The Guardianisti are the very people most likely to say that the innocent have nothing to fear. They are the very people most likely to sneer at those who think a state, however social-democratic, is a dangerous behemoth to be feared by the people in its path. Yet here, in the face of challenges to The Guardian's own conduct, is Simon Jenkins - one of their very own - expressing (even while taking an arrogant side-swipe at us out of habit) our views. These are views that most of its journalists and most of its readers on most other days would denounce as 'paranoid', 'right-wing' or - worst of all - 'libertarian'.
I hesitate to draw parallels with history, but I wonder how those now running the surveillance state – and their appeasers – would have behaved under the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. We hear today so many phrases we have heard before. The innocent have nothing to fear. Our critics merely comfort the enemy. You cannot be too safe. Loyalty is all. As one official said in wielding his legal stick over the Guardian: "You have had your debate. There's no need to write any more." Yes, there bloody well is.
GCHQ could boast to its American counterpart of its "light oversight regime compared to the US". Parliamentary and legal control is a charade, a patsy of the secrecy lobby.