There is an old saying, used to point out dithering over irrelevant details while ignoring a much more important calamity happening. That saying is Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
It’s a phrase I’ve always liked. And I’d like to be able to use it to describe this entire setup.
Britain’s secrecy and data protection laws face a shake-up under plans put forward by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Freedom of Information laws could be extended to cover some private firms and planned increases in the cost of making such requests have been axed.
Mr Brown has also appointed Daily Mail chief Paul Dacre to review the 30-year limit on releasing government papers.
In a speech on liberty, he also set out plans for a Bill of Rights and Duties and a possible written constitution.
“I believe that by applying our enduring ideals to new challenges we can start immediately to make changes to our constitution and laws to safeguard and extend the liberties of our citizens,” said Mr Brown.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the old phrase quite covers it; for Gordon Brown to be talking of ‘extending liberties’ while steadily encroaching upon our more important liberties is far beyond it.
So I hereby take the phrase and rehash it. To me, this proposal and the man behind it would be better summed up by saying Walther Schwieger rearranging the deckchairs on the Lusitania: only that conveys the image of Gordon Brown fucking about with incidental details while torpedoing our civil liberties below the waterline…
Do you think this phrase will enter the lexicon, then?