I have been asked what I meant when I asked whether the Guardian had committed treason. Did I mean treason against the UK, or the US? Let me clarify. I meant treason against the Western Liberal values it claims to support.
I read this morning’s claim by the Guardian that it is more trustworthy than GCHQ with a growing sense of disbelief. Until yesterday I assumed that the motive behind the Guardian’s partial release of material collected by Edward Snowden was to expose the surveillance society that has grown like topsy since RIPA and 9/11. Then I read the article by Janet Daley on the fight to retain a free press.
The role of the BBC in the spat between the physical and intellectual descendents of Ralph Milliband (who made a personal commitment to socialism at the grave of Karl Marx) and those of Harold Harmworth (who, we now know, supported Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia) also reflects a split between an intellectual elite which knows what it is good for us to know and the hoi polloi (alias plebs) who believe in the right of a free press to sell them what they will pay to read.
Do the different responses of the Guardian and the Washington Post when approached by Edward Snowden reflect a deeper dimension to that split: one between those whose mindsets are based on collectivism and planning (and believe they know best) and those whose mindsets are based on individualism and competition (and believe the “market” knows best)?
Of course the world is very much more complicated than that – but those who believe that the Internet should be allowed to evolve and grow, outside state control and the stultifying bureaucracies of the United Nations, as well as outside the grip of the US extra-territorial establishment, have much to do.
They also face some very difficult choices. One of the most profound is whether to support the planned internationalisation of the commercial cartel which currently runs the Internet (from search engines to infrastructure), watching all that we do (whether to sell the results to those who will pay or to give them to their chosen spymaster).
Was that what the Guardian editorial team had in mind?
Or had they, like Melita Norwood, the secretary who gave the Atom Bomb to Stalin, not understood the consequences on their actions.
Sorry to be so apocalyptic on a Monday morning.