Friday, June 13, 2008

Fighting to defend our basic freedoms

Dynamite Davis"The truth is that, while 42 days marks a watershed, it is only the latest in the steady, insidious and relentless erosion of our freedoms over the past decade.

"We will soon have the most intrusive ID card system in the world. There is a CCTV camera for every 14 citizens — despite growing evidence of their ineffectiveness as deployed. We have the largest DNA database in the world, larger than any dictatorship, with thousands of innocent children and millions of innocent citizens on it.

"The Government has attacked the jury system, that historic bulwark against unfair law and the arbitrary abuse of state power. Shortcuts with our legal system have left British justice less firm and less fair. The Government hoards masses of personal data on insecure databases, opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers, but also exposing personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers.

"The state has security powers that clamp down on peaceful protest, and so-called hate laws that stifle legitimate debate — while those inciting violence get off scot-free. A 15-year-old boy was recently charged on the spot for holding a banner describing scientology as a 'dangerous cult', but extremists such as Abu Hamza are left free for years to incite violence and vitriol against this country.

"There are now 266 state powers allowing officials to force their way into the home. Six hundred public bodies have the authority to bug phones and emails and intercept the post. Forget the security services: councils and quangos conduct 1,000 surveillance operations every month, using powers that ought to be the preserve of law enforcement agencies. Officials in Poole spied for weeks on a family taking their children to school, to check that they lived inside the catchment area. Even our rubbish can now be examined by neighbourhood spooks.

"None of this has made us any safer. Violent crime has doubled in 10 years, and the Government continually briefs blood-curdling assessments of the terrorist threat. It is a myth to believe that we can defend our security by sacrificing our fundamental freedoms — one I intend to puncture over the next few weeks." —David Davis MP

1 comment:

Toby Stevens said...

Well said that man. What I don't understand is why the Guardian appear to be apologists for government policy today, arguing against some of Davis' points. Bizarre.