Friday, April 23, 2004

Outrage D'Jour [Buy One Get One Free]

Every now and again a pair of stories come up which, while being objectionable in themselves, when viewed together confirm beyond all reasonable doubt that this country is under the control of lunatics. Try this one for starters:

David Blunkett has pledged to push ahead with ID card legislation after an opinion poll said most people would be happy to carry one.
The home secretary said he wanted a bill paving the way for a national ID scheme to become law before the next general election.

Which is enough to trip anyone's humbug sensor. And indeed futher down we find this:

The MORI survey was commissioned by an IT consultancy which has worked on projects with the government.

It revealed 80% of those questioned backed a national ID card scheme, echoing findings from previous polls.

Firstly, what's with this 'an IT consultancy ' - if the Beeb can publicise this poll, they can surely tell us who commissioned it (ditto the 'previous polls'). Instinct tells me there may be a connection between this poll and one of Blunkett's other statements:

[The home secretary] said he would bring in outside expertise to ensure the system worked.

So, the BBC feels no shame in carrying the results of a survey commisioned by an unidentified company that may well stand to score huge contracts from the very policy it's advocating. How fortunate we are this doesn't involve Dubya or Haliburton - the Beeb would turn the Screechometer up to 11. Does the Beeb think 'conflicts of interest' only happen in America ?

Still, for the full load of irony, today's the day we're reminded just how awful the government is at dealing with actual baddies:

David Blunkett has lost his legal bid to stop a suspected Algerian terrorist being released on bail.
The detainee, known only as "G", has been held without charge or trial since December 2001 and claims his open-ended detention is making him mentally ill.

The Home Secretary had claimed G's mental condition was not serious.

But the Special Immigration Appeal Commission (SIAC) upheld its January ruling that the 35-year-old should be freed on bail under house arrest.

As ever, the Beeb misses the key point - the detention is only indefinite until he decides to leave the country. He can quit any time he wants. What he couldn't do was enter Britain and move about freely - the only 'human right' he's being denied is the right to enter Britain. Some call it cruelty, some call it a basic part of soverignty.

So, taken in aggregate, what have we learned today ? Banging up terrorists is BAD, but insisting that no one can leave the house without paying the government for the privledge is OK. To protect against terrorism, we need to ensure that grannies going the corner shop for a bottle of milk must show their papers to some man in blue, but not only are we obliged to let Bin Ladenoids enter the country, but we can't bang them up when they get here. We have to put them under house arrest - enforced how exactly ? The ever-reliable tags ? And, for the sake of argument, why can't they train recruits/assemble bombs/sort out the laundering of cash or more or less most of the 'job' without leaving the house ? Answer: they can, and the government's too busy trying to push through legislation turning the right to freedom of movement into a privledge to deal with the actual baddies.

What an absolute trainwreck.

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