John Stuart Mill was to my mind the greatest political philosopher this country has ever produced. If our New Labour governors had in their youth read Mill rather than pretending to read Marx and Trotsky, we would not be under such an assault on our civil liberties. Mill today is not studied in any of our state schools nor is he a serious part of the curriculum in almost any of our University philosophy departments. That is a part of the “dumbing down” of our education system, but it is not my subject today.
I was reminded this morning of one of Mill’s more mischievous quotes:
“Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative”.
With a small c, of course, that description embraces most of New Labour. But Mill also meant it with a large C, and he dubbed the Conservatives “The stupid party”.
What reminded me of this was David Davis being interviewed this morning. I have come to have a real respect for Mr Davis and believe his concern for liberty to be genuine. He made a number of good points on the Damian Green affair.
But just before Davis had been introduced, Sky News had announced that the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, Mr Ian Johnston CBE had been appointed by the Metropolitan Police to carry out an “independent” inquiry into the handling of the Damien Green case, and that Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, had put out a simultaneous statement welcoming the move.
The Sky commentators had said that this would “assuage Tory concerns”.
I thought, “No, the Tories are not that stupid.”
Then along came David Davis and fell straight into the huge, naked elephant trap, welcoming Mr Johnston’s appointment and looking forward to the results of his inquiry.
For God’s sake, how many times? Legg, Hutton, Butler?
That would be an independent inquiry into the Metropolitan Police by Mr Ian Johnston, immediate past Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, would it?
Stupid doesn’t cover it. The problem with the Tories is that they still trust what we might broadly call “the Establishment”. They cannot get into their thick-boned skulls how far New Labour has politicised it and turned it into an instrument against the people.
Even now, they can’t.
Anyway, here is a preview of Mr Johnston’s report. You saw it here first:
The Metropolitan Police were investigating an allegation of a serious crime
They acted in a proper manner
They needed to search premises for evidence. Proeper permission was sought from the parliamentary authorities
Mr Green was suspected and rightfully arrested and detained
No Ministers were consulted on Mr Green’s arrest; there was no political interference
Some junior police officers were guilty of minor faults. Mr Green was held an hour or two longer than necessary. One or two more police officers than necessary were deployed on searches.
Mr Johnston’s terms of reference will exclude, and you will not see in his report, a log of all contacts between the Police and Ministers and between officials and Ministers discussing the case of Mr Green or his alleged source.
For the next one week, and when the matter is debated in the Commons, the government will refuse to comment pending the result of the “independent” investigation.
For God’s sake, Tories, wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!!!!
Over to you, Iain Dale. Are you that stupid?