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I Blame Nick Clegg

John Rentoul

harddrives 300x225 I Blame Nick CleggNick Clegg’s article in The Guardian today, trying to justify the smashing of that newspaper’s hard drives and the detention of the partner of one of its journalists, is yet another exercise in hypocritical sophistry.

As a defender of what Clegg still calls, hyperbolically, “the worst excesses of Labour authoritarianism”, I don’t feel strongly about destroying data on hard drives and my complaint about the detention of David Miranda is that it should have been done under national security rather than anti-terrorism law.

What drives me potty is Clegg’s attempt to pretend that the actions of the coalition are compatible with his high-pitched sanctimony attacking the Labour government. The present government, like its predecessor, is trying to balance national security with individual liberty, which is not as easy as he pretended it was in opposition.

No wonder the cliché count is high: “tread the fine line”; “a bridge too far”; Labour, “a party hard-wired to trample on those liberties”.

And how fitting that he should get his comeuppance. A sentence has been removed from the article “for legal reasons”. This is because ministers are not supposed to comment on things which are the subject of legal proceedings. Clegg has responsibilities now and cannot just spout easy platitudes about how everything this government does is right because its motives are pure.

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  • Kippers

    I don’t think that either New Labour or Nick Clegg have been trying “to balance national security with individual liberty”. Both are just unwilling to stand firm against the UK’s unaccountable security apparatus (and their cheer-leaders in some sections of the media).

  • greggf

    “the worst excesses of Labour authoritarianism”,

    Labour in its heart is totalitarian.
    Within the constraints of Britain’s unwritten constitutional politics it achieves its goal to control everything by stealth, socialisation of British institutions and public services, and the trade union movement.
    Every time it gets into power it ratchets up the control a bit more and, sadly for Britain, the Conservatives allow it by merely tinkering instead of repealing wholesale such totalitarian menaces as the Equality Act and the Muslim self-styled parliament etc. Which, incidentally, are probably destined for some deep small-print inclusions next time they get into government.

    Arthur Shenfield may have put his finger on Labour’s ambitions when he characterized the difference between the public and private sectors as – the private sector was controlled by the government yet the public sector wasn’t controlled by anyone!

  • mightymark

    If its any comfort Nick is getting the pasting off his life btl – even if most of it is pretty idiotic.

  • Pacificweather

    John, you should feel strongly about destroying data on hard drives, not because of the lost data, but because it’s a pointless act of terrorism. The data on the hard drive was replicated elsewhere so the act had no security value. The act was done to demonstrate power and save face. Such acts are a subtle form of terrorism designed to protect security services that have been completely ineffective for 70 years.

  • Pingback: War is Legal When We Say So, by Saints Clegg and Miliband | John Rentoul | Independent Eagle Eye Blogs


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