Wednesday, November 12, 2008

1984 Book Campaign

I presume most people who come by here are familiar with the campaign to send all MP's a copy of 1984 on November 5th. The response has been somewhat underwhelming with only 3 Labour MP's commenting on it and they have been, at best superscilious in their comments.

Perhaps 1 week on is the time to follow up and here is a copy of an email I sent to my MP, David Liddington (Con).

Dear David,

By now you will have received a copy of Orwell’s 1984, although I haven’t seen any reference to it on you web site (at at 11/11/08). Although I didn’t send you the book I support the campaign as I have been increasingly alarmed at the way Parliament is allowing this Government to ride rough shod over our ancient protections from the State, supposedly in the interests National Security.

Just in case you think this campaign has been organised by a bunch of cranks here’s something for you to think about from a very thoughtful blogger, one of many who write eloquently on this subject:

National security has a floating definition, and if laws designed specifically to catch terrorists can be applied to people who have one bag too many in their bins, then anything that can be seen to disparage or insult the government can be considered a national security issue, and therefore silenced.

So, our government wants the power to lock us up for 42 days without bothering to think up a charge (it hasn’t gone away), to assume guilt from the outset (confiscation of property from suspected criminals who haven’t even been charge, let alone found guily), to make us pay for our own defence (Jack Starw’s recent kite flying), to hold autopsies in secret when we fall down the stairs (secret Coroner’s hearing with the Government appointing their own Coroner), and to prevent the media telling anyone about any of it (latest proposal from the security committee (whatever happened to D-Notices BTW)). In effect, this is the 'vapourised' that Orwell describes. Vanished so completely that nobody remembers you were ever there. All that's left is to edit any record out of history and you're not only gone, you never existed.

We have corresponded before when I praised you for your work in looking after the interests of the Iraqi Interpreters and I see from the emails I get from They Work For You that you still do some good work on this and other topics However, as a life long Tory voter, I even held my nose and voted Tory in 1997, I am becoming increasingly alarmed at your Party’s complacency to never ending stream of authoritarian legislation to the point where I may have to consider my voting priorities at the next election. You will note that I am giving you the benefit that it is complacency and not conspiracy.

David Davies may have been capricious, or even fool hardy, when he resigned to stand again on the subject of civil liberties but he had a point and touched a very popular raw nerve, if only for a short time. If the Conservative Party isn’t going to stand up to what is the most authoritarian Government we have seen in recent history it will not deserve any votes, no matter what it says on the subject of the economy.

Perhaps as someone who is rising through the ranks of the Conservative Party you could let me know, as one of your constituents, your position on this subject and what, if anything, you and the Conservative Party are proposing to halt this stream of authoritarian legislation?




Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote holds as true today as it did then, indeed it may be more so as the state develops ever more ingenious ways to spy on us and control our thoughts and behaviour:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

And while on the subjects of quotes, Burke also provides a salutory warning for an opposition MP:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

I'll let you know if anything happens.

H/T Leg Iron for the blogger quote, I just did the bracketed bit)

BTW, I reckon he's one of the better MP's but I'm just about to find out.

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