Monday, September 14, 2009

"Calm Down Everyone" Says New Vetting Chief

Sir Roger Singleton is the elevated bureaucrat who will be heading the government's new Orwellian Independent Safeguards Agency. His response to the recent outcry over the Agency's ill-defined powers has been to suggest that everyone calms down. He may or may not be seeking to take over Michael Winner's advertising role, but he has certainly revealed how unsuited he is to heading up such a sensitive body. If he really cannot understand why there is such concern at the ludicrous and offensive new vetting proposals, and the accompanying powers of the ISA that will be in charge of them, then he absolutely shouldn't be the man running it. The concern is the extraordinary latitude that is apparently being given to the ISA, and the ill-defined nature of precisely who should be referred to it. This is, of course, coupled with an all too understandable suspicion of any government body that wants to control aspects of our lives, order up information about us, and make judgements about our suitabilities.

Alasdair Palmer in the Telegraph the other day admirably summed up the real lunacy behind the ISA's modus operandi, as reported on the Spectator's Coffee House blog. However, such is the nature of this government's "joined-up thinking" that on the day Singleton issues his "calm down" injunction, his political boss, Education Secretary Ed Balls, has started to indicate that the government may be going to have a re-think. This is a start at any rate, but the really good news would be the abandonment of the whole ill-conceived scheme, and the recognition that poorly-prepared, centralising legislation in response to a specific - albeit tragic - high profile murder is no way to pursue either decent government, or the safety of the nation's children. Soham was an exceptional case, and it's time we stopped acting as if it was somehow typical of the dangers faced by children today.

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