Dan Hodges and Civil Liberties….

Sometimes, it’s hard to know whether to take Dan Hodges seriously or not. You can’t help but wonder if he is the creation of some mischievous and perpetually contrarian political god who has a particularly annoying sense of humour. It was therefore only when I got half-way through his latest column on civil liberties that I finally decided he was in fact, sadly, being totally serious.

Let’s start at the bottom with the old canard about it being a trade-off between civil liberties v security and that less civil liberties will save lives. This is totally untrue. Politicians who take the Hodge’s line simply don’t want to tell people the truth. The truth is that if even the most authoritarian states known to history could not stop terrorist attacks then there is a better than even chance that even if we became the disturbingly 1984-esq society that exists in the fevered and excited imagination of Hodges there would still be terrorist attacks happen and innocent people would still lose their lives. So, his fear-mongering is creating a false intellectual framework which this discourse operates in.

David Davis framed his objections to these proposals rather better, saying they were “unnecessary”. This is what we need to consider, what is realistically possible and necessary. Obviously, the aim is still minimise the terrorist threat to the lives of the innocent but it is completely bogus to keep up the pretence that complete neutralisation is on the table. The issue then becomes about practically where the balance is struck to achieve the best results, not the ideal ones and even here these proposals fall majorly short of convincing.

The amount of information that GCHQ and the other services would be receiving at any given time is vast and so finding the right thing that would lead to the desired outcome still is very much needle-in-a-haystack stuff. You have to know what and who you’re looking for precisely and that still involves the human element of guesswork, which is of course subject to error, unless you’re prepared to cross the ‘Hodge’s line’ and install CCTV in every home and keep every citizen under 24/7 surveillance. Even then, there are ways to beat that system, so your ‘saving lives’ argument is subject to easy and quick refutation. This reveals the real solution to these problems, intelligence is not guaranteed to be successful at prevention by the amount of information the state is allowed to snoop on at all but by the quality and ability of the intelligence operatives, also, incidentally, the better the operatives, the less information and access like this they require. In other words, the solution is to remember the human angle to the equation, to put quality over quantity.

Furthermore, the more the state generates hostility in the wider population by snooping unnecessarily, the less co-operative people become and the harder the job of harm prevention actually becomes. In some cases, people will even be more susceptible to the argument that you should take up arms against the state; conversely, the more free and open a society is the easier it is to weed out those who threaten it. It’s a bit like the difference between trying to weed a tangled and knotty bush and a open and exposed green lawn.

Credit should be given where it is due. It looks like Ed Miliband is ignoring the siren voice of Dan Hodges and those on the Labour right who are all for a hyperactive state when it comes to crushing people’s fundamental freedoms (but seem to be less keen on any state activism to address our terribly unequal society). This is good news and a positive step forward. Long may it continue.


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3 responses to “Dan Hodges and Civil Liberties….”

  1. representingthemambo says :

    Hodges is a clown, but a clown who represesents the thinking of quite a number of people in the Labour Party. People who are far more interested in attacking the left than the Tories. For the life of me I don’t know why some of them even remain members.

    “Dan Hodges and those on the Labour right who are all for a hyperactive state when it comes to crushing people’s fundamental freedoms (but seem to be less keen on any state activism to address our terribly unequal society).”

    Very very true. The hypocrisy and inconsistency is breathtaking.

    His position on civil liberties is embarassingly incoherent and so wrong it is funny. I presume he thinks it puts him in touch with the working man.


  2. john Reid says :

    last sentence remembering themambo, actuslly i feel Hodges really believes itr, regarding the right of the labour party not being pro civil liberties, Andrew mckinlay voted against 42 days, nd surely A liberty is not to have innocent peoples DNA on record, or having the name of those arrested for rape before being found guilty having their name draged through the dirt, and somwetimes result in their life being ruined,

    Mumbo ergaring the spent to much time attacking the left rather than the tories (on innocent peoples dna, i’m proud to attack labour an agree with the Tories)other issues if i didn’t vroiticise Livingstone i wouldn’t feel justified in voting for him as he shouldn’t have endorsed an independent made homophobic/anti semetic comments

    Regarding the Ed miliband not listening to the ‘right’ of the party, it reminds me of when the right of the party didn’t opposed Benn’s ideas for the 1983 manifesto like things even Foot didn’t agree with (nationalise the 25 biggest industries, scrap riot police) the right of the party view in ’82 was if labour lost massively that election the right of the party could blame it all on Tony benn, Also maybe hodges assumes labour lose the next election he can blame it all on Ed miliband.

    As for Hodgtes ARTICLE, i couldn’t belive his view if there had been more surveilance in 1974 the police wouldn’t have framed the Birmingham6/guildford4, in the latters case the Birmingham6 were active IRA members two had a hnd in the bombing, therest new enough to stop itr, if they had them under more surveilance, th e fact the innocent men new it, wouldn’t have been able for the police to stop it,

    egarding Stephen lawernce, who knows if the police had arrested some suspects a weekearlier it would have been justified on wrongful;l arrest and as for the hidden camera, this still maybe entrapment, as such more surveilance wouldn’t have prevented it, just becuase 25 people say someone did it on hearsay doesn’t mean thery did, 25 people said Silcott was the cop killer (14 of them 7 years later mind you).

    I agree with alot of labour anti terror laws, i might point out tha Blair said id cards were the view of right wing extremists in 1995, yet 10 years later he wanted them and Micheal howard the original supporter was keeping quiet.

    as for emails it seems excessive.Look at the mark duggan inquirt Micheal mansfield representing his family can quite rightly have a year to appeal evidencve, if the people who are video’d selling Duggan the gun have a court date for this, then this has to take placve before A inquiry, yet people say its a outrage that the IPCC are having to have someof the evidence in ptivate ,but if informatioon of how duggan bought the gun is in the public domain in the next year it woul prejudice an inquiry,


  3. john Reid says :

    I’m often criticised for attackinbg Labour more than the tories RememberingtheMambo, but look at these comments ,see if they don’t portray us in a bad light

    Livingsotne backing the Indpendent lufhter

    katie Clarke has petitioned to get rid of kettling (How the police are supposed to contain people who have a percentage of them rioting and throwing objects at other members of the Public and destroying buildings I don’t know, Let alone the police not get hurt themselves) And Like Clarke John McDonnell wants the charges Against Alfie Meadows dropped, Do they feel that If he has committed Affray that this shouldn’t be A criminal offence,

    I can handle Harriet Harmans all me are potetnial rapists , I can handle the fact that david Lammy went to unviersity where he views all white working class people without a academic education are bigotted,
    Shadow attorney gerenal, justice secretary Sadiq Khan( spoke of his opposption to Ken clarke saying some rapes are worse than others ,He Is joint partner with Loisue christinan In Lawyers Christian Khan, One of their staff is, sahrah mcsherry, she is representing In court Alfie emadows who’s up on A Affray charge following the student riots he was the one hit on the head and the one who lied when he said he was turned away from hosptial and was leaving the kettle when he was hit on the head with a truncheon, now depsite he was in the protest and even if he was hit with a Truncheon , that it’ could have been self defence let alone he could have been hit with a thrown brick, he also said he was being kettled as there wasn’t one. Do we really want a shadow Justice secretary who’s lawyers represent people known to have told such lies already,
    Louise Christian was labour party member in 1986 (she’s now socialist alliance) she took to the stage of the Conference after the Electricians union boss had been booes off stage fro defending the police keeping the peace in the Wapping dispute saying “the police are the filling in the sandwich of society between Anarchy on one side and Law and order on the other side, then Christian said ” the Police are the salmonella in the sandwich of society” to which she got a standing ovation ,The police federation asked Shadow Home secretary Gerald Kaufman to criticise this, To which he refused and then the Police federation said ” Well if that’s your attitude I can’t see how we can work with you.. to maintain Law and order”, as such it took Roy hattersley 8 years before the Police could consider taking the Labour party serious on law and order, No distancing himself form her comment has ever been heard By khan, then there’s Also he represented Ali Diziae ,who was found guilty a second time of lying in court and false allegations and was given warnings that his professionalism fell far below the standards expected of A p.c after he was recorded making threatening Voice mail to An ex mistress, Or stealing his ex girlfriends jumper. the police saying , we’ve got a lot more on him or the other times that Sadiq Khan have represented him. Christian Khan having links to defending other people claiming politcal views as self defence for their criminality,

    DNA , the choice of a free society that may use DNA to help catch rapists as DNA doesn’t prove intent it can mean transition of fluid onto even prove been there, and the fact that someone can be prejudiced while other can’t with the dna -afterall, I don’t have to justify itslef to the Government the govenremnt has to justify itself to me ,so why do we support innocent peoples being kept.

    Or emily thornberry hounding of P.C Harwood over he death of Ian Tomlinson.

    Name and shame people only accused of it let alone not even charged have their lives ruined put threw the dirt without the like’s say i ng it’ll deter more people from coming forward, so having someone’s life ruined you’ve made a false accusation that’s slander One person accused of rape couldn’t face the allegation of being bullied by people was Justin fashanu (as underage sex(with A boy) is considered rape) so he committed suicide

    diana abbott apart form her 10 other comments , divide and rule yet this was diesmissed as picking on her as after all black people have it worse it took 18 yars For Stephen lawrene killers to be borught to justice by a institutionally racist organsiation what about a instittuitonally anti white raicst organsation and the anti white racist comments associated with NEC choice Kate oasmaor and her mother.

    we are going to the Union unite broke and the will fund us and demand what we do,we could try to go for mas membership and not need 90 % union funding and no your not going to get anything form it,

    Plus BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS MEDHI hasan sunny hundal lAURIE PENNY who’ve joined and claim they speak for the party.
    Does Ed Milibnad want someone who has these view as His Junior Health secretary.


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