My respect for the EU Referendum blog, one of my daily reads, has just cratered. It argues that because the person leaking immigration details to Damian Green had sought to get a Tory party job, and the leaks of such data were a serious matter, that the authorities were entirely right to treat Mr Green as they did. As far as EUR is concerned, we are all getting het up about nothing and that it is high time that politically motivated civil servants were given a warning. This is nonsense: given the vast number of leaks out of the government that often have direct impacts on things like financial markets, the use of sweeping laws to deal with such matters is bizarre.
What on earth has got into that blog’s authors that they should seek to excuse the use of anti-terror police in dealing with leaks that while embarrassing, posed no danger to UK national security? Had the EU acted in this way, that blog would have gone ballistic.
Update: EUR continues to attack those who are attacking this arrest, arguing that if the cops had suspicions that something was fishy about Mr Green’s activities, they were entitled to act as they did. But again, why the use of anti-terror police when this was plainly not an issue that raises national security issues?
I see that the Devil’s Kitchen blog, which normally has little time for the intrusions of state power, goes into an incoherent rant at MPs’ expense, saying, pretty much, that Members of Parliament have been such poor custodians of our liberties – which is a true fact – that they deserve no sympathy now that the guns are turned on them. Well yes but so what? The point that DK misses is how this story plays, or should play, straight into the hands of civil libertarians anxious to focus attention on how out of control government and its agents now are. As Brian Micklethwait said the other day, this story is great news for civil libertarians, and terrible for the government. Perhaps EU Referendendum and DK are so consumed with hatred for the Tory Party that they are untroubled by the significance of last week’s arrest other than to yell abuse.