"...But the notion of listing and registering all of us, that bloke cutting his lawn, you, me and Alan Titchmarsh, exists to gratify an impulse to control throbbing in the drab managerial souls now largely filling the space of miserable contemporary politics. They itch for peremptory power and must be denied. Alas, however brilliant the biochemical tools, there's nothing new in that instinct. It all chimes with a certain fictional precedent:Gearty:
"Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree
I see you, You see me."
Thus in Nineteen Eighty-Four was Winston Smith reminded that the Ministry of Love knew where was and might take him there at will. And as we have just learned, the author of that novel, who died in 1950, was kept under surveillance by British Intelligence."
"Advances in technology are always throwing up fresh opportunities for public good via new invasions of this kind of liberty. Sedley's proposals fit within this tradition: they deserve to be debated and not dismissed out of hand as heretical....."I'd only disagree with Gearty on one issue: The use of the word 'libertarian'. A large proportion of those that react in the dyspeptic manner that Edward Pearce chooses to adopt (he knows what his editors want, I suppose) are not libertarians of any stripe. Nine times out of ten, show me a self-professed libertarian and I'll show you an opportunistic negativist fuckwit.
"...There is a reasonable chance that the liberal intelligentsia can regain its place in the foreground of politics. If civil libertarians do not choose to see this, and go on treating every proposal as though it were an already enacted law and evidence of a police state, then the risk is that the new team will give up trying to engage in a serious discussion and revert to the bad habits of the past."