Ed Miliband's Labour Party Conference speech

Ed miliband There's a fair bit of chat online about David Ed Miliband's Labour Party Conference speech. Relevant for us:

"I won't let the Tories or the Liberals take ownership of the British tradition of liberty. I want our party to reclaim that tradition."

Which sounds good. After all they did to trash liberty whilst in government, that's welcome news. And what does he have in mind?

Miliband mentioned as examples Tony Blair's plans for 90 days' detention without crime – which were blocked by Parliament – and the "broad use" of anti-terrorism laws.

Agreed. That was terrible. We should all welcome Miliband abandoning those serious violations of long-held British liberties. But he went on to say:

"They just undermined the important things we did like CCTV and DNA testing."

Ed Miliband should take a good long look at his party's record on privacy and freedom whilst in Government. The past 12 years were characterised by a massive overreaction to terrorism, trashing long-held freedoms in return for no real improvement in security.

Although it is heartening to see that many in the Labour Party – including its new leader – now accept that the last Government's record of authoritarianism and snooping was unpopular, admitting fault while defending the twin evils of mass CCTV surveillance and keeping innocent people on the DNA database suggests that we are unlikely to see much of a change in Labour Party policy. I sincerely hope that that is not the case.

By Alex Deane

Posted by on Sep 29, 2010 in CCTV, DNA database | 18 Comments


  1. Andrew Ampers Taylor
    29th September 2010

    You wrote: Ed Miliband should take a good long look at his party’s record on privacy and freedom whilst in Government. The past 12 years were characterised by a massive overreaction to terrorism, trashing long-held freedoms in return for no real improvement in security.
    I have always wondered about this, and also other things. One day, quite some time ago, I sat down and pondered about the last 60 years.
    Prior to the War, the country was largely controlled by a few private families, shadowy figures behind politicians, and then, after the fifties, people started earning more money, the Unions playing their part, and those controlling families began to lose the power they held over the country.
    Terrorisim is only the latest way of subjecting the population. First of all “drugs”, one wonders why the authorities are always three steps behind the cartels, even with the power of governments. “money laundering”, take the problem opening up a new bank account. Do you really think this is going to bother real money launderers? The only people it inconviences are ordinary citizens such as you and me! Then “terrorism”, I don’t think the sort fo security at airports is to prevent terrorists, it is to inconvience ordinary passengers. “political correctness”, although this was introduced by a German thinktank decades go to destroy the ability of the Anglo-Saxons ability for independent thought, I think it has been pushed also to inconvenience the population.
    And the “bankers” (have I spelt that correctly?) I often wonder if the collapse of the system was to make the population poor again.
    Now, I am not saying that I definitely believe in all I have written above, I don’t, or rather, I would prefer to think this could never happen. But looking at them all together does make me wonder.

  2. GiantSpaceLizard
    29th September 2010

    And I wonder why BBW doesn’t delete consipracy theorist comments on sight.

  3. Andrew Ampers Taylor
    29th September 2010

    Ah! someone who doesn’t believe in free speech.
    Perhaps it is because they do believe in free speech?
    History shows that it is mainly Communist and Fascists who hate free speech.

  4. Alex Deane
    29th September 2010

    We delete spam and will censor out extreme profanity (usually). That’s it. Everything else stays up.
    As the guy who constantly calls me names can attest!

  5. Purlieu
    29th September 2010

    As someone on El Reg said, how come this policy change waited for a new leader – surely if it’s that important it should be taken up immediately. And, how come a new leader steps up, and single-hadedly changes policy that’s been in place for a decade – is this democracy or opportunism ?

  6. Purlieu
    29th September 2010

    I suspect Cameron/Clegg are beside themselves with glee over this unfortunate-for-Labour outcome.
    1. The un-charismatic gawky feckless sixth-former one wins
    2. The more statesmanlike female-attractive capable one quits
    3. Labour have zero chance of winning anything for the forseeable
    4. If they do that “joint ticket” thing next election (Con-Libdem coalition party stance) it could be even more painful for Labour

  7. Richard Craven
    30th September 2010

    I sympathize with Giantspacelizard. Sometimes the principle of free speech is invoked in order to protect the right of people like Andrew Ampers Taylor to impose their nonsense on the rest of us. It’s a pity this has to happen; but it’s also the price we pay for enabling the free exchange of opinion between serious people with a proper grasp of the issues under discussion. @Andrew Ampers Taylor:- noone can make you shut up, but I really wish you would.

  8. Andrew Ampers Taylor
    30th September 2010

    @Richard Craven, You really should lighten up, apart from being better for your blood-pressure, it helps give a better prospective on things.
    Being serious about everything can tend to make one a little dull. I am not saying you are, but that it could tend to happen if you aren’t careful.
    There’s a nice novel written by a Russian lady with a good sense of humour called Atlas Shrugged. Read that and you will see how one can have a sense of humour and still be very serious.
    Go in peace.

  9. Richard Craven
    30th September 2010

    Nothing to add to or subtract from my previous comment.

  10. Richard Craven
    30th September 2010

    Alternatively, maybe I can clarify things a little.
    @ampers. You wrote:-
    “Ah! someone who doesn’t believe in free speech. Perhaps it is because they do believe in free speech? History shows that it is mainly Communist and Fascists who hate free speech.”
    To the extent that I can make sense of these rather disconnected sentences, you appear to be conflating
    1. dislike of the abuse of free speech, which I think is approximately what G.Lizard is complaining about on your part;
    … with …
    2. dislike of the institution of free speech, which is something you attribute (quite properly in my opinion) to communists and fascists.
    Secondly, you vented a load of old cobblers in the form of a conspiracy theory about shadowy elites controlling everything. We’ve heard it all before, there are other forums for it and for people who find this sort of thing interesting, and it’s not interesting it’s boring.
    Next point. You made this exchange the occasion for personal remarks, passively-aggressively disguised as the therapeutic
    suggestion that I “lighten up”. All I did was endorse someone else’s criticism of you for conspiracy-theorising. I made no personal remarks about you.
    Next point. I have a passing acquaintance with the novels of Ayn Rand, as I have with many other novels which convey gravitas with a light touch. As far as I can ascertain, you seem to be comparing yourself to Ayn Rand in terms of your own ability to convey gravitas with a light touch. Firstly, I think Ayn Rand is a strangely random example of the phenomenon, when other better examples abound (think Dickens). Secondly, I don’t think that what you convey can be described as gravitas. Lightly touched, maybe.
    Lastly, ending with the phrase ‘go in peace’is a classic sophistical manouevre. If I reply, it makes me seem unpeaceful. If I don’t reply it makes it apppear as if I have conceded the argument.

  11. lee
    30th September 2010

    @ Richard Craven
    Well said !
    “Lightly touched” = : )
    And a particularly good point about the “go in peace” sign-off.

  12. Andrew Ampers Taylor
    30th September 2010

    Sorry if I upset you, the Go in peace is that I don’t really like confrontations, and I think you have misunderstood me quite a bit. But no matter, lets just end it here and should we meet, and you are amenable, I’ll happily buy you a drink.
    And no, I could never compare myself with that interesting and very clever woman. My education finished in the early fifties at the age of fourteen and a half.

  13. Richard Craven
    30th September 2010

    @Lee. Thanks very much! Takes one to know one.
    @Ampers. There’s a difference between argument and confrontation, in that it is possible to have the one without the other.
    If it is argument which you prefer to avoid, then I feel sorry for you, since you are probably better off not expressing your more outlandish views at all, as they will inevitably attract violent disagreement on the part of others.
    If it is confrontation which you wish to avoid then, given that you are likely to seek an outlet for your opinions, you need to desist from making personal remarks about others, since doing so is highly likely to provoke confrontation. You also need to develop a thick skin when others exdpress irritation, as they inevitably sometimes will, in relation to your more outlandish views. If you do not develop such a skin, you will probably find yourself engaging in the confrontations which you profess to abhor.

  14. Purlieu
    30th September 2010

    handbags at dawn !!

  15. Andrew Ampers Taylor
    1st October 2010

    Yes, it is confrontation rather than an argument that I dislike. Its probably due to my education being terminated too early in life. I get terribly frustrated because of what is happening to this country.
    I am thick skinned believe me. As an ex-soldier and now a newspaper editor (an extremely small newspaper – staff of twelve) I can assure you of that. But I feel confrontation is not a good weapon in politics. And as for your comments about personal attacks, this is not really part of my arsenal but I guess I got a little frustrated with that point which was so long ago I can hardly remember it! (I can tell you everything I did in 1950 but don’t ask me about yesterday.)
    I was brought up in a country where you had to make your own way, without the help of the state, and am so saddened at what is happening to the peoples of these islands. The way the State looks after everyone and what is so much worse, the huge percentage of people who can’t see that this is wrong. It is not only wrong but it is criminal.
    I like Cameron’s idea of a more decentralised government but, quite honestly, I am not holding my breathe and prefer to treat this as just another sound-bite until I see concrete proof.

  16. Richard Craven
    1st October 2010

    I agree with some of that. You’re quite reasonable when you cut out the conspiracy theories.

  17. Andrew Ampers Taylor
    1st October 2010

    Actually, like I said, I don’t really believe them, but with everything that is happening nowadays, I do have a slight nagging feeling.

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