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The View from 22 — government snooping and Cameron and Miliband’s crucial autumn

13 September 2012

9:06 AM

13 September 2012

9:06 AM

Is the government about to start digitally invading every single aspect of our lives? In this week’s cover feature, Nick Cohen questions exactly what and how the government is trying to achieve with the upcoming snooping bill. Discussing the matter future on our View from 22 podcast, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group Nick Pickles warns that a heavy handed bill would not only ‘slam the breaks’ on the economy but the beneficiaries may not be who you would expect:

‘We’ve had some quite hysterical editorials saying this is about terrorists and pedophiles but the bill itself says the biggest beneficiary is actually Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs. We’ve asked the government what proportion of the supposed benefits go to HMRC but we’ve been told we can’t have that information for “national security reasons”.

‘That sums up how disingenuous the proposed bill has been. It lets the government off the hook for essentially pushing something that both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats proposed when they are on the other side of the house.’

James Forsyth discusses why this autumn is important not just for David Cameron to prove he can find growth but also for Ed Miliband and Labour to find some policies

‘I suspect the Labour conference will be more about values than policy, and more about Ed Miliband the man. Ed Miliband the individual, and his story as the son of refugee rather than detailed policy proposals.

‘The interesting thing to look at is the polls testing out other party leaders. If you put Vince Cable as leader of the Liberal Democrats, they do better purely at the expense of Labour, taking four points off their rating. That is testament to what Vince gives back to the Liberal Democrats, but it is also another demonstration that this quite considerable Labour poll lead is actually rather soft.’


Fraser Nelson also offers his prediction on Ed Balls’ spending strategy in the run up to the next election:

‘I predict that when George Osborne comes out with his next five-year spending plan, which he will present to Parliament next year pointing past the election, Ed Balls will say: we are going to match it, we won’t spend more than you. That will close down the entire deficit denying argument. People on the left will hate Balls for it but who else are they going to vote for?’

And who are the Spectator editor’s favourite government ministers? Listen with the embedded player below which old and new faces help him sleep at night. You can also have the latest podcast delivered straight to your machine by subscribing through iTunes. As ever, we’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.

The View from 22 – 13 September 2012. Length 23:11
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Show comments
  • mr ugly

    Have you given up posting the podcast to iTunes?

  • Justathought

    The wholesale recording of conversations was pivotal in the downfall of Nixon. It is most likely that when this becomes law others will be publicly disgraced but as with Nixon this will be in the public interest. Anything that leads to better transparency of the decisions our leaders make on our behalf is a good thing and so I support this law.

    Even if politicians write into the law exemptions for themselves future hackers and hostile bodies will be able to access the surveillance for their own advantage.

  • alexsandr

    we can always fill their inboxes with lots of emails and blog posts with comments about bomb making and where one can get lists of legitimate targets. That would make it unworkable.

  • alexsandr

    we can always fill their inboxes with lots of emails and blog posts with comments about bomb making and where one can get lists of legitimate targets. That would make it unworkable.

  • Smithers Jones

    The Snoopers Charter is just another ridiculous outrage that demonstrates how rotten, self absorbed and self-serving government (whatever colour rosette the donkey wears who purportedly leads it) in this country has become. It encapsulates the dishonesty, hypocrisy and malevolence of government and its corrupt relationship with vested interests. With Governments like this (and its two predecessors) we would be better off without national government!

  • Heartless etc.,

    Yes! – the H2B merely continues what his Hero began and the EUSSR dictates.

  • In2minds

    The Spectator will suffer if the ‘snooper’s charter’ is enacted. Surely
    the convention that journalists always protect their sources will
    become impossible? We will also join an elite group of countries-
    China, Iran, Kazakstan that use such systems.

    Encryption can
    be used then will the government break the encryption? What pandora’s
    box does this release regarding business/bank security?
    Hopefully, on
    past experience, our government will be unable technically unable
    to implement this.

  • james102

    Crime reduction can only be achieved by deterrence ,all the cameras do is make a record after the event. Police patrols and deterrent sentences are the only way crime will be reduced. The current terrorist threat should be dealt with by not pandering to minority groups. People unhappy with our culture should be encouraged to leave and foreign terrorist suspects should be deported. Any international treaties our judiciary thinks prevents this should be rescinded,
    This is just another attack on our liberty and privacy by the post democratic political class.