Feeds

Guy Fawkes stunt arrives early

Blows up junior transport minister

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Comment A Libertarian celebration of Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night has put junior transport minister Tom Harris in trouble - and yet again, it is his shoot-from-the-hip style of blogging that is the cause of his discomfort.

Back in June, he delighted hard-pressed families in his Glasgow constituency struggling with the credit crunch by advising them to cheer up and stop being so "bloody miserable".

This time, it's his reaction to a stunt by the Libertarian Party that has visitors to his blog up in arms. As Mr Harris started to explain: "an odd thing arrived today at the office: an Amazon package containing a brand new copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell".

However, it is not the book that he finds peculiar, so much as the accompanying message, which reads: "Young man, This is a reminder that this book, contrary to what your leader might think, is NOT an instruction manual, but a warning. REMEMBER - WE are YOUR masters."

The gift comes courtesy of the UK Libertarian Party, who decided to mark their objection to what they see as the Labour drift toward a surveillance society, by getting supporters to sponsor the purchase of 646 copies of the offending text – one for every Member of Parliament.

To underline the message, they planned to coordinate the delivery of the books to take place on 5 November, the anniversary of an attempt to deliver an altogether more explosive package to Parliament.

Perhaps it was the optimism of a bunch of Libertarians attempting coordinated action. Perhaps it was simple over-efficiency on the part of booksellers Amazon. But Tom Harris received his copy a week early, and proceeded to blog about it.

His style is robust, in the sense that Boris Johnson is robust. Writing on 30 October, he took exception to comparisons with the death of Democracy outlined by George Orwell. Most of all, he took exception to the phantom book-donor referring to themselves as his "master".

"How about the arrogance of anyone referring to anyone else as anyone’s 'masters'?" he opined, before proceeding to demolish all in his path.

As one response to his blog suggests, this might just have been an ironic reference to triumphalist observations by post-war Labour Minister, Hartley Shawcross, which have ever since been misreported as "we are the masters now".

(In the interests of accuracy, we must add that the respondent actually thought the words might be those of Shawcross’ political rival, Herbert Morrison.)

There followed nearly 200 responses, with the vast majority criticising Mr Harris either for his naivety in supporting his party’s gradual stripping away of our freedoms, or taking issue with his refusal to acknowledge that us ordinary voters are, indeed, his masters.

Sensing a bit of a PR disaster, he squawked later in the day: "It seems my objection to the term 'masters' is causing some annoyance. For the avoidance of doubt, I regard my constituents as 'employers' rather than 'masters', fellow citizens to whom I am accountable. But 'masters' is so 18th century, don’t you think?"

Two days later, he appears to have thrown in the towel. In a rather shorter comment titled 1984: My Last Word, he merely adds: "I think we’re all going to have to agree to disagree on this one, don’t you think?"

Rather than silencing dissent, this provoked a further 71 comments ranging from the ironic: "Well worth the wait. I see you addressed all the salient points raised and showed us we have nothing to worry about." to the rather more pointed: "Fail". ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.