Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Its not what 'they' say that should matter

- it is what we say that should matter! To illustrate, three items of news that have emerged, which are further examples of the inexorable loss of freedoms which are being imposed on us:

John Redwood, on his blog  and writing on the subject of our relationship with the EU, believes that:
"We should go on to say we will co-operate in creating the new political and constitutional architecture they want. They will need us to vote for it. We should do  so , as long as our interests are protected. Tomorrow I will talk about what we should want in return for approving the next big step in the project to create out of Euroland a United States of Europe."
"I would like the Government to renegotiate a looser arrangement and then put it to the British people."
I have to ask Mr. Redwood just who the hell is this 'we'? The extract from his blog reads very much as if he would be prepared to accept the political and constitutional architecture they want in return for a few powers. Just what constitutes a looser relationship and who decides those 'looser terms'? This seems to me like yet another political fudge to negate the call for an in/out referendum, one which the public want; and that which Redwood proposes cannot, logically, be consistent for one who promotes himself as a Eurosceptic. It is noticeable that the name 'Redwood' does not appear on the 'BetterOffOut' website; coupled with another fact and that is, if the Conservative Party are a Eurosceptic party, then why are there only 6 Conservative MPs appearing on that website?

There are, apparently, 40 MPs under investigation for 'dubious expense claims', as reported in the Mail and the Daily Telegraph. Earlier this year, the watchdog signalled it would expose anybody who had put in dubious claims and that their hearings would be held in public, following the outcry in 2009 over the original expenses scandal. But Luke March, the body’s compliance officer, has now backtracked, saying identities will not be revealed until an inquiry is completed – and only if an MP has been found guilty. Conversely, Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon - who oversaw expenses probes until Ipsa took charge after the general election - routinely publishes names of MPs who are under investigation. The question has to be asked, therefore, just who has 'got at' who? Setting that point to one side, should not we be asked how we wish any inquiry to be conducted - when all is said and done, just whose money is it involved? Since when did a bureaucrat decide policy, one who is unelected and unaccountable to the public, but whose salary is paid by the public? As with the expenses scandal, we have the situation whereby a little 'fix' is being arranged amongst the Westminster 'Bubble' for the benefit of said 'Bubble'.

The Guardian has reported that police forces are combining to create new regional 'surveillance units', with the aim of making it easier for the authorities to bug computers, break into properties and interfere with wireless internet networks as part of countersurveillance operations.
"Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Waterfield of Nottinghamshire police wrote in an internal paper that the new £2m-a-year organisation would improve access to hi-tech surveillance as well as the planting of bugs. Emtsu (pdf) will provide Nottinghamshire with a 'one-stop shop' approach to covert forensics, covert hi-tech crime and specialist support unit, which will include covert entry into premises, covert search and the deployment of intrusive surveillance methods" (Emphasis mine)
Neither will it have escaped readers of the Guardian article that the doyen of ACPO, Hugh Orde, believes that it would be advisable to introduce an additional element of judicial oversight in keeping with their traditions of accountability in order to secure the confidence of right-thinking people. Exactly where is Hugh Orde accountable to the people and the only right-thinking people he wishes to secure the confidence of is the politicians. In other words, anyone who does not espouse the views of the 'right-thinking' people will be labelled as fascists, terrorists and 'right-wing' and therefore subject to having their privacy invaded.

Courtesy of The Talking Clock comes a short video of Spanish protesters who have begun a march from the capital to Brussels. Perhaps we in this country should also start a march on Parliament to express our disgust and dislike of the dictatorial attitudes of those we elect - and those we don't elect!


PeterCharles said...

From what I have seen I think John Redwood is a true Eurosceptic, certainly his views before the last election were a lot more trenchant on most points, not just Europe, but since his party is now in power he has become much less assertive and more prepared to excuse rather than accuse the government, a trait which has caused me to lose a lot of respect for him. He is of course a 'big beast' within parliament and as a semi-detached member of the government presumably feels the need to show some modicum of party loyalty. Certainly he is as far from Cameron's political ideology as you can get and still be in the party. I suppose his stance is based on the idea politics is the art of the possible and compromise rules the day, a belief that is probably more corrosive than any other and responsible for much of our present inadequacy.

That MPs are still trying to fiddle expenses and obfuscate any investigation is par for the course, nothing drives most politicians more than their sense of importance and entitlement.

The piece on surveillance is disturbing, but not unexpected. Ever since Michael Howerd Home Secretaries have embraced the 'a little bit of a police state is a good thing' stance and of course the tabloids are always demanding that the police are more pro-active in combating potential crime and criminals. It's good for the media, I suppose, they encourage the government and police to introduce things like DNA databases and 'kettling' then get to lambaste them when it all goes wrong, every one a winner for them and sod the man in the street.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: On the subject of Redwood,cynic that I am leads me to suspect that it may have been hinted to him that a ministerial post (of some level) could well be his, come a reshuffle...? Hence the softening of his euroscepticism.

Redwood has a sharp and incisive mind and is a very clever man. What I find unacceptable is that, like most politicians, his principles appear to be questionable if what he has written and said is taken 'as read.

Agree with the other two paragraphs, needless to say.

TomTom said...

The Police are technically incompetent. They may be able to take on the idiots with unsophisticated WiFi but cannot deal with VPN tunnelling and the like....and they are hardly Menwith Hill talents.

I think we shall find PC Plod can do the basic stuff but has not a clue how to deal with sophistication and encryption. I mean just look how long it has taken to even read Mulcaire's notes on phone eavesdropping ! And they breach RIPA 2000