Over on Lib Dem Voice yesterday, Alix Mortimer demonstrated how hollow the mantra of 'if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear' actually is in the wake of Jacqui Smith's unfortunate expenses claim.
Although the claim has certainly given us all a good laugh, it does have some political significance. Alix highlighted part of it and I want to look at another aspect of it.
Over the past few months, Jacqui Smith has been busy telling us all that government plans to increase data storage and surveillance and to extend anti-terror laws even further were all perfectly OK really as they were subject to a series of 'safeguards'. Here's a couple of examples.
But I have a simple question for Ms Smith: what sort of safeguards are there against the sort of bone-headed stupidity you and your husband have shown? Him in including the porn films in your expenses claim, you for failing to check it properly - "Darling, what are these 'additional features'?"
Everyone, including public servants, is capable of such stupidity from time to time (the decision to put the details of 26 million child benefit claimants on to two unencrypted CDs springs to mind, for instance). Any safeguards on increasing the power of the state must literally be foolproof or they are worthless.
And more broadly, should we be asking the Guildford Four and the family of Jean Charles de Menezes what safeguards are effective in protecting innocent people in the fevered response to a major terrorist incident? Again, if any safeguards put into place in anti-terror laws would not have prevented either situation, they are worthless.
Ultimately, Jacqui Smith's embarrassment over her husband's viewing habits will fade. But this should be another reminder that the government's pledge that increased state power is all OK because it's in the hands of 'the good guys' who are competent and never act stupidly is somewhat hollow. There are no safeguards against human stupidity.
Recommended Lib Dem blogs and websites
- Andrew Reeves
- Caron's Musings
- Charlotte Gore
- Cicero's Songs
- Cllr Debra Storr
- Councillor Alex Graham
- David Boyle
- Duncan Borrowman
- Fraser MacPherson
- Freedom Central
- Himmelgarten Cafe
- Jock Coats
- John Hemming MP
- Lib Dem Blogs Aggregated
- Lib Dem Voice
- Liberal Burblings
- Liberal Bureaucracy
- Liberal England
- Love and Liberty
- Lynne Featherstone MP
- Mark Reckons
- Millennium Elephant
- Norfolk Blogger
- Peter Black AM
- Quaequam Blog!
- Sara Bedford
- Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Social Liberal Forum
- Stephen Glenn
- Steve Webb MP
- The People's Republic of Mortimer
- UK Liberal Democrats
Other good political sites
Miscellaneous non-political sites
- I'm not a fan of Polly Toynbee...
- The real significance of 'Porngate'
- The easiest job in the world
- You can't trust the SNP, part 4,937
- Alistair Campbell has a point
- Scottish Conference: Tavish Scott
- Scottish Conference: Investigating the 'blood ban'...
- Scottish Conference: More powers for the Scottish ...
- Scottish Conference: Vince Cable
- Scottish Conference: The Economy
- Harrogate Conference: Kirsty Williams
- Guardian in a parallel universe?
- Harrogate Conference: The Cleggster
- Harrogate Conference: Childcare
- Harrogate Conference: Faith Schools
- Harrogate Conference: Howard Dean
- Harrogate Conference: The dog that didn't bark
- Referendum issue won't go away
- Why the Aberdeenshire expulsions would be unjust
- Booze and price: the evidence
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