MPs Call Government Gagging Rules Oppressive and Draconian

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David Milliband, Labour’s so-called new start, is furiously defending the FCO’s new near-fascist regulations for its employees, rules so illiberal that even the House of Commons Public Affairs Committee has today called them “Draconian” and “Oppressive”.

Read this next bit carefully. Under New Labour’s New Rules, FCO employess may not, for as long as they live publish, broadcast or comment upon, in book, article or interview anything they have learnt or may have learnt in the course of their employment.

Read it again – astonishing isn’t it. The ever-excellent Brian Barder has been blogging about it for some time, including this:

The idea, of course, is that only the ministers’ version of truth will enter history. You can be confident that Jack Straw’s memoirs will not tell you that he instructed Richard Dearlove that we would use intelligence from torture, or that we colluded with torture and extraordinary rendition in Uzbekistan and elsewhere. You needed my memoirs for that. If Jack Straw had his way, I would not have been able to publish my book telling you the truth; in fact the new regulations were born directly out of Straw’s fury at Murder in Samarkand.

We now have a government so despised that it strives to protect itself further and further from scrutiny. The entire mess can be traced back to the decision to abandon international law and go for illegal war, torture and assassination. It is impossible to adopt such rotten tactics while maintaining liberalism at home. What New Labour have given us is a fundamental shift towards authoritarianism, which occasionally manifests itself in a dramatic symptom like this one. The body politic of this country is rotting from within.