The Thought Police?
Where will this vetting stuff end? Are the vetting authorities to be New Labour's thought police?
We already know this government's opposed to so-called "extremism", "radicalisation", and the like. But what really counts as "extreme" and "radical"? Will the government, through the vetting authorities, end up trying to protect everyone from anyone who's regarded as a "bad influence"? And isn't that really a matter of trying to control people ("manage" society) by trying to control what kinds of thoughts people might end up thinking?
There are plenty of people who believe the political establishment is rotten to the core, undemocratic and tyrannical, and that it should be replaced with something better, something truly democratic. But isn't that tantamount to seeking the overthrow of our so-called "system of democracy" or the State? Isn't that heading in the direction of outright terrorism?
Would you have bomb-tossing anarchists, their supporters or sympathisers, looking after vulnerable members of your family? No? Better blacklist those Liberal Democrats, then, just to be on the safe side. Just to make sure your children don't end up radicalised against the State, of course.
It might sound ridiculous now, but how would this current vetting stuff have sounded twenty years ago? Not to mention massive communications databases, data sharing, ID cards, etc, etc...
The government's attitude towards and opposition to so-called "radicalisation" demonstrates how the government believes it's necessary to take control of what kinds of thoughts people might end up thinking in order to pre-empt acts they might go on to commit. And legislation such as the extreme porn law and the proposed cartoon law currently going through parliament also demonstrate this government's belief in pre-empting acts by trying to limit thoughts.
This vetting stuff all sounds increasingly like a kind of replacement for the existing justice system, but where the established system of justice is gradually getting subsumed into the new system. And it's a new system where we don't really have rights, only responsibilities (isn't that basically slavery?). We don't have the right to the presumption of innocence. We don't have the right to know what the allegations against us are. We don't have the right to defend ourselves. But we may end up with a duty to participate in implementing, imposing and enforcing this system.
"In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered." - 1984, by George Orwell, http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/