My oh my! In regaining a comprehensive knowledge of the apparatus of the modern state I am utterly astounded by its possibilities. Why, I read in the last few days about an electronic fly that will soon hover out of site within premises recording and transmitting their proceedings. Cameras I understand observe me walking down the High Street and their operators can follow all my movements. Electronic collection of documents would mean all my details are available to government agents, including the state of my health. Even that admirable writer Mr Jules Verne barely conceived of any technology so all-embracing. Is anybody alarmed by this? Most people I understand shrug their shoulders and state it is necessary to apprehend criminals and anarchists and to maintain a peaceful and orderly society.
It is however beyond belief to me that the government should therefore need to reduce the ancient rights of the citizens on a permanent basis. I see that this is almost the entire substance of Mr Brown's proposed legislative programme. It will be possible to delay the laying of charges against a prisoner beyond the limit of four weeks. I would advise Mr Brown that I was once persuaded to suspend Habeas Corpus to deal with unrest in Ireland. I was misadvised and it was a mistake. I was outraged to be informed in the House of the detention of Dr Kenny, a respected adviser in Dublin, under these powers.
Studying these modern problems, I wonder that so little has been learned from the Irish problem. The failure to follow my advice with expedition on the Irish question left the subsequent generation with a century of trouble and violence. Even at that time we saw how putting ends before means led to corruption of the system. It is disturbing how I hear today how a police commissioner sought to obstruct investigations into the actions of his own force, actions that led to the killing of an innocent. A just society must maintain its moral basis, a matter on which the dear lady the Queen so frequently agreed with me with a slight incline of her head.
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