It’s not every day that I read something in the newspaper that literally makes my jaw drop, but the Independent has certainly managed to do it this morning:
Britain’s armed forces could be used on a regular basis on the streets of Britain to confront the threat of terrorism, under the terms of a strategic defence review announced yesterday.
I beg your pardon? What threat of terrorism would that be? Despite the government’s most vigorous efforts to frighten us to death, I hardly feel like I am living in a society under regular threat from terrorism. And even if I were, I’m not sure that having a large number of uniformed, armed men wandering around with completely uncontrolled authority would be any better. The purpose of the military is defence of the realm, and we are under no threat that justifies them wandering around our streets!
And if that didn’t put the willies up you, try this:
Stronger, more effective partnership with other Whitehall departments, the intelligence agencies, police forces and others at the national level will become even more important to achieving our security objective.
In other words, the military will become integrated into a bureaucratic monster along with all the government departments, increasingly politicised spooks and the very politicised police, all acting at the behest of our political masters. If that doesn’t frighten you to death, then you probably are already dead.
In reading the article, it seems that no-one is in the slightest bit perturbed about this: not the Tories, not the LibDems, not even the Independent’s journalists! Am I alone in viewing this astonishing bit of news as a rather worrying development? The Times and the Telegraph aren’t even covering the story (yet) and the Guardian hasn’t even mentioned this little wrinkle in its rather bland coverage.
Are we really blithely sleep-walking into the genesis of a fascist panopticon Britain? We already have more CCTV than anywhere else in the world, and ANPR cameras to keep track of our cars’ movements. Loyalty cards and credit cards can be used to track all our purchases and the data will be happily provided to the government if “the national interest” is invoked. Your next passport will cause you to be registered into the National ID database. If you add a military integrated into the Whitehall “machine” along with the police and the spies, we really will be in a frightening place.
I really do not like the looks of this.
- Defence & Security: Is it British? « IanPJ on Politics
- February 4, 2010 at 17:33