John Reid presented a speech ‘Security, freedom and the protection of our values’ to the ‘think tank’ Demos today.
I’ve snagged the text of his speech from the Labour Party website. My comments are [bracketed].
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
This is my 96th day as Home Secretary.
Already, thanks to the hard work and dedication of my civil servants we have come a long way in a short period of time. Not only have we admitted and identified some of the problems within the home office but we have published practical plans with milestones to improve our performance.
With endurance and an ongoing commitment to the unglamorous work of good governance I believe we have a route map to increased competence and public confidence in three key areas.
� Transformation of the Home Office;
� Restructuring of our Immigration and Nationality Department; and,
� Rebalancing of the Criminal Justice System.
Now we have a little precious time to give some thought to the overarching challenges that face us as a nation.
2 Protecting the public is the primary objective
One other issue was not substantially dealt with by those three publications but has been at the core of my thought, business and time at the Home Office. The core purpose of the Home Office is the protection of the public. So it is to the topic of national security that I want to spend the majority of my time on today.
3 A difficult task
The provision of security is a major task facing government in this age of uncertainty in both domestic and international affairs Even in relatively recent times, for most ordinary people the word �security� has changed in everyday meaning from being the desirable objective of financial comfort in old age or the formal description of military power, to being one of the highest concerns for daily living. We now live in a world where insecurity is a phenomenon that crosses the economic and social, the domestic and foreign, the psychological and physical, the individual and collective.
This generation has seen massive global changes. Up until two decades ago the Cold War froze the world into a static state in which:
[“the Cold War froze the world into a static state”?]
� Borders were inviolable;
� Ethnic tensions suppressed;
� Religious extremism ruthlessly put down;
[Religious extremism is ruthlessly put down now.]
� States were not allowed to fail;
[Failed states is a very NeoCon concept.]
� Migration was minimal.
But we now confront a torrent of challenges following on from the thawing of the Cold War. Porous borders, failed states, civil wars and ethnic tensions are all resurgent.
[Failed states again. NeoCons believe that ‘failed states’ can be subjected to military invasion. I wonder what a failed state is and how they come to fail. ‘Resurgent’ is a measured term. I wonder is there is some deeper meaning here.]
Globalisation means that decisions taken on the other side of the world now affect every local community in the UK. Jobs now change overnight in their skills requirements creating huge challenges if we are to re-skill our workforce to keep pace and provide the sort of security of employment that people once took for granted.
[… So keep up you plebs … in this wonderful Globalised, Capitalist world]
With the end of the Cold War has also come mass migration on a hitherto unprecedented scale bringing with it big benefits but huge challenges as well.
[Surely mass migration is mainly a result of wars? Not convinced that Reid’s claims re: mass migration.]
There is greater potential to create wealth and expand opportunities for individuals and national communities, but the volume and speed of movements can also carry insecurity into the heart of our communities.
[“volume and speed of movements”? leads to insecurity?]
Indeed, in my view, mass migration and the management of immigration is now the greatest challenge facing all European governments.
[but later in this speech he says “We are probably in the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of World War II” with the threat being a combination of terrorism and organised criminals.]
As I said on Sunday
We have to get away from the notion that anyone who wants to talk about immigration is somehow a racist. People recognise that migrants can bring great skills to the UK but they also want to be assured that immigration will be properly managed and our public services and benefits systems protected from abuse.
[“It’s not racist to talk about immigration” was a slogan of the UK Conservative Party (the main opposition party to Blair and Reid’s Labour Party) in the May 2005 general election.]
We need to have a mature discussion about all this, properly informed by independent advice on the impact of migration on our jobs market and on local communities to stop this becoming a party political football.
[As if Reid is not encouraging that party political football.]
And we need to work internationally with out European neighbours to strengthen the external borders of the European Union and share information on those who may threaten our security. As I have already found, European politicians like Nicholas Sarkozy understand the importance of managing this issue. It�s a Europe wide problem.
Practical initiatives like those taken forward by David Blunkett and Nicholas Sarkozy to close the Sangatte camp and improve border screening at the channel ports have helped immensely.
And now we have laid out our own next steps for dealing with this issue and rebuilding confidence in an immigration system which is fair and effective and trusted.
[I doubt that these are really Reid’s objectives.]
4 There have been improvement and changes
Turning now to the more traditionally defined matter of the national of our nation. We have dramatically changed the way we approach national security in this country. Previous Home Secretaries have led innovation and change. In particular:
� Jack Straw�s lead in protecting the Critical National Infrastructure from electronic attack and putting our anti-terrorism legislation on a permanent basis through the Terrorism Act 2000
� David Blunkett�s work in the aftermath of 9/11 on Counter Terrorism and Civil Contingencies including the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act measures passed within months of the attack
� Charles Clarks advances with Memorandum of Understanding for Deportations with Assurances and the introduction of control orders.
[All Fascist attacks on civil liberties and human rights.]
And Increases in funding
The government has more than doubled the resources available for counter-terrorism work in the UK from around �900 million to almost �2 billion. In December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a further �85 million would be given, and last month an additional �39 million was made available. In financial terms, MI5 have got what that they have asked for. By 2008 MI5 personnel will have doubled from pre 9/11 levels.
[It is widely accepted that this government grossly exagerrates the threat of terrorism. They are pursuing a political strategy of fear, terror and lies to promote their Fascist agenda. How much of this is about political oppression to silence the government’s critics?]
I want to build on the work of my predecessors and the resources provided by the Chancellor. So in recent weeks I have announced to the House of Commons our next steps in developing the CONTEST strategy as well as a revised approach to threat and response levels. We have also responded to the Intelligence and Security Committee�s report.
Effective co-ordination is essential and there is now closer co-ordination. There is a chain of command. There is a Permanent Secretary for Intelligence, Security and Resilience, Sir Richard Mottram, who sits at the centre in the Cabinet Office and is answerable to the Prime Minister and to me. He ensures that the intelligence community has a clear strategy and system for prioritising collection and analytical effort and that the resources provided for the intelligence agencies are used appropriately.
[Are we supposed to be reassured that there is a chain of command answerable to Bliar and Reid?]
He also chairs the JIC, which provides a cross-community view on issues to senior officials and to ministers. In addition JTAC, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, brings together counterterrorism specialists from the intelligence agencies, the police, and government departments to produce assessments on terrorism, a model that is being looked at by other countries. We have gone a considerable way towards achieving coordination.
[Have to take a closer look at him then. I wonder if Reid is setting him up.]
We keep such matters under review, and the events of 7/7 showed the importance of good co-ordination. I am prepared to look into whatever may need to be done as are the services.
[ … ]
However as Demos yourselves have pointed out National security is not a task the government can do alone. You are right when you say we need to join forces. Effective security now relies on the participation of a much wider range of actors � from governments and public bodies, to companies and people. Security cannot be outsourced by governments, but networks of public and private organisations have a joint role in guaranteeing local, national and international security. It is only by joining forces that we will develop an effective response to today�s global security threats. So closer coordination is a continuing item on our agenda.
In the past, governments have been expected to provide security to their citizens. The responsibility is still there, in principle. But in practice, no government today can provide an effective ‘suit of protection’ for the ordinary citizen. There can be no protection for every bus, every train, every street, every square. In these times the ordinary citizen must be vigilant and must make his personal contribution to the war effort. Private enterprise will have to supplement the national effort in many walks of life. ]
But we must go further
Tony Blair said last week �if it is correct that the challenge of rapid change is enormous the response has to be fundamental also�.
[all hail the glorious war leader.]
Try �if it is correct
that the challenge of rapid change is enormous
the response has to be fundamental also�]
Unsurprisingly I agree with him. Because our adversaries are unconstrained � the international terrorist are ruthless in their misuse of our freedoms to harm us.
They try to turn to their advantage our society�s great strengths like our free media, ease of access to travel and goods � to turn them into our weaknesses. They endeavour to drain our morale and resources by misrepresenting every mistake or overreaction as if it is our primary or real purpose. Some fight for their right to asylum in the UK from repressive regimes not to spread liberty but to plan and plot for more repressive regimes. Some come as students yet freely express contempt for the intellectual freedoms that have been the bedrock of our academic institutions. Some claim to detest usury but fund their plots through fraud, corruption and organized crime.
[Reid invokes the ‘free press’ myth. The UK press is overwhelmingly corporate.
I wonder if he means this ‘free press’
source: BBC governors’ website
8. DEFENCE AND EMERGENCY ARRANGEMENTS
8.1 The Corporation shall, whenever so requested by any Minister of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and at the Corporation’s own expense, broadcast or transmit from all or any of the stations any announcement (with a visual image of any picture or object mentioned in the announcement if it is a television transmission) which such Minister may request the Corporation to broadcast or transmit; and shall also, whenever so requested by any such Minister in whose opinion an emergency has arisen or continues, at the like expense broadcast or transmit as aforesaid any other matter which such Minister may request the Corporation to broadcast or transmit, provided that the Corporation when sending such an announcement or other matter may at its discretion announce or refrain from announcing that it is sent at the request of a named Minister.
8.2 The Secretary of State may from time to time by notice in writing require the Corporation to refrain at any specified time or at all times from broadcasting or transmitting any matter or matter of any class specified in such notice; and the Secretary of State may at any time or times vary or revoke any such notice. The Corporation may at its discretion announce or refrain from announcing that such a notice has been given or has been varied or revoked.
8.3 If and whenever in the opinion of the Secretary of State an emergency shall have arisen in which it is expedient in the public interest that Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom shall have control over the broadcasting or transmission of any matter whatsoever by means of the stations or any of them, it shall be lawful for the Secretary of State to direct and cause the stations or any of them or any part thereof to be taken possession of in the name and on behalf of Her Majesty and to prevent the Corporation from using them, and also to cause the stations or any of them or any part thereof to be used for Her Majesty’s service, or to take such other steps as he may think fit to secure control over the stations or any of them, and in that event any person authorised by the Secretary of State may enter upon the stations or any of them and the offices and works of the Corporation or any of them and take possession thereof and use the same as aforesaid.
8.4 If and whenever the Secretary of State shall exercise the powers conferred on him by subclause 8.3 the Corporation shall be entitled to receive from the Secretary of State –
(a) compensation for any damage done to any property of the Corporation, being damage directly attributable to the exercise of any such powers; and
(b) such sums as are required to defray any expenses which, regard being had to the nature of the emergency, have been properly and necessarily
incurred by the Corporation and for meeting which revenue is by reason of the exercise of such powers not otherwise available to the Corporation.
8.5 All existing arrangements between the Corporation and the relevant Government Departments relating to certain defence works and national emergencies (as such arrangements may be varied from time to time) shall continue in force during the continuance of this Deed.
8.6 No person acting on the Corporation’s behalf or by its permission shall or shall be permitted or suffered by the Corporation to divulge to any person (other than a properly authorised official of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom or a competent legal tribunal), or make any use whatever of, any matter coming to his knowledge as a result of unintended reception by means of the stations or any of them or any of the Corporation’s apparatus for wireless telegraphy or telecommunication systems.
Since we are concerned with “any such Minister in whose opinion an emergency has arisen or continues” we should note that the current threat level as promoted by John Reid’s Home Office is SEVERE.
So much for a free press …]
Since 2000 we have radically reformed our anti-terror legislation and introduced four new terrorism acts, almost 1000 people have been arrested for terrorism related offences, of which 154 have been charged and 60 terrorist suspects await trial. Since 7/7 4 significant terrorist plots have been successfully disrupted.
Yet in spite of these successes we remain unable to adapt our institutions and legal orthodoxy as fast as we need to. This is the area that puts us at risk in national security terms. There have been several contributory factors to this including party political point scoring by the Conservative and Liberal opposition during the passage of key anti-terrorism measures through to repeated challenges under the Human Rights Act which I continue to contest.
As the Prime minister said only last week ��The nature of organized crime or social breakdown in parts of our communities, not to say the threat of global terrorism bent on mass slaughter, means traditional civil liberty arguments are not so much wrong , as just made for another age�.
[Wow. The glorious war leader says that civil liberty arguments are not relevant today. There’s modernity for you. “Forwards not back” by abandoning civil liberties, etc.]
The European Convention, for example, drawn up by British lawyers in the aftermath of the second world war, was shaped inevitably by that war and by what was happening across the Iron Curtain. From the struggle to defeat fascism and stand up to Stalinism came an understandable focus on protecting the individual from the overweening power of the fascist state. So protections from unlawful detention, from forced labour, from torture, from punishment without trial came centre stage. And rightly so given what had gone before.
[But since these civil liberties are not relevant today, they should be abandoned?]
And over time, as the totalitarian shadow retreated from Europe, those rights became a reality for more and more of the 300 million or so living within its borders. Indeed, they became an essential pre-requisite for a country to be considered a member of the European family.
But now we are faced by a new challenge -perhaps greater than any faced in the last fifty years, to this new consensus around the core values of a free society.
And the challenge is this. What happens when the threat to our nation and hence to all of us as individuals, comes not from a fascist state but from what might be called fascist individuals. Individuals who are unconstrained by any of the international conventions, laws agreements or standards, and have therefore, unconstrained intent.
[Reid’s argument is that since individuals – yes, individuals – can challenge the state – yes, state – civil liberties protecting individuals from the state should be abandoned.]
Individuals who can network courtesy of new technology and access modern chemical, biological and other means of mass destruction, and who have therefore unconstrained capability.
[Reid is exagerrating the threat of terrorism for political advantage. Who are these people who can “access modern chemical, biological and other means of mass destruction, and who have therefore unconstrained capability”? Be afraid.]
Individuals, who would misuse our basic rights and freedoms but, if they had their way, would want to create a society which would deny all of the basic individual rights which we now take for granted. As the Taliban have shown in practice and Al Qaeda espouse globally, the society they want would have no place for freedom of expression, thought or religion. No respect for private life or the rights of women. No compunction about unlawful killing or detention.
The biggest achievement of democratic socialism is not just a legal framework for human rights but the fact that real power and opportunity is now exercised by the many not the few in a way that our forefathers could not have imagined.
[Reid is referring to the Human Rights Act which the Blair government introduced in 1998. Today’s Labour Party should not be described as ‘democratic socialist’. It is a fascist party under insane tyrrant Blair. The Blair government has moved on from both democracy and socialism just as it is now attempting to move on from civil rights.]
Education, job opportunity, the chance to travel, new forms of entertainment, women�s rights are the successes of our open tolerant democratic state run by the rule of law.
What I fear is what happens when this progress is contested by others who do not share our world view. Some of whom do not want to see women educated or accessing the courts at all. Many of whom come from far beyond our shores and have no real connection with our nation � beyond a desire to attack it.
[Reid is being racist is this speech through linking immigration to terrorism although he is semantically careful. Many of whom …]
At a time when a single terrorist could cause irreparable damage on a hitherto unknown scale to our society and our confidence in the entire state I find myself in a situation where, in dealing with foreign national terrorist suspects:
� we can�t always prosecute individuals due to the difficulties in obtaining sufficiently cogent admissible evidence for a criminal trial;
� often we can�t deport them, even if they have no proper basis for claiming asylum here, due to concerns about the treatment they might receive in their home country;
� and we can�t detain them pending deportation if deportation is not a realistic prospect due to concerns about their treatment on return, as to do so discriminates against them.
This presents me or any home Secretary charged with the task of protecting the public from international terrorism in a very difficult position.
I believe in our values. I have no doubt they are shared by the vast majority of people throughout our country, from all social, religious or ethnic backgrounds.
But I have no doubt that it these very values which are the target of the terrorists.
We need to understand the depth and magnitude of that threat � all us, each of us across the whole political, media, legal and public spectrum. I believe that the majority of the public do indeed get the seriousness of the threat.
But when I see
– The opposition among our politicians to the measures which the police and security agencies say are necessary to combat this threat to our community and values.
– The Chahal Judgement by European Judges that we ought to be prohibited from weighing the security of our millions of our own people if a suspected terrorists remains here when trying to deport
– so many of our commentators give more prominence to the views of Islamist terrorists rather than democratically elected Muslim politicians like Premier Maliki or President Karzai
When I see and hear all of these things then I sometimes feel that so many people who should be foremost in recognizing the serious nature of the threat just don�t get it. We cannot afford any misunderstanding, in any quarter about the nature and scope of the threat which we are facing.
Charles Darwin, wrote ‘it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change’. That is why we need to see national security in a new context and all of us � politicians, businesses, lawyers and citizens need to evolve our thinking for the 21st century.
[that 21st Century term …]
Moreover, the end of the Cold War is accompanied by the reach and impact of organised crime and international terrorism. As we continue that debate in respect of terrorism there should not be an inch of complacency in any of our thinking. I understand that we�re fully pre-occupied thinking about events in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. But never for one moment forget we now live in a world where there is a seamless web that runs through foreign and domestic events. None of us should be anything other than vigilant and that vigilance is the price for securing our freedoms. So let us be in no doubt:
There is not one inch of room for complacency that is why I am emphasising today:
� We are probably in the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of World War II;
[Be afraid, there are evil terrists that want to kill you. Reid can get anything he likes published by the BBC then.]
� While I am confident that the Security Services and Police will deliver 100% effort and 100% dedication, they can never guarantee 100% success; and,
� Our security forces and the apparatus of the state provide a very necessary condition for defeating terrorism but can never be sufficient to do so on their own. Our common security will only be assured by a common effort from all sections of society.
[You’re either with us or against us. Everyone must join Reid’s assault on civil liberties to be successful in defeating these individuals that want to attck the state.]
� Sometimes we may have to modify some our own freedoms in the short term in order to prevent their misuse by those who oppose our fundamental values and would destroy all of our freedoms.
[A difficult argument to follow here. Reid is saying that in order to protect our freedoms we have to abandon them “in the short term”.]
It is up to each and all of us to ask the questions: what price security? At what cost preservation of freedom? What values are at stake? And what is the cost of making the wrong choices?
[I think that the question each and every one of us shuld ask is how can we tolerate these Labour Party fascists and what can we do to get rid of them?]
This is not an abstract discussion. It is one which touches upon the preservation of the values and freedoms I look forward to that debate with you.
[There you go then although I strongly suspect that I am one of those individuals that Reid wants to have civil liberties abolished for.]
see also Have I got the time about right? UPDATED 24/06/08