July 10, 2006

be afraid (and keep voting Labour)

According to Chicken Yoghurt Britain is going to get it's own set of useless colour coded terror warnings so that the government can easily tweak them up and down to maintain the levels of fear required so that the New Labour project of the systematic destruction of civil liberties can continue with less of those nasty distractions like peoples consciences. The US has been using this system for a while so lets have a look at what security expert Bruce Schneier has to say about that one:
The first is such a common impulse of bureaucratic self-protection that it has achieved a popular acronym in government circles: CYA. If the worst happens and another attack occurs, the American public isn't going to be as sympathetic to the current administration as it was last time. ...

The second purpose is even more self-serving: Terror threat warnings are a publicity tool. They're a method of keeping terrorism in people's minds.
So this is probably a way that the government can keep up a facade that it was actually doing something in order to deflect some blame when the next Islamic terror attack happens, while maintaining the maximum amount of fear to get their draconian legislation though. That would sound extraordinarily cynical, where we not being governed by New Labour. Mr Schneier continues
It's instructive to look at the European countries that have been dealing with terrorism for decades, like the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, and Spain. None of these has a color-coded terror-alert system. None calls a press conference on the strength of "chatter." Even Israel, which has seen more terrorism than any other nation in the world, issues terror alerts only when there is a specific imminent attack and they need people to be vigilant. And these alerts include specific times and places, with details people can use immediately. They're not dissimilar from hurricane warnings.
And now the government wants to change from the low key system that is useful and actually works to one that is far more flashy and media friendly, but will be of considerably less use than what went before. How very New Labour.


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