Cabinet Responsibility vs. Flashpoint
Strictly speaking, it’s not in good form for a sitting Cabinet Minister to write his personal views about issues unsettled by Cabinet or to question a Cabinet decision or cleverly try to play around with a Cabinet decision. All ministers are bound by the constitutional principle of Cabinet responsibility. I am grateful that my boss is a liberal, open-minded man of some humour; maybe too liberal. We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. I am not required to send in my pieces for vetting, and I don’t. I send them in at the last possible hour before the paper goes to print when people are asleep in order to avoid people being tempted to sanction or veto an article. I got chewed out a bit for the first piece and the piece on Guatemala annoyed my erstwhile mentor. He thought that, considering the sensitivity of the issue and its national interest, I acted irresponsibly. Sometimes it’s a thin line. But that’s part of the purpose of Flashpoint.