Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Green Leaks.

About this whole Damian Green business, although it was clearly ludicrous and thuggish to arrest him for doing what shadow ministers have always done, it doesn't mean that what he was doing was proper. Some of the leaks that he received were legitimate matters of public interest, such as the illegal immigrants working at the Home Office but some were not, such as the list of Labour MPs who were going to rebel over the issues of 42 days detention.

It isn't unreasonable for ministers to have an expectation that they are able to discuss matters in private with civil servants without their deliberations being sent straight to the opposition. It should not be a criminal matter, so the arrests are the most important part of story. It's as if the police started arresting footballers who dive, on suspicion of fraud, it would clearly be an abuse of power but it wouldn't make divers heroes.

1 comment:

Umbongo said...

The favourite word the government uses - apart, of course, from "fairness" - is "proportionality". As you say, government could not carry on if everything was leaked. In the current episode the government, as has become its habit, completely lost sight of any proportionality if what it intended was genuinely to stop leaking by civil servants.

However, only the desperately naive - or just the desperate - believe that this was the sole or even main aim of the government here. The aim was clearly to put the frighteners on MPs (particularly opposition MPs) not to push any enquiries too far. That the government was aided in this endeavour by having a clown as Speaker and an ignoramus as his assistant was a bonus. The previous speaker (Betty Boothroyd) and her assistants would have called the police bluff sharpish and would have made an almighty fuss besides.