don't do it. To that I suggest every single MP, including those on the Government side, stick two fingers up.


Letters From A Tory said...

I really hope someone like Jacqui Smith is found to be linked to this case. The fact that counter-terrorism officers were used suggests that someone very high up must have been informed about this yet did nothing to stop it.

Every Conservative is hoping that this political boomerang comes back to hit Labour square in the face.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it stinks - but the point about the Speaker and Serjeant is flawed - the police (and the normal courts) have no jurisdiction inside the Houses of Parliament, so they would have needed permission from the Serjeant (at least) to enter. That is just a simple practicality.

Of course notifying David Cameron is rather different...

patently said...

Do bear in mind that Ministers only claim that they did not know. I, for one, wil withhold judgement on that score for now.

Assuming they actually did not know, the question I want to ask is "why didn't you?". After all, we pay these people to organise our public services for us. Why are they not keeping proper bounds on them?

Prodicus said...

Th arrest was, it seems, for 'conspiracy', based on information laid before the police by someone in the Cabinet Office. We need to know who (political) and what (judicial).

Anonymous said...

Astonishing - the information was in the public interest. Leaks from civil servants happen all the time. This is a witch hunt for the whistle blower...I'm afraid Gordon Brown's government have abused their power once too often. This could be the final straw for the Labour government.

Richard said...

This is a disgrace - sheer contempt for Parliament.

The Home Secretary must resign - not just her office but her seat, because she clearly has no concept of the proper duty of Parliament.

The Tories (and the Lib Dems, if they really believe in freedom) should refuse to attend Parliament until this is sorted out.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of space this Speaker is. He is supposed to defend parliamentary democracy, instead he allows the Met to enter Mr Green's office - why? If I were one of his constituents I would be worried that privileged correspondence may now be in the Met.
The Speaker is in league with the PM, his support of the Treasury/OGC in the High Court to prevent FOI disclosure of the ID Cards Gateway review is yet another example of his partisan behaviour.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the pompous, sanctimonious guff being spouted about this across the right-wing blogosphere. He got arrested, he was held for a few hours, his office was searched - happens all the time to 'ordinary' people and you lot don't give a toss. There wasn't much outrage when the police were doing dawn raids on Blair's aide in the cash-for-honours investigation. How about getting worked up about people getting the crap kicked out of them in police vans? No, thought not, they're just low-life to you. If it turns out Green hasn't committed an offence, he'll get off; if he has, hopefully he won't. Simple as that.

Bullingdon Dave said...

This false outrage is hilarious. Have you all lost your 'Mandela is a terrorist' badges now ("the law's, the law, you know, Crispin")? You know what we're all going to be subjected to now, don't you - that preening oaf David Davis talking crap all day across the TV and radio.

dizzy said...

Hmmm... oin the cas of the former it was a active, public Police invetsigation into specifc allegations and offence. in the latter it was counter-terrorism police, counter-terrorism legislation all because of a leaked document that embarassed the Home Office?

"How about getting worked up about people getting the crap kicked out of them in police vans? No, thought not, they're just low-life to you."

Nice straw man.

dizzy said...

"This false outrage is hilarious. Have you all lost your 'Mandela is a terrorist' badges now"

Don't think I have said that or worn a badge saying it, so I guess that makes that point yet another crappy, shitty, straw man pile of steaming bollocks.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Dizzy, but you are simply speculating that this is all about Home Office embarrassment. Maybe yes, maybe no, but you don't know that any more than I do. In what way is this not an 'active' investigation into a 'specific' allegation and offence? Surely the arrest and detention would have been unlawful otherwise and, as far as I'm aware, no-one has suggested that yet.

As to the straw man, yes, I hold my hands up to putting the point a bit over-forcefully! However, it remains the case that police misconduct is an ongoing daily matter that right-wing defenders of individual liberty seem remarkably sanguine about. My insinuation (my turn to speculate) is that this is because usually it only affects a certain sector of the population that the right cares little for. Just seemed like blatant hypocrisy to make such a fuss about it when a Tory MP is on the wrong end of it.

Bullingdon Dave said...

Calm down, Dizzy! Try and keep up. Or are you just pretending to be dumb? I'm sure you actually understood the point I was making and are well aware that it didn't hinge on whether or not you ever wore that badge or uttered those words!

dizzy said...

You;ve just come in here and accused everyone with a bvoradr brush of having false outrage. have you actually read the comment on this across the board? It's not just the right that have reacted to it and gone "that's a bit off" you know. Take a look at the left leaning blogs.

"Just seemed like blatant hypocrisy to make such a fuss about it when a Tory MP is on the wrong end of it."

I would actually make a fuss about it whatever colour rosette the MP wore actually. It would have been equally dodgy had it been reported thus in a counter-factual world:

"Prime Minister John Major denied all knowledge of last night's police operation in which Robin Cook , Shadow Home Secretary ,was arrested under a 300 year old law for receiving confidential Government documents.

The documents which were leaked to the press showed the Conservative Government knew that Coventry based Matrix Churchill were supplying arms to Iraq in contravention of UN arms embargoes."

The above example was written on Labour home

Anonymous said...

I take your point, Dizzy, but I don't think my comments stand or fall on whether or not it's only the right that is claiming to be outraged. Let me try and put it a bit more clearly:

1. In my view, many of those on the right making a big fuss about this are hypocrites for the reasons already given (the 'false outrage' point).

2. I do not claim that all those on the right are in the same position. Some are genuine libertarians (perhaps you are one, Dizzy) who would have been outraged regardless of the colour of the rosette as you put it.

3. Nor have I made any comment on left-wing reaction. Here, actually I would expect some outrage because of the much greater leftist tradition of rule-breaking to reveal and challenge state misconduct and abuse of power. But this wasn't really my original point.

Does that clarify?

Anonymous said...

Plenty of journalists have been arrested for receiving leaked documents.

Should MPs be above the law?

Alex said...

"We didn't know about the arrest beforehand" is credible, probably because ministers told the police not to tell them until after an arrest had been made.

"We didn't know about the investigation until we heard about the arrest" would not be plausible, but you haven't heard that, although it would be the most logical thing to say if it was true.

Conclusion: Ministers probably did know about the investigation, but told the police not to tell minister about any arrests until they had been made.

Anonymous said...

Well. There wouldn't be much point informing the people who ordered it to happen, and those people wouldn't be lying if they said they wern't informed!