MPs question Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s patriotism
|Alan Rusbridger gives evidence to MPs|
I am not a great fan of Alan Rusbridger and over the years have questioned his actions and motives on a number of issues. However, having watched the Home affairs select committee's "inquisition" of Rusbridger surrounding the publication of information about the systems of mass surveillance in the US and UK, I remain standing shoulder to shoulder with the Guardian.
The issue here is a very simple one. Should the public be informed of what "the watchers" get up to and the excesses they frequently carry out in the guise of "anti terrorism" measures? The answer of course is a resounding yes, we should be told.
When newspapers or individuals reveal "secrets" many of which are embarrassing or uncomfortable to governments or organisations such people should be applauded, not subjected to an attempted interrogation reminiscent of McCarthyism rather than a Commons select committee.
Which leads me to yesterdays committee meeting and the "performance" of one Micheal Ellis, Conservative MP for Northampton North.
I am very much in favour of the Parliamentary Select committee system, giving as it does, the opportunity for predominately backbench MP's to question and often vigorously examine ministers or people from outside Parliament on a number of issues. The examination of Murdoch or the representatives of the energy companies, whilst not being entirely satisfactory were never the less, demonstrations of the system almost doing what it was meant to be doing.
However, at yesterdays committee, Ellis proved himself to be an incredibly obnoxious and arrogant individual, who seemed to be more intent on promoting his own warped interpretation of cause and effect and apparently particularly incensed that the guardian had revealed that some GCHQ people had gone to Disney land.
|Micheal Ellis Home Affairs Select Committee|
It also seemed to Ellis that the revelation that some of the almost 6000 people who work at Cheltenham may be gay, somehow was a breech of the Terrorism Act.
His hysteria became so pronounced that eventually, Keith Vaz, the committee chair, had to call him to order on two or three separate occasions. In doing this, Ellis was given to the dubious "honour" of being warned by the Speaker for unacceptable behaviour in the Commons during PMQ's in January this year and being called to order by the chair of the Home affairs select committee in December, and he has only been an MP since 2010.
It seems to me that it should be Micheal Ellis who should be interrogated in front of MP's on a charge of bringing the Commons Select Committee procedures into disrepute.
Perhaps Alan Rusbridger could run an editorial on that.