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Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour Party Conference - no good news for freedom. liberty or security, but plans to confiscate £670 million from bank accounts

Gordon Brown's Labour Party Conference speech - the BBC reports the full text:

Some selected bits which are of relevance to Spy Blog:

It was extremely poor taste to start off his speech by exploiting the current sub judice terrorist cases involving the Haymarket and Glasgow Airport incendiarary vehicle attacks, for party political purposes

Early on a June morning, two cars were found parked and packed with explosives in Haymarket, London.

"packed wiith explosives" ? Really ? Would that be high explosives like Semtex, TNT, dynamite etc ? Or low explosives like gunpowder or even terrorist home made explosives like TATP or HMTD ?

All that the Government have admitted to is some propane gas cylinders, which are designed not to explode, even if cooked in a fire for several hours.

To claim that these crude attacks were somehow equivalent to military fuel / air explosives would be misleading, and a huge exaggeration of the actual risk to the public, although the intent of the inept terrorists was clear.

And when the terrorists tried to attack Scotland's biggest airport, they were answered by the courage of the police and firefighters and a baggage handler named John Smeaton. He came to the aid of a policeman under assault from one of the terrorists.

Later John told me it was instinctive, he was doing what was right.

That man, that hero John Smeaton is here with us today and on behalf of our country - John, we thank you.

To exploit the bravery of John Smeaton, the Glasgow Airport baggage handler who helped to subdue one of the terrorist attackers who was on fire, is also repellent, but predictable NuLabour spin tactics.

These attacks were not foiled due to any of Gordon Brown's policies, but he is trying to milk them for political effect.

[...]

Two thirds of deaths from gun crime occur in just four cities. In the last few weeks Jacqui Smith and I have focussed on the specific areas in these cities where as I saw on Saturday at first hand the police will now: match intensive uniformed patrolling and extensive undercover work; with the use of stop and search powers and dispersal powers;

Gordon Brown said one thing to the BBC in the morning before this speech - see our previous blog posting - Gordon Brown to re-introduce "sus" laws for "gun crime hotspots". Is Operation Trident to be abandoned ?

This is different to what he said in the Conference speech..

What then, exactly are the detailed proposals to combat "gun crime" ?

Who will pay for them ? Central or Local Government ?

[...]

reinforced by new hand-held weapon detectors; and all backed up at a national level by the work of the organised crime agency and our border force rigorously targeting and stopping the illegal entry of guns.

"new hand-held weapon detectors" - are these simply metal detectors or are they "see through your children's clothes" back scatter x-ray or millimetre wave imaging devices ?

How many are going to be deployed, by when, and how much will they cost ?

[...]

My answer to crime and disorder - our policy - is to both punish and prevent. "

Note the emphasis first on punishment - how typical of an authoritarian Labour politician.

Remember the scandalous state of the Prison and Probation systems, which are still "not fit for purpose".

[...]

"Change to strengthen our liberties to uphold the freedom of speech, freedom of information and the freedom to protest;"

[...]
There are now 139,000 police officers and 16,000 Community Support Officers - more officers than ever before.

And by April 7th next year, every community will have its own neighbourhood policing team. And I can announce that we will provide hand held computers - 1,000 now, by next year 10,000 right across the country - cutting paper work so that officers can log crimes on the spot, stay on the beat and not waste time returning to the station to fill out forms.

So by exactly how much will 1,000 or 10,000 handheld computers reduce the amount of bureaucratic form filling for over 150,000 Police officers and PCSOs i
i.e. only 7 per cent of Police Officers will be issued with these handheld computers !

Unless and until the mobile handheld computers entirely replace existing desk bound computer or paper form filling, they will actually increase the complexity of the Police red tape overall..

Why not pick one Police force and equip all the Police with such devices as a proper pilot scheme instead of spreading them out "right across the country" ?

Instead of restricting such pilot schemes to , say, low level stuff like expense claims and overtime time sheets, Gordon Brown's speech implies actual reading and updating of the core Police National Computer and other Police intelligence databases via such mobile handheld systems.

Surely the risk ro thousands of authorised data entry or readout devices, out in the field, away from any physically secure Police station premises must pose a huge security and data privacy risk to these systems ? The Police and Security services already have a dismal record on losing sensitive documents and laptop computer, or having them stolen in transit.

Why will there not be a temptation to kidnap and torture Police officers simply for access to their remote handheld computers ?

If the slow Airwave data links are relied on, then thee will be a temptation to download some or all of critical databases into the memory of the handheld units themselves, which will also increase the risk, when , not if, they become lost or stolen.

Which IT companies have been awarded these contracts, and how much public money is being spent ?

s the funding for these devices coming from central Home Office funds, or from local council taxpayers ?

[...]

So we will use unclaimed assets in dormant bank accounts to build new youth centres, and we will invest over £670 million pounds so that in every community there are places for young people to go.

So much for Gordon Brown's promises about the safety of your savings in Northern Rock or other banks.

"We will use" really means "we will confiscate"

That must be the largest bank robbery in British history !!

What are the criteria for declaring a bank account as "dormant" ? Will this be a one off bank raid, or will every bank account that meets the secret dormancy criteria be expropriated, forward into the future ?

Will there be a chance for MPs to vote on this, or will it simply be done by administrative fiat ?

[...]

"In July I announced a new unified border force. And already the first elements are in place - a stronger uniformed presence at ports, customs officers targeting illegal immigration, stronger security checks at passport control, by next year ID cards for foreign nationals and we will start to count people in and out."

"ID Cards" are therefore still on Gordon Brown's agenda.

Change to strengthen our liberties to uphold the freedom of speech, freedom of information and the freedom to protest;

What exactly does this NuLabour Orwellian newspeak soundbite mean ? Judging by Gordon Brown's previous record, this must mean a further reduction in such freedoms.

Where are the detailed proposals ?

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