John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, February 27, 2005
  Tyranny by stealth (The Homeland Security State)
Imagine it: The federal government tracking you in real time, while compiling a database with information on your speed, route, and destination; where you were when; how many times you went to a certain location; and just about anything else related to your travels in your own car.

The idea of systems to track where cars are already exists. There are lots of schemes whereby the real time location, speed and other matters (such as whether people are using seat belts) can be tracked.

I have had a "tracker" on my car for a number of years as a tool for finding the car if it is stolen.

Within the context of politicians having inherent conflicts of interest - which is why we have the separation of the estates of government - Charles Clarke's idea that he should be able to impose sanctions upon people is badly flawed.

The arguments that the Labour Party use for keeping detailed records of people in a centralised ID database apply the same to the idea of compulsory tracking. There are already arguments that car tracking should be compulsory (and linked to road pricing). You can already imagine Charles Clarke and David Blunkett type arguments as to why we need human tracking as well.

The technology is straightforward. People need to keep with them a mobile phone or PDA that can be used to track where they are. The government keeps records of all of this. Anyone that Charles Clarke decides is a suspected terrorist is required to have a chip implanted that does the same.

All of this technology already exists (apart from the implanted chip - but that is not difficult).

What do we have at the moment:

The same government is likely to institute laws requiring cars to be tracked and it is a small step from here to track people.

With all of the mass media in operation it would seem surprising that Tyranny could be established by stealth. From my perspective, however, this is something that is happening gradually. It is the gradual nature of this change that makes it insidious.

Somehow all the traditional understanding of the need for checks and balances has disappeared and been replaced by the concept of "the best of all possible governments" and "trust Tony".
 
Comments:
You're doing it again. You are either a blithering idiot or totally dishonest. The GOVERNMENT did not change the method of voting. Parliament did... including every single Liberal Democrat who voted on the Electoral Commission recommendations. It is this blatant dishonesty on your part, which is so indicative of the Party you represent, which means that no-one takes you seriously. The Tories are welcome to you John, you make a fine pair.
 
We have been through this before. The rules were changed before the creation of the Electoral Commission.

I have accepted that some people voted for this legislation without understanding exactly what the consequences were.

Still means we are getting "Tyrranny by stealth".
 
The other point raises the importance of distinguishing between the government and parliament. Sadly the distinction is not sufficiently clear.
 
I do not doubt for one moment the tyranny by stealth. If what you are saying is people voted but didn't know what they were voting for I don't know whether to be shocked at the naievity of Lib Dems... or appalled at their stupidity. The rules were changed by Parliament, not by the Labour Party. How can anyone want to elect Lib Dem MPs who will not even know what they are voting for... and then use their gullibility as an excuse
 
I don't know who voted for what on this issue and am not inclined to research it.

I raised concerns immediately and my party has also supported me in this process. I have been in touch with various people such as (Lord) Chris Rennard and (Lord) Tony Greaves - who both share my concerns and are doing things about it.

If some people in the party were so naive as to believe the Labour lies then that's part of life. I think after Iraq Labour's lies will be tested against reality rather than trusted.
 
Not inclined to research it... I bet you're not.
 
If they messed up in 1999/2000 or whenever it was then they are getting it right now unlike Labour.

In any event the lead on this came from Labour.

viz the "Labour Government"

It doesn't matter which way they voted way back when - the argument does not shift.

In any event I am not a clone of Charles Kennedy.
 
Actually, that is one of the truer things you have said. Whilst Kennedy, like yourself, simply moves the argument on to something else in an attempt to obscure the fact that he has got things patently wrong, he at least told the World at One that Conservative policies were so abhorant that he would not do a deal with them. I know you probably won't get into Parliament, but a quick reading of an A level British Politics and Constitution should help you to understand how legislation is passed on to the statute book. For the moment you seem a little confused.
 
Are you really claiming that the legislative agenda for the House of Commons is not set by the Labour Party?
 
Absolutely. The legislative agenda is set by the Giovernment. My point, and I have been consistent on this, is that if all parties supported the legislative change, then the Houses of Parliament (including the noble Lords - incidentally, unelected by anyone, by postal ballot or otherwise - you say support you), has got something to answer for if something is wrong, not the Government, and certainly not the Labour Party, which in itself has no legislative powers. You seek to ascribe crooked motives to the Government and the Labour Party for doing something which also had the support of Lib Dem MPs. If you assert baldly that the Government did vthis for corrupt purposes, I feel perfectly at Liberty to ascribe the same motives to your Lib Dem MPs and Lords.
 
At the moment the key thing is to get the system changed so that we get a substantially more honest system with a secret a ballot.

The first part of this is a formal recognition by government that the current situation is unacceptable.
 
Right. A little research is called for.

Firstly, the Home Office Working Party on Electoral procedures drew up the recommendations on voting. They were a group of politicians and civil servants from local and national government. See http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/documents/page/odpm_locgov_605344.pdf for a listing of members. I think it qualifies as an independent review of the system.

The Liberal Democrats voted with the government on the substantive elements of the Bill. There were votes against the government line on the electoral register, but the second reading of the bill went through backed by Lembit Opik, Norman Baker, Simon Hughes and David Heath - amongst others. No LibDems voted against the bill at the second reading.

If it was a Labour conspiracy, the Liberal Democrats connived at it. If we take John's view of the reform, then the only party with a good record on the RPA is the Tory party - they opposed it fairly thoroughly.

Simon Hughes, in particular, seems to have been more exercised by the opportunity for the free distribution of a mayoral election address in London than by any concerns over the safety of voting.
 
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What a pity the Liberal Democrat Leader thought preparing for his interview on TV the next day was more important than voting against, eh?
 
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