Sometimes I just don’t know where to start. It is Monday and I do have a heavy cold, but this is not why it has taken me so long to start writing this post. Rather, my inertia is born out of an utter bewilderment, bordering on disbelief, as I watch a democratically elected government quite brazenly trash the rule of law, the main thing (some might say the only thing) separating it from a totalitarian state.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Spooks as much as the next person, although I lost interest once the characters played by Rupert Penry Jones and Hermione Norris were bumped off. Along with most people, I have no illusions as to how accurate a portrayal it represented of the security services. Most amusing was the idea that there were only about a dozen spies at most, all highly swashbuckling, protecting us.
Being in government isn’t just about what you do, it’s how and when you do it. You would think that a general rule of thumb might be for ministers to indulge in a lot of flag waving over things they propose to do and to try and sneak out bad news when something more interesting is going on. But sometimes ministers attempt to slip their own proposals under the radar because they know they are contentious. One such proposal, quietly pushed out last year, is indeed highly contentious: secret courts.