Worrying Times

Created on 21/2/2008

Two seemingly disassociated events taking place this week in the US and UK might be inextricably linked. In fact they are potentially of immense political significance.

In the USA President Elect Barack Obama is acting, in all but name, as if he were already the President, whereas, in fact, as he has previously correctly stated, there is only one President at a time, and still, at this time, his name is President George W Bush. We have never had such a lame duck last months of a Presidency as we are currently suffering from, and this is caused by two factors. One, we all have to admit, is that George W Bush has not continued to assert himself prior to his leaving and as a consequence there is a leadership deficit. The other unavoidable conclusion is that the President Elect is so determined to hit the ground running that he has inserted himself into the vacuum.

In the UK the police arrested and questioned a Member of Parliament, Damien Green about his alleged gathering and dissemination of Home Office leaks about immigration. The police not only raided Green’s two homes they also entered his House of Commons office. The police virtually never take such actions, in fact the last time someone attempted to arrest Members of Parliament and enter the territory of the Commons was when Charles II did so with his officers in 1642, and he and his men were ejected and their actions led directly to the English Civil War.

Both of these situations represent well-intentioned leadership that assumes they are always right and certainly never wrong. In the case of the British Prime Minister we have a perfect example of the poacher turned gamekeeper. Gordon Brown is the same man who, when in opposition, built a reputation by obtaining and distributing a constant stream of leaks against the then Conservative government.

Unbelievably the senior politicians to whom the police report in the UK deny all prior knowledge of the police action. I am amongst many others who simply don’t believe this assertion, to the extent that I am calling Minister Jacqui Smith a liar.

Now there will be an investigation by another, supposedly independent police officer to discover the truth. I hope they are able to conduct this investigation quickly and thoroughly, and then whoever authorized and controlled this foolhardy and unacceptable breach of our system should be unceremoniously kicked out of office.

There is, in both countries, an erosion of liberty. In the UK the rate of this shrinking freedom is very alarming, so much so that it is a common discussion amongst the population.

In the USA the jury is still out, as none of us knows the actuality of the Obama Presidency. We can only guess at its shape and style by the tone of its preparation. We all understand his desire to hit the ground running but that does not excuse his pre-emption of Presidential authority and power.

Neither of our countries can afford to allow any further slippage of our constitution or tradition and freedom, too many people have shed too much blood to build them for us.