Thursday, 26 March 2009

Fear: The Last Refuge of Desperate Politicians

I make no apology for using as title to this blog; the title of Alice Miles's column in yeterday's Times (read the full article here)

Mrs Miles accuses Gordon Brown and the Government of an alarmist rhetoric of fear and that he is using the threat of terror attacks to shore up his support...stoke up fear and then present himself as their protector. She reports on this; on the day that the Government presented their anti terrorism strategy called, Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare to the public.

Incidentally, last Tuesday at the Executive Board, we were the same department (Community Safety),with two totally contradictory reports, one was a consultation report on Community Cohesion and the importance of getting on with each other.

The second one was a massive confidential report on the PREVENT agenda on anti terrorism...can't say too much on this because it was confidential! but you can read about it in detail in most broadsheets. The most worrying thing about this PREVENT document was that elected members hadn't approved was a document that seemed to have been agreed by OFFICERS within the Community Safety Parnerships and the Police...and the Security Services!! but it hadn't been ratified by Councillors even though it committed the Local Authority to extensive responsibilities.

In addition to many other meetings I have a tendency to look in occassionally on the quarterly meeting of the Police Community Forum hosted by the Police Authority and the last meeting I went to we had a presentation about 'Fear of Crime' and the fact that reality wasn't as bad as perception i.e. there isn't as much crime as we think there is...well is that so!! not the message I got from last Tuesday's Executive Board

Being an ex Police Officer I have been known to become quite cynical when the government and the Police seek more powers...isn't 3,000 pieces of legislation since 1997, that erode our civil liberties enough?

So yes I do agree with Alice Miles, the government are raising the ante so they can legislate to extend further the surveillance society that we have so spectacularly acquiesced to over the last 12 years. We must wake up and started challenging the state.

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