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The Culture of SecrecyBritain 1832-1998$
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David Vincent

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203070

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203070.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2019

Public Knowledge, 1911–1945

Public Knowledge, 1911–1945

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter Four Public Knowledge, 1911–1945
Source:
The Culture of Secrecy
Author(s):

David Vincent

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203070.003.0004

The pitiful and pitiable outcome of Asquith's infatuation with the rules of secrecy seemed not to have unduly affected the fate of his ailing Ministry. Asquith's conduct was an exaggerated form of a now-established tradition of simultaneously deploring and practising the leakage of information. Asquith ended his prime-ministerial career at a moment of transition in the conduct of Cabinet business. Asquith's amoral manipulation of the rules of secrecy placed him squarely in the tradition of the contemporary constitutional order. In the Established Church, the concept of honourable secrecy remained at the core of the approach to gaining public confidence. The outcome of the decline in trust was an increase in secrecy. An abiding difficulty of the topic of secrecy is in establishing a scale of significance. The attack on official secrecy mounted by the Union of Democratic Control and its sympathizers could hardly have been more wide-ranging. Water on the Brain narrated the exploits of Major Blenkinsop, recruited by the Director of Extraordinary Intelligence to replace an officer.

Keywords:   public knowledge, honourable secrecy, Water on the Brain, Asquith, Ministry, Union of Democratic Control, Cabinet

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