Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Should UWO be taken before the Human Rights Tribunals? | Main | Are we still Keynesians? »

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Britain's outgoing chief proescutor warns about the 'security state'

Some random news and stats from Britain:

At last count there were 4,285,000 security cameras on British streets.  British home secretary Jacqui Smith is trying to quell a revolt within her ministry against her proposed 'super database' which will record the private emails, browsing history, and Facebook accounts of every resident in the UK.  You will soon need to produce your passport before buying a mobile phone - this will be used to build a database of mobile phone owners.  The UK will begin issuing National ID cards next month, starting with immigrants, they'll soon become mandatory for all citizens... etc ... etc ... etc ...

Enter Britain's outgoing chief prosecutor, Sir Ken Macdonald.  In a speech on Monday he talked about the threat to liberty posed by the "Security State":

We need to take very great care not to fall into a way of life in which freedom's back is broken by the relentless pressure of a security State.

Over the last thirty years technology has given each of us, as individual citizens, enormous gifts of access to information and knowledge. Sometimes it seems as if everything in the world is at our fingertips and this doubtless has made our lives immeasurably richer.

But technology also gives the State enormous powers of access to knowledge and information about each one of us. And the ability to collect and store it at will. Every second of every day, in everything we do.

Of course modern technology is of critical importance to the struggle against serious crime and, used wisely, it can and will protect us.

But we need to understand that it is in the nature of State power that decisions taken in the next few months and years about how the State may use these powers, and to what extent, are likely to be irreversible. They will be with us forever. And they in turn will be built upon.

So we should take very great care to imagine the world we are creating before we build it. We might end up living with something we can't bear.

So we have been absolutely right to resist, whenever they have been suggested, special courts, vetted judges and all the other paraphernalia of paranoia.

Of course, you can have the Guantanamo model.

You can have the model which says that we cannot afford to give people their rights, that rights are too expensive because of the nature of the threats we are facing.

Or you can say, as I prefer to, that our rights are priceless. That the best way to face down those threats is to strengthen our institutions rather than to degrade them.

The full speech can be found here.

Posted by Robert Jago on October 22, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Britain's outgoing chief proescutor warns about the 'security state':


One could never guess that this was the birth place of individual freedom, liberty and democracy. Orwell was only mistaken concerning the date.

The UK is a prime example of internal rot and where it leads. Instead of dealing with the enemy (or at least identifying him), in the name of equality it is preferred to impose fascist police state measures on all citizens. Perhaps one should ask why the citizens continue to accept it.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-10-22 3:23:54 PM

...one word - lemmings.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2008-10-22 6:30:06 PM

Yes, it follows a very predictable pattern. First, confiscate all civilian weapons. Then, curtail all civilian liberties. And before you know it you have cattle cars filled with undesirables on their way to the ovens. While no one seriously suspects the current English administration has anything quite so drastic in mind, it's nevertheless apparent that Blairian authorities are besotted by power. And this in the land of the Magna Carta. Yuppies are such sheeple.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-10-22 7:00:20 PM

Wow Shane, sometimes you amaze me.

Posted by: JC | 2008-10-22 7:24:10 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.