Moral outrage in the blogosphere

The arrest of Tory Damien Green and who was to blame for allowing his offices to be searched has pre

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Taking the Mick

Last week, the news was just emerging of the Damian Green arrest. A tidal wave of online conjecture has since followed, much of it highly critical of the Speaker and Serjeant at Arms, Jill Pay, on whose shoulders responsibility lies for allowing the Police search of the Tory immigration spokesman's Westminster office.

Steve Green blogged for many, when he demanded that: “The Serjeant at Arms should be sacked for incompetence and her position returned to its former stature. It's shameful in the extreme that the government are still trying to spin their way out of this attack on democracy.”

In his statement to the House, following the Queen's Speech on Wednesday, Speaker Martin invited members to turn their rage on the police and Jill Pay. Few seemed convinced though, and religio-political blogger Cranmer cooly insisted that he should not be allowed to side-step responsibility.

Iain Dale was in speculative mood, and explored possibilities concerning the fuzz's lack of a warrant to search Green's office, wondering whether:

“...there is another explanation. The Police did think they needed a warrant to search Green's Commons Office, applied for it, but the magistrate turned it down.

On Political Betting, Mike Smithson put forward a credible theory – that Harriet Harman's very public refusal to support Martin stems from a desire to prompt another Scottish by-election, which Labour would be well placed to win.

Perhaps more contentious was Bishop Hill's claim that the Speaker's background lies at the heart of his attempted obviation of blame for the incident. He explained: “Martin is from Western Scotland, and in the nether regions of Glasgow, politicians have been brought up to avoid responsibility for everything and anything that goes wrong”.

Yet it was his origins as a left-wing Glaswegian moraliser that prompted David Lindsay to make a plea for Martin to be spared the chop – though he conceded that the Speaker has “probably been put at a disadvantage in this case”.

Among the New Labour bloggers, satire was the order of the day, as Sadie Smith planned a charity gig for Green, while Don Paskini updated Pastor Niemoeller's famous cautionary words.

What have we learned this week?

Nick Clegg needs to learn a little more discretion, and was admonished by James Graham on Comment is Free for being rude about members of his frontbench team on a plane to Inverness. Meanwhile, Cicero's Songs was keen to rise above the tittle-tattle, but had some sage advice for the party leader nonetheless.

Around the World

Across the channel, the conservative UMP's Pierre-Henry Pouchelon expressed concern that (among other factors) the election of Martine Aubry as leader of France's Socialist Party may be bad news for his own. Having had plenty of opportunity to taunt the left (“..nous sommes beaucoup moqués des divisions du parti socialiste”), Pouchelon feared that the future may not be so rosy for Sarkozy's party.

Video of the Week

Watch David Cameron's">web team booted out of Damian Green's office by the Police.

Quote of the Week

“Listening to Michael Martin's statement on the Damian Green arrest was enough to make the middle of my body sink into itself, like a particularly unsuccessful cheese souffle.”

Paul Walter is exasperated.

Paul Evans is a freelance journalist, and formerly worked for an MP. He lives in London, but maintains his Somerset roots by drinking cider.
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