Thursday, November 24, 2005

Officially a Secret Joke

Has the Attorney General really threatened journalists with the Official Secrets Act just to stop George Bush looking either paranoid or stupid?

Is the "special relationship" (which in reality seems only to exist in the fevered imaginations of British politicians) so fragile that free speech - that great bastion of the US Constitution - can be swept aside in the media of the US's oldest ally?

This is not the first time that the criminal law has been deployed to stop anti US comment or protest in the UK. In December 2000, veteran peace campaigner Lindis Percy was fined £500 for writing on the Stars and Stripes and then trampling on it outside a US airbase in Norfolk, England.

We are living in strange times indeed when something that symbolises lawful dissent in the US is criminalised in the UK. But then again, perhaps that's what makes the relationship so special: the Americans know that Tony Blair will do anything for them - including denying the British their long cherished freedoms.