Taking a civil liberty
31 December, 2008
Tom Harris has it that anyone interested preserving their civil liberties is writing in green ink. There is of course no basis that Members of Parliament would sell out our civil liberties for a stint as a PPS or in Keith Vaz’s case a bigger office. I feel safe already although there are plenty of people commenting on his blog and Tom Watson’sabout possible drawbacks to clamping down on civil liberties most of which would be apparent to a sharp minded 8 year old but appear to be absent from the thinking of many of our elders and betters. Still I thought I should take the opportunity to point out some of the more dunderheaded measures:
1) Take ID cards. Now back in year 9 at school in business studies we learnt about a concept called “Opportunity Cost” For the hard of thinking this means of you spend X billion on one thing you can’t spend it on another. So if we spend upmteen billion on ID cards then we can’t spend the money on more police. Personally I think terrorists would be more worried about thousands of extra police than a piece of glorified plastic with some “biometric” hocus pocus that means the government is charged a fortune and takes an additional 5 minutes to copy.
2) What about the incoming ban on “extreme pornography”? Legislation that was brought about by the Longhurst campaign. A tragic case where a women was killed by her boyfriend who said he was addicted to violent pornography. They then decided of themselves that the pornography was to blame for the death forgetting that correlation is not necessarily or indeed remotely causation. Combine this with drafting of the legislation that is so lax it can encompasses virtually anything the police doesn’t like. Instead of tackling something like bestiality or necrophilia which I think there would be common consent to the government has let the police and the CPS decide whether to criminalise Britain’s BDSM community. Genius.
3) The RIPA which gives surveillance powers to the most lowly bureaucratic functionary with an interest in dog fouling that the Stasi would be proud of.
Oh and don’t get me started on 42 days….
Then of course there is the political argument which is advanced here by one of my old lecturers Prof. Anthony King who as well as pointing out “the Tories have had the support of 40 per cent or more of voters throughout the whole of those 15 months. They have not been in such a strong position for so long since the late 1980s” and what makes it much worse is Liberal Democrats who at the end of the day tended to vote Labour by a massive margin (Labour +40%) in a Lab/Con split are now only marginally pro Labour (+11%). As we will find out at the next election this is an important constituency for us and the government seems to be doing its best to drive these supporters into the welcoming arms of opposition parties. But why worry about such things when we still have Dr Who?