An Orwellian nightmare? Oh, wake up!

AN ODD thing arrived today at the office: an Amazon package containing a brand new copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.  It’s not the book itself that is odd – I read it for the first time nearly 30 years ago and it’s a rollicking good yarn, with a great plot and a very dramatic ending.

What was peculiar was that I didn’t order it from Amazon – apparently it was a gift from an anonymous benefactor. The following text was written on the packing slip:

Young man, This is a reminder that this book, contrary to what your leader might think, is NOT an instruction manual, but a warning. REMEMBER – WE are YOUR masters.

Hmm. Where to start, where to start…?

Well, first of all, how about the arrogance of anyone referring to anyone else as anyone’s “masters”?

Secondly, there seem to be an awful lot of people out there – perhaps dozens of them – who seem to get strangely exercised at the prospect of a “police state”. Except that what they define as a “police state” is a million light years from what Orwell himself described. CCTV cameras in the street? That’s just like Nineteen Eighty-Four, when families were monitored in their own homes, 24 hours a day! Can’t use racist terms to vilify people any more? Well, surely that’s thought crime, just like Orwell predicted!

What rubbish. As I’ve written here before, this is all paranoid fantasy, and why so many people get off on it, I’ll never know. I recently had the latest in a series of requests from constituents regarding CCTV. Requests to have the cameras removed? No, no, no… Requests for more cameras.

(Incidentally, despite a previous appeal, I still haven’t been contacted by any Tory MP or candidate who has volunteered to wield the axe on any of their own local schemes. Funny, that.)

I well remember the miners’ strike of 1984-85 and the claims by some on the Trotsyite left at the time that Thatcher had inaugurated a police state in her attempts to control violent picketing. And again I say: rubbish.

We live in a democracy, and just because those  – including my anonymous benefactor – who get excited about such things are unhappy that Labour is in power, that does not make us anything other than a democracy. And democratically-elected governments govern with the consent of the people. Yes, even this one!

While the strange person who sent me my book and others like him might claim that everyone in the UK is utterly consumed with fury over a perceived decline in civil liberties in this country, the facts are that we still enjoy a level of freedom that maintains our position as one of the great democracies of the world.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to duck now…

UPDATE at 3.07 pm: It seems my objection to the term “masters” is causing some annoyance. For the avoidance of doubt, I regard my constituents as “employers” rather than “masters”, fellow citizens to whom I am accountable. But “masters” is so 18th century, don’t you think?

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210 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, Gordon Brown, Labour, Politics, Society

210 responses to “An Orwellian nightmare? Oh, wake up!

  1. The gift might just be an oblique reference to the picture at the top of your blog of someone with what looks like rat containing device strapped to their face. I’ve always thought it a bit menacing too.

  2. Brian Hall

    Incorrect Tom we are your masters. You are a public servant.

    When you were elected ‘I’ve got the foremans job at last, all you workers can kiss my ass’ was not in the job description.

  3. Johnny Norfolk

    Tom. Its the fact that Labour just interfears in peoples everyday life. We just do not want to be treated like children. So whoever sent you this book is just showing how desporate we feel. You have taken us back to when you were last in power. The country is bankrupt. I remember that it was your govenment that halved my serps pension that I pass on to my wife. This was a gross act of betrayal by Labour and I have loathed you party ever since with Brown in particular.

  4. Jim Baxter

    I’ve just been re-reading ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’. Well, may as well get prepared, I thought. The unthinking racism expressed by the author, ‘Trust a snake before a Jew…’ etc.. says something about how far we’ve come from those days of total ‘freedom’ to denigrate those who are not like ‘us’. Or to stay witlessly imprisoned in prejudice, depending on how you look at it. Of course, lots of people thought like that then, maybe many still do, but the sentiment hardly marks Orwell as a humanitarian visionary.

  5. John of Enfield

    I am afraid I strongly disagree with you.

    New Labour – if that is still the name of the party – has spent the last eleven years trying to frighten us all, & is slowly but surely removing all our civil liberties. I remember most vividly when tanks were parked on the grass around Heathrow. This act alone caused immense fear & concern amongst my Muslim friends living in the area. I note also that in a recent “terrorist” trial the defence was able to point out that the defendants were being accused of “thought crimes”.

    I find this government’s belief in the power of the state over the individual very disconcerting. Those rights I felt were mine as a young man have been swept away in the name of “reform” . As a Catholic I also very much feel I am in the firing line of an alien government & as an old white male I trying to live on my private company pension I feel extremely vulnerable to the whims of a socialist government.. How come that a socialist chancellor thinks it is his right to destroy private pensions to the extent that only a million employees now have final salary defined pensions whereas 7 million public sector workers still have that benefit? When he came to power there were about the same number (6m) of employees in private schemes as in the public sector schemes.

    As someone interested in reading political blogs I also worry about the noises being made by Burnham et al about some form of censorship to protect Broadcast Television. Surely we have the right to watch something other than the Six O’Clock News & Newsnight delivering messages put out by 3,000 Civil Service communications staff (known to us all as The Ministry of Truth)?

    If Eric Blair were alive today he would judge the point that the providers of your book are making is very well made indeed. I hope New Labour, or old Labour for that matter, is not long for this world.

  6. “Where to start, where to start…?”

    Indeed. Well done to whoever sent the book and I hope you read it (again) to see that the person is correct.

    Technically, we are your masters as you are a public servant paid for by us, however, I am sure we are all prepared to allow you equality with us as long as you keep your side of the agreement and serve the people and not Big Brother.

  7. James

    This is what happens when Amazon reduce their free postage limit down to £5. 🙂

    Personally I would have included a copy of Animal Farm which I think is soooooooooo apt these days.

    You know as well as we do that it’s not just about CCTV, it’s also about all the data you want to collect, record and keep about us.
    The snoops and jobsworths who can invade our privacy, the restrictions you place on our everyday lives.
    Even the Icelandic nation are terrorists in Labour’s eyes
    Thin end of the wedge………..

  8. I wrote this on Paul Flynn MP’s blog (I’ve since been barred but not sure why – I guess he’s not man enough like you Tom, which is why you’ll help us escape the coming tribulations)….

    The future of the UK, Labour-style, is this:

    A total police state/technocracy where nobody can do anything without being surveilled, monitored or reported to the ‘authorities’ for un-PC or un-EU/UN-like behaviour (for not conforming with the Beast?)

    A land where four-year-olds are introduced to sex and drug ‘education’ in order to corrupt their childhood and turn them into dysfunctional adults, primed for a lifetime of probing and herding by ‘authority’.

    A place where cigarettes are sold in unmarked packets, kept behind the counter and then adults have to stand outside to smoke them, meanwhile, the dysfunctional 12-year-olds created by what passes as education and entertainment/celebrity-worship, are getting contraception and abortion ‘advice’ from the school’s ‘sexual health’ clinic thanks to the government implementing the usual sort of “advice” from the likes of Brook whose existence depends on immoral behaviour.

    Then there are the endless wars, just like in “1984”. US politicians have said they’ll be in Iraq for decades. Your fellow MP, Harry Cohen agrees. The ‘war on terror’ is a great way to control the masses.

    Create an enemy who is unbeatable and use the everlasting “war” to control the population – and even have the gall to insist it is for our safety.

    I could go on for hours on the subject of the impeding dystopia.

  9. “Indeed. Well done to whoever sent the book and I hope you read it (again) to see that the person is correct.”

    Yeah. There were a load of blokes with placards outside St Stephen’s Tavern t’other day that bore the legend “BRITAIN = POLICE STATE” and similar.

    Scenes such as these were familiar sights in Orwell’s dystopia.

  10. Zorro

    Just remember YOU work for US. Not the other way round, and we’ll be fine…

    I have to say I disagree completely with just about everything in your post.

    “We’re prepared to go quite a long way with Civil liberties” Geoff Hoon.

    Well Tom (and Geoff), WE ARE NOT.

    Remember Civil liberties apply to everyone or they apply to NO-ONE.

    42 days detention without trial. ID cards. Thought crimes (Information ‘likely’ to be useful to a terrorist. BDSM pornography made by consenting adults). Bin police. RFID tags in bins. Councils spying on people. D Notices. ‘Special constables’ without the slightest training or clue about what laws actually exist in this country. Photographers illegally hassled, detained and equipment illegally removed/retained.

    As has already been pointed out 1984 was written by a chap called Blair. Then another one came along with the same name and implemented the book as policy.

    Okay so we’re not quite communist China where if you disaprove of the govt you will probably dissapear and end up an organ donor. But hey Gordon’s been working on that I expect, he already thinks he owns our organs!!

    Seriously mate, look around you. Look at what’s been happening. Do you really believe what you just posted? If so you’re either dangerously deranged or you are part of the problem.

    You do realise if you happen to be slightly tanned, and are stopped by the police in possession of something completely innocuous like a piece of string, wire, a map, a torch, you could well end up prosecuted under anti-terror law for having items likely to be useful to a terrorist…

    And you think this is a free country???

    Really?

    Seriously?

    So which is it, deranged or part of the problem?

  11. Zorro

    ps I was going to send you a copy but someone beat me to it!

    Oh and please remember the important thing about this book. It’s not just “a rollicking good yarn, with a great plot and a very dramatic ending.”. IT’S A WARNING.

    Where do you see the current government attacks on civil liberty ending up, or do you even concede that govt has been steadily removing our liberties over the last decade or two?

  12. Zorro

    I’ve got to say Tom I’m really quite worried by your response. You are clearly one of the most reasonable members of parliament for the Labour party.

    If even you cannot see what your party has done to harm civil liberties over the last decade then your party is doomed. (and potentially this country).

    Can you not see the irony in this situation. Blair says “The terrorists hate our freedom and want to destroy our way of life”. All terrorists can do is blow up a few people. The only people with the power to “Change our way of life” and take away our “hated freedom” is YOU and your government. And my god have you done so at every available opportunity.

    Well bugger this for a game of soliders. Either the labour party gets kicked out with it’s worst defeat in history at the next election, or myself and probably every other freedom loving Brit will leave this stinking hole of a country you’ve created, and you and the Proles can continue to live in the Orwellian paradise you’ve created, ‘safe’ from terrorists).

    Meanwhile every productive Brit will be living in Oceania, contributing to their economy, not yours.

    Oh and my points above stand if ‘Dave’ gets in and acts as authoritarian as Tony/Gordon have.

    I’m /really/ worried for this country.

  13. Sir Bernard Crick, Emeritus Professor of Birkbeck College, University of London, is a cove wiser even than I. He’s also something of an expert on Orwell and seems quite certain that that Great Man would have approved of surveillance systems that are used to deter and detect criminal activity.

    George Orwell and Sir Bernard, amongst many others, could/can distinguish between apparatus used in this way and ditto used to aid totalitarian regimes.

    “Ah yes” the few liberty-fretters who are clever enough to make this distinction (alas not many of their tribe) intone, “but what if a totalitarian regime were to establish itself in this fair land?”

    By that logic we should immediately rid ourselves of the police force, Tesco loyalty cards, the telephone directory, the electoral role, the census records, the registers of births, the ditto of deaths, the boys-own book of engine numbers, neighbourhood watch schemes, the membership lists of the Conservative Party, my address book and all sorts of other handy stuff.

    The fretters also appear to have failed to notice that dictators and such have been able to get along just fine without recourse to CCTV…

  14. Jim Baxter

    ‘Create an enemy who is unbeatable and use the everlasting “war” to control the population – and even have the gall to insist it is for our safety’.

    What’s new? I remember the the Cold War rather well. I missed the beginning but I saw most of it. I’m not aware that most people now are going around in a constant state-sponsored fear about terrorism, any more than we used to go about expecting to be vaporised any minute, any more than the populations of cities almost certain to be bombed that night in WWII gave up work and dancing. So if this government is trying to frighten us so that we can be controlled then they’re as good at that as they are at running the economy.

  15. Chris' Wills

    It’s called Salami tactics Tom, a slice here a slice there and soon it’s all taken.

    Guilty until proved innocent, no one objects much to barring those seen as evil from entering Britain but who decides who comes and goes. Who is bad and who is good, Jaqui Smith is hardly Santa Claus.

    Which party tried to introduce trials without juries, because jurors are too stupid to understand financial cases, luckilly that got booted into touch.
    I’m sure it’ll return.

    The goverment can securely store our personal data, ye right pull the other one.

    It’s for your own good or for security reasons. Tom most people don’t buy the lies anymore, when thieves and inveterate liars claim to care about our welfare you either laugh or cry.

    All children should be on the childrens register, except of course the children of politios and the rich or famous. If the data will be so secure why exclude any child? Methinks the goverment is lying again.

    ID cards will be a choice, except until they aren’t. Required to open a bank account was one proposal, since when do I as a Briton have to prove who the hell I am to jumped up civil servants or the police for that matter. No pass laws please.

    .co.uk internet should have goverment oversite, presently it is run by the users, says Mandy (or his lick spittle civil servants). We can trust Mandy to run the UK branch of the internet, don’t think so; he may know how to garner money by dubious means and get rewarded for it but the internet is somewhat beyond his understanding.

    What next, goverment filtering of the internet in a similar vein as is being proposed in Australia. One kiddies list another to block sites the goverment thinks adults (the electorate) shouldn’t see. Thoughts of Saudi Arabia and China spring to mind, they do this you know so allusions to police/fascist states is fairly obvious.

    I could rant on, I won’t as you’ll just continue on your merry way regardless; casting the liberties our ancestors fought for to one side to help you manage the hoi polloi.

  16. Jim Baxter

    Let’s not forget either with how much deference politicians used to be treated by the media. TW3 got taken off the air in 1963, ostensibly because there was an election coming up. Would Rory Bremner be barred from the air now for that reason?

    John Simpson of the BBC tells how he tried to get an interview wuith Harold Wilson before the 1970 general election by shoving a microphone in his face while the rest of the press were obediently standing behind barriers at a railway station. He got punched in the stomach for his trouble by Wilson himself and hissed at by Gerald Kaufman to the effect that Simpson’s superiors at the BBC would hear of this. (You might check that with Sir Gerald, Tom). Not a word of the incident in the media at the time, and there were enough reporters to witness it. Compare with what happens when John Presocott throws a punch or gives the SNP the vees.

  17. Chris' Wills

    Oh, did you hear about Mandy’s accomodation in Russia, he could have stayed at the embassy for free. Who is paying his bills, the taxpayer, so perhaps he should be more frugal with our money.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/3276632/Lord-Mandelson-staying-in-5500-luxury-suite-in-Moscow.html

    But I forget, do as we say not as we do is Liebors mantra.

    Please don’t waffle on about it being a free upgrade, £860/night is still an obscene amount for a goverment minister to waste (the mini-bar is extra I suspect and that’ll be raided I’m sure).

    If Mandy is doing this how much are other ministers and civil servants ripping us off for.
    1st class flights, 5 star hotels nothing but the best and I sure the ministers find it is really annoying when the unwashed find out about it, how dare they complain.

    You wonder why we are upset.

  18. Jim Baxter, it’s not only about “trying to frighten us so that we can be controlled” but to pass laws so that we ARE controlled.

    This is not just applicable to the “war on terror,” but also to many of the ‘environmental’ regulations and then there are all the non-crimes based on political correctness and the creeping replacement of traditional parents with the state as surrogate.

  19. Pingback: ID Cards, 1984 and Your MP’s Home Address | The Daily Dust

  20. sm753

    Is the “masters” bit a reference to whoever said after the 1945 election “we are the masters now”?

    (Please tell me it was Morrison.)

  21. Jim Baxter

    Stewart Cowan, there was a time, and it lasted well into the 20th century, when unmarried mothers, if they had no money, would have their children taken from them by the state and the mothers would be put in a workhouse or an asylum. Just for the moral shame of being unmarried mothers. In the 1960s a single woman found it very difficult to get a mortgage. Just because she was a woman. Up until the early eighties we were unable to go abroad with more than about £50. The basic rate of income tax was 33% – the top rate 98%. Pubs closed in the afternoons to protect us from ourselves. How’s all that for control? I don’t see those sorts or restrictions on our behaviour coming back. I’m not sure what crimes of political correctness you are referring to -presumably you don’t mean those involving racist abuse or attacks, which any of us may be the victim of, whatever our origins.

  22. Jim Baxter

    …oh and in the 1920s senior members of the British establishment advocated sterilising people deemed (by them or their proxies) to be of little value to society, being ignorant. amongst other things, of a phenomenon known as regression to the mean. Such figures included Winston Churchill. It never happened in a democratic country, as far as I know, except in that haven of peace and democracy, Sweden.

  23. Martin Cullip

    “… the facts are that we still enjoy a level of freedom that maintains our position as one of the great democracies of the world.”

    Nonsense.

    Quite perfectly answered by Zorro:

    “If even you cannot see what your party has done to harm civil liberties over the last decade then your party is doomed. (and potentially this country).”

  24. Martin Cullip

    “Well, first of all, how about the arrogance of anyone referring to anyone else as anyone’s “masters”?”

    Oh God I’m spitting here, clarification notwithstanding.

    In a democracy, as you proudly boast that this country still is, who is master and who is servant? It’s a no-brainer isn’t it? Call it employer if you like but it doesn’t change anything and there is nothing arrogant about reminding the Labour party (or any of the other MPs) that this is the case. You all seem to have completely forgotten.

    Your blithe dismissal of this ‘gift’ is stunning in its lack of understanding of how strongly many people feel about how the minutiae of their lives are being constantly interfered with. This isn’t Jim Baxter’s cherry-picked instances we are talking about, this is wholesale destruction of everyday life.

    … and a new restriction is brought out EVERY day.

    Today it was:

    Prospective MPs not required to give addresses anymore (yet contrast this with Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 where it is an offence for a member of the public to refuse to give their name and address to the Police when asked, whether they have committed an offence, or even been suspected of one, or not – your lot brought that one in).

    I could list one of these EVERY day if you like but I have a business to run and I would expect someone whose business is Government to know these things and to recognise when civil liberties are being cut out. You don’t seem to think there is anything wrong!

    It’s not all about CCTV, it’s about tiny things that add to a whole that is unacceptable and should be stopped. YOUR party have encouraged this and should be ashamed of yourselves.

    OK. Here’s a list of the recent ones that have staggered me and which your party should be thoroughly ashamed.

    Separate queues for buying alcohol in supermarkets so buyers “will be subjected to scrutiny of fellow shoppers”. What? Why?

    Smokers being banned from fostering children when there is a shortage of 2,000 foster homes. What?? Why??

    History & Geography being scrapped from schools in favour of ‘Healthy Lifestyles’ and ‘Multi-Culturalism’. What? Really?

    Compulsory … note, not available for veto by parents … compulsory sex education for 5 year olds. (I haven’t mentioned the finger-printing, that’s so last month isn’t it?)

    Bans on fast food outlets opening within 500 metres of schools. Funny, I don’t remember voting on that particular issue in this wonderful democracy that you seem to think exists, much as I didn’t vote on the idea of a blanket smoking ban but DID vote on a partial ban and a manifesto pledge of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

    That is just the past couple of days.

    Your copy of 1984 is richly deserved after reading your blog post. Read it again and take note of how your party have passed so many laws that are so very similar to those mentioned in the book.

    Here’s an example – a guy accosted in Middlesbrough for taking pictures on his mobile phone, the reason for being stopped for doing something legal? Anti-Terrorism laws. His crime? Nothing. The Police officer’s reasoning as to why he may have been committing an offence? He may have been a voyeur. Is the officer examining the man’s thoughts? Is this a ‘Thought Crime’?

    http://tinyurl.com/5qmsgs

    My local paper (today) has the story of a 15 year old on a Geography field trip being accosted by PCSOs and made to sign forms under the Terrorism Act. His details were to be stored on a database as a potential terrorist for 6 years. Fortunately he has a Dad who is educated and can get it erased. Your lot talk about social justice, can you imagine the son of a builder living on a council estate getting the same result? YOUR laws Tom.

    http://tinyurl.com/6ogzq3

    Labour is rotten. Orwellian nightmare under Labour? Absolutely.

  25. Really Angry

    I hope you lose your so-called job soon and live on a council estate surrounded by CCTV

  26. I suggest you all wait until the 5th.
    You won’t be the only person with a copy.

  27. Hmm. Where to start, where to start…?

    Don’t worry about that. You started a long time ago. You’ve continued by the day and you really, honestly, can’t see a problem with it, can you? Every little slice is for our own good. Every little restriction is there to make us safer. Every layer of bubble wrap cushions rather than suffocates, in your eyes. It is better to be stifled than to be heard, isn’t it? So much more convenient.

    Do you hate us that much? Does the mere sound of our breathing offend your ears to such deadly result?

    Do you even think of us as human? Sentient? Alive? Or are we merely the means to power, the vehicle that drives you into your position of – dare I say it – trust? Are we, will we ever be, more than voters? Will you ever see it?

    Worry not about where to start. Starting is in the past, that thing of inconvenience for you and the Party. The past is especially malleable when you have control of schools. Didn’t you know? Read the book. Listen to Mr. Balls. Spot the difference.

    Worry more about where it’s going. We are. We humans, we living, breathing, and despite your best efforts, thinking people. Yes, we think. You despise us for it, you do your best to prevent it and we do it anyway. Should we apologise? Should we debase ourselves before the golden calf of government? We are worried. We worry all the time. It wasn’t always like this. The terror is new, and it’s yours.

    It has to stop.

    (I’m not your free book provider, so no point in calling the fingermen).

  28. Snapper

    ‘We expect to see a steep rise in redundancies’ bleats this morning’s news broadcast. Methinks that many Nulabour M.P.s will be joining the dole queue before too long.

  29. Dear Citizen Harris,

    It is precisely the attitude displayed in the post above that has lead to the campaign to remind MPs that 1984 and Animal Farm were written as allegory not an instruction manual.

    “A ripping good yarn”. FFS, it’s not the Secret Seven, 1974 is a stark warning of totalitarianism – something which Messrs Brown, Straw, Darling, Mandelsailor and the delightful Ms Harman, Smith and not forgetting Enver Hodge would dearly love to impose on the rest of us.

    Comrade Harris, you have forgotten who it is you work for – YOU WORK FOR US!!

    The change as Comrade Dylan was wont to sing “is blowin’ in the wind”…I suggest you start work on that CV and see if the Russian aluminium industry is employing morons.

  30. My God What Did We Do To Deserve This

    New Stasi treats for the population …

    In which a policeman lies about needing a license to take pictures in public.

    http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/suttonnews/3804069.Schoolboy__terrorist__stopped_outside_station/

    Thank god for the terrorism act. Another jihadi stopped at source.

    Your manner in this blog is to treat anyone who criticises you or New Labour with contempt, derision or both. So we know who you are – another gravy trainer, who feels he has the right to tell one and all how to behave. Exactly WHO, Tom, do you represent?

  31. shaun

    Your a disgrace as an MP.

    To dismiss the thoughts of the thousands who disagree with you when your there to serve us.

    The vast majority of this country would like to see you all swinging from a lamp post.

    There are 646 of you and 60 million of us…

    Remember that.

  32. Rod Molyneux

    Your comments illustrate the total disconnection between politicians and the people of this country In my job I speak to hundreds of people from all walks of life and all social backgrounds and I can assure you that there is a massive groundswell of opinion that people are sick to the back teeth of being over governed, over regulated , spied upon and generally having the apparatus of the state in whatever guise interferring in how they live their lives and telling them what they can and cannot do.
    Your sarcastic comment ,
    “Secondly, there seem to be an awful lot of people out there – perhaps dozens of them – who seem to get strangely exercised at the prospect of a “police state”.
    shows your contempt for those people who may not happen agree with you and your utter disregard for the genuine concerns of millions of people.

  33. Sperm Lewis

    Well, first of all, how about the arrogance of anyone referring to anyone else as anyone’s “masters”?

    How about it indeed?

    Under the delicate unwritten constitution that we *used* to have, the government was allowed to pursue its business with the consent of the citizenry, not vice-versa. Hence the use of the hierarchic term, “masters”, to imply that the electorate had the power to withdraw that consent.

    Arrogance. Look up the etymology. It means to ask, or rather demand, something to which one has no proper claim.

    Thus, your assertion seems to amount to the following. That we, the proles, are falsely claiming that government requires our consent.

    Well, thanks for that, Mr Harris. Now we know where we stand. And as that was the first point that sprang to your agile mind, I don’t think I need bother with the others.

    Stay out of Wales.

  34. Alan Douglas

    Tom, I have not counted, but there seem to be 20 – 30 posts DISagreeing with you against 1 (or was it 2 ?) agreeing.

    Now, as a sensible (so Iain says) chap, and someone who undoubtedly listens to his “employers”, might I request that you REread 1984, and see if you can find ANY similarities to the kind of laws that have been introduced, or are on the way, since 1997 ? Which, in case you have forgotten, is the time YOUR lot assumed “power” ?

    Then have the courtesy to honestly and deeply reply to the many sincere writers above, none of whom seem to me to be ranting extremists, as to whether we might just have a point, or three ?

    Alan Douglas (PERMANENTLY on the DNA database for returning a parking ticket to the warden)

  35. Guthrum

    You needed remiding, you all need reminding

  36. Gosh, I almost wish I was going to be in London on the 5th now.

  37. Jim Baxter

    I value my freedoms as much as anybody but, to use a tired old phrase, it’s a case of swings and roundabouts. You may lose a few here, you gain a few somewhere else. There used to be something called the National Assistance – welfare benefit. In the sixties the ‘man from the’ NA was entitled to search the homes of claimants to make sure they weren’t hoarding anything valuable. My widowed grandmother preferred poverty to that. Maybe some people who seem so concerned about what they perceive as the erosion of their freedoms would welcome the return of such a system to catch all those low-lifes who are sponging off the state, until some misfortune befell them and they needed help themselves. If you do wind up living in a housing scheme Tom I hope, for your sake, that you will indeed be surrounded by CCTV, as all the pensioners and parents and the vulnerable will also be hoping. But it doesn’t just apply to housing schemes. Bring em on, they have deterrent value. Let’s have them everywhere. If they’re everywhere then the scope for abuse decreases. Orwell or not, they can’t watch us all and will have to be selective, e.g., examining the tapes only when a crime has been committed.

  38. Chris' Wills

    <>

    Try looking up eugenics in the USA, Canada and Australia. The state of Virginia didn’t have forcible sterilisation taken off the books until the 1960s, some places even later. Not only adults but children as well.

    Now, in the UK, we have evil people like Baroness Warnock proposing euthanasia for those who can’t care for themselves and are a burden on the state.
    Until recently the goverment appointed chairwoman of the Ethics board.
    Along with such modern luminaries as dawkins and milliband we have no rights or value unless we serve the needs of the state, as decided by them.

    No morality just statist utilitarianism.
    Morality is a figment of our imagination, she believes, as do most of NuLiebor. The only ethic is money and power.

  39. Do you see, Tom?

    Do you see that you have upset these people so much? That you have made them fear for their lifestyle if not their life?

    Ask yourself the question ‘why has my benefactor elected to remain anon?’ There can be only one answer; because your benefactor feels s/he must make this point, but is worried that the simple, inoffensive and unthreatening act of sending their elected representative a book could result in their getting into trouble. Good Lord, there was a man arrested in Cardiff this year, under the anti-terror legislation, for taking a picture of a police car on a street.

    I don’t blame you for the arrest and scores like it, but I do hold you to account for enabling the policeman to use this power because he didn’t like someone taking a photo of his car.

    I’m not angry, but I am very unhappy and monumentally disappointed, I was the generation Cool Britannia was supposed to save and you have failed me. Was this really what you wanted when you went into politics all those years ago? What did you want to acheive as a passionate twenty year old man who joined the Labour Party, appropriately enough, in 1984? I doubt it was this.

    For shame, Tom, you have sold out your constituents, you have sold out your country and worst of all, you have sold out yourself. Could you look that twenty year old boy from 1984 in the eye? I doubt it.

  40. Pagar

    Nobody is saying you have perfected Orwell’s vision yet but you are well on your way to getting there and there is no sign of a change in direction.

    Understand.

    There are a hard core of people in this country who value their freedom and who are prepared to fight for it. Stop passing legislation that interferes in our daily lives- especially when you believe that such laws will be good for us.

  41. hmmm .. where to start

    1. I think your correspondent was slightly confused – “The State is the servant of the people, not their master”. Which I think even Jonah has quoted. But as Peter Oborne has made clear, the distinction between backbench MPs and the State has become blurred so one can perhaps forgive an assumption that they’re one and the same

    2. Can you honestly say, as Sir Patrick Cormack has, that “I’ve always taken the line it’s country-constituency-party, in that order”? Because if ‘party’ comes before ‘constituency’ then perhaps its a little disingenuous to claim you work for your constituents.

    3. That ‘democratically elected governments govern with the consent of the people’ is only true if they stick to their manifesto pledges – otherwise it’s guff. In the real world we have recourse to correct a contract where one thing is promised and quite another delivered – but we have to wait 5 years to turf out a lying government.

    4. As for the drift into totalitarianism that so many correspondents fear, I won’t quote Ayn Rand but Simon Jenkins – who I don’t think even Zanu Labour can describe as ‘paranoid’ or ‘delusional’;

    “Never was the adage of Louis Brandeis, the US justice, more relevant: free men are naturally alert to the wiles of evil-minded rulers but “the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding”.

    Smith parrots the totalitarian’s answer that “the innocent have nothing to fear”. But they do. They know from experience that government cannot be trusted with private information. In addition, any errors in that information are almost impossible to correct. Ask anyone whose credit rating has been falsely challenged by a bank computer.”

    Wake up Tom. If you can’t understand our concerns – and you’re supposed to be one of the good guys – then the gulf between Parliament and the people is greater than anyone ever imagined.

  42. thomas

    You focus on CCTV cameras, and this is a policy about which there are good arguments either way. However, the national database of everyone’s genetic identity, the attached ID card system and the database of every single telephone call are perhaps more relevant. The dangers to us have not increased since Labour got to power yet the powers of the state have been massively expanded. This can’t go on.

  43. The fact you have come squealing to your blog, in a state of dizzy confusion says it all to me.

    Are you really that dim, that you can’t why many British people are now in utter contempt of you and your pals?

    You surrender our freedoms at every opportunity. You hand powers over to unelected EU crooks.
    You whip up fear and then try to take more of our money and freedoms, as your pathetic solutions.

    We have had enough of you Mr Harris and trust me, the British people’s tolerance is near its end. Wise up and start doing the job you were elected to do, or get out.

  44. Old & Angry!

    Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well, certainly there are those who are more responsible than others. And they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it? I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you. And in your panic, you turned to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He promised you order, he promised you peace. And all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent

  45. davidc

    while i agree with all the comments regarding the progressive loss of our civil liberties under nulab – arrested in whitehall for reading out the names of the dead- i am pleased that you at least are prepared to open up your blog to opinions that differ so radically from yours.

    tom, i look forward to your rebuttal

  46. Satnam Singh

    Tom you don’t appear to get it do you. You and your loathsome party are reviled by the thinking masses. Can’t you conclude that by the responses on this blog?
    You have all colluded to ruin this once great country and your time WILL come when you are all consigned to the dustbin of a history footnote.

  47. Ian B (1)

    So, Tom, you compare Britain with the regime in 1984 and say “we’re fine because we’re not as bad as that”. Hmm.

    Well, I hate to have to break this to you, but Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Pot’s Cambodia, didn’t actually have two-way TVs in every home either, nor a Two Minute Hate nor machines churning out low fiction for the Proles. 1984 is a literary work, and some of the measures therein are rather cartoonish and exaggerated (and would also be technologically complex to introduce in the real world, e.g. the 2-way TVs). It is a warning about the general nature of totalitarian regimes, not a detailed prophecy. You may as well say we are fine because there is no Chestnut Tree cafe.

    Surveillance? We do not have the watching TVs. But we have a government who would track every email, every website visited, every telephone call- which would not even allow me to own a PAYG phone without registering it with the government. Do you see the similarity in the nature of these things Tom? It’s the omnipresent surveillance, not the specific measure, you see.

    Or we can look at another general measure. It is now routine to be stopped and searched by the police; not on the suspicion that the individual has committed some crime, but on purely general grounds. The idea that an individual’s life, if they are quietly law abiding, is their own business, has been abolished. We are now all the property of, and servants of, the state.

  48. Andy

    To Brian Hughes:
    I don’t even know where to start? Appeal to Authority, Argumentum ad Hominem, Straw Man….. Rarely have I read such a poor argument. Were you serious?

  49. Keith

    Yes indeed, how about the arrogance of anyone referring to anyone else as anyone’s masters?

    Well, since you appear to be ignorant of your party’s history, let me inform you that in the Commons in 1946, Hartley Shawcross (Labour MP) said “We are the Masters now”.

    Perhaps you might take that on board and just remember that you shower are not our masters, nor will you ever be. You govern with our consent….for the time being.

  50. You see, Mr Harris, you were elected by us. That means that you “represent” OUR concerns and wished TO the Head of State, who presides over Parliament. You do NOT represent the State’s wishes as articulated by the government “to” us.

    The people of Britain are not farm animals, meet to take whatever is handed out in the way of control, rations, “health measures” and the like.

    When MPs start receiving copies of a seminal and horrific novel, whose visions were sadly portentious, do you think it’s just a jolly jape by the young chaps, or are people perhaps trying to tell all you lot in Westmonster something?

    More and more British people now feel they are living in an alien land. You can’t make people beocme miraculously good through Utopian laws. Socialists, which is to say functionally everyone in Parliament today, will never, never get this: utopian ideals truly are a tyranny.

    Go away and think, with your fellows, on what this act means.

  51. Pingback: Tom Harris MP thinks “an awful lot of people - perhaps dozens” are worried about our trend towards a police state « The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

  52. Steve

    My, you do live in a cloistered little world. Those of us out here in reality face petty restrictions, idiotic rules, a mounting list of ‘crimes’ that now need police and courts rather than common sense, cameras, radars, snooping, databases (when you don’t pass them on to criminals) and any number of other intrusions. We are not yet in a 1984 type police state. But to get ‘there’ you need to pass through ‘here’ first.

  53. Your party takes our what was left of our guns in order to ‘protect us from criminals’

    Your party uses our troops to participate in a war based on lies in order to ‘protect us from terrorists.

    Your party plans to force us to have ID cards and give over our biometrics in order to ‘protect us from terrorists’.

    Your party plans to collect all infomation on all internet activities and communications of everyone in the country in order to ‘protect us from terrorists’.

    Drink your fluoridated water and laugh.

  54. tnt

    Sorry Tom but you cant be allowed to get away with saying that there are very few people opposed
    to the “police state” policies that your party keeps ramming down our throat.
    Everyone I speak to hates your party for what it has done and continues to do in eroding our freedoms .You are our servant Tom whether you like it or not and like a servant your masters are going to give you the sack at the first opportunity.

  55. Please read the book again Tom. It is not just “a ripping good yarn” and if I had said that about it back in school I’d have got a D for dunce. It’s a warning of what could be; the book doesn’t cover the creation of that state, but we seem to be living through the preamble. I don’t care who has information about me, provided it as accurate/contestable by me; it’s the centralisation of information – and therefore power – that is the problem. I do hope you don’t find yourself dissenting at your next party conference, because we all know what happens then. There are no such things as “anti-terror powers”, just powers.

  56. Nicholas

    Tom Harris, your response is naive. Several of the comments here have highlighted New Labour’s factual record of introducing repressive legislation that has altered the relationship between the public and the state, personified by the police, and undermined British traditions of freedom and justice developed over hundreds of years of struggle against tyranny, domestic and foreign. As a MP your attitude about this is a disgrace. You of all people should understand and uphold British freedoms and justice, rather than seeking to empower the state and the police against your own citizens.

    For a well chronicled and unemotive summary of just how repressive the New Labour legislation has been and how it has undermined our traditional freedoms please refer to:-

    http://www.magnacartaplus.org/

    To begin with you should study the article on that website “Prime recent and proposed attacks on civil rights in the United Kingdom” by James Hammerton. It exposes the incremental damage done by your party and your government to legal protocols that have been the cornerstone of democracy, individual freedom and protection from injustice in this country for centuries.

    You have introduced this repressive legislation using a combination of scare-mongering, tabloid hysteria and emotive soundbites that do not bear rational scrutiny. The New Labour alliance with the police has been unhealthy. The police should enforce the rule of law impartially, with discretion and not to meet political ends. The police, in the form of ACPO, should NOT be lobbying politically for legislation to serve their needs. They are there to serve the needs of the public with necessary and correct limitations on their empowerment. You have created a legislative framework based on political preference and prejudice which is far removed from your oft-trumpeted boasts of creating a more “equal” and “fair” society. On the contrary your partisan legislation has increased societal and ethnic tensions, giving root to a strong sense of injustice and resentment amongst certain groups. You cannot force attitudes of mind through legislation; to do so is often counter-productive. Jacqui Smith should understand that British people are not children and have displayed tolerance and a sense of fairness for hundreds of years without the need for New Labour to tell them what to do. Her desire to turn us into a nation of at best suspects or at worst prisoners is reprehensible.

    You also need to study the historical record of the police in this country and acquaint yourself with the concerns and limitations for police powers debated in parliament during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. New Labour is guilty of introducing repressive and knee-jerk legislation that will have unforeseen consequences for generations to come. New Labour have squandered the rich heritage of freedom and justice inherited from their parliamentary forebears.

  57. Pogo

    You have lived too long in the cozy little bubble that is the “Westminster Village”, surrounded by your colleagues and the mutual-backscratchers that comprise the mainstream media’s political journalists.

    Just go, incognito, into a pub somewhere and, preferably standing out in the cold and rain with the smokers, gently bring the subject round to politics… You will be amazed at the contempt that will be expressed about your government, your fellow Labour Party MPs and Her Majesty’s Loyal “Opposition” (for want of a better term for that supine, spineless bunch).

  58. Damo Mackerel

    All MP’s will receive a copy of 1984 on or before the 5th of November. Google Guido Fawkes blog.

  59. “But “masters” is so 18th century, don’t you think?”

    No more so than 6 weeks detention without trial…

  60. The slide into a police state is real, Tom, and I’m not talking about CCTV.

    I’m talking about laws your Govt has passed including:
    Three to bypass Parliamentary scrutiny, including two which give Ministers the power to rewrite our constitution by decree!
    Four to punish people *without* reasonable proof they broke any laws, not including the 48-days one which the Lords just rejected.
    Three to suppress freedom of speech.
    One to make teenage kissing illegal.
    One to deny the right to confidential medical records.
    One to allow unfettered tapping of our communications and an upcoming one allowing unlimited monitoring.
    One to compel us to give the state control of our identities & vast amounts of personal data.

    I don’t think it’s the sender who should wake up. What little democracy we have left is incredibly fragile with these laws on the statute book. Campaign to have them all made safe and then we will know whether you’re pro-democracy.

  61. John Bowen

    You really, really should be very ashamed of yourself.

    (Noticed the absence of posts supporting you ?).

  62. My God What Did We Do To Deserve This

    “I don’t blame you for the arrest and scores like it, but I do hold you to account for enabling the policeman to use this power because he didn’t like someone taking a photo of his car.”

    I do. New Labour represent themselves, big business, high finance and no-one else. So yes – I blame you personally, Tom, and your colleagues for your venal and corrupt abuse of power. We will hold you all to account for this.

    BTW, classic New Stasi – avoid the real matter here, and criticise the note sent to you. Spineless jerks. Again – we will hold you all to account for abusing our trust.

  63. Olly

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    These comments are priceless!

    The things they go on about, the supposed “control” the Government has over them. In a weird way they give the Government too much credit. The only concrete thing anyone has expressed is about some jobsworth policeman.

    “the salami tactic” if I hear that bloody “Yes Minister” theory applied to something ridiculous one more time, I’m gonna scream.

    I’m sorry you all come across like your sat at your computers wrapped in tin foil Quit watching X-Files and get in the real world.

  64. ContactPoint is to record our interactions with state agencies from the day we are born until we are 18;
    the National Identity Register takes over at 15 and 9 months (even earlier if the child is given a passport), recording our names, addresses, and so on, as well as every interaction that requires us to prove our identity (from collecting a parcel at the Post Office to getting a new job to using non-emergency health care to crossing international borders) – also we will each be assigned an identity number, which will be used as an index in other databases (that is, if I am 10365 in the NIR, someone could draw together all the data on 10365 from all the other databases to find out everything about me – precedent suggests this isn’t a good idea);
    the Department for Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study links tax, social security, benefit, pension, ISA, TESSA, PEP information with names and addresses (i.e. our employment and financial info);
    the Intercept Modernisation Programme is to record every detail of our communications (except for the content, probably only because this would today be practically impossible, rather than undesireable), who we talk to, when, for how long, and using what;
    the ANPR is to record all our vehicle journeys nationally and the PNR is to record all our international journeys (currently just journeys by air), CCTV records us walking down the street;
    the NHS medical records database, with our names, addresses, medical issues, health care workers etc;
    the CRB database and the Independent Safeguarding Authority database, which not only have details of our proven convictions (which I have no problem with) but also unsubstantiated allegations;
    the National DNA Database, which is recording the DNA of not only convicted criminals and suspects, but also innocent people including volunteers and witnesses, along with other details (names, addresses etc).

    All adding up to an almost complete picture of our lives. All for our own good, of course, and anyone who thinks otherwise is undoubtedly “taking the security of Britain lightly” (Jacqui Smith) and “giving a licence to terrorists to kill” (Geoff Hoon).

    Isn’t that right, Mr Harris?

  65. Jordan

    Please pass on your book, complete with inscription, to a fellow MP. It is indeed a message to all MPs that they must remember the electorate, remember that they are the Servants and the electorate the Masters. We neither look for utopia nor want the Labour party’s dystopia. You are elected to follow our wishes and if you ignore us you will be out of a job at the next election.

    I hope to see you strolling around the environ of Westminster next week.

  66. On average, your government has created one new crime a day since it came to power. These gifts (yours is only the first to arrive) are from constituents disgusted by what you are doing. Given our lack of a formal constitution, our MPs are our only protection against an over mighty state. You have failed and perhaps even betrayed us. That is the message from your “masters”, Tom – and you would do well to re-read the book in that light.

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

  68. Mr Harris, I congratulate you on at least one thing. There do appear to be almost no posts supporting your position, for if there were, then I am sure you would have positively moderated them and would have let them on.

    I do hope that you will take some sort of message from the (what seems to be) overwhelming support for your taking of a lesson from “1984”.

    No, and I didn’t send it either.

    Please could you therefore communicate what the feeling on here is, to the rest of your party?

    Please?

  69. Guthrum

    “the salami tactic” if I hear that bloody “Yes Minister” theory applied to something ridiculous one more time, I’m gonna scream.

    You probably will one day long and loud

  70. johnny nunsuch

    I don’t suppose a focus group would tell you how corrupt and venal the general public view you and yours matey

  71. My God What Did We Do To Deserve This

    Come on Tom, we haven’t had a snide remark for 6 hours now. Or are you man enough to address the very valid concerns posted here? Or will you do what your “masters” tell you too?

    Are you a coward? I would say so.

  72. Annie Besant UK

    Came here from the Devil’s whatsit wondering who the hell Tom Harris was. Yes, now I remember! Someone on here said you live in a closeted little world – so closeted you did not even know the way home when your chauffeured car was taken away. Go home to Scotland and take its backstabbing political culture with you. You are finished, man.

  73. My God What Did We Do To Deserve This

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=pTVCeCT0iVk

    Shocking, is it not, that a Son Of The Manse can be so mendacious, is it not? How do you feel about Brown’s incessant lying? And that what that says to us is “You are beneath contempt, stupid and ignorant, and what I say is true. It is true, because I say it”.

    How do you feel about Brown’s lying, Tom? Another recent one, claiming to have been in favour for a long time of tighter financial services regulation. Odd then, that his Mansion House speeches of 2006&7 both single out “light touch regulation” for the success of the City.

    He would seem to want it both ways? Or maybe – he just thinks we are stupid?

    He would do well not to.
    As would you.

  74. Chris' Wills

    Olly, you forgot to take your tablets.

  75. My God What Did We Do To Deserve This

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Joseph Goebbels.

  76. mitch

    from your viewpoint everything might seem fine but out here in the real world its crime,recession,cctv cameras and no justice.The book was supposed to be a warning not a bloody instruction manual.
    Oh and we are your boss cos we can fire you… think about that no more expenses,no more John Lewis list,no more huge pension,no more 124 day working year.
    you are supposed to work for the UK from here you look like a traitor!

  77. The Political Class are due their Ceauşescu Moment. Soon, if Tom’s response is the norm.

    People have had enough for YEARS.

  78. Andrew F

    It was the, “Young man” that got me. Whoever sent that is a classy – though melodramatic – person. Kudos.

  79. Jordan

    Any response, Mr Harris?

  80. Good for Tom Harris for letting all this comment, mostly against his own position, be shown.
    There is hope if someone freely able to use censorship on a private blog chooses not to do it.

    Now let’s all get over to Harriett hiding in the high street and verbally pelt her with eggs.. Ahh shame. No comments or criticism allowed on that chicken site.

  81. Ramon Calderon

    He is, indeed, laughing at us.

  82. Deft

    I second David Davis’ congratulations for your courage to allow all this crimethink. How long until the diktat from the Ministry of Truth to remove them?

  83. Ramon Calderon

    Indeed – he is laughing at us. Such pleasure at the pain he has inflicted on us. Most inappropriate, and most revealing.

    Fit for purpose? Not to my mind.

  84. Olly

    ENCORE!

    You people are priceless

  85. Keith

    What’s the matter Tom, Gordon got your tongue has he?

  86. old holborn

    I notice that whilst theGlorious Party demands to know who we are, where we live, what we earn, what we eat, where we drive, what we vote, how much we drink or smoke, what we are saying on our mobiles or reading on the internet, what we are buying, where we are travelling, what we are telling or feeding our children or telling us where we can and cannot walk, talk and congregate……

    they don’t want us to know where they live.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7699923.stm

    Tom, be warned. There really are only 646 of you. And for every one of you, there are 92,500 of us. Just as you want to watch and control our every move, we will be watching yours.

    I’m off to buy shares in hemp rope.

  87. “I’m off to buy shares in hemp rope.”
    old holborn
    October 31, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    And I’m happy to buy *cough* hemp and if any rope comes out of it, we’ve hit the jackpot!

  88. mr ecks

    I hope Trixy will forgive me but I copied this off her blog–This, Mr Harris, is The European Arrest Warrant (another piece of NuLiars good work), it can have you(and how I wish some NuLabour hack would get slapped with one–hopefully the disgusting Jacqui Smith)dragged off to an overseas kangaroo court without any need for your tormenters to provide the slightest evidence that you have done anything whatsoever.Not very likely for Ms Smith tho’–one law for us, another for the Grandees of New Labour.

    “It’s not often that I slip into a deep depression about something which happens in politics. I frequently get wound up. Today, for example, Alastair Darling saying that he was waiving VAT on the X Factor CD when he was doing nothing of the sort because he doesn’t have the power to.

    But when I heard the news that a Judge at Westminster Magistrates Court has given permission for Andrew Symeou to be extradited I felt sick and scared.

    District Judge Quentin Purdy, sitting at the City of Westminster
    Magistrates Court, today ordered Symeou, from Enfield, London, be sent to Greece to stand trial.

    Sick because a young man is, realistically, going to be deported to a Greek prison on the grounds of evidence obtained by torture of his two friends where he may be held for up to 18 months without trial and where the likelihood of a fair trial, given how the Greek authorities have behaved so far, is unlikely.

    And scared because the ruling of the judge was that despite the lack of prima facie evidence, a British court has no power to stop a British subject having to face such injustice.

    As Andrew’s father said:

    “It’s a very emotional time for him. We have conclusive evidence that proves Andrew’s innocence; however under the European Arrest Warrant the requesting state does not have to provide any evidence to a British court nor is a British court concerned whether there is a case to answer.

    Why isn’t this headline news? How in any way is the resignation of a producer at the BBC or some tedious unfunny prank phone call more important than the possibility of someone being locked up under extremely dubious circumstances?

    This is a real person, with a real life and real hopes and real dreams and although the family will be mounting an appeal we know from the Factortame Case which secured the supremacy of EU law over UK law that a Magistrate cannot overrule EU law. EU law which MEPs, including some who are now MPs, voted for.

    What has happened to the country which was supposed to champion liberty? Why are we sleepwalking into this revolting, belching totalitarian state, pushed on by politicians of most parties except two, with most people completely oblivious and uncaring so long as big brother, I’m a stupid moron, shoot me in the head or similar, is on the telly.*

    As Gerard Batten said outside the courtroom:

    Providing the details have been filled in properly then a British
    citizen can be sent off to another EU state with as much ceremony as
    posting a parcel.

    Wake up Britain. Please. Because what’s going on in this country right under your noses is terrifying.

    Posted by Trixy at 6:39 PM ”

    One more thing Mr H–I’m sick of ZaNuLab’s tripe about the deadly danger of terrorism.You should recall that all the worlds terrorists, over the past 100 years have managed to kill, what?–some tens of thousands of victims perhaps. Terrible no doubt. Compare that with the fact that over the same 100 years, the worlds political scum with their cop, soldier boy and security service helpers have murdered 200, 000,000 human beings–NOT including deaths in warfare. Say it again Tom–let it echo round your brain, pass it on to your 645 brainless chums in the HoC. It reads like the casuality list of an alien invasion–all brought to mankind by political slime. Tell you what–I’ll keep my freedom and take my chances with terrorism and you stuff your help, protection and snooping. Ta very much.

  89. I think that our “representatives” all ought to be learning something from these very instructive and forthright comments on here.

    I repeat that I (er, kind of want to) salute Mr Harris for allowing them all on (this should be noted) – this is not something I would have expected at, say, the BBC, the spiritual home of the Enemy Class which is bringing all this stuff about, at which we complain.

    I doubt that “Jacqui” “Smith” is very pleased about yhis comment thread, and I don’t think that Mr Harris can expect any junior ministerial posts in the “Home” “Office” any time soon. Well, there you are.

    If he goes away somewhat chastened, and with the realisation that actually we ARE the masters of these rather venial and insignificant people (like our “Interior” “Minister”) who seem to have ended up trying to tyrannise over us by the Panopticon State, and the creation of a (new) offence a day – all of course in the name of “safety” and “security”, you understand! – then a small victory has been scored.

    It is not, of course, the end of the War. This, historically, is the wrong nation with which to go to war over a principle. Or, that used to be the case.

    However, I am not confident that today in the 21st century we can maintain this tradition in the face of a determinedly Panopticon-State, which is why the Libertarian Alliance blog is in general so pessimistic, since we the British let this leviathan grow while we slept in the 1980s and 1990s, thinking that the War against socialism was effectively won.

  90. There is hope Yet!!

    I stumbled across this blog after being redirected. I though I was in a minority in the way I feel about politicians. Reading the comments on this site have raised my hopes that I am not alone and we can take back control of our destiny before losing it forever to a bunch of what I can only call traitors.
    Regards

  91. Pingback: Sharpe's Opinion | Why 1984 Wasn’t Like Nineteen Eighty Four

  92. Walter

    I see that the Libertarian Party have something to say about your article too.

    http://lpuk.blogspot.com/2008/10/1984-arrogant-tom-harris-mp-just-doesnt.html

  93. Martin Cullip

    Blimey! It’s got busy in here all of a sudden. Reckon you must have said something rather silly, Tom.

    It’s not your fault mate, it’s just that you listen to a party which, in turn, only listens to ‘stakeholders’ which they choose for their willingness to agree with the Labour party. Hence the quite laughable “80% love the smoking ban” claim, for example. And the DoH ‘consultation’ on further anti-smoking measures which ‘consulted’ its own DoH funded satellite authorities and anti-smoking ‘charities’.

    You repeatedly discard opinions from your regular commenters as ‘unrepresentative’, but Labour wouldn’t know what representative was if it came up and hit them with a wet kipper. They circumvented representative views a long time ago and now believe their own lies … and YOU believe THEM.

    People posting here seem very ‘internetted-up’ and they don’t much like Labour’s MO. Believe me, in my business, I deal with working class people, the vast majority of whom have no internet, and in my leisure time, I deal with still more who also wouldn’t have the first clue how to respond to a Labour ‘consultation’ that is squirrelled away on some Government web-site, most don’t even know how to send an e-mail. They do, however, hate Labour with a vengeance for what is being done to their lives.

    Just because you don’t hear from them doesn’t mean that these people don’t exist. They are very representative, it is Labour who are not.

    Lastly, whoever it was that described Jacqui Smith as awful or whatever it was, well said, she shouldn’t be in charge of anything more important than a pre-school club, yet Labour think it wise to make her Home Secretary!

  94. Graham

    Never mind Tom. You’re not the first NuLab MP called Tom who’s made a fool of himself by bringing up the wrong subject on his blog:

    http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/2005/06/blog-readers-poll-id-cards/#comments

    The real question is, will you learn anything from the experience?

  95. Martin Cullip

    Just read Walter’s link above. Good Lord! I’m getting angry but that list shows that I’ve actually been sheltered from it in the main!

    Seriously, Tom, read that book again. That link should shock you. If it doesn’t there is something wrong. 😦

  96. Martin Cullip

    Is that, you doubt it will shock you, or you doubt that there is something wrong?

    The former is bad, so is the latter.

  97. No, Martin, it was in reply to Graham’s comment, directly above mine.

  98. Martin Cullip

    OIC, apologies Tom, it appeared after mine initially. (I must admit it seemed a strange reply, should have known better 🙂 )

  99. Ian B (1)

    Here’s some more Orwell, Tom-

    Sometimes I look at a Socialist—-the intellectual, tract-writing type of Socialist, with his pullover, his fuzzy hair, and his Marxian quotation—-and wonder what the devil his motive really is. It is often difficult to believe that it is a love of anybody, especially of the working class, from whom he is of all people the furthest removed. The underlying motive of many Socialists, I believe, is simply a hypertrophied sense of order. The present state of affairs offends them not because it causes misery, still less because it makes freedom impossible, but because it is untidy; what they desire, basically, is to reduce the world to something resembling a chessboard… The truth is that, to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders.

    Please take a look in the mirror at yourself, and around you at your colleagues, and at the gaggle who populate Little Westminster On Thames, and ask yourself how much Orwell’s observation applies.

  100. Are you calling me a socialist? If you are, you’re the first…

  101. jaymason

    Pleasepay attentionone iscompletely fed up and pissed off with the nulab experiment it has failed it’s excuses are lame for it’s failings and it’s time to go quietly into the night

  102. You Obviously think that it is mere coincidence that at a time when we are to be stuffed, treasonously into an Empire we do not want, we end up with a Police state and a ring of steel around westminster and No 10.
    How very convenient.
    If I were cynical, I might be thinking that If the Luton four hadn’t caught the 7:40 from Luton as stated by the Home office, who had witnesses aparently, and Blown up 4 tube stations, Govt might have had to invent the whole thing.

    Guess what, after investigation, Thameslink say that the 7:40 was cancelled that day.
    and ex italian PM says it is common knowledge to western intel agencies that the London, Paris and Madrid Bombings were inside Jobs designed to usher in the Police state laws of the EUSSR.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/december2007/120407_common_knowledge.htm
    There were four stations attacked that day, what do you suppose the odds are against terror drills being carried out at precisely the same tube stations.
    Tens of Millions to one against I’d say.
    POWER: …at half-past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for, er, over, a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing upright!

    http://www.julyseventh.co.uk/july-7-terror-rehearsal.html

    Japanese Parliament calls it a fairy story on live TV.
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/february2008/240208insiders.htm

  103. It is a sign of the times that we are congratulating a public servant for not censoring the public.

    When our highest court declared indefinitely locking people in dungeons without presenting any evidence against them in breach of the HRA, Lord Leonard Hoffman said: “The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.”

    Tom – are you now going to tell us you understand these laws better than the Law Lords?

    We know you cannot answer the charges and this is why you respond only with “I doubt it, somehow”.

    This is an opportunity, Tom. There is no excuse for your voting record but the public will overlook that. You know as well as I do that the SNP will be very close to taking your seat at the next election.

    Will you go down with the stinking ship, or will you have the guts and the decency to fight for a Labour Party which protects & restores our freedoms?

  104. Chris' Wills

    Raedwald, your question 2.

    To be fair; Tom has written somewhere in this blog that he puts his party loyalties first.
    He is in what is a fairly safe seat so can ignore the majority of his electors.

    Obviouslly helped him climb the greasy pole a little, though he has slipped down again.

  105. You can’t win your argument by lying, Chris. Where did I say I put my party first?

  106. Keith

    What a shame that you confine your answers to ‘smart retorts’.
    Why don’t you address yourself to the fears expressed herein?
    But, of course, you know better than anyone else, after all, you’re an MP and better and more intelligent than ‘the people’ who are only there to pay your salary and expenses.

    Mr Harris, ‘the people’ are just about fed up with you and yours.

  107. Norman Bates

    All that *can* be beneficial about socialism – in its most primitive state, “from each …, to each…” has been perverted and abused by New Labour, to the detriment of the population, to the – severe, terrible detriment of society (criminalising people for leaving a bin lid 4″ open), and for their savage assault on freedom.

    Oh, yes, you are a socialist Tom. Of the lowest and most corrupt sort.

    And a snide little …. clever, with the clever remarks, aren’t you. Bet teacher hated you?

  108. Chris' Wills

    “Tom Harris
    November 1, 2008 at 6:00 am
    You can’t win your argument by lying, Chris. Where did I say I put my party first?”

    Tom, If I’m incorrect I’ll apologise.

    First I’ll have to find the time to go trawling through your blog posts and comments. If memory serves it was a little while ago, likely when you were a junior minister.

    Though, as is obvious, whoever you serve wasn’t part of any argument/comments I’ve posted to which you’ve made no reply.

  109. Keith

    Tom Harris
    November 1, 2008 at 6:00 am

    You can’t win your argument by lying, Chris. Where did I say I put my party first?

    Perhaps you’ll be kind enough to tell us all what you do put first then.

  110. Chris' Wills

    Dear My MP,

    No apolgy required on my part, unless you honestly believe that your party/goverment has never made a mistake or never done something that harms your constituents.

    “From ministerial Mondeo to back bench
    October 12, 2008…2:46 pm
    ….And you can go over my posts with a fine tooth comb and you won’t find anything there that’s off-message or critical of government policy…..”

    You may differentiate between the NuLabor goverment and the party, I don’t.

  111. Jim Baxter

    Chris’ Wills,

    Thanks for the point about the eugenics laws in the USA. Another, if belated, adavance for freedom that they were repealed.

    As to euthanasia, I agree that it can’t be legalised. Too many evil, money-grubbing, ‘utilitarian’ familes would push their weakened relatives towards that option if it were to be more freely available. The price many will pay for that is a nasty, lingering death. Their families, those who care, will pay quite a price too. Another price is that people who have a terminal illness will check out earlier than they need to, of their own accord, while they still have the ability to make it happen.
    It wouldn’t be allowed if we were dogs. But then, we’re not, are we?

    Is it evil to argue for euthanasia to be available to those who may genuinely desire it though? Is Ludovic Kennedy evil, he who served on HMS Tartar as it fought the Bismarck, a gnat of a ship against a rhino?

  112. Chris

    I was a member and activist in the Labour Party but resigned in disgust when they began undermining freedom of expression during the Danish cartoon episode.

    Things have got much worse since then as the many comments here illustrate the scale of the assault on civil liberties by New Labour. The Labour Party has abandoned the working class and has gone against the principles of decency and fairness for which it was once famous. First the Labour Party itself was subverted when it became ‘New Labour’ and now it seems to be busy subverting the country.

    Mr Harris, you seem to be completely out of touch just like the rest of your party. This is why you Labour will be the third party after the next General Election, that is if elections are not banned or subverted in the meantime.

  113. pagar

    Tom

    Congratulations on not censoring the above comments (I take it none have been “moderated”)but I have to say that, given the multitude of criticisms of your party and the wide ranging allegations regarding the totalitarian legislation your government has passed, I would have expected from you, by now, a detailed rebuttal of the charges. Do you intend to make one?

    I’l give you a few clues.

    “We do it to protect you.”
    “It’s to make you healthier”
    “It’s to protect the planet”
    “We will not misuse the powers”

    But let me tell you it is in the best interests of you and your party to LISTEN to the comments above and to UNDERSTAND the message because these few are articulating the thoughts and feelings of a huge number of people.

    We don’t want to be safe and healthy. We want our freedom.

  114. Lily

    I have been an ardent Labour Party supporter ever since I’ve been able to vote. However, in recent years, my faith has been diminished by a number of things, in particular the stance taken on Human Rights and Civil Liberties, and I am on the verge of becoming a Lib Dem covert.

    But…. I think that this post is excellent. And you too.

    Nothing irritates me more than the Orwellian comparisons that people make. It is nonsense and does nothing but demonstrate the person is too bloody lazy to substantiate their discontent with reference to fact and policy, and instead relies on an over blown, completely irrelevant fictional reference.

  115. Chris' Wills

    Jim Baxter,

    Suicide isn’t illegal, though I understand that attempted suicide still is.

    There is a difference between suicide and euthanasia and I wouldn’t argue against the right of someone to kill themselves. Hopefully they’ll do it in a tidy way and not leave a big mess for others to clear up.

    I do argue against Euthanasia being made legal or a right; euthanasia involves someone assisting a person to die, often a doctor, and we then have moral as well as legal issues.
    If it is a right then could doctors be forced to terminate against their wills? We already have DNR notes on some patients records in some cases without the patients knowledge, most often after consultation with the patient.

    If the evil baroness gets her way the choice will be made by the state, as happened under a, self styled, socialist party in another country some time ago.

    My biggest worry is that it was to that evil woman that NuLabor went to seek ethical guidelines.

  116. Chris' Wills

    pagar, a question if you please.

    As there is no preview on this site I cannot test if my html coding should use [ ]s or s; as you italicised some words I assume you know what format wordpress uses. Could you enighten me?

  117. Alan Douglas

    Mr Harris,

    Plus point : You even allow many of the above comments to appear.

    Minus point : While you have given “answers”, not one is more than a flip comment, you have so far totally FAILED to address the serious content of virtually all the posts.

    I would like to think that this is because you are allowing the commenting to die down so that you can give a thorough and reasoned response to the bulk of them. Perhaps meanwhile, you could gain a little back of our respect by stating that this is what will happen. (Otherwise our default position will be that this is like all NuLab “consultations” so far, where all criticism engenders merely some bland assurances and no serious engagement with the substance).

    SO, WILL YOU ANSWER US PROPERLY IN DUE COURSE ?

    Alan Douglas

  118. Norman Bates

    Tom Harris
    November 1, 2008 at 6:00 am

    “You can’t win your argument by lying, Chris. Where did I say I put my party first?”

    Your every word makes it quite clear, Tom.

    Alan Douglas – no, he won’t. He never does. Indeed, my conclusion is that Tom’s blog is simply a means for him to sneer at those who are disenchanted with the New Labour “project”. Not often that I agree with Galloway, but he is spot on with his assessment of Harris

    “No more loathsome piece of flotsam has floated to the surface of Scottish New Labour than the lumpen piece of wood that is Tom Harris.”

  119. “Alan Douglas – no, he won’t. He never does”

    This comment was posted 30 minutes after my latest response on the subject.

  120. Norman Bates

    A response is not the same as an answer. Not once have you addressed the matter of New Stasi’s destruction of our freedom. You are a casuist and a sophist; indeed, the very model of Shakespeare’s “politician”.

    In Shakespeare’s time, “politician” meant “trickster”. As it does in ours.

    Back to you, Tom.

  121. Tom, I do think that another post from you should be forthcoming…your responses so far add up to nothing more than an Ed Balls type “So What”

  122. Jay

    Other comments have eloquently expressed my views but I would like to add my name to the “dozens” who are “strangely exercised [strangely?!] at the prospect of a ‘police state'”.

    Might I also add that, while I appreciate the opportunity you afford, Tom, to express my extremely negative view of this Government, your post and responses simply reflect the disdain and dismissal of the electorate that I’ve come to expect of Ministers.

  123. Adrian P, I have told Tom before that 7/7 needs to be investigated.

    Tom’s opinion is that, “Conspiracy theories and the strange individuals who waste their time reading about them can be easily dispensed with.”

    Presumably, he is also referring to the families of the victims who are calling for an independent inquiry, or maybe he didn’t realise the huge number of irregularities that day.

    Adrian P, you’ve probably watched Terrorstorm which features Michael Meacher. (slide to 29:06 of the film)

    Mr Meacher says of 7/7:

    “It’s a very convenient way of ensuring there is fear, of ensuring that there is control and of ensuring that those who are in the know, and of course we cannot tell you because it is all secret, are in a position of extreme power.”

    The bemused Peter Power, head of Visor Consultants, who organised the terrorist drills (in the same stations at the same time as the real bombings), is also worth hearing.

    7/7 inside job? Let’s have a proper inquiry to find out. How does it go?…. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear!

  124. Jim

    Norman, Have you ever thought of talking to someone about anger management?

    Some of the comments here are so over the top, it’s bizarre.

    I must live in parallel universe to some of these people who seem to think their lives are about to be controlled by the State.

  125. Tom,
    Just to set the record straight. You received your book as a direct result of the 1984 campaign organised by the Libertarian Party UK.

    http://www.lpuk.org

    Every other MP will receive their copy on or just before November 5th. We trust that collectively you will note only take note, but address the many valid comments received here by your employers.

    Ian Parker-Joseph
    Leader – Libertarian Party

  126. Although likely only to infuriate you even more, I have indeed posted a (slightly) more considered response to some of these comments.

  127. Norman Bates

    I would note, Tom, that you have NOT addressed the concerns about the PM’s compulsive lying.

    Back to you.

  128. Dave Gould said:
    “It is a sign of the times that we are congratulating a public servant for not censoring the public.”

    ^^ This.

    Tom, what is manifestly clear to all from your utterly dismissive and patronising tone is that you, like the rest of the zanulabour ship of fools (natch – make that the whole political class), hold the electorate in utter contempt.

    You seem incapable of even acknowledging that the vast majority of the comments on this blog are expressing very real concerns. You simply have no clue how close to the edge we are; and those few commentators who are scoffing at said issues simply haven’t had the misfortune yet of coming into hostile contact with our increasingly stasified state. I’m sure it won’t be long.

  129. Stewart – you really think it is a sign of a police state that cigarettes are kept behind the counter?

    Really?

  130. Tom, I think you have vastly understimated the strength of feeling the public have to the state inteference we are facing everyday. Some of your own comments indicate that you are as out of touch with the people you are supposed to represent as the leaders of the Labour Party.

    There is growing unrest our here, over the amount of money being spent on surveillance and database projects and above all, why all this information is needed. Many argued that poll tax was a fairer system, maybe it was, but Margaert Thatcher incorrectly read the mood of the public. New Labour is at risk of doing exactly the same thing.

    We are expected to accept government at its word, even though they have proven that they cannot be trusted. We are told that in times of belt-tightening, it is right to psend £billions on a Big Brother database, to fight terrorism and crime. Not acceptable, not convincing.

    Worst of all, New Labour has consistently and persitently carved away at our civil liberties and rights to privacy. Everyone is being treated as if they ‘could’ be guilty of an offence. Many of us, far more than you and your leaders believe, are not willing to tolerate this anymore. if there was a party that would value and protect my civil liberties, I would vote for them tomorrow.

    You have a great blog and even though you are a Labour MP, I find some of your arguments, persuasive and your honesty refreshing. However, I find your naivity on this particular issue astonishing, worrying and troublesome. If you ignore people, such as those commenting on this blog, it could cost you your seat.

  131. I can be accused of many things, but ignoring comments on my blog is not one of them; disagreeing with them, yes, but not ignoring them.

    In fact, believe it or not, I’m genuinely fascinated by the views of those who disagree with me. If I come across as arrogant or dismissive, that’s a shame. But I hope that, unlike some of my critics, I’m not abusive. Occasionally I mock, but I did warn you.

  132. Ian B (1)

    Tim_f-

    The War On Smokers may not be a “police state” (the term police state is nebulously defined anyway- it’s anybody else’s over-controlled state, and usually perceived as cartoonish nazis rather than the corrosive omnipresence of policing and denial of privacy we now experience routinely) but it is symptomatic of a state which is out of control, and whose government is little more than the tool of pressure groups, quangos and faux charities. We have become a truly corporate state, in which special interests organised into groups make policy and receive funding and patronage from the government.

    It’s one of the strange things about this state we live in. We may blame politicians for their various campaigns of victimisation (drinkers and fat people are latest in the frame) but we should primarily blame them for contracting out the power of the state to an entire class of “extra governmental bureaucrats”. By the time it gets to actually making some ridiculously intrusive law against smokers, drinkers or fat people, the government are crammed in a corner by the shrill demands of pressure groups like ASH or the BMA. This is the condition we need to address. We’ve fallen into this trap of saying things “shouldn’t be a political football” and how good it is to have an “independent body” running them; but this is nonsense- democracy is destroyed as the power of government is handed to the unelected corporate groups instead.

    When the population are being forced to ask for a product “behind the counter”; when the packets are stamped with medical pornography; when somebody buying a tin of lager has to queue separately at the “naughty counter”, when an innocent man using a public lavatory is confronted by offensive government propaganda posters declaring that they know he’s a smoker and thus impotent, or they know he beats his wife, it’s indicative that our polity has descended into a kind of madness, an anarchy of extremism.

    We are all aware of the “police state” and think that if people have the right to shout “down with el presidente!” we live in a free country. But the state we’re descending into is one of social, not political oppression. It’s a state wherein you can shout “Down with el presidente!” (so long as you’ve got a protest license, for your own safety), but increasingly you can’t say or do much else. It’s not secret police we face so much as very public, visible police, and the press-ganging of ordinary citizens into policing duties, such as business owners required to police their own customers.

    And it’s not about whether smoking is good or bad; it’s about when and why the heck the government assumed the power to impose upon its citizens every nasty fantasy of the social control freaks who run the pressure group industry (and, let alone, why the government gives these odious creeps taxpayers’ money to fund their lobbying of government in glorious corporate state fashion).

  133. Pingback: Great Democracy My ARSE….Bloody Comedian..We ARE filled with Rage not Weak Fury!! « Centurean2’s Weblog

  134. Martin Cullip

    Ian B @ 5:21pm: YES YES YES! That is exactly as I feel. So very well put. Tom, please read that as it is my thoughts to the letter.

    eg. I went shopping today & there was a very large Cancer Research UK trailer/caravan/whatever parked up on the High Street (if I’d parked there I’d have been fined £60, but …) offering BMI tests and CO tests and telling us all to change our lifestyle or we will get cancer. No fund-raising, no explanation of the eponymous ‘research’, just purely there to tell us what to do with our lives. Government pays them MY tax money & in return, CRUK have the ear of Government and help to shape policy. They were part of the ‘coalition’ that forced a Government with a mandate for a partial smoking ban, into bringing in a blanket ban that had no mandate whatsoever. They even boast about it in this document. http://tinyurl.com/59q8wd

    Note this summation: “To examine how a Government committed to a voluntary approach was forced by effective advocacy to introduce comprehensive smokefree legislation.”

    “Forced”, Tom. You weren’t conned, but enough of your fellow MPs were, the result being that they completely ignored the manifesto that was voted on by the public and brought in something completely different. That is NOT democracy. (they even used the media to humiliate John Reid who was standing up FOR the manifesto!)

    Note again, the CRUK stand was offering BMI tests. So the agenda has moved on now, and fatty foods are in their sights. CRUK also have an ‘alcohol control’ department along with a ‘tobacco control’ department and probably a ‘fat people control’ department.

    Your Government pays organisations like these to lobby the Government for further barmy legislation to further restrict people’s lives.

    Naughty queues for buying alcohol is the latest nutcase nonsense. Surely you can see that this is madness? You have said on a couple of recent issues (smoking at home for example) that you would vote against such things, but how many of your fellow PLP would? They seem to be completely enchanted by these healthists and willing to do whatever they ask, even going so far as to ensure ‘consultations’ do not ask the people that will be affected by these laws.

    That is NOT democracy, it is bullying. It is not offering choice to the large minority that wish it. That is not my idea of a FREE society, and the process that allows it is the complete opposite of democratic. I’m not an expert but I’d class it as an Oligarchy coupled with Cronyism and a little dash of Plutocracy, NOT democracy.

    PLEASE try to get the blinkered nanny Labour front bench to understand this Tom?

  135. Rob

    Was it Meg Hillier that claims to have been “struck” by a visit to Hungary, where 14-year-olds routinely carried ID cards, going on to say that the age for ID cards could be lowered?

    I do not want my kids to be fingerprinted at 14. D you ?

  136. Martin Cullip

    Rob: It is disturbing (and I have mentioned it here before) that my kids are administered drugs at school without the need for approval by me, but the application of a plaster is a no-no. And as for taking their picture for the school web-site?

    I know I may be different, but I think putting chemicals into my children should be something I am told about. I see no danger in a plaster being put on, nor do I see a danger about an image of a fully clothed child being put on the internet. Could it be that the vastly exaggerated terror about paedophilia has facilitated this? Who did that I wonder?

    I note that I am not required to know if my kid has been finger-printed and his record been put on a database, it takes a FOI request to even be told if my kids’ school is doing it!

  137. Martin – Obviously I don’t know enough about your own children’s school, but I know that here in Scotland there is a (sensible) rule that means you must have a parent or guardian’s permission before a picture is taken. This is nothing to do with the threat of paedophiles; it’s because there are some children who might be in foster care or similar situation, and publishing a photo could alert an abusive parent to his or her whereabouts.

  138. And therein lies another vulgarity that your party have created.

    You appear to know the rules for schools in Scotland, over which you have no authoritative control (A Scottish Parliament competency), yet you claim as a Westminster MP not to know about the legislation that you will have presumably read, digested and voted on for schools in England and Wales which allow fingerprinting and vaccine administration.

  139. Martin Cullip

    Fair enough Tom, I can understand that. I believe it’s an over-reaction, but it’s more understandable than the reasoning given on the school documents that I have seen.

    It’s pretty sad that a guy at Christmas last year was ejected from his daughter’s nativity play for using a camcorder to save the performance for posterity. There were 2 Police officers called by the school and their reasoning was the paedophilia scare. I haven’t a link but I’m sure it’s Googleable (is that a word?) 🙂

    It still seems that we all have to suffer because of a few bad eggs that should be counteracted by the Police with powers they already possess.

  140. Ian B (1)
    November 1, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for your full reply to Tim_f-. I meant to say that the cigarettes were UNDER the counter.

    It’s also true what you say about these “charities”.

    It is the same thing re. the agenda of encouraging sexual activity among children using “charities” like the FPA and Brook to shape policy.

    This is a what I wrote on this blog a few months ago regarding this.

  141. Geordie

    In the last 12 months ;

    1. My wife is stopped and questioned by the police in a Tesco car park. Asked for her name address and details of why she was there . Her crime? She had our 10 year son with her and it was during term time!
    2. Myself and others are filmed on hand held video cameras by the police whilst in an orderly queue for an outdoor blues festival!
    3. I am stopped by the police in my car for absolutely no reason and given a breath test. |
    4. I am threatened and bullied and harassed to pay a speed camera fine for which I knew I was innocent. Almost impossible to prove but eventually I won.

    Not exactly a rat in the face yet but there again it is an indication of life in Britain today and simply the tip of a bloody massive ice berg.

  142. People demanding more cameras? Where would that be then Sir? Planet Zarg run by the deadly Mekon? I am a great admirer of Orwell actually and widely read in his works. Orwell would have been horrified and indeed he warned us, as did Churchill where Socialism would lead…eventually.

    Why? Because in my experience as a member of the Fabian Society, Socialist parties tend to attract dysfunctional types who suffer from the illusion that they must make everybody else act and behave like them…I have to warn you Sir, that even in Academia where I study and lecture, even Leftwing academics I know, are now very concerned about the state of Britain, our loss of liberty and free speech, the increasingly heavy hand of the EU especially and its origins, but especially the seemingly illogical alliance that some MPs and our Ruling Elite seem to have forged with Islamists.

    If you and your kind persist in this type of charade, I believe speaking as an historian, familiar with the history of totalitarian states that you will very shortly have a serious and potentially volatile situation on your hands. I hate violence and will always act within the Law….

    I spend a lot of my time talking to people in all walks of life, collecting information for my studies. The level of acute rage and anger felt by the indigenous population in this poor country, is threatening to explode I can assure you and your rather removed from Reality fellows. The BNP are making huge gains despite what the BBC and MSM say-believe me.

    No I am not a Member myself, being in a mixed marriage with a black wife, a Japanese descent daughter in Law and so have no desire to see the BNP in power. Mark my words Sir…Bad times are upon us and you and your fellows are either rather lacking in the thinking department or incredibly arrogant in your attitudes..

    The so called Credit Crunch will not end simply by throwing taxpayers’s money at it. It has always been bad form to pay debt with debt- every housewife know this as did Thatcher who, far from starting the Police State prevented one by curbing the Soviet sponsored Unions. I know they were paid by Moscow because I investigated them at the time….Maggie though made a huge mistake in closing down our mines, that has left us reliant on foreign energy supplies. New Labour and the EU are carrying on this policy. Madness!

    A huge international crisis that is but delayed, will leave this country at the mercy of alien powers. How and why you and your fellows cannot see this beggars belief… And what about the 5,000.000 migrants in Britain, who will be targeted by the unemployed Britons, blaming these unfortuantes for what is actually the entire fault of an elite that seems to do everything it can to attack its own Electorate.

    In my book, and I say this in all seriousness and politely, the entire Political Elite in this country are certifiably insane…..

  143. michael ridgwell

    Well Tom, hopefully, when you have fully digested the comments on this thread you will realise how close you and the entire political class are to the tipping point. We no longer care about the colour of your rosette because we know you all to be the same. We wish you out of our lives and unless you get out voluntarily we will take our lives back our own way.

  144. rech

    You should be ashamed of yourself, Mr Harris. But even if the opinions above don’t change your opinion, at least you can see that you will be out on your ear when the next election comes around. Hope you have something to fall back on; perhaps literary criticism? Let’s hear that again:

    “it’s a rollicking good yarn, with a great plot and a very dramatic ending.”

    Facetiousness or sheer naked stupidity? My money’s on a bit of both.

  145. chas

    I voted for Nu Labour in 1997 to get rid of the tories for making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Labour has ruined my social life and I prefer my social life to money and for that reason I will not be voting Nu Labour at the next General Election.

  146. Political Insider

    It is rumoured that a significant number of MP’s are considering amending the smoking ban to allow either smoking rooms in pubs and clubs or landlords the choice of choosing to be a smoking or non-smoking establishment. MP’s are becoming worried about losing their seats at the next election particularly in the North of England where Working Mens Clubs are now joining together to get the smoking ban amended. Clubs and Pubs were meant to be exempt from the ban according to the labour party manifesto but they were sold down the river. 2,500 pubs in England have closed because of the smoking ban with a loss of 80,000 related jobs.

  147. soapy

    Democracy- from the greek- Demos Krasis.
    power of the people, by the people, for the people.

    This is a PRINCPLE that has either been forgotten or ignored by today’s polititions, it is the basis of our way of life.

    As one of your 60,000,000 employers I require that you and your colleagues cease and desist in your program of legislation by charity and provide facilities for referendums on both europe and Smoking.

    Thank you for your time Tom.

  148. Political Insider,
    I am afraid that its too late for that. A little tinkering around the edges will not placate the millions of angry voters who have been well represented in their views on this comments thread.

    They are now looking for radical change, a change that will give them back their lives, their dignity and their country.

    They want to see politicians of all hues very firmly put back in their boxes, where they can do no more that the constitution allows, and that is to govern with the consent of the people not to rule.

  149. James Burkes

    I suspect that of all the restrictions in civil liberties imposed by this Government it is the smoking ban that will really come back and bite them on their backsides. Prior to the smoking ban many, many people (perhaps even millions) were unconcerned by Labour’s power-grab. Warnings of the dangers of some “anti-terror” laws, warnings about ID cards and National databases, fears over 42 days…. they were either unaware of these things or unconcerned – after all, the laws were for terrorists, not them, right? And they had bills to pay, kids to bring up, credit cards to pay off….

    But with the smoking ban, 15,000,000 suddenly felt the hand of the State on their shoulders. Suddenly they were forced to confront what it is to have your behaviour restricted by a law they (and no-one else) voted for. And while the politicians forgot about it – it was in the past, after all – every time this enormous chunk of the population wanted to go out – week in, week out – they would stand in the cold with their landlord outside an empty pub and say “This is ridiculous. There’s no-one in there! We all smoke, why can’t we smoke? It’s your pub, isn’t it?” Then the true cost of the ban comes to light – the imposition of the State into what is “allowed” on private property; the realisation that smoking is the only “crime” that is expected to be enforced by the pubic rather than Police. Then they see their pub close, and others like it, pubs that have survives recessions and wars.

    Yes, smoking isn’t a major issue – boo hoo you can’t smoke inside. But it is the most tangible representation of State control that many in this country have ever experienced. It is new to them, ad quite rightly they don’t like it. And as a result they have slowly become aware of all the other abuses that this Government has wrought in its quest to allow the State total control over the proles it governs.

    It doesn’t surprise me if this one issue will lose the Government the next election. I just find it laughable that they ever thought they could impose it without the electorate getting slightly peeved and digging deeper into everything else they’ve been up to.

  150. JamesF

    On the subject of your manifesto. One of the reasons Mr Blair was voted in was a referendum on the European Constitution (Lisbon Treaty in disguise).

    Stump up.

  151. James Burkes

    In his reply to this thread, Tom somewhat backs up my previous post.

    “The gist of most of the comments on the original post is that the primary reason for Labour’s current unpopularity is the civil liberties agenda and the perception that our rights are being diminished. But if that were the case, then that anger has only emerged in the last 14 months; after all, Labour were 10 points ahead in September last year. ”

    14 months? My, that’s almost July 1st 2007, isn’t it?

    While being allowed to smoke indoors is hardly the most pressing of civil liberties, it is undoubtedly the most tangible. Say they had passed 42 days…. Hell, say they passed 365 days. Many people, hard at work, raising families and paying tax, would have forgotten about it once it had dropped out of the papers. How many people would it affect? One? Two? A dozen?
    But with the smoking ban, 15 million people feel the power of the State on them every time they leave their homes. They’ve woken up to the fact that, “Don’t worry, that’ll never happen!” is a flawed argument. It can, it does, and it has. The ban has woken people up – not just smokers but their non-smoking friends, too. Who instead of enjoying a night out, now shake their heads when half their party disappears outside, and say, “This is ridiculous. We aren’t children! Why is this even happening?”

    The Smoking Ban will end this Government. And the funny thing is they had absolutely no idea what a big issue it was when they blithely passed the law because of hectoring from vocal pressure groups.

  152. Political Insider

    Mr Harris,
    If you have any doubt about how 15,000,000 smokers feel then read the following.

    http://www.antiprohibition.org/pagina_base.php?q=6

    1st World Conference Against Prohibition: “Smoking Bans and Lies”
    Brussels, at the European Parliament Building, 27/28 January, 2009

    Impact of Smoking Bans
    Epidemiology and passive smoking fraud
    Toxicology and ventilation
    Public health ideology and the pharmaceutical industry
    Political fight against tobacco prohibition
    FIRST WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST PROHIBITION BY TICAP

    PRESS RELEASE

    London, UK, October 2008 – The International Coalition Against Prohibition (TICAP) will hold its first world Conference on January the 27th and the 28th, 2009. Because of its prominence in these times, tobacco prohibition was chosen as the theme of the inaugural conference. Unfortunately, the denormalization of smoking comes at the expense of many citizens’ rights and it sets a very dangerous precedent, along with causing immediate and devastating economic repercussions.

    The conference “Smoking Bans and Lies”, will be held at The European Parliament Building in Brussels. Subjects presented for discussion at the gathering will include: the impact of smoking bans, passive smoking exposure studies, the pharmaceutical lobby and the politics of prohibition.

    TICAP includes more than 20 organizations from all over the world who share the conviction that prohibitions are a threat to democracy and a free society. Once an individual’s right to choose is eliminated, special interests are enriched and state intrusion is tremendously augmented.

    With this conference, TICAP intends to lay the foundations of an active, world-wide opposition to the expansion of a political trend that uses questionable science and public health institutions as vehicles to control citizens.

  153. Joanne

    I am getting old now as are most of my friends and am quite looking forward to leaving this life that your government have made so foul and miserable.
    I am scared to do anything now and sit at home waiting to die. I can’t socialise as I am one of those terrible smokers that are victimised.
    Thanks Tom and your kind for making me have lost the will to live.

  154. BarneyBear

    A movie to watch by anyone that is concerned about civil liberties…
    V for Vendetta
    Source: http://vforvendetta.warnerbros.com/index2.html

    Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (NATALIE PORTMAN) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man (HUGO WEAVING) known only as “V.” Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V’s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself – and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.

  155. Barney Bear – thought the film was very good, but I would absolutely recomment the original graphic novel, originally published in Warrior comic in the 1980s, and generally considered to be one of the greatest comic books of all time. Even better than Watchmen, which was written by the same author, Allan Moore. You can buy it from Amazon.

  156. Tim Clarke

    Orwell himself never actually believed a society like that which is depicted in “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” would necessarily come to pass – although according to the few Westerners who have visited North Korea, it comes eerily close. Orwell’s novel was a satire and a dystopia, rather than a prophecy. The coercive powers of the Orwellian state were deliberately heightened so as to enable their recognition in more benign and seemingly less pernicious forms. To say that applying “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” to modern day society is incorrect because nothing could ever compare to Orwell’s Oceania echoes the nebulous criticism of Raymond Williams, a Marxist academic who also insinuated – baselessly – that Orwell aided Franco’s fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War.

    As for CCTV cameras, I saw a rather amusing sign the other day: “CCTV – watching out for you”. Perhaps “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” IS being used as an instruction manual by some local authorities, with such a nakedly faux paternalistic inversion of Big Brother’s mantra.

    Brian Hughes – while I have the utmost respect for the distinguished academic Bernard Crick, there are better Orwell scholars out there (John Rodden, for example). I’d also like to know where Crick said this.

    Jim Baxter – Orwell did express casual anti-semitism in the 1930s, but by the 1940s had repudiated his earlier bigotry. By this time, he had acquired many Jewish friends. There’s a good chapter in D.J. Taylor’s biography of Orwell on the subject of his anti-semitism and attitude to the Holocaust, as well as an (even better) article by John Newsinger in “The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell” ed., by John Rodden.

    As for the smoking ban, I think we can safely say this is one thing that Orwell would have despised!

  157. Rosie

    All in the name of saving us from ‘terrorists’ so the mantra goes. Well excuse me for saying so but I think that those that reside in the HoC, especially the present government, are more of a threat to the people of this country than any terrorist.

    Does Mr Harris, believe councils, that are putting cameras on lamp posts, in tin cans & to the utter shame of the people allowing it, in people’s houses to catch those putting their rubbish out at the wrong time, are justified in doing so?

    Does Mr Harris believe that all the new green taxes that are being imposed are juistified in the name of global warming? Don’t forget that the warmists predicted that by the summer of this year we’d all be burnt to crisp, as it so happens we’ve all been freezing our backsides off because we can’t afford the energy bills.

    Does Mr Harris, believe that himself & the majority of MPs believe it was justified in criminalising millions of people for partaking of a legal activity, smoking, instead of sticking to their manifesto pledge, to appease the health fascists who now, along with the climate change lobby, senior policemen, pharmaceutical companies, road safety partnerships, big business etc., seem to be dictating policy.

    Can Mr Harris, explain why, when in opposition most NuLab MPs were anti-Europe, yet on being elected all appear to be staunch EU fanatics, won’t have a word said against that pernicious organisation that has such a stranglehold on all our lives. Why when these self-same MPs knew exactly the same about the EU when in oppoistion as they do now. Can you answer this please.

    Also Mr Harris, can you tell me what a ‘carbon footprint’ is, every Tom, Dick & Harry wants my money because of it but can’t tell me what it is?

    Some on here applaud Mr Harris, for allowing dissenting posts, why applaud this man he’s only playing to the audience by doing this, letting us think he’s dedicated to ‘freedom & democracy’, no he’s only allowing them because before too long dissenting posts will be deemed illegal under some law or other to be implemented by this ramshackle, dangerous, totalitarian government.

    Power is absolute, abolsute corrupts.

    Olly, Olly, Olly, oi, oi oi.

  158. Joanne
    November 2, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    “I am scared to do anything now and sit at home waiting to die. I can’t socialise as I am one of those terrible smokers that are victimised.
    Thanks Tom and your kind for making me have lost the will to live.”

    Joanne, by reading the comments here, we have them on the ropes (which some commentators have suggested might be useful for another purpose).

    I’m excited by the rapidly increasing knowledge of what Government is about.

    Someone mentioned the ineffectual people drinking their White Lightening, eating pizza, watching the X-Factor and oblivious to reality.

    When they wake up as well, I wouldn’t like to be a politician, past or present.

  159. Political Insider

    Does the ordinary voter know to what extent Government and Local Government alliances are being used to control them. This is one example relating to Tobacco Control in the North East:-

    http://www.freshne.com/219-Local-Tobacco-Alliance-Funding-200809.html

    This is only one of many across the whole of England and the “Denormalisation” of smoking is another word for Social Engineering.

    To those Members in the House who are seeking reform of the smoking ban always remember ” the walls have ears “

  160. Tom – how on earth is it possible for you to be a fan of the original V for Vendetta AND the Watchmen and still have absolutely no clue about where many of us are coming from?

  161. Rosie

    Ian Parker-Joseph

    They are now looking for radical change, a change that will give them back their lives, their dignity and their country.

    They want to see politicians of all hues very firmly put back in their boxes, where they can do no more that the constitution allows, and that is to govern with the consent of the people not to rule.

    To achieve radical change means withdrawing from the EU because no matter which party wins the general election, come January, when the Lisbon Treaty comes into effect all they’ll be is caretakers, highly paid ones of course, of the HoC doing the bidding of their masters in Brussels, that is until the EU instal their own choices. And you can say the same about the House of Lords. Come January, politicans & lords will have no more authority than local councillors or junior civil servants. This is what successive governments have done to the people of this country, this government more than most. EU Comptences reign supreme.

    The letter to Mr Harris from the Home Office concerning the European Arrest Warrant was very telling. Fixed lines & mobile ‘phone communication are the result of an EU Directive, and our so-called democratic politicans who ‘supposedly’ believe in freedom & democracy actually voted for, no I retract that, rubber stamped it. Almost every member state of the EU only implements the directives that suit their country, the politicans here go out of their way to make sure they’re implemented to the letter no matter what a disastrous effect they have on the country and its people, and what a disastrous effect they’ve had.

    The Tories harp on about reforming the EU, that’s a laughable statement, there is no reforming this elite pernicious club, it’s either full integration or withdrawal, but there’s not one politican of any standing with the courage to stand up and tell the electorate the truth about the EU.

    Since Ted Heath, lied, now well documented, politicans have carried on lying, WHY, if the EU is such a great institution WHY the need to lie all these years.

    Can you at least answer this please Mr Harris, or is this something else Jim Baxter Lily & Olly think we’re all deluded about.

  162. MG

    Problem is who are these people who are telling you cameras are a good idea 100 ? 200? 300?
    Not all of the tens of thousends of people in your constituancy then.
    I can just see it now all of them demanding survelance.
    Surely thats a naive way of looking at at?
    Should you not be looking at the whole picture rather than the vocal minority.
    Or lobby if you prefer?

  163. DaveA

    Well what can I say, the haematically sealed world of Parliament has been pierced, although fleetingly. I am sure normal service will soon be resumed, but Gordon Brown I hope will see a lot of empty seats.

    Kerry McCarthy, Paul Flynn felt the wrath of smokers and it appears they have been joined by a broader coalition of libertarians. Eric Blair warned you, the smokers seem to of been in the vanguard. I hope we can all move forward to a freer society.

  164. pagar

    As for CCTV cameras, I saw a rather amusing sign the other day: “CCTV – watching out for you”. Perhaps “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” IS being used as an instruction manual by some local authorities, with such a nakedly faux paternalistic inversion of Big Brother’s mantra.

    I bought some cigars yesterday and noticed that a new encouragement to quit had been added to the packet.

    It said “CHOOSE FREEDOM”.

    And you are telling me we are not living in an Orwellian society!!!!

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  166. Eric

    I recall the Attorney-General in the 1945 Labour government declaring that “We are the masters at the moment, and not only at the moment, but for a very long time to come”.
    CCTV, the identity card database, and the rest are clearly designed to make that declaration stick this time.

  167. FreeMan

    BROWN OUT
    BUSH OUT
    TROOPS OUT
    GOVERNMENT OUT
    MONETARY SYSTEM OUT
    BANKS OUT

    CIVIL LIBERTIES IN
    PEOPLE POWER IN
    RESOURCE BASED ECONOMY IN
    REAL FREEDOM IN!!!!

  168. I don’t think my spam filter’s working any more.

  169. FreeWoman

    Like your ability to DO YOUR JOB THAT WE ALL PAY YOU TO DO!!!! You shouldbe ashamed of yourself and your so-called party.

  170. Don’t adjust your brain Tom, it is reality that is malfunctioning…..

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  172. Jim,
    In the 70s i spent many happy holidays in Europe and can assure you i took much more than £50.
    You should try a visit to Burning our money as you appear to believe taxes are lower today than in the 70s
    Stealth taxes are a cornerstone of this government, folk have a new game based on what next to tax.
    But some of us are way ahead of their little game.
    Nudge, Nudge, Say Namore

  173. I stumbled across this blog after being redirected. I though I was in a minority in the way I feel about politicians. Reading the comments on this site have raised my hopes that I am not alone and we can take back control of our destiny before losing it forever to a bunch of what I can only call traitors
    This government have sytematically destroyed everything BRITISH including our fairness values

    They introduced the smoking ban to control

    CCTV to watch

    And now new c-mec rules to steal

    Were you aware, the child support system in the UK can make a non resident parent pay up to 40% of his take home pay, just think about that 40%. If they fail to pay these crazy demands then they lose driving licences, passports, have curfews imposed, have their homes sold, get their joint ( yes JOINT) bank accounts frozen and raided or go to prison. The crime……….. They become a parennt.

    Having children should be a pleasure, now its pain all created by this government.

    We all need to stand up and be counted, and put a stop to this crazy behaviour.

    Sign our petition as a start at

    http://www.afairercsaforall.co.uk

    Pop in and see for yourself what this government is doing to its parents.

    We have a forum and regularly see….. poverty in second families, repossetion of homes, threats of suicide…….. the list goes on.

    Please call in and see for yourself Thank you

  174. moon23

    Tom I fear you are way of the pulse on this one. The British people are not completely dimwitted and can see plainly for themselves the erosion of their liberties that has been enacted by new-labour.

    The sad thing is that a politician such as yourself is unable to grasp that Orwell used an extreme example in his book to drive home the warning. To say that CCTV in the street is ok because it’s not CCTV in the home is to miss the point of the book completely. Did you really just read it as a ‘good yarn’ surely you are not that dumb. I can only assume that you are intent on deluding yourself as to the utter destruction of our civil liberties you have contributed towards by voting for ID cards and anti-terror legislation.

    We will when back our civil liberties but your reputation will always be tarnished.

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  176. Before you dismiss so quickly those who are becoming increasingly disturbed by clear steps towards (if not yet arrival of) a police state, perhaps you could explain why officers of the EU’s embryonic federal police force, Europol, have immunity from criminal prosecution for anything they do in the course of their duties (with the bizarre exception for only civil liability in the event of a road traffic accident.)

    Before the typical kneejerk dismissal of such a claim as a ‘myth’, look up Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 2973, Para 15 ‘Officers’. So not even debated in Parliament?

    Then consider how the Lisbon Treaty expands Europol’s tasks to include the ability to “implement” operational action. You voted in support of this treaty and against the referendum you promised on its “substantially equivalent” predecessor.

    Do you know what their implementing operational action means exactly in practice? Did you know about their immunity from criminal prosecution before voting to approve these powers? What exactly are you folks there for?

    Interpol is about real international police co-operation – something which everyone will support. Europol serves a different purpose altogether.

    The person who sent you that book has done you a great service. You clearly do need a wake up call.

    PS. Do you think sight of a CCTV camera persuades people to give up crime, or to just do it elsewhere?

  177. Tom I think you and your friends in the Labour party have utterly failed to grasp something very basic. It is this: if you systematically remove all the teeth that the criminal justice system ever had, from the death penalty to the freedom of judges to hand down tough sentences to the punitiveness of prisons, you will see a rise in public disorder and crime.

    CCTV is no replacement for this. It irritates people profoundly because it is patronising. My flat was burgled once. It was on a busy London road covered in CCTV. Did they catch the blighter? Of course not. And I would bet my bottom dollar that whomever did it had done it before and would do it again.

    So in a way I agree – this is not Orwellian. But it is a total, destructive, crime-ridden mess. That is bad enough and you and your Labour colleagues ought to be ashamed.

  178. Just as 1984 can be thought of as a warning and not a blueprint, so too should it be thought of as an illustration and not a documentary. Just because the exact manifestation of the Orwellian tendencies in the UK aren’t what we see in Orwell’s book does not mean that these things aren’t happening.

    Everyone knows about the CCTV, not many people know that you’re now teaching the cameras to listen to us as well. (http://is.gd/6k88) Or how about the fact that Jack Straw wants to let anonymous people testify against you? (http://is.gd/6k8P) Your police want the DNA of children who might be pose dangers in the future. (http://is.gd/2cW) You’re talking about tracking all of our calls and email (http://is.gd/1Pfo).

    So you photograph us, keep our DNA, are listening in on our conversations and all in the name of “terrorism”. Frankly, many people are more afraid of the government than terrorists.

    And just getting back to the CCTV problem, not only do the police admit it doesn’t work (http://is.gd/1b1a), but the Home Office admits it to (http://is.gd/6k9O). So how can you stand there and tell me with a straight face that you support the blatant rape of our civil liberties? You should be ashamed of yourself, but then, I think you’ve just made it clear that you don’t give a damn about us.

    (I could have listed plenty of other links besides the ones above, but I felt that was a good start)

  179. “Frankly, many people are more afraid of the government than terrorists.”

    Where’s the evidence for that? Actually, I’ll save you the bother of answering – there isn’t any, because it is utter nonsense. Anecdotal evidence about conversations you’ve had with some friends and relatives is not “evidence”.

  180. Sadie

    Quote: “But “masters” is so 18th century, don’t you think?”

    Perhaps it is. But since section 63 of the CIJB has the potential to criminalise BDSM & images thereof as, essentially “thought crime”, I find it insulting that you would withdraw this word from the political discussion of the issues as well as from peoples’ lifestyle choices.

    Read the book again.

    That’s a direct order from one of your “emloyers”.

  181. I agree that anecdotal experience is not evidence so I’ll grant you a point there, but I note that you quite failed to address to issues I raised. Specifically, the police and Home Office both admit that CCTV is not particularly effective in lowering crime. So why would you support a greater invasion of people’s privacy when there’s no benefit? My guess is one of three reasons: you didn’t know, the Labour party doesn’t allow you to dissent or it’s merely a crass ploy to look “tough on crime” rather than caring about civil liberties.

    Of course, you also failed to address any of the other topics about taking our DNA, cameras “listening in” on our conversations or anonymous people testifying in court against you. We also have very little data privacy and the government is pushing for more and more data to be taken about us when it seems we hear about a new privacy breech every week.

    We are truly a surveillance society (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6108496.stm). Rather than knock these concerns as “rubbish”, why not address them directly? And for the record, I am not a member of the “paranoid right”, as you seem to think all who object to a surveillance society are (http://is.gd/6kRf). I am fairly left-wing. I just happen to think that privacy is worth something.

  182. William Nicholson

    And another comment on the ‘democracy’ part of your blog entry: only 21.6% of people voted for Labour at the last general election. 78.4% of people are either unhappy that Labour is in power, or couldn’t care less. This is not a democracy, and Labour is not our democratically elected government. Labour has no mandate from the people of this country to examine and control their lives at all.

    We don’t even have an elected Prime Minister (servant) or cabinet. This is as close as it gets to scary, and the fact that this party is ‘in power’ is truly demoralising to most people in this country.

    ‘Minister’ is rather ‘middle ages’ don’t you think? ‘In power’ is a little control-freakish, don’t you imagine?

  183. Ian

    i think all the comments on your blog prove positive that they are more scared of te government than the terrorists.
    Thats because the government has done more to curtial our freedom than the terrorists. We survived the IRA without all these excuses.

  184. Mark Burkes

    Well well well. You do not consider the British electorate to be your masters huh. Why doesn’t that surprise me.

    As for reading 1984, I suggest you read it again.

    When an Englishman gets arrested for wishing to protest in Parliament Square or organised protests are broken up by police illegally or the right to jury trial is threatened or the state has powers to track any citizen’s correspondence or emails or telephone calls for no good reason, or imprison him without charge or trial, I call that unacceptable. I call that a breach of our hard-won civil liberties. I call that the acts of a ‘Big Brother’ state.

    There is only one commentator illustrating a blistering degree of arrogance through his comments on this website Mr Harris – Take a look at yourself.

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  188. Roger Hayes

    Dear fellow bloggers
    Please remember that it is unlikely that Tom Harris will ever bother reading your comments… he will read his own contribution several times over to make sure he has got the tone of his snide comments just right… but he will ignore entirely what we have got to say. He, like most politicians thinks he is too clever to need to listen to us.

    I make this simple point… we elect them to office… to govern but they assume that they are elected to power… to control. In their vocabulary the word ‘serve’ is only ever used in conjunction with the word ‘self’ and never with the word ‘others’ or ‘the nation.’

    It is an absolute fact that today’s politicians are oblivious to the anger of the people and their extreme arrogance guarantees that when the people do rebel… AND THEY WILL – they will be shocked.

    Tom will even smirk at that old fashioned word ‘rebel’ because in Tom’s world rebellions are a romantic notion and have no place in our jolly decent democracy. But we say – this is not a democracy that suits us, it might suit you Tom but it does not suit us.

    At some time in the near future an army of angry citizens will take the law into their own hands and there will riots and bloodshed and some MP’s will die… and there will be outrage. But whilst MP’s will be shocked we will not be surprised… because we the consistently angry people can see it coming… but they can’t.

    There is none so blind as those who will not see… and politicians are as blind as blind can be…

    History teaches us that the people take oh so much for oh so long and then suddenly like a match to a bale of dry hay in the mid summer – the whole thing sets alight.

    We are almost there… will they take head?

    No they wont.

  189. Roger Hayes

    P.S.
    If anybody is interested in joining a LAWFUL rebellion – in which we can put this lot (politicians) back in their boxes before somebody does go over the top and put a match to the haystack… then please email me… I already have a list and it is growing… and believe me I am serious when I say people are angry.

  190. Tim Clarke

    Agreed, Sadie. I recently wrote my dissertation on George Orwell, with particular reference to “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. In all the literature I perused, I never once saw “Nineteen Eighty-Four” described as a “rollicking good yarn”.

    “Five Go To Smuggler’s Top” by Enid Blyton could appropriately be described as a “rollicking good yarn”, as could “The Enormous Crocodile” by Roald Dahl. But “Nineteen Eighty-Four”? I doubt even Orwell’s harshest critics could have managed such dismissiveness. At least they bothered to engage with the text. I think Mr Harris really does need to re-read Orwell’s final novel.

    As for non-anecdotal evidence vis a vis the current state of civil liberties in this country, Britain is ranked, alongside Russia and China as an “endemic surveillance society” by Privacy International: http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd%5B347%5D=x-347-559597

  191. shortlink

    It is strange that he needs to put down those that are concerned about privacy and only focuses on what impacts him, (attacking the labour party). I guess he is more concerned about his own job than the concerns and issues of his constituents.

  192. I recently had the latest in a series of requests from constituents regarding CCTV. Requests to have the cameras removed? No, no, no… Requests for more cameras.

    And no doubt you rolled over backwards to provide them, when the police are demanding more money, when schools need better funding, and hospitals and healthcare require massive improvements, all of which will help to decrease crime better than any amount of cameras.

    Your priorities are all screwed up. Your taking the easiest, most economic path but it’s not necessarily the best path for your constituents.

    The fact of the matter is you wish to CATCH criminals, not STOP crime.

    It’s akin to taking aspirin to stop your headache after you’ve beaten it against the wall for a week.

  193. Tim

    a bit late to the party, but; Is it not possible that the sender of the book doesn’t object to new labour so much as to centralised government per se?
    And, in line with other commentors; you are a civil servant… The heirarchy is all up-side down; the people are the most important, you, and all other civil servants, are there to serve the interests of the people. Your position exists within a structure put in place by the people, after they rejected the ‘divine right’ of kings. That was when the pyramid was inverted.

  194. “We live in a democracy, and just because those – including my anonymous benefactor – who get excited about such things are unhappy that Labour is in power, that does not make us anything other than a democracy. And democratically-elected governments govern with the consent of the people. Yes, even this one!”

    Are you crazy?! Seriously, the PM constantly drones on and on about how he is “listening” to the people, then gives his approval for this when the MAJORITY say “NO 2 ID”.

    If you ask me, he is listening. Listening to the till ringing for each £30 tax, erm, I mean fee that is required per card (40,000,000 x £30 = A hell of a lot of £££££!). He will be listening to the manufactures of the cards, each card = more tax.

    We, the voters and tax-payers say “no”, the PM ignores us. What kind of democracy is that?

  195. Dave

    Just remember YOU work for US. Not the other way round, and we’ll be fine…

  196. Darren

    Tom if your party gets in again I’m leaving the country because of your ID cards scheme.

    You think its acceptable to benefit from the politics of fear to introduce something in this country that we’ve never had outside of wartime?

    The 1984 comparisons are spot on, Labour have involved us in two wars in countries that will last for generations (as in 1984), you introduce new legislation to make anything and everything a hate-crime. (thought-police) and now you are introducing mass-surveillance through identity cards.

    If the government aren’t totalitarian at the moment, you have certainly laid down the legislative ground-work for one. Well done !!

    This is a £5 billion pound white-elephant that the country can ill-afford during this time of recession yet your party have continued to twist and turn the goal posts, refusing to admit they can’t get it right.

  197. Nio

    I can’t believe the comments I’m reading here!

    People are so paranoid it’s crazy. You all think you’ve got it so bad here, but the reality is that law abiding citizens have almost nothing to worry about from the government (unless you’re rich and not wise with taxes)!

    I’d love lower taxes, and minimal government intervention in everything, so lets aim for that, but pretending the UK is a police state with no freedoms is absurd. Go and live in Russia/China/North Korea/Somalia for a while and realise the amazing freedoms we enjoy.

    With good transparency & the required safeguards, how the hell does having an ID card scheme threaten everyone’s freedom? Get real folks!

    I think the views expressed here have something to do with increasing mental health problems in the UK – if people live in such an amazing country yet get all depressed and paranoid, what hope is their for them?

  198. A punter wrote: ‘Frankly, many people are more afraid of the government than terrorists.”

    Tom wrote: ‘Where’s the evidence for that? Actually, I’ll save you the bother of answering – there isn’t any, because it is utter nonsense. Anecdotal evidence about conversations you’ve had with some friends and relatives is not “evidence”.’

    The comely Jacqui Smith said of ID cards: ‘I regularly have people coming up to me and saying they don’t want to wait that long [until 2012]’
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7712275.stm

    So it’s OK for a government minister to use (undoubtedly specious) anecdotal evidence that we all can’t wait for more Big Brother antics, but not for us to point out that we don’t?

  199. Jay

    I believe that evidence suggests that mental health problems are increasing, as you say, Nio. Why do you think that is? Perhaps it’s a result of the stress of ever-increasing taxation, the belief that politicians are divorced from the realities of life in the UK and from the wishes of the electorate, repression of dissent, a target-driven, risk-averse culture, government interference into the minutae of people’s lives: in short, a belief that people are to be controlled, obedient, cash-cows to be milked dry until they’re too old to be of value whereupon they’re to be packed off into ‘care’ until they do the decent thing and die.

  200. Rosie

    Tom if your party gets in again I’m leaving the country because of your ID cards scheme.

    Only the ID scheme? I suggested to Mr Harris, that his government offer a relocation & compensation package for any British person wishing to depart of this Godfarsaken country. They pay repatriation money to foreigners, why not invest in getting rid of the British, they’ve almost certainly destroyed Britain anyway. Perhaps you could be one of the first to take it up, I won’t be far behind you though.

    I am livid at what I read today, MEPs have voted to scrap Britain’s opt out from the 48hr working week. One Stephen Huges, of the EU Parliaments Socialist Group (speaks fot itself) thinks it a good idea to stop low paid people working overtime to earn a bit more money to make life a little better, after all how much do we have left after this rotten to the core, greedy government have bled us dry. The reason for this ban, because that’s what it boils down to a ban on earnings, low paid earnings of course, is health & safety, so now the EU and politicans are banning the peasants from earning a little more for a better life to keep them in their place, bit like what the communists did. And people/politicans actually support the EU. What an insidious institution, and what insidious MEPs & MPs we have.

    The unions are celebrating this move, the once proud organisations that were set up to make sure the low paid got a fair deal have over the years found the lure of financial enhancement more appealing than doing what their original remit was, representing their members, all members. The only ones they’re interested in is their public sector members, the others can go stuff themsleves, but they have no scruples in taking their subscriptions, subs but no representation. They’re now just a talking shop for the EU. The unions remind me of those other organisations WHO/UN who have completely gone beyond what they were set up for. Shame on the lot of them.

    Tell me Mr Harris, do you also belong to Mr Huges, class that we should all be equal, as long as some are more equal than most, those being himself and his fellow collaborators.

    I don’t know how much lower politicans can get after condoning banning people earning money, especially the low paid. B**tards, first class rotten B**tards.

    As to Nio, is this person for real, I despair of where it’s going to end when you have people like this encouraging politicans, and as is well known politicans take their lead from the minority rather than the majority.

    Tell you what Mr Harris, if you’re so sure that the majority are very happy with yours & the EUs policies hold a referendum, what have you got to lose if you think you’re right. But I think I know the answer to this, the same that happened with the ‘Not The Constitution’ Lisbon Treaty referendum.

  201. Bisonex

    You do well to duck, Mr Harris.

    I’m no sandal-wearing Trotskyite – I’m a recently retired police sergeant. I don’t share some of the more anti-establishment views of the extremist liberal factions, but I have seen with my own eyes both at work and in my family life the gradual destruction of the basic liberties our forefathers fought for by a truly obnoxious, control-freak government.

    CCTV cameras have their place, but their use should be limited and then tightly regulated. Those who deploy them should be required to demonstrate their necessity to an independent authority. ANPR is a brilliant police tool for catching car thieves, uninsured drivers etc, but the government retaining details of movements of all vehicles is deeply sinister. The proposed government database containing details of all our phone calls, text messages, emails and websites visited is about as Orwellian as it’s possible to get – that really is the government snooping into our homes! As for ID cards and the obnoxious National Identity Database – well, I’ll fight you on the beaches over that one, pal, and I’ll join any organisation and subscribe to any methods to see you thrown out of office before I submit to that.

    New Labour has shown its an ugly blend of champagne socialism and hard left authoritarianism. What we need is what Obama has promised America – change. Roll on the next election.

  202. Tim Clarke

    “With good transparency & the required safeguards, how the hell does having an ID card scheme threaten everyone’s freedom?”

    Oh, I don’t know. The loss of extensive personal data of 60m individuals … and the fact that ID cards are almost universally recognised as being useless in their stated purposes of securing Britain’s borders and protecting the country from terrorism.

  203. Martin Eddington

    Gathering of all records of Oyster Card movements, all telephone, e-mail and web-activity…
    Councils spying on people for all sorts of minor things.

    How is that different from 24-hour monitoring in my home ?

    Who elected this government on a “we want more authority and interference in our lives” platform ?

    Who does want ID cards ? Why won’t the government take a “no” for an answer on this subject ?

    We’re scared of what you’re doing to this country. We’re also scared that we seem to have no say in this…

  204. Darren

    Nio you are right this is a great country, thats why we don’t want Labour to mess up it up with daft ideas like the ID cards scheme or piling into foreign misadventures to make this country universally hated.

    Going back to the original posting about 1984, it was interesting that Orwell saw the risk of authoritarianism that English socialism would bring in,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingsoc

    That may very well be the point that the libertarian party are trying to make. Perhaps this is one of the best countries in the world to live in, lets keep it that way.

  205. Andrew

    Bisonex
    “New Labour has shown its an ugly blend of champagne socialism and hard left authoritarianism. What we need is what Obama has promised America – change. Roll on the next election.”

    Obama taught the Marxist Alinsky method for years!

    Saul David Alinsky
    “Alinsky’s teachings influenced Barack Obama in his early career as a community organizer on the far South Side of Chicago.”

    I’m off to research more on “Myron Fagan”

  206. Pingback: In Britain, it’s a crime to take a photo of yourself holding a sword « Amused Cynicism

  207. Pingback: ZEROPOINTNINE Unfinished since 2002.

  208. Looks like Tom isn’t the only one who had forgotten what he is there for :

    http://kerry-mccarthy.blogspot.com/2008/11/1984.html

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