Wishful thinking by the paranoid right

WHEN cyber-Tories aren’t moaning about not having a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, they like to bang on about the so-called “intrusive state”. Iain Dale yesterday carried a letter published in Der Spiegel:

Sir, At the end of August I’m leaving London because I don’t wish my child to be forced into the kind of conformity where not only are school uniforms obligatory but even haircuts are regulated. That’s to say nothing of the ever present CCTV in schools or of the fact that even primary school kids have to give fingerprints.

Hmm. Aren’t Tories the ones who are most likely to complain about lack of uniforms in schools? And since when was the government responsible for regulating haircuts (good idea, though; must mention it to the manifesto group…)?

As for CCTV, I know of no MPs whose constituents have approached them asking for fewer CCTV cameras in their constituencies. The only people in Glasgow who I’m aware are against them are drug dealers who would rather not be filmed going about their business.

That CCTV cameras are some kind of threat to civil liberties seems to have become one of these accepted “facts” that barely qualifies as an opinion, so scarce is the evidence in its favour.

The regular accusation that we are living in what is close to, or is in reality, a “police state” is not only ridiculous – it’s offensive to the millions of people across the world who do live in such states and who regard the UK, rightly, as a beacon of freedom and democracy. So there.

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56 Comments

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56 responses to “Wishful thinking by the paranoid right

  1. For CCTV to qualify us as a police state, surely there’d have to be a huge team of people monitoring and making notes on the footage. The people who get fired up about them are in my experience the same people who won’t buy Oystercards because they think there’s an army of civil servants checking up on them to see where they’ve been and making assumptions about why they might have got off at a particular tube station. The reality is that unless a crime has been committed the footage is unlikely to be checked.

    I wonder if those same Tories would still want to preserve the right to freedom of haircut if schoolchildren across the country shaved “Thatcher – **** off and die already” into their heads.

  2. FWIW I have always been against school uniforms in schools. I note you do not comment on the fingerprinting issue, Tom.

    You also trot out the Hazel Blears line about CCTV cameras. I dont object to them at all in areas where they are needed, but we are the most ‘watched’ society in the world. 1 CCTV camera for every 14 people. Mind you, half of them don’t seem to work.

    By all means let’s have them where they are needed, but not everywhere. Labour used to be the party of civil liberties. In the 1990s they would have been horrified by the explosion of CCTV and would have campaigned against it.

  3. And FWIW, Iain, I’m in favour of school uniforms. But can you explain to me exactly why or how our civil liberties are even remotely infringed by our being “the most watched society in the world”?

  4. Madasafish

    Of course we are not a police state. And activists do not get frogmarched out of party conventions by a bunch of goons.

    And councils do not use terror legislation to spy on residents..

    We are not: yet.. but we are getting there slowly…

  5. “The only people in Glasgow who I’m aware are against them are drug dealers who would rather not be filmed going about their business.”

    There are plenty of people who aren’t drug dealers who are against them to, you know that.

    CCTV should only be used in areas where crimes are often committed and used to a minimum; call me a liberal, but I believe that the starting point of the relationship between government and citizen is the total freedom of the citizen from any interference by government; interference is only justified by demonstrable need. Caprice is an entirely different motivation.

  6. Stu

    I’m very much FOR school uniforms, CCTV-agnostic, firmly against school regulation of haircuts (and I came up upon that one many a time – apparently my shoulder length hair was too scruffy for a boys school) and normally a Conservative supporter. Where does that put me?

    I don’t really have a political issue with CCTV, but in my experience it’s completely useless when something actually goes wrong. Blurry and distant pictures which show nothing useful and prove even less. Of course, that’s purely in my experience – there may be others who’ve been genuinely helped by CCTV, just I’ve never met any of them.

    Incidentally, I’m all in favour of the argument expressed in the last two words of your post, Tom.

  7. Frank Davis

    If, as TimF says, there isn’t an army of people monitoring CCTV, what is the point of them? How many of them are recording images for subsequent recovery?

    As best I can make out, the only purpose of CCTV is to send the message: “You are being watched.”. And that is not a comfortable sensation for anybody. One of my local pubs has CCTV cameras in every room inside. Not very welcoming. These days, of course, all the smokers sit outside, so it doesn’t matter.

    I used not to be bothered by all these cameras. Now I hate the sight of them. They seem to be yet another example of Labour’s interfering bully state.

    P.S. I’m not a Tory. I always voted Liberal until a year or two ago.

  8. Auntie Flo'

    Re the Lisbon Treaty: The IWAR regional referendums and all research to date has shown 805 to 90% of us are against this Treaty and demand a referendum.

    But you carry on, stuff your fingers in your ears and ignore us, we’ve givewn up trying to make you listen…on your own heads be it.

  9. Martin Cullip

    It’s not just Tories moaning about a referendum on the Lisbon treaty Tom, it’s a huge majority of the public … oh hold on, that’s the same thing these days. 😉

    On CCTV, you say MPs don’t have people asking for them to be taken away, but did you have a massive amount of voters bombarding you with calls for compulsory ID cards, DNA databases, e-mail and text surveillance etc.? If you don’t need voters to petition you to bring in these measures in the first place, why should it need the opposite to curtail their over-use when it’s quite clearly a public concern?

  10. Auntie Flo'

    As for CCTV, I know of no MPs whose constituents have approached them asking for fewer CCTV cameras in their constituencies.

    That’s because we don’t talk to nulabbers any longer, Tom, because we’re sick of trying to get you to take your fingers out of your ears and listen to us.

    I used to contact my MP with my concerns about home policy on a regular basis. Don’t bother now because it’s so obvious he doesn’t give a damn what his constituents think.

    The only time I bother with him now is over overseas concerns like Tibet, Burma and Georgia.

    He’ll learn soon enough.

  11. Auntie Flo'

    Ok, Tom, can you tell me why UK, which has 1% of the world’s population needs 20% of the world’s surveillance?

    What sort of people does that suggest you think we are? Untrustworthy, criminals in the making.

    Wasting my breath asking you I know, because you won’t answer, I’m just vote fodder every 5 years.

  12. Auntie Flo'

    Woops, sorry:

    805 to 90% of us are against this Treaty and demand a referendum.

    should read:

    80% to 90% of us are against the Lisbon Treaty

  13. How does the latest Tory wheeze allowing the police to do just about any kind of surveillance without any paperwork fit in to the notion of ‘Labour’s police state’? David Davis seems very quiet on the matter!

  14. In June, Jan Berry, outgoing chairman of the Police Federation, gave us an insight into how the Government is re-engineering the police, for example, by using unqualified and inexperienced community support officers for regular duties and keeping qualified officers as a “paramilitary-type force.”

    A press release by Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, confirms the rotten state of the police in Britain.

    Most of the blame is attributed to the politicians, who have engineered the police to turn innocuous incidents into crimes in order to fulfil targets set by the Home Office.

    Top officers can earn bonuses of between £5,000 and £15,000 if their force meets Government targets and ordinary officers are under pressure to help them achieve this while neglecting other crimes.

    The Civitas report continues, “In order to meet targets, police are now classifying incidents as crimes that would previously have been dealt with informally, classified differently or ignored.”

    From Civitas, “Section 5 of the Public Order Act allows police to arrest anyone for ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress’. Before the arrival of sanction detections, the police only evoked Section 5 for a public order offence, but now that police can now claim a sanction detection for an arrest under Section 5, minor crime and even innocuous activities appear in a different light.”

    “Everyone arrested gives a sample of DNA which automatically guarantees a criminal record number on the Police National Computer. A criminal record number affects a young person taking up certain occupations (joining the police for one) and getting a USA visa. One senior police officer confirmed: “We are in discussions with the Americans to make them aware of our system.” The Americans find it difficult to understand that a number of our criminals are not criminal at all – simply a result of Home Office targets.’ (p.49)”

    Rather than tackling crime effectively, the report states, “We are bringing more and more people to justice but they are the wrong people. Like other targets, they measure what was chosen to be measured, not whether the public are getting a good service.”

    A child stealing a Mars bar is given the same gravitas as murder!

    Complaints against the police have risen; the increase mainly from law-abiding citizens.

    “Not only do the police seem intent on criminalising those whose offences, if they can be regarded as offences at all, are trivial, like holding open a lift door (p.49); they are accused of concentrating on easy-to-deal-with offending, like speeding, while the real criminals seem to be getting away with it. They are slow to respond to calls, even to serious crimes taking place; often slack about follow-up; and unwilling to tackle persistent anti-social behaviour that blights neighbourhoods.”

    While there are more police than ever, their excuse is that there are not enough police officers compared to other countries.

    The USA, for example, has vastly more police than a few years ago, yet has the world’s highest prison population, higher even than China, a communist dictatorship with four times the population!

    “The deluge of paperwork imposed on the police by Whitehall means that just 14% of officer time is spent on patrol (p.17)”

    Harriet Sergeant (Civitas) recommends getting the government out of policing and the removal of targets.

    All in all, this report highlights the very serious dereliction of duty by the Government regarding our once much-admired and respected police.

    It also shows how serious criminals are living free, directly as a result of resources being used to train the general public to fear the ‘authorities.’

    I believe the evidence points to this being the real agenda.

    Real criminals are generally after personal gain and rarely a threat to the ruling elite, unlike some law-abiding citizens who are seen as a threat by working for justice and decency in society, concepts seemingly alien and undesirable to the elite, who want the masses immoral, dumbed-down sheep for easy herding.

    Surely when “the wrong people” are routinely being arrested, we know we are living in a police state?

  15. Is David Icke a particular hero of yours, Stewart?

  16. No he’s not, Tom.

    Alex Jones is though.

    Are you going to respond to what the Chairman of the Police Federation and Civitas have said?

    Do you think they are David Icke fans or have just studied the evidence and come to the logical conclusion that the public is the target?

  17. Tom, you wrote: “But can you explain to me exactly why or how our civil liberties are even remotely infringed by our being “the most watched society in the world”?”

    Jesus mate, if I have to explain that to you, your lot are in more trouble that I thought. I feel a blogpost coming on. Tune in later…

  18. Nick

    All this CCTV debate precedes, what for me is the Labour poll tax – the icing on the cake for the Labour control freaks in the form of ID cards. When this hair brained scheme is rolled out (that in itself will be a miracle, if you look at the NHS computer fiasco), then I am confident that UK voters will send a clear message to hundreds of Labour MP’s and it won’t be one they will want to hear.

  19. Zorro

    “it’s offensive to the millions of people across the world who do live in such states and who regard the UK, rightly, as a beacon of freedom and democracy.”

    I think if they manage to live in a country worse than what you’ve managed to do to this place then frankly they’ve got a lot more important things to worry about than being offended at me calling this a police state.

    Plus what Iain said in his last reply to you. Do you really not see the connect? Why do you think we need to be more spied upon than the poor people of North Korea or China?

  20. I agree with the writer of the original letter and their complaint about fingerprinting in schools. It’s issue which hasn’t come up in this thread and has had too little public discussion.
    However I disagree with the presumption that the fingerprinting is somehow a government sin – it’s because schools have been suckered by sellers of the equipment that it will save them time and money.
    Since schools have been given devolved powers and budgets they’ve every right to make crap decisions. I thought those on the right would defend the delegation of power down to schools and away from those nasty LEAs. They also have to accept the consequences.
    It is astounding how many schools are fingerprintings children simply so they can take books out of the library (see http://www.leavethemkidsalone.com and I think your colleague Tom Watson has campaigned on this issue).
    However, it’s more a sign of our basic ignorance of security and software and our deference to ‘experts’ than any desire by Labour to control everything.

  21. Madasafish

    Police state?
    World’s biggest DNA database with over 1 million children on it.

    Labour are working on it.

    They can’t stop illegal immigrants or crime, they can’t send illegal immigrants home, but fill your dustbin too full and they’re on you like a ton of bricks.
    It’s called focussed and targetted action: the wrong focus and targets…

  22. Johnny Norfolk

    Tom I think your post and the cavalier attitude towards peoples genuine concerns is why your party will be thrown out at the next general election. Labour have become smug far more than ever the Conservatives were at any time.

    Labour have shown again to a new generation why they are not fit to govern. You think you are better than anybody else and power has gone to your heads. No more comments about boom and bust I trust.

    Labour have betrayed the very people you are supposed to support.

  23. Harry T.

    “As for CCTV, I know of no MPs whose constituents have approached them asking for fewer CCTV cameras in their constituencies. ”

    You don’t know John McFall then as I’ve sent him emails to that effect.

    “The only people in Glasgow who I’m aware are against them are drug dealers”

    Twaddle, I hope you’re being facetious!

  24. Martin Cullip

    Good God! I wasn’t aware of the fingerprinting in schools thing until I read the later comments here. So I Googled it and … well.

    What on EARTH are Labour doing? Fingerprinting kids without even asking parents? That is as low as can possibly be.

    Where was the announcement Tom? Where was the manifesto pledge leading to a mandate for introduction? How can you possibly agree with this? All your denouncement of those that say Labour are a dictatorial regime is surely laughable in this light isn’t it?

    Do you even believe in the public having a say anymore?

    I have kids of 7 & 8 and if anyone has taken my kids’ fingerprints there will be hell to pay.

    And you have the gall to laugh in this piece about those that say we are living in a Police state, why exactly?

  25. Martin – have a look at the comment from Phil at 10.07 pm.

  26. Andrew F

    Ah, Tom.

    I’ve been agreeing with you a lot lately. But that streak was bound to end the moment you discussed anything even vaguely connected to civil liberties.

    Why do cameras make a difference? you cry. Well, the whole debate on liberties is about what things the state should be allowed to do to us that we wouldn’t allow anyone else to. For example, the state has the power to detain us if we commit a crime, but if any other person did so, it would constitute kidnap. Thus, we have slightly less liberty than if the courts did not have that power. Similarly, we have even less liberty because the state can now lock us up, quite legitimately, for 28 days when we haven’t even been accused of committing a crime.

    CCTV cameras allow the state to secretly stalk and record images of law-abiding British people. If anyone else did this to us, we would get a restraining order.

    And that comes from someone who’s for big government.

  27. Frank Davis

    Tom wrote: But can you explain to me exactly why or how our civil liberties are even remotely infringed by our being “the most watched society in the world”?

    Indeed. And as far as I can see, Tom wouldn’t be in the least bit bothered if there were CCTV cameras inside the cubicles in public toilets..After all, only people who were not doing their lawful ‘business’ inside them – homosexuals, drug addicts, smokers, etc – would have anything to fear from the authorities who surveyed them there. Nobody else would have any need to feel an iota of concern – least of all pretty young women in the ladies’ toilets. .What civil liberties would be infringed? It’s not as if they’d find disk files of their likenesses left on a train and posted up on the internet.

    Indeed, since health is the only thing that really matters these days, the occasion might be a golden opportunity to dispense free health advice to a captive audience. What more salutary advice could there be than from an authoritative voice booming “You could lose some weight, fatso!” from a loudspeaker on the back of the cubicle door?. .

    Surely only cyber-Tories would bleat about the so-called “intrusiveness” of progressive measures of this sort?.

    And anyway, have any of your constituents written to you, Tom, saying that they don’t want CCTVs inside public toilet cubicles? No? I thought not. That clinches it then: they must be all in favour of it.

  28. Harry Haddock

    Harris’ comment to Stewart Cowan is a fine example of the contempt this shower hold the electorate. Your privacy has no worth, it belongs to them. Thus, to complain about its removal makes you a loon, therefore the Ike comment.

    I’m sure Harris also thinks everyone who objects to ID cards has ‘something to hide’, people who complain about detention without trial are ‘terrorists’, and people who kick up a fuss about internet censorship are either child molesters or secret KKK organisers.

    Harris isn’t totally stupid, he knows damn well how many ancient freedoms this government have already, or are about to, take from us ~ thus we can assume he supports them. That is why he and his family live in a house with no curtains and see through walls… oh, hang on, they don’t…

    I agree with comments above that the good, moderate peoples of the UK will solve this by kicking him and his authoritarian nut job mates out at the next election.

    Personally, I would prefer a show trial and a few public hangings, but you can’t have everything in life.

  29. Jim Baxter

    I have no complaints about CCTV. I just wish it were more reliable and more obvious. The argument that it should only be deployed where crimes are regularly committed just about beggars belief. Would its opponents argue that if we could afford to have a copper on every street corner 24 hours a day that would also be an infringement of civil liberties? Fair enough if so but maybe they don’t live in the ‘inner-city’ and have other rights to worry about apart from the right to get home in one piece.

    In a previous post, I suggested that it would be good to hear less from the government on a lot of things. Clearly I am much more influential than I realised. I wasn’t referring to international crises.

  30. Jim Baxter

    ….because I thought that people of a certain persuasion tended to argue that we should have more police on the beat rather than being bogged down with paperwork, even though the paperwork is required to protect the public from the abuse of police power which was more common before the paperwork was required…

  31. Jeremy Poynton

    Sad old argument about “If you have nothing to hide…”

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1863889/posts

    Tom,

    The problem is that we do NOT trust those who watch us. At all. Nor the fact that you – the government – kowtow to the EU(SSR) with no regard to our sovereignty.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/aug/13/privacy.civilliberties

    Our – the peoples’ – task, in the intervening 2 years before New Stasi is consigned to the history books, is to ensure by whatever means that as little as possible gets onto the statute books as we can. Given the frenzy for legislation that New Stasi have, that will be hard.

    We don’t trust you, Tom. And we have good reason not to. Indeed. I fear you, and the generally held opinion is that government should fear the people, not the other way around. New Stasi’s instincts are all very nasty indeed.

  32. Madasafish

    Lets have more CCTv and public exposure says Mr Harris.

    But of course when it comes to expenses, MPs don’t want any change to a grossly generous system.
    One law for MPs , one law for the voters.

    Arrogance and folly…

  33. Jeremy Poynton

    This type of behaviour by New Stasi backs up what I said earlier

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article4510259.ece

    Tom,

    I’m 57, voted Labour from my first vote in 1970 till Iraq. I am APPALLED at the assault on Civil Liberties that has rained down since 9/11 – it is as if it was the chance you were waiting for, to corral the population and monitor all that it does.

    There will be blood on the streets, I can tell you, if you carry on this way, as people have had enough.

    Remember – YOU ARE ARE SERVANTS. Remember that.

  34. Jeremy Poynton

    Don’t worry chaps, the Human Rights Act will stop this ….. oh no, it won’t. National security overrides all, and it is of course, NOT in the public interest to know what matters of “National Security” are.

    Article 8: Right to privacy

    (1) Everyone has the right for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

    (2) There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

    WE DON’T TRUST YOU, TOM, OR NEW STASI, TO DO THE RIGHT THING. YOUR RECORD TELLS US YOU WON’T.

  35. Jeremy – the clue is in the headline to this post, specifically its last two words

  36. Madasafish

    The “paranoid right”

    Paranoia : “Paranoia is a disturbed thought process characterized by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat.”

    So ID cards are perceived.
    The DNA database is perceived.
    Council spying on citizens is perceived.

    Yes right..
    In that case may I suggest that the Right Honourable Gentleman is .. blind?

  37. We live in an open prison. CCTV is needed to keep on eye on the inmates of said prison and to use as evidence of our misdeeds. We are not to be trusted.

  38. My bike was stolen from under a CCTV camera last week (from a standard bike-parking bar to which it was secured with two locks). The police have been informed (it was a hundred yards down the road from the main police station) but there’s no real sign of anything being done about it.

    On which basis I think I can safely say that CCTV cameras should be removed because they are a waste of public money. This one at least was providing no public benefit.

    However, if the bike is back in the next week or so I may change my mind about CCTV.

  39. tychy

    cctv is a substitute for real crime prevention. they are expensive and useless, but they make the sheep-witted feel safe.

    the real issue in all of this is school uniforms. they provide an excuse for maniacs and weirdos to bully children. “tuck that shirt in!”

  40. Martin Cullip

    “Martin – have a look at the comment from Phil at 10.07 pm.”

    Fair do’s Tom, my sincere apologies. 🙂

    Hopefully Labour will put a stop to this though, or at the very least make it a requirement that parents are asked their permission before kids are finger-printed.

    I had no idea this was going on so it came as a bit of a shock. What an odd country it is when schools won’t put a plaster on a child’s knee if they fall over but don’t see any problem at all with giving pharmaceutical painkillers or taking fingerprints.

  41. Jeremy Poynton

    Paranoid am I? Easy one for you to say. You are, I assume, as well as an MP, an expert in extreme mental states?

    You read my disclaimer. I’m quite a bit older than you, indeed, old enough to have an old man who was a tank commander in the Western Desert for 2 years, fighting to keep the likes of you and your mob out of our lives.

    Nor am I the only one to note that you do not – in classic New Stasi style – answer any of the points made to you re Civil Liberties. One assumes that you have no answers?

    A few weeks ago, there was a demo in Parliamen Square against the visit of Bush. 2400 protestors. 1200 police. The conclusion – the police will make sure (as they did) that if the demo is peaceful, it is not for long.

    My 17 year stepdaughter was at the demo; pink, sweet and excited to have her say. Ended up being arrested – assault, apparently she (you should see her), picked up a barrier and threw it at a policeman). We are awaiting the evidence. She was handcuffed. 17 years old.

    She was taken to West End Central, where with other protestors, she was then charged with Affray. As this was a seperate charge, she should have had her rights read to her. None of them did.

    She was in her cell for 17 hours. She was NOT allowed to call anyone, so her mother was in a right state. She was woken throughtout the night to get her to make a statement without any legal representation.

    All that this has done is to tell her that she was absolutely right to be protesting against oppressive government. Indeed, well done – you have radicalised her.

    Laughing people off as belonging to the paranoid right is pathetic. Childish.

    No – you tell US why New Labour can be trusted?

  42. Jeremy Poynton

    ps – read Africanmum’s post on Iain’s thread on your garbage. The only deduction one can make from such – and all the other evidence – is that the state, in the form of New Stasi, believes it has the right to intrude into the heart of our lives.

    Mind you, there is enjoyment to be had with authorities when they start on this sort of hokey-cokey. We have had a fantastic dialogue with the TV Licensing twats, who refuse to believe we don’t have a TV. Recent letter asked them “What part of ‘We do not have a TV’ do you not understand?”. Also – “Are you saying we alre lying?” – good one, as clearly they are, but if they say so, we can bring a case against them. We have also told them to pull a detector van up outside our house; we’ll bring them tea and biscuits, whilst they fiddle about with …

    Tom. You need to get out more. I voted for you guys in ’97 and the election after, and now apparently I am part of the “paranoid right”. NMore like you are part of the deluded left.

    Still, as my mum used to say – there’s none so blind as them as don’t want to see. Polish up your CV, I would if I were you.

  43. dmh

    You really are out of touch with reality if you have to ask this question.My theory is that your fellow traitors are more concerned about the British people rising up more than anything else.We are all being monitored so all you nulab traitors will have time to retreat to browns bunker when the british people come over the hill to take their country back.

  44. Jeremy Poynton – I told the TV Licensing people that they could not gain entry to my home as in this country one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I said they could park their detector van outside all year.

    The chappy on the ‘phone said he would mark down that I didn’t need a licence and I wouldn’t get any more letters.

    So far, so good. If I do get a letter saying they demand entry on such and such a date, I will not feed the dogs for a couple of days beforehand.

    Tom, have you worked out a genuine reply to the points raised by the former chairman of the Police Federation and the press release by Civitas?

    Time for a proper debate – it’s not a conspiracy theory anymore, no matter how much you want to spin it that way.

  45. Jeremy Poynton

    Paranoid?

    http://www.magnacartaplus.org/civil-liberties/attacks.htm

    Hmmm. I don’t think so. The above lists the assault on Civil Liberties instituted by New Stasi.

    Care to answer these, Tom, point by point? Or will you just go – again – “Ner, ner, you’re paranoid, you are”.

    Finally. I assume you think it was a good thing to criminalise that guy who left his bin open by 4 inches? That this is the sort of thing the state SHOULD be doing? Or, as Yvette Cooper twattered on Question Time, when asked about the abuse of RIPA by local councils, responded that they were using RIPA the “wrong way”. Not that it is crap legislation, like all New Labour’s legislation, not thought out, so that it has altogether unexpected and undersired outcomes.

    I can tell you that were I to find that a council official (after all, we pay their wages AND their pensions) was spying on me, I’d shove his camera up his arse.

  46. Jeremy Poynton

    Stewart,

    We wrote them a most polite letter when we ditched the TV. And in return, got a very threatening one. I have a grave dislike of being threatened by the state, so we have made it quite clear to them that if they mess with us we will see them in court.

    You do know that all the threats they come up with have no basis in law? This is, quite simply, intimidation by the state. Whom we pay for. Well, they can go …..

  47. Jeremy, I was polite, but firm, on the telephone. I told the bloke that normally when people receive a threatening letter in the post, they call the police.

    He agreed that it could have been worded better and that they were considering rewording the letters.

    Intimidating the public is the new rock and roll for the “authorities” and of course, they must meet those targets.

  48. Er, Stewart… sorry to interrupt, but can we get back to the subject?

  49. Actually, Tom, the subject, according to your blog, is “the so-called “intrusive state”.”

    I know it was a lot of comments ago, but do try and remember what you wrote. 😉

    I would say it is pretty intrusive of TV Licensing to send law-abiding citizens threatening letters then demand to look round their houses to check they are not liars.

  50. lilith

    Yes, Mr Harris, can we please get to the subject. Are you going to answer ANY of the questions posed to you?

  51. dadge

    “But can you explain to me exactly why or how our civil liberties are even remotely infringed by our being “the most watched society in the world”?”

    Can you explain to me how anyone with half a brain can ask such an idiot question?

  52. And I take it that, as with everyone else who’s made a similar comment, you’re not actually going to try to explain either?

  53. The state should set it’s first duty as protecting us from itself, unless it has a problem to rectify. So meet conservatism, liberalism and socialism. In theory.

    I am not a criminal, so it has no problem to rectify.

    In areas where high levels of crime, the story is different. Problems there that the state can make a difference to. Step in.

    But do we really, I mean really live in ‘BREAKDOWN BRITAIN!!!’? Is the UK’s crime level high enough for it to justify being so much more zealous in this respect than other states?

  54. “And I take it that, as with everyone else who’s made a similar comment, you’re not actually going to try to explain either?”

    Seems pretty simple to me. Innocent people should have the power to decide not to be watched, insofar as it is practicably possible to guarantee such a right. Privacy is a natural thing for a dignified human being to want.

    Reductio ab absurdam, some politicians would put cameras in your bedroom to catch you out for beastiality. The nationalisation and involuntary scrutinisation of one’s day to day behaviour is not anything that I think should be taken lightly, if simply because it puts the state in a position of power, and the citizen in a petri dish; it is an example of treating people without trust, and without dignity. I wonder how many CCTV operatives spend the whole day following a certain women round the town centre, looking at her arse?

    And I wonder how much of this captured footage of us even has a CCTV operative…

  55. Pingback: This man is a threat to our liberty. « Al Jahom’s Final Word

  56. Pingback: Tom Harris MP « UK Liberty

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