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 Post subject: Losing the plot / What about the searchlight? / Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:37 am 
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Losing the plot

The jewel in the crown of our public administration – so we are told – is a strictly politically neutral civil service, a central tenet of the Northcote-Trevelyan Report of 1854. That embodied four core principles of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality – including political impartiality.

Much has been made of the growing politicisation of the civil service, which was a key topic in 2001 and the debate has continued to this day. Even some of the more notable Tory bloggers has complained recently about the politicising of the civil service.

View full article here

What about the searchlight?

"We already operate in a system where Parliament is effectively neutered, little more than a rubber stamp for legislation that ministers have already decided," writes Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg in The Daily Telegraph today as he airs his "outrage" over the Damian Green affair.

"Ministers?" one might ask, in the context of upwards of eighty percent of our legislation coming via the European Union, of which Mr Clegg is an enthusiastic supporter. Yet it is our continued membership of that very organisation which, more than anything, has neutered parliament and made it little more than a sideshow.

View full article here

Rush hour

… yesterday morning in Jersey. Aircraft diverted to Doncaster on the way back because Leeds/Bradford airport was fog-bound. It's too late and I'm too tired to do I proper post, so I’ll pick up the threads tomorrow.

I note, wearily, however, how comprehensively the media (and the chatterati) are missing the point on Damian Green – especially Matthew Parris.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:02 am 
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Damian Green may indeed have been wrong in how he handled the information that came his way. But as always in matters like this, the top froth is not the only thing to watch. I suspect that it is his inexperience of the real world that led to his errors.

Just like the inexperience of the so called Serjeant at Arms, compounded by the malicious intent of Mr Speaker. I think we can now see why "they" were so keen to replace Maj-Gen Peter Grant Peterkin as Serjeant at Arms! The real problem today is that the government's militia are now searching and arresting the opposition (no matter how weak and feeble an opposition they are!).

This is an affront that I believe has been deliberately designed to provoke unrest and to justify the bringing of the Civil Contingencies Act into force. If this doesn't succeed, then the next provocation will be more outrageous, and the one after. Just like the EU, they will be prepared to wait quite some time, until they get the excuse they desire.

As for partial (as opposed to impartial) implementation of the law, perhaps one should look at Finkelstein in The Times http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/2008/11/to-assist-the-m.html

I had been firmly in the school of thought that expected an election as early as practicable in 2009 while the feel good factor still reigned, and the chickens of financial profligacy had not yet come home to roost. Alas, I now believe that we have already had the last free UK general election for my lifetime, and probably for the lifetime of my children as well. Of course our Dear Leader will go to the electorate for a ringing 110% endorsement every five years, in which he will be the only candidate, and the authorities will round up anyone who did not vote for him.

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:10 am 

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Quote:
Of course our Dear Leader will go to the electorate for a ringing 110% endorsement every five years, in which he will be the only candidate, and the authorities will round up anyone who did not vote for him.


Sounds more like Venezuela or Cuba, here at least they'll shuffle party colours and faces, but the policies will be Identical.

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:15 am 
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Nick Clegg wirtes today in the Telegraph in terms of this action "undermining the political system". The greater truth is that MPs themselves are most responsible for undermining the system, and this is part of it. Damian Green is an ex-journalist and, rather than act as a parliamentarian, we seems to have used his office as an extension of "Fleet Street". He thus has been obtaining information not to feed directly into the parliamentary system but to feed the media.

I will fisk Clegg later, but the point stands - which Clegg also makes - that the media has become the "surrogate" platform for the debate which is not happening in parliament.

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:24 am 
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I don't care who got us into this mess, or even how. What matters now is how we are going to get out of it, and who is on our side.

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:19 pm 
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yokel wrote:
I don't care who got us into this mess, or even how. What matters now is how we are going to get out of it, and who is on our side.


Not a few times we have suggested on this site that the only way we are going to restore our democracy is for parliament to reassert its authority ... in what is, after all, supposedly a parliamentary democracy. That is why we need clear thinking, not this woolly knee-jerk fluff.

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:41 pm 
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Matthew Parris wrote:
He, above all others in our unwritten constitution, is there to protect the status and interests of Parliament … This is not a small matter. It goes to the heart of parliamentary privilege."

The British constitution is most definitely not 'unwritten'. Why is it that so many morons continue to say that it is? Perhaps they should be forced to read Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, The Bill of Rights etc. - it might even do them some good in the process. (It may be uncodified - ie. not in a single document, but that is different to it being unwritten).

I think that Damien Green and the Conservative party have already admitted that they are in the wrong. The BBC quote Damien Green as having said: 'I emphatically deny I have done anything wrong. I have many times made public information that the government wanted to keep secret - information that the public has a right to know'. Also, a Conservative spokesman said: 'Disclosure of this information was manifestly in the public interest'. This seems very much like the argument those idiots from Greenpeace used about writing on the side of the Kingsnorth powerstation - that they denied the charges against them because their actions were somehow in the public interest. I suppose it remains to be seen whether Mr Green did in fact break the law - though as I said I think his comments suggest that he has.

What I also found particularly interesting was the sudden outcry from MPs in all of the three main parties about Damien Green's arrest as kindly documented by the BBC online. It would seem that when something punctures the Westminster bubble these MPs all aimlessly float around in then they suddenly become interested in democracy, with the likes of Nick Clegg claiming this is a 'mayday warning' for democracy and Dennis MacShane (Labour MP) saying: 'I am not sure this is good for British democracy'. But where were these people when our powers of self-government and democracy were being given away to the EU? Oh yes, that's right, they were there voting to give it away. What do they really know of democracy?

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:05 pm 
I agree with Dr. North that MPs should not be above the law, however I do question the strange means of the "investigation". Anti terrorist officers in such numbers, straight into Parliament, overkill seems to be paramount here.

I also wonder why some politicians do seem to be above the law, funny, they all seem to be not-so-Nulab. Mandleson springs immediately to mind, isn't wrong information on a mortgage application form a crime?

Derek


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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:14 pm 
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deebee wrote:
I agree with Dr. North that MPs should not be above the law, however I do question the strange means of the "investigation". Anti terrorist officers in such numbers, straight into Parliament, overkill seems to be paramount here.

I also wonder why some politicians do seem to be above the law, funny, they all seem to be not-so-Nulab. Mandleson springs immediately to mind, isn't wrong information on a mortgage application form a crime?

Derek


I think Damian Green can count himself lucky. I had twelve police officers come to arrest me when I tried to stop a bailiff stealing my car. And, at least he got them coming at a civilised hour. I also had two policemen climbing though my kitchen window at 11pm on a Friday night, to arrest me for the henious crime of not paying the police precept. One might think that it is quite useful for MPs occasionally to get a taste of the real world.

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 Post subject: Re: Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 1:25 pm 
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Parliament and the media have both turned into a playground. Lets face it, the government leaks enough stuff, why haven't they had their collars felt by the law? Their should not be any confidential stuff about about the likes of immigration, we all have the right to know how badly any government behaves.Maybe Mr Green felt this was the only way to get a fair airing of the issue, although it has been completely swamped by his arrest giving the Tories plenty of oxygen.

We look forward to your fisking of Mr Clegg, maybe with a long implement up the jacksy?


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 Post subject: Re: What about the searchlight? / Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:49 pm 
And the best bit is that the House Of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee, which doesn't even pretend it can do anything about the "upwards of 80 per cent of legislation" that arrives from Belgium, has just reaffirmed its desire to meet in secret, a decision it has taken since 2005 (overturning a 2003 decision). However, it will continue to hear evidence in public - gee, thanks, MPs!

And the other 20 per cent of our legislation, the portion that does not come oven-ready from BXL? That's debated by John Humphrys on the Today programme.

Decision to meet in secret:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 1228000007

How to waste words saying that you can no more amend EU legislation than you can play snooker with rope:
http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_ ... rutiny.cfm


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 Post subject: Re: What about the searchlight? / Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:07 pm 
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Clarence wrote:
And the other 20 per cent of our legislation, the portion that does not come oven-ready from BXL? That's debated by John Humphrys on the Today programme...


Not only is that the case, generally speaking ministers take far more notice of what is said on the Today programme than they do of what is said in parliament - this opposition members expend far more resources on getting their message onto the Today programme than they do in securing or taking part in parliamentary debates.

The Damian Green affair is a reflection of this ... the MPs themselves regard the media as a more important forum than parliament.

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 Post subject: Re: What about the searchlight? / Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:41 pm 
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These idiots keep writing this crap in the newspapers and the comments they get literally shout at them and they are not all nutcases if any are. There will be a good proportion of the comments that tell Mr Clegg that people think the EU has done more damage to our political nation and yet he will not hear them. Hear no evil, see or speak?


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 Post subject: Re: What about the searchlight? / Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:03 am 
Apparently leaks of non-classified information are not subject to police investigation.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/p ... 258476.ece


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 Post subject: Re: Losing the plot / What about the searchlight? / Rush hour …
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:31 pm 
Richard North-

If you think that Green really had the option of using this information effectively in Parliament, your thought processes are rather confused. Aren't you the one who bemoans the insignificance of today's Parliament? If he had used his information directly in Parliament it would have been lost, and in any case wouldn't Mr (impartial!) Speaker have simply ruled that it should be set aside as being classified and not proper for public debate? While I am sceptical about all politicians, I know that the Conservatives care more about parliamentary democracy than nu-Labour, so your attack is gratuitous. Secondly, of the four leaks which you refer indirectly to from the Times report, two were certainly in the public interest. Of the other two, one concerned internal Labour politics which is hardly classified, not should it be.

What we are dealing with here, and what you fail to acknowledge, is that what is business as usual for a spinning Labour Government is criminalised when even a hint of equally effective information handling appears from the Opposition. The Opposition, in several of the revelations made, was operating directly in the public interest. So far we haven't even mentioned the use of terror police, or the fact that the arrest was made when the police chain of command was muddied by the departure of Sir Ian Blair.

In sum, what we have here is blatant below-the-belt use of Government power for political purposes. The rule of game have indeed changed. It's sad, given your powers of observation, that you seem to miss this vital point.


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