back to article Brown promises simultaneous liberty and security

Gordon Brown's government yesterday sent mixed messages on questions of personal liberty versus collective security. On the one hand, the Prime Minister pledged reforms and initiatives aimed at simplifying and reducing official powers to enter homes and private property. Justice Minister Jack Straw, too, kicked off several …


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  1. The Other Steve
    Thumb Down


    "plans were also announced to protect freedom of information and "legitimate journalism". Specifically this would be done by having Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, examine the rules under which many government documents are locked away for decades before being released to the public."

    That's a joke right ? Please tell me that's a joke. It's certainly the first time I've seen the words "legitimate journalism" and "Daily Mail" in the same sentence.

    You're not seriously telling me that instead of convening a committee of bipartisan pols and other interedsted parties, The Fat Controller is going to cede judgement on an issue of national importance to the Daily bastard Mail ?????????

    I can't find any words, I really can't.

    "new issues of terrorism and security, "

    Again, that's a joke right ? I mean it's nearly November yeah ? Guy Fawkes ? Anyone ??

  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Looks like the old Blair trick....

    .... promise everything to everyone, ignore the contradictions, and just hope the voters have forgotten by the time it comes round to an election.

  3. Tom Hawkins

    The things your brain does when skim-reading

    'protect ... legitimate journalism ... by having Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, ... locked away'

    If only...

  4. P. J. Isserlis


    Labour politicians could just repeal all of the laws and regulations that they introduced to control and restrict us. But I suppose they enjoy the fun of devising more laws and regulations to worsen and complicate the state that the last lot created.

    Terrorism? New? I'm not that old and I remember the IRA, well financed with American money, causing aggravation throughout the UK, Norther Ireland and even in continental Europe . Somehow, the country survived without almost Orwellian measures and the problem seems to be over. So just what is the intent of the current wave of control-freakery and promotion of a climate of fear?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Can you guarantee their job/finances etc.?

    "Rather counterbalancing this, Mr Brown suggested he personally would favour an extension of police powers to hold suspects for long periods without trial. He also favoured the controversial National ID card system."

    Hold a man for a day and it won't affect his employment, hold him for a week and you are really stretching it and better be sure he's your man. Hold him for a month and he'll be fired from his job for sure, fail to pay many bills, be put under extreme financial strain and stress, affect his credit record.

    Lock him up for 3 months and his house will be repossessed when he gets home.

    Yet you don't even have enough evidence to file a charge again him?

    How long exactly does it take to obtain phone records, interview them and get a few DNA samples back. I think its less than a week, yet already it's taken to 1 month, now they want 3????

    I think it will just lead to job stretching we see in Government already. Taking a leisurely time to do anything as a means of denying someone their rights. Oh can we hold him for an extra month, we need the DNA samples back and I've sent them off by second class parcel post because a bike courier was too expensive. But hey, he's got a turban, you know, like a terrorist wears nudge nudge wink wink.

    Also why did National ID have to be a complicated expensive biometric privacy invading boondongle project? Why couldn't it simply have been an ID card like anything else. Blaming Europe for it, doesn't help, since UK was the driver in Europe for this. Why did we have to out-creepy Burma?

  6. Charles Spalton

    Just goes to show, you can't teach an old government new tricks

    As Matt Bryant points out, pretty much SOP - all Broon has to do now is pick and choose the elements he actually wants to implement. It is somewhat new to include the whole self-inconsistent mess in a single speech, though.

    And someone really should drop a hint to our current leader that this government has already written a "new chapter in our country's story of liberty" - it has mutilated and crippled it in whole new ways, to a degree never before achieved.

    Mind you, at least with Brown spin, the colour gives a clue as to the value of the content.

  7. Chris Cheale

    A new chapter in our country's story of liberty


    "I want to explore how together we can write a new chapter in our country's story of liberty,"


    And to do this we'll redefine liberty. The new definition of liberty will be that the few will be free to live in perfect safety, free from terror, free from crime and above all free from the horror of having to make their own decisions about what is good for them.

    The vast majority will be the RFID chipped sub-human drones who live their lives out under constant surveillance thus ensuring security and freedom for the good and the great.

    Neo-Labour, we'll brainwash the affluent/stupid and enslave the rest. For those who refuse to conform, who refuse "The Greater Good", our overlords... I mean friends in the US have reserved a special place for you at their Guantanamo Bay Re-Education Center.


    How can we be so retarded?

    Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime? No - soft on crime and blame <insert current "Won't someone please think of the children" outrage here> and totally ignore the actual causes of crime (as they're too difficult).

    We're so concerned about the human rights of convicted criminals and yet continue pushing laws that greatly impinge on those same human rights if they belong to someone who has never been convicted (or even suspected) of a crime. Look a bit swarthy, carrying a backpack, running for the tube? 3 months locked up for DOING NOTHING WRONG (while they make sure you were doing nothing wrong).

  8. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Novel collision between 'legitimate journalism' and 'Paul Dacre'

    Could this be anything to do with the fact that the Mail was one of the few papers that didn't crucify Brown over his recent decision to abandon an election?

    Not to mention that wooing the Mail has been a staple New Labour policy since before they came to power. With Dacre being allowed to set government policy on the media, Brown can be sure he won't get too many Mail editorials gushing about Cameron.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    more famous quotations

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In a way Guantanmo is just an extended form of detention without trial

    In a way isn't Guantanamo just an extension of detainment without trial? After all you're accepting that you can detain people longer than the minimum time needed to speedily investigate their suspected crimes, without bringing them to trial.

    It's just the US is really really really slow at investigating these suspected 9/11 terrorists, and hasn't yet brought them to trial since 9/11 because 9/11 changed everything, whereas the UK police are saying, they're just a bit 7/7 slow and need a few months to investigate before deciding 7/7 to bring charges because everything changed after 7/7 and it's more difficult to do checks for explosives now in the post 7/7 world than it was in the pre-7/7....

    Basically, at what point does it stop being holding while they file charges and start being detainment without trial? When they lose their job? When they lose their house? When they lose their wife? When their car is towed away with unpaid car tax? When exactly does it stop being reasonable detention prior to charges being placed?

    I'd say nothing changed after 7/7, we had terrorists for years with the IRA and it is just an excuse and we should return our laws back to something sensible.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge


    Typical from comrade Gordonievsky.

    We're going to give back your liberty and to make absolutely sure, we're going to tell you exactly what liberty is. In fact we may even write it down for you.

    The clunking fist and the control-freak brain are still operating in tandem I see. We could end up being the first country to implement a written Constitution that has both small print and an exclusion clause.

  12. Stephane Mabille

    New chapter

    "I want to explore how together we can write a new chapter in our country's story of liberty," Gordon said...

    Sounds more and more like the last one and the word "END" clearly in sight!

  13. Tawakalna
    Dead Vulture

    not just..

    "Not to mention that wooing the Mail has been a staple New Labour policy since before they came to power"

    ..but the Sun too.

  14. John A Blackley

    Change nothing

    The usual entertaining, sometimes informed comment from the readers of El Reg. And yet, all of the pithy comment, frothing and references to bon mots on liberty will do nothing to reduce the speed at which governments turn us into little more than donkeys - beasts of burden to bear the tax load on which our governments feed.

    Voting won't change it either (silly me, a past advocate of "everybdy vote"). Anyone who thinks that voting in the US or UK is within shooting distance of 'fair' hasn't been reading the papers.

    For those who still value liberty as more than an abstract, there may be only one course of action and that would involve (shudder) giving up some of our free time. Making placards, perhaps, and doing a little research to find out where Bush and Brown might be at any given time. And being there. And keeping up a constant chant of "Resign! Resign! Resign!" And being prepared to participate through future generations of arrogant, elitist pols until it's commonly accepted again that they represent us, not rule us.

    Nah, never happen so load up my panniers and feed me more hay.

    BTW, unless and until Brown agrees to a referendum on the EU constitution (by any name) as his party promised in its last manifesto, I wouldn't believe him if he told me night was dark and day was light.

  15. Richard

    Bill of Not Wrongs

    When you think about it, it could revolutionise policing... Stick everything into the Bill of Rights that you don't want to prohibit (keep it short, though!), and everything not in the BoR is automatically an offence, so the police only need to keep an eye out for people observing the BoR. Cuts down the time and effort in drafting new laws, doesn't it? It's all rather ironic that he quoted Orwell though, isn't it?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "I want to explore how together we can write a new chapter in our country's story of liberty," - Gordon Brown

    "Your immediate resignation and suicide?" - Captain Blackadder

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What was that ?

    "Mr Brown suggested he personally would favour an extension of police powers to hold suspects for long periods without trial"

    Gosh, I'd love to see what he thinks of that when he gets his turn in the cell . . .

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