Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Major sound bites

"A free and open society is worth a certain amount of risk," so said John Major, last Conservative Prime Minister, at the Guildhall last night where he was the guest speaker at the Chartered Insurance Institute's dinner and in snappingly good form.

He also pointed out that " if we are to control the liberty of individuals we need more uncertainty than that (by which he meant the current threat levels)".

He went on to inveigh against identity cards and dna databases and to point out that governments, of any party, with large majorities did not have to take as much care with legislation and so many poorly drafted got passed which would be better scrutinised by both sides if the government's majority was small. He admitted to there being" Too much legislation- I accept a degree of mea culpa".

" Simplicities in politics so often backfire,"was his phrase which conjured up all the unintended consequences of knee jerk reactions by politicians to tabloid headlines.

Amongst the guests were his old colleagues,such as Lord Heseltine and Lord David Hunt, the President of the CII. Most interesting was the presence of Charles Clarke, the ex Home Secretary. I wonder where he stands now on identity cards and why politicans out of office make so much sense.

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