Treasury written statement – made on 2nd November 2006.

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Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Chancellor of the Exchequer

The security and safety of the British people is the first task of Government.

Earlier in the year I announced that the Government's comprehensive spending review (CSR) would review security and counter-terrorism activity across Government, as a key foundation for the investment decisions we will make.

The Chief Secretary has today written to Cabinet colleagues setting out how this review will be taken forward within the wider comprehensive spending review framework.

It is already clear from the work under way that we face a new type of threat that erodes traditional distinctions between homeland and international security and between those traditionally tasked with security policy and other areas of Government. This demands new approaches from Government. No Department of Government can any longer simply leave security to others.

This review must rise to the challenge to take a comprehensive approach drawing on an overarching assessment of the threat and the response required across Government, to inform how we can further strengthen and integrate our strategic security capability, including the case for a single security budget. This will ensure that by working beyond departmental boundaries we can enhance the effectiveness of our structures for protecting Britain's security and set out the part each Department can play.

The review will look beyond the immediate security situation to consider the long-term requirements for winning hearts and minds.

It will also consider how best to harness new technology for security to prevent terrorists and criminals from exploiting multiple identities to escape the law and bypass border security. Sir James Crosby held his first meeting of his public private forum on identity on 30 October. This is investigating how common standards can enhance our ability to protect identities and how identity management can be used to increase the security of individuals as consumers, employees and international passengers. The forum is due to report by spring 2007.


Mark Bestford
Posted on 4 Nov 2006 12:29 pm (Report this annotation)

"It will also consider how best to harness new technology for security to prevent terrorists and criminals from exploiting multiple identities to escape the law and bypass border security."

In other words, the review has been tasked with endorsing ID Cards.

They won't work!!!

An international terrorist coming into this country will not have an ID Card. When they blow themselves up, they still will not have an ID Card. It is these terrorists who are most likely to change identities, but no ID Card will prevent them.

A homegrown terrorist (such as those on 7/7) will have ID Cards. But there was no doubt about their identity. We knew who they were, without ID Cards. ID Cards will not prevent terrorism, simple as that.

Quite simply, the only thing that will prevent terrorism is improved intelligence. But to maximise the effect of that intelligence requires such erosion of civil liberties, and powers granted to the police and security services, that would make the secret police of the most oppressive regime seem like childrens nannies. I for one do not want to live in a country where the slightest hint of dissent will result in my being arrested and possibly tortured (after all, how else are you supposed to get information out of a terrorist?) Yet that is what would be required for the kind of security you want.

I suggest people watch the movie "V for Vendetta". It is science fiction, but the political commentary underlying the film's storyline is very pertinant to today's politics. Great evils can be committed "for the good of the people".

Mark Bestford
Posted on 4 Nov 2006 11:20 pm (Report this annotation)

Upon reading this a second time I was struck by a question. If ALL departments are going to be active in combating terrorism what will be the role of the Environment Secretary? Will he be asked to make an analysis of the environmental impact of a terrorist attack and the subsequent effect on global warming? Considering some of the things this government has done, it would not surprise me.