Another new dimension of the government taking back control became apparent over the weekend. As the Guardian has reported, the government has proposed that:
Anyone that published an intelligence- or foreign affairs-related story based on a leak [sh]ould be open to criminal charges. Reporters, as well as the whistleblowers whose stories they tell, would be under threat of sentences of up to 14 years, regardless of the public interest and even if there were no likelihood of damage.
I caused controversy last week by suggesting that I was a libertarian. I feel my use of the term wholly justified in the face of such proposals that will destroy yet more of our right to free speech. Of course those who oppose moves such as this are libertarian: what is bizarre is that such suggestions are coming from a government that has such a high approval rating amongst those on the right who use that term.
Democracy only thrives when it is cherished. And it can only be effective when people know what is happening. It is vital that the press have the right to report the vast majority of what is going on in government (I accept that there can be national security issues and certain court imposed restrictions on reporting to protect individuals and the outcome of cases). To try to restrict this freedom so that, for example, the government's own breaches of the law cannot be reported is to move the law into the bounds of tyranny.
Three thoughts. First, is this what taking back control was meant to mean?
Second, this makes alternatives voices even more important.
Third, I hope their Lordships make hell with this: I wish I could see Labour doing so.