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Posts Tagged ‘totalitarianism’

The civil service revolt against New Labour continues. First Ken MacDonald of the CPS, now a senior GCHQ figure has weighed in.

Telegraph

Harvey Mattinson, a consultant at the information technology arm of GCHQ, said that the only real value of identity cards would be to help state bodies share information about people.

Mr Mattinson is a former senior official at the Cabinet Office who now advises GCHQ’s Communications-Electronics Security Group.

Speaking at an IT security conference in Wales, he rubbished ministers’ claims that the multi-billion pound scheme would enhance national security.

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« Je lui dis  : “Serge, je ne comprends pas, je ne suis jamais dans ton journal depuis deux ans.” (…) Et il me dit, d’un ton le plus naturel du monde  : “Mais Nicolas, tu es un dissident. Comment tu veux que j’autorise qu’il y ait un papier pour toi, pour un dissident  ? ” »

It makes the talk of the Eurosceptic press in the UK seem rather sinister doesn’t it? A Eurosceptic press is presumably one that prints what people think as opposed to what’s convenient for the government.

le figaro: censorship

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This is outrageous, but utterly predictable. We have a government that holds parliament and democracy in contempt. They sicken me. Will we ever be free of this authoritarian nightmare?

Exclusive The government will drop plans for a massive central database to track UK citizens private communications from the forthcoming Communications Data Bill, but officials will proceed with the multi-billion project in the background instead.

Senior civil servants will discreetly run the project to swerve potential political opposition to a scheme which would retain details of every phone call, email, and web browsing session of every UK citizen, sources have told The Register.

The Register, 25th September.

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See also my post on Charles Clarke below.

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The government was clearly far from embarassed by revelations that it had paid for a propaganda series on its useless PCSOs, which you would have thought would have led to heads rolling. Surely its a big story that the government is paying TV stations to make and broadcast propaganda for its policies? Anyone?

Obviously no-one’s bothered, which is presumably why, according to the Observer, ZaNuLab have decided to try to recruit Jeremy Kyle to publicly humiliate benefit scroungers into getting a job. The Observer call this ‘spin’. This isn’t ‘spin’, guys, ‘spin’ is subtly rewording a message to avoid embarrassing aspects or to push the interpretation you want. This is PROPAGANDA. You may remember this from such socialist experiments as … oh, sod it. All of them.

We really are up shit creek if we accept the government has the right to produce tv programmes as propaganda. On Tim Worstall’s blog is information about the extent to which charities have also become propaganda outlets. I suggest, at the very least, if governments are going to fund such propaganda, NGOs or TV companies must be forced to give over 25% of each printed page or each TV screen to a big warning sign, a la cigarette packs, saying something like ‘THIS IS NOT INDEPENDENT OPINION. BELIEVE AT YOUR PERIL.’

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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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The time has gone when comparisons with the EU and the USSR could be considered crazy. On top of the recent plans to record details of every phone call, email and web page visited, on top of the plans to regulate dissent, forcing blog writers to register and forcing them to allow the EU to respond to criticism on their blogs, the EU has decided it wants to regulate the relationships between men and women.

Today’s Telegraph reports that MEPs have drawn up plans to ban any advertising that reinforces gender stereotypes. Ladies and Gentlemen, THIS is totalitarianism.

Logically, such a law requires that someone be in a position to decide what is a cultural stereotype of gender and what isn’t. There is no way of settling a final answer to this question, which means the EU wants to grant to itself carte blanche to determine for the millions of people in the nations of Europe how they should think of their gender.

In his The Road to Serfdom, Hayek describes the difference between a law which sets out the limits within which individuals are free to determine their own fate, and those laws which depend on the arbitration of a person to choose between the competing valuations of individuals for their settlement. The latter laws set up the state – here the EU – as the authority to decide the answer to a question which does not have one answer which could satisfy everybody. In this situation: what is a cultural stereotype and what is a natural expression of the profound biological differences between men and women.

The simple fact is that human beings vary enormously, and what is good and healthy for one is not so for another. Anyone who thinks that Jordan is being oppressed by male patriarchy is bonkers, while there are, no doubt, girls who would be happier if they didn’t focus on her as a role model. In a free society, individuals are influenced by others who have made free choices, like those girls who have made millions out of wearing bikinis and holding products, and like those who have made a career in business (like the woman on Dragon’s Den, for example), and like those sportswomen who win Olympic golds, and like those women who are happy looking after their family (Jamie Oliver’s wife comes to mind). Some may, in the ultimate reckoning of the thousands of choices and decisions they make, be harmed by some of these influences. Equally though, many will not, and will use such examples as inspiration for their own happiness. There is no way to decide which influences will harm which people.

That is what the EU wants to do:

Ms Svensson said: “Gender stereotyping in advertising straitjackets women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles that are often degrading, humiliating and dumbed down for both sexes.”

Who the fuck is she to tell each and every one of us that gender stereotypes are degrading!? Maybe she finds these ideas degrading, but there are many who don’t.

In making the blanket statement that sexualised gender stereotypes harm women, the EU is showing itself to be made up of extremely stupid people who want to impose their unpopular view of the world onto us. The kind of people, one might surmise, who couldn’t get selected for a Westminster seat.

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