“Give me the appearance of liberty or give me death…”

Patrick Henry

… if David Cameron were Patrick Henry, that would have been his impassioned cry.

Here’s what he did say to parliament:

We have a free press, it’s very important the press feels it is not pre-censored from what it writes and all the rest of it.

I don’t want to have to use injunctions or D notices or the other tougher measures. I think it’s much better to appeal to newspapers’ sense of social responsibility. But if they don’t demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.

We would like the press to feel it is not pre-censored. But they must be in fact pre-censored, otherwise the government will have to resort to “the other measures”. But not to worry. The only people who might be subject to these other measures are in thrall to ‘a “lah-di-dah, airy-fairy view” (that was really Cameron’s expression) about the dangers of leaks.

Why am I not reassured in this government’s willingness to carefully weigh the different interests in the secrecy debate? Nothing speaks “careful analysis” like presenting your opponents’ view as”lah-di-dah, airy-fairy”.

Cameron tours the Mini car plant in Oxford.

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