As the terrible events in Mumbai have reminded us – I have some ex-colleagues who work there – terrorism remains an ever-present threat. Even while the economic stories dominated our news headlines in recent months, I had a nagging worry that the jihadis were not going to pass up the chance to strike, particularly with a new US president on the way. So terrorism is back as a topic in the most awful way imaginable.
So it is all the more extraordinary that counter-terrorist police, instead of actually trying to deal with terrorists, were instead employed in the highly dodgy arrest of Tory MP Damian Green, who had received leaked information on immigration into the UK and who, like any half-competent politician, was trying to use this information to add to the debate on immigration. Now whatever one thinks about immigration – and Samizdata has gone over this issue many times – it seems deeply sinister that a man who had received leaked details about the numbers involved should find his collar felt by Pc Plod. Considering all the vast numbers of leaks out of the government, which sometimes have direct impacts on markets and livelihoods, this is bad. This is the first time I can recall that a senior MP has been arrested on what looks suspiciously like an attempt by the authorities to shut up a political party. No wonder that Tory leader David Cameron is demanding action on this. Whether he gets it remains to be seen.
Mr Green’s actions are not remotely in the same bracket as the very serious allegations of receipt of oil-for-food funds that have been levelled against the Saddam apologist, George Galloway. At least in the latter case one could see why Galloway should, at the very least, have had a little chat with the police. As for Mr Green, his treatment looks downright sinister. When people throw around the words “police state” to describe what Britain has become, it all too easy to roll the eyes. But if this case does wake this country up a bit, it will have served some purpose.
Philip Johnston in the Daily Telegraph agrees.
Update: Old Holborn puts up this graphic, via Guido Fawkes.
Suggestion to the Tories: refuse to turn up for the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday. Seriously. Do not turn up, but tell the government to go and boil its collective head.
Things have really got that bad. Can a no-confidence motion be far off?