Friday, November 28, 2008

Damian Green

It should really go without saying that the arrest of the shadow Home Secretary Damian Green by anti-terrorist police was an outrage. I suppose he can consider himself lucky they only held him without charge for 9 hours, rather than 90 days.  Several points present themselves as being important here:

Who knew? Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and thus one of the Met’s bosses, was informed prior to the event. So was David Cameron. Apparently the Home Secretary, the Police Minister and the rest of the Government were not informed – maybe. In fact, there is a barely-discernible amount of wiggle room being inserted. Phil Woolas on the Today programme this morning said only that, to his knowledge, no Minister had been informed. Jacqui Smith, in her statement, said that the arrest had happened without ministerial involvement or authorisation. There’s a distinction between being informed and being involved – though I doubt whether semantics will help the Government if it turns out that they were informed.

On the basis that the Government weren’t informed, why the hell not? This is pre-eminently a political decision. The “crime” involved here was the leaking of political documents. The man arrested was shadow Home Secretary (incidentally, I wonder how many anti-terrorist officers David Davis would have taken down with him?). This was a political operation. Why the fuck didn’t the police keep the Home Office informed? Rozzers aren’t famous for their willingness to stick their head over the political parapet. Why did they rush over the top on this occasion?

Anti-terrorist police – what the fuck? I mean, what the fucking fuck? On the same day that terrorists cause carnage in Mumbai, with British subjects involved, with security levels presumably pretty high, why the fuck are numerous anti-terrorist police storming the home of a 52 year old MP? Disproportionate much?

Mr Speaker. Why did he give permission for the police to search Damian Green’s office? There’s a lot of civil war references flying around, and what they stand for is the role of Parliament. The Speaker’s job is to represent Parliament; he would have been well within his rights to refuse permission until the matter had been more clearly explained and/or charges had been brought: so what was he playing at?

This has the potential to be a real disaster for the Met Police, and for the Government if more comes out about the details behind this. Hopefully that will prevent future such arrests every time news that embarrasses Gordon Brown leaks out.

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3:46 pm  
Blogger Travelgall said...

Excellent post.

4:59 pm  
Blogger Bob Piper said...

How many times.

What is a 'political' police force? Is it:

a) One where the police, despite the evidence they may or may not have obtained, ask a Government politician before taking any action.


b) One where the politicians set the legislative framework and policies, and account to Parliament, and the police do the operational bit (i.e. policing).

If your answer is a) please move to section 2.

Section 2.

What should the police do if the Home Secretary tells them to ignore the evidence and take no action? Should the Home Secretary have the same veto over a Government politician - say, for instance one accused of 'cash for honours'?

9:20 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

Bob - clearly once more. The police obviously thought this was a sensitive political area. They proved this by informing David Cameron and Boris Johnson prior to carrying out the arrest.

Given that they saw fit to inform one of their bosses and one of the party leaders, why didn't they inform their other boss?

It's rather sad how this has rather degenerated into party-political squabbling.

10:18 pm  
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