We do not agree with Guardianista critics of Tony Blair's Labour authoritarianism, like Henry Porter, who seem to be giving to Gordon Brown the benefit of the doubt, following his publication of his weasel worded Green paper, The Governance of Britain (.pdf)
We know exactly what NuLabour politicians like Gordon Brown mean by the words "consult with Parliament" - they mean "pretend to go through the motions and ignore any practical, technical or principled objections to the shiny new soundbite policy".
Now that the newly appointed , unelected, Home Office Under-Secretary for Security, Counter-terrorism and Police, Admiral Sir Alan West, GCB, DSC, is reported in the Sunday Telegraph to be calling for 15 years of snitching and informing, we are very worried.
"Britishness does not normally involve snitching or talking about someone," he said. "I'm afraid, in this situation, anyone who's got any information should say something because the people we are talking about are trying to destroy our entire way of life."
Until the the political and security bureaucracy radically change their automatic spin / deny / "shoot the messenger" attitude, when outsiders point out weaknesses in their security implementations, and until they cease to smear and legally persecute innocent family members of terrorists suspects, the recruitment of intelligence assets and confidential human informant sources, faces an uphill struggle.
Finance should be one of our strongest weapons against terrorism, something which is unavailable to other, poorer countries. Where is the financial carrot to go along with the repressive legal stick ?
Why is Gordon Brown not promising to make available generous financial rewards for people who point out security weaknesses, and prompt and generous financial compensation for the victims and families of victims of terrorist attacks ?
Similarly the Government should admit that it will inevitably make some mistakes under its repressive terrorism laws, and should make prompt public apologies and give generous financial compensation, and mandate the destruction of fingerprint, DNA, photographs etc. data taken from those people who have been falsely arrested by mistake under the repressive terrorism laws
Instead, some of the victims of the July 7th 2005 bomb attacks are still awaiting the miserly compensation which they are entitled to, and people who have been falsely imprisoned, are having their "board and lodging" for their time in prison, deducted from their financial compensation awards by the Home Office (this applies to non-terrorist cases as well).
National Security Strategy
97. The Government will publish a National Security Strategy setting out our approach to the range of security challenges and opportunities we face, now and in the future and both at home and overseas. The strategy will set the framework for taking forward those issues across a range of departments and agencies, and provide the basis for deciding on changes in priorities to reflect changed circumstances.
98. To oversee the development and delivery of that strategy, and the Government’s wider international, European and international development policies, the Government will establish a National Security Committee to ensure that its policies and their delivery are coordinated and appropriate to the changing nature of the risks and challenges facing us in the 21st century. The Committee will meet regularly, under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, and comprise senior Cabinet colleagues from relevant departments, supported by relevant senior officials and a secretariat in the Cabinet Office. It will replace the existing Ministerial Committees on Defence and Overseas Policy, Security and Terrorism, and Europe.
Where exactly does this leave Tony Blair and John Reid's new "Ministerial Committee on Security and Terrorism" and the "sub-committee focusing on counter-radicalisation", which were the ostensible reason for splitting the Prisons and Probation Service out of the Home Office into the new Ministry of Justice which only came into force in May ?
The United States of America has had a National Security Council, since 1947
Membership of the National Security Council
The National Security Council is chaired by the President. Its regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence advisor. The Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the NSC when appropriate.
National Security Council's Function
The National Security Council is the President's principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.
What "constitutional safeguards" are there to prevent this "National Security Committee" from becoming a Soviet style KGB Committee for State Security ?