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July 08, 2007

15 Year Fight Against Terror!

So says the new Security Minister.

Britain faces a 15-year battle to end the threat posed by Islamist terrorists, the Government's new security supremo has admitted.

Admiral Sir Alan West, the former First Sea Lord, said the overall danger facing the country, from both home-grown and foreign terrorists, was at its greatest ever level and that a new approach was badly needed to tackle it.

In his first interview since his surprise appointment by Gordon Brown as security minister, Sir Alan called on people to be "a little bit un-British" and even inform on each other in an attempt to trap those plotting to take innocent lives.

"Britishness does not normally involve snitching or talking about someone," he said. "I'm afraid, in this situation, anyone who's got any information should say something because the people we are talking about are trying to destroy our entire way of life."

Indeed, these people are trying to destroy our way of life. Let's not help them along the way, shall we? I think most of us would accept that if there were a short-term answer, some sort of clamp down that removed many of our civil liberties which actually solved all of this, then we'd find it acceptable. Say, a three month, or six month, move to a war based society. Detention without trial, no presumption of innocence and so on, all the things that have already been enacted....if it was for a limited period of time, in the face of great danger, terminal danger to our way of life, many would in fact support such a thing.

Assuming that it would be effective, of course.

But 15 years? Now you're talking about somwhere near the rest of the natural lives of a good portion of the citizenry. You're also talking about a period of time long enough that we will, all on our very own, change the society irreversibly. After a 15 year period where civil liberties are so curtailed, after we have become a nation of snitches who have given up our freedoms for security (if indeed the latter will have been achieved) then who really believes that we'll get them back?

I cannot speak for everyone, of course, but I think I would rather live in a free society which included the possibility of my being blown up than to surrender said freedom for the rest of my life.

The very fact that this campaign will last 15 years is exactly the reason that we should not change the law to wage it.

July 8, 2007 in Law | Permalink


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Tracked on Jul 8, 2007 9:41:15 AM


Why 15? Why not try and bring a project in under budget and ahead of schedule for a change.

I've marked July 8 2022 in my diary as VT Day. But who do we blame if it takes 16?

Posted by: Justin | Jul 8, 2007 11:34:48 AM

I really don't think that asking citizens to inform the government when they suspect that illegal activity is being planned is the same as putting the country onto a war footing.

I also don't think that you are the target audience for this statement.

Posted by: Chris | Jul 8, 2007 2:08:03 PM

2022 is probably when the UK as an independent nation ceases to be. Once that is achieved, the distraction of terrorism will not be necessary.

Posted by: Roger Thornhill | Jul 8, 2007 3:36:29 PM

As did his shadow minister yesterday and this morning Oliver Kamm was on ITV's political show and came up with exactly the same figure.


Posted by: ScotsToryB | Jul 8, 2007 4:12:20 PM

wasn't organised snitching the mainstay of the KGB. I believe they found it very restful. And it worked - if you are the KGB that is.

Posted by: john cramer | Jul 9, 2007 6:47:28 AM

wasn't organised snitching the mainstay of the KGB

Probably. It was the MO of the Gestapo, according to this documentary. One of the episodes described how a Gestapo office was captured by US troops in 1945 with its records intact. A large proportion of these records were denunciation letters from the public along the lines of "my neighbour gets strange visitors during the evenings, and I think they look a bit jewish."
The best bit was when the producers found the now elderly writer of one of these letters and showed it to her. She denied all knowledge of ever having written it. The subject of the letter had been killed by the government.
The letter drop in my local post office inviting people to inform on their neighbours always reminds me of this particular programme.

Posted by: knirirr | Jul 9, 2007 10:05:06 AM