Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Labour can unify liberty and security


This is a guest post by former Labour Home Secretary Charles Clark MP

As we get closer to a general election, Labour needs seriously to assess what we have done since 1997 and then to put forward recommendations about what needs to be done now.

In the areas of security and liberty many would argue (and I agree) that there has been too much legislation. Despite that, our political opponents intend to campaign on a raft of radical measures, such as the creation of a new bill of rights and elected police commissioners. These measures will certainly consume a good deal of time and energy, probably unconstructively.

Implementing proposals



Labour's proposals for a fourth term must evolve from our ambitions in 1997. These were enormous and they were quickly implemented and legislated – many in the first four years of Labour's rule.

Levels of crime and antisocial behaviour have decreased significantly, as we strengthened the ability of the police to fight crime. We established crime-fighting partnerships between the police and other agencies, increased police numbers and created police community support officers within a neighbourhood policing strategy. We funded better technology, including CCTV and a DNA database. We established new penalties, such as on-the-spot fines and asbos, and formed the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

We enacted the Human Rights Act and subsequently created a supreme court, breaking the link between the legislature and the judiciary. Consequential legislation included the Regulation of Investigatory Practices Act (Ripa), which for the first time regulated surveillance by public authorities.

We passed the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (now the source of so much difficulty for those, like parliament, who didn't think carefully enough about how to meet its requirements). We also brought in legislation on transparency of party political funding, which has shone a spotlight on very murky areas, at the cost of the reputation of politics.

Most of this legislation was opposed by the Conservatives and supported by the Liberal Democrats. Its overall effect has been to strengthen the judiciary at the expense of the legislature, to weaken the executive, to empower the media and to discredit the political process. Despite these unwelcome consequences, I continue to believe that the changes were right in principle and should not be reversed.

Shaking up the system



All these measures shook up the existing system. In many cases, a new stable settlement still has to be established. We now know how well our measures have worked, or not, and understand the remaining difficulties. The next parliament is the time to make the necessary modifications to create and secure that stability.

Society has evolved since 1997, most significantly in the rapid march of technology and increased globalisation; and of course the 9/11 attack and its implications have dramatically changed our approach to our own security.

So the next parliament needs to consolidate the new constitutional relationships, establish consensus about the powers of the police and security services and address issues relating to identity.

In the constitutional area, the implications of the new supreme court and the way in which the Human Rights Act has worked in practice require an open discussion between the judiciary and the legislature, particularly to clarify where responsibilities for security lie. We need a franker and more direct relationship between courts and ministers. All levels of government need to be far more open about the use of their powers, and the operation of both Ripa and the FOI should be reviewed to create greater clarity and less bureaucracy. Proposals for a new bill of rights have not been thought through and would make a confused situation far worse.

The security dilemmas



Dilemmas over police and security service powers will always remain and are increased by the security threats under which we now live. On the one hand, we all want the police to have the powers they need to apprehend criminals – including terrorists – and, preferably, to prevent such crimes from taking place. On the other hand, there will always be concern that such powers might abuse the innocent. This debate has intensified since 9/11, and it will not go away.

The atrocities of 9/11 and then 7/7 demonstrated both the terrorists' ruthlessness and our vulnerability. The various legislative responses, including the controversial control orders and proposals for 90-day pre-charge detention, were intended to address these threats in a proportionate way under judicial overview. It would have been best (as I promised in 2006) to consolidate counter-terrorism legislation (including that relating to Northern Ireland) in a comprehensive new act. This act would respect international commitments and alter aspects of existing legislation that have caused concern, such as the police's overuse of counter-terrorism powers to stop and search, or to constrain free movement. The partisan and incoherent 42-day proposal in 2007 replaced the necessary all-embracing review, but the need remains.

In most local communities, effective neighbourhood policing has reduced both crime and fear of crime, and there is no reason to reduce the ability of crime reduction partnerships to use techniques such as asbos and the extension of CCTV to cut crime and antisocial behaviour. These partnerships still need to be improved, and must supported by a stronger police focus on the front line.

The police also need to strengthen their capacity to deal with serious and organised crime, such as people-trafficking and drug-dealing. These remain a major threat to the security of many communities, and stimulate gun and knife crime. Effective intelligence, collected within the proper legal safeguards, remains absolutely essential to combat the criminal gangs' practices, as is better international co-operation, particularly across the EU.

Identity databases



The controversy about identity cards has been politically potent. However, the debate has been beset by misleading and even duplicitous arguments.

The truth is that technological change means that massive identity databases already exist. An immense range of data about almost everyone has been collected by a range of public and private organisations. This includes information on banking, pensions and benefits, health, travel and employment records, and of course the records held by the police and security organisations.

The operation of these databases determines some pretty fundamental practical questions about the ways in which we live. There is an understandable public demand to establish more databases to strengthen protection, for example against sex attacks on children. Moreover, the ability to share data remains an important weapon in the fight against crime and other social problems.

The government needs to establish a coherent data regime that places the individual at the centre, with the practical right to see the data held on them and correct it if necessary. They should also be able to see who made any changes to data that is stored (and when the changes were made), and to give permission for the sharing of any data which is held.

We should aim for simplification and transparency, we should have a frank dialogue with the information commissioner and other concerned parties, and we should be prepared to amend the criminal records bureau, identity register and data protection legislation to meet those concerns.

The Future



Labour should reject proposals for further radical change in the areas of security and liberty. Our priorities should be to put the constitutional judicial system on a sound footing; to consolidate and revise existing counter-terrorism legislation; to continue reducing crime through more modern policing (including a more rational structure of police forces and more consistent partnership working); and to revise our identity and data protection legislation to put the rights of the individual at the centre.

I believe that our fourth-term priorities should be to meet the challenges we have put in the "too difficult" box in our first three terms. That means creating a fair system of prisons and probation, designed to reduce re-offending; completing democratic constitutional change by strengthening the role of parliament (including electoral reform and fixed-term parliaments); finishing reform of the Lords; creating an accepted and open system of funding party politics; and restoring the balance between national and local government.

It is now time to address this major agenda and create sustainable change. It is a programme for a fourth-term Labour government.

This article originally ran as part of a Labour's future group series

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would you be referring to the same FOI act that MPs didn't want applied to them?

You've had 12 years to get all your 'visions' in place.

All you've achieved is a legacy of broken promises, lies and spin, illegal wars, uncontrolled immigration, rises in violent crime. I could go on, but I'll get RSI listing all of Labour's failures.

And it's all going to end with that dreadful little man Blair getting the job he's been after for years.

Listen: what the electorate want is for you to just go away and let somebody else with a modicum of sense run the country.

We don't care about your plans for a fourth term. You've had a go, screwed it up, and hopefully will be banished from office for decades.

Tyburn Jig said...

Fourth term? The man's mad. Probably the same lunacy that afflicts Brown.

.243 WIN said...

A damning indictment of ZaNu's anti-liberty measures for the past twelve years.

You've clearly learnt nothing from your tenure. Just about every piece of legislation you've enacted has been used for purposes other than those cited or been plain ineffective - Council abuse of RIPA and an unenforceable Hunting Act being two of the most prominent.

Now you're facing electoral defeat, it's more of the same red meat of Political Funding and Lords Reform for the faithful.

Too little, too late; you're rapidly becoming an irrelevance.

We can't forgive, we won't forget. Time to go.

Fausty said...

I can barely believe my eyes.

Mr Clark's list is not a list of Labour's achievements. It is a list of the ways in which Labour has destroyed this once wonderful country.

It has destroyed our freedoms. Crime is UP, Mr Clark, despite what your government's massaged figures say. We know, because we live in our communities without resort to bodyguards, unlike yourself and your over-privileged colleagues.

And now you want to do more of the same, prettied up?

Do you really think we're all stupid enough to believe such a gambit?

You might be able to convince your colleagues that you are better able to take over the Labour leadership from Mr Brown, but then anyone would be.

Labour has been a disaster for Britain and I think you'll find that the general election results will make perfectly clear that the country wants your destructive lot gone.

Snowolf said...

Oh dear, OH. You were so close with your title, Labour can unify liberty and security.

What it should have read was Labour can fuck off

What the hell have these arsewipes been doing for the last 12 years? It's a bit rich to be indentifying problems and touting grandiose solutions now, you've had over a decade you fuckers.

As for databases, we don't need to be in the centre of them, we need to be on the outside, so far outside that we don't appear anywhere near them.

Jug eared ugly old cunt.

FUCK OFF!

You'll get the message clear enough in May.

SO17 said...

'We have introduced a raft of measures that to ensure our left wing ideaologies work all Citizens now have stab/bullet proof vests with a handy ID pouch, backward and forward facing camera and an on the spot fine dispenser should the wearer commit a minor offence'

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

Fuck off Clark.

Guthrum said...

'We need a franker and more direct relationship between courts and ministers'

Thats what Stalin said as well, I thought the Courts were supposed to be impartial and independent of the Executive ?

Kevin Boatang said...

Otherwise known as Charles Clarke's essay on Labour Future which is here

FTAC Watch said...

You also created the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) that uses the police to abduct people from their homes and uses the NHS to imprison them on fabricated grounds, subjects them to degrading treatment (bordering on torture) , without human rights and forcibly drugging them without proper clinical justification.

The IPCC will not properly investigate police crimes. It took me six months of constant pressure for the Professional Standards Department of the police to look into my complaint and all that happened was the police office blatantly lied (obvious to all that read his statement) and they accept it, concluding ‘no case to answer’. When I try to appeal, the response is we’re busy and you’ll have to wait three month before we’ll bother to look into your case. It’ll be another whitewash anyway. They are corrupt from head to toe.

I know that I will never live to see it, but I hope that one day you, your traitorous co-conspirators, and the collaborators in the public sector will hang for your crimes.

Anonymous said...

There's just too many Pakis in this country.

Anonymous said...

Is this a spoof? He seems to be congratulating new labour on having created a stasi state?

Anonymous said...

When every single one of these marxist bastards is dead (by natural causes obviously) will justice be served.

They remove freedom, they walk over the constitution as though it doesn't matter and think they have the right to do so and also place themselves above the LAW of the land known as common LAW.

fuck em all, traiters one and all.

Corrugated Soundbite said...

Mr. Clark

You are an arsehole.

Thankfully you're an arsehole with a very limited firing range.

See you in May - for the very last time.

Cunt.

Anonymous said...

Labour's three achievments
1) totally fucked up the country, (and other countries also)probably beyond repair.
2) snatching kids off grandparents to give to fithly faggots.
3) Allow faggots to bugger each other in public bogs providing the door is not open.
That's about it folks
Anyone for a fourth term?
P.S. Cameron will carry on with Brown's "work"
Urban11

Kevin Boatang said...

I take it Clarke knows you have stolen his essay Holby? It is afterall copyrighted material. I find it hard to beleive that Clarke would publish anything on your blog.

comette said...

Fabians want an ordered society, with them doing the ordering.

Captain Ranty said...

He talks about 42 days as if they did a great and honourable thing.

The trouble is, when the Lisbon Treaty kicks in they can arrest us for fuck all, they are not obliged to charge us with anything, and they can detain us for up to nine months.

Hang them all for treason. Or sedition. No, wait, they got rid of that "crime", did they not?

It's good to be the king.

Bastards.

Sue said...

Have you heard from Imogen? I missed her comment :(

I think Charlie boy is moderating his own post!

BigJamesie said...

What the comment is "free" mods did to responses to Clarke's waffle (that's the kindest word I could find) is almost funny in the way it mirrors what his chums have done to the country....

Anonymous said...

It started off in the opening two lines like "this might be interesting"...

The the bullshit started.

Good god, the ex Ministerium für Staatssicherheit is alive and well...frightening, truly frightening...

Bristol Dave said...

Fuck off, you jug-eared cunt.

Roger Dodger said...

"All these measures shook up the existing system. In many cases, a new stable settlement still has to be established. We now know how well our measures have worked, or not, and understand the remaining difficulties. "

What a massive cunt.

For the above read, 'we fucked up, but it provided us with knowledge as to how we fucked up'. And it's a lie. They learned nothing because that would require contemplating an error.

Positioning himself for the post Brown world. Nothing more and nothing less.Sooner his coronary condition develops the better.

comette said...

"Levels of crime and antisocial behaviour have decreased significantly, as we strengthened the ability of the police to fight crime. We established crime-fighting partnerships between the police and other agencies, increased police numbers and created police community support officers within a neighbourhood policing strategy. We funded better technology, including CCTV and a DNA database. We established new penalties, such as on-the-spot fines and asbos, and formed the Independent Police Complaints Commission."

RECORDED crime is down. That is because the Police game the system and people probably don't bother as much to report things as the Police do bugger all. Crime-fighting partnerships have proven to be disastrous as each party merely blames the other for inaction rather than acting unilateraly or in unison. We have never had so many Police. We have also never had so many people. What a surprise - Plod numbers have gone up as the population has too. But worse, we need more Police now as their time is increasingly taken up with paperwork, training and paperwork for the training. Meanwhile, paramilitary Police roam around looking like Ultimate Force rejects and harassing tourists. To say 'we funded better technology' is to forget who pays the bills Sonny Jim. CCTV helps detect crime, it doesn't do much to prevent it. DNA is but one tool in the forensic science arsenal but it has been elevated to deity heights by telly shows. The DNA database does not require the storing of wholly innocent people and the DNA 'fingerprint' is not as cast-iron as the pigs would have you believe. By using a relatively small number of markers you get greater incidences of errors. On the spot fines and ASBOs are examples of summary justice which the UK has long refrained from deploying. What has changed to require such an assault on due process?

"We enacted the Human Rights Act and subsequently created a supreme court, breaking the link between the legislature and the judiciary. Consequential legislation included the Regulation of Investigatory Practices Act (Ripa), which for the first time regulated surveillance by public authorities."

Supreme Court isn't supreme, the Euro courts have more authority. RIPA has been a cover for a gross avalanche of literally unwarranted intrusion into our daily lives. Another assault on due process.

"We passed the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (now the source of so much difficulty for those, like parliament, who didn't think carefully enough about how to meet its requirements). We also brought in legislation on transparency of party political funding, which has shone a spotlight on very murky areas, at the cost of the reputation of politics."

The DPA has some uses, particularly when the ICO is giving the Government a kicking. However, for all it's uses it is yet another example of stealth taxation on those who have businesses. For all the transparency our politicians are still a murky lot prone to doing deals in backrooms. To have cost politics its reputation it had to have one beforehand. It did not.

"Most of this legislation was opposed by the Conservatives and supported by the Liberal Democrats. Its overall effect has been to strengthen the judiciary at the expense of the legislature, to weaken the executive, to empower the media and to discredit the political process. Despite these unwelcome consequences, I continue to believe that the changes were right in principle and should not be reversed."

The job of opposition is to hold the Governmet to account. Sadly much of the Conservatives brand of opposition has been hopeless, knee-jerk and unproductive.

Lord High Executioner said...

Send Charles Clarke to the Tower together with the other 645.

Off with their heads

Anonymous said...

'We need a franker and more direct relationship between courts and ministers'

Hmmmm... I'm thinking along the same lines!

JD said...

Rearrange the following words into a well known phrase or sayig:

Land Cuckoo and Cloud.

What a tit!

Bill said...

"our fourth-term priorities"


LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Good old Safety!

Always good for laugh.

Fausty said...

Oh, my! Isn't Clark getting a well-deserved kicking in the Guardian!

Nectaridus said...

Thank you OH for taking this article from the Guardian and putting Clarke's pile of lies and delusions on your site for some real, unrestrained and, above all, unmoderated comments. I was hoping that Imogen Black had sent you her (censored) comment from the Guardian's Comment is Free section (hollow laugh), where I've just been but sadly not so far. Keep it up - we have got to beat these thieving totalitarians and you're doing a great job trying.

Harri said...

Still a fucking Hoon !

I remember the scene Clarke whence you were accosted by a greiving wife, of yet another 'murder victim' upon the Decaying streets of Slavebores Socialist Utopia in not so Great Britain.

She basicaly asked you what you, as ( the worst hone secetary since the last clown, was shuffled off )

Why are you all so fucking inept by the way !

Anyway i digress, the greiving woman asked you what you were actualy doing... and your immortal reply ( being a rabbit caught in the headlights )

" We ( whoever WE is/was/are ) working, very , very , very , very hard ?

No, i could not believe you fucking said it either ?

Now, with all the respect i can personaly muster, just find a damp stone to crawl under and die, you were useless then, you are useless now, and will without any shadow of a doubt remain fucking useless.

Simon said...

You can spout what you like about all your vile, intrusive laws. The truth of the matter is that your (not our) Police Force is taking DNA of children who pour ketchup over someone in Macdonalds. That's the reality of life for most of us under your penalty obsessed, authoritarian regime.

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway_messenger/news/2009/october/18/teenager_swabbed_for_dna.aspx

Max penalties for the slightest infringement of any of your petty laws for us while corrupt politicians go unpunished as they participate in the Westminster crime wave. Go away and enjoy your ill gotten gains but just leave us alone.

Nick said...

Lets keep the FOI.

Lets have a doomsday book of government debt.

Then to pay it we need a tax. A labour tax on every receipt and payslip. Small l, because Labour with a capital L is associated with the Labour party and people might be confused as to the cause of the debt mountain.

It just shows Clark is in cuckoo land. Not one mention of cost.

Lets have some MPs in the dock for their crimes.

Lets have MPs in the dock for the mess. Children being born now are being born into debt because we have had kleptomaniac politicians. Third world? Nope the UK

Fuck 'em. If people get the bill on payslips, I suspect Labour MPs will be in hidding for a long time.

Harri said...

Nick said

"Fuck 'em. If people get the bill on payslips, I suspect Labour MPs will be in hidding for a long time."

21 October 2009 16:35


They deserve a good fucking hiding !

Then tar & Feather the fucking lot of em.

Anonymous said...

Fuck off Kevin Boatang you prissy liebour prat.

woman on a raft said...

A triumph of policing.

Velichka Hristova, [a Bulgarian] 21, from Haringey in London, appeared in Cambridge Magistrates' Court last Tuesday (Oct 13) to answer charges of theft and fraud.

The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to five purse thefts and four charges of fraudulent use of credit cards. She was given a six month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid community service. The terms of her ASBO also ban her from entering the whole of the county of Cambridgeshire for two years.

These were only sample charges - Hristova has been commuting regularly, having realized that pensioners outside London are even easier to steal from. She specialized in going to smaller town centres and marking old people as they left the post office, preying on their poorer eyesight and more trusting natures to get close to them and steal their purses.

What this story does not say and does not now appear to be in the BBC story is that the Border Agency wanted to deport Velichka Hristova as her visa was clearly rubbish and on terms she broke. She's not 'from' Harringey in any meaningful sense. The court refused permission to deport her, saying that the sentence was too short for that and did not give grounds for her expulsion from the country, despite her determined preying on old people.

So we are lumbered with a tealeaf from somewhere else, not a hard-working person who might have a genuine claim to remain here.

Even when the police manage to catch someone (strictly speaking, it was the shop staff who caught her and were able to hang on to her until the police arrived) nail down a perfect case and the CPS bring in a perfect conviction, still the courts refuse to take effective action. The young woman has, in effect, been let off with some community service which she might very well not do in the end.

Here's a picture of her.

Harri said...

Kevin Boatang said...
I take it Clarke knows you have stolen his essay Holby? It is afterall copyrighted material. I find it hard to beleive that Clarke would publish anything on your blog.

21 October 2009 14:34


Yeah i know the feeling , i can't believe Clarke can actualy put one foot in front of the other, without fucking tripping over ?

But believe me, Clarke, REALLY is a cunt, of biblical proportions !

Jug-eared Tramp said...

They've had twelve years to walk the walk and talk the talk, now they can fuck the fuck off.

Oldrightie said...

What a pathetic, pseudo intellectual load of bollocks. Time for someone else to have a go. Couldn't fuck up any worse than Labour hoons.

Mitch said...

Mans a knob!! luckily for us he will never have any power again......did I mention he was a knob?

Anonymous said...

http://stopblair.eu/

Harri said...

Watch this !

This is what i really feel like ( and many, many millions of others must feel like after listening to anyone of the 646 bastard lunatics , who happen to reside at Westmonster ) I know i do ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBVmfIUR1DA

Watch this ' Jug ears useless and pointess Clarke '.. we are REALLY , really angry at what you have ' achieved '.... now do you geddit you cunt you !

Get back to me, i am interested !

Hairy Arsed Bloke said...

Guardian has blocked any futher abuse.

"Comments are now closed for this entry."

The cunts.

Anonymous said...

Fat cunt!

Anonymous said...

Frank Field, do not imagine you will escape the hangmans noose come judgment day.

You deserve to swing along with the rest of the cunts in your party.

Nectaridus said...

I second that Hairy. Much earlier than normal. Even their own columnists (admittedly Porter, who might be expected to sniff at it) have noticed the deletion policy. Right at the end there's this little series of comments:


"bobthebuilder21
21 Oct 09, 6:17pm (about 2 hours ago)
i hope you die soon."

followed by this just as the piece was closing to comment:

"hoops74
21 Oct 09, 7:06pm (about 1 hour ago)

bobthebuilder21
21 Oct 09, 6:17pm
i hope you die soon.

Bob,

Not as soon as your post, I fear."

Of all the posts that should have been modded (if you're going to have mods), this was it. It's still there now. speaks volumes about the mods spheres of interest and response.

Nectaridus said...

Oh and Mitch:

....did I mention he was a knob?

You did sir but it certainly bears repeating,

... did you mention he was a knob?

Rogerborg said...

>Is this a spoof? He seems to be congratulating new labour on having created a stasi state?

Er, no, it's not a spoof. Socialism requires complete knowledge of, and control over society.

Thing is, no Socialist has ever woken up and said "Say, I think I'll create a despotic oppressive regime. How would I go about that?" All the Big Bad Socialist regimes to date - Germany, Russia, China - began as ideological and only became extremist and despotic in order to gain and preserve power. Totalitarianism wasn't their original goal: it was a tool that they found necessary to use.

If we can learn any lesson from that, it's that a Socialist regime becomes most dangerous when threatened.

Adrian p said...

We had perfectly good human rights under Magna Carta, the Bill of rights.

Until you did away with Habeus corpus, and soon trial by Jury.

It didnt need fixing, they worked fine.

And if your lot hadn't blown them trains up in London there would have been no need to tinker.

No it wasn't Muslims.....and it wasn't muslims who did 9-11 either...Western political elites have been plotting this for decades.

Guess who was in charge of security on 9-11, Marvin Bush.

Prof Niels Harrit

Peter Power, former scotlandyard detective now working for Visor consultants was running an excecise on 7-7 for Verint systems.

the same verint systyems that operated the cameras on the bus that failed and on the London Underground.

A Voter said...

I was quite prepared to give Mr. Clarks piece a serious reading until I got as far as
"Levels of crime and antisocial behaviour have decreased significantly..."

Liar Liar Pants On Fire ! Once we unemploy you Mr. Clark you will have to apply to become a PCSO to carry on bullying innocent folk.

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