Defending a free society


The recent US judgement that the extent of surveillance undertaken  by the US state is incompatible with American freedoms under the constitution is a welcome and important development.

As someone who was hopeful of something better from the Obama Presidency , he has been a big disappointment when it comes to civil liberties. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay, then failed to do so. He now supervises a very complex web of surveillance over the US people in the name of countering terrorism.

Guantanamo Bay was the very opposite of the system we fight to uphold – the right of every one to a fair trial, and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The surveillance of phone systems is said only to be about who you rang and when you rang them. It does seem very heavy handed to have to keep so many records about millions of innocent people.

Of course a relatively free society like the USA or the UK has to be realistic. There are enemies of a free society who do not play by our rules. We need to use our border controls, our police and courts to tackle them as need arises. We also need to be careful lest in the state’s enthusiasm to ward off evil, it goes too far in the direction of creating a Big Brother society where the state pre-empts our freedoms in the name of security.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I was never very hopeful of anything much positive coming from the Obama Presidency. He has indeed been a huge disappointment on civil liberties and very much else. It was clear from the outset that the “BBC thinkers” worshiped the ground upon which he walked (as they did with Blair), always a good reason to assume they will have a hugely negative effect.

    The USA does still has far more freedom of speech, rather less government, much lower taxation levels, a better economy and gas at 1/3 of UK prices due to far less BBC think “renewable” energy religion.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      I suspect much of this BBC Obama worship was motivated simply by his being black and of the left. I always think we should select for jobs on merit, regardless of gender or ethnic origins, but not with BBC thinkers it seems. He was also a lawyer always a big warning sign, at least he was not a minister of religion.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        If you face discrimination for whatever reason then merit will not be enough will it and no amount of right wing think and harrumphing will change anything. You could always pretend that discrimination is just whining and the real ones who are discriminated against the ones in the jobs already? As if.

  2. Arschloch
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    What is the big surprise here? The state has been listening into your phone calls for years. At the moment I am busy ploughing through Prof Christopher Andrew’s official history of MI5. Inside there is an amusing anecdote about one of the NUM leaders Mick McGahey and the public schoolboy snoopers inability to understand his near impenetrable Fifeshire accent. Why was MI5 listening to his phone calls? As far as I am aware, in the early 70s, it was not illegal to be either a trade unionist or a member of the Communist Party and the miners were legally on strike.

    • Mark
      Posted December 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Actually monitoring phone conversations required the authorisation of the Home Secretary at that time. Since RIPA 2000, intrusive surveillance can be authorised at a much lower level.

  3. Alte Fritz
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    The debate is eternal. The House of Lords case of Liversidge v Anderson (1942) repays reading for the dissenting judgement of Lord Atkin, criticising his brethren for being more executive minded than the executive.

    It is a short step to councils using anti terror powers to track down school catchment area cheats. Cheating is wrong but not terror.

  4. Jennifer A
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Freedom to have privacy ? Oh well. Just another loss of liberty that has not been counted in the quest for a multi-culti Utopia.

    The Left would have it that it has been all beer, skittles and benefit.

  5. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    A problem with telephone surveillance is the abuse of it’s intent.The idea of this type of surveillance is to check that there isn’t a threat to the country or community. There is no mandate for allowing the ‘listeners’ to change the course of events by using the information gained. There is no mandate for a moral judgement about individual matters which will not affect the state. There is no mandate for recording conversations and using them in a different context to destroy households and friendships and businesses. What we really need is to keep a surveillance on the listeners and watchers.

  6. petermartin2001
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Yes, very well put. It’s a tricky balance to keep nevertheless. There was really no justification for bugging Angela Merkel’s, and other prominent politicians’, mobile phones. On the other hand, to preserve democracy, the security services do have to be given the ability to bug anyone’s phone. No-one wants any repetition of 911 or 7/7. We just have to trust them to know where to draw the line, but it has to be said they don’t seem to be very good at that.
    Closer involvement of MPs, from both Houses, with the security services is probably needed. Of course, the process couldn’t be as public as we perhaps would like , but just knowing that it was happening, even behind closed doors, would give the public some much needed confidence.

  7. Andyvan
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    America no longer resembles a free country. The TSA question and search travelers not only at airports but at roadblocks across the country. The Border Patrol uses similar checkpoints. The police routinely arrest children as young as six for terrible offenses like kissing the hand of a girl that they have a crush on. The prison population is a far larger percentage of it’s citizens than the USSR or Nazi Germany ever managed. Should you be foolish enough to exercise your rights to free speech and manage to embarrass the government sufficiently you will be accused of terrorism and pursued across the globe. Every phone call and email is stored to be used against you at the state’s whim. Permits are required for any kind of business and if there is no permit for the kind of business you undertake they will still require you to have one on pain of violent arrest and imprisonment. Government officials routinely harass citizens for ridiculous non crimes like growing vegetables in their front garden sometimes to the extent that the victim takes their own life because of the endless torment.
    America is not a free country. Sadly the UK is heading in the same direction.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    You have commented adversely on Guantanamo before and then as now it seems to me that Obama came to realise, whether he liked it or not, that he has absolutely no choice but to keep it going. It is simply a weighing up of estimates of probabilities and consequences. The presumption of innocence might have once made universal sense when letting a few escape justice had only relatively small consequences but today with our modern explosives a so-minded released individual can kill thousands at a time. In the face of that, the niceties of law simply cannot apply, not if you are President and it’s your responsibility. Which route is going to save in his best estimation the most lives is the only consideration. Letting somebody go just because there isn’t absolute certainty of guilt in a modern Court whilst believing there is even a small chance of that someone causing death and mayhem does not make sense.

  9. Mark B
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    To me, it is all about maintaining checks and balances, transparency, legality, democratic oversight and proportionality.

    The State’s basic function is to protect its citizens and secure its borders. It also has other objectives beyond that covered by international treaties, such as the UN, NATO and the EU, not to forget the other myriad of trade and regulatory bodies we have signed up to.

    The first line of defence against threats to the State and its citizens, it simply to identify those threats wherever they maybe. When those threats are internal, careful consideration has to be given to national and international laws and democratic and legal justification. Damage caused by over zealous and unnecessary use of certain powers, whether they be by State organs tasked to deal with such threats, or by those, particularly in local authority, who have no business collecting information on the populace, can almost be seen as an even greater threat to our ‘so-called democracy’, than the original threat in the first place.

    Those with a democratic mandate must always seek from those tasked with maintaining peace and security, a health need not to become embroiled with the over-arching need to protect and the ‘cautionary principle.’

    Freedom, especially from benevolent tyranny, is easily lost. And once lost, it is hard to regain.

    The whole concept of terrorism, is to make those, especially Government, do something through fear rather than through reason. This can take many forms but we must be ever vigilant.

    I am always minded on such matters of this saying:

    “Beware when fighting monster’s, less you become a monster yourself !”

  10. acorn
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    What is a free society? Is it that defined, by westerners, as the planets self appointed judge, jury and executioner? The free society based on the clapped out, passed its sell-buy date, form of democracy; that they have forced on middle east and north African states, with such great success.

    Those states, formed by western colonial masters, that put boundaries in the wrong places, totally ignoring the ethnicity and culture of the peoples there. Those states that have now had dictatorship replaced by anarchy. Cameron says Afghanistan is “a vast improvement on what we found in 2001”, and that British troops can leave “with their heads held high over a job very well done”.

    “The West, led by America, needs to return to a policy which recognises the
    paramountcy of stability and order in international society. This piece began
    by arguing that the new doctrines of Messrs Bush and Blair were making the
    world a less safe place. Other states are watching and listening; where the
    President and the Prime Minister lead others will follow. A world in which
    states can use pre-emptive action, can change the regimes of their
    neighbours and espouse a rhetoric to justify intervention in support of their
    value systems (whether Judaeo Christian, Islamic, Communist or whatever)
    will be a much more unstable place.” (Axis of Anarchy: Britain, America and the New World Order after Iraq – Andrew Tyrie)

    Cameron thinks we are stupid, thanks to our debased education system he is probably correct. Next he will be telling us we made a profit selling six percent of Lloyds shares. Just like the CPI calculation, if you take out all the costs that are going up, you can get inflation down.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    And the (dis)UK along with Europe is heading slowly in exactly the same direction.

  12. Mike Stallared
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    “There are enemies of a free society who do not play by our rules.”

    Remember the Krays? They were English were they not. Or Crippen?

    What has changed is that a lot of people from countries which have long traditions of tyranny live right here among us. Personal property is simply the tyrant’s whenever he thinks it might be nice to take it. Torture is integral to the justice system. A smiling obedient population is obligatory; deception is of the essence. The State has ways of making you talk, ways of making you contribute according to your ability…

    And then there is a 16th century religious fervour. Hell is worse than a surprise bomb, so why not explode the bomb and kill a few people? Why not use the airline system to destroy (others ed)? That, of course, is just what God wants.

    People who live in a rough area need to be rough too. We were once, weren’t we. As the world loses the Anglosphere in a cloud of SMUG, who will take over? Bet you they aren’t that interested in other people’s property, life, liberty, happiness!

  13. stred
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Off subject. The Daily Politics had a Libdem MP and Peter Lilley on yesterday to dicuss shale gas with an actor as guest. I had the impression that the anti shale pair had been given more opportunity to speak and that Peter Lilley was not allowed to answer the points on water and earthqakes. The show is timed on I player so I noted the times. The antis had 3.92 mins and Peter 3.27 mins. But Mrs Munt was allowed a 1.53 speech at the start and a 1.3 min at the end as against short answers of 0.82, 0.77, 0.67 and 0.47. Then it was cut short so that tthe could discuss monkeys. You would not win a debate at the BBC.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      In the time she had available Libdem, Tessa Munt, did however manage to demonstrates that she has not the first clue about what she was saying. Even thinking methane was just burn off and wasted as a waste product. Private industry does not usually waste money and valuable gas in this way for very long if they do they go bust or get bought out. It is usually only governments who can afford such waste such as PV and Windfarms.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Its called flaring and your insight into it is fanciful at best. More simplistic pseudo scientific and economic nonsense from you.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      You can win a debate on the BBC if you say something profound and meaningful. I thought Mrs Munt said very little that could pass as profound and Mr Lilley said almost nothing at all. How he can be bothered I have no idea. I thought he was particularly uninspiring in his prime and has fallen further in the modern day.

      • stred
        Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        re Mr Lilley said nothing at all.

        He wasn’t allowed to, except for brief explanations of Mrs Munt’s misunderstandings. In the end he had to listen to a long speech on earthquakes and water and was left with his referenced facts on his knee, in order that we could listen to an important piece about pet monkeys.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Andrew Neil, at least, is a good middle of the road/fair presenter and not just another hugely biased, Guardian/BBC think pro EU, fake green, lefty. Jo Coburn tries her best not to be too “BBC think” as well. About the only nearly balanced political output on the BBC.

  14. English Pensioner
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I’m not too worried about the security services having information about my phone calls, as far as I understand it is only a list of whom you called as on an itemised phone bill. They obviously can’t analyse every call, and are clearly interested in anyone who is in contact with potential terrorists or foreign countries. I’d rather they did that than risk the possibility that some terrorists might escape surveillance. And I assume that they still have to get a court order if they want to actually tap a phone line and listen to conversations.
    Guantanamo Bay is a different matter, brought about by wars which are not officially wars. During wartime, suspects can be interred without trial, but legally this is more difficult when your country is not at war, as appears the case in Afghanistan. My instinct say that those at Guantanamo Bay should be returned to where they came from and allow the local authorities to deal with them. At the same time I have very little sympathy for “British Citizens” who were captured in Afghanistan, any more than one would have had for any captured in Germany by the advancing forces during WW2. etc ed

  15. stred
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Presumably any terrorist has known that Big Brother, or should it be Big Sister as it is all about keeping us safe and being good, is listening. They may be helped by having similar or false names and because anyone can buy a SIM for 5 quid and use it immediately. Wheras, the generally honest citizen using a registered phone or email now knows that everything is recorded for ages and should remember not to discuss business and tax details or perhaps what some may consider extreme political opinions. The US and UK work together and coverage is wordwide. Poor Bill K Obama and Dave can’t possibly keep up with it all and should not be blamed when they are found to be spying on their ‘friends’.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I cannot see the problem of having our “sophisticated” security forces monitoring things like telephone and modern forms of communications ; such activity does not restrict or prevent these things happening or, make them unlawful . It is necessary to keep a watchful eye and to act quickly where there is good reason to believe the public’s safety is at stake , so , I do not condemn the goings on at Cheltenham . As long as the press and the public retain the free right of expression , I am happy ; I do expect our security forces to do its job properly and to keep us safe .

    • Bazman
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Not monitoring my internet us that’s for sure. At least what I do not want them monitoring. The connection is slowed down by this but not enough to be a problem and this cannot be stopped. Letting the security services spy on you on the basis that if you are not doing anything wrong then it must be right? Have think where it can go and more importantly where it has been. The suede denim secret police will be knocking for you Bert and of course it will all be a mistake…

  17. APL
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    JR: “He now supervises a very complex web of surveillance over the US people in the name of countering terrorism.”

    He supervises an unconstitutional and very complex … fixed that for you.

    But it does seem to be a trend in the West, the political class exceeding their authority.

    To the invitation to trade ‘security’ for freedom. My reply, no thanks you outlaws.

  18. Neil Craig
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    The problem is that we encourage people who are literally our enemies to come here, and to stay here, and then the entire population have their rights diminished in the name of keeping tabs on the small number of enemies we have introduced.

    If we removed 0.01% of the (6,000) we would have no serious problem but a ruling class who have no problem with tapping 60 million phones would object to that.

  19. zorro
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    John, good to see you on the right side of the argument here. The Federal judge has said the NSA surveillance regime is unlawful and does not respect 4th amendment privileges under the Constitution.

    Obama has made liberal use of the drone to make attacks on sovereign countries with which the USA is not at war, killing many innocent people including children along the way.

    Guantanamo is an outrage to decent society, but I think that there are a lot of clues to suggest that it has another purpose…..

    You mention that the phone dragnet involves calls made by millions of phones. It is clearly more extensive than that, as revelations are making clearer all the time. US Security officials have clearly misled Congress in their testimony (I doubt that they were ‘testifying’ in the original Roman way…..).

    There are plenty of laws available to counter wrong doers and threats to our national security, but the ‘authorities’ always want more….until they have it all. They are just not very adept at using them, or they seem to let people through/repatriate them so that things happen….. What about the support given to the rebels in Syria via Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Oh, lo and behold, we now face a threat from people radicalised through the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings and Syria…… How convenient for those wanting to impose more controls and restrictions…… Yet they don’t even know who is coming or going!


    • APL
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      xorro: “Yet they don’t even know who is coming or going ”

      And there you have the nub of the matter. If you refuse to control who comes and goes into your country, you can no longer make the assumption that those here are generally good guys.

      Consequently, you get the whole paraphernalia of state surveillance. Cameras everywhere, increasingly onerous and stupid id requirements and so on.

    • sm
      Posted December 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Why was this judgement able to be made? Surely this has been raised many times before in court? and been dismissed.

      Surely a government or government actors would not act in an illegal, anti-competitive , unconstitutional or treasonous way to enhance goals other than genuine state security.

      They surely wouldn’t use this vast information for other purposes?

  20. zorro
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing…..’


    • lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink


      • Bazman
        Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Hard to see how you indeedy that comment.

  21. Tad Davison
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    You’re right John, and after Bush, we expected more from Obama, but he’s just another puppet.

    Far too many innocent people are being killed in drone strikes that are sanctioned by Obama in places like Yemen and Pakistan. If that doesn’t act as a recruiting sergeant for fundamentalists, I don’t know what will, so such acts hardly make us safer. I wonder how many people know that the USA cannot legally be held accountable for acts of genocide?

    I thought at the very least, Obama would bring principles to the Whitehouse.

    And I found Obama’s appearance at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service irksome. He still gives carte blanche support for Israel whom former US president Jimmy Carter has said exercises apartheid.

    The place is beyond governance, but the world is paying a heavy price for the ineffectual performances of placemen like Obama.

    Tad Davison


  22. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    ‘A Big Brother society where the state pre-empts our freedoms in the name of security’ or for views contrary to the imposed dogmas of those in power, as distinct from those who hold office in the current Westminster government.

  23. lifelogic
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Cameron today “We have cut peoples taxes” how can he say this with a straight face? Also the government’s borrowing is just deferred taxation too on top of these increases below.

  24. Kenneth
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    We have a big problem where the innocent are being treated as guilty until proven innocent.

    If an innocent 28 year-old tries to buy a bottle wine they are assumed to be guilty.
    If an innocent person tries to open a bank account they are assumed to be guilty.

    And so on.

    Surely the answer is to apply to law to those who break it. We should also have a refundable bond payment for all those coming into the UK.

    By watching our borders much more closely and only allowing those in who we consider desirable and by punishing the guilty we free innocent people from the increasing oppression they are suffering.

    It is stifling.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Indeed just opening a bank account can be a nightmare now.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        You mean you cannot just open a bank account and any form of verification of ID is just bureaucracy gone mad, at least where it concerns you? However any money laundering or crime committed by inadequate checks would just be absurd slackness by ‘staff’? Sound about right? It is.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Presumably the British would also have to pay some type of bond to enter the country or their choice as of course it would be reciprocal in this bureaucratic nightmare that would effect business, tourism and personal travel where everyone is presumed to be risk or as you say guilty before anything was proved? The BBC is to bureaucratic? What are you like?!

    • Nash Point
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Your last 3 paragraphs say that you want to leave the EU and become a Sovereign nation again. It won’t ever happen, especially with those MPs talking about “renegotiation” all the time. Stick to EU Referendum blog. I would, but I can’t resist Lifelogic’s postings… so entertaining… and right

  25. uanime5
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    He promised to close Guantanamo Bay, then failed to do so.

    The main problem is that neither the USA, Cuba, or the countries these men are from want these men. As a result there’s nowhere they can be released.

    He now supervises a very complex web of surveillance over the US people in the name of countering terrorism.

    Was this created by Obama or Bush? Obama is less blameworthy if he inherited this system rather than created it.

  26. Steve in Somerset
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I never understood why they could not simply be flown back to countries they were lifted from and handed over to the current authorities for disposal. Why America felt they had to be held is anyone’s guess.

  27. Sue Jameson
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    “Journalist Glenn Greenwald tells an EU inquiry that the UK’s collection of metadata is the “primary threat” to EU privacy, as the White House prepares to publish a review of the NSA’s surveillance.

    The American journalist was the first to publish key documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. And Mr Greenwald did not hold back in his criticism of the security agencies – or of EU governments, for their lack of investigation of the revelations – while giving evidence to an EU inquiry

    The UK’s GCHQ bore the brunt of his condemnation”.

    Our government are just as bad. What I don’t understand is how Tony Blair has gotten away with declaring war on Iraq with evidence (that was insufficient ed). As it Iraq wasn’t enough, he then decides to invade Afghanistan. Didn’t he think there would be repercussions? Finally, a UK Government decided to give our sovereignty away to a foreign dictatorship and flung open our borders to anyone who felt like coming. Now we have the delights of a Mafia type network of organised crime from all over the world.

    If the reasons are organised crime and terrorism, then police our borders properly. Its not the publics fault that your lot are inept! We were not asked whether we agreed to two insane wars which have put all our lives in jeopardy and we were not consulted about our membership with the EU!

    If “UK Governments” had asked the taxpayer (your employers)… we would have said to all of the above and we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in!

    • zorro
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Problem – Reaction – Solution…….. The overblown surveillance/quasi Police state mentality is their favourite solution.


  28. Paul
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    The debate about CCTV is interesting when thinking about the freedom of the individual and state control argument. Most of the public feel safer knowing that we have a huge amount of CCTV in operation in this country and would like to see more. The arguments made by freedom lovers against CCTV are unfounded and far outweighed when you think about the protection, value and peace of mind CCTV offers.

    • APL
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Paul: “Most of the public feel safer knowing that we have a huge amount of CCTV in operation in this country .. ”

      No they don’t, they don’t even think about it. Except when they see crime(watch) where the crime is solved by the use of CCTV, then it’s thought to be a good.

      Five seconds later. they’ve forgotten about CCTV altogether.

    • Mark
      Posted December 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      I find CCTV disturbing: it tells me I’m not safe and they need cameras to record what happens for use in court later.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Second item on BBC Ceefax today: Ronnie Biggs’ death

    Second item on BBC Ceefax today: Ronnie Biggs’ (the ‘petty criminal) obituary.

    How long before this corrosive, corrupt, biased and nepotistic organisation is stripped of its charter and licence fee ?

    • APL
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Anonymous: “How long before this corrosive, corrupt, biased and nepotistic organisation is stripped of its charter and licence fee ?”

      You are lifelogic and I claim my £5.00


  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    The problem is not the principle but the fact that we don’t trust a power mad State to limit their activities. May I suggest that the State should DISCRIMINATE more. Far from being unacceptable, targeting the more likely offenders is sensible. Thus, stop and search is carried out by police on people most likely to commit knife crime. Another measure along the same lines might be to pass a law that all religious services, whether public or private must be conducted in English, and that the police have a right to be present as observers.

    • zorro
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      You can be sure that they will not follow your suggestion……that would be limiting their freedom to act.


  31. pentsqui
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised that this was not linked by JR to some EU plot of some sort! And not much mention of our GCHQ either. O Tempora, o mores.

  32. Martin
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I share your concerns in this article. Who polices the police is an always valid question especially in an era of Plebgate and even the allegations about the Queen’s peanuts.

    What is deeply disturbing in the UK is the way most of the press are so pro a police state. Vast amounts of spending on the surveillance state pass without comment in the press. The same press who froth at the mouth if a pound is wasted (in their opinion) elsewhere.

    The under arm bowling (not the ashes) of Rifkinds’s MPs (select committee) at the security bosses was pathetic. The Arts select committee would have done a better job.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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