It’s a fact that 70% of MPs support the introduction of an ID card, the majority of these Labour Party MPs. We can assume that a majority of Labour MPs would have voted in favour of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 - which gives the state the right to snoop on our email - texts and telephone conversations, or else it would never have become law. Indeed Labour MPs have generally supported the government every time Blair has tried to turn Britain into the mother of all open prisons. But now the Cabinet is up in arms and the Commons is expected to cry a collective “foul” in the coming weeks because Blair is aiming to give MI5 new powers to bug MPs. Poetic Justice or what?
After 40 years Blair is to overturn the Wilson Doctrine – named after Harold Wilson and the practise of not having MPs phones tapped – believing MPs should be treated just as any other citizen (with the minimum of trust and respect for privacy) and MPs are kicking off big style. Andrew Mackinlay, the Labour MP for Thurrock, protested it was a “hallmark of civilised society” that MPs were not spied upon.
And why the hell not, Andy? History shows that the most untrustworthy people in the country generally gravitate towards the House of Commons – the place is full of damned liars and cheats and scallywags. If phone tapping is okay for us mere proles, then why not for MPs? Or have you got something to hide? And I can’t help using the usual Labour Party refrain against you, the one hurled back at us when we complain about the erosion of civil liberties: “If you’re doing nothing wrong then you have nothing to worry about.”