Sunday, 30 November 2008
Arrest of MP Damian Green an outrage
Let us be clear:
Should MP's be treated different if they break the law? Definitely not. Law makers should not be law breakers, so I think the law should come down harder on MP's than anyone else that break common law crimes.
BUT.... should the police use terrorism laws to try and gag an opposition MP who thanks to a whistle blower has exposed information that SHOULD be in the public realm and is clearly in the public interest, but has been buried under official secrets act legislation in order to save the Government and senior civil servant responsible from embarrassment?
A number of things seriously bother me about this incident:
1. We have heightened security, a massacre of innocent citizens takes place in India - and what are our anti terrorist police doing??? Seven, yes seven sweep on an opposition MP's home and arrest him and question him for 7 or 9 hours. What was in the mind of the police? Is this their idea of building public confidence? We shoot innocent people on the underground and arrest opposition MP's that embarrass the Government.
2. ARE WE A POLICE STATE? Is this not something we expect to read about happening in Zimbabwe or some other despotic regime? Who authorised this? Who knew about this? Who decided this was in the public interest of national security to pursue? There are many questions over this whole issue, and I would expect to see some resignations.
Quite rightly MP's have the freedom in the House, under 'Parliamentary privilege', to say what they like without fear of prosecution - this right enables MP's to highlight and challenge issues that are in the public interest. This is especially valuable to MP's that are in opposition. We need to ensure,, in the interest of a healthy democracy, that opposition MP's are able to have the protection of 'the house' (House of Commons). It should be a haven for responsible MP's that scrutinise and ensure we are governed effectively and look after ours and the Country's best interest.
3. That said - whatever was going through the mind (if he has one) of the Speaker of the House, to not only allow the Police to search Damian Green MP's office, but had his emails suspended. It frankly beggars belief. Again, something you would expect to happen in Zimbabwe - but not here in the Mother of Democracy. The Speaker MUST RESIGN. His position is untenable. It must be noted that this is the same Speaker that went to the High Court to STOP an exposure of MP's expenses Michael Martin MP.
This reminds me of the occassion before the outbreak of the second world war where Churchill was leeked information by a senior Foreign Office official Ralph Wigram about the then Government deliberately hiding or underplaying figures about German military expansion. The whisle blower Ralph Wigram was hounded and committed suicide (sound familiar - Dr Kelly and Iraq Weapons), but the information was right and should have better prepared Britain for a bloody conflict that cost many British lives.
When all these things are happening - it is clear that it is time for change.