It was clear that the appearance of Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, before a Commons Select Committee, would bring out the inner idiots of the Tory party and their clients in the right-wing press. Mark Reckless and Michael Ellis, two of the backbench chinless fodder that support the theory that Dave's party will end up as a scummy irrelevance, distinguished themselves by a concerted display of jug-headed poltroonery in which their alleged scrutiny was designed to play to a gallery of Murdoch and the tax-dodging propagandists Barclay and Rothermere rather than as representatives of the British public.
As an aside, Julian Huppert was extremely effective in reminding us why Liberals should always be supportive of a free press, even when its behaviour is uncomfortable or wayward.
Julian Smith is a nonentity backbencher, representing a safe rural seat in Yorkshire. He has been particularly keen to besmirch the Guardian - using claims of treachery. This is a contemptible approach as all it achieves is to create a McCarthyite atmosphere and distract attention from the issues that have been raised throughout the disclosure of UK and US collusion in intelligence-gathering and the lack of any meaningful controls on behalf of either the state or the citizen. So unsurprising from a Tory stooge incapable of rising up Davy's payroll ladder - but one who probably has half an eye on the UKIP threat to what is otherwise a sinecure for toady mediocrities.
So to call Rusbridger a traitor, after a Select Committee appearance which made it quite clear that he has been as responsible as it is possible to be when in possession of material whose enormity threatens the legitimacy of the state, is the act of a coward and a fool on losing ground. If Rusbridger had published, unredacted and unconsulted, the full range of material that has been leaked, that might have been both unwise and compromising to national security. Instead it appears that he has been scrupulous in not undermining individuals as well as informing authorities of his intention to publish specific items.
Smith, Reckless and Ellis, who sound like a cross between estate agents and loan sharks, would do well to reflect on their idiotic posturing. They are keen enough to promote the USA when it suits them - particularly in terms of justifying the rape of society and the promotion of inequality - but the rights and range of a free press appears to elude them. No country other than the UK would be having the debate or using the right-wing press to slur the integrity of others - it is beyond parody that basic rights do not exist here and are actively resisted by the very people who claim to represent the people's interest.
However, these charlatans are part of the authoritarian conspiracy that Blair and Straw did little to roll back. Taking the security services as the fount of wisdom is a woefully stupid misjudgement - their competence is enhanced when they operate legitimately and within the control of the citizenry. But one expects nothing less.
Were I living in Skipton and Ripon I might even be thinking of voting UKIP - then Julian "Playground" Smith might have to wake up to the realities of a complex world, deprived of a status that allows him to sink to the gutter and be provided with publicity as part of the deal. The term "tool" doesn't go far enough.