Christopher Galley, Damian Green: martyrs… but in what cause?

The arrest of their immigration spokesperson Damian Green has left the Tories all in a tizzy: ‘An historic attack on liberty and democracy,’ thunders William Rees Mogg, while their leading blogger Iain Dale paints a picture of near future police state. Oh my.

I’m sure Damian Green is enjoying his martyrdom. I know I would. But the civil servant who acted as his mole, Christopher Galley, may find his martyrdom a little harder to cope with. He is after all, a traitor in the eyes of others and while I don’t think anyone serious has called for has hanging just yet, he’ll find it hard to find work in any environment in which confidentiality is expected.

If Christopher Galley joined the home office in good faith and committed to the civil service’s determination to be politically neutral, but had then come across some dark secret, then he may have some claim to heroism. However, Galley is accused of entering ‘into an arrangement with an opposition spokesman continually to release information in breach [of the rules]’. And that’s very different.

We do have legislation to protect whistle blowers, but Galley appears to have behaved in a way that disqualifies him from its protections.

It’s more likely Galley has been acting in the narrow electoral interests of the Tory party and in a way that he hopes will enable him to develop a political career; his solicitor Neil O’May categorically denies he was offered money, but does not rule out other forms of inducement.

The heroism of Damian Green and Christopher Galley involves leaking stories in support of a right wing anti-immigration and anti-refugee agenda in the hope that government will get ever tougher with people like Thérèse. Thérèse is a genuine hero who escaped the secret police of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They had kidnapped her and interrogated her for three days, during which time she was beaten and raped. Her crimes are taking part in a demonstration and being the daughter of a prominent opposition politician.

To argue that the work of Damian Green and Christopher Galley is in the public interest, is to argue that Britain is wrong to occasionally offer asylum to people like Thérèse.

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