Boris says that "the Attorney General's ban is ridiculous, untenable, and redolent of guilt," which is perfectly true. Boris offers to publish and risk going to jail if someone will send him the document. The prospect of spending time inside a jail must seem a low price to pay for the chance to pose as a champion of free speech, particularly now that Jeffrey Archer is on the outside.
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant," Boris proclaims. "If we suppress the truth ... we become as sick and as bad as our enemies." On the other hand, Boris does "not like people to break the Official Secrets Act, and ... would not object to the continued prosecution of those who are alleged to have broken it". Sunlight, like everything else, must learn to know its place.
In the interests of solar antisepticism, Boris notes that the Americans have rather an impressive record of blowing up news agencies: "They blew up the Kabul bureau of al-Jazeera in 2002, and they pulverised the Baghdad bureau in April 2003, killing one of the reporters. In 1999 they managed to blow up the Serb TV station, killing two make-up girls, in circumstances that were never satisfactorily explained." The Conservative party makes much of its wish to support victims rather than criminals, and Boris, as usual, is the exception. We must, he says, be fair to the Americans. Al-Jazeera "is hugely respected in the Arab world, has about 35 million viewers"; yet, in one of those infuriating paradoxes which are so common with foreign types, "it gives what can only be described as a thoroughly Arab perspective of current affairs". Well, of all the cheek.
Yet there is worse. A thoroughly Arab perspective, as Boris explains, means that al-Jazeera "assists in the glorification of suicide bombers; it publishes the rambling tapes of Bin Laden and others among the world's leading creeps and whackos; it is overwhelmingly hostile to America and sceptical about the neo-con project of imposing western values and political systems in the Middle East." Although this is all "recognizably journalism" and apparently no worse than the BBC even in the eyes of the editor of the Spectator, one can certainly understand the senior partner in the Holy Alliance becoming a bit annoyed.
Still, "if there is an ounce of truth in the notion that George Bush seriously proposed the destruction of al-Jazeera, and was only dissuaded by the Prime Minister, then we need to know". I quite agree, and if Boris can publish the memo I shall happily do likewise; although I am not sure how knowledge of the memo will fulfil the "need to know what we have been fighting for". Whatever the poodle may have thought about bombing al-Jazeera, the war aims of the Holy Alliance have been reasonably clear from the start. Many of us knew long ago, and Boris ought to have realized by process of elimination, that we are fighting for US control of the Middle East's remaining energy resources.