Feeds

Brown promises simultaneous liberty and security

No mention of egalité or fraternité

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Gordon Brown's government yesterday sent mixed messages on questions of personal liberty versus collective security.

On the one hand, the Prime Minister pledged reforms and initiatives aimed at simplifying and reducing official powers to enter homes and private property. Justice Minister Jack Straw, too, kicked off several consultations on giving more voice to Parliament (in the case of declaring wars) or organised mobs (in the case of rights to protest outside the Palace of Westminster). Plans to enhance the independence of the judiciary were also mooted.

Rather counterbalancing this, Mr Brown suggested he personally would favour an extension of police powers to hold suspects for long periods without trial. He also favoured the controversial National ID card system.

In a move perhaps somewhere up the middle, plans were also announced to protect freedom of information and "legitimate journalism". Specifically this would be done by having Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, examine the rules under which many government documents are locked away for decades before being released to the public.

Mr Brown revealed his plans in a speech at the University of Westminster, reported on by the Guardian.

"I want to explore how together we can write a new chapter in our country's story of liberty," he said, "and do so in a world where - as in each generation - traditional questions about the freedoms and responsibilities of the individual re-emerge; but also where new issues of terrorism and security, the internet and modern technology are opening new frontiers in both our lives and our liberties."

Mr Brown sported his reading during the speech, referencing the Magna Carta, Milton, Locke and Orwell. He also quoted the noted American terrorist/freedom fighter Patrick Henry, who said that Blighty "made liberty the foundation of everything, and became a great, mighty and splendid nation because liberty is its direct end and foundation".

The message here was mixed, as with the rest of Mr Brown's plans. Patrick Henry is seen by many as having been a steadfast defender of freedom, and was a key man in the 18th century American gentry's determined push not to be ruled by occasionally mad London-based potentates imported from neighbouring European countries.

Henry famously asked rhetorically "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"

To which his own answer, as a Virginia slave owner, would seem to have been "yes, but only if you're black".

The Tories predictably said that Mr Brown's initiative was "desperate". ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.