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Archive for the ‘liberty’ Category

Riot narrative heading in wrong direction

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Ill considered words and gestures ramping up repression

It’s OK talking and acting tough if you are getting results that matter to the rest of us, but David Cameron’s performance in the House of Commons yesterday, whilst good for his own authority as PM, does not portend well if he actually means what he says.

The overall impression that Cameron saved the country from burning down by returning from holiday early might look great to some but there is a lot of discomfort behind the headlines. Talking of tracking down and punishing the rioters would be fine if that is what he actually meant, the courts so far have sent out very mixed signals with some lenient sentences and some heavier sentences, but what is apparent is the lust of ordinary people up and down the country to lock young people away and throw away the key. Cameron latched on to this as he abandoned his “hug a hoodie” attitude promising jail terms for those convicted of involvement in the riots and looting, yet surely what we really need to see is armies of strictly supervised young people working at least 40 hours per week in their communities putting right the damage that they have caused. Surely this will have more productive long term benefits than locking them away for foolishly stealing bottled water, in six months some of them may even be on their way towards learning a skill or a trade!

Cameron talked of legislating to increase the sentences available to magistrates, instead of thinking about toughening up referral orders where offenders may only be required to work a few hours per week in the community, and what did he mean by a review of dispersal rules to give a “wider power of curfew”? Something which perhaps might be a terrible burden on the innocent and unaffected. He made pretty overt and open criticism of the Met Police’s failure to deal with the initial outbreak of violence in Tottenham, perhaps unfairly without first praising the bravery of the individual officers who faced that first unruly mob, and it is already coming back to bite him as sections of the police feel rather slighted and Sir Hugh Orde rounded on politicians and the Home Secretary in particular.

On taking office as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher immediately had the police on side with a 40% pay increase, David Cameron does not have that advantage, he faced increasing frustration in the House of Commons yesterday over future police budgets and this argument is now spreading into the wider public forum, his only counter balance is to offer more powers to the police which always carries the risk of repressive policy which does not convey the “consensual policing” that many regard as the cornerstone of British law enforcement. Talking of closing down or restricting the services of certain social networking sites is dangerous and unnecessary,  it is not the services at fault it is the users. Conservative MP Louise Mensch has waded in with this:

“Common sense. If riot info and fear is spreading by Facebook & Twitter, shut them off for an hour or two, then restore. World won’t implode,”

Yet we baulk at the suggestions that other countries such as Burma, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or China take such oppressive action to censor the internet, those few small hours certainly would represent the thin end of the wedge and lead us down a darker path! Paradoxically it might even prevent the emergence of real community spirit evidence by the “broom army” in London. The whole concept of censorship and the choking of information is not something that I welcome, it is inherently not the British way and will damage good journalism (and yes we have to acknowledge that some of the news coverage fed the ambitions of the rioting crowds for a couple of days) resourceful journalist made very good use of Twitter to get around London, Manchester, and Birmingham to cover events and some of their stories and pictures have led to the identification of suspects and consequent arrests.

So we heard a few knee jerk reactions yesterday, the dust is settling, the politicians can resume their holidays, the magistrates will continue to confound, but has this emergency session of Parliament really changed the game? Well, yes it did a little, but not for the common good.

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Written by curly

August 12, 2011 at 10:44 am

The Big Society

Is this just a euphemism for a privatised “Big Brother”?

Whilst I was happy to read of the demise of the national child database, as a sign that perhaps the coalition was earnest in its desires to sweep away illiberal poorly designed citizen databases, I was not amused to read about David Cameron’s ideas to use private companies to spy on the unemployed or the disabled.

Experian and Equifax have their place to help us build a credit history and provide banks and other financial institutions with the risk assessments necessary for making lending decisions, but there is no moral advantage in being used by the government to spy upon its citizens. The whole idea is repugnant and ought to be dropped as fast as possible. The “Big Society” is likely to very quickly become a privatised “Big Brother” with measures such as this which appear to have been filched from some old 1960s East German manual.

This is not what I would call a libertarian idea that a Conservative or a Liberal could proudly advocate.

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Written by curly

August 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

New government only provides new management of torture

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Classified documents reveal no real libertarian intents

So David Miliband, the South Shields MP, may well continue to feel some heat over the last Labour government’s position on torturing our own citizens and “rendering” them to third countries where the real question remains whether “detention, rather than killing, is the objective of the operation”, but today’s article in the Guardian also reveals that despite Clegg and Cameron making all sorts of sweet sounds about liberal free thinking principles, in reality the status quo will be maintained.

Cameron also made clear that the sort of material that has so far been made public with the limited disclosure in the Guantánamo cases would be kept firmly under wraps during the inquiry. “Let’s be frank, it is not possible to have a full public inquiry into something that is meant to be secret,” he said. “So any intelligence material provided to the inquiry panel will not be made public and nor will intelligence officers be asked to give evidence in public.”

Right, let’s keep everything under wraps in case we are seen to be collaborating in various methods of torture, which historically have produced poor questionable evidence as those suffering are prepared to say whatever is required of them in order to escape the physical and mental pain and anguish. Surely as a liberal western democracy we are above these ridiculous medieval inquisitions, we surely have the intelligence resources and technologies to gather evidence without resorting to such sub human methods. To treat people in a manner as bad as that used to experiment on rodents in pursuit of the perfect lipstick is an anachronism which we all should condemn.

It (the coalition government) also wishes to preserve what it calls “liaison relationships” – operational links with overseas intelligence agencies, including those known to use torture – on the grounds that they are a vital part of the country’s counter terrorism strategy.

Vital? Oh really?
Perhaps that’s why they are embarking on a programme of seeking mediation with those British subjects who have suffered at the hands of brutal operatives in third countries and who have yet to face any real charges under British law, or even find themselves convicted.

The protection of the status quo does nothing at all to improve our reputation in the rendition business, nor anything at all to improve the perception that the new government is simply failing to manage the policy makers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Change of government = change of managers, not change of policy!

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Written by curly

July 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Essential equipment for holding councillors to account

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spy gear

Intelligence is the key these days

On the left is the digital voice recorder:

Half digital recorder, half portable memory device. Unlike most, the pocket-sized Olympus stereo digital recorder downloads without cables, docking station or special software. Just plug the digital recorder into just about any PC with a USB port and off you go. The digital recorder makes it so easy to record your thoughts, ideas, memos or even small meetings in superbly clear stereo sound.

Simple plug and play via USB no cables, cradle or software necessary
Allows the storage of any file type, not just voice files
Features an integrated stereo microphone for high quality recording
Offers four recording modes: SHQ and HQ mode for superior quality, SP and LP for extended recording
Recording times between 35hours. in High Quality and 138 hours. in LP mode
5 folders, 199 messages per folder for file management
Mac compatible

On the right we have the Video Eyewear Recorder:

1.3 mega pixels Eyewear Video Recorder with 2GB builit-in memory and TF card slot-Features

-Quality Polaroid Lens from brand makers.
-1.3 mega pixels pinhole CMOS camera for clear digital recording.
-User friendly operation button for easy control.
-Sleek and elegant design suits for both men and women users.
-A must equipment and highly recommended device for journalist, traffic police, travellers and etc.
-Easy connection with PC/Laptops, no driver needed
-Built in 2G memory for as long as 5 hours video recording.
-With extended memory slot for TF/Micro SD card.
-Real time recording, never let memorable moments sneak away from life.


-Power Supply:built-in 550mAh lipolymer battery
-Power duration: 4-5 hours
-Power Adaptor: 5V DC/500 mAh
-Built-in 2GB memory, support TF card Max 2GB
-Camera hardware resolution: 1.3m pixels.
-Reading Speed > 700kbs, write >500Kbs
-Playing Speed: 30fps
-Power Consumption: <0.4W
-Video Format: 3GP
-Card Slot: TF/Micro SD card
-Physical weight 39g with battery

Next time you see your local councillors out and about doing a street walk on their patch in South Tyneside make sure you are well equipped to really know what they are talking about, these councillors are slippery you know, especially the Labour Party ones (real socialists are apparently even worse!) You cannot possibly be in opposition to your local Labour councillors unless you know exactly what they are talking about, who they are talking to, what they are getting up to, who they are meeting, and what their plans are, so get get yourself equipped to deal with opposition!

You know it makes sense!

Can I recommend The Spy Shop, one of the UK’s leading surveillance equipment suppliers, but a word of caution, if you are purchasing from South Shields make sure that your credit is good first, secondly, I’m not sure if they have a branch in Biddick Hall yet, so telephone before visiting the area eh?

Yes, I know, politics in South Tyneside used to be a simple battle of ideas, policies, and presentation, now it seems the whole game is just verging towards the sinister, and I even thought that the folks on the left were massively in favour of civil liberties and the protection of individual privacy and identities.

Remember folks, that being photographed when you are in a public place is not a crime, it is allowed, unless of course someone is poking a lens under your nose repeatedly, when it does become a crime (it’s called harassment), if you are not sure what a street photographer can get up to these days then download Linda MacPherson’s excellent guide – here

It might have made an amusing story if it wasn’t so bloody not funny (see, even I can empathise.)

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Written by curly

July 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm

28 day pre-charge detention is not necessary

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David Davis attacks coalition decision

Via Conservative Home

Former Shadow Home Secretary has attacked the new Home Secretary over her decision to renew the 28 day pre-charge detention period:

“Whilst it is welcome that she is having this review of Labour’s heavy-handed legislation, and whilst it is at least welcome that this is a six month rather than one year review, it is wholly unnecessary to extend further. There have been no cases in the last four years where it has been necessary to go beyond 21 days. Even the Heathrow plot, where innocent people were held for 28 days, it has now been proven that those that were charged after this lengthy period could have been charged in less than 14 days.

“This extension is therefore unnecessary and regrettable. It is to be hoped that after the 6 months review we will see an end not just to this unnecessarily authoritarian law, but also to control orders and their regime of house arrest, internal exile, and secret courts, all of which are an anathema of British standards of justice.”

Like Jonathan Isaby I’m a bit miffed that the coalition partners do not appear to be as libertarian as we first hoped, I’m also glad that (a) government backbenchers are not afraid to challenge the government on the issue and (b) that Conservative Home is proudly carrying it’s independent position during a period of government and not just behaving like the party puppy dog. Readers will appreciate that I have supported for a long time moves to remove some of the more draconian elements of legislation passed by the Blair/Brown governments in it’s so called “war against terror”.

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Written by curly

June 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Best news of the day

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ID Card scheme to be scrapped within 100 days

Many in South Shields may not be bothered one way or another but this news is a huge relief to the few of us around here who have held the flag of liberty, freedom, and civil liberties over the years, even though we may have waived it around in differing directions. It is good to see the Conservative and Liberal Democrat partners in government moving ahead with projects to roll back the state and save our cash with such incredible speed and determination.

I note from the lack of howling protests coming from the left (ah yes, silence is golden) that apparently the whole idea wasn’t all that popular with them after all, just a pity that they couldn’t have called upon their principles and beliefs to prevent Blair, Brown, Straw, Clarke, Blunkett, Smith, Johnson et al from inflicting such a monumental infringement of our privacy and liberties upon us, and that’s without raising the issues of the horrendous costs and unproven effectiveness.

The BBC reports that:

Some £250m was spent on developing the national ID programme over eight years and its abolition will mean the government will avoid spending a further £800m over a decade.

If you were stupid enough to buy one of the National ID Cards then I’m afraid that this government will not be offering you a refund of the £30 you recklessly thought would save you from international terrorism. If you are desperate to get the cash back then can I suggest that you write to Unite the union who are the principle bankrollers of the Labour Party, I’m sure they’ll find the time to consider your request after they have finished their attempt to crash British Airways.

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David Miliband expected to run for Labour leadership

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I still haven’t heard the “expected” announcement.

However I read this over at

David Miliband is expected to stand for the Labour leadership.

The former foreign secretary is scheduled to make a statement today and most commentators expect him to announce his bid for his party’s top job.

He has already received a boost when Alan Johnson said he wouldn’t stand and endorsed his candidacy.

Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “No I’m not [going to stand]. I am going to support David Miliband.

“I think we have a bevy of great talent there. David is the greatest talent. I think he is a remarkable politician and his talent is to put very complex ideas into clear language, so I will be backing him.

Well here’s a complex idea to preserve the environment of fish, plankton, and coral, creating the world’s largest marine reserve, but NOT the people who have spent their lives living off those fish, just to survive you know, and on top of that Mr. Miliband steadfastly refuses to let them return to their rightful homes.

The South Shields MP does not impress Craig Murray, who uses some particularly strong language to describe Mr. Miliband’s particular talent for hiding behind environmentalism and all things Green (when it suits)

Miliband has now produced what is one of the most cynical acts in the history of British foreign policy. Dressed up as an environmentalist move, and with support from a number of purblind environmentalists, the waters around the Chagos Archipelago have been declared the world’s largest marine reserve – in which all fishing is banned. The islanders, of course, are fishermen.

Murray goes on to accuse Miliband of dressing up genocide as environmentalism, he may be allowing his passion to overflow a little, but the former foreign secretary has lots of form as an authoritarian illiberal legislator perfectly suited to carrying on the NuLab experiment.

It is to be hoped that they find themselves a good socialist instead, or even Ed Balls.

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Written by curly

May 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Rolling coalition thoughts

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Some of the “give and take” in this marriage.

For instance fixed term Parliaments, we now have the next election scheduled in for May 2015. What happens if there are recriminations within the coalition before then? How can the House of Commons assert itself if the government is seen to be acting against the will and wishes of the people? If there were a large split would the government be forced to carry on in a minority if it lost a confidence motion?

Sorry, I don’t like this. I’ve never been that keen on our governments tinkering with our constitution and I see little wrong in allowing our Prime Ministers the power to ask the Sovereign to dissolve Parliament and call for a general election at a time of their choosing, perhaps Gordon Brown regrets stretching his government out as long as possible now. The great advantage in having this ability is that Prime Ministers can put themselves to the ultimate test at times of political difficulty and national crisis, or use their judgement to determine the public mood on an important issue which has Parliament at an impasse.

I dread to think what will happen now if a future government loses the confidence of the House of Commons.

Electing the second chamber – well I guess this has been coming for some time now and it is another area fraught with difficulties. I can see some benefit if we have fixed term Parliaments and the second chamber is elected at the mid term point of the primary chamber, but please NOT both together, it would be rather pointless having a reviewing chamber of exactly the same political colour as the executive. The whole point of the second chamber is to provide additional scrutiny and give the important checks and balances that restrain the powers of government. The current and the old House of Lords had their faults and their benefits, it was  right to remove the hereditary Peers and if we are to have the equivalent of a Supreme Court it is right to remove the Judges too, there is great merit in preserving the separation of powers. However my worry now is in the quality and expertise of the members of the second house to be effective reviewers of legislation, we already have a chamber rapidly filling with the political appointees of Prime Ministers and insufficient numbers of people from other walks of life. One of the small benefits of previous constitutions of the Lords was that on any given subject one could find a smattering of acknowledged experts on the subject of debate, either because of their outside interests or because of the way in which some life peerages were appointed, this pool of talent is gradually being dissipated and I worry that it may be further weakened by an influx of politically motivated elected representatives. As a further modification of the second chamber it is probably right to propose that it’s name be changed to the House of Peers rather than the House of Lords.

A Bill to have a referendum on the Alternative Voting method – it is right to put this matter to the people, although it is not a system of proportional representation as such, it does at least offer two strong points for the future, it will give MPs greater legitimacy by ensuring that they achieve more than 50% of the votes cast in their constituencies and it further strengthens the link between a small geographic area (the constituency) and its representative. The downside is that many MPs may be regarded as “second choice” and will probably initially result in greater numbers of Liberal Democrats, this may not be a lasting effect, of course, as political parties and policies evolve, we must remember that the whole notion of proportional representation is supported by smaller parties who seem to think they have some sort of entitlement to seats and feel hard done to by our current first past the post system, yet history proves that  third parties can come through the middle to supplant those in second place – the Labour Party was a great example. A great benefit of the first past the post system is that it is direct, easy to understand, easy to administer, and generally produces quick results, it works far better when constituencies are of equal size and thus relies on bodies such as the Boundaries Commission to keep a balanced formula. It does not work so well when three parties all decide to sit in the middle of the road and fight over “the centre ground” – real choice is what we need most to make it work.

The commission to review party funding is important too and will be very interesting to see what it recommends. I have often wondered over the years what the average man in the street really thinks about large individual donations going to political parties, or large union or corporate donations for that matter. I do know of some who object to their union operating a political levy when the members have no choice over which party the levy goes to, and on the other hand  there will be many who object to a company such as Unilever donating to the Conservative Party, but does it stop them buying particular brands of washing powder? I’d love to get to a situation closer to that in the USA where Barack Obama and Ron Paul stood out for their ability to harness the internet and raise bucket loads of cash from millions of small donors, I’d love too to see a large rise in party memberships, which would be a great help in financing politics, but it will need our politicians and their parties at local level to get back to engaging more effectively with their local communities. What I DO NOT want to see is the public purse being used to finance political parties.

£6bn of cuts in this financial year – simply not enough, period! (£50bn of reductions would take our public spending back down to the levels of 2007-08 adjusted for inflation, I’m pretty sure we could manage at that level).

Raising tax thresholds above £1000 – I’m fully in favour of and wish the Conservatives had been bold enough to put this in their own manifesto, after all a low tax economy is supposed to be one of the pillars of Conservative economic thought. This move will help many low paid families and could easily be financed if George Osborne can convince the less than convincing Vince Cable to cut departmental budgets even further.

Nuclear deterrent – The Lib Dems have apparently agreed that we need to maintain our nuclear deterrent, but does this mean that we need to maintain Trident, or will the coalition go for a slightly cheaper air based system or just reduce the number of missiles or ageing submarines?

Freedom Bill – one of the most important legislative tasks of the new Parliament will be a Great Repeal Act to sweep away many of the authoritarian edicts of the Blair/Brown years introduced mainly after 9/11 and designed to keep us all under surveillance and control look after our safety. The National ID Card scheme will be scrapped for starters and it is to be hoped that many other Liberal reforms will appeal to the Conservative right. Let us hope that the dismantling of the database state and intrusive surveillance is a huge priority for the new Home Secretary. The state should be afraid of its people, the people should not be afraid of the state.

These are interesting times folks and the biggest interest to me right now is what happens at the end of this Parliament, if this coalition is a success will it fight on, or will the parties find too many idealogical grounds and go their own separate ways again? If it is a success or indeed if it proves to be vastly unpopular, which party, Conservative or Liberal Democrats, will reap the rewards or brick bats?

You would like to think that we are heading back to a golden age of Disraeli and Gladstone reform all in the “national interest”, but at some stage political interest will have to emerge, and I suspect that David Cameron and Nick Clegg are hoping to build a new two party system that might just put the Labour Party back in the position of third place, much of that will depend upon who wins the leadership battle, the Blairite David Miliband from South Shields, his brother Ed, or perhaps a figure from the left. Much also will depend upon the most important task of all, reducing the debt, balancing the budget, and moving the economy firmly into growth to produce wealth and jobs with the promise of an eventual lower tax base.

Update 13:49

This new government of David Cameron is full of surprises, Theresa May as Home Secretary, and Vince Cable NOT going to the Treasury as Chief Secretary, that post has been given to David Laws (Cable becomes Business Secretary instead), another surprise is Ken Clarke as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, the return of Iain Duncan Smith is no surprise after his achievements in the social welfare field. Think I’ll keep my predictions to myself for the rest of the day.

For those wanting to read the first analytical, but personal, full scale deconstruction of the Conservative campaign during the general election Tim Montgomerie has it here, he also had it in the Guardian and aired his thoughts on radio this morning, a sure sign that Conservative bloggers will not be able to be relied upon to be as sycophantic as their Labour rivals were.

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Snap out of it!

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“Authorities” issue another stop and desist to north-east photographer

Before I make a start local readers may be interested to know that Rossinisbird hasn’t quite disappeared but his quirky, interesting, acerbic, anti-religionist, green, climate change, freedom loving, and gaming blog has moved. Brian is now writing at Brian Paget where he relates the tale of two Accrington photographers who were stopped for being …..err…..well…photographers really.

Taking photographs at Christmas events must be a fairly common activity across the country, but the police decided to give these two unfortunate victims of our growing paranoid state a really bad time, and left one of them with a punitive arrest and criminal record, and DNA on file for as long as the police see fit.

Their crime is becoming all too common – reasonably expecting that the police justify their demands for the hapless snappers’ name and addresses, and perhaps give a little respect and use a little common sense at the same time.

It seems that photography must now be on the terms of the police, not the citizenry they are supposed to serve.

Too damn right Brian, it seems all you have to do these days to be thought of as a terrorist or a paedophile is to be male and walk around with a high ticket black bodied DSLR slung around your neck preferably with a large lens poking from the front. The fact that these incidents still happen is perhaps a reflection on the politics of police forces, there have been occasions when the Metroplitan Police have issued guidance to officers with strict reminders that photography in and from a public place is perfectly legal (in general) within the UK, but it seems that countless other forces don’t feel obliged to read or even follow the Met’s guidlines, whilst on the other hand it seems perfectly acceptable (to the police) to harass individuals by repeatedly photographing them in public or attempt to use (illegally) UAVs as Brian points out.

Which brings me to this incident a few days ago when Kevin Shewan was apprehended by Frank just a few miles from South Shields when he was shopping in The Bridges in Sunderland, his “crime” was to photograph his own son on a Thomas the Tank ride with his camera phone. According to Boing Boing:

At this point, a Bridges security guard (that will be Frank) came by and ordered him to stop taking pictures. He said that it was mall policy, and implied that Kevin was taking pictures because he was a paedophile. Kevin told him that this was ridiculous and took his son to find his wife and get out of the mall. He also took a picture of the security guard “so that if I later wanted to make a complaint to the centre I would be able to identify him.” Outside of the mall, Kevin was stopped by a police constable who had received a complaint from mall security that a suspicious potential paedophile had been taking pictures on its premises. The PC threatened to arrest Kevin “for creating a public disturbance” and ordered him to delete the photo of his son. The PC also averred that the Bridges Shopping Centre is a hotbed of paedophile assaults.

I would have liked to report Kevin’s own words but his weblog appears to be snowed under with requests, having featured at Doctorow’s place. Oh well perhaps it will recover in a few days time, I know how it can be after my story appeared in Boing Boing back in 2008. The silliness of these situations begs all sorts of questions about what type of society we are becoming as anti-terror laws introduced in the Blair/Brown years alter the very fabric of our life and have led to a paranoia about paedophiles, Muslims, and Photographers, but not necessarily in any given order. Heaven help anyone with olive skin walking through a busy shopping centre holding their little daughter’s hand with a camera around the neck! We have fast become a nation of stereotypes, pigeon holed into little boxes, profiled and categorised according to risk.

It really is time to snap out of it and realise that we are allowing the actions of some of the smallest minorities in life to dictate the authoritarian colour of our laws without regard to the well being, freedom, and civil liberties of the vast majority. What irks me more is the fact that the north-east, not particularly noted for high incidents of either paedophilia or terrorism, is as much mixed up in this Orwellian madness as London and other major conurbations – “bansturbation” has crept up on us with only a select few raising any real objections, even here in South Shields.

Related posts

There are other such posts in this blog, just do a search for “photography”, in the meanwhile you might also want to take a look at I’m a photographer not a terrorist.

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So, we cannot buy as many anti-terror measures in Pakistan as we would like.

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It’s just another symptom of a bankrupt government.

What is it with all of the political hand wringing today?

Government ministers and opposition spokesmen and women all seem to be crying crocodile tears over the fact that we cannot get good value for our pounds in Pakistan. Well we can squarely lay the blame for the demise of our national currency at the door of Gordon Brown who has ruined our economy after thirteen years of unfettered spending and borrowing, and we can sneer at the apparent disjointed messages given by Brown and Baroness Kinnock respectively. Glenda bemoans the fact that Foreign Office budgets are under tight restraint, while Gordon says that:

the “crucible of terrorism” on the Afghan-Pakistan border remained the “number one security threat to the West”

Which is all rather odd considering that the Americans regard the UK as posing the worst Al Qaeda led threat in the western world. Perhaps we’d be better off spending what little money we have left on supporting our own Muslim communities in battling the radicalising of their religion, thus preventing large numbers of Britons heading off to Yemen or Somalia (for that is where the top intelligence people believe the most dangerous training camps have emerged recently).

With al-Qaeda’s leadership under intense pressure from Nato and Pakistani security forces, there are reports that scores of British activists are now travelling to Yemen and Somalia to attend al-Qaeda training camps and receive instructions for carrying out terror attacks against Western targets.

“The level of al-Qaeda activity in Britain is becoming a major source of concern,” said a senior State Department official. “The organisation’s ability to use Britain as a base to plot terror attacks constitutes a serious threat to the security of Britain and other Western countries.”

Unfortunately, we saddled ourselves with Tony Blair in 1997 who decided, for reasons still being investigated by Chilcott, to take us into a couple of wars riding along as George Bush’s partner. Blair, without realising, made Britain a target for Islamic fundamentalists by his actions and even threatens the security of the vast majority of decent average moderate British Muslims as they are psychologically profiled and generally demonised by other sections of society. After another of his Acts of Parliament strengthened the “no win no fee conditional arrangements” we find we cannot even freely talk about terror and it’s consequences in this country, freedom of speech has been seriously curtailed under Labour, and in another consequence of T.W.A.T. (The War Against Terror) we find our police forces spending their time fighting against photographers instead of misguided Islamic radicals.

All these damaging consequences arising from the so called War Against Terror are symptoms of a government bankrupt financially, strategically, and morally, they no longer command authority, are totally muddle headed, and have long passed their sell by date.

Problem is our next government is unlikely to change much in the way that we formulate our foreign policies and hang on to the shirt tails of the USA, President Obama has had a year in The White House, a year that he promised would bring “change”, there has been precious little of it, he promised he would end the war in Afghanistan, yet he has decided to do that by sending even more American troops there, and he promised to bring the troops home from Iraq within 16 months, time is fast running out on that one too. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay, yet it is still operating as his deadline looms.

Perhaps, just perhaps, with a more independent foreign policy and with a Prime Minister able to stand up to an American President, we may be able to divert more of our resources internally and not have to worry so much about the threats from abroad. Perhaps, just perhaps, with British involvement in Afghanistan brought to an end, our security at home may be much improved.

We must live in hope.

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Written by curly

January 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm