“The government,” [Henry Bellingham] said quite mildly, considering the circumstances, “is trampling on the rights of the individual and has turned this into a less free country.”
Cue Michael and Brown with a noise first heard in the rock shelters of the Upper Paleolithic. It is the jeer of the strong for the weak. But Bellingham is not weak and he went on to say that the proposed secret inquests would certainly be subject to the legislative creep that had seen terror laws used to freeze the assets of stricken Icelandic banks.
The very idea of secret inquests caused widespread dismay, he said. It was a fundamental attack on transparency; secrecy would be used to protect the state from embarrassment and blame in cases where members of the armed service had been killed or people had died in custody.
Another muted jeer followed. I was reminded of Derek Hatton’s Trotskyist takeover of Liverpool City Council in the Eighties and of Squealer and his underling pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm. The government has become so used to its power that Labour MPs do not even acknowledge the issues of transparency and rights. …