The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Blair Bashing in the Guardian

Posted by rantingkraut on June 28, 2006

Following a helpful comment from the samizdata commentariat, I came across this piece on the Guardian’s website:

“For here is the key thought in considering Labour’s record on civil liberties. In the early phase of the second world war, when a huge enemy army was assembled on the French coast in preparation for an invasion of the British Isles, and while the air arm of that force was daily bombing us, the British government introduced a number of temporary – note: temporary – restrictions on civil liberties, including ID cards and limitations on press freedom. Pre-war liberties were restored after the war’s end. Today, in the face of far smaller, localised, intermittent threats from tiny numbers of people, the Labour government proposes to introduce permanent – note: permanent – diminutions of our civil liberties, among them ID cards ( that is, number plates for people) and storage of biometric data, with this linked to a central, national, computerised registry.

What has changed? Answer: the mentality, the quality, the intelligence, and the ethics of our political leaders.”

(Source)

Such are the closing paragraphs of a comment announcing a disturbing discovery: 1. Blair is authoritarian. And 2.: he and his government are eroding our civil liberties. –You don’t say!

Overall, this comment is well worth reading. The author (AC Grayling) proposes some crazy press regulation, in what I assume is a bit of sarcasm, and naively accepts that there is a smooth trade-off between safety and liberty. Other than that, a surprisingly good article, considering it is on the Guardian’s website. So while I am at it, here is another good quote from this piece:

A couple of years ago, the International Herald Tribune ran an article, penned jointly by the unlamented David Blunkett and several other interior ministers of EU states, arguing for the proposition that the first duty of governments is to ensure their citizens’ security. This is a falsehood, and a dangerous one. Their first duty is quite different: it is to protect their citizens’ liberties. When the two conflict, security has to yield to liberty…”

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