Into the national security state with New Labour

Sent to the Shields Gazette, 27/01/05
Dear Sir,

As I write, it is with having just heard that the Home Secretary has proposed the house arrest of UK citizens ‘suspected’ of involvement in terrorism, inclusive of curfews and tagging. British citizens are being included in these proposed changes after the law lords declared the present powers were discriminatory because they could only be used on foreign suspects.
Currently we are witnessing Labour politicians taking measures calculated to turn the United Kingdom into a national security state. The impact of this on those millions of decent working people who have over decades voted for the Labour Party must be utterly shattering. Socialists oppose the Labour Party because we stand for social ownership and democratic control of the means of life, while Labour promotes the flawed idea that capitalism can be legislatively humanised. That said, we sympathise with the motives of workers who vote Labour even if we wonder at their credulity as Labour aims to outdo the Tories in every area of repression of working class aspirations.

Now we have to ask Labour voters are they concerned, even frightened, at this savage curtailment of personal freedom and democratic rights? These authoritarian careerists in the Labour Party need your vote in the forthcoming elections; in exchange they will grant you the freedom to do what you are told.

Labour is attempting to induce in us the psychosis of threat, such as now exists in the USA where fear has become the natural condition of many Americans and which lends legitimacy to Bush's repressive actions. Just as Bush told the world, "either you're with us, or with the terrorists", so to is Labour telling us "either you're with Tony or you're with the terrorists." Blair's logic is that we will be so afraid of terrorists that we will gladly agree to anything he claims to do in our name. How long before pacifists, human rights activists and critics of Labour are denounced as unpatriotic?

It is surely ironic that at a time when the media is urging us to think about Auschwitz and the growth of fascism the Labour Party takes its first bold steps down the road to the savage denial of basic democratic rights.


John B

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