In praise of government incompetence.
It was breath-taking and depressing to observe the transformation of New Labour after 1997, from the party of open government, human rights and civil liberties into an increasingly paranoid group of power-hogging and repressive political control freaks, who have done more damage to fundamental human rights in the past 11 years than any other (sequence of) government(s) in any comparable-length stretch of time since the Glorious Revolution. Fortunately, despite their worst intentions, they have not been very competent - a more competent government could have done much more damage to our freedom and civil liberties.
Just before the new year I predicted that web censorship would be a major issue this. I'm coming to think that I got it wrong, the issue is liberty. Just think about:
- the database infatuation,
- the phone and email snooping,
- the ID cards,
- the censorship, and
- the huge legislative programme.
My hope is that groups like Liberty, OpenDemocracy, NO2ID and the OpenRightsGroup will have a loud enough voice to reverse the trend, but they probably won't have any major impact before the next election. We need to make sure that there is not too much erosion of liberty in the mean time.
Follow Mike's progress in arranging a public rally and be there.