by Stephen Tall on October 8, 2013
Nick Clegg’s decision to reshuffle Jeremy Browne out of the Home Office and Norman Baker in has triggered a mini-furore, with plenty on the authoritarian right outraged at his appointment to the Home Office given he’s the author of a book suggesting MI5 covered up the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly.
The best riposte I’ve seen has been from Jonathan Calder over at Liberal England:
Some will question Norman’s conspiracy theories about the death of David Kelly. To that, I would merely point out that in an age of Prism and Tempora, it is the state that is paranoid not its citizens.
Though I was also struck by Simon Mason’s tweet pointing out that the right is a bit less outraged by Owen Paterson’s preference for beliefs over science:
W/ all this fuss about Baker I'd just like to remind everyone that the Tories put a climate conspiracy theorist in charge of climate policy
— Simon Mason (@LDNCalling) October 8, 2013
For the record, I haven’t read Norman Baker’s book and am in no position to judge if it strays into the realm of ‘conspiracy theory’. From what I have read, such as non-conspiracy theorist Professor Alastair Hay’s comments here, there appear still to be a number of questions left hanging from the Hutton inquiry. I’ve certainly heard of worse ideas than having inquisitive ministers who are deeply sceptical of the government inside the Home Office. There’s only one way Norman will be able to prove the doubters wrong, though, and that’s by doing a good job.
In the meantime, every Lib Dem and the vast majority of liberals will be cheered up by this newspaper headline…
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.