So the innocent have nothing to fear? After David Miranda we now know where this leads | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian.
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'.
God help us, the dear dear man is even repudiating Godwin's Law; the politically-correct online paradigm designed to prevent an opponent of state power referring to the vilest historical example of misconduct by an elected government.
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.
In assisting the US government to silence those exposing its organisation of Stasi-like surveillance of its own people, the mask of the benevolent British state has slipped. It has put the frighteners on someone working informally for the leading press organ of the British Left.
He's an unlikely hero, our whimpering, compliant David. He's unworthy of his Biblical namesake, that's for sure. Faced with Goliath, he didn't reach for his slingshot. He handed over his gear, disclosed his passwords and fled gratefully when released. He didn't ensure that the state's hired thugs did their worst, alas. But, pathetic as he is, he's useful and - for these purposes - he's ours. And so, for the moment, is Jenkins. I can ignore his swiping at bloggers or his praise for the Left's broadcasting and online "news" arm, for so long as he writes such stuff as this;
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.
These are rare, wonderful days for British civil libertarians. Bask in them, by all means, but please take full advantage of this unusually sunny climate as it will not last long. If you blog, comment on blogs, belong to a political party or pressure group, chat about politics with your mates down the boozer, tweet or whatever, please spread the word. Please support straightforwardly Mr Jenkins' unaccustomed attack on state malevolence.
And whatever else you do please save a link to his article somewhere safe. You will be able to use it again and again in years to come to silence those slimy submissives to state power who claim you have nothing to expect but pleasure from their thrillingly strong Mistress.