There are important similarities between the Damian Green case and that of Sally Murrer. Sally is the local journalist who was harassed, strip-searched and intimidated by local police, because she was given information on the police bugging of a Member of Parliament.
As her lawyer said in court “The measures used by Thames Valley Police against Sally Murrer are familiar in authoritarian states where the police are used to discourage the media from reporting on issues of public interest using confidential sources”.
That is absolutely true. The fact that Sally has been cleared in Court after a defence based on the European Convention of Human Rights is a small fightback for liberty. But her unnecessarily brutal treatment by the police (what possible reason can there be for strip-searching a journalist?), and her ordeal have already done that totalitarian work. She has announced she no longer has the confidence to continue journalism.
The extraordinary thing is the way that the media have failed to give Damian Green, let alone Sally Murrer, the prominence they deserve. Media inattention to startling human rights abuses is of course another characterisic of a police state. Indeed we have been treated to an egregious BBC commentator telling us that, after the Bombay incident, the Indian people are demanding “More stringent anti-terror laws and more powerful anti-terror police, as we have in the UK”.
Happily, the blogosphere reflects the concern of the educated public much better than the once free media. And the isolation of the Nu-Lab hacks and trolls on these issues is startling.