Tonight I very much enjoyed listening to Damian Green talking about the issues that he feels passionately about. Naturally one of these was the erosion of civil liberties under this Government and the rapid growth of the database state. I will comment more on this soon. However, what really struck me was his description of Gordon Brown’s pettiness in obstructing the Opposition’s access to the Civil Service.
It is a long standing convention that in the run up to General Elections, opposition parties are permitted discussions with the Civil Service about their plans for government. It allows the Civil Service to make provisional plans in the event of a change of power and avoids unnecessary surprises. The convention began under a Conservative government led by Sir Alec Douglas-Home but has been continued by every government since of whatever political persuasion. Prior to 1997 the Government of John Major allowed Tony Blair and Gordon Brown such access about 18 months before the likely election.
However, Gordon Brown has resisted this. Despite every indication that the Conservatives are poised to win the next election, Gordon Brown rebuffed initial requests for access to Civil Servants. He continued to ignore requests to honour the convention right up to the point when the Conservative party went public with this obstruction. Only then did he grudgingly agree to allow access but he has continued to obstruct the process. To date David Cameron has not been permitted to meet with the Cabinet Secretary, as would be expected, and no date in the future has yet been set.
Gordon Brown is the very worst type of politician. He is petty and vindictive with none of the charm of his predecessor. It will contribute to his undoing as the public are beginning to see his true character and Labour’s ratings in the polls are sinking as a result.
Roll on the General Election, whenever Gordon has the courage to call it!
Last night I posted about my views on the National ID Card scheme. However, it is not the only threat to our traditional liberties posed by this Labour Government. Tonight I will be attending a dinner locally, organised by Reading Conservatives, at which Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green MP will be the guest of honour and speaker.
You may recall that it was Damian Green who was arrested by Metropolitan Police anti-terror officers without a warrant, on the grounds that he received and used Government papers that could embarrass Ministers.
The spineless Speaker of the House of Commons claimed to know nothing about the raid and passed the buck down to the Serjeant at Arms. We are still awaiting the outcome of the police investigation and a decision from the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether they intend to proceed with a highly controversial prosecution or drop the matter.
I will be fascinated to hear Damian’s views on civil liberties and any comments he may be allowed to make on what is still an ongoing investigation.