From the Guardian:
The Conservative leader said that it was “a worrying stage in our democracy” if shadow ministers could not release information in the national interest.
“If this had happened in the 1930s, Churchill would have been arrested,” said Cameron, in a reference to the way Winston Churchill used leaked information to support his campaign for Britain to rearm against Adolf Hitler’s Germany.
Nine counter-terrorist police were used to make the arrest.
Anybody who thinks that the Conservatives are creating an overblown fuss over the arrest of Damian Green is making a genuinely grave mistake: the cynical assumption that a party is simply trumping up a sense of outrage for partisan purposes is quite misplaced here. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the appalling significance of this incident.
At 2pm today counter terrorism police arrested Damian Green at his constituency home in East Kent. He was brought to London and currently is detained awaiting interview. It is now 9.43pm and seven hours after his arrest, he has, apparently, still to be questioned. These are the tactics of a totalitarian state.
If the Government feels unconstrained about invoking anti terror legislation and deploying counter terror police at a whim, on issues completely unrelated to terrorism, where exactly are we heading?
We don’t yet live in a Police State, but one be forgiven on nights like this from wondering if we are headed that way.
Update: According to the BBC:
The Lib Dems have called shadow immigration minister Damian Green’s arrest a “mayday warning” for democracy amid cross-party anger over the move.
Damian Green’s arrest: the police state is coming
And I just stumbled on this, from 2005:
While we’re about it, we couldn’t resist McNulty’s comments on The Politics Show in defence of Home Office dawn raids on asylum seekers: “We are not knocking down doors at four in the morning with people booted and suited in riot gear. Most of the removals occur around half-five, half-six, seven in the morning.”
So that’s alright then.
Update 2: Matthew Paris — An outrage that brings shame on Britain — in the Times:
On the whole, and in the main, and everything considered, you do not in a democracy go around arresting the Opposition. For some time now, web humorists have been spelling new Labour “Nu-Labour”. As reports of Damian Green’s arrest swirled yesterday, the prefix ZA attached itself to the bloggers’ joke: ZANU-Labour. If by lunch I had heard the comparison with Zimbabwe once, I had heard it a dozen times.
From the BBC, Tony Benn:
Ex-Labour MP Tony Benn was just as incredulous: “I may sound strangely medieval, but once the police can interfere with Parliament, I tell you, you are into a police state.”