The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Preserving Freedom?

Posted by rantingkraut on August 9, 2006

John Reid has once more been repeating the old Blairite Mantra that safety is in fashion while liberty isn’t (BBC). Normally this kind of comment is made in preparation for yet another piece of repressive legislation. This time however, the home secretary is merely whining about a court decision stopping him from using existing legislation. Sadly, the state of Britain is such that this marks an improvement of sorts: for once the emerging tyranny is on the defensive.

There is one further revealing comment in the BBC’s news item:

While I am confident that the security services and police will deliver 100% effort and 100% dedication, they cannot guarantee 100% success.
(source)

Take care to remember this explicit statement of the usually implicit assumption that the security services always give 100% effort (presumably regardless of the incentives under which they operate). Whenever the security services fail, the fall-out in authoritarian legislation is justified by arguing that new powers are needed to prevent further terrorist attacks. The implicit assumption is that the existing powers have been used fully and efficiently –an assumption that is rarely queried, though there are exceptions.

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