tory of the week

OK, here’s Tim Loughton, Tory MP for Worthing, who’s utterly dedicated to fighting the surveillance state. He says so:

Using pupils’ fingerprints in schools has been criticised by many MPs, including Sussex Conservatives Nick Gibb and Tim Loughton, who fear sensitive information about children could fall into the wrong hands.

Mr Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, has said it is another step towards a surveillance society.

And again:

The Conservatives’ children’s spokesman, Tim Loughton, challenged the value of such a database [ContactPoint].

“Which do you think is more likely to protect vulnerable children – investing in more permanent and appropriately trained social workers and reducing their caseload or instead throwing money at another expensive data disaster waiting to happen?”

He’s even against identity cards.

However, he’s pretty strong on Internet censorship:

That this House expresses its deep concern at the availability of child pornography on the internet; congratulates the Romford-based internet service provider, Real Data Services, for blocking users from being able to access websites containing child pornography; and further calls upon other internet providers to follow suit, in order to track down the perpetrators of this obscene crime against children.

And he’s all in favour of Radio Maryja, which ought to get him on the same page as Michal Kaminski – here he is on religious broadcasting.

And, of course, he’s £30,000 a year in favour of installing CCTV in classrooms, with a little help from some dodgy number-style products.

Harrop Fold, a comprehensive in Salford, is another school that has installed cameras and microphones in its classrooms, but just to monitor teachers, the school says.

In the last four years, since executive headteacher Antony Edkins took the helm, the percentage of pupils achieving five GCSEs with grades of A*-C has grown from 18% to 52%. The cameras have made a “very significant” contribution to the rise, Edkins says.

Is that significant with 95 or 99% confidence?

Of course, what’s genuinely telling here is the name of his company; Classwatch. I’m interested to know if any of you have a view on what the difference between the two worlds in his head is; I reckon he thinks that CCTV is OK because it’s directed at the mob, or at kids in state schools, who clearly deserve it.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his junket to Syria, where I think they know a thing or three about mass surveillance. There’s contemporary authoritarianisms for you.

[Shall I make Tory of the Week a regular feature? Thrashing the corpse of Labour is so 2005, and, y’know, pre-emptive activism and all that]

  1. Please give any authoritarian politician or apparatchik or purveyor of surveillance technology, the fisking and exposure to public scrutiny and ridicule that they deserve, if they threaten my or your freedoms, liberties and fundamental human rights.

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