I have, no really, never read anything so patently stupid for an age!
He [Tony McNulty, the UK employment minister] called Dame Stella’s remarks “abject nonsense” then declared in a most Prescott-like sentence, “Sadly I think talk, misguided talk, by informed commentators such as Stella Rimington, talking about a police state in any regard in the UK, does the job that she is accusing us of potentially doing.”
This bastardisation of the English language comes after Stella Rimington – her of MI5 fame – you know, the secret service in the UK said that the British government [New Labour] was using the fear of terrorism to bring about the errosion of civil liberties in the UK and there is a possible police state just around the corner.
New Labour are, as you may guess, electioneering right now – they are getting ready for the day they can call a snap election that they hope will favour them – and, from what I read so is the civil service. They, too, like this new power they have. You cannot believe what the government is saying about civil liberties – once, a long time ago, Labour could be said to be the most righteous in believing in civil liberties – but, again, this isn’t the Labour party that is in power, it is something very different. But all that said it matter nought.
Previously ministers have been able to get away with dismissing critics who are concerned about the government’s record on rights and liberty, but Dame Stella packs a punch, because, like Lady Manningham-Buller, one of her successors at MI5 who opposed 42-days, she is not a usual suspect fielded by the liberal cause. I [Henry Porter] have met her a couple of times – once when we shared a platform at the Cheltenham literary festival and on the Radio 4 Today programme when she was guest editor – and I can say that she makes up her mind on issues and is not given to wild and hysterical talk. She is measured and tough.
She was the chief of MI5 – she is no lightweight – by any stretch of the imagination – and, to add to that, she is establishment, too!
Now I am against the establishment – it has, over the eons of human existance – done far more harm than good, this is why I believe in progressive politics and policies.
What she said to the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia was this. “It would be better that the government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism: that we live in fear and under a police state.”
She is right and correct. The British people had to put up with the IRA from 1969 to the Good Friday Agreement – a truce which still holds today. So why must the fact that Muslim extremists must be seen in a different light than those terror tactics of the IRA, RIRA?
Because it means now, that the government can get away with doing what they do because they have not only a religious aspect, they have a sect of people who will do inhuman things to get their own way, yet, will the government use the words Muslim? The answer is no – because both they and the Tories need the Muslim vote!
People who live in the UK should be expected to live in tolerance with each other – that is a given, but if a certain section of society wish to adjunct what is an integrated society with violence should be condemned by all, certainly not a matter of bringing about legislation that is aimed at 0.1% of that society and effecting 100% of it – that is walking toward a police state – not away from it.
Stella Rimington is right – and the British people should know that.