Saturday, December 06, 2008

Green, Leaky Tories: They Just Don't Get It Anymore



I'm not sure Tories in opposition all these years, and wet behind the ears as most of Cam's team are, understand, even begin to understand, the real debate about leaks and leakers. Iain Dale proves yet again that leaky vessels can make even more noise than empty ones.

In an illogical post even by his standards he tells us that Lord Butler leaked to the media today, in broad daylight, the startling news that the police "often" refused to investigate leaks. From this it rather follows from that that they "often" or at least "sometimes" didn't refuse to investigate leaks.

And I really don't know how Mr Dale can say: "there are clearly no national security issues" when none of us yet has the full picture. So much pontificating, particularly from Tories but also the damned incontinent blethers of the mass media, from so very little evidence.

The point of the requested investigation we have been told by Sir Peter(23:28, thanks Iain!) David Normington, head manadarin at Home, was and is to get the running of the Home Department back on an even keel after too much, too persistent and too gathering pace leakage.

And of course to defend against the potential for an established and increasingly emboldened leaker to get wilder over time, with or without the connivance of their Tory master.

Iain and others may argue that it is journalists and oppositionists job to procure and publish leaks but it is certainly also for the government, the police, the judiciary to try to stop them.

In British History leaks from the Home Department and others have undoubtedly cost lives and prevented progress. This sometimes being the very point of them. The State has a bounden duty to protect sensitive discourse, sensitive decisions and sensitive information from publication. Don't Tories get that any more.

Have these wet behind the ears young muppets drifted so far from the days when they understood what it was to be responsible for government that they've lost the ability to think?

SHOCK HORROR: The Patrician Barrister Bob Marshall-Andrews has allegedly - no link provided - opined that the most Proletarian and left-footed Speaker of modern times should quit. The second comment, about the BBC using the words "Gordon Brown" when referring to Gordon Brown are a load of fun. Like BMA.

MEANWHILST: The Guardian's diarist Hugh Muir has caught on to the Labour Party's Favourite Tory Blogger zeitgeist but is perhaps a shade too cruel I think? In covering the fall from grace of Mr Dale vis-a-vis his ponderous fortnightly Telegraph drivel thusly:

• Why would Labour types be championing the prospects of Tory blogger extraordinaire Iain Dale, you might ask. Is it because of his ill-fated campaign in Norfolk North in 2005, when he lost by 10,500 votes, or his failure to win the nomination for Maidstone, when he didn't make it past the first interview? Or his stewardship of the unsuccessful David Davis leadership campaign? Or is it because his two-year stint as a columnist at the Daily Telegraph seems to have come to an end? It is all of them, and though it might be tempting fate, he is, they say, someone they would like to see at the heart of David Cameron's operation. They'll provide references and everything.

FOOTNOTE FACTOID: Mr Dale added around 10,000 to the Lib Dem majority despite regular £10,000 drops from Lord Ashcroft who is now backing Iain's absolutely and robustly non-party political organ Total Politics. Sponsored loads of Tory Conference fringes, not sure about others?

STEVE BELL'S PAGE: Is Here, though can't see his shopping channel just now. The above cartoon referred to Home Office and Police leaks which were related to national security.

10 comments:

Everybody Hates Chris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Benedict White said...

Copied from a reply to your post over at Iain Dale's:
Chris Paul you say "With or without extreme leak anecdotes and histories it is a reasonable observation don't you think that preventing leaks is as legitimate an activity for the state as getting them may be - within limits - for HM's opposition and the 4th estate."

You acknowledge leaks are part of politics , and it is also the case that government would like to stop them, but they are very seldom a criminal matter. In this case, having read the criminal law on the subject, this one certainly isn't. You can see my arguments here:

http://aconservatives.blogspot.com/2008/12/greengate-jill-pays-speaker-martin-and.html

You also, on your linked to post claim;

"Iain and others may argue that it is journalists and oppositionists job to procure and publish leaks but it is certainly also for the government, the police, the judiciary to try to stop them."

It is most certainly not the job or the police to get involved in politics, and were this case to go to court, (which it will not because it will not get past the CPS) then a judge will throw it out before a jury even sits.

You also claim "In British History leaks from the Home Department and others have undoubtedly cost lives and prevented progress. "

Name one.

Chris Paul said...

I really don't know how you can declare and assert so vehemently on this series of leaks Benedict.

The police are investigating as we write. The speculation about what crime or not has or has not been committed is rampant. Based on almost no information.

Because the police are investigating they cannot comment at any inaccuracies on these Tory assertions of no wrong doing etc etc. There was an ex-police chief constable on the TV a fair few times saying just that.

Like the question of the success of the French Revolution posed in Marx's time, it really is too early to say. There is actually far less information ('signal' as opposed to 'noise') on this than on the other matter.

As I said at Iain's I am checking the details of the particular leak I had in mind, which is inter-war and in particular whether there is any sign of parliamentarians being directly involved in it.

From memory there is a fairly good chance that polis or politically motivated individuals at least were involved. It was one of those cases where leaks of work in progress led to a palpably different result than if the process had been properly concluded. Cost a lot of lives.

Everybody Hates Chris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Iain Dale said...

Chris, I would have thought a world authority on this subject such as yourself would have known that the Permanent Secretary is Sir David Normington. Is Sir Peter Normington his brother?

Bob Marshall-Andrews said it on Any Questions last night. I do hope you are not accusing me of making it up?

Total Politics sponsored one fringe meeting at each of the Labour, LibDem and Tory conferences. Perhaps you would like to correct the allegation that we only did so at the Tory conference.

Finally, I do hope you have permission from Steve Bell to use his cartoon. He is, shall we say, a bit irritable if people do so without asking permission. You wouldn't want to get into trouble, would you?

Chris Paul said...

On your points Iain:

1. Thanks for your smug correction Iain. I copied it from one of your commenters. God I feel so bloody ignorant not knowing your commenter was wrong or the name of the poxy mandarin. Whose name I have cited correctly before.

FFS being an expert on mandarins names really doesn't interest me. Then again I wouldn't issue blog posts ex cathedra on the matter as if I were an expert.

2. PA have now recorded/wired the BMA statement of course. I'm not accusing you of making it up. It's all over the press after all. Just of not providing a link. As is good practice. As you must know as the Labour Party's Favourite tory Blogger and all.

3. According to your own busy diary of the Tory conference Tory Politics was in some way sponsoring most of the meetings you were involved in.

4. Steve Bell has never complained of any use of his work here. I always try to link to his "shop" in return and I specifically comment here that no such link appears to be available today, so I link to the nearest equivalent.

I really appreciate your concern for Steve Bell's interests in this as you famously haven't credited leads, sources, graphics and so on you have used. Particularly in times past.

You're better at it now Iain. Well done. But still pretty sloppy e.g. placing, linking to the BMA remarks as noted above is a lesser example of this.

As you pointed out in your famously muddied and broken-linked essay on making money from blogs few of them make real money, or any money. This is not one of the few that makes money. Steve Bell knows the difference even if you don't. Steve Bell is a lovely man with a very acute sense of humour and generosity. Suggesting he isn't demeans you.

I note that you have absolutely no comment on the substantive issue.
Just these quibblings.

The main point being that you think Gordon Brown should be calling for military action against Mugabe. Even though the world and his dog (apart from yourself and Nick Clegg it seems) recognise that this would be playing into the old fascist's hands. So I don't agree.

You might also like to compare and contrast the Tory, particularly FCS attitude to the white regime in South Africa - where some of your colleagues at least were calling for the hanging of Nelson Mandela and piling into Barclays accounts and bigging up the regime - and your attitude to Mugabe now.

Benedict White said...

Chris Paul "I really don't know how you can declare and assert so vehemently on this series of leaks Benedict."

Because I have read the details of what would constitute the alleged offence, and leaking isn't in it. Crucially at the beginning of the year an appeal against a similar conviction to a journalist was won whilst a trial was halted as the judge threw out a lot of the evidence saying that free passing of information was covered by article 10 of the Human rights act.

"Because the police are investigating they cannot comment at any inaccuracies on these Tory assertions of no wrong doing etc etc. There was an ex-police chief constable on the TV a fair few times saying just that."

LOL! Being mid investigation does not normally stop the Met, look at the Jean Charles de Menezes case for a start!

"As I said at Iain's I am checking the details of the particular leak I had in mind, which is inter-war and in particular whether there is any sign of parliamentarians being directly involved in it."

What was the leak and how do you assert it cost lives.

Chris Paul said...

On the wild speculation re Green:
No point in further comment.

On lethal leaks: Patience mon ami.

Benedict White said...

Chris, my speculation is not wild it is based on fact.

How about a comment on this leak to a journalist relating to national security?

Should we have his offices searched?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/3628293/Gordon-Brown-gave-me-leaked-Whitehall-secrets.html

You can also tell me what the lethal leak was about without checking whether it was to an MP. (Well unless it was to a Labour MP and you want to cover it up).

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for your smug correction??? You devote half of this blog to correcting apparent mistakes in Iain's blog. Some hypocrisy surely?