Sunday, August 08, 2004

Special Blunkett

Read Blunkett's piece in the Observer: "Why I refuse to feed the media's summer frenzy" Too hot and tired to comment now. Hum.


Anonymous said...

"The problem is that those commenting and those submitting ideas to this consultation paper have one thing in common. They all know what they are against, but they don't appear to have very much idea as to what they favour."

We favour no further erosion of our civil and human rights. Why does the public have to come up with anti-terrorist strategies which do not destroy the core values which the terrorists are also trying to destroy ? That is what we spend billions of pounds on the Home Office etc. for.

"For instance, over the last four days there has been column inch after column inch devoted to the fact that in the United States there is often high-profile commentary followed, as in the most current case, by detailed scrutiny, with the potential risk of inviting ridicule."

Thiis certainly looks like an attack on Tom Ridge head of the Department of Homeland Security and his "10 out of 10" rating for the trustworthiness of the, as it now appears, 3 year old "intelligence" about the financial building targets in the USA.

There have been so many leaks from Pakistan and the USA, and speculation about Heathrow Airport, that the Home Secretary should have said something to quash the fear, uncertainty and doubt that these reports have generated, if there really is nothing to report in terms of an actual plot.

"And there are very good reasons why we shouldn't reveal certain information to the public. Firstly, we do not want to undermine in any way our sources of information, or share information which could place investigations in jeopardy."

If Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan the alleged "computer communications expert" really was acting as a double agent or had been "turned" after his secret arrest in Pakistan, then this is exactly what has happened courtesy of the USA "background" briefing and the Pakistani "intelligence sources".

"Second, we do not want to do or say anything which would prejudice any trial."

David Blunkett has already predjudiced trials with his statements, *twice* in the last year, once regarding a terrorist suspect in Gloucester and the other with the alleged football hooligan unfairly tried in Portugal during the Euro 2004 tournament.

It would have been better if David Blunkett had kept quiet, rather than give this non-interview to the Observer. He has not clarified, if, for example, Heathrow airport is more or less at risk than it was before the recent arrests.

Watching Them, Watching Us

Scribe said...

The Security Blunkett seems to be rather straw-manning in this one, and rather well I must admit. By taking a pinch of said "commentator"'s* debate - and only highlighting suggestions rather than criticism - Blunkett weaves his tale of cautious pragmatism around a few easy-to-bend, easy-to-dismiss notions, and ends up believing that he's answered the real criticism on offer.

Alas, the issues at stake aren't about his ability to "feed the media" or "increase concern". Instead, what we're constantly treated to is the apparently tried and tested method of announcing the latest scheme under guise of the latest threat, convincing people it's a good idea because of this, then using this extremely- and short-term-biased- "popularity" to steamroll through yet another badly thought out idea.

Blunkett is defending his "don't ask, as we won't tell" policy, to the point where people just give up asking and the government can be free to run things its own way. This approach to a system, to achieve a structure that plays on public fear, and that relies on a lack of accountability and critical thought, is inherently dangerous, and risks the body of power to wreak its own ends across a nation that stands nothing to gain from it in the long term, and indeed lose so much more.

This is about more than just terrorism - this is about the government's approach to leadership, and the intent of democracy. Currently, we are not facing a nanny state, but a state that wants us moulded in its own play-nice image. A state of the brainwashed.

Blunkett isn't afraid of inviting ridicule, he can brush that off quite easily. Instead, he's afraid of inviting sensible criticism and a reminder of what makes people rather than countries great.

* The BBC alludes to David Davis, shadow home secretary, but I've not confirmed for certain.