The pressures of campaigning has severely reduced my blogging. The influx of emails, the time on doorsteps and outside schools and the large number of hustings 16 in the diary – probably around the highest number anywhere in the country has kept me away from WordPress.
One area that has been raised a great deal is that of personal freedom and privacy. Many of us gladly give up amazing amounts of information via social networking sites, especially Facebook. Our banks know our every movement and what we spend the majority of our money on and from whom. The amount of information kept on us all is frightening if we think about it too much.
The state too is beginning to collect and collate huge amounts of data on us. It knows about our work and benefits, how much we are paid, the maladies we suffer and the achievements of our of school children.
We should feel uncomfortable about this. When it comes to health I want a strong state, I want it to keep me safe and claim the correct levels of taxation. However when it comes to my personal details and movement I want a weak state. I don’t want to be continually monitored or have to account for why I am in certain places at certain times.
For these reasons I am opposed to ID cards – if I want one I can apply for a passport and I already have a driving licence. I have no confidence that ID cards will provide us with protection from terrorism or organised crime.
I am saddened by the way that the time period for detention without charge has crept up. Of course the police and security forces will always be able to make a case for moving the time limit up, if it was one year they could say what if it takes us one year and a day to get the evidence. I want this brought down to 7 days which is much closer to the time period in other western countries (except of course if the USA can find a nice island hole to lock you up indefinitely without trial).
The new powers in the Digital Economy Act with powers over Internet Service Providers seems to me like the thin end of a very worrying edge.
I long for a more liberal Labour Government rebalancing the power of the individual against the power of the state. And anyway all these powers never seem to provide us with the protection from the petty and organised crime that plagues many of the poorest areas of Britain.