23 July 2010

Boys in black (part 2)

Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley, makes a strong defence of the proliferation of CCTV cameras and the retention of the DNA of all ever involved in a police inquiry on Critical Reaction. The article is titled "For the Record" and sub-titled "Is there a case against CCTV and the DNA database, or is it a case of feeling good about oneself?"

BS, my good sir. The case against CCTV and the DNA database is that the assault on civil liberties by the Blair-Brown regime has persuaded quite a large proportion of the public that the government is their enemy, and that the police are a self-serving instrument of oppression.

Davies' argument draws on the standard false dichotomy between security and liberty. The first depends on coercion, the second on consent. No surprise to find a Tory favouring coercion, but it sits ill with the "trust the people" line of his party leader.

Not the least of the transformations of British public affairs over the last decade or so is that defence of civil liberty is now seen as "right wing", and that the reflexive police statism of persons like Davies represents the oh-so respectable middle ground of British politics.   

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