Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics


Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair — now titled Lord Blair as reward for his 2010 resignation and his tireless efforts to expand the scope of police anti-terror activity — has given an interview in which he advocates criminalising any release of information that the state wishes to keep secret. He bemoans the fact that

Most of the legislation about state secrets is in the Official Secrets Act and it only concerns an official.

Now, before you wonder how far he might go in criminalising the discussion of public policy, rest assured, Blair is only interested in promoting discussion:

I think there is going to have to be a look at what happens when somebody possesses material which is secret without having authority.

That doesn’t sound so bad. They’re just going to “have a look”, and see “what happens”.

You might think, as soon as someone without “authority” possesses the material, that it is no longer a secret, but that would be only if you don’t have Lord Blair’s experience of making words mean what you intend them to mean.

If only we’d had these laws back in 2005, poor Charles de Menezes might still be a terrorist today!

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