A letter to my MP:

Dear Mr Paice,

I write as one of your constituents.

I know there are different views about the role of government. I generally vote conservative because I see in your party the closest match to my own, which is of a government that holds the ring in which private citizens conduct their business. I feel the government should maintain law and order and national defence, uphold contracts and agreements and provide a safety net welfare state.

The recent coalition proposal that ISPs retain all electronic communications that pass through their networks is, quite simple, a proposal to abolish the private citizen entirely.

It is profoundly illiberal (in the original and correct sense) and extraordinary coming from a party that, in opposition, fought against the Labour Party’s more predictable addiction to general precautionary surveillance.

It seems to me proof that we are actually governed by a semi-hereditary class of authoritarian civil servants who ‘capture’ new administrations, whatever their best intentions might have been in opposition.

I hope you will vote against this measure.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Risdon.

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  • David Gillies

    The idea that the real power in government lies with a self-perpetuating mandarin class which is only nominally directed by a fly-by-night veneer of elected politicians was beautifully expounded in Yes Minister/Yes P.M.. Like the best satire, it was frighteningly near the knuckle. The real problem is what to do? If genuine ability to implement change lies with the mandarinate, then reform requires not merely that the turkeys vote for Christmas, but actively collaborate in their cooking.