Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The One That Isn't Sure What He Thinks. . .

Unless something startling happens, this will be my last post on the subject of Damian Green.

This morning, the Tories are talking about an email which was 'mistakenly' sent to them (oh, the irony is delicious) which has resulted in them moaning about a stitch-up.

It would appear that Harriet Harperson, Jacq Boot Smith, The Straw Man and Gus O'Donnell are having a little tete-a-tete with the Sgt-At-Arms to discuss 'arrangements of the Queen's Speech and considerations in advance of the Speaker's statement on Police Action and Parliament'

It all sounds a bit fishy to me. I think now the only way I'm going to get my head around this is to bullet point my thoughts.

  • This EO in the Home Office was a naughty boy in sending Damian Green these documents. He should be sacked. Whether it was done for party political or public interest reasons is irrelevant.
  • Damian Green has done nothing wrong with making these documents public having been given them.
  • Damian Green would have done something wrong if he made these documents public and they endangered an individual's life or national security.
  • Damian Green will have done something wrong if he has solicited the leaking of documents.
  • I am not convinced of Jacqui Smith's line about it being a police matter. I cannot believe that Sir David Normington (Home Office Perm.Sec.) brought in the police (and he must have had a decent idea of where the investigation was pointing to as the EO had been got at ten days before) without Smith's say-so or knowledge.
  • Where was the sacred police independence when Smith pulled the plug on the Serious Fraud Office's investigations into dodgy dealings with the Saudis?
  • The Police are not independent, they are politicised. This is why Chief Constables and the Met Commissioner should be directly elected.
  • The police were not brought in because documents were leaked. If this was the case, every journo in Westminster would be banged up. They were brought in because these documents caused embarrassment to the government. Would they have been called in if the documents revealed that the cabinet all shit pure gold and would be our salvation? No.
  • MPs will jump on this story as an acceptable means to ensure that they are above the law. Watch for a bill giving them complete immunity whilst in office.
  • That being said, for the police to barge into a parliamentary and constituency office is a very worrying intrusion into parliamentary privilege. That is not the privilege of the MP, it is the privilege (and I would maintain the right) of a member of public to have complete confidentiality when corresponding with their MP.
  • Why was Damian Green not 'invited' to attend an interview at the police station over this? It was good enough for those implicated in the Cash for Honours affair.
So what is the answer? We cannot have a government calling in the fuzz whenever someone says or reveals something they don't like, nor can we have a Parliament which is above the law and is free to do what the hell it wants with impunity. It is an answer I do not have.

One thing seems certain, the new Commissioner of the Met, Sir Paul Stephenson, seems to think he's inherited a complete mess as he's dispatched the Chief Constable of British Transport Police, Ian Johnston, to review the actions of the police.

Could it be that he thinks the overly political Sir Ian Blair sent in the boys as a final 'fuck you' to the Tories, who he demonstrably hated?

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