4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent survey of the state's attacks on our democracy,
This review is from: The Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy (Paperback)Investigative journalist Heather Brooke, who exposed Parliament's systemic corruption, has written a splendid broadside in defence of our liberties. Chapters cover the rise of surveillance, government public relations, government spin, power without responsibility, charging for information, secret justice, the presumption of guilt, and the story of her exposure of the expenses scandal.
She shows how surveillance is wrong in principle, is costly and doesn't work. In 2002, the EU at Lisbon backed government subsidies to the IT industry, after the dot.com bust.
Our 445 local authorities spent £430 million on self-publicity in 2008. The government's Central Office of Information spent £540 million in 2008-9, the Foreign Office spent £497 million, the MoD £44 million in 2007-8, and the Department of Health £107 million.
She argues that we need to register all those entering or leaving the country and where they settle, to help local and national government to plan services.
She writes, "It's easier to lie when no one knows your name. It's easier to do all sorts of unethical, if not criminal things when you are promised anonymity. Only by acting as a named individual and relating to others as such can there be justice and integrity in bureaucracies."
She praises two very useful websites, [...] and [...] which let us see how our MP votes. We also have a right to know what interests are seeking to influence MPs. The state is putting more curbs on court reporting and more often using secret evidence in closed hearings.
Democracy under capitalism remains restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, because capitalism does not trust the people.
She proposes reforms - name all public officials, end the copyrighting of official information, end privacy profiteering, open up the courts. We need transparency for the state and privacy for the citizen; instead it is the wrong way round. We need access to information and the right to hold officials to account. Without being informed, we can't be a democracy.
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Initial post: 13 Aug 2010 10:37:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Aug 2010 10:37:32 BDT
"Democracy under capitalism remains restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, because capitalism does not trust the people."
Yet mysteriously it allows you to go on saying so, even when you are, as always, self-evidently wrong. Would you have enjoyed the same luxury under a Communist regime...?
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2010 16:03:10 BDT
The state here currently feels secure enough to allow us freedom of speech.
The more the state's future looks in doubt, the more it will curtail our freedoms - and Ms Brooke shows how it is indeed starting to do so.
Don't you agree?
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2010 19:43:58 BDT
"Don't you agree?"
You dodged my question. I wonder why?
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2010 08:22:28 BDT
Ryan, it's kind of you (tho' slightly unexpected) to be concerned about my welfare. But you can see from Cuba's example that only those who try to organise a counter-revolution are jailed, and then not for very long (57 just released).
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2010 16:22:48 BDT
And what of the people in Stalin's Russia, Mr Podmore?
If you genuinely believe liberal democracy is worse than Communist dictatorships, you have several screws loose.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Aug 2010 13:19:12 BDT
Ryan, I'm writing about now; you are writing about pre-1953.
Do you genuinely believe that the best socialist society (Cuba) is worse than the worst capitalist society?
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Aug 2010 19:45:39 BDT
"you are writing about pre-1953."
You, sir, are burying your head in the sand and point-blank refusing to learn anything from history.
Democracy wins out over dictatorship every time. Too bad you think otherwise...
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Aug 2010 09:29:05 BDT
Perhaps the Cubans and Vietnamese have learnt from history, and have created more democratic societies than, say, Colombia or Haiti.
Are there no dictatorial elements in Britain and the USA?
Are there no democratic elements in Cuba and Vietnam?
It's just too simple to divide the world into two legs bad, four legs good.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Nov 2013 19:57:21 GMT
Well done Mr Podmore, you kicked Ryans ass!
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