Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown continues his media spin campaign to try to convince the world that he is going to replace Tony Blair as Prime Minister, by pontificating on a wider range of subjects than simply the economy.
He gave a glimpse of his confused thinking about Terrorists and ID Cards in his interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC's Sunday AM morning political TV slot (AM - Andrew Marr, = ante meridian = Morning - doh !), ahead of his heavily leaked speech to the Royal United Services Institute tomorrow.
So that the British political blogosphere can appreciate, and hopefully properly dissect the thoughts of this NuLabour politician, we have partially transcribed this interview below, so that some of the nonsensical claims and actual falsehoods which he uttered, can be preserved via search engines, for posterity.
He seems to be threatening us with more repressive laws whilst claiming that there will be "safeguards for individuals" (mentioned 7 times) and "accountability to Parliament" (mentioned 5 times), which are incredible claims, given that he and his Government are set to vote against exactly such provisions in the Lords' Amendments to the Identity Cards Bill on Monday and the Terrorism Bill on Wednesday.
Has he actually bothered to read the full text of these Bills and of the Amendments ?
Tomorrow you are turning to the "War on Terror", ermm, and all these controversial issues, ID Cards, and precisely how the Government should address the problem of militant Imams. err, Just, just talk us through where your key concerns are..
I have been involved as you may know , in looking at financial issues related to terrorists and trying to choke off the supply of funds to terrorism. I've been intricately involved in this with Charles Clarke, and Tony Blair and Jack Straw for the last, err, few years. I think we we can now learn some of the lessons from July 7th, July 21st, I think that people now know that there have been 3 incidents where we have thwarted terrorists since then, so this is not a problem that is going away, err, and we've got to reflect on what are the long term challenges
These are 3 cases which could have been as serious as 7/7 ?
These are 3 incidents which could have been serious had they not been thearted by the excellence of our Security Services, our Police and, err, our Armed Forces,
Since there are no actual details of these allegedly "thwarted plots", we must assume that they are of the usual "Climate of Fear" hype variety.
and I think, I think that the important lesson I've, I've learned is that we have to be tough on security measures but the British way of doing it is to be both tough on security measures , and to build in proper systems of accountability to Parliament, err, that can give protections to people's individual civil liberties.
And I do feel that some people opposing us on this have err, got this, have got thist wrong. If you take the question for example of the Police and detention for 14 days, now raised to 28 days
rerm, the number of leads that have been followed in July 7th, is something in order of 12, thousand.
The investigations in the "ricin" epsiode which was a court case in the, err, the last year, spanned 26 countries, every continent.
The person, the persons who were detained for that, 12 people, had 120 false identities
There was no ricin and most of the 12 were aquitted, except for Kamel Bourgass, who had also murdered a policeman during his escape attempt after his botched arrest (why did they remove his handcuffs and let him grab a kitchen knife ?).
Gordon Brown seems to be as confused as Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, the former Commisisoner of the Metroploitan Polce when it comes to the "multiple or false" identities which those charged with the "No Ricin plot" were using.
Almost all of the identity documents were foreign ones, something which even a perfect British ID Card scheme could have done nothing about whatsoever !
I think people have got to wake up to the complexity, the scale, err, the global nature of this and why the Police need time for investigation.
Not a single person has been charged with being an accomplice of the July 7th bombers, who were all British, and would all have had legitimate British ID Cards. This disproves both his argument for support for ID Cards and for long detention periods without charge, evidence or trial.
Does that mean more than 28 days in your view ?
Well, I, I, we thought that there was a case for more than 28 days
Do you still think there is a case for more than 28 days ?
We voted for for 90 days , and there was a case for going beyond 28 days and I think the experience of going to 28 days, but building in, the protection, remember the protection should be that every 7 days you have got to go to a judge, and you have got ask for permission, and show evidence that you necessarily to detain that person
No ! There is no requirement to show any evidenceto a Judge !
Has Gordon Brown actually bothered to read the text of the Terrorism Bill 2005 clause 24 Grounds for extending detention ?
The protection of 7 days tightened up, with other protections probably built in, I think could persuade people in time, that the complexity of these investigations are just so great, and crossing so many continents, involving computers, involving, err, I think there are 50 sites that are being looked at for the July 7th investigations
Despite Gordon's waffling about "computers", he probably means 50 physical buildings and crime locations etc. rather than websites, which some of the media reporting misleadingly mentions.
See our criticism of the annex to the Andy Hayman letter, upon which so much of the 90 days detention without charge claim was erroneously based.
Let's just be clear about this. Does this mean that you and the rest of the Government are going to press for more than 28 days in the near future ? Or is this something
We have accepted, we have have accepted the will, the will of Parliament
I meant to ask you , sorry, to move on, but in the same area, errm, about Identity Cards
Because , whether you take the Treasury's own figures
[Gordon Brown breaks into an embarassed smile]
The figures do not add up !
which are pretty, heavy, errm, or similarly the larger estimates of what this is going to cost, and every big Government project like this costs, as you know, more than it was going to , it's a fantastic amount of money. People are saying that it would be better to have 20,000 extra police officers on the streets than Identity Cards.
But we have
Are you really sure that its value for money ?
But we have a substantial extra number of police officers. We are doubling the Security budget in this, err, country. The Security Services have doubled as well.
From a billion pounds to about 2 billion ?
Yes, and that's our response to people's legitimate wish that we protect the borders of this country and the people in the country.
Now if you take the ID Cards, we will present a regular report to Parliament about the cost of this
However, the NuLabour Government intends to oppose the Lords' Amendment wich involves the National Audit Office in a proper detailed cost / benefit report about the ID card scheme to Parliament
But can I say that the world is changing and that we must understand that to recognise the changes in the world means that we must take actions different from what we used to do
The biometric test, for example the fingerprint testing, is being brought in by private credit card companies, it is in America already.
Rubbish ! The Credit Card industry specifically rejected fingerprint scanning as impractical, which is why they went for the "Chip and PIN" system instead !
I was talking with Bill Gates the other day
Doesn't make it cheap
Hold on, Bill Gates is saying that fingerprint access to his computers and for services is going to be normal by 2010.
No it will not be "normal". Microsoft is, quite rightly looking at alternatives to simple Passwords, but this is not "fingerprint access" e.g. Kim Cameron, the Microsoft Architect of Identity and Access is working on the InfoCard project.
Passports are to be now based on Biometric testing, and most people accept that this is the right way forward.
No we do not.
Most people have no clue about the differences between a biometric passport and the Government's proposed ID Card scheme - they are not the same thing !
We especially do not need a "gold plated" ID Card system which requires 13 biometrics stored in a centtralised Government database, when all that is required for an ICAO compliant Biometric passport is a digitised photo stored only on the smartcard passport itself.
If your identity is in danger of being stolen
Then an ID Card will not be of any help in the vast majority of cases.
Most of the terrorists we are talking about
Have not "stolen" anybody's identity !
gave about 12 identities, they have multiple identities and false identities
There is a big difference between the stolen identity of an existing innocent person, and a false identity in a fictitious name i.e. of someone who does not really exist.
It is also possible to have multiple identity papers with your real name, and real photo etc, but illegally forged or falsely applied for from different countries.
None of the terrorist we are talking about i.e the July 7th bombers or even the July 21st plotters had false British identities they had genuine British identity papers either as British citizens, or as genuine British asylum seekers.
The "No Ricin" plot arrestees had a couple of genuine British identity papers, but most of their false or fake identity papers were foreign ones
Any British ID Card scheme could never have done anything to protect us from these people.
Andrew Marr: mmm, sure [in agreement - why ?]
I think that it is a protection of individual civil liberties, err, that we do not allow, err, easily people to multiply their identities or to operate on false identities.
Provided thtat you are not intending to deceive or defraud , you have the Common Law right to use whatever name or "identity" that you wish, and to use multiple "identities" e.g. Mrs. Cherie Blair, the wife of the Prime Minister or Ms. Cherie Booth QC, the human rights lawyer.
Now the issue in Britain, and this is the Brirish way,
Another smile from Gordon, presumably due to his "British identity" speeches aimed at fudging the West Lothian Question, i.e. a Scottish MP ruling over the Westminster Parliament, should he try to become Prime Minister
and the British constitution, I think, err,
Mr Cameron says all this is un-British
Well, I think he's wrong because the issue in Britain is your proper Parliamentary accountability and proper respect for individual rights for doing so.
What I and Charles Clarke would try to do is, is to build in, these safeguards for the individual, and the safeguards of our accountability, err, to Parliament.
So why are they opposing the Lords' Amendments which strengthen the role of the the Identity Cards Scheme Commissioner, such as having him appointed by the Queen, and reporting directly to Parliament instead of being appointed by and only reporting to Home Secretary Charles Clarke ?
All these rebels, the newspapers, everybody who is hostile to this hasn't made any impact on you, you are going to drive this through ?
The world has changed so much, that biometric or isometric testing is being used in the private sector,
What isometric testing ?
What has Sports training or Physio Therapy got to do with ID cards or Passports ?
and we will need individual safeguards, safeguards for individual rights here. It's being used for, for Passports. Identity fraud is very common indeed.
But the use of multiple identities by Mohammed Atta in the States, and alternatively by all the terrorists operating here.
None of the aliases used by Atta were British identities.
None of the July 7th suicide bombers used multiple identities. They left their real identity papers at the scene of their crimes, they wanted to be some kind of perverted martyrs
make it necessary in my view to say, look let's have a system of, errm, identity here in this country, that works, that is modern, that is up to date but let's build in the proper individual protections and safeguards that are necessary, and let's have a system of proper accountability to Parliament.
Now that's the British way of doing so, not turning you back on things that are happening, that are changing the world, not putting your head in the sand, but actually building in proper accountability.
One of the err, things that people say about, errm, the threat that we face is that actually a lot of it is opportunistic, and quite cheap to organise. I mean that the BBC did some research that the 7/7 bombers put their bombs together with almost no resources, so that all the kind of international trawling for, for terrorist funds, may not catch these people
Good question Andrew, will Gordon now explain his extraordinary "Bletchley Park" plans to snoop on millions of innocent people's financial transactions or to compromise the security of the world's financial money transfer systems like SWIFT as we asked yesterday ?
errm, and then there's the question of provocation the Muslim world feels, I'm thinking particularly about the News of the World stroty this morning and the appalling images
Aaargh ! You have let him off the hook ! Watch him weasel out of the main question !
Let, let me say very clearly about this, if this is true, then this is unacceptable behavior. I believe the Ministry of Defence have already said this will be investigated fully ...