Monday, February 27, 2006

Blair "I don't destroy liberties I protect them"

Tony Blair has an article in yesterday's Observer saying I don't destroy liberties, I protect them , in response to a series of articles in the paper recently on our disappearing freedoms.

"...there is a serious debate about the nature of liberty in the modern world. I accept the good faith of our critics. I just believe them to be profoundly mistaken...

If we fail to tackle ASB because the court system is inadequate, other people's liberties suffer. If we don't take head-on organised criminals or terrorists, others are harmed. The question is not one of individual liberty vs the state but of which approach best guarantees most liberty for the largest number of people.

In theory, traditional court processes and attitudes to civil liberties could work. But the modern world is different from the world for which these court processes were designed."

There is a strong academic temptation to dissect some of the phrases (like that last one) but it is largely the usual rhetoric, delivered with no real thought or feeling behind the words other than to repeat them often enough in the hope of having them accepted (a proven rhetorical tactic). But this "this world has changed; trust us we're acting in your best interests; we must protect your liberties by taking them away" just leads to further mistrust, as so clearly explained by Bruce Schneier here in the context of the US Ports controversy.

"when it comes to government, trust is based on transparency. The more our government is based on secrecy, the more we are forced to "just trust" it and the less we actually trust it."

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