In speaking out against the government's proposed database of telephone and internet records last night, Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald joined a remarkable cast of critics of Labour's most draconian instincts.
...the really startling chorus of opposition to the raft of illiberal policies that has characterised this government is that which has emerged from the security establishment.
It's former MI5 heads Stella Rimington and Eliza Manningham-Buller speaking out against 42 days, and senior members of the Association of Chief Police Officers saying the same thing. It's former Prison Service director general (now Barnado’s Chief Executive) Martin Narey decrying the rate at which we incarcerate children, or Prison Governors Association president Paul Tidball on the government's decision to build Titan prisons 'in the face of unanimous opposition from professional and expert groups'. And it's Brian Gladman, a former director of strategic electronic communications at the Ministry of Defence and US government security consultant, saying that ID cards would be a disaster.
The list goes on. These people are not partisans. They're professionals. They're experts. If anyone is going to have sympathy with the impulse to 'go quite a long way' in undermining freedom to stop terrorism (another Hoonism) and crime and benefit fraud, it is surely them. And if even these people think the government has got it wrong, one has to ask: who on earth does the government consult when it formulates this stuff?
The appropriate message is that all of this is not "being tough on terrorism" it is giving in to terrorism.