Last night during the Investigatory Powers Bill debate in the House of Commons, Joanna Cherry QC MP challenged the Government to define "National Security" as she noted the phrase was peppered throughout the draft IP Bill without definition.
Immediately, Tories rose to their feet to intervene.
Joanna gave way and one Tory MP, who, in the most patronising tone he could muster, said that she was not to worry about such things and just let it pass.
But why should she let it pass?
Why haven't we got a definition of what constitutes National Security for the purposes of the IP Bill?
The UK Govt gets to do a lot of weird stuff in the name of "National Security" like:
Seal the files on the death of David Kelly and of the Dunblane massacre for 70 years
Spy on Trade Unionists
Redact important historical documents
Issue DA notices to ensure news blackouts on certain subjects
Take out Superinjunctions
Visit newspaper editors and tell them to spike stories
Call off police investigations into paedosadist rings
Designate juicy or mundane stuff about our elected representatives as "highly sensitive material"
"National Security" seems to be the catch all phrase you can just trot out when you don't want the populace to know about stuff. A trump card that can be placed on the table when you want the investigation into something to stop.
There are heaps of people employed in the business of this undefined "National Security":
"The National Security Secretariat provides coordination on security and intelligence issues of strategic importance across government. Separately, the Joint Intelligence Organisation produces independent all-source assessments on issues of national security and foreign policy importance. By supporting the work of the National Security Council and the Joint Intelligence Committee respectively, they provide advice on these issues to the Prime Minister and other senior ministers".
Here is the only published detail about those whose business is "National Security"
Every Nation has to protect it's People. That's a given. But let us hear a definition of the reasoning behind the language that will shape the duties and processes of that protection.
Dig your heels in Joanna Cherry.