The Home Secretary, Theresa May has been trying to justify the introduction of the government’s new snooping laws by saying that they are necessary for the apprehension of “terrorists, paedophiles and criminals” adding that “ordinary people have nothing to fear.” Her howls of anguish at the huge level of criticism of the new proposals to monitor everyone’s communications would have had more credibility had she not been making the claims in the Sun newspaper which, as regular readers of TheOpinionSite.org are all too aware, has made a fortune out of “paedo-bashing”, misreporting, lies and exaggeration and by raising false fears of terrorist threats that may or may not have been real.
TheOpinionSite.org is of the view that the latest claims from Theresa May are merely an attempt to mask the true aims of the proposed legislation – that is, massive government interference to the last remaining vestiges of the right to privacy currently enjoyed by most people in Britain. This from a government that, before the last general election, was stating that there was already too much government intrusion into the lives of ordinary people.
It is a sad fact, proved by the statements and actions of previous home secretaries over the years, notably David Blunkett and Jacqui Smith, that whenever the government wants to get a piece of contentious legislation through Parliament, they always claim it is necessary for the protection of children and the investigation of those that might harm them.
Mrs May also fails to point out that the existing powers of the police, which are the most intrusive in Europe, are sufficient to do the job. She also ignores the fact that anyone who is serious about avoiding monitoring will use encryption devices, proxy servers and other technological devices to avoid detection, something over which the government has no control. Nor does she address the estimated £2 billion that the measures will cost, at a time when most people cannot even pay their weekly grocery bill.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that it is a sad indictment of Mrs May that she has stooped so low. Her entire career so far as Home Secretary has been characterised by seeking cheap publicity by making populist statements to the tabloid press. Her advisors should reconsider their strategy in order to protect whatever little credibility this ambitious woman has left.
A former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and a former senior official of the Association of Chief Police Officers today criticised the new proposals as being “unnecessary”. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has also hinted on the BBC’s ‘World at One’ today that safeguards will be “absolutely necessary”. He also suggested people wait until the details are published before criticising the proposals but regrettably failed to understand that it is actually the whole idea of what the government is proposing that is so nauseous to most people.
The government has said it will “consult” on the proposals but, given the nature of previous consultations, it is clear that the government will only ‘consult’ with those who support the new measures.
Mrs May however, like her now discredited predecessors, never seems to learn from her experiences. She has been mauled by the courts in recent months over sex offenders, terrorists and inappropriate measures against innocent people who have been ‘suspected’ of illegal activity. TheOpinionSite.org is therefore somewhat surprised that she is now demonstrating such crass stupidity by uttering her latest cheap and tacky statements – and in a newspaper that everyone now knows cannot be trusted to report the truth.
The “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” brigade show little more intelligence than Mrs May, refusing to acknowledge that even if this legislation were to go through with safeguards attached, the door would have already been opened to more government interference, intrusion and potential persecution of anyone who has the courage to stand up to what is fast becoming an elected dictatorship, thinly disguised as a democracy.
Moderate Conservative MPs, left wing Labour politicians and Liberal Democrat activists – already highly critical of their leader, Mr Clegg – have all come out against the proposals. Liberty and other human rights organisations have also condemned the plans as a “drastic step” in what is supposed to be a democracy.
Yet still, Mrs May persists in making matters even worse by appealing to the basest emotions of people by trying to pass these measures off as being ‘necessary’ for the protection of children. Such deceit only serves to damage real child protection and destroys the credibility of organisations that depend on public donations for their work.
By pandering to the tabloid press and by treating the public with utter contempt, she also damages her own position and nurtures the belief that all politicians are only interested in seizing more powers over the rest of us, whilst confidently basking in the knowledge that they themselves will not be subject to the scrutiny of what is an already over-powerful police force.
If Theresa May had been sensible, she would have kept these new powers reserved only to the Security Services (MI5), whose officers do so much hidden work to protect us from harm. Instead, she wants to allow local, ambitious policemen, some of whom have recently been found to be dishonest liars and criminals themselves, to have the powers to scrutinise every aspect of the lives of the “ordinary people” that she claims will be unaffected.
How could anyone be “unaffected “ by these new measures when the communications of every British man, woman and child are to be monitored by the police?
TheOpinionSite.org is firmly of the view that the government should drop these proposals now, before it makes an even bigger fool of itself. Ministers should remind themselves that they serve the public, not dictate to it and Mrs May should either review her position, quit or put a swastika on her arm.
Seldom has the TheOpinionSite.org felt the need to be so brutal in its condemnation of a government but in this case, we believe that such string and detailed criticism is entirely justified.
If Mrs May truly wants to protect us from terrorists, paedophiles and criminals, she should take steps to ensure that the current legislation is used more effectively, not simply come up with even more draconian and Orwellian laws designed to destroy the privacy of every individual in the country.
In recent days, it has become apparent that it is actually the police, more than any other organisation, that have asked for these new powers and we should not be surprised. Given that the all-powerful organisation that is the police is anxious to stop any further criticism of itself following the revelations of the Leveson enquiry and the uncovering of deceit and possible criminality at the very top of Britain’s police forces, surprise is out of the question.
Mrs May would however be entirely wrong to follow the example of her disgraced predecessors by giving the police even more power than they have already. If she does give them what they want, her actions will spell the end of open expression and debate, with everyone in Britain being too frightened to say what they think for fear of recrimination being exercised against them by what is already an oppressive government machine.
That may be what the government wants but it is likely that most reasonable people would find such a prospect to be disgusting and an affront to human decency.
TheOpinionSite.org hopes that if the new measures are announced in the Queen’s Speech and debated in Parliament, those who have the guts to stand up against oppression and potential dictatorship shout loudly. If they do not, the crawlers and leeches who so pervade our parliamentary system will get their way and once this proposed legislation becomes Law, free speech – and free thought – will be a thing of the past and we will all end up the victims of a totalitarian police state that everyone knew was coming – and which nobody bothered to stop.
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