Nov 2008

Tories living in Stalinist Britain

Damian Green is a tory MP in Britain. This means he’s almost certainly an enemy of social justice. In fact, his voting record places him firmly on the right of his already right-wing party. The best you can say about him is that he isn’t part of the tory religious tendency (on issues like abortion or embryology). Other than that though… he’s in favour of torturing dogs, does not support equal rights for homosexuals and counts Ian Paisley high among his political friends. Not a nice man.

So from a strictly personal point of view, the fact that he’s just been the subject of a little bit of police harrassment doesn’t upset me all that much. In fact, if people like Damian Green got harrassed a bit more by the police, then maybe they wouldn’t be so damn quick to champion the harrassment of others (his opposition to drug-law reform and stance on asylum seekers being just two examples of that championing).

So how did this harrassment manifest itself in Mr. Green’s case? Well it turns out he was suspected of releasing classified government documents into the public domain (“leaking” as it’s known). As a result he was arrested, questioned and then released without charge.

That the tory party is describing this as “Stalinesque” is the final proof (if proof be need be) that they’ve completely lost the plot. Certainly the tories aren’t above a wee bit of historical revisionism. We all know that. But are they really saying that one of the primary characteristics of Stalin’s regime was that political opponents were questioned for a few hours prior to being released? It’s 20 years since I read a biography of Stalin, but my memory isn’t that bad, surely!

Don’t get me wrong, clearly what’s happened here is a little heavy-handed and demonstrates the craven hypocrisy of the Brown administration. When it suits the Labour party they are more than willing to leak stuff to the media. In fact, they’ve got such a consistent track-record of leaking stuff that it hardly raises an eyebrow any more. It’s got to the point where the Labour government leaking information is almost considered “official channels”. That the police aren’t banging on the doors of cabinet ministers and hauling them off for questioning on a regular basis demonstrates that there’s a double-standard at work. And when a government starts to employ the police to enforce its double-standards then they really need to be replaced.

But the last people that should be replacing them are a bunch of dangerous fools who are willing to cry “Stalin” when one of their own gets questioned for a few hours and then released, but who stay silent at — and indeed support — the systematic harrassment of others.

I don’t recall the Tory outcry when police kicked down a door in Forest Gate and shot an unarmed suspect. I don’t recall the tories accusing the police of ‘Stalinesque’ tactics that day. In fact, just to demonstrate how divorced these fools are from reality, how utterly self-serving in their outlook, a Tory spokesman has described Green’s arrest as “unprecedented in its heavy-handedness”.

Unprecedented? Really? What complete tossers those tories truly are.

Posted in: Opinion