Hounding the Shadow Minister

Posted by Richard D North under Uncategorized on 29 November 2008

It is early days yet but the police may turn out more right than wrong in their treatment of Damien Green, the Conservative’s shadow Immigration spokesman.

There is always the possibility that this is yet another case of the modern malaise of a ploddy box-ticking belt-and-braces jobsworth approach to a crisis. Don’t we feel this may have afflicted social services as well as the police? Procedures are followed obsessively, and no ordinary persepective remains. After all, one false step and the media and lawyers pounce.

But here’s another possibility. The police seem to have suspected that Mr Green had been cavalier with state information in documents and emails. If he had, then the police might have felt they needed to shut down Mr Green’s communications before the shredder and hard drive scrubber had been deployed to brush over the tracks in the sand.

As to the central issue, we ought to accept that government has mostly to be done in private. It is about negotiations which end up in deals. These are seldom pretty, and people in power have to be free to take unattractive positions as things get discussed. For all that we love parliamentary and media access to the doings of the state, there are also other principles at work here.

Principles and practicalities too. The less trust there is between ministers and civil servants, the more governments will resort to private and informal discussion. We’ve had enough of that, thank you. We need less deviousness in government, not more.

It may be that the Home Office civil servant who is also thought perhaps to be involved in the alleged leaks to Mr Green was himself a valuable whistleblower exposing genuine Government misbehaviour to a properly privileged recipient. In which case the police really will have damaged their own reputation

We’ll see. In the meantime, I take with a huge pinch of salt the political and journalistic outrage at what’s happened so far. It works from the assumption that leaking is always good when actually it rather seldom is.

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  • Written by What’s buggng the police? | Richard D North on 30/11/08 at 19:38:

    [...] Mark Kearney was the source for some of Murrer’s stories for a local paper (as well as her erstwhile lover and long-time friend) and it was his leakiness which the Thames Valley police sought to bring to court (using the same old law with which they clobbered Damien Green). [...]


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