David Cameron and Damian Green

I was pleased to see David Cameron speaking out in the News of the World today concerning the defence of our liberties through Parliament. The silence of the Prime Minister is eerie. I seem to remember him telling us he wished to re-estabish Parliament at the centre of our political life. We all looked forward to that after the damage to our democracy perpetrated in the Blair years. Here, Prime Minister is your chance. Make a statement about Parliamentry privilege and the role of Opposition as soon as we are back next week. Otherwise David Cameron will have to develop in the Commons what he has had to start in the newspapers, as once again this government has packed Parliament off on its holidays.

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15 Comments

  1. Posted November 30, 2008 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I just went to the News of the World website and clicked on the Politics link and it is saying "Page Not Found".

    I have clicked it a few times and it is still out of order.

    Is this an innocent technical hitch or evidence of something more sinister…

  2. Posted November 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Unlike Mr Green I am not a threat to the government, I am just an ordinary member of the public, yet, for the first time in my life I feel threatened by a British government. Threatened by a government that openly threatens to crush cars if you are late in paying it money, threatened by a government that wants to put people in prison for not having a TV licence, threatened by a government that wants to force me to carry an ID card as if I were some common criminal.

    A dear elderly neighbour of mine is threatened and stressed in case she puts the wrong garbage in the wrong bin and receives a fine, another friend of mine is worried sick in case she incorrectly fill out her tax-credits form and gets accused of benefit fraud. This is a culture of intimidation, one that has come from a Labour government, our people and now our opposition are being oppressed by quasi big brother regime. This high and low level intimidation must stop. Its time to get the political state off our backs.

  3. Posted November 30, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    To my mind, this is the most serious political story for very many years, the actions of Speaker Martin, the police, and government ministers (no one believes they weren't involved) constituting a real threat to democracy.
    This merits huge attention by the news media, but there are already signs that BBC News is forming a defensive shield for Nu-Labour, or air-brushing out this story. So far today, very little coverage, and a lengthy trail by Shaun Ley for Radio 4 "World This Weekend" failed to mention it at all. My bet is that, since there is alarm and strong criticism across the political spectum, BBC News will try to bury the Damien Green affair as quickly as possible.

  4. Posted November 30, 2008 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    JR: "The silence of the Prime Minister is eerie."

    No, it is entirely within character, the man is a coward. He only wishes to be associated with good news.

    JR: "I was pleased to see David Cameron speaking out in the News of the World today concerning the defence of our liberties through Parliament."

    So froggy Cameron has found the temperatrue of the water a little uncomfortable. Now he wants to jump out. Well, it has been a long time coming from Mr Cameron, but late is better than never.

    JR: "Here, Prime Minister is your chance. Make a statement about Parliamentry privilege and the role of Opposition as soon as we are back next week."

    There is the rub, If Damien Green had asked questions about the information he had become privy to in Parliament, he would have been covered by Parliamentary privilege, and the information would now be in the public domain. If on the other hand he received the information and passed it to the press, then he is guilty as charged.

    Even if the latter it clearly does not warrent the use of 'Anti terrorist leglislation', which many people all along said such sweeping powers should not be entrusted to the State, and would be misused.

    Brown's silence tells me he knew that Green was going to be arrested. It is entirely in his, admittedly reported, character to be petty and vindictive. It fits with the stories of ranting and raving and throwing items around the office.

    It fits with his 'psychological' flaws.

    Question for all of us is: " Do we want (him-ed) in charge of the country"?

  5. Posted November 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I suggest you start thinking about how you are going to react when Brown declares that the economic crisis is so severe that he is suspending the general election.

  6. Posted November 30, 2008 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I read (in one political column) that the fact of Mr Benn being able to complain that we are now living in a police state is, of itself, evidence that we are not – otherwise his remark would have been suppressed.

    This seems extraordinarily naive. The descent into a police state is not a sudden one off event – a cliff off which, one day, we will fall – but a slow, barely impercetible process, a slippery slope. What happened last week reveals all too clearly that we are well on the way down that slippery slope and the pace has just accelerated.

  7. Posted November 30, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Parliament is no longer a place to hold the executive to account. It is merely a place where the whims of ministers are rubber stamped. Now parliamentary privilege means nothing to an executive who wishes to stamp out any criticisms of it actions.

    I too feel threatened by a British government for the first time in my life. Real democracy is dead.

  8. Posted November 30, 2008 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Another worrying development which is not unconnected with the two political arrests, in that it flows, as they have done, from the reckless and unprecedented increase in the population, is the willingness of socialist local government politicians and their "officers" to obtain compulsory purchase orders – not to build railways, but to enable them to demolish privately owned and occupied freehold houses in order to build new "affordable" ones. There is also talk of seizing people's gardens. People need to wake up about this, as well as a lot else.

  9. Posted November 30, 2008 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    This is not the first offence. Matthew d'Ancona tells of another in the Telegraph today, and the Mail carries a story of the persecution of a journalist in Milton Keynes for the same thing: giving away secrets.
    If parliament surrenders its position to the press, then they have to fight for parliamentary privileges, which means, of course, protection for their sources and the freedom to speak out. At the moment, both seem to be very much under threat from the Police Service.
    Mr Blair passed a lot of laws on the understanding that the Police would be kept off the streets and that the laws would not be enforced except against obvious criminals. "You can trust us".
    Now the Police and the Local Councils are beginning to flex their muscles and enforce the laws in the drastic ways in which they were written. They do not appear to be on our side any more.
    I saw a Policeman striding through Wisbech last Saturday. Looking straight ahead, dressed like Robocop, he was in no way either friendly or approachable. Another couple of Policemen were frisking a man in the street quite openly. And then we see them on TV battering down doors in the early morning, just like the Gestapo.
    Do you know what? I am just so glad that I am neither a journalist, a smoker or a Muslim! (Who is next?)

  10. Posted November 30, 2008 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    "And then we see them on TV battering down doors in the early morning, just like the Gestapo."

    You can watch them battering more than doors:
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=jXFMIbkKMMc

  11. Posted November 30, 2008 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Very sinister by any standards and when 'The Ben' is questioning the arrest of a Tory Minister on TV. It's time to get worried. It ain't a police state yet…

    • Posted November 30, 2008 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Got some great quotes has Tony.
      "The Tory party is the enemy of democracy" I Like it.

  12. Posted December 1, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I repeat: AS A MINIMUM Cameron must get the scalps of "Five Bellies" Smith and Gorbals Mick. Anything less and this will be a ZaNuLab victory and will embolden them for more outrages

  13. Posted December 3, 2008 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    The Speaker's statement this afternoon beggars belief. The Sergeant at Arms took it upon herself to let the police into the office of an MP, granting them permission without a search warrant. The Speaker did say that he was consulted before the arrest and search took place. Why did he not require a search warrant to be produced?

    Senior police officers apparently did not follow correct procedure by notifying the Sergeant at Arms that she could require a search warrant if she so wished. If police did not follow correct procedure, does this make any evidence they obtained from Damian Green's office at the Palace of Westminster inadmissible in a court of law?

    Let us hope that the Speaker chooses the seven members of his committee investigating this shambles with more care than he gave to the arrest of an MP. If he does then perhaps the truth will out.

    • Posted December 4, 2008 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Apparently there has been a letter posted officially in the houses of Parliament today from the Police saying that they really did say that, although they had no warrant, they were asking for permission which did not necessarily have to be granted.
      Apparently, also the Leader of the House has said that there will be no commission of seven to investigate the affair until the Police enquiries have been completed (some time in 2012?)
      The plot thickens……
      (Information from the Mole in First Post – just Google it).

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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