You could be forgiven for thinking it takes a village to run this Government. At the end of it, it’ll have to be the most well-informed, risk-averse administration of all time.
Almost daily reviews, inquiries and committees are announced to inform the ministers of how this should be done and how that should be avoided.
This is what happens when you have no real policy.
Of course France knows all about spies so Macron would no doubt understand why the watchdog of our spooks has appointed a so-called Security Reference Group of 11 to keep her up to scratch with whether she’s getting things right.
It’s a couple of members of the group who’ve brought the trilby and trenchcoat conspirators out of the closet. Last week they announced a $2 million investigation into Nicky Hagar’s Hit and Run book on an SAS raid in Afghanistan, this week they’ve appointed him to give the Inspector-General of the spies Cheryl Gwyn advice on whether she’s heading in the right direction.
Hagar’s on record as saying the Security Intelligence Service should be disbanded, the days of reds under the bed are long gone.
Yes we have appointed someone who thinks the SIS should be disbanded, to advise on oversight of it. There is a difference between appointing critics who want the SIS to do a better job of how it operates, and appointing someone who thinks they should not exist.
And another on the spy’s group has clashed swords in the past with Gwyn herself when she was the Deputy Solicitor-General. Civil liberties lawyer Deborah Manning defended the Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui when he was being pursued by the last Labour Government over unsubstantiated terrorism allegations made by the SIS.
They were not unsubstantiated. He had four convictions in three different countries for terrorism related offences. That is the opposite of unsubstantiated.
Also Manning is a former senior staffer in the Labour Leader’s office. Hardly inspires confidence about political neutrality.
I think Gwyn has been an excellent Inspector-General but I think her unilateral decision to establish a reference group was a bad call.