Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “terrorism”

Paris: reacting to reactions

How to respond to the outrages in Paris (Friday 13 November 2015)? I found myself overloaded after about half an hour of BBC “Breaking News” coverage late Friday night.

Of course it is an outrage and it is impossible to adequately express that outrage (as so much coverage seems to prove). Are there lessons to be drawn from the reaction? Possibly it is still too early – three days on the BBC was still flagging coverage as “Breaking News” and excluding almost all other news from its TV coverage.

Should we be dominated (in all senses) by these events? Or should we stand back and think about how we are reacting and the consequences of those reactions? Read more…

EFF: Censoring the Web Isn’t the Solution to Terrorism or Counterfeiting. It’s the Problem.

From Electronic Frontier Foundation 25 November 2014 Jeremy Malcolm (© Creative Commons Attribution License)

In politics, as with Internet memes, ideas don’t spread because they are good—they spread because they are good at spreading. One of the most virulent ideas in Internet regulation in recent years has been the idea that if a social problem manifests on the Web, the best thing that you can do to address that problem is to censor the Web.

It’s an attractive idea because if you don’t think too hard, it appears to be a political no-brainer. It allows governments to avoid addressing the underlying social problem—a long and costly process—and instead simply pass the buck to Internet providers, who can quickly make whatever content has raised rankles “go away.” Problem solved! Except, of course, that it isn’t.

Read more…

Guarding the Guardian?

Owen Jones on the Guardian website discussing Secret Trials concludes:

Yes, let’s have a debate about preserving our security. If the state wishes to provide terrorists with ready-made propaganda, then flaunting its attacks on civil liberties is one way of going about it. Our governments have served as highly effective recruiting officers for terrorism in other ways, too – whether it be backing the Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s, backing various hellish regimes such as the witch-beheading gangsters running Saudi Arabia, or the invasion of Iraq which handed vast swathes of the country to al-Qaida. These are actions that imperil our security. But if we want to ensure our safety, cracking down on civil liberties is as counter-productive as it is wrong-headed.
The Guardian “Comment is free” 5 June 2014: Britain’s first secret trial: this way lies trouble

So very true; but what follows? Read more…

Miranda Wrongs

(Follow on from The Tempest unleashed by Miranda)

May praised the police action as she and Downing Street acknowledged they were given advance notice of the detention. May told the BBC: “I was briefed in advance that there was a possibility of a port stop of the sort that took place. But we live in a country where those decisions as to whether or not to stop somebody or arrest somebody are not for me as home secretary. They are for the police to take. That’s absolutely right that they have their operational independence. Long may that continue.”
Guardian Website 21 August 2013: NSA files: UK and US at odds over destruction of Guardian hard drives

This would appear to mean that the Home Secretary if told that a law is about to be misused has absolutely no duty to do anything about it. So the police can use the “Terrorism trumps all” claim to effectively do what they like, and the Home Secretary can use the “It’s an Operational Matter” claim to do nothing about it. Read more…

You know who and the rule of law

The judges have defied the will of public opinion; they have defied the tax payer who has spending millions to keep this man inside the country; they have defied the victims of terrorism, what about them, people who have suffered from terrorism, there seem to be no, what about their human rights?
Robert Halfon MP on BBC News 6 July 2013 00:26-00:43

Most of us will be pleased to see the end of (or at least this chapter of) the “You know who” saga, but I do find the above comment somewhat ill-considered – but par for the course. The Egyptian military used “public opinion” as justification for their recent coup – most coup leaders do this. Read more…

“We should do everything possible to avoid …”

I get tired of the lazy response of some politicians and commentators after any outrage.

“We should do everything possible to prevent terrorism”. Everything possible? Well an internal security service that would put East Germany and the old Soviet Union to shame would be a start.

“We should do everything possible to prevent children being harmed by paedophiles”. Everything possible? Well for a start you can castrate every male at puberty (having taken any samples necessary to ensure the continuation of the race).

“We should do everything possible to ensure that we have a competitive economy”. Everything? Child Labour – or even slave labour will make us more competitive. So will abolishing most (if not all) of the welfare state.

Even if you do everything possible, outrages can (and will) still happen and desired outcomes will not happen.  But what will we have given up? Read more…

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