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back to article Tory surveillance backlash: Worthy, but is it workable?

Conservative proposals to roll back the surveillance state may score an A for effort – but maybe only a B for practicality. Speaking today on the launch of Reversing the rise of the surveillance state, Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve MP condemned Labour's approach to databases and surveillance as "intrusive, ineffectual …

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Pint

I'll drink to that

Root cause of all ID problems is zero-tolerance and hefty penalties brought about by control-freak Neu Labour in recent years.

If legislation were relaxed a bit ( yes, we can roll back the clock ), and newsagents and the like weren't hauled over the coals to face huge fines when they serve someone alcohol aged 17 years 11 months yet looked older, and we had proportionate penalties, I suspect most problems of ID would largely disappear.

Zero-tolerance is the creeping cancer destroying the UK.

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Troll

yawn..

so the same sort of thing the lib dems have been going on about for years.

I welcome the tory party to the civilised world.

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Black Helicopters

And as El Reg has already written

There's no need for an ID that does anything more than says 'the carrier of this ID is supposed to have it' and 'he's allowed to do what he's trying to do'. In most cases this requires only a photo and an age or date of birth, and *nothing* else. Doesn't even need a big database to manage it, just a local doctor or similar, per the passport. Or better yet, wander along to the town hall with your birth certificate and a photo...

The point being that in most case, it doesn't really matter...

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Anonymous Coward

These are our policies...

...until you vote us in. Then it all goes out the window and anything is fair game.

Don't you wish that political parties were legally obliged to hold to the letter of their pre-election proposals? Then again if we did that we might actually get a fair representation during an election.

They're all going to ruin the country, no matter who gets voted in. Personally I want Boris to run for PM. At least then we can laugh at/with him as he ruins the country.

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It's a start...

To have them at least acknowledge the problem and promise to do something about it is a big step forward from "Shut up, you're too stupid to understand this stuff, just trust us, we're the government!"

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Could And Should Have Done Better

Mr Grieve has failed to realise that the ICO is simply unfit for purpose and needs to be completely overhauled, re-educated about the law and given a new set of balls before any changes to its remit can even be considered.

I see nothing in these proposals or the follow up e-mail from his office which would have prevented the Phorm issue happening.

Sorry Mr Grieve, you could and should have done better. Take this work back and try again.

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Joke

'B' for practicality?

That would be 25 places above what we have at the moment then...

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Silver badge

Up your Game, Cameron, ...... and bring in some New and Unusual Talent

The Tories are a sort of Lib Dem Lite outfit, aren't they, without anything radically exciting about them. But what the heck, they're politicians so what can you expect but sub prime intelligence. If they had any brains they'd be creaming it in the city and robbing everyone blind with some scam which has them looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives.

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Welcome

Right to see who is snooping

In Estonia, you can look up the details of which officials accessed your personal details when, and for what purpose.

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Big Brother

How do you know when a politician is lying, when they open their mouth!...

While I hate NuLabour's Police State attitude the Tories are either totally devoid of reality or are a bunch of lying two faces politicians. There's no way they will stop the rise of a Police State with their current plans.

Only today I created a huge list of privacy and police state abuses in the UK in this post...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/16/dna_database_rights_commission/comments/#c_582175

So there's utterly no way in hell they will stop even half of that long list and as fast as they try, yet more will be brought in by other government departments and companies. So its utterly two faced to claim they will stop it and the small print of their words shows they still allow for a Police State. e.g. "Immediately submitting the Home Office's plans for the retention of, and access to, communications data to the Information Commissioner for pre-legislative scrutiny" ... yeah great, like thats totally going to wipe out Big Brother. Thanks.

Considering its also the Tories who suggested outsourcing all our medical records to Google or Microsoft, then the Tories are either ignorant of how exposed our privacy will be to yet more corporations or they are lying and know Big Brother will continue to grow and leak ever more of our data. I suspect they are just thinking about saving money and are ignorant of the danger of allowing ever more companies access to so much private data, let along allowing that data to be allowed outside the UK. But then we will also have all our UK 2011 Census data given to the US military contractor Lockheed Martin, so it seems the UK is determined to leak all our private data to every other country. (I bet the US gov will take a copy of that to allow them to profile us all. It may even be a back door way to allow them to take a copy as there would be arguments if it was openly given to them ... and they keep showing they consider us all part of a hostile country to them, even though we are suppose to be on their side).

Also once this data leaks out of the UK, thats it. No way to change medial records and family tree information and birth info etc.. when that kind of personal data is leaked it can't be changed again to protect it.

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Anonymous Coward

Where's the Rest of the Iceberg?

Most of what's listed in the summarised 11 point plan sounds pretty good. But it also looks like it's only really addressing the most public, most well known problems with Labour's Big Brother State. It's the tip of the iceberg, the most visible part, but what about the rest? For example, what about the effective abolition of the right to remain silent in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994? Oh yeah, that was under the Tories...

The Lib Dems still seem far more solid and consistent on this stuff than the Tories. The Tories seem to be following public opinion more than being ahead of it. I know the Lib Dems have, at times, fallen short - sometimes disappointingly - but I'd still be a lot more confident with them protecting my rights and freedoms than the Tories.

The Tories still have a lot more catching up to do, and are still no where near taking the lead on this. They do seem to be heading in roughly the right direction, though. In contrast, how long have the Lib Dems been offering their Freedom Bill for now?

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Alert

@Jason Bloomberg

The problem isn't so much "zero tolerance" in and of itself, but the fact that the government created entire new categories of crime and then pursued the prosecution of those new crimes with a vigour that would have been commendable, if only it were applied to *real* crime.

Zero tolerance for crimes against physical property and person is all you need as a foundation (for instance, graffiti taggers, who are causing physical damage to private property). Everything else falls into place behind that. In theory...

What I'm trying to say is, they should get rid of all the rafts of arbitrary new "crimes" they've created in the last decade. Calling someone a name isn't a crime. Hitting them with a lump of wood is.

Of course, removing all that legislation would mean that the government suddenly lost thousands of income streams and a similar amount of ability to threaten people and control their lives, so you know it's not going to happen any time soon.

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RE: Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 16th September 2009 15:02 GMT

"They're all going to ruin the country, no matter who gets voted in. Personally I want Boris to run for PM. At least then we can laugh at/with him as he ruins the country."

Yes but my policies would not ruin the country.... just the bits I dont like

I cant see it happening... databases mean power and if there is anything a politician loves more than getting lots of money for no work , its power

Anyway... must go.... have to get all 6 million of my kids off to infest another council tower block.

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Anonymous Coward

Conservative with a Small 'C'

I would support the Tories if they were a proper Conservative party but they are not & never will be. I believe all the mainstream parties have had their day & now is the time for people with real ideas to come forward. The 'Tories' are just the 'New' New Labour. They will do little to roll back the surveillance state.

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WTF?

Funny Old World

My local Tory council boasts about its wonderful CCTV system and how it protects everyone from ne-er do wells.

Have they wasted all our money (again) if ol' shiny head gets in?

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@davenewman

"In Estonia, you can look up the details of which officials accessed your personal details when, and for what purpose."

Old Clarke's favourite database state.

Total population about 1.4m (and falling according to wikipedia)

Likely no legacy systems to integrate as everything was done on paper or administered from Moscow.

They might welcome a system with a proper audit trail and citizen access to their current personal file (Not what we will be offered for our ID card scheme) following the abuses of the KGB (and their predecessors back to the days of the cheka).

If you wanted to install an ID card scheme (and I do not for a lot of reasons) you would not want to start with the British system as it exists. But that *is* the starting point for this cradle-to-grave tracking of everyone everywhere in the UK. Of course you could start with a system which already does cradle-to-grave tracking of creatures in the UK.

It's called the UK livestock passport scheme.

Thumbs down for the comment. thumbs up for the conservative framework. I'm sure they might forget their promises. I'm sure Reg readers will not.

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Grenade

Does this mean

That Tory B Liar lite, also known as David Camoron is actually thinking about proposing some policies. Well it took the useless, chinless wonder long enough.

I'd have more respect for this bunch of wannabes if they had been banging on about this, and acting as a proper her majesty's opposition for the last few years. This smacks of the usual bland opportunism and corporate mind rot that seems to infest our politicians at the moment.

The country is crying out for a change in incumbents. Knocking Neu Arbiet off their perch should be as easy as shooting dead fish in a barrel, yet this mealy mouthed mission statement is all we get.

Bring on the elections and the hustings. I'm gonna have me some fun tearing into rosette wearing wankers of all hues. They should be afraid, very afraid

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Welcome

May God Have Mercy On My Soul...

I'm gonna vote for them, unless Lib or Lab make similar commitments.

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Grenade

It's a start, but...

... "five principles that the Conservative party intend to apply"

Err, most of those were established as part of the Data Protection Action in 1984!

And, of course, this relies on us being able to *trust* the Tories to actually keep their word when they get into power...

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Coat

Nanny state?

It's not the Nanny state! Its the Straitjacket state, where (mostly) good intentions constrict us so much that we end up being incapable of doing anything.

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Anonymous Coward

A title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Don't forget that yer man Grieve was the first MP to be arrested in the HoC since King Chas I. Actually, I think the birds had flown (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Parliament) before Chuck I got them arrested. So Grieve's arrest must be coming on for unprecedented. Plus DNA as well!

Tories vs the filth looks like a grudge match to me: look at the 'buffoon' BoJo and his sidekick (hands on the tiller) Malthouse. Observe the reaction (Stephenson + some superintendent or something, cba to google it) from the Met: boo hoo we've got to stop political control of the police. And the cops have got the gall to complain about politicians (may they be hung from the nearest lamp post) after the last Chief Commissioner of the Met was going round making party political broadcasts on behalf of the labour[sic] party.

I think the tories might find a way of making this work...

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Flame

Re: These are our policies...

I would rather vote for Boris as PM as well for a completely different reason. He tends to do what he says. Very rare in this day and age.

His "mumbling idiot" image is only for show. It is a stage persona. Behind it hides a steely determination and the ruthlessness that is way beyond what most politicos are capable of.

Just look through the list of his business interests (they used to be published in the days when he was an MP) and give it a second thought. Can someone who is a real mumbling fool be able to maintain all of these balls in the air at the same time. Personally, I do not think so.

Add to that the deliberate "stupidities" and stunts that made the Tories pull him back from the front bench when heading for the last failure in their elections. He is shrewd. Similar to another "mumbling idiot" from 60+ years back. The one that never learned to participate in a commons debate without prepared notes and had a speech deffect (It is a case of "know you own history" at this point).

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Godisagoddess ur2die4 in Deed, indeed, for this Singular Good Reason.

"@amanfromMars 1: Nice to see that you can write proper English. May I ask whether you have got in touch with a physical (as opposed to a virtual) girl ?

Better stay away from IT and go out there into the woods to relearn your language. Internet nurtures Alzheimer's." .... By Frank Gerlach Posted Wednesday 16th September 2009 22:35 GMT

Frank, I always write proper English so I must assume that your understanding of some novel subjects written upon and shared often enough here, is missing. And yes, you may ask, but it would be an impertinent question whenever the heavenly delights of the physical girl are no mystery but a constant enlightening voyage of discovery, and so very fortunately, an addiction long held and nurtured/treasured. Do not knock the Virtual Girl though for She/They have a Real Power to Tempt Man with their Immaculate Apples. And what Better Way Imaginable is there, to be so Perfectly Groomed and Civilised?

"Internet nurtures Alzheimer's" ...... No, it doesn't. It causes it to reconsider its progress. ...... which sounds very much like a Virtual Cure in English.

And there I can imagine the problem will not be a misunderstanding, but rather one's disbelief.

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Big Brother

AC 16th September 2009 15:02 GMT

" ...until you vote us in. Then it all goes out the window and anything is fair game.

Don't you wish that political parties were legally obliged to hold to the letter of their pre-election proposals? Then again if we did that we might actually get a fair representation during an election."

Yes it would be nice, however it is impossible under the current circs.

It is not possible because your Nulab/Nucon ARE NOT THE GOVERNMENT!

The government is in Brussels, it doesn't have meaningful elections, it is anti-democratic and essentially fascist.

They only have one solution to every problem, sometimes even for problems that don't exist....

MORE GOVERNMENT!

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Can't believe I'm saying this but....

....I'm going to vote Tory.

Just had a shudder as this would have been unthinkable several years back. Brown and NuLabour has really pissed me off and voting Tory seems the only way to get rid of them.

At least they are saying they will scrap all this police state madness, NuLabour are saying they want to increase it.

I remember a Bremner, Bird and Fortune episode years ago where they did the bigoted upper class dinner party. One guy asks "So what do you think of Cameron and all this green nonsense, do you think he's serious?" The other fool replys "hmmm, I just assumed he was lying" (or something like that)

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Brussels

It matters little who we elect to parliament, as our laws are increasingly being made in Europe. The party that would actually change that is UKIP, and yes it would require disengagement from the EC. The other parties want to remain in the EC or even integrate further. Can UKIP win an election? Probably not, but if they get enough votes it will scare the other parties into taking the issue on board, much as the Green party got environmentalism into most parties' manifestos.

Get Europe out of Britain.

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Anonymous Coward

1997 reloaded

Twelve years ago it was all about getting rid of the tories - not voting in Blair and his unappetising cabal of olive oil-drizzling basalmic vinegar lovers. Now its all about getting rid of the remains of that crowd, the big difference being the ones coming in are far, far less appetising even that the olive oil drizzlers were.

It was easy to hate the tories; they were good at what they did, but what they did was simply antithetical to any sane or decent person. Labour should have been better, but weren't even close. They might just have not been a total disaster if they hadn't obsessed on the mad nanny-state 'your our property' trip and let business ride roughshod over any rights they felt like riding roughshod over - which turned out to be rather a lot.

So if you don't count the wars, the nanny/stalinist stuff, the arrogance, the complete lack of ideas, the buggering up of the education system, the endless proliferation of badly drafted law, the spin, making the railways worse, the licking of business arse, the undemocratic local selections for MPs, the gerrymandering, the total lack of economic literacy, the appalling foreign policy decisions, the dome, the olympics and the turning Britain into a paranoid and dysfunctional society, they wouldn't be too bad. I mean at least they weren't tories.

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FAIL

Closing the lid is impossible ...

Labour and Conservative parties opened the lid to Pandoras box decades ago. The notion that either of them can close it and take us back to more peaceful times is naive in the extreme. It will take a new political party with great vision to do this - but given the UK's fixation with "celebrity" they would be very unlikely to be voted in.

The problem is that our own society in general and the political elite have all pretty much taken on board the mantra "If it saves one <fill-in-the-blank>". And so we now have the raft of completely disproportionate laws and brainwashing policies that taint parents/grandparents as pedophiles for photographing kids at events. We, as a nation, have actually bought into this wholesale. You can see and feel the effect of this everywhere. We're all either criminals, pedophiles or worse. In the face of this society itself retracts, refusing to participate or volunteer (we're seeing the effect right now), relying on the state's employees to do the job of parents, communities and societies (you try solving a local problem child and see how soon you end up arrested and put in court).

Huge, expensive and utterly futile databases are proposed and actually created. Meanwhile real harm and damage (Climbie, Baby Peter and a host of others) continue to suffer under the gaze and stewardship of those employed to protect and prevent. The answer? More databses, more disproportionate laws - when all that is required is to actually do their job and enforce the commonsense laws that were present 30 years ago!

It goes on, and on. And what party (Labour, Conservative or even Lib Dem) is capable of reversing this? How could it even? Society has responded to the continual ratcheting and gold plating of local and EU laws. We have en masse accepted and bowed down under these like the obedient citizens we are. Our very core values have changed beyond all recognition of 30 years back. The children of the social experiment are now those that are climbing the greasy pole of power. How can we expect them to know the difference, where it all went wrong, what they need to do to remedy? Cameron is one of those children of that age, as are his peers.

Ah! I am ranting .... FFS ... we need a full-blown revolution!!

All together now .... "Power, to the people ...."

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@ AC 07:50

Labour lick big bussiness's arse, small business's they shit on. Too many regs, too much red tape, too much money wasted. I need a license to load a digger onto a trailer. And another one to tow the trailer, and it wont be too long till I need another license to wash the digger...

And minimum wage! Pft! Instead of being paid what your worth, your now paid minimum wage - because every other lazy layabout who can hold down a job has to be paid a minimum. What was so wrong with the idea of the free market? Pay someone what they are worth to you, if they are shit - they get shit wages, if they are invaluable then they can demand their price.

Boris 4 PM! At least he is incapable of lying to us...

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Happy

Boris for PM?

Hell yeah, I'd like to go further and allow the public to directly elect cabinet positions. How awesome would it be if we could have Boris as PM and Vince Cable as Chancellor? And no this isn't sarcasm, I really would rather have Boris as PM than any of the current party leaders.

Brown is fucking useless one-eyed scottish idiot, he was a shit chancellor and a shit PM.

Cameron is too fucking smug for his own good.

Who the fuck is Nick Clegg?

Boris Johnson? Hell Yeah.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Boris for PM?

Listen, you, whatever shortcomings Brown has I don't think any of them pertain to his visual disabilities. So leave it out. Thanks.

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Grenade

Europe

All our databse laws have nothing to do with Europe people... I seem to remember the EU complaining about innocents on DNA database and requesting their removal because it violates a directive, and also their hammering of the government over the Phorm secret trials issue.

All voting for UKIP will do is let the police state attitude held by gov to get worse.

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Coat

A note on Contactpoint.

According to a recent Panorama the number of children who die under some kind of council care (IE Social workers hae them on their to do list of people to watch/visit) is about 5 per week across the country.

It has not changed for about a decade.

If this system *really* made a difference that number should (on average) fall.

I wonder if it has. The government bangs on about measurable outcomes. I'd call the average number of children who die while they are know to local authoriites to be a pretty good outcome to measure. Simple to do as well.

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Anonymous Coward

re May God Have Mercy On My Soul

Luckily for me, the closest contender is Lib Dem, I think not Labour is good enough. Otherwise I would be in the same boat as you.

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@Sarah Bee

Browns pertinent disability is short arms, which prevent him finding his ass with both hands.

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Yes it is workable.

But will it be worked. Who knows.

266 days at most before you have to decide.

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WTF?

Boris for PM?

He can't even keep his own stories straight.

Has never worked out what 'London' is.

Make the most amazing promises based his own fantasies and is trying to get tourists to believe that London is just a bigger version of Glyndebourne.

@Apocalypse Later --Boris has had several advisors employed to find his arse for him. None of them have managed it which is why they had to go. Broon's problem is the complete Tory arse that preceeded him who set it all up for a major fail then fucked off to the conference and dinner speaking circus in the U.S.

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Big Brother

AC Thursday 17th September 2009 09:08

"All our databse laws have nothing to do with Europe people... I seem to remember the EU complaining about innocents on DNA database and requesting their removal because it violates a directive, and also their hammering of the government over the Phorm secret trials issue."

Yes, and all ducks are made of wood, so they are witches! Burn them!

The fact that British bureaucrats "gold plate" EC legislation, does not affect the origin of the legislation.

UKIP is not only anti-EU, it is anti-police state and its policy is to push all laws downwards for local people to make local laws for themselves.

Only UKIP amongst all of the talking shops that exist, understands that it is votes that count, the "other side" understand this also, so they want to remove voting opportunities not grant them.

More and more people are beginning to accept that a vote for LibLabCon is a vote for loss of sovereignty and democracy, and are voting accordingly. Hopefully the tipping point will arrive sooner, rather than later, because later (too late) will mean revolution or war, as in the Soviet bloc in the early 1990's.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Brussels

With you all the way on this one, U Kipper. Every time I think of the way that the crazy Europeans dragged us into their religious crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan it makes me sick to the stomach. Not content with that, they then twisted our arms until we agreed to sign up to their deranged neocon economic system of deregulated free markets.

And don't even get me started on all that European Court of Human Rights mamby pamby, just bring back public hanging and flogging. With our Little England status fully restored we could even bring back hunting and killing animals for the sheer joy of it.

Just another Kipper.

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Got my vote, probably.

What would really win my vote would be a party running on a platform of:

- Scaled back survellance

- Scaled back and simplified public sector

- Increase in personal freedom (drugs, right to choose to die, other such things)

Still, 2 out of 3 isn't too bad, even if it's only manifesto guff.

Can we have an election now?

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The Italians used to have

the right idea - change the government every month and the buggers are not there long enough to cause any damage.

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Re: 1997 reloaded

If I knew who you are, and where you are, I'd mail you a pint for that comment. Absolutely spot on!

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FAIL

I don't believe for one second

that they would live up to this if they were elected.

All parties (and I mean ALL) freely say how they are going to roll back surveillance, de-centralise government by giving back power to councils, etc. when they are in opposition. Without exception, once they are in power this proves too difficult to do or whatever.

Governments in power almost NEVER do anything that would reduce their control. Even if it is a specific, guaranteed, commitment in a manifesto its pretty iffy, anything else is just vaportalk.

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Flame

Revolution? You're 'avin a larf!

" Hopefully the tipping point will arrive sooner, rather than later, because later (too late) will mean revolution or war, as in the Soviet bloc in the early 1990's."

And what, pray, are we supposed to have this revolution with? We are all criminals now, all 60+ million of us. Its against the law to carry a sharpened pencil if the compliance officers (nee Police) decide it is so. Even a camera is now illegal if used in public, if they and their plastic buddies decide.

Revolution? We can't even call them nasty names without getting arrested. Revolution, my arse.

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Grenade

Suck it and See ... there's Nothing to Lose other than Pig Ignorance and Blind Arrogance

"War is not a f++king game of computers and paper." ... By Frank Gerlach Posted Thursday 17th September 2009 08:22 GMT

Oh yes it is, Frank, which then makes Connecting IT, the Solution. A Solution with a Particular and Peculiar Methodology which is being Offered and studiously Ignored by those whom one would have reasonably expected to be more than Interested. Such Inconsistency would suggest that War is a Business which threatens those who would Driver it, for a Global Peace would remove their Golden Goose and have them pondering themselves as Targets of Rage and Discontent, having Ignored for the Love of Money, a Solution with a Particular and Peculiar Methodology in IT, which means that it would be instantly available anywhere at practically Zero cost via Networks InterNetworking on World Wide Web pages.

The Nature of Reality is not at all as it seems/is popularly perceived, and is easily Manipulated and Presented with Future Scenes, by those who are so able and enabled.

"Re: Boris for PM? ..... By Sarah Bee Posted Thursday 17th September 2009 09:07 GMT ...... Listen, you, whatever shortcomings Brown has I don't think any of them pertain to his visual disabilities. So leave it out. Thanks."

Quite So, Sarah Bee, although he is not at all a man of Great New Clear Vision, being much more of a Fiddler and Ditherer on the Outside Fringes of Power, Fluffing Chance Encounters.

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WTF?

Why should the Local Councils have ANY access to communication data?

That's what really bugs me. I can't see any reasonable circumstance when this should happen at all.

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Pint

Politics has been poisoned

Politics has been well and truly poisoned; to the point where even if an honest person were to stand for election, nobody would believe a word they said anyway.

It's going to take something a bit more drastic than a general election to sort out this situation.

Beer, because that's just one of the ways out.

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