Monday, 8 December 2008

Time to leave 'Green-Gate' behind...

. MP's are debating the arrest of Damian Green today in what promises to be yet another excuse for the Conservative Party to parade it's moral indignation for the benefit of a weary nation. I've said this elsewhere but I think it's worth using this occasion to say it again; I think any energy spent on this is wasted energy and I think that the Conservative Party is digging itself a hole of rather large proportions by continuing to obsess over this matter and we should not follow suit. When the next polls are published I would not at all be surprised to see a reduced Tory lead.

Damian Green's arrest was heavy-handed; arbitrary and wrong, the searches that were committed were unnecessary and invasive. However, the reality is that I feel there has been no engagement by the public with this issue. Coming upto Christmas with jobs going and houses still being repossessed it is obvious what matters and that is the economy. I think this case interests MP's and political activists and commentators but I struggle to imagine it being raised on the doorstep that often; it also slightly damages the civil liberties cause because it focuses that around an issue where people struggle to see the relevancy to their lives.

It's by no means clear that people would applaud Green in any case and certainly not that they would sympathise with David Cameron when it is quite clear that his first instinct when he got wind of what was happening was to ensure that his 'WebCameron' crew were on hand to capture a record of events. Most people will conclude that Galley was offered some sort of inducement (though not financial) and are likely to see it as a symptom of 'broken politics' and not feel any particular sympathy for either party to this issue.

The focus of all the 'action' is now around the role of the Speaker and his competency or otherwise. This just makes the whole thing even more obtuse to anybody outside the Westminster village. So, hopefully todays debate is the last thing we will hear of this whole affair.....

4 comments:

Bernard Salmon said...

There are plenty of important issues which don't really concern many people and where people struggle to see the relevance to their own lives. Quite a few environmental issues fall into that category - are you suggesting that we should forget those and just concentrate solely on jobs and the wider economy?
I happen to think that abuse of power by police and the constitutional freedom of MPs to hold governments to account are pretty important issues to discuss.

Darrell G said...

Bernard,

One of the problems with this case is that it is by no means clear cut. What about opposition MP's inducing leaks by potentially promising career inducements to civil servants.

How is publishing a list of which way Labour MP's will *potentially* vote on 42 days holding a government to account?? How is revealing the obviously accidental employment of a HoC cleaner actually holding a government to account (I am assuming that the government doesnt sit in Cabinet and discuss such things).

Besides I am not saying they shouldnt be discussed...i just think frankly, as a campaigning priority it is a waste of time....

Bernard Salmon said...

Darrell,
Those two instances you cite - in what way is it in anyone's interest that the police be called in to investigate such leaks? Is the heavy-handed response of the government and police not something worthy of debate? And why shouldn't the Speaker be held to account for his utter incompetence in not ensuring there was even a warrant for a search, which seems a pretty basic thing to insist upon, even if you do accept that police have the right to rais an MP's office?
I also note your last sentence about this not being a campaigning priority. I agree, but your original posting was specifically about whether this should be debated, not whether we should be campaigning on it.

Darrell G said...

Bernard,

I think from this you will see that I say I feel the arrest was heavy-handed and arbitary. I think he can be held to account but I think campaigning to unseat him, though I agree he may deserve it, is pointless now...

I think to be honest after todays debate I think it should be allowed to lie too in terms of debating...do we really want to be caught up in the Tory Parties nueuorsis??