Saturday, May 22, 2010

David Cameron and the security industry

This morning's issue of The Times has a front page lead about the security authorities' concerns about David Cameron's insistence on walking around Whitehall. Cameron has also refused police motorcycle escorts when he is being driven in a car and demanded to be allowed to keep his BlackBerry smartphone.

The newspaper says:
There is increasing nervousness about the protection of the Prime Minister, who officials believe is making himself vulnerable to terrorists, lone obsessives and cyber-criminals.
Well, maybe. But if you were in a responsible position and worried about the prime minister's security, wouldn't you have a quiet word with him rather than talk to the newspapers?

Besides, David Cameron is to be congratulated to dispense with some of the more obvious trappings of prime ministerial security. The installation of gates across the end of Downing Street and of a glass screen between the Commons chamber and the public gallery has given us powerful symbols of the divide between the political class and the rest of us.

And if you seek a monument of 13 years of Labour government, then the intrusion of "security" into every workplace and public building is a good candidate - right up there with health and safety.

Given that the security industry is predicated upon a lack of trust between citizens, a denial of spontaneity and the reification of social hierarchies, anything the prime minister of anyone else can do to undermine it is to be welcomed.

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