Friday 28 November 2008

Ruth Turner, Damian Green and the Law which Mugabe would give his right arm for

Nick Robinson is so desperate to defuse the widespread public anger over the arrest of Damian Green that he is now making it up as he goes along. The question ought to be, why he is so keen to take this line?

Consider this, from his blog today:-

Green, like Turner, was arrested under suspicion of conspiracy. In other words, he has not been arrested simply for receiving leaked government documents, but under suspicion of conspiring to have them leaked.
And compare it with this, the original bbc news report of Turner's arrest:

She was questioned over honours allegations and suspicion of perverting the course of justice. She has issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Or the Scotland Yard version at the time:-

On January 19, a woman, known as D, was arrested at her home address in London by Metropolitan Police officers in connection with alleged offences under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 and also on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Apart from the totally different grounds for arrest, there are virtually no parallels at all between the two cases. Firstly, Ruth Turner is not an elected MP, and could not possibly have been engaging in the normal actions of an opposition MP exposing Government errors in the public interest. Far from it, the accusation was that she was assisting in a cover-up of honours being sold for cash by the Labour Government. Specifically, she had written that Lord Levy (also not an MP) had asked her to lie for him (once again according to the bbc) in connection with the cash for honours affair.

Ruth Turner (innocent as she no doubt is) was not arrested for conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office, or for disseminating a document in the public interest. She was arrested because of a suspicion that she was part of an organised conspiracy to prevent the police investigating cash-for-honours, both the existence and cover up of which would be regarded by most right thinking people as criminal.

By contrast, the most interesting thing about the Damian Green allegation is the nature of the ancient common law offence. Misconduct in public office is a catch all. It is explicitly to be used only where no other offence is available

In other words the two things we have learned are (1) That Damian Green has not done anything which most of us would regard as illegal or unusual - quite the opposite and (2) That the offence of "Misconduct in Public Office" - if we didn't live in a democracy - would be a Dictator's dream.

Update: Nick Robinson appears to have taken heed of the amount of anger his comments generated.

1 comment:

Dungeekin said...

Well said.

Nick 'Pravda' Robinson excelled himself this time, and has proved (if further proof were needed) that he's not a political correspondent.

He's a shill for ZanuLabour.

I still can barely believe what happened yesterday. After all the other attacks on our rights, freedoms and civil liberties (ID cards, database state, unprecedented communications monitoring and so on ad nauseam) - this is the final nail in the coffin. Any pretence Labour were keeping up of being a democratic entity is now shattered.

They should no longer be graced with the term 'Governmnent'. That implies consent of the governed. They're now merely The Brown Regime.

I think that now they've descended to the level of using the Police to repress legitimate political Opposition, we can safely say that British Freedom died yesterday, aged 797, after an eleven-year battle against NewLabour Cancer.

Obituary at: