You do have to scroll down, but underneath everything else, Peter Hitchens is doing a much better job than Ab Starmer is:
I should have worried more about the TV series Spooks, which glamorised MI5 as a heroic defender of the nation against terrorism.
We have now got far too complacent about this rather creepy organisation, with its enormous budget and its increasingly political remit. I wonder when it will finally get the power of arrest, which will make it truly dangerous?
We have also allowed the police to go down the same path. Infiltrating undercover agents into organisations which are essentially political, as well as into actual criminal gangs. Personally, I don’t think this is especially effective at preventing crime, or right. Now, having created this monster, the Government is trying to regulate it.
And what a mess they are in. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill actually licenses government informers to commit crimes to help them stay undercover – a direct blow at the rule of law.
If that is not bad enough, it permits children to be used as undercover spies by more than 20 state agencies. Children aged 16 and 17 could even be recruited to spy on their own parents. The only safeguard is that such child spies should only be used in ‘exceptional circumstances’, which has all the force of a wet paper bag.
Much praise is due to the few MPs who are fighting this nasty development, and to the much larger contingent in the Lords who have repeatedly tried to torpedo it. If you create such powers, they will be used, and in ways that nobody thinks of now.
The most hateful thing I ever saw in my years in Moscow was a statue to Pavlik Morozov, a (probably mythical) child who had denounced his own parents to the authorities, and then been murdered by his grandfather. Millions of children in the Evil Empire were brought up to revere and admire this little toad.
When Communism fell, the Morozov idol disappeared from the park where it had stood and has not been seen since. At the rate we are going, perhaps it will end up on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square.
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