UK Liberty

Kerry McCarthy MP was sent Nineteen Eighty-Four

Posted in politicians on liberty, surveillance society by ukliberty on November 18, 2008

How Kerry McCarthy voted on key issues since 2001:

  • Voted againsttransparent Parliamentvotesspeeches
  • Voted very strongly for introducing a smoking banvotesspeeches
  • Voted very strongly for introducing ID cardsvotesspeeches
  • Voted very strongly for Labour’s anti-terrorism lawsvotesspeeches
  • Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war. votesspeeches
  • Voted very strongly for replacing Tridentvotesspeeches
  • Voted for equal gay rightsvotesspeeches
  • Voted a mixture of for and against stopping climate changevotesspeeches

Kerry McCarthy was sent a copy of Nineteen-Eighty-Four:

 

Have been catching up with other people’s blogs from while I was away. Tom Harris has been sent a copy of 1984 in the post. So have I, but with a slightly different covering note. (No contact name, no signature, very brave of them).

Why is ‘bravery’ relevant?  Why shouldn’t the sender be anonymous?

Whereas Tom got a slip saying “Young man, This is a reminder that this book, contrary to what your leader might think, is NOT an instruction manual, but a warning. REMEMBER – WE are YOUR masters.” I got a letter:

 

“Kerry

I have been asked to send you this by the LPUK [Libertarian Party UK].

We presume you have read it in the past but we feel our country might benefit if you read it again – this time understanding that it was intended as a warning to society and not an instruction manual for Government.

We would be grateful if you would consider the impact of legislation on individual freedom before sponsoring or voting for any more laws to prohibit things. Laws to criminalise prostitution would fall into this category.

Anyway, we hope you enjoy the book.”

That’s quite nice, isn’t it?  It could have been accepted in good humour and, “hmm, well alright I’ll have a think.”

Instead,

I think I know what, if he was writing ‘Down and Out in St Pauls and Easton’, [this is a reference to Down and Out in Paris and London] George Orwell would have made of businessmen in BMWs paying drug-addicted teenagers £20 a time for sex on their way home from work.

I confess I don’t know what she means by that, but then I haven’t read it.

Freedom? For who?

Fifty readers felt strongly enough to comment: one was vaguely supportive of Kerry.

A couple of days later:

 

[six paras of guff and prostitution-related irrelevance]
I’ve been out on patrol several times with local police in the parts of Bristol where prostitution is a problem (St. Pauls, Easton, Fishponds Road). I have also had long discussions with police officers, the One25 Project, the Vice Liaison Officer, etc, and organised a public meeting with a Home Office Minister so local residents could tell him just what they were having to put up with. I’ve met sex-workers and kerb-crawlers. So any views I might express on this issue are based on what you might call ‘research’.
In an anecdotal sense, yes – which is to say, practically valueless.
Someone complained that the All-Party Group on Prostitution and the Sex Trade seems to have made up its mind before it begins its ‘investigation’. It has been set up with a particular purpose in mind, to work with the Home Office on measures to reduce prostitution. That’s what APPGS are, they’re not Select Committees, which conduct investigations and reach conclusions at the end.
No, instead they reach a conclusion at the beginning and attempt to fit reality around that.
Hmm, I wonder if that’s where they go wrong…
… If someone wants to set up an APPG for the legalisation of prostitution or drugs or whatever, they’re entirely free to do so.  But that’s not the purpose of this particular group. I don’t have fixed views as to the changes in law we need and I am completely realistic as to the prospects of ever eliminating prostitution, but if we can prevent girls, women and young men from being caught up in that sordid world, then I believe we should.
Well, it should depend on the cost-benefit analysis, which of course she hasn’t bothered to do because she has already concluded that her goal is worthwhile.  Whether it is practical, whether it will do more harm than good, is irrelevant to her goal.
By the way, she’s mentioned ‘prostitute’ or ‘prostitution’ six times in Parliament since her election in May 2005 – which is less than half the number of times those words are mentioned in her blog post.  
… The police have had some success. They’ve virtually eliminated daylight soliciting outside schools, and the number of women working the streets has gone down from c.300 to c.100.
To where have the prostitutes been displaced?
You say I/ the Government should be doing more. So what do you suggest?
She seems to have conflated the views of several commenters here.  It’s all a bit confused.
… On the more general issue of libertarianism. I just don’t agree with the people who have posted on here. It’s a fundamental philosophical difference. I think the State has a significant role to play in tackling some of the serious problems facing this country, whether it be our security, crime, public health, the economy… I don’t think ‘freedom’ is sacrosanct if by that you mean the freedom to oppress, exploit, abuse, harm others. I think it’s the role of Government to protect people from oppression, exploitation, abuse and harm.
Of course that is the role of Government – sadly the Government sometimes fails to fulfil it, and it often isn’t the best organisation to do the work, particularly when their policies are not based on evidence but on conclusions that have been jumped to.
Where our philosophies really differ is that if conclude that an activity needs to be reduced, I will investigate ways of reducing it, and not resort to banning it in the first instance. 
I could point you to several other George Orwell books that make this case better than I ever could.
But she doesn’t.
As for spending a few days in Miami for the US election campaign… I’ve already made clear on here that I paid for it myself. Taking an interest in overseas politics is part of my job. If you look at the main issues my constituents write to me about – climate change, energy policy, international development, foreign policy – I think you’ll find they were pretty keen to see Obama elected too!
I find it hard to believe those are the main concerns of her constituents
… Final, final point – I’ve got work to do this evening, and I don’t want to be distracted/ stressed out by nasty comments coming through. So I’ve disabled comments. I think I’ve given you more than enough by way of a response, and don’t intend to continue the conversation.
So there!
Fingers in ears, introduction of irrelevant points, failure to address any concerns. At all.
More than enough by way of response? Quite extraordinary… about three quarters of her ‘response’ was vacuous irrelevance and the remainder was simply vacuous.
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2 Responses

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  1. Guthrum said, on November 18, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    She is on the rack again after advocating 20 000 ‘recently arrived’ Somalis should be given the vote on her blog. I wrote to the Electoral Commission for clarification of the Law, what she is advocating is illegal. See her blog tonight

  2. ukliberty said, on November 19, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I can’t see the problem with that, if they are British, Irish, Commonwealth, or EU citizens (as she claims).


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