Friday, March 15, 2013

Time for the Lib Dem leadership to come clean on secret courts

At the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference Nick Clegg's advisers decided the best way to win party members over on the question of secret courts was to send Tom McNally out to insult them.

It did not give you a great deal of confidence in Nick Clegg's advisers.

Fortunately, they soon changed their approach and first Ming Campbell and then Tom McNally wrote reasoned articles for Lib Dem Voice putting the leadership's case.

Today David Howarth, MP for Cambridge before the last election, replied to Tom McNally. If it were a boxing contest the referee would have stopped it long before David got to the end.

I do urge you to read David Howarth's article yourself as it makes the case against secret courts so forcefully. Academia's gain is certainly Westminster's loss.

The arguments the leadership has deployed in favour of secret courts are so weak - not just Tom McNally's speech in Brighton but also Nick Clegg's treatment of the subject at his question-and-answer session there - that one suspects we are not being told the real reason.

Is it that Nick does not feel confident enough to turn down the advice of the intelligence establishment? Is it that the American government is threatening not to share intelligence with us unless we change our legal procedures?

Whatever the reason, I think it would be much better for the atmosphere within the Liberal Democrats if our leaders came clean and told us their real reason for supporting secret courts.

No comments: