Thursday, March 1, 2012

Public interest

I get the idea of state secrets, particularly with regard to the armed forces and the security services, sources and secrets have to be protected from those who would do us harm. I also get the idea of private companies and confidentiality, no point in letting a competitor steal your ideas or have any idea how well (or badly) your company is doing. What I don't really get is "public interest"...
The Government is facing widespread revolt over plans to expand “secret justice” laws to ensure controversial court cases and inquests can be held behind closed doors.
Senior figures from all parties have condemned the move with some likening the “alarming” proposals to the behaviour of despotic states such as Iran and North Korea.
Under the plans “closed material” will be allowed to be heard in secret in civil courts if it is deemed to have the potential to “damage the public interest”.
Security services support the significant extension as they feel in the past they have been unable to defend themselves properly in open court for fear of disclosing sensitive intelligence.
Yesterday, Conservative MP David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, said the Government’s plans should “appal all those who value our traditional civil liberties”.
He added: “If these proposals become law, closed material procedures would be legal not just in terrorism cases, but in any civil case where the government claims ‘sensitive information’ is involved.
British justice is pretty opaque at the best of times anyway, even when a trial is open to the public, mostly what you'll get is a report by the MSM on the proceedings, not necessarily why what happened, happened. I occasionally rail against leniency by certain judges, I'm also fully aware that I don't know all the facts or the laws involved. I just know in my mind what's right and wrong.
I'm also aware that often enough when a government takes an inch and justifies it with prevention of terrorism then they are fully capable of misusing the legislation to take a mile and prevent any details deemed "not in the public's interest" to be aired in public. Yet who decides what is and isn't in the public's interest to know? Usually it appears to be those who want us to know nothing anyway, the ones who decided to play down Islamic extremism and immigration, who hold secret trials in the family courts and remove kids from parents. Basically it's anyone in the government who thinks they have something to hide, which from my admittedly jaundiced point of view means most of them. In the end, you know it wont just be the government, it will be any public service, local or national, just look at what the bastards did with RIPA a classic case of mission slip if ever there was one and once it's in place it's damned difficult to get rid of because the bastards like the idea of having such powers.
If this gets the go ahead, it will then be used in ways we never envisioned (well some of us anyway) you can practically bet on it...

2 annotations:

Restoring Britain said...

Spot on. Now matter how well intentioned these things may be at the outset, it does not take long before someone less altruistic spots a convenient way to cut a corner and stick it to someone all hidden from the public who would stop it in its tracks

James Higham said...

just look at what the bastards did with RIPA

Indeed and where was the outcry up and down the country? Silence.