New Labour Gestapo

The same intolerable conflation was at work in the circumstances leading to the arrest of Damian Green in November, and the specific involvement of Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary. Along with Sir David Normington, the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, she formally authorised the Cabinet Office to bring in Scotland Yard. Last week, Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, announced that no charges would be brought against Green (or Christopher Galley, the Home Office official who leaked the documents), on the grounds that the material disclosed was neither secret, nor a threat to national security. They simply disclosed that the Home Secretary had been warned four months earlier that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work in sensitive Whitehall security jobs. To hide her political embarrassment, she had a senior Tory frontbencher raided by nine counter-terrorism officers, and held for nine hours. These are the tactics we expect in Zimbabwe. It is what happens when people forget the difference between party political battles and due process. One could call it a police state, an Orwellian nightmare, the opening of Gulag UK or, as Green had the good humour to say in an interview with The Times yesterday, an episode from the Keystone Cops. This is probably the sensible view because it is not fear, but scorn that will topple New Labour at the next election. Nobody in the UK takes them seriously any more. Brown and his hapless clowns of ministers are simply objects of ridicule.

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