News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

UK New Era Keystone Cops trip on own e-mails in pathetic case v Michael Savage

  • Gordon Brown and David Miliband shamed:
Executive Editor, Radio Free Europe, John O'Sullivan: "THE latest twist in the saga of how the
in which a Machiavellian civil servant, Sir Humphrey, repeatedly manipulates PM Jim Hacker into foolish decisions with subtle arguments that Jim never quite grasps.

Jim: "So we're banning this fellow Savage from Britain because he's a dangerous Islamic terrorist, are we?"

Sir H: "Not quite, PM. We're banning him because he isn't a dangerous Islamic terrorist."

Jim: "I see -- No, I don't."

Sir H: "Well, there are a lot of dangerous Islamic terrorists on the list already. It might give the impression we don't approve of them. So we're adding other names to, well, balance them out and, er, reassure them."

Jim: "Balance, eh? So this Savage is dangerous in other ways."

Sir H: "Indubitably, PM. He's a conservative shock-jock radio broadcaster."

Jim: "I don't know what that is, but it doesn't sound especially dangerous. Why do we say we're keeping him out?"

  • Sir H (consults document): "I think the phrase is 'likely to cause community tension,' PM."
  • Jim: "Is Savage likely to cause community tension?"
  • Jim: "Well, they'll hear of him once we ban him." (They laugh again.)
  • Sir H: "But it will be for the one and only time." (They fall over laughing.)

So it would've been if a shrewd old mandarin like Sir Humphrey were still running the Home Office in Whitehall.

  • He'd never have made the elementary error of putting the real reasons for banning Savage in a confidential e-mail. He'd know that the final destination of confidential Labor government mail is the front page of the conservative Daily Mail.

Which is where the internal Home Office e-mails relating to Savage's exclusion from Britain ended up this week.

  • Savage himself is owed most of the credit for exposing this latest farce: He decided to fight his exclusion by launching a slander suit against the home secretary (the hapless Jacqui Smith, who has since resigned amid an avalanche of gaffes),
  • and then obtained his own list of incriminating e-mails as part of the legal process.

These e-mails are fully as silly -- and damaging -- as anything in "Yes, Prime Minister." One makes it explicit that Savage is being named as an excluded person

A third e-mail (from a civil servant who seems a potential Sir Humphrey) prudently warns his bosses that all this sounds too much like "duplicity."

Indeed, it does.

  • The list of "named and shamed" included not only Islamic "extremists" but also two Russian skinheads imprisoned for 20 racial murders. What had Savage done to justify including him in such company?

The worst that the cautious Home Office official could cite was that he was "homophobic" -- which isn't a crime even in San Francisco, the birthplace of Savage's show.

The answer is that naming and shaming Savage was a low exercise in cheap politics all too characteristic of the Brown government. Its methodology is similar to the recent scandal wherein a Gordon Brown aide had to resign on being found spreading false rumors (also via e-mail) that opposition Tory leaders and their families were mired in various sexual sins.

  • attempting to discredit conservatives by associating them with extremists
  • and political criminals.

Exactly the same tactics --

were later used against Geert Wilders, the anti-immigration Dutch politician. Whatever flaws of taste or opinion they may have committed, neither man posed any threat to security, the British way of life

  • or even community tension.

Home secretaries, either Smith or her successor, would be well advised not even to attempt the "robust" defense their department promises in response to Savage's slander suit.

All the same, it would be fun to see Savage being cross-examined by one of those clever British barristers." "Condemned by Their Own Laptops," NY Post, 7/29/09

  • "John O'Sullivan, a former Post editorial- page editor, is executive editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague."


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