Meet Beatrix Campbell of the Grauniad. Here is a little piece she "wrote" for Pravda
Philip Pullman is fizzing… dark antibodies are fighting his freedom of speech. He is one of a clutch of esteemed children's writers and illustrators protesting against a vetting scheme that would extend to writers what already applies to anyone working with children in schools: a vetting scheme.
They protest that they're never "alone with children", so why should they be vetted. They've been going into schools for years, they say, so why now? Pullman, in particular, feels that vetting is "demeaning and insulting", another index of "corrosive and poisonous" state intervention.
What on earth is their problem?
Any writer-in-residence working with young people in schools, prisons and care facilities is vetted – I have been, several times – whether or not they work with crowds, groups or individuals.
We should be glad to do it if it confirms childrens' rights to safe access to adults. The gesture – so slight, after all – should signal to young people that their school thinks their bodily integrity matters; and that it matters more than a minor interruption of adults' privacy.
This institutional promise should exact no less commitment from us than our routine surrenders to scrutiny in the name of public safety. Why are these writers threatening to withdraw from schools and children when, presumably, they submit to the plethora of surveillance systems that are proliferating across public space?
Whether we agree with passports, identity cards, frontiers or road safety, we generally assent to their impact on our individuals freedoms. Liberty, the civil liberties and human rights guardian, was taken by surprise when it conducted a survey of public attitudes to CCTV in the streets – most people approved.
We give ourselves up to body checks when we travel by Eurostar and when we take a plane. Do these same authors refuse to travel other than by their own bicycles or cars on the grounds that such searches of our property and our persons imply a "demeaning" suspicion that we're all terrorists?
Custom officers now check your eyes when you cross our national frontiers. Do the writers boycott foreign travel?
In every corner shop, in every railway station, at every junction, there is CCTV. The artist Banksy has marvellously satirised the phenomenon with his image of a camera and "what you looking at?" stencilled on an empty wall. The cameras are, of course, looking at everyone and no one.
They signify that everyone can be under suspicion. But they also signal a wish to contribute to collective safety.
Whether any of this is any use is, of course, another matter. But if it is worth letting someone check your body and examine the contents of your bag at an airport, then it is worth letting the computer check whether you've committed crimes against children before you are allowed to attract their attention in their schools.
OK Beatrix, I am not going to get into a longwinded rant about the assumption of guilt before innocence, the tardy "if you've nothing to hide" argument, the idiocy of your argument that CCTV is good for the "collective safety" or your that having your details on a State computer is a "minor interruption of an adult's privacy".
Instead, I am going to show you that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Consider yourself a fully paid up member of every Islamic Extremist organisation in the world. I have just put your name and email address on their mailing lists. You are also now a member of the BNP AND Respect. I have signed you up. You will shortly find your name and photo on Gaydar. You have joined Pro Palestinian and Pro Zionist organisations. You are now a member of the friends of Huntingdon Life Sciences AND an eco warrier. Your email address is the weapon I shall be using against you on the big wide Internet. The one that is closely monitored by the ever so nice State.
Don't worry, you have nothing to fear, do you?