This week Big Brother Watch moved offices and as such we now have a new address and a new phone number. Our updated contact details are available on our website.
Last week, Con Coughlin wrote a piece for the Daily Telegraph effectively defending the use of torture and stating that British judges upholding the rule of law in the Binyam Mohammed case were Taliban sympathisers and would be equally to blame with Osama Bin Laden if London were to be bombed again. Big Brother Watch’s Alex Deane wrote a response on Conservative Home, defending liberty and opposing torture, which provoked responses in the Spectator, the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal and a further piece from Coughlin himself. You can see our final word on the matter here.
Our nanny state and officious councils
The past seven days have seen a slew of stories involving baffling regulations and ludicrous decisions from health and safety officers in councils around the country. The absurdity began last weekend, when a 67 year-old man was prevented from getting a bus because he was carrying a pot of paint. This was followed by the news that a mother is facing a fine after a litter warden ‘caught’ her toddler dropping a piece of banana from his pushchair. Whilst relieved that the offending council was not Sandwell, we were reminded of our success with Vanessa Kelly and have offered our support to the unfortunate mother in question.
Continuing the theme, it emerged yesterday that Leicestershire County Council are currently in the process of banning swimming goggles, for the bizarre reason that they ‘reduce peripheral vision’. But the crowning glory in this sorry sequence comes courtesy of the chilling ‘National Child Measurement Programme’ – a government programme to catalogue the health of our nation’s youth and hold it on a database, ready to bombard parents if their children get overweight. If this level of snooping wasn’t bad enough, the rigid indicators of the scheme were revealed yesterday, when the parents of apparently healthy Lucy Davies were told that their 5 year-old daughter was fat and at risk of heart disease.
The saddest feature of the nanny state is that it breeds jobsworths who think that everything’s their business; they think that they should play the role of parents and they think it’s fine to deny individual choice in more and more ways. On all counts, they’re wrong.
Blogs of the Week
Edinburgh Council send support workers on snooping classes - the disturbing news that Edinburgh City Council has decided that its social workers should be the first to be trained to see terrorism in everything. Instead of helping the most disadvantaged they will now be watching out for ‘empty bottles of bleach’…tragic
“Bomb threat” on Twitter…? Oh, please… - Paul Chambers, the man who tweeted his frustration at the closure of an airport and found himself in custody, goes to court today. Big Brother Watch is hoping that the court sees sense…
Interested in campaigning against body scanners? Click here - An Essex man’s grassroots movement starts piling up signatories on Facebook. Sign up and register your opposition to the full-body scanner.
BBC Radio Derby - Dylan Sharpe interviewed by Shane O’Connor
East Coast FM - Alex Deane interviewed by Graeme Logan
Daily Echo – Neighbours to turn each other in for bin fines in Southampton
Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “The powers being granted to the Bin Stasi should be opposed by the people of Southampton. Bureaucrats everywhere are using the environment as an excuse to intrude on our lives and increase council revenue and it shouldn’t be allowed – especially when disproportionately applied to trivial and absurd ‘offences’ like leaving one’s bin in the wrong place.”
Tameside Reporter – Good ‘ID’ea or not?
Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It was foolish to push forward with the scheme in the face of widsespread public opposition against ID cards. As a result there are only a few people who have them – and nobody even recognises what they are. We have managed to live our lives for centuries without ID cards – the suggestion that there is any pressing need for them now is absurd.”
The Times – Businesses are behind the big increase in human rights cases
Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Human rights are vital, but the Human Rights Act is often used to achieve frivolous and greedy ends, for purposes nothing to do with proper human rights.
“The abuse of the Act is a tragedy that undermines the whole idea of human rights in the eyes of the public.”
Daily Mail – Police ground unmanned drone after aviation chiefs claim £40,000 gadget was used illegally to make landmark arrest
Dylan Sharpe, campaign director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This intervention by the CAA is welcome and timely. People already feel that there is excessive surveillance in the UK without the police flying around CCTV cameras to catch us littering or parking in the wrong place.
‘Privacy problems, excessive cost, or unauthorised use of airspace – Britain would be better off with fewer surveillance cameras.’
Real Radio – Dylan Sharpe interviewed by Glen Hunt
Blackpool Gazette – Police use helicopter drone without permission