Losing Everything

I keep thinking that it is impossible for the British Government and it’s bureaucracy to screw things up worse than they already have. It’s the one thing about which I am always wrong. They just can’t stop losing things.

First, they lost the bank details of everyone receiving child benefit – that is, every family with children in the UK, including mine – 25 million in all. We got a nice impersonal apology letter for that one. Then they lost the details of three million learner drivers.

Then the Ministry of Defence lost a laptop with the details of 600,000  people who had expressed an interest in joining the armed forces. At least they know when and where they lost that one (it was left overnight in a car in Birmingham), even if they never got it back. At the time they didn’t even know they had lost hundreds of Ministry of Defense laptops and memory sticks with classified information on them and still don’t know where those are.

All the while they keep insisting that we hand over more and more data for them to keep on us.

Now the Home Office has lost all the data – including all the confidential information – on every prisoner in the UK. This is includes release dates and other information that could compromise their safety.  The Government is looking at millions and millions of pounds in compensation or in damages from the inevitable lawsuits.

I honestly don’t know what new higher levels of incompetence the Government will demonstrate before the next General Election. I don’t know how much of the country will be left for them to turn over to the Tories. The mind boggles.

Matters of National Insecurity

The Government is actively and admittedly planning the ultimate in surveillance on the British population. You could call it the Mother of all Big Brothers. Gordon Brown wants the Government to keep a database of every email, phone call and all time spent on the internet. After all, innocent people have nothing to hide. The Government just wants to be able to keep tabs on your innocence.

Sure it’s a lot of personal information, but if you can’t trust the Government, who can you trust? After all, the Government is only here to look after us and protect us. And where else could your information be more safe?

Take the Ministry of Defence, for example. They tell us it is just a fluke that 658 laptops were stolen between 2004 and 2007. That’s in addition to the 89 that have just been lost. But hey, they have recovered 32 of these. Up until a few weeks ago, the MoD only acknowledged that 347 laptops had been stolen. Seems there were “anomalies in the reporting process” that kept ministers from knowing that another 311 had been taken. A significant number of these laptops contained, as you might suspect, secret information vital to national security.

But the MoD doesn’t just keep information on the hard drives of its laptops. No, this the era of the USB memory stick. They have had 131 of these lost or stolen, but just like the laptops, they can’t even say when or where. They do know that some of the sticks also had classified information on them.

Yet in the midst of admitting all of this – and given that the British government never likes to admit anything, just think of what breaches of security and carelessness with data lie unknown that this point – they dismiss out of hand any attempt by opposition parties to hold them accountable and insist they must have more and more data about every single person.  It beggars belief.

There has never been a government in this country – at least in modern times – to have such complete disregard for the people they govern.

Coroners Must Not Explain Avoidable Deaths

The audacity of the British Government never ceases to amaze. Just when you think they couldn’t do anything more outrageous against truth and justice, they prove you wrong. It’s like, “You think that was bad? Watch this!”

When British soldiers are killed overseas, their bodies are flown into RAF Brize Norton. The problem is that Brize Norton is in Oxfordshire. That means that as soon as the corpse touches British soil, it is under the jurisdiction of the Oxfordshire coroner’s office. Deaths outside of Britain are subject to a coroner’s inquest to determine the cause and responsibility for the death.

If the responsibility for the deaths were entirely with the enemy,  there would be no problem. Unfortunately for the Ministry of Defence, Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker just digs a little too deep. He notices that but for a few simple things like lack basic equipment and flawed procedures, men would be alive. It’s not easy digging, because the MoD is intentionally obstructive in the collection of evidence.
Now Defence Secretary Des Browne is trying to gag coroners from criticising the Government or the military. He wants the High Court to order coroners to censor their findings. He wants them to be prevented from using language that makes him look bad.

Since a Coroner is no Civil Serf, the Government can’t use it’s usual strong arm tactics to shut them up.  As for people who ask too many questions who work for the MoD, they have Dr David Kelly to look to as an example.