Monday, February 04, 2008

MP bugged and everyone's aghast

So Jack Straw considers it entirely unacceptable for an MP to be bugged during a meeting with one of his constituents, who happens to be wanted by the US as a terrorist suspect. This the same Jack Straw who for years has, along with his colleagues in government, been tediously repeating the "nothing to hide nothing to fear" mantra?

The Wilson doctrine has theoretically protected MPs from this kind of covert surveillance since the 1960s. So we must look to the technical concept of 'externalities' so familiar to economists as one of the key reasons why government can repeatedly pass laws facilitating increasing intrusive surveillance. They act comfortable in the belief that such laws won't apply to them, just to the untrustworthy citizenry. Maybe it is time we dropped the Wilson doctrine and MPs shared the consequences of the fall-out from ill-conceived laws?

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