Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Many a Slip

The Labour government took two further steps to failure yesterday.

The first is the deployment of troops to Afghanistan- that graveyard of Imperial hopes, whether British in the 19th century and early 20th century, Soviet in the late 20th century or NATO in the 21st century.

British troops will be leading a large deployment in one of the most ungovernable areas of southern Afghanistan, an area where the Taliban were not fully removed. The explosion in opium production, under the eagle eyes of heavily armed warlords, is just another reason why troops should be moved in- or so we are told. The fact is that the troops are being asked to do too much- they can either destroy the warlords by winning hearts and minds or they can destroy the opium crop, condemning farmers to destitution this harvest. To try to do both is probably only going to stir up a hornets nest. This over ambition is likely to destabilize the whole mission in Afghanistan. The British armed forces are already over stretched, this could be the last straw. As usual the government sleepwalks into a mess, with little discussion allowed.

The second step is the disgraceful attempt to make ID cards compulsory- despite no such commitment being in the Labour manifesto only nine months ago. This government is proposing a compulsory database, including biometric information. Leaving aside the fact that this information is just as open to fraud as any other electronic data, this means that the British state will have more and more complete physical data on its citizens than any other state. As 7/7 showed, it is hard to see how exactly this is going to make us safer. However in the wrong hands, it is easy to see how it could be misused. The fact is that I am not sure that the government is not the wrong hands anyway. I oppose ID cards, I am outraged that they are to be made compulsory, I will not carry an ID card under any circumstances.

I employ government to secure order and clean the streets- they work for me, and I will not suffer to be spied on by bureaucrats.

As far as this intrusive and incompetent government is concerned "I'm a Liberal and don't believe in this sort of thing" . I do believe in Peace (no illegal war), Retrenchment (limits to government) and Reform (accountability of that government).

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