Now I don't often blog about TV , except to complain about it. I'm not really a massive fan of TV as most of it is drivel like bloody X-Factor, Big Brother or soap operas. But every now and then something comes along which really grabs my attention.
I have just finished watching the first two episodes of the new series of Spooks. If you are unfamiliar with said programme, it follows the activities of a group of MI5 agents. I won't bore you with the details except to say that I have been watching this since its first season and that is very unusual for me. One of the things I have always liked about it is that despite its glossy silliness, it does create some really interesting and tense scenarios.
The two episodes tonight involved a conspiracy at the highest level of the British government and intelligence agencies to seize power. Now it may sound very silly and implausible and for all I know, it probably is. However, the way the story was set up really resonated with current events and seemed all too terrifyingly plausible! I know that its just entertainment, but it did actually make me think...
I think the the idea that in order to catch terrorists we need to keep eroding people's legal rights is one that really bears close attention. The programme tonight featured a move by the (fictional) government to remove the legal rights of those detained under suspicion of terrorism and to directly appoint and influence the judiciary. Worringly, similar (although considerably less extreme) measures have already been defeated in the House of Commons. I don't for a moment think that I have the level of knowledge and expertise to decide how best to protect Britain from terrorists. However, if the 'War on Terror' is a battle of ideologies as well as a physical one, surely keeping those parts of our ideologies that protect all peoples' freedom is vital.
Forcing everyone to carry ID cards (although I don't feel particularly strongly about that as I carry several forms of ID already!) and allowing people to be kept indefinitely without charge or trial (which has been suggested to and by senior figures in this country) are the start of a worrying trend. For example, someone may say "Oh, if they are a suspected terrorist, of course they should be held indefinitely without charge or trial." Well, thats all well and good, but what if they came for you and held you for a year without charge or trial on the say so of some 'intelligence'? How much damage would that do to your life? Would you keep your job, house and family? Just because we are lucky enough to have a government that on the whole is decent and law abiding (much as it pains me to admit it!), doesn't mean we will always have one, and granting powers that remove freedoms is asking for trouble in the future.
We will never beat terrorists by removing all our freedoms and the freedoms of others. If we do that, we are letting them win. In fact, we are not just letting them win, we are helping them to do it.
Good grief, that was a bit serious. My next post will be full of fluffyness and penguins. I promise. Oh and I won't rant either.