|You're right, nighthawk; Mandelson, Blair, Brown, Campbell, and many others have been responsible for New Labour and its approach to society and social welfare. None of it is really new news, of course. But I can't help concentrate on Big Tony because it was his latest twattle that raised my ire and so therefore made me start this thread.|
Big Tony has also clearly been instrumental in New Labour's direction and relative success. For example, as far as I'm aware he is responsible for the symbolic, but nevertheless significant rewriting of Clause IV, and as the main figurehead and leader of the New Labour movement and government, he has arguably been the main driving force or backer of many of its policies. Of course, (e.g) Brown is no angel, but to me he appears to have been the numbers man in the operation, the grumbling background technician who balances all the books, and who's really waiting for his term to get hold of the microphone and stand in the limelight. I don't trust him, either.
Your point about the middle classes is also a good one. No doubt the news will move on to a new issue and in time many people of all demographics will forget all about Tony's latest sermon. But class is not the only significant factor when looking at civil liberties and social reform, and, if things keep going the way they seem to be going, the (e.g) white, Christian, middle class will probably find they'll soon be affected in other ways anyway, not just financially.
This supposed climate of "terror" and "anti-social behaviour" has enabled various potentially dodgy pieces of legislation to trickle through relatively easily, and has made those who implement it (e.g. the police) even more stressed, jumpy and paranoid. e.g. wiki entries on Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005; the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.
Of course, at the moment, "terrorism" and "anti-social behaviour" are seemingly more easily applied to specific sections of our community; and yes, the threat faced from their own government and fellow citizens is more imminent and serious than that which many of the majority have to face. However, it is important to remember that such policies and legislation are usually universal: in the right conditions, eventually everyone can be affected, whatever their age, gender, race, sexuality, class, religion, etc; and whether they try to live with it, ignore it, or not.
Intolerance, fear, and bigotry are a very real threat from all quarters and I think we're all feeling it in varying degrees through the distorted lens of the media. And before we know it, we'll be giving away even more our civil liberties because many of us think we are going to be safer and better off for doing it. i.e. "ID cards with DNA profiles only really affect XXXXXX, they're the ones who everyone's really watching out for. This won't affect me. And besides, if you're not doing anything wrong what have you got to hide, eh?"
But in a surveillance culture fuelled and guided by the seemingly new, telepathic Tony Blair, multinational corporations, and the media, many if not all of us could easily be deemed "suspect" in some way or another, including Tony's own middle class, Christian, white children (as Alex's Great Aunt, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and Our Lady have also already suggested).
So yes, I agree that this is nothing new, it's more than just a smokescreen; behind it all lies some very scary shit for all of our present and future. However, I also believe that there are major changes occurring in political climate, there have been for while, and I can see Britain potentially becoming a police state similar to the stark totalitarian sense. The legislation seems to be neatly falling into place anyway.