Game over

I CONCEDE. Despite my best efforts to try to focus attention on the real issue at the centre of Greengate (copyright Labourboy) – ie, whether or not Damian Green has a case to answer – the Tory spin operation has been remarkably effective.

All the newspapers want to talk about is the Speaker. A remarkable sleight of hand by the Tories, and I take my hat off to them. Every one of their front benchers has stayed remarkably on-message, including Do-Nothing when he falsely told the Commons that Green was in the Chamber despite the government’s best efforts. Yes, it was a lie, but one that the media were willing to believe, and that’s why it worked. Why should journalists bother trying to second guess a police investigation (boring) when they can have a go at the Speaker instead?

It’s the equivalent of calling for a public inquiry into the regulation of store detectives after one of your MPs is questioned for shoplifting.



Filed under Conservative Party, David Cameron, Media, Parliament

19 responses to “Game over

  1. Chris' Wills

    Not quite, stealing things from a shop is a crime.

    A closer analogy might be receiving stolen goods.

    Anyone who can “lift a shop” I’m unlikely to argue with and it should be included as an event in the world’s strongest man competition :o)

  2. Johnny Norfolk

    Well we have had over 10 years of this sort of thing from Labour. When it happens to you, you do not like it.

    However the Speaker issue is most important and I am pleaed you have not been able to take it off the front pages not including the BBC of course

  3. Tacitus

    I think it’s really good that Gordon Brown has got rid of spin.

    PS. Tom. I agree, Speaker Martin is accountable ony to the House.

    Unlike Mandelson.

    You would appear to want your cake and eat it.

  4. Paul Williams

    I think perhaps you’re giving a little too much credit to the Tories.

    Regarding newspapers, the Tories were always preaching to the converted. Journalists are hardly going to concentrate on what you call the ‘real issue’ of the investigation of the leaks, when they depend on leaks themselves.

  5. Jane

    Not sure about the analogy Tom. It is the store detective’s remit to detain shoplifters having witnessed a crime. I thought it was the Speaker’s role to maintain the dignity of the house, the privileges of the members and ensure the rules were obeyed. Whilst the Sgt at Arms is responsible for security, law and order etc, I thought they served the Speaker – hence the Speaker was the one responsible for not ensuring proper procedures were adhered to?

    We all make mistakes. The Speaker made a mistake when he dumped the error solely on the Sgt at Arms. If the Sgt at Arms serves the speaker (perhaps this has changed as I read that the Sgt’s role had diminished since the previous incumbent resigned?)then surely the Speaker should bear some responsibility for the lack of search warrant etc. Do you not think that is why the press are pursuing the story? I ignore some of the press who have had it in for the Speaker for years – the same newspaper that continues to villify Cherie Blair. Was it not possible for the speaker to diffuse the situation further by just acknowledging that errors were made and would not happen again. I did not feel comfortable with his speech regarding the Police and Sgt at Arms. I wanted to know what the letter from the Cabinet/Home Office stated in requesting their intervention (if national security was mentioned) and if the Sgt at Arms had sought legal advice. Somehow, I do not think she acted of her own bat!

    Alastair Campbell always said that one got worried if the press maintained a story for more than 5 days. After tomorrow, it will fizzle out and raise its head when the complaint about the Mayor of London is dealt with, the police drop the charges against both civil servant and MP, further leaks as to why the police acted etc etc. I know if I was being critised I would want the correct information to be out in the open.

    If nothing comes of this then the Government in bringing in the police are their own enemies as they have permitted the Tories to grab the headlines. I somehow think the Tories have the moral ground and I am delighted that David Cameron came out with guns blazing in support of his colleague. even though I would never support either in an election. I do admire loyalty….

  6. richard

    Given that the debate this afternoon is going to be followed by a “whipped” vote by Labour MP’s I fail to see how this is anything but a whitewash.

  7. I’d think a more apt analogy in this case would be “after one of your MPs is beaten senseless by a store detective under suspicion of shoplifting”.

  8. Tacitus


    Quite so. Tom whinges about it, but the government are getting all they deserve on this total nonsense. They really do NOT like being held to account.

    It has also provided further evidence that the Met is a shambles.

    Government – not fit for purpose
    Met – not fit for purpose
    Smith – our Home Secretary, has to be sent on a Leadership course.

    What a mess.

  9. Chris' Wills

    It is alright Tom, Strawman is riding to the rescue with his aim to enforce “loyalty to the country” and a responsibility to “obey/respect the law”.

    1st off, what does “loyalty to the country” mean; sounds good I know but is meaningless.
    Can we point out that Broon is trying hard to wreck the economy? or is that disloyal. Is pointing out that the pound is weakening disloyal?
    Is deriding NuLiebor disloyal, they are in goverment so could claim to represent the country.

    2nd he is wrong in thinking I have a responsibility to obey the law. I have a duty to disobey the law if I find it immoral (obeying the law is not an excuse, Nuremberg trials). I have no duty to obey it, if I’m caught breaking the law I may be punished of course.

    You’ld hardly think he had heard of socialism nor the struggle for liberty wage by those who opposed the , then, legal slave trade.

    Either more bad law ill conceived and soley for soundbites.

    Hhmm, then again it is probably wacky jaquie’s wizard wheeze to ignore the ruling of the ECHR.

    After 10 years of Straw’s HR law, which was mis-used and abused by lawyers and activists of varying stripes, he thinks it needs reviewed only after the goverment is told to stop holding private data on people without their consent and with no good reason.

    Is there a connection?
    Methinks there is.

  10. John

    Listening to a R4 report on the riots taking place in Greece the reporter mentioned that the Greek police cannot persue the student rioters into their places of learning e.g. universities, as they are regarded in law as sanctuary or ‘asylums’.
    I could draw many parallels between the HoP and a Greek ‘school’: The rowdiness and jeering at PMQ’s is reminiscent of schoolboy behaviour: Government never seem to learn (especially when it comes to wars) and your sums rarely add up, to say nothing of the bullying that goes on. Perhaps the HoP should be turned into an asylum.

    Of course many of us remember what were termed asylums in the good old days……. 🙂

  11. Cicero


    “PS. Tom. I agree, Speaker Martin is accountable ony to the House.

    Unlike Mandelson.”

    Or Lady Warsi. Or Lady Neville Jones. Both Shadow Cabinet members.

    Your point?

  12. Cicero

    Sorry, Lady N-J should be Baroness….

  13. Johnny Norfolk

    Well Jane you must admire Tom, as his only loyalty is to the Labour party.
    If he caught chicken pox he would come out in little red stars.

  14. Tacitus


    Oh dear. I wasn’t aware that the opposition enacted policy and legislation. Mandelson has a post of the highest importance at the moment, yet is not accountable to the House, nor to you or I.

    Got it now?

  15. “It’s the equivalent of calling for a public inquiry into the regulation of store detectives after one of your MPs is questioned for shoplifting.”

    No, it’s the equivalent in calling for a public inquiry into the regulation of store detectives, after one of your MP’s is forceably removed from the shop floor into the security guards office, and questioned for 9 hours for the heinous act of taking an item from the store shelves and placing it into the store provided shopping trolly.

  16. A concession without admitting you’re wrong; obviously a politician.

    But, Tom; tell me, what you’re position on the Wilson Doctrine? Do you want it ripped up? If its right to search an MP’s office during an investigation, should they not also be able to bug his phone?

  17. Tacitus

    So it’s OK for the police to start their own inquiry into this farrago, but not, according to Harman, the House.

    That right, Tom? And you wonder why there is so a high level of cynicism about, and distrust of, the political process as embodied by this government.

  18. Tacitus

    How can anyone in their right mind trust the government? Much revealed yesterday, as noted below, by what Harman DIDN’T say, as she did say.

    In essence, the police have obtained all current communications between MPs and constituents. In fact, as it is an Exchange server, unless MPs are smart, they will also have access to deleted emails.

    During the debate, Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, who used to be a civil liberties lawyer, but who has obviously now been turned to the dark side, refused to give any sort of assurance to her opposite number the Conservative Teresa May, that the seizure of documents etc. in the Palace of Westminster did not also include far more than just items relating to Damian Green MP. She kept silent when directly asked to if this could also have included shared (Microsoft Exchange) email server and computer network drive computer resources, containing emails and documents from many other Members of Parliament, their constituents and other potential whistleblowers.

  19. ani

    “Why should journalists bother trying to second guess a police investigation”

    What? I thought second guessing was obligatory.

    And Tacitus, it looks like events have overtaken you again according to Mr. Speaker’s announcement this afternoon.

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