Monday, 28 December 2009

Scary Terrorists

The old mantra 'terrorist threat' has been wheeled out so many times to justify more and more oppressive measures by New Labour that it lost its impact a long time ago. Indeed many of us doubted the seriousness of the threat from the start. Apart from the odd nutter or two the threat has never been as severe as that from the IRA a few years ago, and we lived in a state of relative freedom then in spite of them.

Then, over Christmas, the authorities wheel out a nutty Nigerian who used a syringe on a plane to make something on his leg go 'pop' and spout a bit of smoke. There you are, no doubt they will now ratchet up airport security even more, and install even more CCTV cameras in Kendal and Kirkby Lonsdale.

But last time I flew I had a bottle of over-sized shampoo confiscated because they thought I was going to use it as a terrorist weapon. Rub suds in the pilot's eyes perhaps causing the plane to crash? So how did nutty Nigerian chap get a syringe and a thing that goes 'pop' and makes smoke through all that hi-tech security? Perhaps it was actually time for the state to show us that there is a threat and that removing our freedoms and liberties is justified, but they didn't want to actually kill anyone in the process, not at Christmas.

The other thing that concerned me was that this nutty chap has a mechanical engineering degree from University College London. Now I don't expect they teach bomb making at UCL, but what happened to education, education, education under New Labour if that is the best an engineering graduate can do? On top of that his family are very wealthy it seems, so he could have afforded the best ingredients.

I think it's all very odd.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Big Brother Really Is Watching You

I have just come across an organisation that seems to be doing some very good work.

Big Brother Watch is researching and exposing the intrusion into our lives, and erosion of our civil liberties, by the state.

Big Brother Watch was founded by the founders of the Taxpayers' Alliance.

The worrying figures given below are taken from this research done by them:

There are currently at least 59,753 CCTV cameras controlled by 418 local authorities in Britain, up from 21,000 in 1999
This equates to 1 council owned CCTV camera for every 1000 people in the country
Portsmouth and Nottinghamshire Councils are in control of the most CCTV cameras with 1,454 each

Residents in the Outer Hebrides are the most watched people in the UK with 8.3 CCTV cameras controlled by the council for every 1000 people. Portsmouth has the second highest number of CCTV cameras per 1000 people with 7.8

The council controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras in Scotland is Fife with 1350 cameras
The council in Wales controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras is Swansea with 326 cameras
The council controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras in Northern Ireland is Belfast with 400 cameras
The total number of CCTV cameras controlled by councils in London is 8,815, which equals 1.3 CCTV cameras for every 1000 people living in the capital. Wandsworth is the most watched borough in London with 1113 CCTV cameras, or 4.3 cameras for every 1000 residents

In recent months I've become weary of meeting foreigners who comment on how intrusive the British state is, citing the worrying numbers of CCTV cameras spying on the public. It has been commented on by Americans, Australians and most recently by a Belgian, well a Fleming actually.

Make no mistake, Big Brother really is watching you.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

North West Regional Meetup, 13th December

Just a quick reminder that on Sunday 13th December, there will be another regional Libertarian party meetup in the Lounge Bar of the Royal Station Hotel in Carnforth, Lancashire, starting about 12.30pm. This is just across the road from the famous railway station which was used as a location for the film "Brief Encounter". This is a nice bar that does decent food - the Station Burgers are both reasonably priced and very filling. It's also intended that this meetup should serve as the Christmas get-together for Libertarians in the region, as the next meetup will be in January (exact date to be decided shortly).

Both of these meetups are open to anyone interested in libertarian ideas, if you'd like to come along, talk about libertarianism and see if we're the sort of party that you'd like to support.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Pondering the vote this week in Switzerland I couldn't help thinking that the people of France, Holland and Ireland voted against the Lisbon Treaty but they, and we, got it any way.

Then the bleeding heart liberals go all self righteous and condemn the Swiss for voting against more minarets going up than the four that already exist in that country. The chances are the decision will be overturned when the Council of Europe stick their long noses in anyway:

“Bearing in mind that it is a fundamental right of democratic states to debate and vote on issues of importance to their societies, the referendum held yesterday on the construction of new minarets in Switzerland raises concerns as to whether fundamental rights of individuals, protected by international treaties, should be subject to popular votes,” said the council’s secretary general, Thorbjørn Jagland, a former foreign minister of Norway. “The ban on the construction of new minarets is linked to issues such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and prohibition of discrimination guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Therefore it would be up to the European Court of Human Rights to decide, should an application be submitted to the court, whether the prohibition of building new minarets is compatible with the convention.”

What I take exception to is the following:

“The ban on the construction of new minarets is linked to issues such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and prohibition of discrimination guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights".

Like the veil, the burqa, the crucifix and other symbols, minarets are not a necessity. The vote not to allow the building of more minarets does absolutely none of the above. If churches were not allowed to be built with steeples it would be exactly the same, we could still practice our religion, minarets and steeples are not that important in religious terms.

So forgive me for asking, but exactly what type of 'democracy' are the forces in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting to impose on those poor sods? Is it the one that says the people can have their say, as long as they agree with the political class?