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Posts Tagged ‘norfolk’

Charles Clarke is back in the news as a heroic figure, the only man in the country with the position and the guts to tell Brown personally what the country thinks. But let’s not get carried away with any sudden burst of gratitude to the ‘Norwich bruiser’. He’s responsible for one of the nasty pieces of legislation that has caused a stir this year.

In 2005, Clarke was the government’s chief advocate for its policy of retaining records of all emails sent, all phone calls made and all web pages visited. He appeared before the European ‘Parliament’, and warned that privacy must be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism. He said that he would ‘redress the balance between privacy and security’. So if you were wondering why 8 year olds were being recruited to spy on you for money by the council (no, I don’t know whether they’ve been given armbands), there’s your answer. Clarke and his fascist ilk decided you had too much privacy.

Similar data retention laws were first mooted by the government in 2000 in their RIPA legislation, but they were rejected by Parliament. After September 11th, the government tried again, this time claiming they were necessary for the fight against terrorism. If so, why did they try to give access to local councils and other bodies not involved in the fight against terrorism?

The Queen’s speech will mention this legislation in the Data Communications Bill. Don’t forget in all the furore, that Clarke had a hand in this bill, he is not a step forward for the Labour party or the country, but deeply implicated in the authoritarian nastiness in which they have embroiled us.

To be clear: it was our government who took the lead in this legislation in Europe. Our government decided to use the EU to pass legislation that was deeply unpopular here. Out of sight, out of mind?

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If you want to see the double-speak and the ludicrous assertions that officials are forced into by government decrees on what people should think, take a look at North Norfolk district council’s combined equality scheme.

Councils are required to implement equality reviews for race, gender and disability, although not for sexuality; however, mine has chosen to, ostensibly because they believe that they will soon be forced to, but I suspect it’s more to do with the fact that the black person living here was out when they called (see title), which makes it much harder to spend our money asking him how he feels about life.

The results of the survey? Apparently the facts that 50% of people here disapprove of same-sex relationships being legally recognised, and 60% of people here think that children are better brought up by a heterosexual couple,  are evidence of ‘homophobia’. Isn’t it interesting how disagreeing with the government on a controversial matter of policy is a mental illness now?

But hang on, if 60% think this policy is mistaken, why is the local council trying to change attitudes? Isn’t it supposed to represent the people of the area? No, it is not. It is the arm of the government in the locale, and it is answerable to them, not you. Our local government is not a representative body, and hence pushes what the government wishes our morals to be, not what they are and what we want them to be. This shall be a theme we will explore further!

Worried by racism, the council has decided to run a black history month next winter. The cost, at £250, almost seems too low to get upset about. But that’s missing the point: I would never dream of spending so much of my own money or the money of an organisation I was involved in on such a patently useless event. Government idiocy inures us to this completely irrational waste on a small scale by shovelling our money out of the window on big programmes. We should demand reason rule the spending of every budgetary item.

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