Saturday, 21 December 2013

Trust us

The Coalition Agreement between the LibDems and the Tories back in May 2010 has a few things to say about civil liberties:

The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.”

Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.”

“Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.”

As David Bowie sang so memorably this year, ‘Where are we now?’ 

Where indeed.

As the Chilcott Inquiry hits the solid wall of Cabinet obstruction, being met with outright refusal to release papers showing who said what and when in the build up to the illegal Iraq War......

And as David Cameron reneges on an earlier commitment to have a judge-led inquiry into rendition and torture......

And as the deafening silence echoes around Whitehall as revelation after revelation exposes the extent to which GCHQ are deeply in bed with the American NSA --and as our neighbours and reported ‘allies’ become angrier and angrier at the way they have been snooped on.....

And as Jack Straw and the ex-head of MI6 cower behind the execrable ‘defence’ of national security  when the reality seems to be far more national embarrassment or even national crime.....

It seems that there is one law for us, the hoi polloi, and another for them, our rulers. 

Anyone unclear as to why any of this matters needs to wake up and catch up. In our name, innocent people have been sent to so-called ‘black’ prisons around the world where they were tortured. In our name the reverend Blair agreed to send back to Libya a couple of Gaddaffi’s opponents - in fact we sent back their families as well - so they could all be tortured - all so Blair could help his cronies in BP get their grubby little fingers on Libyan oil..... And in our name GCHQ bugs and snoops its way round the world listening in to just about everybody without any by your leave....

It appears that whenever one of our political parties assumes power in the UK they immediately jettison any commitments they made to civil liberties. New Labour were awful. Remember 90 day detention without trial? Now the Tories and LibDems have followed suit.

As for dealing with the secret services we are left with the pathetic toothless club of never was-ers and blazered fools to hold them to account. Really. No rigour, no transparency and no chance.

So what is the answer?

It is absolutely clear there is no way we can trust our leaders - of whatever persuasion - to do the right thing. The answer will have to come from outside Parliament.

A massive campaign of Reform, or...

Failing that revolution will follow - with all the uncertainties and unforeseen consequences and correlated damage which will do irreparable harm to the nation. 

So reform it is then.

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