Monday, April 09, 2012

Kenneth Clarke on why politicians must sometimes say no to the security services

Jerry Hayes writes on Dale & Co. today:
I fear that I was over optimistic when I wrote that Nick Clegg had scuppered the sinister un-Conservative, un-British and certainly un-Liberal surveillance and secret trial proposals, as the fight back from the intelligence services has begun. You will notice that over the next few days distinguished columnists and chosen MPs will be shroud waving that unless these anti democratic proposals are put in place nobody will be able to sleep safely in their beds.
Kenneth Clarke said much the same thing in 2005 when opposing Labour's attempt to introduce house arrest to the British legal system:
There is a danger in our system of politics, which I have seen, that senior politicians and senior officials who have access to an exciting and hidden world of security will get carried away with their excitement. They can sometimes become vulnerable to advice to do things that, with hindsight, are not altogether wise ... However, the idea that the public often have - that if the security services and the police demand something, it is unpatriotic for the House of Commons to refuse it - would be dangerous for us to accept.
Today, of course, Clarke is one of the ministers trying to persuade the Commons to accept the idea of secret trials.

To understand why it is so important that we defeat his proposals, read Ian Cobain's Rendition ordeal that raises new questions about secret trials in the Guardian today

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