Oops, Minister

To round up the morning’s press revelations of FCO document destruction chronicling the worst bits of Malaya, Kenya and the Diego Garcia thingamyjig, let’s cast our eyes back to Yes, Minister:

Bernard: Shall I file it?
Hacker: Shall you file it? Shred it!
Bernard: Shred it?
Hacker: No one must ever be able to find it again!
Bernard: In that case, Minister, I think it’s best I file it.

Jack Straw might be wishing that the Libyans had been slightly more discerning about the documents that they shredded, seeing as he is now getting sued for complicity in rendition/torture.

Before I come off as a wannabe Assange (and who would want to? What with the useful idiot jumping into bed with Putin yesterday etc), there’s a few things that I find interesting about the colonial revelations.

1) It is almost as if the writers for the Guardian didn’t know that the Malayan emergency/insurgency/war was directed at a small Chinese population and predicated on independence for Malaya. One could be forgiven for thinking that their singular focus on terms such as ‘terrorist’ without any background analysis of that particular war was designed to mislead the reader. It also strikes me as a bit, well, mis-leading to neglect to mention the whole ‘cold war’/’global confrontation with communism’/’looming spectre of nuclear annihilation’ business to place the whole thing in context.

2) People in high office would do well to raise an eyebrow at how quickly the chickens come home to roost these days. Malaya: fifty plus years, War on Terror: less than a decade.


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